VIVO IPL 12: Mumbai Indians beat RCB by five wickets at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.        

Athletics timetable for Tokyo 2020 released

The Athletics timetable for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was unveiled today during a ceremony in the Japanese capital.

Spread over ten days, athletics competition at the 29th Summer Olympic Games will commence on Friday 31 July with the men’s 20km race walk, which will finish in front of Japan’s imperial palace, and conclude on the final day of the Games, Sunday 9 August, with the men’s marathon.

In between, competition will be spread over 17 exciting sessions at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.

“The Tokyo 2020 schedule is substantially different from our previous Olympic timetables, but will offer the vast majority of athletics fans attending the Games the opportunity to see Olympic medals being decided, with finals scheduled in 15 of the 17 sessions in the main stadium,’’ IAAF Competitions Director Paul Hardy said.

“Having finals in the morning, as requested by the International Olympic Committee, will enhance the visibility of athletics across all time zones. The stadium-based distance events remain in the evening sessions to reduce the risk of very hot conditions for our endurance athletes, while the road events will start as early as practicable in the morning.

“The new schedule also accommodates both the traditional doubles and the historic addition of the mixed 4 X 400m relay, the first time that athletics has combined the talents of both male and female athletes in one event at the Games.”

Some of the key features:

– Nine finals will take place during the morning sessions – plus the finish of both marathons and all three race walks – which will allow more of the global audience to watch finals in prime time.

– The spread of events will allow most of the traditional doubles – 100m/200m, 200m/400m, 800m/1500m, 1500m/5000m, 5000m/10,000m – to be contested by athletes who are capable of contending in more than one event.

– All five road events are being held on separate days with no overlap so each will have its own chance in the spotlight. All races will start at 6am or earlier (the gun will sound the start of the men’s 50km walk at 5:30am) to give athletes the coolest and safest possible race conditions.

– The first athletics event of the programme, the men’s 20km race walk, will be a final, where athletes from host Japan will figure prominently in the medal chase.

– The multiple events will be showcased, with the decathlon and heptathlon staged together in the same two-day period (5-6 Aug), making a great experience for fans of combined events.

– The schedule will allow enough time for 400m specialists to compete in the new mixed 4x400m relay event that will be contested on day two, as well as the individual 400 events and the traditional 4x400m relay if they so desire.


Boost signs Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer as its brand ambassador

Boost, one of GSK’s leading brands in the Health Food Drinks category, has appointed Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer as its brand ambassadors. With this alliance, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer join Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who have been associated with the brand for a long time. Boost, along with the 2 young champions, aims to inspire the new age kids to play a bigger game and help them on their journey of winning big.

Through its strong association with sports over decades, Boost has always focused on enabling young children to build their skills, stamina along with the right nutrition. Rishabh and Shreyas being one of the youngest achievers’ in Indian cricket are a perfect fit for the brand to empower kids to become champions in sports and life.

Rishabh Pant on the collaboration with Boost said, “I am delighted to be a part of the Boost family, a brand that has been associated with sports & has been loved by kids since decades. Every kid needs an inspiration in his life, in my case it was my family that always encouraged me, and Boost is doing the same by inspiring a lot of kids in the country to play a bigger game.”

Shreyas Iyer commented, “Boost has an iconic presence in India with legends of the game like Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni associated with it. I’m humbled to be part of such a brand and I’m looking forward to a super-energetic innings with Boost. I highly resonate with the brand’s value of taking on bigger and tougher opponents and hope to learn more on my journey with Boost.”

Commenting on the association, Vikram Bahl, Area Marketing Lead, Nutrition & Digestive Health, GSKCH Indian subcontinent, said, “Boost has been synonymous with stamina, energy and winning spirit. We’re delighted to welcome Rishabh and Shreyas into the Boost fraternity – both very dynamic and energetic players. At such a young age itself, they have already shown a lot of promise on all levels of the sport. They embody the brand’s persona in their game and would bring in the new age sports ethos with them.”


Four winners in first four races: Jaguar I – Pace eTrophy commences European leg of series in Rome

– Italian racer, Luca Salvadori, stars as the VIP driver for the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY in Rome
– After four rounds and four different winners, the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY arrives in Rome for the European leg of the all-electric support series on 13 April
– Rome will host round five of the 10-race Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series
– Following his win in Sanya, Jaguar Brazil Racing driver, Cacá Bueno, is now fighting to be championship leader with only five points between the top five contenders

11 April 2019, Whitley, UK: The lights go green in Rome, Italy for the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series, this Saturday. This will be the first time a European city has hosted a leg of the all-electric series, that has seen an exciting start to its inaugural season, with four winners in the first four races.

As it reaches the mid-point of the season only five points are between the top five drivers in the championship, making for a competitive second half of the season as the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY drivers take to the 2.84km Italian street circuit.

Lining up alongside the seasoned drivers is 27-year old, Luca Salvadori, as VIP driver for the Rome race. The Italian racer, born in Milan, will be racing in his first all-electric motorsport event.

Salvadori has been competing on-track since he was young, with motorbikes being his primary racing focus. He has won the Pirelli National 600 Championship, raced in Supersport World Championship and European Superstock 1000 Championship on two wheels, as well as enjoying karting and single-seaters.

Luca Salvadori, Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY VIP driver, said: “Taking on the Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR in Rome is a special moment for me as I have the opportunity to race in the modern Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY racecar in the historic surroundings of my home country.”

“There are 21 corners I’m going to have to master in a short space of time in my Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. Utilising the track walk on Friday to decide the best racing line and approach for the race is going to be key. I am incredibly excited to test myself against the impressive line-up of regular eTROPHY drivers.”

Simon Evans, current championship leader, said: “I’m really excited to start off the European leg as the championship leader. It’s only by one point but it’s always nice to be on top. Four races so far and four different race winners as well as the top five cars in championship all within a handful of points is a real credit to Jaguar for how close the cars are. This weekend is going to be tough and the circuit in Rome looks really exciting.”

Cacá Bueno, race winner last time out in Sanya, said: “After a tough beginning of the season, in the last two races I was where I expected to be. I managed pole back to back in Hong Kong and China and, finally, the win came in Sanya as a reward for the hard work myself and the Jaguar Brazil Racing team have put in. I’m really looking forward to Rome, as the championship battle is really close. It would be excellent to maintain this momentum and achieve a third pole position and another win for Jaguar Brazil Racing.”


India beat Malaysia 1-0 

Navjot Kaur’s 35th minute goal ensures India remain unbeaten; Win 4-0 in the five-match bi-lateral Series 

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), 11 April 2019: The Indian Women’s Hockey Team remained unbeaten through the 5-match bi-lateral series as they clinched the fifth match with a 1-0 win against Malaysia here on Thursday. 

It was Navjot Kaur’s fine field goal in the 35th minute that helped India win the match which was coupled with good defending that ensured they held on to the narrow lead till the end of regulation time. 

India did well to create scoring opportunities with substantial circle entries but could not convert enough goals while PC conversion remained a concern.  “We need to work on converting goals,” stated Indian Team Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne who was not very pleased with the margin the team defeated Malaysia.

“I am happy with the number of times we entered the opponent’s circle. We created enough opportunities with shots and PCs but we have to keep working on converting in small space,” he said. 

Speaking about the tour which saw India win 3-0, 5-0, draw 4-4 and win the last two matches 1-0 respectively in the 5 match series, Marijne said, “This tour gave us more insight on how to play against a very defensive team like Malaysia. Also it was good that some of our young players experienced what it takes at international level and this will really help us to create depth in the squad,” Marijne stated. 

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will return from their successful campaign in Malaysia on Friday 12.00 hours IST at the Indira Gandhi International Airport T3 in New Delhi.


Clinical Chennaiyin outplay

Chennaiyin FC beat arch-rivals ATK 2-0 in the second Hero Super Cup 2019 semi-final at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday to progress to the final of the knockout tournament. John Gregory’s men will face FC Goa for the title on April 13.

The first half ended goalless, with Chennaiyin dominating possession.

CK Vineeth scored with a header on the 50th minute to break the deadlock and put Chennaiyin in the lead.

Anirudh Thapa doubled Chennaiyin’s lead eight minutes later and the scoreline remained unaltered till full time.

ATK head coach Steve Coppell opted to bring back Edu Garcia into the starting line-up in place of Everton Santos, who started in the last match against Delhi Dynamos FC. Eugeneson Lyngdoh also came in for the suspended Pronay Halder. John Gregory, on the other hand, sprung a big surprise dropping star striker Jeje Lalpekhlua to the bench and reinforcing the midfield with Christopher Herd.

Despite the seemingly more defensive line-up, Chennaiyin showed more adventure early on and CK Vineeth was only inches wide from giving his team the lead on the seventh minute after Raphael Augusto fizzed in a delightful low cross from the left. ATK tried hard to carve out some opportunities of their own but were largely restricted to hopeful shots from distance in the opening phases.

After being dominated for the first 20 minutes, ATK slowly began getting a foothold on the match after they started pressing the Chennaiyin midfielders a little more to deny them too much space or time. Both sides kept creating half-chances but lacked the precision in the final third to score the all-important first goal of the tie. The first half ended with a 0-0 scoreline.

The second half began on a similar note to the first, with Chennaiyin asserting their dominance on the contest right from the start. This time, however, the sustained pressure bore fruit five minutes in. Anirudh Thapa twisted and turned down the left flank and hung up a teasing cross inside the ATK box for CK Vineeth to head in.
The goal opened up the game with ATK throwing more men forward, probing for the equaliser. But the ploy ended up favouring Chennaiyin, who went on to double their advantage on the 58th minute. Gregory Nelson found himself with the ball near the ATK box after a well-executed counter attack and found Thapa in shooting position with a neat pass. The youngster made no mistakes and slotted in past Debjit with his left foot.

Going two goals behind immediately forced Coppell into making two quick changes. Everton Santos and Ankit Mukherjee were thrown into the mix in place of Edu Garcia and Pritam Kotal respectively. With 70 minutes on the clock, Coppell played his final hand, bringing on Hitesh Sharma for Jayesh Rane.
The personnel changes, coupled with Chennaiyin’s willingness to sit deep and defend their two-goal cushion, allowed ATK a little more of the ball. Karanjit Singh, who had next to nothing to do on the night, was probably worried for the first time on the 74th minute via a Lanzarote free-kick. But the custodian showed enough awareness to tip the Spaniard’s curling effort over the bar. The 33-year-old was called into action again a few minutes later to keep out Lyngdoh’s dipping shot from distance.

With time running out, ATK went all in a last-ditch attempt to claw their way back into the contest, but were thwarted time and again by the Chennaiyin backline, marshalled brilliantly by Mailson Alves and Eli Sabia. The tie ended 2-0 in Chennaiyin’s favour.

At the post-match press conference, a delighted Chennaiyin head coach, John Gregory, was accompanied by Hero of the Match, Anirudh Thapa. Speaking about the win and the performance, the Englishman said, “I feel this was our most complete performance this season. It was very pleasing on the eye and we were really tough to play against, like the Chennaiyin from last season. We had the right kind of balance today. We dominated from start to finish. It is a huge opportunity now for us to end the season with a trophy.”

Gregory, however, also warned that the work was far from over. “It helps a bit psychologically to have improved after such a poor Hero ISL season. We have done well and reached the final but we haven’t achieved anything yet. We still don’t have a trophy to show for it yet.”

Commenting on the prospect of facing FC Goa in the final, the Englishman opined, “FC Goa are having a great season and are one of the most consistent sides in the country right now. We look forward to meeting them in the final.”

Thapa, on his part, felt satisfied to have finally given the fans something to cheer about after a poor Hero ISL 2018-19 campaign, in which Chennaiyin finished bottom of the table. He said, “We implemented our training well. That’s what I have tried to do that. After the Hero ISL season we had, we owed it to the fans to do well in the Super Cup. We are very happy to be in the final. This is for the fans.”

From the ATK camp, head coach Steve Coppell expressed his disappointment with the result and said, “I knew it would be a really close game. They had a little bit more size in midfield than we anticipated. I thought they would either play (Dhanpal) Ganesh or (Christopher) Herd. When I saw them start with both, I knew that it would make it a little bit more difficult for Manuel Lanzarote and Edu Garcia. And that proved to be the case. We didn’t get a flow in our play.”

“At half time, we thought that the game might go right to the end and possibly to extra time. But the first goal we conceded after five minutes of the second half, it was a comedy of errors. We were in control of the situation, we lost it, the cross comes in and we conceded. I always thought that the first goal would be crucial and that proved to be the case. I feel sad that the season is over,” he added.

Hero of the Match – Anirudh Thapa

The young midfielder, for the second match in a row, bagged the Hero of the Match award for his fine performance. Thapa not only controlled the tempo of the match from the middle of the park but was also involved in both of Chennaiyin’s goals, assisting the first and scoring the other.


Favre- Leuba announces CS Santosh as Brand Ambassador

CS Santosh to be the face of the Favre-Leuba Raider Sea Sky timepiece

10 April 2019: India’s no. 1 off-road racer, CS Santosh has been announced as the Brand Ambassador of Favre-Leuba, the second oldest Luxury Swiss Watch Brand, for their Raider Sea Sky timepieces. CS Santosh is a name that is synonymous with testing all limits and being the first to take up some of the biggest challenges. He is the first Indian in history to compete and finish the Dakar Rally – the world’s toughest off-road motorsport event. He has won several races such as Raid De Himalayas, Desert Storm and India Baja. He was also the winner of P1 Power Boats.

Taking on the new role as Indian brand ambassador for Favre- Leuba, CS Santosh said, “It is an absolute delight for me to be associated with Favre-Leuba. It is a brand that believes in celebrating its strong heritage and conquering frontiers, from the depths of the oceans to the highest of altitudes.  I consider this to be a very exciting collaboration and their belief of breaking new barriers aligns very well with my personal mantra in life.”

Speaking on the collaboration, Mr. Vijesh Rajan, Brand Head of Favre-Leuba expressed, “It bring us great joy to announce CS Santosh as our Brand ambassador in India. Santosh has been representing India for more than a decade now as a front runner in the world of motor sport and his limitless imagination to conquer new frontiers reflects perfectly in the DNA of Favre-Leuba. Globally, we’ve associated with Pen Hadow, Adrian Ballinger and Sayuri Kinoshita as Brand Ambassadors. We look forward to conquering new frontiers together with CS Santosh.”

The Favre-Leuba Raider Sea Sky aligns with Santosh’s unaverred adventures. Since 2016, the brand has been testing the time piece and its performance across challenging environment as an instrument with genuine functionality beyond telling time. The watch has successfully managed to stand strong through various extreme weather conditions and environmental changes making it an ideal fit for a rugged environment as extreme as off-road racing.

The Raider Sea Sky incorporates a retro futuristic design philosophy, unique to Favre-Leuba. The timepieces are not limited to the design of the past but skillfully transition into the bold look of the future with sharp lines and a formidable size, making it a very contemporary timepiece for today’s explorers.

Bold and spunky, the Raider Sea Sky combines the functionality of a chronograph with the practical benefit of a rotating bezel, which allows the wearer to calculate speed and precise time. A pop of color makes an impact in the water, on land or in the sky, complemented by luminous index marks on the dial.

CS Santosh, as an off-road bike racer needs a device which can not only be his time keeping companion but something that stays put on his wrist and functionality through a very rigid environment, thus making the Raider Sea Sky the most compatible time piece for him and all his racing expeditions where even a hundredth of a second can define results.

All in all, the Raider Sea Sky is a great companion for adventurers that have exceptional demands when it comes to design and functionality. And CS Santosh will be putting it to the test!

About Favre-Leuba

Favre-Leuba is the second oldest Swiss watch brand, with a rich heritage in watch engineering and design spanning over 282 years. It was led by eight generations of the Favre-Leuba family until the 1980’s and acquired by the Tata Group on November 16th, 2011. With the global reach and understanding of the Tata Group supporting it, Favre-Leuba is now transitioning a legendary brand into the present day while continuing to cherish the very thing it’s forefathers breathed life into – the art of watchmaking. Not many brands can look back on such a rich and inspiring history, and few people will ever have the privilege of owning a part of it. Today, Favre-Leuba is creating future legends that will be cherished by anyone who believes being exemplary is just the start of their own story.


RuPay PVL organizers promise a bigger Season 2 in Oct-Nov 2019

More teams and more number of matches expected in a longer season 2 

New Delhi, 10th April 2019: The RuPay Pro Volleyball League, which enjoyed a successful inaugural season earlier in February this year, is all set to come back bigger. The league, an initiative of Baseline Ventures and Volleyball Federation of India, saw six franchises competing in the first season which was won by the Chennai based franchise, the Chennai Spartans.

Talking about the success of season 1 which enjoyed favorable TV Ratings and saw packed houses for every game, Tuhin Mishra, MD and Co-Founder of Baseline Ventures, said, “The response to the first season was phenomenal and was a testimony to the quality of the product we had put together. After receiving a lot of positive feedback about the league in general, we are planning to make the next season bigger and better and give the Indian volleyball lover an even more memorable experience in season 2.” He added, “We have received a lot of requests from people around the world wanting to own a team in the league. We are looking into the requests and are in the process of adding one or two teams in the coming season.”

The fans of the league might not need to wait for next February for the second season to start. “We are looking at October-November of this year for the second season,” said Mishra.

The CEO of the league, Joy Bhattacharjya, was upbeat about the league’s chances of becoming the 2nd biggest league in the country. “The amount of interest it generated among the fans in only its first season makes us really confident. We also received a vote of confidence from the Volleyball Federation of India and the FIVB. So, I have no doubts in my mind that we have created a product that will only grow bigger in coming times and can easily stake a claim to be the number 2 league in the country in a not so distant future.”

As per the post-event report by Nielsen Sports & Entertainment, TV viewership for RuPay PVL in season 1 was considerably higher than the badminton and table tennis leagues, which have already completed four and two seasons, respectively.

In terms of engagement, or time spent per viewer (TSV) also, RuPay PVL was significantly higher at 12.1 minute, compared with Premier Badminton League 2016 (8.4 minutes), Ultimate Table Tennis 2017 (4.4 minutes), Premier Badminton League 2019 (8.1 minutes) and Pro Wrestling League (11.2 minutes). This was despite the fact that the league clashed with the new TRAI tariff regime, which started from February 1 and led to a decline in reach across all channels with weekly reach dropping by close to 40%

The first season of the league was also broadcast across 33 countries. For the Indian subcontinent, the rights were with Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), while Dubai Sports aired the matches in Thailand and the Middle East and North Africa region and Singtel in Singapore.

On digital platform, RuPay PVL had reached to 1.3 million viewers, while the league also initiated the launch of the first time ever globally, a fantasy league for volleyball, which achieved a total of 178,952 active players on the day of the final.

Also, RuPay PVL was watched live in over 45 countries worldwide and garnered a total reach of 161,157 people over the course of the tournament.

In its first season, the league attracted some of the biggest names from the Volleyball world including David Lee and Paul Lotman. With the success of the first season, some more big names are expected to be roped in.


Merritt donates world record spikes – ‘2 weeks to go’ to IAAF Heritage Exhibition in Doha

© Jiro Mochizuki

USA’s 2012 London Olympic Games 110m hurdles champion Aries Merritt has become the latest star athlete to give his support to the IAAF Heritage World Athletics Championships Exhibition which opens in Doha, Qatar on Thursday 18 April.

Merritt, the fastest man ever over the sprint hurdles, has generously donated to the IAAF Heritage Collection the pair of spikes which he wore when flying to the current 110m hurdles world record of 12.80 seconds in the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Brussels on 7 September 2012.

The spikes will be on public display in the IAAF Heritage Exhibition in the City Center Doha shopping mall for six months leading into and through the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (27 Sep to 6 Oct).

In a special ceremony on the evening of Thursday 18 April, IAAF President Sebastian Coe together with Dahlan Al Hamad, IAAF Vice President and Director General of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 Local Organising Committee, will officially open the world’s largest ever display of athletics artefacts and memorabilia.

“When I heard about the IAAF Heritage project, I immediately knew I had to become involved and help promote track and field,” Merritt said. “I hope that the display of my world record spikes in Doha will attract the attention of sports fans and the preservation of the shoes will assist the telling of tracks’ incredible story to future generations.”

TIMELINE: Blankers-Koen to Jackson to Johnson to Merritt

Hurdling history will play an important part in the exhibition displays. Fanny Blankers-Koen’s Olympic accreditation cards from London 1948, Nawal El Moutawakel’s 1984 Olympic spikes, Colin Jackson’s Stuttgart 1993 world record vest, Allen Johnson’s Athens 1997 spikes, Nezha Bidouane’s Edmonton 2001 bodysuit and number, Jana Pittman’s Paris 2003 winning vest and number are just a few of artefacts from famous global champions which will be on display alongside Merritt’s spikes.

The IAAF Heritage World Athletics Championships Exhibition will be open from Thursday 18 April to Monday 7 October 2019.



Chennai City knock out champions Bengaluru

Chennai City FC came out on top in the battle of the champions, edging out Bengaluru FC 2-1 in the first quarter-final of the Hero Super Cup 2019 played at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Bengaluru went into the match as the reigning champions, having won the inaugural edition of the tournament last year, but the defeat marked a premature end to their title defence. Hero I-League 2018-19 champions Chennai City, meanwhile, progress to the semi-finals and will back themselves to clinch the double this season. Nestor Jesus Gordillo put Chennai City in the lead on the 15th minute. Chennai goalkeeper Mauro Boerchio made a brilliant save to deny Sunil Chhetri from the penalty spot on the 52nd minute.

Pedro Manzi scored a stunner on the 55th minute to double Chennai City’s advantage. Chhetri pulled a goal back for Bengaluru 10 minutes later but it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat. Bengaluru started the match on the front foot, keeping possession of the ball and asking questions of the Chennai City FC defence, particularly down the right-hand side. Udanta Singh and Xisco Hernandez’s combination down the right flank looked dangerous early on, keeping the Hero I-League side on their toes.

The first real chance of the match, however, fell Chennai’s way. Edwin Vanspaul’s pass from deep dropped kindly for Sandro inside the Bengaluru box and the Spaniard got his shot off. The effort sailed wide much to the relief of Bengaluru defence. The sudden scare was a warning bell for the Hero ISL champions and the next time it tolled, it sounded a much more dire consequence for the Blues. Just two minutes later, another accurate long ball, this time by Tarif Akhand, eluded two Bengaluru defenders and Nestor made sure he took the ball in his stride. The Spanish midfielder found himself one vs one against Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and calmly slotted past the India international to draw first blood.

Going a goal down drew a sharp reaction from Bengaluru, who increased the tempo in search of the equaliser. Xisco had a brilliant chance to pull the Blues back on level terms on the 20th minute. He controlled Miku’s pass on the up, skipped past a couple of Chennai City defenders and had only the goalkeeper to beat. Unfortunately, all the good build-up came to nothing as he skied his effort. Five minutes later, Miku tried his luck from distance and it took a brilliant acrobatic save from Chennai goalkeeper Mauro Boerchio to deny the Venezuelan.

Bengaluru continued turning the screws with some lovely build-up play in the midfield but the Chennai City backline kept their shape and afforded the Blues very little space inside the box, denying them any clear sight at goal.
Chennai, on the other hand, made rare forays forward but broke with pace and intent whenever they did. Minutes before the half-time whistle, Chennai almost doubled their lead. A brilliant bit of give and go between Pedro Manzi and Nestor almost opened up the goal for the former. But Nestor’s final pass was just a tad undercooked, allowing Juanan to make a last-ditch interception to clear the danger. A fantastic half of football ended with the Hero I-League champions leading the Hero ISL champions by a solitary goal. Barely seven minutes into the second half, Bengaluru were awarded a penalty after substitute Alexander Romario Jesuraj brought down Sunil Chhetri inside the box. The Bengaluru captain himself took up the responsibility but Chennai City custodian Mauro stood tall and pulled off a magnificent save to deny Chhetri.

The lost opportunity would come back to haunt the Blues just minutes later. Pedro Manzi, who had been uncharacteristically quiet in the match, brought down a lovely diagonal from the deep at the edge of the Bengaluru box, set himself up for a shot with a couple of touches, and curled his shot from range past Gurpreet to make it 2-0.
The contest, however, was far from over. On the 65th minute, the Bengaluru no. 11 made amends for his fluffed penalty when he ghosted into the box to head home a Dimas Delgado corner. With 25 minutes to go, the score read 2-1.

