Release players, FIFA tells clubs
Boxers promise a rich haul
Golden couple splits for gold
IOA to honour Khade
Another test on spin-friendly track
India pip Afghanistan
England suffer batting collapse
BCCI to go ahead with T20 League
Sania-Dechy out in 1st round
Fabian Hambuechen has one gold medal missing from his horizontal bar collection and he is determined to pick it up. ''I now have a good feeling. I want a gold on the bar,'' 20-year-old German told Reuters after scooping three medals at the European championships in May.
The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday allowed Iraq to send a two-athlete team to next month's Beijing Games in a last-minute deal ending a dispute with the Iraqi government, the IOC said. Iraq were banned last week after the government disbanded the country's National Olympic Committee (NOC), a move that had angered the IOC. Iraqi officials met with IOC officials in Lausanne earlier today in a last-ditch effort to iron out differences and send a team consisting only of two track and field athletes to the Games. ''An agreement between the Iraqi government and the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday clears the way for Iraqi participation in the Olympic Games in Beijing,'' the IOC said in a statement.
The fragrance and flavour of tea from Makaibari Tea Estate in West Bengal, spread out in the mist-kissed hills of Darjeeling, will trickle down to the teacups of guests at Beijing. Makaibari tea estate is one of the most reputed tea companies in the world. Makaibari is also one of the first tea estates to go organic. A total of 333kg consignment, which includes second flush green tea from Makaibari tea estate, worth Rs 8,000 per kg is to be sent. The fact that the Makaibari's tea would refresh the delegates has filled the owner with pride. "Chinese tea seeds and saplings were brought to Darjeeling and planted about 160-170 years ago. It is satisfying that after this while we will send it back to China," said Rajah Banerjee, owner, Makaibari Tea Estate.
Irina Kirzenstein was born in 1946 in a Leningrad refugee camp. Between 1964 and 1980, she participated in five Olympics and won 7 medals, three of them gold. She was the first woman to hold world records in the 100 m, 200 m and 400 m at the same time. She first struck gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, at the age of 18. In the 1968 Mexico Games, Irina won gold in the 200 m and set a new world record and won bronze in the 100 m. Before the 1972 Games, Irina injured her ankle. Yet, she won a bronze in the 200 m. Her last great victory was achieved at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Competing against an 18-year-old German girl in the 400 m, 30-year-old Irina won by almost 10 metres.
Who won the first women's Olympic marathon? Joan Benoit in Los Angeles in 1984
The first games to be held in the southern hemisphere were the 1956 Melbourne Australia games.
Zurich, July 30
In a statement issued to the clubs and the media today, FIFA said Players' Status Committee member Slim Aloulou had ruled as a single judge that the release of players was mandatory for all clubs.
German Bundesliga sides Werder Bremen and Schalke, and Spain's Barcelona had argued against the need to release players because the Olympics were not included on FIFA's international match calendar.
''The single judge determined that the international match calendar is not of relevance in establishing whether clubs are obliged to release players,'' FIFA said in its statement.
''In view of the longstanding and undisputed practice (since 1988, clubs have always accepted the release of under-23 players for the competition), he deemed that recourse to customary law is justified.''
The statement added that the Olympic Games was a ''unique opportunity'' for all athletes ''and that it would not be justifiable to prevent any player younger than 23 from participating in such an event''.
Werder and Schalke have already filed complaints with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following the call-ups of Schalke defender Rafinha and Werder playmaker Diego into Brazil's Olympic squad.
CAS said last week it would wait until after FIFA had made its final decision before examining the complaints.
Barcelona, whose influential forward Lionel Messi has been called up by Argentina, said on Monday they would also go to CAS if FIFA ruled against them.
The Olympic football tournament runs from Aug. 6 to 23, a period when many European clubs are beginning their domestic league seasons or playing qualifying matches for European competitions. — Reuters
Seoul, July 30
Athens Olympic champion Park Sung-hyun and Yoon Ok-hee, who set a 12-arrow world record of 119 points in May, are expected to vie for gold in the individual event, while in the women's team competition South Korea appear untouchable.
The athletes are confident about their chances in Beijing but under no illusions about what the Korean people expect of them.
Anything less than a sweep will be construed as failure.
''If we win two gold medals, they say it's expected. If we don't win two they will be disappointed,'' said 23-year-old Yoon, who will get her first taste of Olympic action in Beijing. ''So we have quite a bit of pressure.''
Korean women hold every world record in the outdoor recurve discipline, the standard used at the Olympics, but it is getting increasingly difficult to maintain such dominance, says South Korea most successful archer.
Kim Soo-nyung, who won four Olympic gold medals between 1988 and 2000, said the current team were still the best in the world but the gap was narrowing.
''I think we're half a notch ahead,'' Kim told Reuters. ''In the days when I was playing, we used to be a full notch ahead.''
