SPORTS TRIBUNE
 


Jyoti lights up the greens
Jyoti Randhawa’s triumph at the Singha Thailand Open golf tournament can propel him to the ranks of the world’s top 100
V. Krishnaswamy
J
yoti Randhawa, who won the Singha Thailand Open golf tournament earlier in the week, may look shy and reserved, but when it comes to outdoor sports, there are few with as many diverse interests as him.


Jyoti Randhawa’s triumph at the Singha Thailand Open golf tournament can propel him to the ranks of the world’s top 100 Photo AFP

England’s former soccer captain David Beckham has sealed a loan extension at the San Siro in his bid to win a place in the national side for next year’s World Cup  Beckham pays to play with Milan
D
avid Beckham is paying a large amount of money out of his own pocket to remain with AC Milan, club chairman Adriano Galliani has said. "A lot of players show their affection just with words. David Beckham is one of the very few who has shown it with deeds", Galliani said after Beckham extended his loan deal from the Los Angeles Galaxy through the end of the Series A season.
England’s former soccer captain David Beckham has sealed a loan extension at the San Siro in his bid to win a place in the national side for next year’s World Cup Photo AFP

On the return shuttle
Amit Khanna
C
omebacks in sports are always a tricky proposition. They are loaded with an extra amount of expectation for the players to perform and claw their way back into the thick of things.
Saina Nehwal Chetan Anand
Saina Nehwal and Chetan Anand had both missed the Nationals and were big disappointments in the All-England Badminton Championship File photos

Honda back with Brawn
Alan Baldwin
Ross Brawn has bought the Formula One Honda team and expects the company to do well with the launch of a new car B
ritain’s Jenson Button made up for lost time by giving his new Brawn GP Formula One team an impressive test debut at the Spanish Grand Prix circuit earlier this week. Apart from a brief shakedown of the Mercedes-powered car at Silverstone last week, Button had not been behind the wheel since November — the month before Honda announced they were pulling out of the sport due to the credit crunch.
Ross Brawn has bought the Formula One Honda team and expects the company to do well with the launch of a new car Photo AFP

   

 

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Jyoti lights up the greens
V. Krishnaswamy

Jyoti Randhawa, who won the Singha Thailand Open golf tournament earlier in the week, may look shy and reserved, but when`A0it comes to outdoor sports, there are few with as many diverse interests as him.

He may well be one of the original daredevils on the golf circuit. The 36-year-old son of a retired Army General, Randhawa’s interests off the course include trap shooting, riding horses and motorbikes and, of course, yoga. Yoga, incidentally, has time and again helped him recover from injuries, including a serious motorbike accident in 2002.

Despite winning his first Asian tour title in 16 months, Randhawa has been one of the leading stars of Indian golf over the last decade, alongside Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal. His win in holiday resort of Phuket could propel him inside top-100, where he was last year before dropping out.

Randhawa, who was tied with Atwal for the most Asian Tour titles by an Indian at seven, has now overtaken the latter by grabbing his eighth title. Jeev Milkha Singh has six, but he also has four on Japan Tour and two others on European Tour. While Randhawa leads the race on Asian Tour titles, he is yet to win on European Tour, which Atwal and Jeev have and that is something that will not be lost on Randhawa, who has come close but not quite sealed it.

Randhawa turned pro after representing India at the 1994 Asian Games where he came fifth — and soon became one of India’s most successful professional golfers.

A regular winner on the Indian circuit in his early years as a pro, it took Randhawa four years to make a breakthrough on the Asian Tour with the win at the Hero Honda Masters in 1998. But no sooner had he done that, he was winning regularly.

He retained the Hero Honda Masters title in 1999 and then won the 2000 Indian Open. His first win on foreign soil came in 2000 at Singapore, but after that it took him three more years before winning another international title — the Suntory Open in Japan in 2003.

In 2004, he won the Volvo Masters of Asia in Malaysia and then won the Indian Open in 2006 and 2007. In 2002 Randhawa became the first Indian to win the Order of Merit title in Asia after making a brave comeback from injury. He broke his collarbone following a motorcycle accident in March and was out of action until August but returned to the Tour stronger than ever. He did not win that year but finished in the top-15 in 10 events. His superb season earned him the praise of his peers who voted him the Players' Player of the Year.

His Order of merit win on Asian Tour earned him a Japan Tour card in 2003 and he made a breakthrough with a win in the 2003 Suntory Open. It was the first win by an Indian in Japan.

In 2004, Randhawa finished the year with a bang by winning the Volvo Masters of Asia in Kuala Lumpur, and ended second on the Order of Merit. He finished tied second in the tri-sanctioned Johnnie Walker Classic and did not miss a cut in seven starts all season.

The year 2005 saw Randhawa endure a difficult season due to injuries but still enjoyed a lucrative season as he finished third on the Order of Merit with earnings of $329,835.

The same year he partnered Atwal to ninth place in the WGC-World Cup in Portugal where they were the first round co-leaders.

His current phase, where he is developing into a global golfer, started in 2006, when he lifted second Hero Honda Indian Open crown. .