The Blues could have restored parity shortly after, when Chhetri found Dimas’ head with a cheeky lobbed pass. The Spaniard’s effort was on target, but Mauro was ready with another stunning save to bail Chennai out again.
Bengaluru dominated possession and kept probing at the Chennai defence, which in turn put on a disciplined shift to deny the Blues continuously. With time running out, Chhetri almost found the much-sought-after equaliser. Rahul Bheke found Chhetri with a lovely cut back from the right and the striker did brilliantly well to flick the ball goalwards. The ball seemed destined towards the bottom corner but Mauro’s outstretched arm diverted it wide in the very last moment. The match eventually ended 2-1 in Chennai’s favour.

At the post-match conference, Akbar Nawas, head coach of Chennai City, cut a delighted figure. He began the conference by praising his goalkeeper Boerchio for a stunning performance. “He has been performing very well for our last couple of games. He has been coming into the picture very well. As you know he just joined us recently. Football is such a wonderful game, a team game. We always talk about Manzi, Sandro and Nestor. Everyone makes the team. Everyone played their part, so I am very happy for Mauro for the part that he played today,” he said proudly.

Talking about the effort it took to beat the Hero ISL champions, Nawas mentioned, “Bengaluru are a fantastic team. You could see the experience, the wonderful players they have. I still think they have one of the best teams in Indian football. So, we really have to study each and every player. I am glad that our players stuck to their roles.”
From Bengaluru’s end, head coach Carles Cuadrat shared his thoughts on the match. The Spaniard lauded Chennai City for a splendid performance but rued his side’s missed chances. “First of all, congratulations to Chennai City. We tried a lot of times. We had a lot of close situations where normally our strikers convert, but not today. We only scored from a set-piece, but we created enough chances to be the winning team. My players made some mistakes that led them to score twice. But they beat us and we have to congratulate them,” he stated.

Hero of the Match – Mauro Boerchio

Chennai City FC’s Italian goalkeeper was absolutely sensational on the night. He didn’t only keep out Chhetri from the penalty spot, but also pulled off a host of brilliant saves to bail his team out on multiple occasions. His performance between the sticks earned him the Hero of the Match award.


Indian Women beat Malaysia 3-0

Striker Vandana Katariya (17′ and 60′), Lalremsiami (38′) score in India’s Opening match victory; Young midfielder Jyoti makes International Debut

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), 04 April 2019: The Indian Women’s Hockey Team made a fine start to their campaign against Malaysia in the five-match bi-lateral Series as they beat the hosts 3-0 here on Thursday. Striker Vandana Katariya starred for India with a double goal in the 17th and 60th minute while Lalremsiami scored in the 38th minute to help India win comfortably. 

Though it was Malaysia who got a head start with a PC awarded to them in the 3rd minute of the match, it was well-saved by an experienced Savita guarding India’s goalpost. India shook off the initial nerves to make potential circle entries that would put pressure on the Malaysian defenders. Young Lalremsiami took a brave shot on goal in the 5th minute but was saved. In the 7th minute Navneet Kaur attempted a shot on goal but was denied by an alert Malaysian goalkeeper. While India found an opportunity through a PC awarded in the 9th minute, the shot went wide. 

With the first quarter ending with a  0-0 stalemate, India made quick amends to an average start as they dented Malaysian defence with a powerful attack that led to a fine goal by experienced striker Vandana Katariya in the 17th minute. The 1-0 lead brought confidence in the Indian set-up to surge ahead in their attack and the forward line went about taking their chances in the striking circle, attempting shots on goal one after the other. Though none converted, the pressure was mounting on Malaysian defenders.   

India playing to good structure controlled the proceedings in the third quarter too. They kept the Malaysian attack in check and an under-pressure Malaysian defence gave away PCs after making infringements in the circle. Though three PCs awarded to India back-to-back went in vain, India converted their second goal in the 38th minute via young striker Lalremsiami. 

The 2-0 lead put India in a comfortable position ahead of the fourth quarter. The Indian team remained calm in their approach, played disciplined game and did not allow errors in the final quarter. They increased the lead to 3 -0  in 60th minute via striker Vandana’s goal with precision and ensured Malaysia didn’t create scoring opportunities. 

On 6 April 2019, India will take on Malaysia in the second match at 15.30 hours IST.


Chennaiyin FC and Minerva Punjab share the spoils in AFC Cup group stage opener

Ahmedabad, April 3, 2019: Chennaiyin FC drew 0-0 with Minerva Punjab in an all-Indian 2019 AFC Cup group stage opener at The Arena Stadium here today. This was both club’s maiden appearance in the group stages of the continental competition. It was also Chennaiyin’s fourth successive clean sheets in all competitions, in what was an intense encounter.

Head Coach John Gregory made three changes to the CFC starting eleven that beat Mumbai City FC 2-0 in the Hero Super Cup encounter last week. Anirudh Thapa, Isaac Vanmalsawma and Gregory Nelson made way as Thoi Singh, Halicharan Narzary and Raphael Augusto started. Dhanpal Ganesh and Jerry Lalrinzuala began a second successive game from the bench, on their return from injury. For Minerva, all three of their new signings – forward Samuel Lalmuanpuia and defenders Kareem Nurain and Robert Primus started from the outset.

After a slow opening few minutes, Chennaiyin grew into the match with a succession of quick chances. The first fell to Jeje Lalpekhlua in the Minerva box, but the striker’s shot deflected out for a corner. The resulting set-piece saw CFC’s Brazilian center-back Eli Sabia head it wayward.

A minute later, CK Vineeth outmuscled Minerva skipper Mahmoud Al-Amna in the middle of the park and freed Thoi Singh on the right flank. The Manipuri winger found Jeje in the box, who laid it up for Raphael Augusto, whose shot went above the crossbar.

Minerva then tested CFC keeper Karanjit Singh from distance in the 25th minute. Ghanaian midfielder Kalif Alhassan’s shot was parried away by the custodian. Few minutes later, Samuel stung Karanjit’s gloves with another shot from distance after the ball fell to him from a CFC clearance. From the corner, Alhassan’s header hit the upright and went out for a goal-kick.

It became a tighter affair as the half progressed. Both sides continued to create inroads but the play in the final third lacked precision as it remained goalless at the break.

Minerva made a change soon after the restart, with Moinuddin replacing Prabhjot Singh. And Chennaiyin brought on Anirudh Thapa for Halicharan. Thapa coming up against his former side, having played for Minerva in the 2016-17 I-League season on loan from CFC.

The first big chance of the second period fell CFC’s way on the hour mark when Thoi’s header from a Tondonba cross went agonizingly wide of the far post.

Minerva then made their second change with a quarter of the game to go, when Makan Chothe was replaced by Akash Sangwan into the final quarter of the game. Chennaiyin had a sustained spell of pressure in the ensuing minutes over their opponents. Vineeth had couple of shots from distance but to no avail. Soon after, Thapa led a break for CFC and spread the ball wide to Thoi, who charged into the box and fired in a low cross that was headed away well by Kareem.

CFC made their second change of the evening when midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh came on for Thoi. The local Chennai man continuing making his second appearance of the season on his comeback from injury. Minerva made their final change soon after when Thoiba Singh replaced Samuel.

Thapa put in an energetic cameo performance, leading the charge for CFC in the final third. Chennaiyin continued to knock on the Minerva door in the closing minutes with Thapa central to their cause, but the visitors held on as their maiden AFC Cup group stage ended in a goalless stalemate. In the group’s other game earlier in the day, Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka beat Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi 1-0 away from home.

2019 AFC Cup Group E Matchday 1:

Chennaiyin FC (India) 0 drew with Minerva Punjab (India) 0

About Chennaiyin FC: Chennaiyin FC is an Indian Super League franchise based in Chennai and co-owned by Mrs Vita Dani, Mr Abhishek Bachchan and Mr MS Dhoni. Chennaiyin FC has won the ISL in 2015 and 2017-18. Chennaiyin FC is the first ISL team to qualify for the AFC Cup.


Laureus Legends celebrate charity partnership with Hong Kong Rugby Union and launch first Asian ‘Model City’ initiative in Hong Kong

– Laureus Sport for Good is the official charity partner of the world-renowned Hong Kong Sevens
– Long-term partnership between Laureus and Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation helps improve lives of young people in Hong Kong and beyond
– Laureus commits to developing Model City Hong Kong – a pioneering coalition of like-minded community sports organisations using the power of sport to change live

Hong Kong, April 3, 2019: They have set world records, won Olympic gold medals and lifted the Rugby World Cup, and today an illustrious group of Laureus Academy Members and Ambassadors joined together to celebrate Laureus’ charity partnership with the Hong Kong Rugby Union ahead of this weekend’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

Laureus Sport for Good became the first ever official charity partner of the Hong Kong Sevens in 2018. The ongoing support of this incredible event is helping Laureus to improve the lives of children and young people. In partnership with HKRU, funds raised at this year’s event will help support Laureus Sport for Good’s work both in Hong Kong and throughout Asia. To date, the partnership between the Union and Laureus Sport for Good has raised $1,135,000 HKD.

In Hong Kong to help support Laureus’ long-term plans were track and field legend Michael Johnson, Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Li Xiaopeng and Rugby World Cup winners Bryan Habana and Nolli Waterman. Also supporting the partnership were Hong Kong Laureus Ambassadors Asian Games silver medal winning swimmer Lee Ying Shih Vivian and triathlete Daniel Lee Chi Wo.

The Laureus legends visited the Sevens Central fan activation zone in Hong Kong to engage with young female rugby players from the Laureus-supported Childfund Pass it Back programme from Laos and Vietnam, along with local sport for development organisations Operation Breakthrough, InspiringHK and Deaf Rugby. The interaction between the sporting legends and programme participants was a powerful demonstration of using sport as a driving force to enhance the lives of children and young people.

The engagement is one of several planned in what is a day-long celebration of the HKRU’s community outreach with numerous clinics held for members of Hong Kong’s schools, community groups and the HKRU’s wheelchair and deaf rugby programmes.

Funds raised throughout Sevens week in Hong Kong will also help support the development of Model City Hong Kong, a pioneering initiative Laureus has brought to New Orleans and Atlanta in the USA and London in the UK, and is now bringing for the first time to Asia.  Based on research Laureus has carried out in Hong Kong, combined with focussed discussion groups with various stakeholder groups conducted over the week before the Sevens, Model City Hong Kong will focus on using sport as a tool to support mental health and well-being. Results of the research will be released at the end of April.

The focus will be on building coalitions between like-minded organisations, such as educational institutions, social services and other local stakeholders, working together to create long-term measurable and sustainable change in mental health and well-being of children and young people through sport. Laureus also intends to host a Sport for Good Forum in Hong Kong later in 2019, to facilitate knowledge-sharing in the region.

Laureus Sport for Good will also benefit from a new initiative as part of the HKRU’s Green Sevens campaign, which will see the introduction of a reusable cup made from fully recycled plastic inside the stadium. Sevens fans can donate their $10 deposit for the reusable cup to Laureus and the Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation by placing their reusable cup in the ‘cup for charity’ barrels at the end of each day. Over 250,000 reusable plastic cups have been purchased for use across the event.

Laureus Academy Member Michael Johnson, said: “We are so thankful for the generous support we have received from the Hong Kong Rugby Union over the years, and specifically since 2018 in our role as charity partner of this special event.

“I have learnt about the issues facing young people in Hong Kong, specifically around mental health awareness and support. Through the long-term engagement of the Model City Hong Kong programme, we want to help community organisations in the area make a real difference to the lives of young people. For me, that’s what sport is all about.”

Laureus Academy Member Li Xiaopeng, said: “As a resident of Hong Kong, I’m aware of the challenges and issues young people here face. Our long-term partnership with the Hong Kong Sevens enables us to support organisations who are doing such an incredible job in tackling these issues head-on.

“As Academy Members, we are passionate about Laureus Sport for Good, and after spending time with the young people from Pass it Back, Operation Breakthrough, InspiringHK and Deaf Rugby, it’s clear to me that sport really can help enhance the lives of young people in Hong Kong and beyond.”

Robbie McRobbie, CEO of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, said: “We are passionate believers in the power of sport to bring lasting change to young people’s lives. The long standing relationship with Laureus Sport for Good and our own Hong Kong Rugby Union Charity is a natural partnership in shared values. I am excited that the HKRU will be working alongside Laureus to help bring its Model City research and intervention to Hong Kong. Children and young people growing up today face intense pressure from many sources not only in Hong Kong but globally, Model City Hong Kong’s emphasis on helping support mental health and well-being through sport will provide another resource in addressing this particular challenge to young people in Hong Kong.”

Laureus currently supports three sport for development programmes who use sport to improve the lives of young people in Hong Kong and a further 13 programmes in seven countries across Asia. Globally, Laureus Sport for Good supports more than 160 programmes in over 40 countries, offering both funding and knowledge-sharing. Each programme Laureus supports is measured against charitable standards set out by the United Nations, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation was established in 2013 and since then has lead the way in the area of “sport-for-change” in the Hong Kong community. Foundation programmes use sport as a medium to tackle social problems and effect change, focusing on the areas of social inclusion, health, disability, education and youth crime. For more information please visit:


Sanjeev Kumar, N Thangaraja and Jaibir Singh in three-way tie  

Pune Open

Pune, April 3, 2019: Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar produced the second day’s best score of five-under-66 at the Pune Open Golf Championship 2019 to be in a three-way tie for the halfway lead along with Sri Lankan N Thangaraja (68) and Bengaluru’s Jaibir Singh (70) at eight-under-134.

Kolkata’s Shankar Das (67) was one shot off the lead in fourth place at the Rs. 30 lakh event.

The cut came down at three-over-145 at the Poona Club Golf Course as 53 professionals made it to the money rounds.

Sanjeev Kumar (68-66), who was tied seventh and five off the lead at the start of the day, leapfrogged six spots to joint first courtesy his hot putter. The 27-year-old, a consistent performer on the PGTI who is still searching for his maiden win, began poorly on day two as he dropped a double-bogey on the second.

However, Sanjeev who has a couple of runner-up finishes to his name, rallied with five consecutive birdies from the sixth to the 10th to fight his way back into the tournament. He drained two more birdies on the back-nine to emerge as a prime contender.

Sanjeev said, “I felt good about my game from the very outset today. When I hit a terrific tee shot on the first hole, I knew it was going to be one of those days where I could do something special. I came back really well despite the early double-bogey on the second.

“I was in top form with the putter as four of my seven birdies came as a result of conversions from a distance of 15 to 20 feet. I feel my putting average has been getting better since I decided to go back to my original stance and grip with the putter last month.

“I had changed my putting stance and grip about eight years back. But with my putting not being at its best since the start of this season, I felt it was now the right time to get back to my old style.”

N Thangaraja (66-68), lying tied fourth and three off the lead after round one, found his way to the top of the leaderboard on Wednesday thanks to his accurate chipping as three of his five birdies came as a result of brilliant chip shots that led to tap-ins. He mixed five birdies with two bogeys.

Thangaraja said, “My 3-wood shots, chipping and putting were just outstanding. Now that I’m in contention I’m looking to score about 17 to 18 under this week to give myself a real chance.”

Jaibir Singh (64-70), who was in second place and one behind the leader after day one, had a dramatic round that featured six birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey. Jaibir was two-over through his first 13 holes but turned it around with a birdie chip-in on the sixth followed by two more birdies on the seventh and eighth.

Jaibir, a 10th tee starter on day two, said, “I started well and midway through the round missed a few putts and even made a double-bogey as I lost focus a bit and got nervous since I’ve never been in this situation and led a tournament before as a professional. But I finished well with those three birdies at the end. The flourish towards the end made me feel good.

“I didn’t know what to expect after shooting a seven-under yesterday. I just didn’t want to blow it up today and I’m glad that I didn’t.”

Shankar Das, who had won at the Poona Club Golf Course back in 2011, got himself in a good position with a 67. He trailed the leaders by one.

Ahmedabad-based Samarth Dwivedi, the first round leader, slipped eight spots to tied ninth at three-under-139 after a round of 76.

Pratik Nirmale (70) was the highest-placed Pune golfer in tied 18th at one-under-141.

The five other Pune-based professionals who made the cut were, Pravin Pathare, Sagar Raghuvanshi, Rajiv Datar and Sameer Shaikh (all in tied 35that two-over-144) as well as Akshay Damale (tied 44th at three-over-145).

Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta, the winner of the 2016 Pune Open, also closed the day in tied 44th at three-over-145.


The Mall set to crown opening of The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup

– The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Opening Party is set to take place on the iconic London Mall on the evening of 29 May ahead of the opening fixture between hosts England and South Africa at The Oval on 30 May
– The Opening Party will feature a live global TV broadcast between 5-6pm BST and a select group of lucky fans will attend the event to enjoy live music, sport and entertainment
– 4000 tickets will be available to fans via a ballot which will open on 4 April at 10am BST and will close on 1 May at 10am BST

London, 02 April 2019: The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will launch with a bang as London’s iconic Mall plays host to a spectacular Opening Party on the eve of the event. 4000 fans and a global live broadcast audience will be treated to a music and sporting spectacular on 29 May in what will be the most celebrated start to a Cricket World Cup ever.

The ‘not-to-be-missed’ live broadcast Opening Party will be a mix of music, dance and some of the biggest names in sport with a winner takes all sporting competition. The glittering event organised in partnership with The Royal Parks within the backdrop of Buckingham Palace, will be live broadcast around the world between 5-6pm British Summer Time with an audience of spectators at the ticket only event. 

Fans around the world will get to enjoy the Opening Party too. It will be broadcast live across multiple territories taking the official opening of cricket’s 50-over pinnacle event to homes and communities of millions of global cricket fans.

Tickets will be allocated through a ballot system and applications will open at 10am British Summer Time on Thursday 4 April via and will close at 10am British Summer Time on 1 May with winners being notified on 7 May. Subject to success, each applicant will be limited to two free tickets to ensure a fair process across the ballot stage and tickets will not be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Fans without tickets will not be able to attend the live event on The Mall.

Steve Elworthy, Managing Director at ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, said: “The Opening Party will capture the very essence of what makes this tournament so special and will be hugely exciting for the fans that are lucky enough to attend but also across broadcast we will show the world what they have to look forward to over the next 45 days of cricket action.

“The Mall, with Buckingham Palace in the background, is synonymous with some of the biggest events held in the UK and is instantly recognisable to everyone around the globe. It will be a fitting celebration of a World Cup, cricket and sport with diversity at its core.”

Interest in tickets for the 48 matches at the tournament has been unprecedented with over 3 million ticket applications from 148 countries across six continents truly showing the global appeal of the Cricket World Cup.

Alun Mainwaring, Head of Events and Filming at The Royal Parks, said: “The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Opening Party will be a unique and spectacular way to kick off this incredible tournament.

“Millions of people around the world will be watching the excitement unfold in central London and we are honored to be a part of it.”

More information on tickets and the opening party can be found here: T&Cs & FAQs


  • The tournament will run from 30 May to 14 July. The semi-finals will be played at Old Trafford in Manchester and Edgbaston in Birmingham on 9 and 11 July respectively, while Lord’s will host the final on 14 July.
  • 11 venues across England and Wales will be used, namely Cardiff Wales Stadium in Cardiff (four matches), Bristol County Ground in Bristol (three matches), County Ground Taunton in Taunton (three matches), Edgbaston in Birmingham (five matches, including the second semi-final), Hampshire Bowl in Southampton (five matches), Headingley in Leeds (four matches), Lord’s in London (five matches, including the final), Old Trafford in Manchester (six matches, including the first semi-final), The Oval in London (five matches, including the tournament opener), The Riverside Durham in Chester-le-Street (three matches) and Trent Bridge in Nottingham (five matches)
  • The 10 teams in the tournament will play against each other in a single-league format, with the top four sides after 45 matches to qualify for the two semi-finals
  • England and Wales have previously staged ICC Cricket World Cups in 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1999
  • Australia is the most successful team in the history of the World Cup, having won events in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015. The West Indies won the first two editions in 1975 and 1979, while India won in 1983 and 2011. Other winners are Pakistan in 1992 and Sri Lanka in 1996


The Royal Parks is the charity that exists to make sure London’s eight historic royal parks will always be there to enrich the lives of local residents and visitors to London.

This recently-created charity does this by:

  • Sensitively and sustainably protecting and conserving the heritage landscapes of the parks
  • Adding value to every visit by providing information and opportunities to find out more about the historic significance of the parks and the wildlife that lives in them today
  • Supporting and encouraging the development of biodiversity in the parks
  • Encouraging visitors to support their physical and mental health by using the parks for relaxation and exercise

It costs £40m a year to manage the parks. The charity raises around 75 per cent of this money itself, with the remaining 25 per cent coming from Government.


Sawhney takes over as Chief Executive of ICC

Dubai, 1 April 2019:  The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced that Manu Sawhney will assume the position of Chief Executive with immediate effect. Sawhney has been working alongside the outgoing Chief Executive David Richardson for the last six weeks to ensure a smooth transition for the organization. Richardson will remain with the ICC until July as originally planned to oversee the delivery of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.

Commenting on his appointment Sawhney said: “I am absolutely delighted to be taking over the reins from David, who has steered the sport so capably over the last seven years. I am pleased to say he will continue to lead the delivery of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 and there is no better person to ensure the event is the greatest celebration of cricket ever. 

“I am excited by the opportunities ahead and I am looking forward to working in partnership with our Members, partners and staff to ambitiously accelerate the global growth of the game. Technology, engagement, women’s cricket and driving greater value are key focus areas for us as we consider how we can innovate to transform the sport’s long-term future and create a vibrant and sustainable sport globally.

Richardson added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the ICC and I am pleased with what we have achieved in recent times particularly in creating greater context for all formats of the game.

“The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is the perfect point at which to move on and I am privileged to be able to lead the delivery of this event and I know it will do our sport proud.

“I’d like to wish Manu and the team all the very best of luck for the future.”


Rashid Khan and Chikkarangappa finish as best Indians in tied 10th at Hero Indian Open 2019

Gurugram, March 31, 2019: Rashid Khan and Chikkarangappa S finished as the best Indians at the Hero Indian Open 2019. Khan and Chikka had an identical tournament tally of four-under-284 and thus took a share of 10th place at the DLF Golf and Country Club on Sunday.

Scotsman Stephen Gallacher triumphed at the US$ 1.75 million event after he shot a final round of one-under-71 to finish with a nine-under-279 total.

Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura (73) was runner-up at eight-under-280.

Rashid Khan (72-70-72-70) carded a two-under-70 to gain 11 places from his overnight tied 21st. He made five birdies in exchange for three bogeys on Sunday.

As a result of his top-10 at Gurugram, Rashid also maintained his position at the top of the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit. His prize money earnings of INR 9,89,953 from the Indian Open took his season’s earnings to INR 18,95,103.

Chikkarangappa (74-70-66-74), who was the best-placed Indian in tied sixth after round three, carded a two-over-74 on the last day to slip four places. Chikka’s eventful round featured three birdies, a bogey and two double-bogeys.

“I managed to keep a Top-10 despite those two bad holes on fifth and 10th, but I am happy with the way my game is going and I hope to crack through for my maiden win soon,” said Chikka.

Chikka’s Indian Open prize money earnings of INR 9,89,953 helped him climb from fifth to second position in the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit as his season’s earnings moved to INR 16,36,553.

Among the other Indians, Shubhankar Sharma shot a 75 and ended even-par-288 to be tied 27th. Gaganjeet Bhullar secured tied 39th at three-over-291, SSP Chawrasia was tied 45th at four-over-292, Ajeetesh Sandhu was a further stroke back in tied 54th, while both Rahil Gangjee and Gaurav Pratap Singh were tied 69th at 13-over-301.


IAAF and Athletics Kenya reach understanding on New Diamond League format

© Getty Images

IAAF President Sebastian Coe and CEO Jon Ridgeon have reassured Athletics Kenya that changes to the IAAF Diamond League format next year will not disadvantage African athletes.

Coe, Ridgeon and Athletics Kenya president Lt. General (rtd) Jackson Tuwei met during the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus in order to avoid any misunderstanding between the two organisations over the new Diamond League format approved by the IAAF Council in Doha earlier this month.