Kim, who won two golds in 1988 in Seoul aged 17, and retired after the 1992 Games before making a comeback for Sydney 2000, said the Korean team had become a victim of their own success.
''Other countries have come a long way because there are many Koreans coaching other national teams,'' she added.
South Korea's success seems to be built on exhaustive preparation coupled with state-of-the-art training techniques and a secret ingredient -- archery DNA.
The National Training Centre in Taeneung has been instrumental in making South Korea a force in sport and producing athletes capable of putting the country in the top 10 of the medals table in Beijing.
One of the innovations for the upcoming Games was to remodel the archery practice grounds to recreate the Olympic venue in Beijing, complete with mock seating and spectators.
Coaches shout and stamp around in the stands to get the archers accustomed to possible distractions from the crowd, even turning on blaring music to interrupt their concentration.
Kim said making it through training just to be selected for the South Korean national team was worthy of a medal itself.
''But when you get through it, it's almost like the qualifiers are tougher than winning the gold medal at the Games,'' she added.
''So when you're playing in the real thing you play with the confidence that you've already been through the toughest part of it.'' Training is only part of the equation though and some of the Korean archers believe they have physiological, mental and spiritual traits that set them apart from the rest.
World record holder Yoon said Korean women were dexterous due to heightened sensitivity in their fingers, making them more adept at ''feel'' sports such as archery.
That theory may also go some way to explaining why South Korea continues to produce an abundance of top-class women golfers.
''Our sensitive fingertips, descended from our ancestors, and our spiritual strength and willingness to fight until the very end -- they are the secrets,'' Yoon said.
Boxers promise a rich haul
Patiala, July 30
All five of them - Vijender, Akhil, Dinesh, Jitender and A.L. Lakra — are in their best form and prepared to make the nation proud.
Vijender (22) will represent India in the 75 kg weight category. He hails from Bhiwani and began training under SAI boxing coach Jagdish Singh.
Vijender said, “I don’t know if I will win the gold but it will definitely be a medal for India.”
Vijender, who recently received the Bhim Award, has won medals in the Commonwealth and Asian championship. He qualified for the Olympics in the third Olympic qualifier in Kazakhstan.
Dinesh (20) also belongs to Bhiwani and has trained under Jagdish Singh. He had qualified for the Olympics in the second qualifiers in Kazakhstan. Dinesh, who is a five-time national champion, has won medals in various international meets, his best being the gold medal in SAF Games in Sri Lanka in 2006.
Akhil, who is representing India in the 54 kg category, is one of the favourites of the coach as well as the sports fraternity. Coach G.S. Sandhu said, “If Akhil performs his best, there is no beating him. He is a very focused and talented and I am sure this guy will work wonders.” Jitender (20), also from Bhiwani, will represent India in the 51 kg category. He gives the credit of his achievements to his coaches.
A.L. Lakra from Jharkhand is 26 years of age and had qualified for the Olympics during the World Championship in Chicago. Currently, Lakra is working with the Indian Navy.
Coach G.S. Sandhu is delighted with the performance of the boys. He said, “Five qualifications is a big achievement in itself for Indian boxing.”
“This is one of the golden years of Indian boxing. I am sure that my boys will win medals and make this year a memorable one in the history of Indian sport”
Kuala Lumpur, July 30
''We mutually agreed being together won't work,'' Sullivan told reporters today at the team's training camp in Malaysia.
''Nothing has gone wrong. We need to focus 100 per cent on ourselves. We're still great friends. It's in our best interests and it's working out so far.''
The pair rose to prominence after breaking world records at the Australian Olympic trials in March but their stories quickly shifted from the sports pages to the gossip columns as their romance blossomed.
Sullivan, 22, lowered the 50 metres world record to 21.28 seconds and 20-year-old Rice set a mark of 2:08.92 in the 200 metres individual medley. — Reuters
New Delhi, July 30
A first-of-its-kind, the book spans the life and incredible achievements of Virdhawal Khade, a 15-year-old Kolhapur boy, who recently made India proud by becoming the fastest young swimmer of the world. Virdhawal is now the youngest Indian swimmer to qualify for the Olympics.
Although everything now seems starry for the young lad from Maharashtra, things were not all that sunny before, as the book points out. Brought out by Pratham publications - run by an NGO working for poor children, the book will be launched at a special ceremony to be held in the honour of Virdhawal in the capital tomorrow.
Another test on spin-friendly track
Galle, July 30
The pitch last week was not exactly a turner, yet India’s bejewelled batting line-up crumbled on it. The strip in the 2nd Test, starting Thursday, is widely expected to respond to spin, as has historically been the case.
A relatively inexperienced Indian side under Sourav Ganguly lost by 10 wickets in 2001 — the only time they’ve played here.