In 2007, he made history at the Hero Honda Indian Open when he successfully defended his title for his third career triumph, which equalled the feat of Australian legend Peter Thomson. The year 2008 did not get him any titles, but he did finish second at the SAIL Open and had several top-10 finishes. And now 2009 has started even better than 2008. After a second place finish in Maybank Malaysian Open, Randhawa was seventh at Enjoy Jakarta Open Indonesia last week and now comes the win in Phuket. — IANS


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Beckham pays to play with Milan

David Beckham is paying a large amount of money out of his own pocket to remain with AC Milan, club chairman Adriano Galliani has said. "A lot of players show their affection just with words. David Beckham is one of the very few who has shown it with deeds", Galliani said after Beckham extended his loan deal from the Los Angeles Galaxy through the end of the Series A season.

"I won’t cite any numbers, but I can say that the player will stay with us until June. He has made an incredible economic commitment, paying a lot of money from his own pocket," Galliani said on RAI state TV.

Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy announced late last Saturday that the club had struck a "multimillion dollar deal" to enable the former England captain to remain with Milan through June 30.

"Let’s say it’s official, even if we’re still lacking the final papers", Galliani said. Beckham performed well in the playmaker position during Milan’s 3-0 win over Atalanta. Filippo Inzaghi scored a hat trick.

"He was involved in the action and handled himself very well", Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said of Beckham’s performance.

The Galaxy had sought $10 million for the outright purchase of Beckham, but Milan officials had offered $3 million.

The two sides were negotiating for weeks and agreed on the loan extension hours before it was due to expire after the Milan-Atalanta game.

After the MLS season ends in November, Beckham could return to Milan, either in another loan deal or a full transfer.

"It wasn’t possible to make a definitive choice, so a temporary one was taken," Ancelotti said. "He’ll stay here until the end of the season, then he’ll go back (to Los Angeles). Then we’ll see what happens in November".

Beckham wants to stay with Milan to improve his chances of making to England’s team for next year’s World Cup. — AP


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On the return shuttle
Amit Khanna

Comebacks in sports are always a tricky proposition. They are loaded with an extra amount of expectation for the players to perform and claw their way back into the thick of things.

Playing in her first major tournament of the year, Saina Nehwal’s hope of a successful comeback went up in smoke after the ace shuttler went down fighting in the first round of the prestigious Yonex All England open tournament played at Birmingham.

The 99th edition of the sport’s oldest tournament was held from March 3 to March 8.

The eighteen-year-old from Hyderabad had to skip last month’s national badminton championships held at Indore and German Open owing to her shoulder injury and after a rigorous three week healing process returned to the court for the all important tournament.

Prakash Padukone and Pullela gopichand are the only Indians to have won badminton’s greatest competition. Saina had a tough draw in the form of seasoned world number 4 Hongyan Pi in the first round. The Frenchwoman made sure that the Indian shuttler’s return to action was a rather harrowing one.

Saina’s stay at the tournament, which she had set her eyes on after the successful run in 2008, lasted for 34 minutes as she lost in the straight sets 21-15,21-16. Her frustration was compounded by the fact that her nagging worry over the shoulder severely restricted her stroke making.

In the men’s section India’s best bet world number 13 Chetan Anand also bowed out in the first round after squandering a first game lead. Anand had missed the Nationals earlier this month to concentrate on this tournament. He lost 6-21, 21-17, 21-12 to the lower-ranked Andrew Smith.

Smith had earlier beaten Aravind Bhatt, the other indian in the fray at the tournament, at the German Open last month. Bhatt lost to Wijie Gong, a lesser known Chinese player, in the first round.

The losses point to the fact that it will be long before Indian players pose a serious threat to the Chinese dominance at the world stage. The mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju were the only Indians to move into the second round before being beaten by the korean duo of Yong Dae and Hyo jung in the pre quarterfinals.


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Honda back with Brawn
Alan Baldwin

Britain’s Jenson Button made up for lost time by giving his new Brawn GP Formula One team an impressive test debut at the Spanish Grand Prix circuit earlier this week. Apart from a brief shakedown of the Mercedes-powered car at Silverstone last week, Button had not been behind the wheel since November — the month before Honda announced they were pulling out of the sport due to the credit crunch.

Honda sold their team to Ross Brawn, the Honda team principal and former Ferrari technical director, last week in a deal that kept 10 teams on the starting grid and rescued Button’s flagging career. After going quickest in the morning, Button ended with a fourth best time of one minute 21.140 seconds " comfortably quicker than his fastest lap for Honda of 1:22.353 at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Brawn was 0.802 off the pace set by BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld, with Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen also quicker than Button. Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren, the same one that Button’s compatriot Lewis Hamilton will use to defend his title, was the slowest car on the circuit. Honda’s British-based team had a miserable season last year, with Button scoring just three points from 18 races. However, they had been hoping for a big step up in performance this year and Brawn said in December that the new car was a potential race winner.

The Briton has said his team hoped to make a ‘respectable’ start to the season at the first race in Australia on March 29 and this showing suggested they would do more than just make up the numbers.

The team’s trucks were lined up in the Circuit de Catalunya paddock with their new name on the side while the car ran without branding in black, white and yellow livery. Brawn was also present at the Barcelona test, as was Button’s father John and the team’s second driver Rubens Barrichello.

McLaren’s partners Mercedes have replaced Honda as the engine provider, with the new V8 unit believed to be providing around 60 hp more than the one used by Button last year. — Reuters

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