Athletics Kenya was particularly concerned by the exclusion of any event longer than 3000m from the Diamond League programme next year and the reduction in the number of meetings from 14 to 13.

Tuwei sought, and received, assurance that Kenyan and other East African athletes, who feature prominently in 5000m races, would not lose competition opportunities due to this process.

He also sought to understand the reasons why the new format was being introduced.

Coe confirmed that the absence of the 5000m from the official Diamond League programme would not preclude individual Diamond League meetings from running the event outside of the 90-minute international broadcast window and that several meetings had already shown interest in hosting the 5000m.

Ridgeon explained that the IAAF’s market research showed that producing a series that consistently featured the best athletes competing against each other was a key factor in improving the appeal of the Diamond League for broadcasters and fans.

At the same time the 5000m runners, coaches and agents consulted during the process indicated that they were unlikely to run six races over that distance during the Diamond League series (last year no leading athlete ran more than two 5000m races during the regular Diamond League season). The 3000m distance was selected because it was more likely to attract the best distance talent more regularly.

As a consequence, distance runners will have the option of running up to seven 3000m races (including the Diamond League Final), plus additional 5000m races, across the season.

“We believe that ultimately these changes will be beneficial not only to Kenyan and East African distance runners, but to our leading athletes around the globe, because it will result in a stronger, higher-profile, commercially-successful annual showcase series for our sport,” Coe said.

“And it’s important to remember that the IAAF will be creating other continental competition opportunities outside the Diamond League as we redesign the global calendar.” This he affirmed will increase opportunities for the athletes to compete.

Ridgeon also emphasised the IAAF’s intention to review the new format at the end of the 2020 season and make any adjustments to the programme that were required.

Tuwei responded: “I am satisfied that our athletes will receive sufficient opportunities to compete internationally in 2020 and I am reassured by the IAAF’s undertaking that the impact of these decisions will be considered again at the end of each season and Member Federations consulted about any changes that might be needed.”



Hat-trick of wins for Chennaiyin FC U-13s

Chennai, March 31, 2019: The Chennaiyin FC Under-13 team notched a hat-trick of wins in the 2018-19 Hero Sub-Junior League Chennai Zone with a resounding 7-0 win over Raman Vijayan Soccer School (RVSS) U-13s at the SSN College Ground here today. Pondicherry-born forward K. Karmugilan starred with a hat-trick for CFC with second-half substitute Karan Chakravarthy scoring a brace. G. Arulesh had opened the scoring for Chennaiyin as S. Varun Kumar also added one from the spot.

The CFC U-13s maintained their 100% record in the Chennai Zone, having scored 22 goals so far without reply. Karmugilan now has five goals to his name, CFC’s top-scorer so far this campaign. Chennaiyin face FC Madras in their next encounter in an away game on Thursday 4th April 2019 at the FC Madras Arena.

For the third consecutive game, the CFC U-13s’ starting eleven was unchanged. And they were quick off the blocks, opening the scoring as early as the seventh minute. Arulesh rose the highest from an M. Ajay Kumar corner to make it 1-0 to CFC.

Goalscorer Arulesh turned provider a few minutes later, when he set up K. Karmugilan inside the box for CFC’s second goal of the afternoon.

Chennaiyin created a flurry of chances thereafter and continued their domination of RVSS. The third goal eventually came in the 27th minute, when Mohammed Irfan was fouled in the box by an RVSS defender. Varun stepped up and scored his second penalty in as many matches; his third goal of the campaign so far.

Before the half-time break, CFC were 4-0 up, thanks to Karmugilan’s second of the afternoon, following a pass from skipper Akash M. from the left.

It was more of the same after the break, as all the action was being played in the RVSS half. Substitute E. Kannan had an instant impact, assisting Karmugilan’s hat-trick goal from the right flank on 50 minutes.

Another substitute Karan Chakravarthy, who hails from Coimbatore, joined the scoring party soon after. His first was from the rebound following an attempt by Vijay. His second and CFC’s seventh was a brilliant solo effort, after beating three defenders and scoring from inside the box in stoppage time.

Score: Chennaiyin FC U-13s 7 (G. Arulesh 7’; K. Karmugilan 23’, 31’, 50’; S. Varun Kumar 27’ (P); Karan Chakravarthy 58’, 70+1’) beat Raman Vijayan Soccer School U-13s 0


Axelsen beats Srikanth to win second title

– Intanon creates record at Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019
– Polii-Rahayu and Yilyu-Dongping successfully defend titles

New Delhi, March 31: Viktor Axelsen dashed Indian hopes with a 21-7, 22-20 win over Kidambi Srikanth at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019, a part of the BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, here on Sunday. In a rematch of the 2015 final, the Dane saved a couple of game points in the second game to get his second title after his 2017 win.

In women’s singles, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon created history by becoming the first women’s singles shuttler to win the title three times when she beat the third seed He Bingjiao 21-15, 21-14. With this, she also emulated the legendary Lee Chong Wei’s record to become the second singles player to taste glory thrice at India’s premier badminton event, with her earlier victories coming in 2013 and 2016.

Ratchanok started slow against the seventh ranked Chinese, whom she had never beaten in four previous meetings. With Bingjiao cruising at 9-6, the Thai banked on her experience to turn the tables on her rival.

Using her speed and aggression, she drew level at 14-14 and then started targeting the corners to make life difficult for the Chinese. Bingjiao, who had accounted for PV Sindhu in the semi-finals, looked pretty subdued since then and struggled to keep up with the Thai’s pace and accuracy.

After taking the first game, the former world champion continued her momentum throughout the second game as unforced errors from Bingjiao’s racquet piled up. With Bingjiao hitting in haste, a calm and poised Intanon sailed through the second game to go up to 14-9 before closing out the match in 46 minutes.

“I learnt from the past when I lost to her and also from her match against Sindhu yesterday,” said Intanon after the win. “People say I play really well here in India Open. Before I came to the main hall, I saw my record against her and it was 0-4 and I thought I need to break this record today.

“Today I tried to play calmly and point-by-point and I played well,” added the former World No. 1.

World No. 4 Viktor Axelsen, who reached the All England Open final this month, was too strong and too powerful for the home hope in the first game as Srikanth struggled to find his rhythm. The precision and firepower from Axelsen thoroughly overwhelmed the 2015 champion, allowing the Dane to build a huge 10-point advantage at 17-7 before pocketing the first game.

Amid vociferous cheers from the crowd, the Indian finally settled in in a very tight second game. By attacking from the front court and using his body smashes to perfection, the World No. 7 made the score equal at 12-12. With the two deadlocked in the second game, the Indian even carved out a couple of game points to go up to 20-18.

However, a dropshot from the Indian went wide after that and the second seeded Axelsen made no mistake in saving the other to get his first match point which he duly converted after 36 minutes of play.

“I think I gave him too many chances in the first set to attack and tried avoiding that in the second. I did fairly well at the 20th point, maybe if there would have been a decider, I would have had much better chances,” said Srikanth after the match.

In women’s doubles and mixed doubles, the top seeded pairs of Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu and Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping successfully defended their titles. While Polii-Rahayu emerged 21-11, 25-23 winners over third seeds Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean, Yilyu and Dongping prevailed over fifth seeds Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti 21-13, 21-11.

In men’s doubles, Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin triumphed over Ricky Karandasuwardi and Angga Pratama 21-14, 21-14 for their first title at this marquee event.

Final Results

Women’s Singles

Ratchanok INTANON (THA) (4) bt HE Bingjiao (CHN) (3) 21-15, 21-14

Men’s Singles

Viktor AXELSEN (DEN) (2) bt KIDAMBI Srikanth (IND) (3) 21-7, 22-20

Men’s Doubles


Mixed Doubles

WANG/HUANG (CHN) (1) bt JORDAN/OKTAVIANTI (INA) (5) 21-13, 21-11

Women’s Double

POLII/RAHAYU (INA) (1) bt CHOW/LEE (MAS) (3) 21-11, 25-23


Srikanth, Axelsen in hunt for their second title

– PV Sindhu’s challenge ends in semis at Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019
–  Intanon sets up a summit clash with Bingjiao

New Delhi, March 30: Kidambi Srikanth remained on course for a second title by entering the final while PV Sindhu went down fighting in the semi-finals at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019, a BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, here on Saturday. The 2015 men’s singles champion was made to work hard by the 30th ranked Huang Yuxiang before he could pull off a gritty 16-21, 21-14, 21-19 win in 1 hour 4 minutes.

Srikanth set up a rematch of 2015 final with the 2017 champion Viktor Axelsen, who staved off a late resistance from Parupalli Kashyap for a 21-11, 21-17 win.

2017 women’s singles winner Sindhu squandered five game points in the first game to succumb to a 21-23, 18-21 defeat to the third-seeded He Bingjiao. With her aggressive game doing most of the talking and her anticipation skills looking spot-on, Sindhu looked sharp in the initial stages of her 14th meeting with Bingjiao, racing ahead to 15-11.

However, the determined Chinese was still able to come back by taking control of the frontcourt and exploiting the Indian’s movement. Saving four-game points at 16-20 and another one at 20-21, the World No. 7 eked out the first game 23-21.

Sindhu once more had a 15-12 advantage in Game 2 but a poised Bingjiao came storming back to wrest away the momentum and inch ahead to 19-18 before wrapping up the win.

“After losing the first game I was a bit nervous. I came back and could’ve maintained the 14-11 lead, but she played really well. I could’ve been much more patient,” said Sindhu after the match.

Srikanth was troubled early on by Yuxiang’s speed, quick change of direction and superior net play. From 14-14, the Chinese went up to 19-14 due to unforced errors from the home hope. Srikanth did save a couple of game points but his effort fell short as Yuxiang wrapped up the opener 21-16.

Amid deafening cheers from the crowd, the World No. 7 started showing flashes of his aggression in the early part of the second game. By regularly finding the lines, the India No. 1 held on to go up to 13-6 and kept up the same approach to close out the second game 21-14.

Errors at the net proved costly for Srikanth in the decider as Yuxiang went up to 13-11. The former World No. 1 then found his firepower from a 14-17 deficit to draw level at 18-18 and then a beautiful touch at the net helped him finish the win.

“I gave too many easy points after that 11-point break in the third set. In the end, I was just thinking I was playing safe and working hard for every point,” said Srikanth after the victory. “Even yesterday, I lost the first set. I have not been able to pull out the first sets but really happy I was able to pull out third sets,” added the top-ranked Indian.

Intanon back in the final after 3 years

Thailand’s former world champion Ratchanok Intanon survived a tough duel with the seventh seed Han Yue, eking out a 21-15, 19-21, 21-18 win in 1 hour 6 minutes. For the highly popular Thai, this is her fourth final at this prestigious tournament after earlier wins in 2013 and 2016.

The women’s doubles section witnessed a mini-upset as the third seeds Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean beat the second seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 18-21, 21-19, 21-19. They will take on the top seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu who needed three games to see off compatriots Della Destiara Haris and Tania Oktaviani Kusumah 21-9, 19-21, 21-5.

In mixed doubles, the top seeds Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping set up a summit clash with fifth seeds Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti. The Chinese, winners of the BWF World Tour Finals title last year, beat fourth seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 21-13, 21-16 while the Indonesians prevailed over Lee Yang and Yang Ching Tun 21-9, 23-21. 

Key Results:

Men’s Singles

KIDAMBI Srikanth (IND) (3) bt HUANG Yuxiang (CHN) 16-21, 21-14, 21-19
AXELSEN Viktor (DEN) (2) bt KASHYAP Parupalli (IND) 21-11, 21-17

Women’s Singles

HE Bingjiao (CHN) (3) bt PUSARLA V Sindhu (IND) (2) 23-21, 21-18
INTANON Ratchanok (THA) (4) bt HAN Yue (CHN) (7) 21-15, 19-21, 21-18

Women’s Doubles

CHOW/LEE (MAS) (3) bt KITITHARAKUL/PRAJONGJAI (THA) (2) 18-21, 21-19, 21-19
POLII/RAHAYU (INA) (1) bt HARIS/KUSUMAH (INA) 21-9, 19-21, 21-5

Mixed Doubles

WANG/HUANG (CHN) (1) bt FAIZAL/WIDJAJA (INA) (4) 21-13, 21-16


Korea beat India 4-2 in a shootout to win the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019

Simranjeet Singh (9′) was lone goal-scorer for India in the Final; Settle for Silver Medal

Ipoh (Malaysia), 30 March 2019:
Korea outplayed India with top-class defence that saw them hold the World No.5 to a 1-1 draw in regulation time and beat them 4-2 in a shootout to win the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 here on Saturday. Jii Woo Cheon, Lee Jungjun, Jung Manjae and Lee Namyong scored for Korea in the shootout while only Birendra Lakra and Varun Kumar managed to score for India. 

A valiant performance by the young Indian unit through out the tournament where they remained unbeaten, however fell short in the Final when they could not convert the opportunities created in the striking circle.

Breaching Korea’s razor-sharp defence meant India had to be tactically wise in their attack from the very beginning. Though India made a couple of circle entries in quick-succession early in the game, the Korean defence was too good to crack. It took accurate, short passes and effective teamwork by forwards Mandeep Singh and Sumit Kumar (Junior) that won India a brilliant opportunity to score in the first quarter. A quick assist by Sumit Kumar Junior to Simranjeet Singh earned India it’s first goal in the 9th minute.

Korea upped their ante as they made two good circle entries but an alert Indian defence kept them from creating potential shots on goal. With less than a minute remaining for the first hooter, Gurinder Singh earned India’s first PC but the dragflicker could not get it past the Korean defenders. 

India began the second quarter well with Sumit assisting Simranjeet who took a backhand shot from top of the circle. The effort however was well-defended by the Korean goalkeeper Kim Jaehyeon. Though India made quite a few attempts in the striking circle, there was no success to double the lead. With a little over five minutes remaining for the half-time, India earned their second PC bur Varun Kumar’s powerful flick was stopped by goalkeeper Jaehyeon.

Goals continued to elude India in the third quarter despite some excellent attempts. Meanwhile, Korea won their first PC in the 33rd minute but Jang Jonghyun’s flick went far wide from India’s post. It didn’t help India’s cause when a good chance to double the lead to 2-0 went begging with a PC execution gone wrong seconds before the end of the third quarter.

Korea upped their attack in the final quarter desperately looking for an equaliser. India were punished when an infringement by defender Amit Rohidas on the baseline trying to tackle Korea Skipper Lee Namyong was penalized with a penalty stroke given to Korea. Jang Jonghyun, who is in good form, made no mistake in sending the ball past India goalkeeper Krishan B Pathak in the 47th minute. With minutes racing away, India looked for an opening but the Korea defence held strong. A PC won in the 57th minute by India went amiss with Amit Rohidas’s flick cleared away by the Korean defence. With a 1-1 stalemate in regulation time, the match went into a tense shootout.


India beat Poland 10-0

28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

– Vivek Sagar Prasad (1′), Sumit Kumar (Junior)  (7′), Varun Kumar (18′, 25′), Surender Kumar (19′), Simranjeet Singh (29′), Nilakanta Sharma (36′), Mandeep Singh (50′, 51′) Amit Rohidas (55′) score in India’s win
– India will take on Korea in the Final on Saturday

Ipoh (Malaysia), 29 March 2019: A clinical performance by the Indian Men’s Hockey Team saw them beat Poland 10-0 in their last Round-Robin League match here at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 on Friday. The Manpreet Singh-led squad will take on Korea in the Final on Saturday.

Against Poland, Vivek Sagar Prasad (1′), Sumit Kumar (Junior) (7′), Varun Kumar (18′, 25′), Surender Kumar (19′), Simranjeet Singh (29′), Nilakanta Sharma (36′), Mandeep Singh (50′, 51′) and Amit Rohidas (55′) scored to ensure India remained unbeaten. Mandeep Singh with his contribution to India’s scoreline became the highest goal-scorer for the tournament with a total of seven goals while Varun Kumar took his personal tally to five goals in the tournament so far.  

The 2-0 lead India earned early in the match through the 1st minute goal by Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sumit Kumar’s (Junior) 7th minute goal which was well-assisted by forward Mandeep Singh’s backhand pass in the circle gave India the edge. The team controlled the proceedings with a structured game executing their plans to perfection.

The second quarter saw India strengthen their attack as they made space inside the striking circle. In good form, Sumit Kumar (Junior) earned a PC for India which was perfectly converted by dragflicker Varun Kumar. The following minute saw Surender Kumar score off a PC created by Amit Rohidas.

Though India had lost forward Shilanand Lakra to a green card in the 24th minute, the team created a PC and in a re-take resulted in Varun Kumar scoring off a direct, powerful flick to take India’s lead to a strong 5-0. Simranjeet Singh added to the team’s lead when he worked with Mandeep Singh after receiving a beautiful assist from Nilakanta Sharma to put the ball past Polish goalkeeper Mateusz Popiolkowski.  

With a formidable 6-0 lead at half-time, India continued to dominate with their midfielders playing responsibly, shifting the ball swiftly and fiercely to make space. In the 36th minute, a good pass by Sumit to Nilakanta Sharma helped him score. Though India managed only one goal in the third quarter, the team made a strong finish with superior attack in the fourth quarter that fetched the team three more goals.

The Polish goalkeeper, meanwhile was impressive as he made some brilliant saves off shots taken by Gursahibjit Singh and Simranjeet Singh early in the fourth quarter. A powerfully struck PC by Amit Rohidas too was well-saved by Popiolkowski. India’s eighth and ninth goal came off skilful displays by Mandeep Singh. His first goal was scored after he intercepted Michal Raciniewski to take a direct shot on goal while his second goal was well-assisted by Gurinder Singh. India’s tenth goal was scored after Surender Kumar earned a PC with Amit making a good conversion.

Mandeep Singh won the man-of-the-match for the second time.


“Determined to win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup through good performances,” says Forward Mandeep Singh

The 24-year-old Forward believes that his team is well prepared to face Korea in the Final, but the current focus is on the Pool match against Poland

Ipoh (Malaysia), 28 March 2019: After securing their berth in the Final match of the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 with one match remaining in the Pool Stages, the Indian Men’s Hockey team on Thursday prepared themselves to face World No. 21 Poland in their last Pool encounter of the tournament which takes place on Friday, 29th March 2019 here at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium. Forward Mandeep Singh, who has been in prime form throughout the tournament, believes that the team is looking forward to putting their best step forward in the remaining two matches to win the Sultan Azlan Shah trophy for the first time since 2010.

“We do know that we have already qualified for the Final but it does not mean we are going to take it lightly against Poland. We are determined to keep performing to the best of our abilities, and to win our remaining two matches based on good performances,” said Mandeep.

The 24-year-old Forward spoke about the prospects of playing Korea in the Final match after the two teams drew their Pool match 1-1. He said, “We know that Korea is a strong side, but we are doing everything to minimize any errors in our game. It is going to be our first Final of 2019, and we are all very well prepared to face them in the Final. We have learned a lot about them from our 1-1 draw in the Pool stages, and I feel that tomorrow’s
match against Poland will also give us a chance to prepare well for the Final.”

Speaking about the areas on which his team has focused, Mandeep said, “We have had a good tournament so far as we have 10 points from our four matches, but of course we would have liked to get all the 12 points on the board. We have tried to improve as a unit, and being a part of the forward-line, I feel we have focused on making more circle penetrations, getting more shots on target, and regaining possession quickly. If we can execute all these things perfectly in the next two matches, I am sure we can finish with the Gold Medal.”

The young Forward has scored a total of five goals in four matches, including a hat-trick against Canada on Wednesday. However, Mandeep believes that the credit goes to his teammates for creating the opportunities for him. “I think the job of a striker is the easiest when you are in good form, and right now I feel like I am playing well. The credit for my goals obviously goes to my teammates who create the opportunities and space for me to do my bit. My focus during the matches when we are attacking is always on positioning myself correctly so that whenever there is a chance, I can make the most of it by converting it into a goal for my team,” said Singh.

The Indian Men’s Hockey team has seen a total of eight different goal-scorers so far in the tournament, and will play Poland their last Pool match on Friday, 29th March 2019 at 13.35hrs IST. Meanwhile, the Final match between India and Korea will take place on Saturday, 30th March 2019 at 18.05hrs IST.


Sai Praneeth edges Sameer in all-Indian thriller; Kashyap cruises at Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019

Axelsen, Zhang, Pranaav Chopra/Sharma enter quarters

New Delhi, March 28: In an enthralling all-Indian second round face-off, Sai Praneeth edged fifth seed Sameer Verma to enter the quarter-finals of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019, an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, here on Thursday. The marathon 18-21, 21-16, 21-15 win that took Sai 1 hour 11 minutes to complete, had the World No. 20 lying on the court in relief after converting the match point.

This was Sai’s second consecutive victory over the World No. 15, just a week after getting the better of him at the Swiss Open, where he made it to the final.

Having beaten his practice partner, Sai pointed out on how tough it can get facing a familiar opponent. “When you play an opponent who you play with, it is obviously tough. We know each other’s weaknesses and strengths, so with nobody outside the court to tell you something about strategies, you have to think on your own.”

Sai could have to face another Indian in the last-eight, provided third seed Kidambi Srikanth beats Lu Guangzu.

Parupalli Kashyap made short work of World No. 58 Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-11, 21-13 in just 37 minutes to secure his quarter-final berth. The former Commonwealth Games gold medallist ran away to 14-8 in the first game and continued the momentum in the second game to build an 11-3 lead.

A day after playing a three-game match, the 32-year-old Kashyap was happy to finish his second round quickly. “I’m happy I could pull out two good matches. Yesterday was tougher physically, but game-wise I think I was better today and I’m looking forward to the next round,” said the former World No. 6.

Subhankar Dey failed to repeat his first round heroics and succumbed to a 16-21, 13-21 defeat to World No. 32 Wang Tzu Wei.

Rising star Riya Mookerjee’s brave run, however, came to an end at the hands of eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt 8-21, 21-17, 13-21.

World No. 67 women’s doubles pair of Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP dug deep to edge the 40th ranked Ng Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting 21-19, 7-21, 21-17. Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Shivam Sharma too reached the last-eight stage, courtesy of a 21-15, 21-11 win over Aniruddha Mayekar and Vinay Kumar Singh.

In mixed doubles, Chopra and Sikki Reddy put up a courageous display before losing 21-19, 19-21, 14-21 to the fourth seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.

Axelsen cruises; Bingjiao beats Xuerui

There was no stopping the 2017 champion Viktor Axelsen, who needed just 32 minutes to register a commanding 21-11, 21-9 win over Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon. In a battle of generations, Chinese third seed He Bingjiao beat 2012 Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui 21-18, 21-17 for her second consecutive victory over her senior compatriot.

Defending champion Beiwen Zhang beat Brittney Tam 21-6, 21-16 for her seventh win on the trot at this prestigious tournament while seventh seed Han Yue was a 21-13, 21-8 winner over Chananchida Jucharoen.

Men’s doubles top seeds Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen effortlessly beat Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin 21-14, 21-7. In mixed doubles, BWF World Tour Finals champions Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping halted the run of Ricky Karandasuwardi and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet 21-8, 21-11.

Key results

Men’s Singles

Khosit Phetpradab (THA) (7) bt Sitthikom Thammasin (THA) 21-19, 12-21, 21-18
Sai Praneeth (IND) bt Sameer Verma (IND) (5) 18-21, 21-16, 21-15
Parupalli Kashyap (IND) bt Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) 21-11, 21-13
Viktor Axelsen (DEN) (2) bt Suppanyu Avihingsanon (THA) 21-11, 21-9
Wang Tzu Wei (TPE) bt Subhankar Dey (IND) 21-16, 21-13

Women’s Singles

Mia Blichfeldt (DEN) (8) bt Riya Mookerjee (IND) 21-8, 17-21, 21-13
Beiwen Zhang (USA) (6) bt Brittney Tam (CAN) 21-6, 21-16

Men’s Doubles

Astrup/Rasmussen (DEN) (1) bt Fei/Izzuddin (MAS) 21-14, 21-7

Women’s Doubles

Hoo/Yap (MAS) (4) bt Dandu/Santosh (IND) 21-11, 21-15
Balan/Sruthi (IND) bt Yeung/Wing NG (HKG) 21-19, 7-21, 21-17

Mixed Doubles

Wang/Huang (CHN) (1) bt Karandasuwardi/Bernadet (INA) 21-8, 21-11
Faizal/Widjaja (INA) (4) bt Chopra/Reddy (IND) 19-21, 21-19, 21-14


Bajrang, Rani Rampal, Rishabh Pant & Manu Bhaker presented DSJA awards

DSJA Award winners with the Special Invitee Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra and other dignitaries.