This is southern Sri Lanka, where the bulging green waters of the Indian Ocean lash the coast. On Boxing Day in 2004, a tsunami savaged this region, killing over 50,000 people. It could not shake a 16th century Dutch fort, but flattened the Galle International Stadium, the venue of tomorrow’s match, behind it.
With international help, a pavilion, media facilities and stands for spectators have been reconstructed; all very modern and purpose-built, but somewhat faceless. The field had to be completely dug up. This enabled installation of a new drainage system, whose impact, however, appears to be limited, since the ground is at sea level with a high underground water table.
The “square”, though re-laid, does not seem to have changed much in character, for spinners had a field day last winter, as well, when Test cricket returned here after the tsunami, with England as the tourists.
It bucketed down on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, which prevented the home side from practicing outdoors. But with most of the outfield, not to mention the wicket, covered by tarpaulin, the Indians were more fortunate when it came to their turn in the afternoon.
They also needed it, more perhaps psychologically, though neither Sachin Tendulkar nor Rahul Dravid - the two with five figure aggregates each to their name - batted with their distinguishing mastery. Not that this is a bad omen, for they will surely concentrate more in a match situation.
Intriguingly, Dravid asked one of the support staff to “chuck” off-spinners at him from around the wicket. Because of his extraordinary wrist movement, Muttiah Muralitharan’s deliveries arrive at batsmen with the effect of being thrown rather than bowled at them.
With Ajantha Mendis to partner him, the wizardry of Murali is even more pronounced, for there is less pressure on him to perform. The track selected for the match looks two-faced - grass, albeit brown in colour, at one end, barren and with cracks at the other.
Indeed, the quicker bowlers, with the sea breeze on their backs, could well benefit from the former, with the slow bowlers possibly relishing the other side.
While Chaminda Vaas cannot be underestimated, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are potentially more penetrative than the Sri Lankan pacers. Assistance to spin could also increase Kumble and Harbhajan Singh’s incisiveness, but at the same time make Murali a greater threat around the wicket.
The legendary spinner has captured 91 wickets at 16.50 in 12 Test appearances at Galle. But by playing him - and Mendis for that matter - late and with loose hands, the danger can certainly be reduced, at least in the first innings.
The fact that Mahela Jayawardene has compiled 1,389 runs at 99.31 in a dozen outings here, including 213 against England just before Christmas, is evidence of runs in the surface, if a batsman plays sensibly and in Test match not T20 fashion.
Both sides are likely to be unchanged, as compared to the opening engagement. But considering the past, both will be hoping they bat first.
Hyderabad, July 30
Climax saved the day for India scoring in the 92nd minute after being fed by substitute Clifford Miranda to the relief of the Indian camp and handful of spectators who cheered every move of their home team at the floodlit Gachibowli stadium here.
India, however, largely failed to live up to pre-tournament hype and they have to dish out a much improved performance in their two remaining matches - against Tajikistan and Turkmenistan - to harbour hopes of winning the eight-nation tournament and qualify for 2011 Asian Cup after 24 years.
India completely dominated the first 25 minutes having most of the ball possession and making several attacks. It seemed for a while that Bob Houghton's charges would walk away with full points without much resistance from their opponents, the lowest ranked side in the tournament at 181st in latest FIFA charts, but the fight by the players from the war-ravaged country left the Indians surprised as well as red-faced.
The Afghans almost turned the tables towards the breather, getting two fine chances with the hosts surviving thanks to Subrata Paul's brilliant goal-keeping.
Turkmenistan hold Tajikistan
Turkmenistan displayed superb attacking skills to share the points with Tajikistan holding them to a goalless draw in the inaugural match of the AFC Challenge Cup here today. Though there were a couple of good moves, both teams failed to capitalise on them. Turkmenistan's midfield looked solid as it constantly fed the forwards. Alikperov Vitaliy and Vyaceslav Krendelev in the midfield and Mamedaly Karadanov in the forward line were superb. Tajikistan goal keeper Tuchiev Alisher had to put extra efforts to stall the opposition moves. Tukhatsunov and Rabief Yusuf were good in making the moves in the penalty area.
Turkmenistan displayed superb attacking skills to share the points with Tajikistan holding them to a goalless draw in the inaugural match of the AFC Challenge Cup here today.
Though there were a couple of good moves, both teams failed to capitalise on them. Turkmenistan's midfield looked solid as it constantly fed the forwards. Alikperov Vitaliy and Vyaceslav Krendelev in the midfield and Mamedaly Karadanov in the forward line were superb. Tajikistan goal keeper Tuchiev Alisher had to put extra efforts to stall the opposition moves. Tukhatsunov and Rabief Yusuf were good in making the moves in the penalty area. — Agencies
Birmingham, July 30
Vaughan made a duck and Collingwood, recalled after he was dropped for the second Test, succumbed for four.