New Delhi, March 28: Asian Games gold medal winning wrestler Bajrang Punia, hockey star Rani Rampal, Test cricketer Rishabh Pant and pistol shooting prodigy Manu Bhaker were presented the Delhi Sports Journalists Association Best Sportspersons awards by the Indian Olympic Association President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra at a function here on Thursday.

“It is very inspiring when sports journalists give such awards,” said Bajrang Punia, adding that the DSJA award would inspire him to work harder in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Rishabh Pant echoed such thoughts. “I can never forget how many Delhi sports journalists encouraged me from my early days,” he said. Rishabh spoke of how the media has been supporting junior cricketers, with their results for a very long time.

Rani Rampal, who was permitted to take a day off from the National Camp in Bengaluru, was delighted to receive the Best Sportswoman award.  “We are focused on doing well for India and such awards keep us going in right direction,” she said. The award for Manu Bhaker, who is representing India in the Asian Air Gun Championship in Chinese Taipei, was received by her father.

Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra, who was the Special Invitee, said recognition of their efforts gives the athletes immense satisfaction and motivation to do better. “What the DSJA is doing here today is very much in line with that belief. And who can be a better jury that the sports journalists themselves who write, report and chronicle up and coming and elite athletes every day,” he said.

The function was attended by a galaxy of sportspersons, with Honorary IOC Member Raja Randhir Singh, hockey Olympians Harbinder Singh and Zafar Iqbal, trap shooter Moraad Ali Khan and JK Tyre’s Motor Sports Head Sanjay Sharma presenting the awards to the award winners.

Award winners:

Best Sportsman: Bajrang Punia (Wrestling) and Rishabh Pant (Cricket).
Best Sportswoman: Rani Rampal (Hockey) and Manu Bhaker (Shooting).
Lifetime achievement: Karnam Malleswari (Weightlifting) and Raj Singh (Wrestling).
Best Coach: Jaspal Rana (Shooting) and Tarak Sinha (Cricket).
Special Awards: Abhishek Verma (Archery), Divij Sharan (Tennis), Diksha Dagar (Golf), Gaurav Gill (Motor Sports), Meenakshi Pahuja (Channel Swimming) and Dr. Seema Yadav (Amateur marathon running).


Mandeep Singh scores hat-trick in India’s 7-3 win against Canada

– Varun Kumar (12′) and Mandeep Singh (20′, 27′, 29′), Amit Rohidas (39′), Vivek Sagar Prasad (55′) and Nilakanta Sharma (58′) score to ensure India remain unbeaten at 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 201
– India top the Pool Standings with three wins and a draw

Ipoh (Malaysia), 27 March 2019: Indian Men’s Hockey Team continued their winning form at the on-going 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 as they beat Canada 7-3 in a high-scoring match that enthralled the Malaysian spectators here on Wednesday. With this win, the team topped the Pool Standings with 10 points from three wins and a draw.  

It was striker Mandeep Singh who starred in India’s win with a brilliant hat-trick of goals in the 20th, 27th and 29th minute while Varun Kumar opened the score board for India in the 12th minute with a powerful conversion of a PC and Amit Rohidas scored the team’s fifth goal in the 39th minute through a PC. Youngsters Vivek Sagar Prasad and Nilakanta Sharma too contributed to the scoreline with splendid field goals in the 55th and 58th minute respectively that ensured India were on course for the Final on Sunday. For Canada, Mark Pearson (35′), Fin Boothroyd (50′) and James Wallace (57′) scored the goals.

India showed progress match-by-match with improved structure and discipline as they took on an unpredictable Canadian side against whom they had won 5-1 when they previously met in the group stage at the 2018 Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar. India made an attacking start that put the opponents on the back-foot early in the match. A quick circle entry by Sumit Kumar Jr resulted in the team winning a PC in the 12th minute which was well-struck by Varun Kumar, scoring his third goal of the tournament.

India built on this momentum in the second quarter and made fierce circle entries. Sumit Kumar Jr once again created a fine opportunity when he assisted a fine pass to Mandeep Singh who simply had to deflect the ball into the post, taking India’s lead to 2-0. In the following minute, Surender Kumar created a PC for India but an alert Canadian goalkeeper made a good save off Amit Rohidas’s flick. India earned two more PCs in the following minutes but could not convert, meanwhile, Canada earned their first PC in the 26th minute, but dragflicker Gordon Johnston sent the ball wide.

Continuing to use full-press to their advantage, India held their sway. Midfielder Kothajit Singh dispossessed Canadian player to make a brilliant assist to Mandeep from the 25m mark. Mandeep, made no mistake in sending it past Canada’s goalkeeper Antoni Kindler. Mandeep and Sumit remained India’s cynosures in the forward line as the two strikers set up yet another fine goal for India that took the team’s total to a strong 4-0 ahead of half-time.

India controlling the game, with good ball possession and tactful play gave fewer opportunities for Canada to comeback. However, an infringement by Indian defender gave away Canada’s second PC in the 35th minute. Mark Pearson ensured the opportunity was not lost as he put the ball past India goalkeeper Krishan Pathak with a powerful flick. Conceding a goal did not deter India’s game as they powered through with speed and finesse in their attack. Amit Rohidas’s goal in the 39th minute helped India take a 5-1 lead going into the final quarter which saw a goal-fest with both teams scoring two goals each.

Though Canada narrowed the lead to 2-5 in the 50th minute, an excellent long-aerial ball by Varun Kumar to Mandeep in the circle helped him assist Vivek Sagar Prasad score a fine field goal taking the lead to 6-2. Nilakanta Sharma finished the game for India on a fine note as he converted a good assist from Hardik Sigh in the 58th minute which was a fitting reply to Canada’s previous goal through a PC in the 57th minute by James Wallace.

India’s Mandeep Singh was awarded the man-of-the-match for his efforts in the forward line.


Bengaluru FC B stretch unbeaten run to seven games after 3-1 defeat of Lonestar Kashmir

Colts Ensure Top-Spot Finish In Group A Of 2nd Division League With One Game To Spare

Katra, Jammu and Kashmir: Bengaluru FC B ensured a finish on top of the Group A table of the Hero 2nd Division League with a 3-1 win over LoneStar Kashmir at the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Sports Complex in Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday. First-half goals from Advait Shinde (6′), Edmund Lalrindika (19′) and Myron Mendes (39′) gave the Blue Colts their sixth win in seven games in a competition where they are yet to be beaten.

The win took Naushad Moosa’s team, who have one game in hand, to 19 points – seven more than second-placed FC Goa Reserves who they will take on in their final game at the Bengaluru Football Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday. Goa have two games in hand, including the one against BFC B, and can reach a maximum of 18 points.

Despite the far from ideal pitch conditions, Bengaluru got off to the perfect start, when Shinde ghosted past the Lonestar central defenders to pick a pass from Mendes before slotting home with ease. Lalrindika soon made it 2-0 when he raced and latched on to a long pass from the Amal Das and finished past the Kashmir ’keeper.

Unable to handle Bengaluru’s pace, Lonestar conceded a penalty in the 39th minute when Waqar Malik brought down Leon Augustine in the box after the latter had played a smart one-two with Lalrindika. Skipper Mendes, who is in charge of penalties, made no mistake from the spot to put Bengaluru in the driver’s seat.

The hosts managed to pull a goal back through Basit Bhat a little beyond the hour-mark, but Bengaluru were stubborn enough to avoid any further slip up as they sealed a first win in the campaign over LoneStar Kashmir FC.


Delhi Capitals and Olympic legend Michael Phelps enjoy a fun interactive cricket session

The most successful and decorated Olympian of all-time was seen interacting with players from the Delhi Capitals in New Delhi on Wednesday

New Delhi, 27 March 2019: Delhi Capitals, the JSW and GMR co-owned franchise, were involved in a fun interactive cricket session with the most successful Olympian of all-time, the legendary swimmer Michael Phelps in New Delhi on Wednesday. The whole Delhi Capitals’ squad played some cricket with the 33-year-old American and were seen exchanging a few tips about their own respective sports. Delhi Capitals’ captain Shreyas Iyer, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, South African all-rounder Chris Morris, and pace-bowler Ishant Sharma, were all seen interacting with Phelps, who ended his career with 28 Olympic medals to his name.

Speaking on meeting the Delhi Capitals squad and watching the Delhi Capitals’ match against the Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, Michael Phelps said, “I don’t think cricket is my next sport but I loved seeing the match with the Delhi Capitals yesterday. It was nice to see how excited the crowd was, and to see how the players shift when there is a change of ends, or a dismissal. I loved watching the sixes yesterday, and definitely today has been about getting a couple of tips from the boys, starting with how to hold a bat. So I’m sure I will be better prepared to play cricket when I visit India next.”

Delhi Capitals’ wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant also shared a light moment with the swimming legend. When asked about how Pant would convince Phelps to play cricket, the young Indian said, “I would just tell him that he is most welcome to stay at my place for as long as he wants, where I can teach him how to play the sport.” The 33-year-old American replied with, “That sounds good to me, and it means that I am coach-able which makes me happy.”

South Africa’s Chris Morris, who joined up with the Delhi Capitals’ squad late Monday evening, spoke on how it felt to meet the legendary swimmer. He said, “Like I said the man is an absolute legend. He is the all-time leading Gold Medal winner at the Olympics. It is quite an honour for us to interact with him and I am very excited to see him today. Michael Phelps is a name that is synonymous with Olympics, and there are two Olympians who have become household names, and it is Phelps and Usain Bolt so I’m really buzzing.”

India’s pace spearhead Ishant Sharma also spoke on meeting the man with 23 Olympic gold medals. “It was a great opportunity for all of us to have met him. You know he’s a world champion and we shared a few moments with him as well. He has been a huge motivation to athletes around the world over the years, and it was the same for all of us at the Delhi Capitals today,” said Ishant Sharma.

With a win against Mumbai Indians in their first match and then a loss in their second match against the Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, Delhi Capitals sit second in the IPL Points Table with two points from two matches, but will be looking forward to get back to winning ways when they play their third match of the IPL 2019 season against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday, 30th March 2019 at the Feroz Shah Kotla  Stadium in New Delhi.

Delhi Capitals’ fans can book their tickets for all the stands, including the Corporate Boxes, Platinum Gallery and The Hill ‘A’ Super Hospitality, through the official website of the Delhi Capitals at


The Delhi Capitals is one of the eight founding teams that plays in the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL). Co-owned by the GMR Group and the JSW Group, Delhi Capitals was established in 2008 as Delhi Daredevils before embracing a new avatar in December 2018. The Delhi Capitals has a home in the Feroze Shah Kotla Stadium.

Currently coached by Australian legend Ricky Ponting, the Delhi Capitals have made the semifinals of the competition on two occasions – in 2008 and 2009, even topping the table in the latter edition. However, the team’s high point arrived in the 2012 season where it made the play-off stages of the IPL and the semifinal of the Champions League Twenty20.


India beat Malaysia 4-2

Sumit (17′), Sumit Kumar Jr (27′) and Varun Kumar (36′) and Mandeep Singh (58′) score in India’s exciting win; Stay in contention for a Final Berth

Ipoh (Malaysia), 26 March 2019: Indian Men’s Hockey Team came up with a determined performance to beat Malaysia 4-2 in an exciting encounter here at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 on Tuesday. This was India’s second win after beating Japan 2-0 in the first match, while they drew the second match against Korea 1-1.

The two teams began the first quarter with powerful counter attacks that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats. First, it was India to foray into the striking circle with some skillful tackle by forward Simranjeet Singh but the hosts were alert to ward off initial danger. Five minutes into the game, Malaysia won their first PC but Krishan B Pathak guarding India’s post did brilliantly to save. The following minutes saw accelerating play by both teams, playing on-par with eachother and ended the quarter in a stalemate.

India adapted to full-press, putting their best defence on display. Vice Skipper Surender Kumar continued to remain the main-man for India in the backline thoroughly supported by the experienced Birendra Lakra, making important connections that helped the forwardline surge into the striking circle. Varun Kumar’s pass into the top of the circle saw Hardik Singh work in tandem with Mandeep Singh to set up a shot on goal. It was eventually Sumit who got the right deflection helping India take an important 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Later, Mandeep helped India win their first PC but after several re-takes India could not extend their lead.

Soon after, Malaysia rallying on a good counter attack won their second PC of the match. Though their first attempt was well-saved by PR Sreejesh, who replaced Krishan after the first quarter, Razie Rahim did not disappoint his home crowd as he struck low to give Malaysia an equaliser in the 21st minute.

The match remained tensed, truly living up to it’s billing of being the most-awaited match at this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India continued to use full-press as they looked for potential counter attack. A good tackle by Sumit to dispossess Malaysia’s Faizal Saari set-up India’s second goal. This time it was Sumit Kumar Jr who put the ball past Malaysia goalkeeper Hairi Rahman in the 27th minute.

The third quarter was intense with both teams rallying on counter attacks but India remained determined. They challenged the Malaysian defence with solid circle entries, Mandeep Singh worked his magic yet again winning India another important PC. Taken by dragflicker Varun Kumar, he scored on a re-take with a powerful flick, keeping the ball low to the left. The 3-1 lead put pressure on the hosts.

Though Malaysia had made numerous attempts on goal in the third quarter, including a PC, an alert Krishan who had come back to the post did well to keep India’s lead. The fourth quarter, though saw Malaysia score a field goal through Firhan Ashari in the 57th minute who did well to beat Sreejesh at post after he had made two great saves earlier in the quarter. In the 58th minute, a brilliant circle entry and assist by Sumit Kumar Jr to Mandeep Singh helped him score India’s fourth goal ending the match on 4-2. India’s defence held strong and adamant to not allow last-minute errors to take home three points from the win.

Birendra Lakra was named the man-of-the-match for his efforts in helping India defend their lead.

On 27 March 2019, India will take on Canada at 15.35 hours IST.

Please find attached tournament schedule and match photos.

Ponnappa-Reddy enter 2nd round of Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019

Top seed  Polii-Rahayu progress; Ivanov-Sozonov bite the dust

New Delhi, March 26: Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy caused a huge upset by knocking out the sixth seeds and World No. 18 pair of Li Wenmei and Zheng Yu 22-20, 21-19 to enter the second round of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019-part of HSBC BWF World Tour 500, here on Tuesday. Considering the Chinese reached the quarter-finals of the All England Open and the semi-finals of the Swiss Open, this was a highly confidence-boosting victory for the Indian pair.

The 23rd ranked Ponnappa and Reddy thus continue their good form a week after reaching the quarter-finals of the Swiss Open.

The Indians trailed the higher-ranked Chinese in both the games but managed to dig deep to get the win. Ashwini’s smashes helped the Indian duo get back on track after they went 16-18 in the first game. The Chinese looked in control of the second game until Ponnappa upped the intensity and Reddy complemented with her deft touches at the net.

The India No.1 pair attributed the success to the advice given by the newly-inducted doubles coaches, Flandy Limpele and Namrih Suroto. Working on their return of serves and patience made all the difference.

“The new coaches worked on our starting, we used to make a lot of mistakes on receiving. So focusing on serves and return of serves made a lot of difference. We didn’t hurry, we were ready for the shuttle and were patient today,” told Ponnappa.

Men’s doubles pair of Kapil Chaudhary and Shubham Yadav won a tight first round over compatriots Bhaskar Chakraborty and Gaurav Deswal 21-12, 15-21, 21-16. They were joined in Round 2 by Aniruddha Mayekar and Vinay Kumar Singh, 21-15, 14-21, 21-13 winners over Kunwar Ishan Singh and Chandrabhusan Tripathi.

National Championships silver medallists Arjun MR and Shlok Ramachandran, however, suffered a 16-21, 18-21 defeat to China’s Kaixiang Huang and Zekang Wang.

Russian fourth seeds Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov were another of the seeded pairs to fall on Day 1 of this World Tour Super 500 tournament. Chinese Taipei’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin came back from a game down to beat Ivanov and Sozonov 19-21, 23-21, 21-19. Men’s doubles top seed Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen and women’s doubles top seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu smoothly advanced to the second round.

Key Results:

Women’s doubles

Ponnappa/Reddy (IND) bt Wenmei/Zheng (CHN) 22-20, 21-19

Polii/Rahayu (INA) bt Chang/Yang (TPE) 21-14, 21-15                                                                                                      

Astrup/Rasmussen (DEN) bt Grachev/Kotsarenko (RUS) 21-14, 21-14

Hoo/Yap (MAS) bt Kan/ Zhong (USA) 21-6, 21-8

Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin (TPE) bt Ivanov/Sozonov (Rus) 19-21, 23-21, 21-19

Huang/Zekang Wang (CHN) bt Arjun/Shlok 21-16, 21-


Southern Command Polo Cup 8 Goal Tournament

Mumbai, 23rd March 2018: The Amateurs Riders’ Club hosted the Southern Command Polo Cup at their 71st Annual Horse Show and Polo Tournaments – 2019 between team Piramal Polo versus team Bake House Cafe on 23rd March 2018, at the ARC Polo Ground, Mahalaxmi Race Course, in association with luxe brands like Gurkha Cigars Regatta, Cigar Club; the nerve-wrecking high drama match concluded with Piramal Polo team as the winner of the prestigious Southern Command Polo Cup 8 Goal Polo Championship.

Representing the Bake House Cafe were who scored a total of 6 goals making them a worthy competition against the winners, Piramal Polo Team represented by Nimit Mehta, Harsh Piramal, Gonzalo Yanzon and Dhruvpal Godara With a total score of 8 goals and led by the spirited Dhruvpal Godara, The Piramal Polo team were crowned the undisputed champions.

The spectacular event saw dignitaries from various industries with Lt. General S.K. Sahani, AVSM, YSM, VSM General Officer Commanding in- chief HQ, Southern Command as the Guest of Honour for the evening, alongside Mr. Shyam Mehta, President of the Amateur Riders’ Club and Mr. Riyhad Kundanmal, Secretary of the Amateur Riders’ Club. Enjoying the king of sport in its full glory were the crème da la crème of Mumbai’s local.

Speaking about the match, Mr. Shyam Mehta- President of Amateur Riders’ Club said “ Amateur Riders’ Club is honoured to host the Southern Command Polo Cup, it’s a great prestige to have Lieutenant General Satinder Kumar Saini AVSM, YSM, VSM as our chief guest for the finals of the tournament.The Indian army showcased amazing display of the Army Dog Show, Motor Cycle Show and the traditional martial art – Gatka. The polo match was quite enthralling with both the teams showing great determination.”

The event commenced with the jaw dropping showcase of courage by the motor- cycle display and by keeping the high energy momentum of the polo match on, the spectators then witnessed the 7 Sikh battalion from Punjab showcased incredible valour performing the traditional martial art, Gatka.

Score sheet:

Team Bake House Cafe


Players Name



Basheer Ali



Gaurav Sengal



Sunny Patel



Nasir Jamal




Team Piramal Polo


Nimit Mehta



Harsh Piramal



Gonzalo Yanzon



Dhruvpal Godara




About Amateur Riders’ Club:

The Amateur Riders’ Club (ARC) was established in 1942 and is one of the oldest and largest private civilian riding clubs in India. Situated in the heart of Mumbai, it is a hub for riding throughout the year. The club provides riding lessons for all ages, and organizes activities such as show jumping, polo, dressage, plot tent pegging and lots more.

Sangita Basfore – The engine driving the Indian Women’s Team

By Shraishth Jain,
AIFF Media Team

NEW DELHI: West Bengal is renowned for its passion towards the ‘beautiful game,’ and it is this very affection that inspired Indian Senior Women’s National Team current midfield general Sangita Basfore.

“Everyone in my family just loves football,” said Sangita in an exclusive chat with “I started playing when I was 10. My maama (maternal uncle) Vijay Basfore has played for Mohun Bagan, and Mohammedan Sporting. I was inspired seeing him on the field. He became my first coach, and shaped me as a player,” Sangita, who played a crucial part in her team’s recent SAFF Championship triumph in Nepal stated.


“I enjoy being the backbone of the team,” she stated. “In the midfield, my job is to link the defence and attack. I relish playing through-balls to my teammates while going forward and love it when I give an assist – even more than scoring myself!”

Coach Maymol feels that she has all the attributes to be a top-class defensive midfielder. “Her anticipation and aggression are excellent, and what stands out is her work rate as she always covers the maximum distance in almost every game. She fully understands her role on the pitch and is still very young, which makes her a great future prospect,” she opined.


The 21-year old who was born in Kalyani also talked about the immense support she got from people around her. “At school, my teachers would specially arrange extra classes for me on weekends. They made sure that I always got to balance my education with football,” she informed.

“My parents are my biggest fans. They have been extremely supportive. They follow all my games, and are aware about the players in the Indian team,” she stated.


Sangita began her footballing journey with Taltala Dipti Sangha, and their women’s football team in the Kolkata League. After that she represented West Bengal at the National level, and was subsequently called up to the India U-19 side. Three years later, she was named in the senior team for their 2016 Olympic Qualifying campaign, under coach Sajid Dar at the age of just 19.

Under Maymol Rocky, she was entrusted more responsibility into a more central role. “I was the assistant coach when Sangita first got a call-up. But she was always on the bench. But she impressed with her aggression, and ability to learn quickly. She is a real fighter on the pitch and has grown tremendously,” Maymol explained.

Since then, Sangita has even gone to captain India, getting the honour of wearing the armband in India’s match against Uzbekistan in the Turkish Women’s Cup.

Women’s Senior Team hails “Game-Changing” 2020 U-17 World Cup nod

BIRATNAGAR (NEPAL), 18th March, 2019: On Friday, FIFA announced India as the hosts for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020, which will be the first time the nation will host and take part at the tournament in its history. It will also be the second FIFA World Cup event being held in India in four years – the first being the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017.

The development, which was hailed as a “proud moment” by AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel, sparked immense joy in the senior women’s team as well, who are currently in Nepal for the SAFF Women’s Championships 2019.

“My initial reaction was ‘Wow’!” said head coach Maymol Rocky, before stating that hosting the World Cup will be a huge step in developing the sport and increasing its popularity, especially among girls.

“I am delighted that an Indian women’s team will take part at a World Cup for the very first time. It will increase awareness about women’s football and in the process, create a bigger base for subsequent age-group and senior national teams – which is good for us as coaches as well,” she stated.

Coach Maymol also said that like the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, this competition will pave the way for the sport to grow pan-India. “The U-17 World Cup in 2017 was a huge success and this is a chance to carry forward the excellent work,” she declared.

She added, “It has helped spread the game across the country and we have seen some great talents come out from that team as well. We can expect the same from the girls’ team that will play in 2020 and a few years down the line, it will only help add more quality in the senior team as well.”

Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan hailed the news as a “gamechanger” for the sport in India, stating that it will be a “great platform” for future players. “I’m very excited that India will host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup next,” she said.

“It will be a golden opportunity for the girls to step up and change the way women’s football is looked at in our country. We are already moving in a positive direction and this World Cup will accelerate the process and can be a real gamechanger for us,” the custodian added.

Defender Dalima Chhibber opined that the opportunity to play in a World Cup will promote participation from women in the sport. She stated, “The World Cup will be a great platform for young girls. I feel that this will encourage parents to support their children in playing football and push more youngsters to take up the sport.”


Kipchoge donates Olympic Marathon shoe, marking ‘One Month to GO’ to opening of IAAF Heritage Exhibition in Doha

Reigning Olympic champion and world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya has donated one of the shoes in which he sped to victory in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games marathon.

The winning left shoe of the 2018 IAAF World Athlete of the Year will be one of the featured items in the “IAAF Heritage World Athletics Championships Exhibition”, a six-month display which will open in Doha on 18 April.

“I’m really pleased that my career will be permanently represented in the IAAF Heritage Collection,” said Eliud Kipchoge, who has also given a signed copy of the book detailing his world record run in Berlin. “My running career has still far to go but I’m proud to donate one of my shoes from my Rio victory to be preserved for future generations of fans and publicly displayed. I hope it helps to motivate more people to take up the wonderful sport of running.”

Opening Ceremony

In one month, in a special ceremony on the evening of Thursday 18 April, IAAF President Sebastian Coe together with Dahlan Al Hamad, IAAF Vice President and Director General of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 Local Organising Committee, will officially open the IAAF Heritage Exhibition in the City Center Doha, Qatar’s largest shopping mall.

3000 years and counting

The 400m2 exhibition will feature the world’s largest ever display of athletics artefacts and memorabilia, dating from 2nd Century B.C. to the present day.

In text, photographic and video displays, the exhibition succinctly tells the story of the sport’s 3000-year history.

Introductory displays cover athletics as it emerged from the ancient Olympic Games in 776 B.C. The story is carried through to the first modern Olympic Games of 1896, the foundation of the IAAF in 1912 and to creation of the IAAF World Championships in 1983.

World championships history

At the heart of the exhibition are 10 huge display panels summarising the history of the 16 editions of the IAAF World Athletics Championships. Additional specialised displays include the histories of the six continental Areas, Qatari athletics and the development of ASICS spikes. There is also a preview of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 accompanied by a SEIKO countdown clock and QNB display.

Six video screens, including a small cinema room where longer championship highlights will be screened, will offer plenty of competition footage from world championships history.

Along with interactive features, there will be plenty of variety for all ages of visitors to enjoy and explore in the exhibition which will run until the 7 October, the day after the end of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.



Quinton De Kock advances to fourth in ODI Rankings

– Guptill, Khawaja, Gayle and Asghar also reap benefits of player of the series efforts
– Boult, Tahir, Cummins, Fergusson, Ngidi and McBrine move up among bowlers

Dubai, 17 March 2019: South Africa opener Quinton de Kock has grabbed fourth position among batsmen in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings after playing a huge part in his team’s 5-0 victory over Sri Lanka in a home series that ended in Cape Town on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman’s 353 runs in the series, which included one century and three half-centuries, have helped him win the player of the series award and gain four slots in the latest rankings, which also see his captain Faf du Plessis move up to fifth position after scoring 272 runs.

India captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma remain at number one and two after scoring 310 and 202 runs, respectively, in the home series against Australia, which they lost 3-2. The latest rankings update carried out on Sunday also includes performances from series that saw New Zealand defeat Bangladesh 3-0 and the two drawn series between the West Indies and England, and Afghanistan and Ireland.

Four others named player of the series have also made huge gains. West Indies opener Chris Gayle’s effort of 424 runs, including two centuries, have lifted him 35 places to 41st position, New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill’s 264 runs have taken him from 19th to ninth position, Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan has moved up 16 places to 87th position while Usman Khawaja’s 383 runs have lifted him 83 places to a career-best 25th place.

Other batsmen to move up include Jos Buttler (up five places to 13th) and captain Eoin Morgan (up three places to 17th) of England, Shimron Hetmyer of the West Indies (up 16 places to 23rd), India’s Kedar Jadhav (up 11 places to a career-best 24th), Australia’s Marc Stoinis (up 15 places to 29th) and South Africa’s Aiden Markram (up 12 places to 89th).

In the list for bowlers, two formerly top-ranked players have made significant gains. New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult has moved up one place to second after finishing with six wickets against Bangladesh while South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir has gained seven slots to reach fourth place after taking nine wickets against Sri Lanka.

Other bowlers to advance include Australia’s Pat Cummins (up 13 places to seventh), New Zealand’s Lachlan Ferguson (up 12 places to 22nd), England’s Mark Wood (up eight places to 24th), South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi (up 21 places to 26th), West Indies captain Jason Holder (up 10 places to 30th) and Andy McBrine of Ireland (up 10 places to 42nd).

Meanwhile, South Africa have gained one point while Sri Lanka have lost two points in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings. There have been no significant changes during the five series except for New Zealand narrowly edging past South Africa to third position and Australia going past Pakistan to fifth position.

MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings (as of 17 March)

Rank    Team               Points

1.     England            123 (-3)

2.     India                 120 (-2)

3.     New Zealand     112 (+1)

4.     South Africa      112  (+1)

5.     Australia           103 (+3)

6.     Pakistan           102

7.     Bangladesh         90 (-3)

8.     Sri Lanka            76 (-2)

9.     West Indies         76 (+4)

10.  Afghanistan         64 (+3)

11.  Zimbabwe           52

12.  Ireland                43 (+4)

13.  Scotland            33

14.  UAE                   15

15.  Nepal                   15

16.  Netherlands*         8

*The Netherlands will qualify for a full ranking after playing two more matches.

(Developed by David Kendix)

MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings (as on 17 March 2019)

Batsmen (top 20)

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team      Pts       Avge   Highest Rating

   1        ( – )       Virat Kohli         India     890      59.57   911 v Eng at Headingley 2018

   2        ( – )       Rohit Sharma    India     839      47.39   883 v Aus at Sydney 2019

   3        ( – )       Ross Taylor      NZ        830      48.34   831 v India at Hamilton 2019

   4        (+4)      Q de Kock         SA        803      45.56   813 v SL at Durban 2019

   5=     (+1)      Faf du Plessis   SA        801      46.54   810 v SL at Centurion 2019

            ( – )       Babar Azam      Pak      801      51.29   846 v NZ at Wellington 2018

   7        (-3)       Joe Root           Eng      791      50.90   824 v SL at Dambulla 2018

   8        (+1)      Fakhar Zaman  Pak      755*!   53.40   755 v SA at Cape Town 2019

   9        (+10)    Martin Guptill     NZ        750       43.51   789 v SA at Hamilton 2017

  10       (-3)       Shai Hope         WI        744       45.56   785 v Eng at Barbados 2019

  11       ( – )       K Williamson     NZ        736       45.90   798 v SA at Centurion 2015

  12       (-2)       S Dhawan         India     732       44.62   813 v Pak at Dubai 2018

  13       (+5)      Jos Buttler        Eng      710       40.80   723 v Ban at Mirpur 2016

  14       (-1)       Hashim Amla    SA        704       49.74   901 v Eng at Trent Bridge 2012

  15       (+1)      Imam-ul-Haq     Pak      695*    60.55   706 v SA at Johannesburg 2019

  16       (-4)       Jonny Bairstow  Eng      691       46.04   777 v Aus at Durham 2018

  17       (+3)      Eoin Morgan     Eng      690       39.15   698 v WI at Grenada 2019

  18       (-4)       M Rahim           Ban      689      34.56   712 v WI at Sylhet 2018

  19       (-5)       Tamim Iqbal      Ban      679      36.08   737 v WI at St Kitts 2018

  20       (-3)       MS Dhoni          India     674      50.72   836 v Aus at Delhi 2009

Bowlers (top 20)

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team      Pts      Avge     Eco      Highest Rating

   1        ( – )       Jasprit Bumrah  India     774      22.15    4.51     841 v WI at T’puram 2018

   2        (+1)      Trent Boult        NZ        759      24.70    5.07     766 v India at Delhi 2016

   3        (-1)       Rashid Khan     Afg       747      15.00    3.90     806 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2018

   4        (+7)      Imran Tahir       SA        703      24.21    4.62     786 v SL at Johannesburg 2017

   5        (+2)      Kagiso Rabada SA        701      26.43    4.98     724 v Eng at Lord’s 2017

   6        (-2)       Kuldeep Yadav  India     689      21.74    4.93     765 v NZ at Bay Oval 2019

   7        (+13)    Pat Cummins    Aus      681!     27.25    5.23     681 v India at Delhi 2019

   8        (-3)       Y Chahal           India     680      24.61    4.89     730 v NZ at Napier 2019

   9        ( – )       M Ur Rahman   Afg       678*    18.80    3.74     691 v Ban at Abu Dhabi 2018

  10       (-2)       Adil Rashid       Eng      672      29.74    5.58     687 v SL at Pallekele 2018

  11       (-5)       M Rahman        Ban      667      21.71    4.71     695 v WI at Sylhet 2018

  12       (-2)       J Hazlewood     Aus      648      25.15    4.73     733 v Eng at Adelaide 2018

  13       (+1)      Hasan Ali          Pak      634      24.18    5.25     766 v NZ at Wellington 2018

  14       (-1)       A Dananjaya     SL        627*    29.64    5.16     651 v Eng at Colombo (RPS) 2018

  15       (+8)      Matt Henry        NZ        625      26.21    5.52     675 v Aus at Hamilton 2016

  16       (+1)      B Kumar           India     619      35.66    5.01     658 v WI at Dharamsala 2014

  17=     (-5)       Chris Woakes   Eng      618      31.62    5.61     673 v NZ at Christchurch 2018

            (-1)       Dale Steyn        SA        618      25.95    4.87     746 v India at Durban 2013

  19       (-4)       M Nabi               Afg       614      31.75    4.25     653 v Zim at Harare 2017

  20       (-2)       Mitchell Starc    Aus      607      21.44    4.95     783 v NZ at Melbourne 2015

All-rounders (top five)

Rank    (+/-)      Player               Team     Pts      Highest Rating

   1        ( – )       Rashid Khan     Afg       356      359 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2018

   2        ( – )       S Al Hasan        Ban      341      453 v Zim at Chittagong 2009

   3        ( – )       M Nabi               Afg       329      349 v Ire at Greater Noida 2017

   4        ( – )       M Hafeez          Pak      296      437 v India at Kolkata 2013

   5        (+1)      M Santner         NZ        278      317 v Eng at Christchurch 2018


Bheke the hero as Bengaluru are new ISL champions

Mumbai, March 17: A vociferous crowd stood witness as Bengaluru FC defeated FC Goa 1-0 after 120 minutes of intense football to be crowned the 2018-19 Hero Indian Super League champions at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Sunday.

Bengaluru FC are crowned champions during the final of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between Bengaluru FC and FC Goa held at The Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai, India on the 17th March 2019
Photo by: Ron Gaunt /SPORTZPICS for ISL

After no goals separated the teams at the end of normal time, Rahul Bheke (118’) headed home a corner to exorcise Bengaluru’s demons from last year’s final as they lifted the coveted trophy for the first time.

FC Goa were left to rue the red card Ahmed Jahouh picked up in the first half of extra-time as their wait for a first-ever ISL title continued.

Bengaluru came well prepared and threatened the Goa defence as early as the sixth minute. Nishu Kumar and Sunil Chhetri combined well on the left flank before the latter found Miku at the edge of the box. The Venezuelan striker shimmied his way past a crowd of defenders inside the box but a loose touch at the end of his spectacular solo run allowed goalkeeper Naveen Kumar to get to the ball. 

Minutes later, Jahouh picked out Jackichand Singh’s run down the right flank with a delightful diagonal as Goa countered from their own half. The Indian wingers delivered a brilliant cross to the far post where an onrushing Ferran Corominas skied his volley wide.

Bengaluru had the better of the early exchanges as the trio of Miku, Chhetri and Udanta Singh found joy in the attacking third.

But Goa were dealt a blow before the break as Mandar Rao Dessai, in an attempt to get to a through-ball by Edu Bedia, succumbed to a hamstring injury and had to be replaced by young Saviour Gama at left-back.

After a sluggish start to the second half, FC Goa slowly took control of the game and started to boss possession.

They created chances at will and one such move saw Jackichand’s effort from a tight angle go straight into the gloves of Gurpreet Singh.

A few minutes later, Jackichand found Jahouh at the edge of the box. The Moroccan midfielder’s first-time shot, however, was saved by Gurpreet in goal. Cuadrat responded to Goa’s growing influence by making an attacking change as Luisma replaced Alejandro Barrera.  

The Blues went ever so close in the 81st minute when Chhetri’s layoff inside the box was cleverly heeled into the path of Miku by Xisco Hernandez. The striker, with just the goalkeeper to beat, curled his strike onto the bar before seeing another strike blocked by Mourtada Fall in injury time.

The tempo slowed down as the game moved onto extra-time with both teams unwilling to take risks going forward. Bengaluru did, however, get their first shot on target when Xisco found space and time on the ball to hit a piledriver from outside the box.

Goa were reduced to 10 men in the 105th minute when Ahmed Jahouh retaliated to a challenge by Miku. The midfielder picked up a second yellow and had to take the lonely walk back.

That turned out to be a game-changer as Bengaluru assumed control of the game. And they got the precious goal they were looking for in the 116th minute. Dimas delivered a corner-kick into the box for Bheke who produced a spectacular looping header that Naveen Kumar could only push on to the post and inside the goal as the Bengaluru faithful went into delirium.

The Blues stood firm to prevent a 10-man Goa from snatching a late equaliser and clinched their first Hero ISL trophy.


Volkswagen Motorsport India enters its 10th year

– Volkswagen Motorsport India chalks out a solid 2019 season
– The Motorsport team reiterates its strong commitment across various programmes of one-make series, circuit racing and rallying
– A special ‘ Winter Project’ car with rear-engine, rear wheel drive purpose-built for track use to be unveiled at Madras Motor Race Track tomorrow

Pune/Chennai, March 11, 2019: Volkswagen Motorsport India is all set to enter its 10th year in the country. The brand began its journey in Indian motorsport with the premium one make series Polo Cup in 2010. With a clear ambition to develop young talent in touring car racing, Volkswagen Motorsport set up a series based on their global platform where selected drivers from across the country were given equally-built race cars to compete against each other. This way, the top driving talent was identified through a complete season and promoted to higher racing series through proper coaching and streamlining sponsored opportunities at the international level.

Starting off with a 1.6-litre diesel car, Volkswagen Motorsport constantly kept moving forward by stepping up the performance of their cars. In 2012, the Polo Cup cars were upgraded from 130 PS diesel engines with manual gearbox to 1.4-litre TSI engines with DSG that produced 180 PS of peak power. The idea was to get closer and closer to the international spec touring cars so as to develop the Indian drivers for the bigger global challenges. In 2015, Polo Cup cars made way for the Vento Cup cars with the same drivetrain but a completely different chassis that was easier for new comers to get a hang of. The biggest step up for the programme came in 2017 when Volkswagen Motorsport India fielded Ameo Cup series with a car that was completely localised at the race shop in Volkswagen Pune Plant in Chakan. Powered with a 1.8-litre TSI engine and mated with a sequential gearbox with paddle shifters, this one was the most powerful car ever built by the Motorsport team with a peak power of 205 PS.

For the upcoming 2019 season, Volkswagen Motorsport India will continue with the Ameo Cup with cars running minor tweaks. The driver selection for the 2019 season has already been successfully conducted and the season will begin with pre-season testing, fitness camps in June followed by competitive racing at India’s all three racing circuits in Coimbatore, Chennai and Greater Noida.

Customer Sport

After establishing the one-make series strongly in the country, Volkswagen Motorsport India started promoting different forms of motorsport in India by launching the Customer Sport initiative in 2013. Through this programme, the team started building rally Volkswagen cars for customers who wished to participate in the Indian National Rally Championship and supporting such private teams and individuals with technical know-how and making spares available at rally rounds across the country, thus eliminating the hassles faced while rallying with modern cars. Volkswagen Motorsport has opened up options for customers to customise their rally cars to their individual needs and offers cars for all three segments of INRC1, INRC2 and INRC3.

Taking Customer Sport programme further, Volkswagen Motorsport India started developing touring cars for circuit racing in the national championship in 2018 in the TC4-A class. The under-development Vento ITC race car won in its segment every time it participated in the 2018 season and even set the fastest lap time across segments at one of the occasions, thus setting a benchmark in circuit racing in India. Volkswagen Motorsport India will field its own cars in 2019 season to develop them further while also making them available for customers to who intend to participate in Indian Touring Car Championship.

The ‘Winter Project’ car:

Volkswagen Motorsport India team has grown by leaps and bounds in the last nine years. The team has gone from using cars developed in Germany to researching and developing cars from scratch in India with its own engineers. Between seasons, the team is always looking for new challenges during the ‘winter break’ and to mark its entry into the 10th year, Volkswagen Motorsport India decided to take the game to another level!

The team huddled and zeroed in on a ‘Winter Project’ car that was something different, special and completely out of the box to deliver an exciting car for the motorsport enthusiasts. This new car is beyond any limitation of racing regulations and that is what makes its apt for a track day. For the first time in India, Volkswagen Motorsport team has built a powerful, rear-engine, rear wheel drive Polo for ultimate adrenaline rush! The car, built in a Polo body shell, is equipped with Ameo Cup car’s 1.8-litre TSI engine and sequential gear box with paddle shifters.

The challenge of redesigning the entire drivetrain for the new configuration was an extremely tough task for the team. They started with creating the right mounts for the engine, gearbox and the suspension at the back. The turbocharged engine’s intercooler had to be placed underneath the rear seats. Further, special air ducts had to be installed to maintain air flow to the engine at the back. Similarly, special pipes and ducts to get the cooling and fuel system functioning had to be designed and built with extreme precision. With the intercooler occupying the designated space of fuel tank, the latter had to be moved to the front of the car and connect it to the engine at the back. A lot of development work went into designing the wire harness routing and systems integration.  In addition to this, quite a bit of development went into the suspension system to be able to get the car to handle the way the driver wanted.

Talking about the development that has gone into the car, Mr. Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India said, “I am extremely excited about our ‘Winter Project’ car! It is commendable how the team has managed to pull off this project with limited access to high end software and technology. Young engineers and technicians in the team have shown real calibre by getting this masterpiece ready in less than three weeks!” He further added, “A rear engine, rear wheel drive car is tremendously different in terms of its performance as compared to our conventional front-engine, front wheel drive race cars. With the rear wheel managing the acceleration, the front wheels have more freedom to turn the car sharply and quickly, thereby enhancing its dynamic performance to a great extent.”

The ‘Winter Project’ car is a special one-off build that can be bought by customers for track day purposes. Since the car does not fit in any racing regulations at the moment, it cannot be used for competitive purposes. In the future however, the car can be adapted to regulations to suit various forms of motorsports such as autocross, circuit racing or rallying.

About Volkswagen Motorsport India:

Taking ahead more than 50 years of enriching global motorsport legacy of Volkswagen, Volkswagen Motorsport India commenced operations with the Polo Cup India in 2010. The vast global expertise, coupled with rich dynamic history of the Group has enabled Volkswagen Motorsport India to progress swiftly and become the best one make series in a short span of time. The Volkswagen Polo R Cup enhanced awareness as well as underlined the technological advancement of Volkswagen in India. In 2015, Volkswagen Motorsport India shifted to Vento Cup and continued to provide a vital platform for the talented young racers to demonstrate their capabilities nationally and internationally by nurturing them. In the one-make series, all participating cars are technically identical with the same performance making it possible for only the most skilled drivers to leave an impact. Since 2017, Volkswagen Motorsport India has been running the Ameo Cup in the same format with a car that has been completely developed and built with local talent at Volkswagen plant in Pune. Successes in Indian Rallying: Under the Customer Sport Initiative, Volkswagen Motorsport India started providing teams and individuals running Volkswagen Polo rally cars in the Indian Rally Championship (IRC) with technical assistance and spares support from 2013. The Volkswagen Polo since then has won several championships and is has become popular in national rallying to the extent that more than half the competing grid in 2018 comprised of Volkswagen Polo cars.


Bengaluru leave it late to break NorthEast hearts

Bengaluru, March 11: Bengaluru FC sealed their place in the final of the Hero Indian Super League for the second successive year with a 3-0 win against NorthEast United FC in the second leg of the play-off at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, here on Monday.

Bengaluru FC win during the 2nd leg of the 1st semi final of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between Bengaluru FC and Northeast United FC held at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru, India on the 11th March 2019
Photo by: Deepak Malik /SPORTZPICS for ISL

The Blues, who were dominant throughout the game, were made to work hard by a resilient NorthEast United who were finally outdone by a 72nd-minute goal from Miku. Late strikes from Dimas Delgado (87′) and Sunil Chhetri (90+2′) followed as Bengaluru overturned the 2-1 defeat in the first leg.

The aggregate score read 4-2 in favour of the Blues who will now look to land their first ever ISL title on Sunday.

After a dominant first few minutes by Bengaluru, it were NorthEast who threatened first against the run of play. Federico Gallego nicked the ball off Dimas’s feet and charged at the Bengaluru defence. The Uruguayan fed Juan Mascia into the box who, with just Gurpreet Singh to beat, shot straight at the goalkeeper from a narrow angle.

With NorthEast posing a threat from counter-attacks, Miku missed two glorious chances to score in the space of two minutes. In the 23rd minute, Nishu Kumar delivered a delightful cross into the centre of the box from the left flank but Miku headed it over the bar. Two minutes later, Udanta Singh was released down the right flank and the winger’s cut-back from the byline was sent wide from close-range by the Venezuelan striker.

Miku nearly made amends for his misses with a terrific solo run after the half an hour mark. The striker shimmied past multiple NorthEast players on his way into the box, but sent a weak effort straight into the gloves of Pawan Kumar.

The visitors rang the alarm bell again before the break as Mascia’s thunderous strike from outside the box swerved towards goal but Gurpreet kept his eyes on the ball to make a good save.

Bengaluru got off the blocks quickly after the restart and put pressure on NorthEast United defence but brilliant saves from Pawan Kumar kept NorthEast in the game.

As Bengaluru chased a goal, NorthEast were pushed further back into their own half as the second half wore on. A cross from the right flank by Xisco Hernandez was flicked into the path of Juanan by Harmanjot Khabra but the defender blasted the ball over the bar from close-range.

Bengaluru finally found the net in the 72nd minute when Khabra found Xisco on the right flank. The Spaniard passed to Udanta who whipped a brilliant cross into the box for Miku who guided the ball into the net with a faint left-footed finish and broke NorthEast United hearts.

NorthEast desperately sought an equaliser and were caught out on the break by Udanta in the 87th minute. He charged into space from his own half and attempted a chip that ricocheted off the post into the path of an onrushing Dimas who slotted home.

A desperate NorthEast were punished again in added time. Chhetri played a one-two with Udanta and dribbled into the box. With just Pawan Kumar to beat, the Indian international skipped past the goalkeeper and caressed the ball into the net to spark jubilant scenes in Bengaluru.


Calicut Heroes in final

– Will play the winner of Kochi Blue Spikers Vs Chennai Spartans
– Calicut defeat U Mumba in straight sets 15-12, 15-9,16-14

Chennai, February 19th 2019: First semi-final of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Calicut Heroes defeating U Mumba Volley in straight sets 3-0 (15-12,15-9,16-14) and become the first team to reach the final. Skipper Jerome Vinith led the scoring for Calicut with 12 points (10 spikes and 2 serves) whereas Vinit Kumar was the leading scorer for U Mumba with 7 points (4 spikes and 3 blocks).

The first set started with Calicut taking the early advantage with a 4-2 lead. Both teams were not allowing each other to gain a major advantage, but service errors by U Mumba hurt them. Calicut entered the first Technical Time Out (TTO) with a two-point advantage at 8-6. U Mumba called for a Super Point at 6-9 and successfully converted the same with a Pankaj Sharma spike taking U Mumba within a point’s distance. They soon levelled the score at 10-10, Calicut now called for a Super Point and converted as Sharma misdirected his spike. The score stood at 12-10 in Calicut’s favour. Calicut finally came out victorious in the set by 15-12 as Vinit Kumar’s second service error handed them the set.

It was a neck-to-neck fight in the second set as both teams countered each other well. At 4-4, Calicut picked up their game and for the first time in the set a clear difference of points of visible when skipper Vinith’s spike established an 8-6 lead at TTO. Vinith was in devastating form as he was spiking everything through the U Mumba defence. Calicut was looking unstoppable as they won the second set 15-9 to lead 2-0 in the match.

U Mumba had a strong start to the third as they led 6-4 owing to three unforced errors by Calicut. The newly introduced review system came to U Mumba’s aid on the 5th point for Calicut. A successful review helped U Mumba establish a 7-4 lead. U Mumba entered the TTO leading 8-5. They continued in the same way and established a 12-7 lead. Calicut called for a Super Point and converted to reduce the deficit to 3 and followed it up with a Super Serve by skipper Vinith. U Mumba now only had a point advantage. Calicut showed why they were unbeaten through the tournament as they levelled the score at 12-12 from 7-12 down. Calicut won the set 16-14 as Karthik A served brilliantly for the 15th point and a Kumar error awarded the match to them by 3-0.