South Africa, 1-0 up in the four-match series, were 38 for one at the close after losing skipper Graeme Smith caught at first slip off Andrew Flintoff’s second ball for seven.
England, whose insipid first innings performance in the second Test at Headingley set South Africa on the victory trail, lost their first three wickets for just six runs in the space of 21 deliveries after Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss had put on 68 for the first wicket.
Strauss (20) played a flick shot off his hip to Andre Nel, who had come in for the injured Dale Steyn, and trod on his middle stump. — Reuters
England (1st innings)
Strauss hit wicket b Nel 20
Cook c Kallis b Nel 76
Vaughan c Boucher b Nel 0
Pietersen c Prince b Kallis 4
Bell c Boucher b Ntini 50
Collingwood c Smith b Kallis 4
Flintoff not out 36
Ambrose b Kallis 22
Sidebottom c Boucher b Ntini 2
Anderson run out 1
Panesar run out 1
Extras (b-1, lb-7, w-2, nb-5) 15
Total (all out, 77 overs) 231
Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-68, 3-74, 4-136, 5-158, 6-173, 7-212, 8-215, 9-230, 10-231
Bowling: Morkel 15-2-50-0, Ntini 19-5-70-2, Nel 17-7-47-3, Kallis 15-5-31-3, Harris 11-1-25-0
South Africa (1st innings)
McKenzie not out 12
Smith c Strauss b Flintoff 7
Harris not out 10
Extras (lb-8, nb-1) 9
Total (1 wicket, 11 overs) 38
Fall of wicket: 1-17
Bowling: Sidebottom 6-2-16-0, Anderson 3-0-10-0, Flintoff 2-1-4-1.
Mumbai, July 30
The tournament would be completed on October 8 and will be followed by the India-Australia Test series from the very next day. The ICC had objected to its start date, citing rules that require a seven-day break between two international tourneys.
The choice of the venue for the league, involving eight teams with six of them from the founding member boards, has been kept open though according to Indian board's Lalit Modi "ideally, we want it to be held in India but there have been offers from others too".
On the danger of a clash of interests in the players' loyalty ahead of the India-Australia Test seies, Modi and Cricket Australia's James Sutherland emphasised that international commitments would be paramount.
"Only one or two players would be impacted because of the India-Australia Test series and we are clear that the ICC's FTP (Future Tours Programme) takes precedence over all else.”
“Like it happened in the Indian Premier League, those players would be released for international commitments," they said.
India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who would be representing IPL runners-up Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League, and Australia's Michael Hussey would be impacted by the clash of dates between the League and India-Australia Test rubber. — PTI
Stockholm (Sweden), July 30
The second seeded Indo-French pair plunged to a 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-10 defeat against unseeded duo of Camille Pin of France and Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium in one hour and 27 minutes in the first round of the hard court event.
Sania and Dechy converted all three break points and saved six of the seven on their own serve to race away with the first set.
However, the French-Belgian pair curbed their erratic play and bounced back in the second set, which they won through tie breaker.
Building on the momentum, they held nerves in the super tie breaker to prevail over their fancied opponents.
Tushar, Parul lose
New Delhi: India's Tushar Liberhan once again made an early exit, losing in straight sets in the first round of $10,000 ITF men's singles event in Oradea, Romania. Up against Moldova's Andrei Ciumac, Tushar lost 3-6, 5-7 in the clay court event. Meanwhile, Parul Goswami continued to struggle to find form as she was sent packing in the first round of the $10,000 ITF women's event in Rabat, Morocco. The National Games champion was demolished 1-6, 0-6 by Spain's Melisa Cabrera-Handt in the first round of the clay court event. Another Indian in the fray, Parija Maloo had defeated Sophie Cornerotte of Belgium 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the second round, yesterday. The Parija-Parul combine also suffered a 1-6, 1-6 mauling in the first round of the doubles event at the hands of Fatima El Allami of Morocco and Italian Lisa Sabino.
New Delhi: India's Tushar Liberhan once again made an early exit, losing in straight sets in the first round of $10,000 ITF men's singles event in Oradea, Romania.
Up against Moldova's Andrei Ciumac, Tushar lost 3-6, 5-7 in the clay court event.
Meanwhile, Parul Goswami continued to struggle to find form as she was sent packing in the first round of the $10,000 ITF women's event in Rabat, Morocco.
The National Games champion was demolished 1-6, 0-6 by Spain's Melisa Cabrera-Handt in the first round of the clay court event.
Another Indian in the fray, Parija Maloo had defeated Sophie Cornerotte of Belgium 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the second round, yesterday.
The Parija-Parul combine also suffered a 1-6, 1-6 mauling in the first round of the doubles event at the hands of Fatima El Allami of Morocco and Italian Lisa Sabino.