Kochi Blue Spikers will play against Chennai Spartans on February 20th. The match will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV from 6:50 PM IST.

RuPay player of the match: Jerome Vinith from Calicut Heroes

Final Score: Calicut Heroes beat U Mumba Volley – 15-12, 15-9,16-14

About the RuPay Pro Volleyball League

An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, RuPay Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. Packaged in the brightest of colours, the first edition of the highly anticipated tournament is set to provide high octane Volleyball action to fans of the sport across the country in the month of February 2019.


Railway Sports Promotion Board drubs Hockey Haryana 8-0

Hisar (Haryana), 17 February 2019: The Semi Finals of the 9th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2019 (A Division) took place here on Sunday which saw Defending Champions Railway Sports Promotion Board defeat Hockey Haryana 8-0 to qualify for the Final, while Hockey Madhya Pradesh also beat Hockey Maharashtra 2-1 to set up an exciting Final encounter on Monday.

In the first Semi Final, it was Railway Sports Promotion Board who produced an emphatic performance against Hockey Haryana to register a 8-0 victory and secure their place in the Final of the competition. Vandana Katariya (6′, 16′, 38′), Anupa Barla (44′, 44′), Navjot Kaur (18′), Deep Grace Ekka (48′) and Neha (51′) scored the goals for the Defending Champions in a match which saw them dominate throughout.

In the second Semi Final, Hockey Madhya Pradesh secured an outstanding result as they beat Hockey Maharashtra by a slim margin of 2-1. The match saw Hockey Madhya Pradesh score the first goal in the 34th minute as Pooja Rani scored off a Penalty Corner. Hockey Madhya Pradesh continued to impress and scored their second goal in the 47th minute as Narender Kaur scored with a fine finish. Hockey Maharashtra tried to make a comeback into the match, and scored a goal in the 53rd minute through H Lalruatfeli, but it was not enough for them, as Hockey Madhya Pradesh secured a 2-1 win to advance to the Final.

Please find below the line-up for the final day of the 9th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2019 (A Division). All matches will take place on Monday, 18th February 2019:

3rd-4th Place Match – 0900hrs IST – Hockey Haryana v Hockey Maharashtra

Final – 1500hrs IST –  Railway Sports Promotion Board v Hockey Madhya Pradesh


Chennai Spartans qualify for playoffs defeating Ahmedabad Defenders

Chennai see off Ahmedabad 15-6, 13-15, 15-13, 15-11,15-12

Chennai, February 17th 2019: Day 14 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Chennai Spartans qualify for the playoffs at the expense of Ahmedabad Defenders as they beat them 4-1 (15-6, 13-15, 15-13, 15-11,15-12) at the Nehru Indoor Stadium.

Rudy Verhoeff created a new milestone for the season by levelling his own record of 20 points (18 spikes and 2 serve points) in a single match for the third time. Verhoeff also became the player with highest number of points in the league at 80 points.

In the first set, Chennai started the match with a streak of points racing to a 6-3 lead. Ruslans Sorokins and Rudy Verhoeff continued from where they left on Saturday. Sorokins and Verhoeff scored 3 points each including a Super Serve to help Chennai enter the first Technical Time Out (TTO) with a 9-3 lead. After the TTO, Chennai kept the pressure up. Ahmedabad called for a Super Point at 5-11 but couldn’t take the advantage. Chennai closed the set 15-6 with a Naveen Raja Jacob spike.

Ahmedabad started the second set on a positive note going up 4-0. It looked like that Ahmedabad would run away with the set but Chennai pulled back and reduced the deficit to 5-7. But it was a Gurinder Singh spike which helped his side enter TTO with an 8-5 lead. Immediately after TTO, Chennai called for a Super Point and converted reducing the advantage to just 1 point for Ahmedabad. Both teams fought hard till the last point of the set. At 13-14, Jacob’s serve went out and Ahmedabad won the set 15-13.

In the third, it was a hard-fought battle, at 6-6 Gurinder and Mandeep Singh helped Ahmedabad enter the TTO with a two-point lead. At 9-9, Ahmedabad called for a Super Point and converted with a GR Vaishnav spike. Immediately, Chennai called for a Super Point and converted with a Verhoeff spike. Soon after, Jacob came up with a swinging serve and Chennai led for the first time in the set. At 14-13 Chennai had the set point and a Sorokins spike closed the set 15-13. Sorokins and Jacob scored 8 out of the 15 points for Chennai in the set.

Chennai carried the momentum from the third set and went into an 8-5 lead at TTO with Verhoeff leading the attack yet again. Ahmedabad called for a Super Point at 9-11 and failed to convert giving Chennai a four-point advantage. Chennai didn’t let the lead slip and won the set 15-11. Chennai led 3-1 at this point.

Last set was only of mathematical consequence as Chennai had already qualified for the playoffs. Inspite of that both teams went toe-to-toe even in the last set. Chennai lead at TTO 8-7. Chennai called for a Super Point at 9-10 and converted. Ahmedabad did the same but failed to convert giving Chennai at 3-point advantage. Chennai closed the set 15-12 and the match 4-1.

U Mumba Volley will take on Ahmedabad Defenders on February 18th 2019. It will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV from 6:50 PM IST.

RuPay player of the match: Rudy Verhoeff of Chennai Spartans

Final Score: Chennai Spartans beat Ahmedabad Defenders – 15-6, 13-15, 15-13, 15-11,15-12

Points Table at the end of matchday 14:

About the RuPay Pro Volleyball League

An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, RuPay Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. Packaged in the brightest of colours, the first edition of the highly anticipated tournament is set to provide high octane Volleyball action to fans of the sport across the country in the month of February 2019.


Delhi hand Bengaluru another shocking loss

Delhi, February 17: Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored twice in three minutes to haunt his former team as Delhi Dynamos FC put it across Bengaluru FC 3-2 in a closely fought Hero Indian Super League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

Sunil Chhetri of Bengaluru FC celebrate goal during match 79 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between Delhi Dynamos FC and Bengaluru FC held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi, India on the 17th February 2019
Photo by: Arjun Singh /SPORTZPICS for ISL

Ulises Davila’s goal in the ninth minute gave Delhi the lead and opened the game up in midfield. Boithang Haokip scored in the 19th minute to bring Bengaluru level. Sunil Chhetri’s 72nd-minute strike looked to have put Bengaluru in the driving seat before Daniel Lalhlimpuia struck twice (77′, 80′) to seal a win for his team

The win meant Delhi are now unbeaten in their last five matches, winning three of them. Bengaluru, on the other hand, have lost three of their last five matches, picking up just four points after being unbeaten in the first 11 games of the season. Bengaluru, however, are perched at the top of the table with 31 points from 16 matches.

Bengaluru started on the front foot and almost scored in the first minute. Udanta Singh combined with Miku on the right flank, dribbled into the box and squared the ball back to the Venezuelan striker who shot wide of the target.

Despite the visitors’ ascendancy, Delhi Dynamos drew first blood in the ninth minute. Nandhakumar Sekar’s low cross into the box was punched into the feet of Davila by an outstretched Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. The Mexican forward found the back of the net with a powerful shot.

Bengaluru were back in the contest in the 19th minute. Similar to the opening goal, Francisco Dorronsoro had trouble collecting a Xisco Hernandez cross from the right flank and his punch sent the ball to Boithang whose first-time shot struck the net.

The teams were much more cautious in their approach after the break.

Delhi had chances to take the lead as the second half wore on but failed to convert them into goals. The league leaders, at the other end, pulled ahead in the 72nd minute.

The visitors made full use of Delhi’s pressing and the space available behind the defence as Xisco found Chhetri’s run with a perfectly-weighted lobbed through-ball. The India striker dribbled into the box and poked the ball past Dorronsoro.

Delhi’s attackers sprang to life and moved forward in search of the equaliser. They were rewarded in the 77th minute when Narayan Das delivered a teasing cross into the centre of the box from the left flank. Daniel brought the ball under control and slammed the ball straight at Gurpreet who could not prevent the strike from going into the net.

Delhi looked a rejuvenated side in the second half and consistent pressure in the attacking third helped the hosts regain their lead three minutes later.

Juanan’s defensive header off a Romeo Fernandes cross fell to Daniel. The former Bengaluru striker drilled a low shot towards goal which took a deflection off Rahul Bheke and beat Gurpreet at his near post.

Daniel outmuscled Albert Serran and entered the box in the 86th minute. Gurpreet pulled off a good save to deny the striker a hat trick but the damage was already done by Delhi whose second-half performance gave them a morale-boosting win.


Udayan Mane delivers a top-class 67 to emerge champion

Shubhankar Sharma, Mukesh Kumar share second place

Nuh, Haryana, February 15, 2019: Pune-based Udayan Mane delivered a top-class final round of five-under-67 to emerge champion at the Rs. 30 lakh PGTI Players Championship at the Classic Golf & Country Club in Nuh, Haryana, on Friday. The prolific Mane, playing in only his fifth season as a professional, collected seven Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points for his seventh title.

The 27-year-old Udayan (71-64-71-67), who achieved his target total score of 15-under-273, climbed from fifth to second position in the 2019 PGTI Order of Merit and is likely to take a big jump in the world rankings from his current 962 when the updated list comes out on Monday.

India’s top golfer Shubhankar Sharma (70-68-69-67) finished joint runner-up at 14-under-274 while veteran Mukesh Kumar (71-69-69-65) of Mhow came up with a spirited 65, the best round of the day, to also bag tied second place on a topsy-turvy day that saw at least four players in the lead or the joint lead at different stages.

Udayan Mane, lying overnight second, had hit his wedges to perfection all week. It was no different in the last round. He began the day with a 15-feet birdie conversion on the second before using his wedges to good effect once again to set up most of his birdies including those on the third, seventh, 10th, 12th and 15th.

The strapping Udayan, among the tallest Indian golfers at 6 foot 4 inches, also had three bogeys to show on day four. However, he made the all-important two-putt for birdie from the fringe of the 18th green and a distance of 35 yards to deliver the winning blow. Mane’s final putt was an eight-footer.

Mane, whose home course is the Kalhaar Blues & Greens in Ahmedabad, said, “It’s now 7 for 7 which means seven points for my seventh title. So that’s special.

“It’s been a fabulous start to the season as I had a top-5 last week as well. I’ve been playing really well, having totaled 15-under for two weeks in succession. I hit my wedges even better this week and also converted more putts.

“Today I adapted well when the conditions suddenly changed and it became quite cold midway through my round. I did well to factor in the wind which had switched and the increased yardages due to the heavier air.

“At the start of the day, I told myself that I had to finish with a score of 15-under. I achieved that number as I managed to successfully execute my plans. This win now sets up my season,” added Udayan, who last won exactly one year back in Hyderabad.

The 53-year-old Mukesh Kumar, the sole leader at one stage on day four, enjoyed an error-free day but missed a two-footer for birdie on the 18ththat proved to be decisive at the end.

Shubhankar Sharma mixed six birdies with a bogey to take a share of second at his former home course.

Young guns, 22-year-old Veer Ahlawat (13-under-275) of Gurugram and 18-year-old rookie Kshitjit Naveed Kaul (12-under-276) of Delhi claimed fourth and fifth places respectively.

Round three leader Sunit Chowrasia of Kolkata dropped to seventh place at 10-under-278 after a final round of 73.


PV Sindhu wins semi-final

Ashmita Chaliha wins hearts at Yonex-Sunrise 83rd Senior National Badminton Championships

Guwahati, February 15: Top seed PV Sindhu staved off a gutsy fightback from Assam’s wonderkid Ashmita Chaliha to enter the final at the Yonex-Sunrise 83rd Senior National Badminton Championships 2018-19, here on Friday. The two-time champion had to claw her way back from 16-19 down in the second game and needed two match points to douse the challenge of the spirited fourth seed Chaliha 21-10, 22-20.

The 19-year-old girl from Assam had already announced her arrival last year with BWF titles at the Dubai International Challenge and the Tata Open. On Day 4 of the Senior Nationals, she gave yet another display of her immense talent when she steadied her nerves and got back into contention from an 8-13 deficit in the second game.

Egged on by the motley crowd, the fearless girl drew level at 13-13 and jumped into a 17-14 lead against the Rio Olympic silver medallist before advancing to 19-16. That’s where Sindhu’s vast experience came in handy and she evened the score at 19-19 to have a match point at 20-19.

But the resilient Ashmita was not done yet and she saved the first match point only to see her World No. 6 opponent wrap it up on her second in 38 minutes.

In the other semi-final matches of the day, Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg lived up to their reputation as the top seeds in mixed doubles. The World No. 46 pair needed only 32 minutes to dispatch Vighnesh Devlekar and Harika V 21-15, 21-16 to enter the final.

They will take on the unseeded combine of Manu Attri and Maneesha K, who continued their rampage with a fine 21-18, 21-17 win over Shlok Ramchandran and Mithula UK.

In women’s doubles, top seeds Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram continued their quest for the title with a strong 21-13, 21-16 victory over Kuhoo Garg and Anoushka Parikh. They will take on the unseeded Shikha Gautam and Ashwini Bhat K in the summit clash after the latter edged Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP 21-19, 24-22.

Men’s doubles second seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty beat Arun George and Sanyam Shukla 21-17, 21-18 to secure a place in the final.

Earlier in the day, defending champion Saina Nehwal and former winners Parupalli Kashyap and Sourabh Verma all emerged victorious in their respective quarter-finals.  The second seeded Nehwal was hardly ever tested in her 21-10, 21-10 victory over Maharashtra’s veteran shuttler Neha Pandit and needed just 24 minutes to complete the match.

Nehwal’s husband, Kashyap, the men’s singles third seed and 2012 winner, too was equally impressive in his 21-18, 21-16 win over 21-year-old Bodhit Joshi. But the star of the day was former two-time champion Sourabh Verma.

Unseeded this time, the 26-year-old dropped a game but managed to dig deep to knock out the second seed and 2014 champion Sai Praneeth 21-11, 21-23, 21-18 in an absorbing clash that needed 1 hour 2 minutes to finish.


Kerala Blasters end win drought in style

Kochi, February 15: Kerala Blasters FC notched only their second win of the Hero Indian Super League season after a comprehensive 3-0 win over rivals Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Friday.

Sahal Abdul Samad of Kerala Blasters FC takes a shot to score a goal during match 77 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between Kerala Blasters FC and Chennaiyin FC held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi, India on the 15th February 2019
Photo by: Faheem Hussain /SPORTZPICS for ISL

Matej Poplatnik scored a brace (23′, 55′) to put Kerala Blasters in the driving seat and young midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad finished things off in the 71st minute to score his first ever ISL goal and end his team’s 14-game winless run.

Chennaiyin on the other hand see their nightmare season continue after their 12th loss of the season. They are rooted to the bottom spot with eight points from 16 games, while Kerala have climbed to the eighth spot.

The visitors never really got going and were on the backfoot right from the start. Chennaiyin custodian Karanjit Singh was called into action twice early in the game as Kerala imposed themselves. Slavisa Stojanovic’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by Karanjit and he had to be alert to block the follow-up effort from Poplatnik as well.

But Kerala did make their early dominance count by taking the lead in the 23rd minute. Courage Pekuson’s low cross into the box could only be deflected towards Poplatnik by Karanjit and the striker gleefully headed home into an empty net.

John Gregory’s side could not gain a foothold into the match and looked woefully out of rhythm in the attacking third. As the half wore on, Kerala could have doubled their lead as Karanjit was forced into two fine saves from Pekuson and Seiminlen Doungel’s efforts.

The story remained pretty much the same in the second half as well and the second goal came 10 minutes later. Len Doungel initiated a quick counter-attack and fed Sahal down the right wing. The midfielder squared a pass into the box which was not dealt with at all by the Chennaiyin defenders. Stojanovic got to it and found Poplatnik who lashed a shot home.

That goal was a blow Chennaiyin FC never recovered from. It did not help that Christopher Herd, who was injured in the build-up to Kerala’s goal, had to be substituted.

The home team continued to call the shots and soon got the third in the 71st minute. Again, Samad started the attack with a run from inside his own half. The Chenanaiyin defenders stood off him and could not clear the ball after Samad’s attempted one-two with Doungel did not come off. Sahal carried on his run to latch on to the loose ball and lift a finish over the onrushing Karanjit.

Chennaiyin did push forward a bit in order to notch a consolation goal but Kerala saw them off with consummate ease.


Hockey India names 34-players for Senior Men’s National Camp ahead of season opener

The players will report at SAI, Bengaluru on 18 February 2019 to prepare for the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

New Delhi, 16 February 2019: Hockey India on Saturday named a list of 34-players for the Senior Men’s National Camp to begin at the Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru on 18 February to prepare for the season’s first tournament — 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia starting on 23 March 2019.

Hockey India has retained all 18 players in the Indian Team that took part at the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 for the month-long Camp that concludes on 18 March 2019.

The list also features Sultan of Johor Cup Silver-medal winning India Colts Shilanand Lakra, Suman Beck, Mandeep Mor, Yashdeep Siwach, Vishal Antil and Gursahabjit Singh who had figured in the 34-member Camp for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.  The youngsters have been credited for showing continued improvement and potential to match the standards at the Senior level.

Goalkeepers PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera and Krishan Bahadur Pathak have been named in the group along with Defenders Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Pardeep Singh, Suman Beck, Mandeep Mor, Birendra Lakra and Rupinder Pal Singh.

Midfielders Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Sumit, Simranjit Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Yashdeep Siwach and Vishal Antil have been called up.  And among forwards, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Sumit Kumar, Gursahabjit Singh, Shilanand Lakra and SV Sunil.

“The team for the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be selected from this core group of 34 players after a selection trial is held in Bengaluru in the last week of February. I am happy to note that the junior players who have recently been inducted into the Senior Camp have shown significant improvement and that the depth in the group is strong.” expressed David John, High Performance Director, Hockey India.  

List of Campers

Goalkeepers: 1. PR Sreejesh 2. Suraj Karkera  3. Krishan Bahadur Pathak

Defenders: 4. Harmanpreet Singh 5. Gurinder Singh 6. Varun Kumar 7. Kothajit Singh Khadangbam 8. Surender Kumar 9. Amit Rohidas 10. Jarmanpreet Singh 11. Pardeep Singh 12. Suman Beck  13. Mandeep Mor 14. Birendra Lakra 15. Rupinder Pal Singh

Midfielders: 16. Manpreet Singh 17. Chinglensana Singh Kangujam 18. Sumit 19. Simranjit Singh 20. Nilakanta Sharma  21. Hardik Singh 22. Lalit Kumar Upadhyay 23. Vivek Sagar Prasad 24. Yashdeep Siwach 25. Vishal Antil

Forwards: 26. Akashdeep Singh  27. Ramandeep Singh 28. Gurjant Singh 29. Mandeep Singh 30. Dilpreet Singh 31. Sumit Kumar 32. Gursahabjit Singh 33. Shilanand Lakra 34. SV Sunil


Jeje finds his scoring boots

Mumbai, February 12: It has so far been a season to forget for Chennaiyin FC and their star forward Jeje Lalpheklua in the Hero Indian Super League. The champions are no longer defending their title which they won so majestically last season, but in defeating Bengaluru FC, they may have finally found something to cheer.

This was only the second win for Chennaiyin FC in 15 matches. But this was against their fierce rivals, who they defeated in the final last year to emerge champions. More importantly, Jeje was able to break his goal-scoring duck as he fired the hosts into an early lead at Chennai.

It wasn’t the prettiest of goals with Nishu Kumar’s fluffed clearance providing Jeje with the opportunity to get his shot away. Even then, Bengaluru goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu should have done better with his attempted save with the ball slipping through his gloves and into the net.

It was perhaps just the deserved slice of luck that both Jeje and Chennaiyin needed after it had eluded them all season.

“I’ve been working for so long and finally I got a goal. I’d like to thank all the fans for supporting me. The goal and the win were deserved. We keep fighting every day and push ourselves every time in training,” said Jeje, who became the first Indian player to score in all five seasons of the ISL.

It is no co-incidence that Jeje’s goal-scoring drought has paralleled Chennaiyin’s dismal title defence. The ‘Mizo Sniper’ had been pivotal in leading the title charge for John Gregory’s side last season with nine goals and one assist in 20 appearances.

However, nothing seemed to be going right for Jeje this season as Chennaiyin plunged to new lows.  When the goals dry up from your primary goal-outlet, teams will more often than not struggle in the attacking third and that has been the case for Chennaiyin all season with the club’s attacking statistics amongst the worst in the league.

Going through a lean patch is not uncommon for strikers but Jeje’s extended spell without a goal was in danger of encompassing the complete season.

Each passing game without a goal was taking a toll with a major loss in confidence in his own abilities evident. The Mizoram-born forward has been amongst the most prolific Indian goal-scorer in the league’s history with his combined goal tally standing at 22 before the win against Bengaluru.

Jeje’s conversion rate had hovered around the 27 per cent mark in his previous two seasons in the league but it has come down to an alarming 12 per cent in the current campaign. That drop in conversion is substantial and it is no wonder that the striker had become bereft of confidence while Chennaiyin went into free fall.

Now, with his 23rd ISL goal, Jeje might just be rediscovering his scoring touch. It follows on from his sumptuous goal against Thailand in India’s historic win in the Asian Cup 2019 and these two strikes could go a long way in lifting the spirits and confidence of the Chennaiyin star.

Who knows, there still might be some light at the end of a long and dark tunnel for Jeje and Chennaiyin. With their tails up once again, Chennaiyin and Jeje could still salvage the season with the AFC Cup and Hero Super Cup to come.


Black Hawks Hyderabad keep playoff chances alive beating U Mumba

Hyderabad edge passed U Mumba 13-15, 15-11,7-15, 15-14,15-11

Kochi, February 12th 2019: Day 11 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Black Hawks Hyderabad script a thrilling comeback as they won the match 3-2 (13-15, 15-11, 7-15, 15-14, 15-11) against U Mumba Volley to keep their chances alive of qualifying for the playoffs. Rohit Kumar led the scoring for Hyderabad with 10 points (6 spikes, 4 blocks) whereas Pankaj Sharma scored 15 points (14 spikes and 1 block) for U Mumba.  

In the first set, both teams didn’t give an inch and were neck to neck almost all through the set. U Mumba’s Shubham Chaudhary came up with a Super Serve while both teams were tied at 3-3 to give his team a two-point advantage. Hyderabad soon closed the gap and both were tied at 6-6. U Mumba wrested the initiative just at Technical Time Out (TTO) with an 8-6 lead. Post TTO, U Mumba called for a Super Point at 10-9 and converted on Hyderabad’s serve. Hyderabad did the same as they converted their Super Point right after, thanks to a wayward serve by Pankaj Sharma. It was a tight last few points but U Mumba finally came through 15-13 to win the first set.

A similar story was to unfold in the second set, as no team held a clear advantage. Both teams countered each other and at 7-7 it was an error on the spike by Prince which helped Hyderabad hold a point advantage at TTO. Hyderabad came out all guns blazing as they raced to a 12-9 lead benefitting from U Mumba’s mistakes. U Mumba called for a Super Point and converted with Sharma’s spike to drive hopes of a comeback. Raison Rebello made sure that doesn’t happen as he scored two of the last three points for Hyderabad with a block and spike to close the set 15-11 and level the match 1-1.

U Mumba started with more intent as they scored four straight points, three of which came from spikes by Sharma, Dipesh Sinha and Vinit Kumar. U Mumba kept on piling the pressure and went into the TTO leading 8-3. U Mumba didn’t let the lead slip and put up a dominant display with four spike points and three blocks to close the set 15-7 and lead 2-1 in the match.

In the penultimate set, Hyderabad showed more intent and didn’t allow Mumbai any breakthrough till 6-6. U Mumba like the first set again took an 8-6 lead as a serve point by Kumar and a spike by Sharma gave them the cushion. Hyderabad came back strongly and levelled the score with two spikes and a block by Rohit Kumar at 9-9. Nick Del Bianco from U Mumba came to the party as he aced a Super Serve to give his team a 12-10 lead.  At 11-13 Hyderabad called for a Super Point and converted to stay alive in the match. The Super Point gave a lift to Hyderabad and they closed the set 15-14 and establish parity in the match.

U Mumba started in style in the final set as they raced to a 6-3 lead with skipper Sinha and Kumar combined to score five out of the six points. But Hyderabad wasn’t going to let U Mumba take the game away as they soon levelled the score and then went into a lead with skipper Carson Clark and Alex Bader scoring five consecutive spike points. The score stood at 8-6 in Hyderabad’s favour. The run of points finally stopped when a spike by Prince gave U Mumba the break at 7-9. U Mumba called for a Super Point at 8-11 and converted as the match was poised for a thriller at 10-11 in Hyderabad’s favour. Hyderabad called for a Super Point and won it with a block by Rohit Kumar. Hyderabad scripted an epic comeback as they won the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.

Calicut Heroes will take on Ahmedabad Defenders on February 13th 2019. It will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV from 6:50 PM IST.

RuPay player of the match: Carson Clark from Black Hawks Hyderabad

Final Score: Black Hawks Hyderabad beat U Mumba Volley-13-15, 15-11,7-15, 15-14,15-11

About the RuPay Pro Volleyball League

An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, RuPay Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. Packaged in the brightest of colours, the first edition of the highly anticipated tournament is set to provide high octane Volleyball action to fans of the sport across the country in the month of February 2019.


NorthEast win a point but don’t make much progress

Guwahati, February 7: NorthEast United FC were left to rue missed chances, particularly at the end, as they settled for a 1-1 draw against Delhi Dynamos FC in a Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Thursday.

Bartholomew Ogbeche of Northeast United FC takes the penalty during match 71 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between NorthEast United FC and Delhi Dynamos FC held at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, India on the 7th February 2019
Photo by: Deepak Malik /SPORTZPICS for ISL

NorthEast United have won only one of their last seven matches but continue to be in contention for a semi-final spot. The point sees them move four points clear of fifth-placed Jamshedpur FC but have played a game more, while Delhi Dynamos remain eighth.

After an even first-half, Marcos Tebar put the visitors in the lead in the 67th minute. Star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche equalled Ferran Corominas in the race for the Golden Boot race by scoring his 11th goal from the spot in the 71st minute.

The Highlanders went for the kill towards the end but saw chance after chance go amiss including a shot from Rowllin Borges which was clawed on to the crossbar by an alert Delhi goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro and had to settle for a point.

NorthEast looked to get Ogbeche involved in the game right from the start with several long balls. However, the offside flag and timely interceptions by the Delhi backline prevented the Nigerian from getting a free sight on goal.

NorthEast custodian TP Rehenesh almost gifted a goal to the opposition when he misplaced a pass straight to Lallianzuala Chhangte in the 24th minute. The winger took the ball into the box and tried to side-foot it into the net but the goalkeeper made up for his error by parrying the shot away.

The game opened up as the first half wore on and the hosts went close three times at the stroke of half-time. Delhi goalkeeper Dorronsoro kept out Borges’ attempts on goal twice before a curled effort by Triadis ricocheted off the post.

After the break, NorthEast kept probing and Ogbeche missed a glorious chance in the 49th minute. With the Delhi backline looking to push up, Robert Lalthlamuana released the Nigerian behind the defence but the striker was unable to hit the target from a one-on-one with Dorronsoro.

After holding firm at the back post the break, Delhi took the lead in the 67th minute against the run of play. Marcos Tebar started a flowing move, spread the ball wide to Nandhakumar Sekar on the right flank. The winger crossed into the box and Rehenesh could only parry it towards an onrushing Tebar who tapped it home.

The goal triggered an immediate response from the hosts. Borges fed Ogbeche into the box and he was brought down by Narayan Das and the referee awarded a penalty for the home side. Ogbeche stepped up and scored his 11th goal of the season from 12 yards, sending Dorronsoro the wrong way.


Chennai Spartans register first win

Chennai register first win as they beat Black Hawks 15-12, 15-12, 15-11, 15-10, 13-15

Kochi, February 7th 2019: Day 6 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Chennai Spartans register their first win of the season defeating Black Hawks Hyderabad (15-12, 15-12, 15-11, 15-10, 13-15) here on Thursday. Naveen Raja Jacob was the star of the show for Chennai as he amassed 16 points (12 spikes and 4 serve points). For Hyderabad it was yet again skipper Carson Clark who led from the front with 12 points (11 spikes and 1 block).

At 8-2, Black Hawks Hyderabad looked set to take home the first set. Post the first Technical Time Out (TTO), Chennai found their feet as they crawled up to 10-10 thanks to handful of errors from Black Hawks and conversion of Super Point with a brilliant serve by skipper Shelton Moses. At 11-10 Black Hawks called for a Super Point but a fault on the serve by Prashant P handed a one-point lead to Chennai. From there, Chennai settled the matter in their favour at 15-12.

Riding on the high of winning the first set, Chennai raced into a 5-1 lead as Jacob, G S Akhin, and Rudy Verhoeff spiked their way through the Hyderabad defence. At TTO, Chennai was leading 8-4 and immediately called for a Super Point but Ashwal Rai’s spike helped Hyderabad break Chennai’s serve and win the Super Point. Hyderabad called for a Super Point at 8-10 and it was Alex Bader who intercepted Chennai’s weak receiving with an inch perfect spike to level the scores at 10-10. But exactly as it happened in first set, from 10-10 Chennai got five points compared to Hyderabad’s two to win the second set 15-12.

For Hyderabad, third set was crucial to stay alive. But Jacob took the matters in his hands from there scoring six points by himself. At 10-9, seeing the opportunity, Hyderabad called for a Super Point and lost it to a spike from Jacob. He followed it up with a Super Serve and followed and another serve point to kill all the momentum Hyderabad tried to gather. Expectedly, Chennai won the third set 15-11 to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the match.

In no time, Chennai went up 8-4 in the penultimate set. Hyderabad broke Chennai on their Super Point to reduce the gap to 6-8. Soon after, Hyderabad called for their Super Point at 7-9 and a bad serve into the net by Muthusamy Appavu pulled them down further. Chennai didn’t waste much time before closing the set 15-10. At 4-0, they sensed that they could register the first whitewash of the league. At 8-5, it seemed a genuine possibility but Hyderabad was somehow hanging in the set. They called for a Super Point at 9-8 and it was Sorokins who won it for Chennai with a spike. Chennai immediately called for the Super Point at 10-9 and gave away the point to Hyderabad as the score stood 11-10 in favour of Hyderabad. Hyderabad didn’t allow this lead to slip and ended the set in their favour at 15-13, winning the only set out of the five.

Kochi Blue Spikers will take on Black Hawks Hyderabad on February 8th 2019. It will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV from 6:50 PM IST.

RuPay player of the match: Naveen Raja Jacob

Final Score: Chennai Spartans beat Black Hawks Hyderabad – 15-12, 15-12, 15-11, 15-10, 13-15

Points table after match-day 6 is as follows:

About the RuPay Pro Volleyball League

An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, RuPay Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. Packaged in the brightest of colours, the first edition of the highly anticipated tournament is set to provide high octane Volleyball action to fans of the sport across the country in the month of February 2019


Kochi Blue Spikers overcome the Ahmedabad challenge

Kochi remains unbeaten as they defeat Ahmedabad 10-15, 15-11, 11-15,15-12, 15-12

Kochi, February 6th 2019: Day 5 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Kochi Blue Spikers edge -passed the resilient Ahmedabad Defenders (10-15, 15-11, 11-15,15-12, 15-12) here on Wednesday. For Kochi it was Olympic Gold Medalist David Lee who scored 10 points (7 spikes, 2 blocks and 1 serve point). On the other hand, it was Victor Sysoev who was the stand-out performer for Ahmedabad Defenders with 13 points (11 spikes and 2 blocks) to his name.

Ahmedabad started the first set with a flurry of points with Gurinder Singh hitting three spikes and one block to give his team a 4-0 lead. Riding on the momentum Ahmedabad called for a Super Point at 5-1 and converted the same in style as Mandeep Singh landed a Super Serve to increase the lead to 7-1. After trailing at 3-8 at the Technical Time Out (TTO), Kochi came out with fire in their belly clinching two consecutive points. Rightly they called for a Super Point but lost the conversion opportunity owing to a block by Victor Sysoev. Kochi looked as if they will stage a comeback as the lead was narrowed down to 13-10 but Ahmedabad made sure that didn’t happen and closed the set 15-10.

The second set looked more of a competition as both the teams were matching each other move after move. At 7-7 Kochi called for a Super Point and a won it going into the TTO at 9-7. Kochi continued with their attacking game as David Lee and Andrej Patuc with combined points from spike and serve helped Kochi increase their lead to 14-11. Manu Joseph added the finishing touch with a spike, as Kochi won the set 15-11.

Kochi continued from where the left in the last set as they raced to a 5-2 lead with Lee, Patuc and Joseph again the architects of the lead. Ahmedabad showed resilience and levelled the score at 7-7 but an error at the net by Novica Bjelica gave Kochi a point advantage at TTO. Post TTO, it was a hard-fought battle till 11-11 before Kochi called for a Super Point and Ahmedabad broke their serve to gain the advantage. Immediately, seeing the opening Ahmedabad called for a Super Point and Sysoev’s well timed block helped his team win the set 15-11 and a 2-1 advantage in the match. In the fourth set Ahmedabad really looked positive and went into an 8-4 lead. At 8-4 Ahmedabad called for a Super Point and missed the opportunity. Immediately Kochi called for a Super Point and converted to level the score at 8-8. Till the very end it looked like anyone’s set before two consecutive points by Kochi at 13-12 helped them close the set at 15-12 and match went into a decider.

In the decider, Kochi looked like running away with the match as they established a 6-1 lead with the help of one super serve and a serve point by Ukkrapandian. Ahmedabad, with their never say die attitude staged a comeback and reduced the deficit to 7-8. Kochi who seemed like losing steam, now took the initiative in their hands and a Super Serve by K Praveen Kumar gave his team a four-point lead at 11-7. Kochi wanting to end the game in a hurry called for a Super Point, but lost the opportunity.  The set was heading towards a nail-biting finish with the score at 11-10 in favour of Kochi. In the end, Kochi held on to their nerves as an error on serve by Ranjit Singh gave Kochi the set 15-12 and the match 3-2.

Chennai Spartans will take on Black Hawks Hyderabad on February 7th 2019. It will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV from 6:50 PM IST.

RuPay player of the match: Mohan Ukkrapandian

Final Score: Kochi Blue Spikers beat Ahmedabad Defenders: 10-15, 15-11, 11-15,15-12, 15-12


Two goals down, Bengaluru fight back to snatch a point

Bengaluru, February 6: A brilliant second-half performance helped Bengaluru FC salvage a draw against Kerala Blasters FC in an action-packed Hero Indian Super League clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.

Udanta Singh of Bengaluru FC during match 70 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters held at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru, India on the 6th February 2019
Photo by: Deepak Malik /SPORTZPICS for ISL

Slavisa Stojanovic scored a 16th-minute penalty before a fabulous strike from Courage Pekuson handed the visitors a two-goal lead at the break. But just as it seemed that Kerala Blasters may win their first match against Bengaluru FC, a header from Udanta Singh (69′) and another from Sunil Chhetri (85′) helped the Blues grab a point.

The result sees Bengaluru extend their lead atop the ISL table to four points, while Kerala Blasters remain winless in 14 matches and are rooted to the ninth spot.

Kerala threatened from the start and a rampaging run by Mohammad Rakip down the right flank in the 14th minute provided the breakthrough. The young full-back’s cross from the right hit Kean Lewis’ hand and Stojanovic stepped up to convert the resultant penalty-kick to put his team in the lead.
Chances were few and far between for Bengaluru. In the 35th minute, Dimas Delgado released Edmund Lalrindika into the box with a perfectly-weighted through-ball but Sandesh Jhingan quickly came across to sweep the ball off the striker’s feet.

Kerala’s persistence in attack was rewarded in the 40th minute as Sahal Abdul Samad split the Bengaluru backline with an excellent pass for Seiminlen Doungel. The forward was denied space to shoot but he laid the ball off for an onrushing Courage Pekuson who belted an outstanding strike from outside the box into the top corner of the net.

In response to going behind, the hosts upped the ante by playing more balls into the box. Rahul Bheke and Udanta Singh played excellent crosses from the right, both aimed at Chhetri, but the skipper sent his header off target on both instances.

Chhetri went close again a few minutes later when he met Dimas Delgado’s cross from the right with a powerful first-time effort. Kerala goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh made a good save to deny the India international and keep Kerala’s two-goal lead intact.

Bengaluru finally managed to carve the Kerala defence open in the 69th minute. Chhetri headed Erik Paartalu’s lofted ball back across the box into the path of Udanta Singh who headed home, leaving the defenders rooted to the spot. 

The hosts equalised with five minutes left on the clock. Udanta received Harmanjot Khabra’s backheel and crossed into the box from the right flank. Sunil Chhetri got to the end of it, beating Mohammad Rakip in the air to a powerful header into the net.

Bengaluru will take heart from a superb second-half comeback, while Kerala Blasters were left to ponder what could have been.


Women National Hockey Championship 2019 (A Division)

Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh ,  Haryana, Sports Authority of India and  Gangpur-Odisha register victories

Kollam (Kerala), 05 February 2019: Action in the 9th Hockey India Junior Women National Hockey Championship 2019 (A Division) continued here at the Hockey Stadium on Tuesday into its sixth day, which saw Hockey Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Hockey Haryana, Sports Authority of India and Hockey Gangpur-Odisha secure victories in their respective Pool matches of the competition.

In Pool A, Hockey Jharkhand beat The Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd. by an emphatic margin of 23-0. Goals for Hockey Jharkhand were scored by their Captain Reshma Soreng (18′, 23′, 26′, 28′, 55′), Albela Toppo (2′, 19′, 24′, 30′), Priya Dungdung (5′, 15′, 25′, 35′), Sushma Kumari (40′, 41′, 42′, 50′), Ropni Kumari (42′, 53′, 57′), Beauty Dungdung (29′, 45′) and Prini Kandir (10′).

While in the other Pool A match, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy defeated Hockey Coorg 23-0 where the goals for them were scored by Neeraj Rana (2′, 9′, 22′, 24′, 27′, 32′, 33′, 50′, 57′), Yogita Bora (10′, 16′, 51′), Kanchan Nidhi Kerketta (18′, 23′, 55′), Sneha Singh (39′, 40′, 44′), Sadhna Sengar (41′, 43′, 46′), Hritika Singh (20′) and Priyanka Parihar (49′)

In Pool B, Hockey Haryana beat Hockey Uttarakhand 5-0 where the goals for their team were scored by Captain Amandeep Kaur (14′, 23′, 24′), Joyti (27′) and Manju Chorsiya (34′

In the other Pool B match, Sports Authority of India defeated Chhattisgarh Hockey by a score-line of 4-2. Goals for Sports Authority of India were scored by Bhavani Maugulla (32′), Akanksha Shukla (53′), Tanya (57′) and Deepti Ekka (60′), while goals for Chhattisgarh Hockey were scored by Harshita Sahu (38′) and Captain Khushboo Bara (58′)

In Pool C, it was Hockey Gangpur-Odisha defeated Hockey Andhra Pradesh by a score-line of 7-3. Goals for Hockey Gangpur-Odisha were by Rojita Kujur (7′, 36′), Jyoti Chhatri (29′, 51′), Sunita Xaxa (14′), Janhabi Pradhan (22′) and Rahil Tirkey (43′), while Vara Lakshmi Uppidi (18′), Captain Mary Lotla (59′) and Jhansi Bobbili (60′) scored for Hockey Andhra Pradesh.

In the other Pool C match, Hockey Mizoram drew their match against Hockey Maharashtra by a margin of 2-2. Goals or Hockey Maharashtra were scored by their Captain Akshata Dhekale (20′, 55′), while Hockey Mizoram’s two goals were scored by Lalneihpuii (45′) and Lalrindiki (48′)

Please find attached the match schedule, pool standings and photos from the Pool matches of the 9th Hockey India Junior Women National Hockey Championship 2019 (A Division).

Confident Black Hawks Hyderabad to face Chennai Spartans in RuPay

Kochi, February 6th 2019: After a hard fought 3-2 victory over Ahmedabad Defenders, Carson Clark-led Black Hawks Hyderabad will be looking to continue from where they left in the last match as they meet Chennai Spartans. Chennai in their first fixture of the league went down to Calicut Heroes 1-4 on Day 2 of RuPay Pro Volleyball League.

Chennai, who were far from their best against Calicut, will have to look at plugging the gaps which were evident in their opening fixture. The team will look upto GS Akhin, Naveen Raja Jacob, Vibin George, Shelton Moses and the foreign imports Ruslans Sorokins and Rudy Verhoeff when they take on  Hyderabad on Thursday.

Ahead of the match, Chennai Spartans’ star blocker Akhin said, “Our first match didn’t go the way we planned it to be. We have gone back to the drawing board and we just have to ensure that we play a tight match.”

The league, which is an initiative of Baseline Ventures and Volleyball Federation of India, began on February 2. 

Hyderabad will look to build on their performance against Ahmedabad Defenders as the young team showed great serving and attacking ability.

Skipper Clark believes that the whole team is really pumped up and looking forward to the match against Chennai. “We had a good start against Ahmedabad, we have to keep the momentum going and take one match at a time,” said Clark.

The live broadcast of the match will start on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and live streaming will be on SONY LIV from 6:50 PM IST on Feb 7th 2019.


Calicut Heroes overcome a resurgent U Mumba

Calicut remain unbeaten as they beat U Mumba 15-10, 12-15, 15-13, 14-15, 15-9

Kochi, February 5th 2019:  Day 4 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Calicut Heroes register their second win in a thrilling battle against U Mumba Volley (15-10, 12-15, 15-13, 14-15, 15-9). For Calicut it was yet again Ajith Lal C played the lead role with 16 points (15 spikes, 1 block) whereas for U Mumba Volley it was skipper Dipesh Kumar Sinha who stood out with 11 points (7 spikes, 3 blocks and 1 serve).

After winning the toss U Mumba Volley decided to serve and got two quick points. Calicut picked up the pace soon with two back-to-back spikes from Lal. At the Technical Time Out (TTO), Calicut led U Mumba by just one point at 8-7. At 11-8, Calicut called for a Super Point and a beautifully executed deception ending with a spike from Lal got them the bonus point. U Mumba made a two-point recovery to 10-14, owing to errors by Iluoni Ngampourou and Jerome Vinith, but a spike from Calicut skipper Vinith closed the set in their favour at 15-10

Both the teams started cautiously in the second, countering each other’s moves and earning on a few unforced errors. At 4-4, Lal came up with a blistering spike to break the parity followed by a mistake by Nick Del Bianco as Calicut got a two-point lead. At 5-6, U Mumba called for a Super Point that they won with an inch perfect block by Saqlain Tariq to give his team a 7-6 lead. Riding on the new lease of energy they won six consecutive points stretching the lead to 12-6. Calicut tried to close the gap climbing up to 12-14 but U Mumba settled the matter with a Tomislav Coskovic spike at 15-12.

With a set apiece, the match became a battle of equals. At 6-6, U Mumba took the initiative two consecutive spikes Saqlain Tariq and Del Bianco heading into the TTO at 8-6. At 7-8, U Mumba called for a Super Point but a rock-solid block at the net by Karthik A won Calicut the point and lead at 9-8. U Mumba made a comeback with a spike and serve from Prince to take one-point lead at 10-9. As the tension built, Coskovic error put U Mumba behind. Calicut had a set point at 14-12 but U Mumba skipper Sinha got his team a point to make it 13-14 but Lal continued his red-hot form to give Calicut a 2-1 lead after three sets.

Leading 7-3 in 4th, Calicut committed handful of errors allowing U Mumba to crawl back in the set. To press advantage, Calicut called for a Super Point at 9-8, but U Mumba skipper Sinha came with an impressive block to take his team to 10-9. At 10-all U Mumba called for a Super Point and won it with a spike from Shubham that beat a three-men block which was followed by Coskovic’s spike to make it 13-10. Of the next five points, Calicut won four with U Mumba taking just one. At 14-14, Calicut needed one point to win the match while U Mumba needed one to stay alive and got it to take the match to decider.

The decider saw both the teams level at 6-6. Calicut called for a Super Point at 7-6 and converted with Vinith’s spike. Karthik then converted Super Serve to increase the lead to 11-6 for Calicut. The six-point lead was too steep for U Mumba as the set ended with a service error from Pankaj Sharma at 15-9 and the match 3-2 in favour of Calicut Heroes.

Kochi Blue Spikers will take on Ahmedabad Defenders on February 6th 2019. It will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV from 6:50 PM IST.

RuPay player of the match: Saqlain Tariq

Final Score: Calicut Heroes beat U Mumba Volley: 15-10, 12-15, 15-13, 14-15, 15-9

Points Table after four matches:

About the RuPay Pro Volleyball League

An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, RuPay Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. Packaged in the brightest of colours, the first edition of the highly anticipated tournament is set to provide high octane Volleyball action to fans of the sport across the country in the month of February 2019


Methodical Delhi keep Goa at bay

New Delhi, February 4: FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos FC settled for a goalless draw at the end of a closely contested Hero Indian Super League duel at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Monday.

Ferran Corominas of FC Goa and Marcos Tebar of Delhi Dynamos FC in action during match 69 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between Delhi Dynamos FC and FC Goa held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi, India on the 4th February 2019
Photo by: Deepak Malik /SPORTZPICS for ISL

Goa did ramp up the pressure throughout the game but just could not get the goal. Coach Sergio Lobera will view the result as two points lost while Delhi would not be too disappointed. Goa added a point to their tally to make it 25 points from 14 matches and remain third in the standings. Delhi are rooted to the eighth spot with 11 points from 14 games.

The game began at a good tempo with both sides looking for an early breakthrough. There were chances at both ends. A corner-kick by Goa towards the far post in the fourth minute had the Delhi backline in disarray. Mourtada Fall sneaked in behind Gianni Zuiverloon, outjumped the centre-back but only headed wide.

Two minutes later, a ball behind the Goan defence caused confusion between Fall and custodian Naveen Kumar.  Daniel Lalhlimpuia tried to take advantage but his weak shot rolled wide, handing the visitors a lucky escape.

Goa soon started to stamp their authority. Hugo Boumous and Ferran Corominas combined well at the edge of the box and the latter released the former into the box with a clever through-ball, but the Moroccan midfielder’s shot flew inches wide.

The battle for the ball intensified as the first half wore on and it produced a few turnovers in midfield.

Neat passing on the edge of the box in the 36th minute resulted in Corominas laying the ball for Jackichand Singh to shoot. However, a minor deflection saw the winger’s powerful shot go off target.

Goa had 57 per cent possession in the first half but not without a struggle at the back. Delhi had the visitors’ backline on red alert when Rene Mihelic pinched the ball off Fall a few minutes before half-time. Chhangte carried the ball forward and saw his shot blocked by Carles Pena before Ahmed Jahouh pulled off another block to deny Marcos Tebar’s piledriver from the rebound.

Goa continued to push for the opening goal after the change of ends. Brandon Fernandes split the defence with a good through-ball for Edu Bedia to latch on to inside the box but Delhi goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro was quick to come off his line and clear the danger.

Dorronsoro came to Delhi’s rescue again with a couple of excellent saves after the hour-mark. First with his legs to deny Edu, who was sent through on goal by Brandon. The Goan then almost turned scorer with a shot from distance that forced a good reflex save from Delhi’s Spanish custodian.

Delhi produced dangerous moments in the attacking third to keep the Goa defence on their feet but they struggled to test Kumar in goal and had zero shots on target in ninety minutes.


ORLANDO, FL – February 2: on February 2, 2019 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images)

India Day at Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic, who are well-known supporters of multi-cultural celebrations, came back for their annual India Day celebrations with Indian American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) to showcase Indian culture through dance, cuisine and a variety of other unique cultural activities.

The festivities were across Fan Fest that included some traditional music, cultural dances and Indian cuisine at half-time during the game against Brooklyn Nets. The Orlando Magic Dancers grooved to some top Bollywood numbers like Choghada Tara, Kamariya and Rangtaari from the movie Loveyatri. This was followed by another routine from members of the Bollywood Dance Academy.

In 2017, Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty was present as the Orlando Magic celebrated the annual India Day festivities with the team’s fans. The team presented a personalised Orlando Magic jersey to the Bollywood star as a part of the celebrations.


Black Hawks Hyderabad edge past Ahmedabad Defenders

Hyderabad side win the see-saw battle 15-11, 13-15, 15-11, 14-15,15-9

Kochi, February 4th 2019: Day 3 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Black Hawks Hyderabad overcome Ahmedabad Defenders 3-2 (15-11, 13-15, 15-11, 14-15, 15-9) in a keenly-contested encounter at Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Monday. Skipper Carson Clark led from the front with 15 points (12 spikes, 1 block and 2 serves) in his side’s victory. For Ahmedabad,  Russia’s Victor Sysoev scored 12 points (11 spikes and 1 block).

Hyderabad won the toss and decided to receive and broke Ahmedabad’s serve pretty easily. But both sides looked rusty gifting points on errors. Though at the first Technical Time Out (TTO) Hyderabad took a two-point lead as scoreboard read 8-6. Sensing the occasion, coming back after the TTO, Hyderabad called for a Super Point but wasted the opportunity and Ahmedabad got the two points via Novika Bjelica’s spike levelling the score at 8-8. A Super Serve from Dilip Koiwal gave Ahmedabad a 11-10 lead and to press advantage, the immediately called for a Super Point but an error from Koiwal gave the lead back to Hyderabad. Hyderabad weren’t going to let this lead slip as Alex Bader came up with a Super Serve to take his team to a 14-11 lead. Ahmedabad skipper’s Ranjit Singh’s error then gave away Hyderabad the first set 15-11.

Ahmedabad changed gears in the second set racing to a 6-2 lead. For Hyderabad, Rohit Kumar and skipper Clark pulled things back to close the gap at 6-8. Looking to level scores, Hyderabad called for a Super Point but lost the same as the trailed by four points at 6-10. Ahmedabad were generous to return the favour as they too called for a Super Point and gave away two points to bring down their lead to two points again at 10-8. Ahmedabad maintained a 2-point lead until 13-11 and then feisty Hyderabad made a comeback with spikes from Clark and Kumar to level the score at 13-13. But Ahmedabad had other ideas as India international GR Vaishnav made a spike and Muthusamy Appavu’s error gave the second set to Ahmedabad at 15-13.

The see-saw battle saw Hyderabad racing to 8-2 lead at the TTO of third set. After the TTO, Hyderabad continued to attack going up to 11-3 before wasting their Super Point giving Ahmedabad a glimmer of hope at 5-11. Ahmedabad picked up some momentum. Victor Sysoev and Gagandeep Singh led Ahmedabad’s fight-back with a one crucial block and two spikes respectively to climb up to 10-13. Ashwal Rai came to the party as his two booming spikes closed the set for Hyderabad at 15-11.

The fourth set saw both the sides not giving an inch to the other. At TTO, Ahmedabad took a two-point lead at 8-6. Soon after Ahmedabad took five points to Hyderabad’s one as they led 12-7. Hyderabad clawed back to 11-12 and then it was anyone’s set. But at 14-14, Sayyad Mubarak Ali kept the match alive for Ahmedabad with a spike making it two sets all.

In the decider, Hyderabad came out all guns blazing as captain Clark, Amit Kumar and Rohit Kumar came to the fore. Beaming with confidence Hyderabad called for a Super Point at 10-4 and Clark’s serve did the job as they won their first Super Point of the match taking the score to 12-4. Ahmedabad attempted a comeback as they scored three consecutive points from 6-13 to reduce the lead to 9-13. But it was the young Rohit again whose spike broke Ahmedabad’s momentum and Hyderabad eventually closed the set 15-9 and the match 3-2.

Calicut Heroes will now take on U Mumba Volley on February 5th 2019. It will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV 6:50 PM IST.

RuPay player of the match: Carson Clark

Final Score: Black Hawks Hyderabad beat Ahmedabad Defenders: 15-11, 13-15, 15-11, 14-15,15-9

About the RuPay Pro Volleyball League

An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, RuPay Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. Packaged in the brightest of colours, the first edition of the highly anticipated tournament is set to provide high octane Volleyball action to fans of the sport across the country in the month of February 2019


ICC T20 World Cup 2020 fixtures revealed

– Matches confirmed for the women’s and men’s ICC T20 World Cups to be played in Australia in 2020
– The 10 top women’s teams will contest 23 matches from 21 February – 8 March 2020
– The 16 best men’s teams will play 45 matches from 18 October – 15 November 2020
– Women’s and men’s tournaments to be played as standalone events, with both finals at the biggest cricket stadium in the world, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
– Women’s final at the MCG is an opportunity to set a new world record for attendance at a women’s sporting fixture
– A spectacular opening for the women’s T20 World Cup will be held at Sydney Showground Stadium featuring hosts and reigning champions Australia taking on India
– On the men’s side, hosts Australia will play the world’s top-ranked team, Pakistan, at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in the first Super 12 match of the tournament
– Tickets for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup go on sale on 21 February 2019 and fans can register for early access to tickets at
– ICC’s Global Broadcast Partner, Star Sports and its licensees will provide live and highlights coverage for both the events across the world.

Dubai, 29 January 2019: The fixtures for the ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020 were revealed in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday morning (Australian Eastern Daylight Time). For the first time, the women’s and men’s T20 World Cups will be held as standalone events in the same year and in the same country.

The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 will take place from 21 February – 8 March 2020, culminating in the final at the MCG on 8 March 2020, International Women’s Day. This presents a groundbreaking opportunity to set a new world record for attendance at a women’s sporting fixture.

A spectacular opening celebration will mark the start of the women’s tournament, when hosts and defending champions Australia take on India at Sydney Showground Stadium on 21 February 2020. The women’s tournament will also feature double-header semi-finals at the iconic SCG on Thursday 5 March 2020.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 will take place later in the year, from 18 October to 15 November 2020. Hosts Australia will play the opening match of the Super 12 stage of the tournament on Saturday 24 October under lights at the SCG in a blockbuster match-up against the world’s top-ranked team, Pakistan.

The first men’s semi-final will take place at the SCG on Wednesday 11 November, with Adelaide Oval hosting the second semi-final the following night. Like the women’s final earlier in the year, the men’s final will be played at the MCG, on the evening of Sunday 15 November 2020.

Both tournaments will be held right across Australia in eight Host Cities and 13 venues.

Men’s defending champions the Windies will start their title defence when they clash with New Zealand on Sunday 25 November at the MCG. India’s first match of the men’s tournament will be on Saturday 24 October against South Africa at Perth Stadium. This contest will follow the Australia-Pakistan opening match in Sydney, marking a spectacular opening night for the men’s Super 12 stage.

Having finished ninth and 10th in the MRF Tyres ICC World T20I Team Rankings, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh respectively are the two currently known qualifiers in the First Round of the men’s event, with matches to be played in Geelong and Hobart from 18-23 October. The remaining six teams for the First Round will be determined via a qualifying tournament to be held later in 2019. A total of four teams from the First Round, two from each of Group A and Group B, will progress to the Super 12 stage.

ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020 Local Organising Committee CEO Nick Hockley said: “We’re so excited to be able to let fans all around Australia and the world know when and where their teams will play, so they can start planning now.

“World Cups are all about bringing people together. We know that passionate fans of all generations and cultures will travel from near and far to support their teams and that they will receive the warmest of welcomes in our wonderful host cities.”

“Putting on events of this scale are a big team effort and we would like to thank all our valued partners for making sure that the T20 World Cup is not only a spectacular celebration in 2020, but that it leaves a lasting positive impact.

“With the Women’s T20 World Cup up first, we’ll be calling on cricket fans to bring their families, friends and communities to support the best players in the world.”

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “Whenever we host an event in Australia we know we can guarantee the one billion cricket fans around the world a great show. The world’s best players. Outstanding venues. Noisy, passionate, knowledgeable fans. Exciting cricket. This is the perfect combination for a T20 World Cup and in 2020 we go one step further with two T20 World Cups in one year.

“To hold two T20 World Cup finals at the world’s largest cricket stadium in front of 92,000 people with hundreds of millions more watching around the world is a particularly exciting prospect as we look to grow the fans around the world and make 2020 the year of cricket.”

Fans can visit to register before 13 February 2019 to get priority access to women’s tickets, before they go on sale to the public on 21 February 2019. Men’s tickets pricing and on-sale dates will be announced later in 2019.


ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020


The final at the MCG on 8 March 2020, International Women’s Day, presents cricket and Australia with the groundbreaking opportunity to set a new world record for attendance at a women’s sporting fixture\

Note to editors, the current world record is 90,185, set at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 1999 in California, USA

A spectacular opening celebration will be held at Sydney Showground Stadium on 21 February 2020, immediately prior to the opening match of the tournament, featuring hosts and reigning champions Australia taking on India under lights

The women’s event will feature action-packed festivals of cricket, firstly in Perth, then Canberra, followed by Melbourne and then Sydney, with five Grou­­p matches to be played in each city

Blockbuster double header semi-finals will be played at the iconic SCG, featuring the four best teams in action on Thursday 5 March 2020

Groups information

The eight top-ranked teams based on finishing positions from the World T20 2018 in the West Indies have automatically qualified, with the remaining two places to be determined through a qualifying tournament to be held later in 2019

Group A:

Australia (Defending champions and four-time winners – 2010, ’12, ’14, 18)
New Zealand
Sri Lanka

Group B

England (2009 champions)
West Indies (2016 champions)
South Africa
Qualifier 2

Visit for the full ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 fixture.

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020


Hosts Australia will play the opening match of the Super 12 stage of the tournament on Saturday 24 October under lights at the SCG in a blockbuster match-up against the world’s top-ranked team, Pakistan

India’s first clash of the tournament will be on Saturday 24 October against South Africa at the state-of-the-art Perth Stadium. This match will follow the Australia-Pakistan opening Super 12 match in Sydney, marking a spectacular start to the men’s Super 12 stage

The first semi-final will take place at the SCG in Sydney in the evening on Wednesday 11 November, with Adelaide Oval hosting the second semi-final the following night

Like the women’s tournament earlier in the year, the men’s final will be played under lights at the biggest cricket stadium in the world, the MCG, on Sunday 15 November 2020

The opening day of the men’s event will feature 2014 champions Sri Lanka in First Round action at Kardinia Park, Geelong on 18 October 2020, as they begin their campaign to progress to the Super 12 stage

Seven world-class venues in seven Host Cities will host 45 matches

First Round / Super 12 groups

The top eight-ranked teams based on MRF Tyres ICC World T20I Team Rankings as at 31 December, 2018 have automatically qualified

Pakistan (2009 champions) and India (inaugural champions in 2007) enter the event as the teams ranked one and two in the world respectively, based on MRF Tyres ICC T20I Team Rankings at 31 December 2018, and will therefore be in different Groups for the Super 12 stage.

First Round (Sunday 18 October – Friday 23 October 2020)

Group A (Kardinia Park, Geelong): Sri Lanka plus three qualifiers

Group B (Bellerive Oval, Hobart): Bangladesh plus three qualifiers

Super 12 (Saturday 24 October – Sunday 8 November 2020)

Group 1:

West Indies
New Zealand
First Round Group A team 1
First Round Group B team 2

Group 2:

South Africa
First Round Group B team 1
First Round Group A team 2

Visit for the full ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 fixture.

Ticketing – ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020

All ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 matches, including the final, have tickets from $20

All kids’ tickets to the Women’s T20 World Cup, including the final, are $5, therefore two adults and two kids can attend any match, including the final, for $50

Tickets for the women’s warm-up matches will be $10 each, while all kids’ tickets are free

The best way to get involved is to sign-up for early access to tickets at

Register before the 13 February 2019 to get priority access to women’s tickets before they go on sale to the public on 21 February

Over half of all tickets to the Women’s T20 World Cup are $20

CC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 ticket information, including prices, will be announced later in 2019

Lalremsiami stars in India’s 5-2 win over Spain

Murcia (Spain), 29 January 2019: An improved attack and tactical defending saw the Indian Women’s Hockey Team convincingly beat World Cup Bronze Medalists Spain 5-2 in their third match of the tour here today. Young striker from Mizoram Lalremsiami (17′, 58′) starred in the match by scoring twice while Neha Goyal (21′), Navneet Kaur (32′), Rani (51′) ensure India remained in the lead after an initial setback in the first quarter.

SANTOMERA Test Matches Women
Spain v India

It was Spain who scored the first goal in the seventh minute of the match through Berta Bonastre putting India on the back foot right at the start. But a determined India made a quick recovery with striker Lalremsiami’s fine goal in the 17th minute and then further improvised their attack to score in the 21st minute via Neha Goyal to take a strong 2-1 lead.

Navneet Kaur struck a splendid third goal for the team in the 32nd minute that took India’s lead to 3-1. Though Berta Bonastre scored her second goal of the match in the 35th minute that narrowed India’s lead to 3-2, India worked on a powerful finish in the fourth quarter with Skipper Rani scoring in the 51st minute followed by young striker Lalremsiami scoring again for India in the 58th minute which helped India seal the match 5-2.

Having lost the opening match 2-3 and drawn the second match 1-1, India showed a zealous performance with fewer unforced errors to dominate the match. “I am pleased with today’s performance. We are working to be more steady in our performance and we are improving match-by-match. This is a process and we need to keep repeating such performances to grow further. I am giving constant feedback on individual performance and behaviour and some are learn fast while some need a little bit more time. But overall, we are progressing well and beating World Cup Medal winners in their home ground is a big confidence boost for this young team,” expressed Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.

On 31 January, India will play their fourth match against Spain at 17.30 hours IST.


Goa, Jamshedpur play safe and settle for draw

Goa, January 28: FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC did their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) qualification chances neither good nor bad as they played a goalless draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Thursday.

during match 63 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa, India on the 28th January 2019
Photo by: Faheem Hussain /SPORTZPICS for ISL

A hard-fought 90 minutes showcased the teams’ quality on the ball but the defence stood strong to deny goals at either end of the field. A point each for Goa and Jamshedpur helped them maintain their position on the ISL table. Goa have 21 points from 12 games and are fourth while playoff rivals Jamshedpur remain fifth with 20 points from 13 matches. Neither team are assured of a place in the semi-finals but with neither of them losing this battle, they continue to remain in contention.

The Spanish influence was on display in the way both teams started the game as the midfielders contested for the ball with a desire to build attacks.

Jamshedpur’s patient passing and prodding took a turn for the worse when Brandon Fernandes picked up the ball at the halfway line and threaded a perfectly weighted through-ball for Jackichand Singh on the right flank in the 18th minute.

With the visitors’ backline holding a high defensive line, the winger surged into the box but was dispossessed by Dhanachandra Singh whose excellent sliding tackle averted danger.

The teams continued to prefer possession over penetration but could not break the deadlock before the break.

Ferran Corominas, who struggled due to a lack of service in the first half, drifted wide and delivered a threatening cross from the right flank in the 53rd minute. Jackichand latched onto it inside the box but blazed his effort wide.

Goa continued to threaten from wide areas as only two minutes later, Hugo Boumous left Brandon’s low cross from the left flank for Corominas who had made an unmarked run towards the centre of the box. However, the Spaniard failed to connect.

Jamshedpur had a chance of their own in the 63rd minute when Robin Gurung found space on the overlap and provided a neat cut-back from the right flank for an unmarked Mario Arques in the centre of the box. The midfielder, however, could not keep his header on target.

There were close shaves at both ends as the second half wore on. In the 71st minute, Farukh Choudhary pounced on a failed clearance to swing a teasing cross from the right flank for Arques who struck the ball over the bar with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Substitute and debutant Zaid Krouch went close a minute later for Goa. The forward was sent through on goal after a series of neat passes by the hosts in midfield but he sent his shot straight at Jamshedpur custodian Subrata Paul.

Corominas took it upon himself in the 84th minute to help Goa find a late winner. The striker skipped past a couple of challenges inside the box before getting a shot away but Subrata showed a strong pair of hands to keep it out.

The Jamshedpur custodian was at it again late on to brilliantly keep out Brandon’s close-range effort from Manvir Singh’s low cross. However, there would be no winner on the night despite Goa laying siege to the Jamshedpur goal towards the end.


Star Beach Volleyball player Alexa Strange part of the roster

New Delhi, January 28, 2019: The RuPay Pro Volleyball League today announced its roster of presenters for the inaugural edition of the league. Beach Volleyball player Alexa Chitra Strange, alongside famous broadcast presenters like Patrick Kinghorn, Manish Batavia and Sunil Taneja  form the team of presenters for the league. The league, an initiative of Baseline Ventures and Volleyball Federation of India, is set to begin on 2nd February with Kochi Blue Spikers taking on U Mumba Volley in the first match.

Manish Batavia and Sunil Taneja have over 20 years of commentating experience between them, having covered reputed sporting events like the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Rio Olympics 2016, ICC Cricket World-Cup and Indian Premier League among others. 

Alexa Chitra Strange, who is of Indian origin, is a Professional Beach Volleyball player from Southern California. She currently plays in the Association of Volleyball Professionals League (AVP). She played college volleyball at University of Southern California (USC), winning two National Championships and being voted two consecutive years as an All-American, the highest honour in college volleyball. 

Also on the roster is British presenter Patrick Kinghorn, who had also conducted the first ever RuPay Pro Volleyball League player auction in December 2018. Kinghorn has under his belt over a decade of experience where he has anchored ‘live’ coverage of events across a huge spectrum, from World Cups and Olympic Games in sport to dramatic global events such as the Beslan School hostage crisis of 2004 and the Michael Jackson trial in 2005.

Talking about the new presenters, Joy Bhattacharjya, CEO, Pro Volleyball League, said “We are proud to announce our team of presenters for the inaugural edition. It is a great mix of talented, experienced and exciting and presenters with some solid credentials in their field of work. The presence of a current player like Alexa, an ace beach volleyball player, will add an exciting new voice to the commentary panel.” 

The inaugural edition of the league, which will feature international Volleyball stars like David Lee and Paul Lotman, will see six franchises vying for the title from six different cities across the country. Ahmedabad Defenders is owned by Bonhomie Sports Event Mgmt. Ltd., Kerala’s Calicut Heroes is owned by Beacon Sports while the Chennai Spartans is owned by Chennai Spartans Pvt. Ltd. U Mumba Volley is owned by U Sports, who also own a team in the Kabaddi league while Black Hawks Hyderabad is owned by Agile Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Thomas Muthoot owns the Kochi franchise called the Kochi Blue Spikers.

All the matches will be broadcasted live on Sony Six and Sony Ten 3 and will be streamed live on Sony LIV.

About the RuPay Pro Volleyball league

An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, RuPay Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. Packaged in the brightest of colours, the first edition of the highly anticipated tournament is set to provide high octane Volleyball action to fans of the sport across the country in the month of February 2019.


Rayudu suspended from bowling in international cricket

Dubai, 28 January 2019: The International Cricket Council today announced that Ambati Rayudu has been suspended from bowling in international cricket.

The player elected not to submit to a test of his bowling action within the stipulated period of 14 days of being reported for a suspect action, and therefore he has been suspended with immediate effect in accordance with clause 4.2 of the ICC regulations, which can be found here. The suspension will remain in place until he is tested, and can demonstrate he is able to bowl with a legal action.

The 33-year-old India player was reported on 13 January for a suspect action during the first ODI of their series against Australia in Sydney.

However, according to Article 11.5 of the Regulations and with the consent of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Rayudu may be allowed to bowl in domestic cricket events played under the auspices of the BCCI.


Sachin Tendulkar launches ‘Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder’

Mumbai, Jan 22 2019: Bharat Ratna and one of India’s most revered sportspersons Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday night launched Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder, a memoir encapsulating the Tripura gymnast’s incredible journey. The book authored by Dipa’s coach Bishweshwar Nandi and veteran sports journalists Digvijay Singh Deo and Vimal Mohan, is one of the most heartwarming sports biographies one can read this winter.

On August 14, 2016, a young girl landed the Produnova that took her to the cusp of an Olympic medal. She stood fourth yet soared into the hearts of millions across the globe. Dipa Karmakar’s fourth-place finish at the Rio Olympic Games was a defining moment for Indian sport, which had barely cast a glance at the sport of gymnastics as a medal discipline till then. Dipa’s journey from Tripura, an oft-neglected sporting outpost, to the national consciousness and India’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, is one of grit, determination, and a stubbornness to beat the odds.

“While the world knows that Dipa’s achievement in context of Indian sports is stupendous, it is imperative that everyone knows and understands the path she took to reach her first destination. The book brings her journey to life and gives a sense of why her achievements need to be celebrated,” said Tendulkar after the launch.

This fascinating memoir of Dipa’s incredible journey from Tripura to Rio de Janeiro, the venue for the 2016 Olympics, and beyond, is peppered with anecdotes that make for stunning reading, and at the same time provide an incredible glimpse into what it takes, and what it took, for a sportsperson to battle against all odds and leave an indelible impression in the hearts and minds of people the world over.

“It’s been a roller-coaster ride till date but I still have a lot to achieve. I’m grateful to my coach, the authors and the publishing house that have captured the hard-work, dedication, sacrifices everyone around me and I have made to do something unimaginable at the Olympics,” said Dipa.


Kohli clean sweep of three major ICC Awards

India captain becomes first player to win all three of top awards after being named captain of the Test and ODI teams earlier in the day

Virat Kohli has become the first player in history to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year, the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year and the ICC ODI Player of the Year awards following an extraordinary 2018.

Not only is Kohli the first player to win these three major ICC awards together but he has also been named the captain of the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year for a fabulous run in international cricket. Kohli scored 1,322 runs at an average of 55.08 in 13 Tests with five hundreds during the calendar year while in 14 ODIs he amassed 1202 runs at an astonishing average of 133.55 with six centuries. He also scored 211 runs in 10 T20Is.

The 30-year-old from Delhi, who first came into limelight when he led India to victory at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia in 2008, finished the year as the top-ranked batsman in Tests and ODIs. The highest scorer in both forms of the game in 2018, he was one of only two batsmen to score more than 1,000 runs in Tests and only among three to do so in ODI cricket.

Kohli was the unanimous choice of the Voting Academy* for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy with South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada coming in second to him for both this award and the ICC Test Player of the Year award. Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan was runner up to Kohli for the ICC ODI Player of the Year award.

Kohli said: “It feels amazing. It’s a reward for all the hard work that you do throughout the calendar year. I feel really grateful and very, very happy with the team doing well at the same time myself performing. Having recognition at the global level from the ICC is something you feel proud of as a cricketer because you understand that there are many players playing the game.

“To be rewarded in this manner from amongst all of them is obviously a very proud moment for me and something that gives you more motivation to keep repeating the same things because you have to keep the standard of cricket up and keep bringing in consistent performances. From that point of view, these awards give you that extra motivation.”

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson praised Kohli: “Sincere congratulations to every one of our individual winners and those players named in our ICC Test and ODI teams of the year. Special mention must go to Virat Kohli, who becomes the first ever player to win the Sir Garfield Sobers award along with Test Player of the Year and ODI Player of the Year and be named as captain of both teams.

“This is well deserved recognition for an extraordinary talent. His regard for the game and particularly for Test cricket is also recognized and appreciated. He is passionate in his support of the longest form of the game and its continued importance. To be recognized as a true cricketing great you need to be successful at all formats of the game and Virat has become a great ambassador for our sport.”

Kohli had won the Sir Garfield Trophy and ICC ODI Player of the Year awards last year and was also the ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2012.

*The voting academy was: Javed Hamid Kakar, Emal Pasarly (Afghanistan); Lisa Sthalekar, Andrew Wu, Mike Hussey (Australia) Utpal Shuvro, M. Farid Ahmed, Athar Ali Khan (Bangladesh); Julian Guyer, Lawrence Booth, Nasser Hussain (England); Deep Dasgupta, Sunandan Lele, Jasvinder Sidhu (India); Ian Callendar, Barry Chambers (Ireland); Mark Geenty, Ian Smith (New Zealand); Peter Borren (Netherlands); Ramiz Raja, Abdul Mohi Shah, Mazhar Arshad, Bazid Khan (Pakistan); Shaun Pollock, Neil Manthorp, Firdose Moonda (South Africa); Saroj Pathirana, Russel Arnold, Rex Clementine (Sri Lanka); Peter Della Penna (USA), Ian Bishop, Barry Wilkinson, Vinode Mamchan (West Indies); Trisan Holme, Mehluli Sibanda, Mpumelelo Mbangwa (Zimbabwe).


Gurjit Kaur’s goal helps India hold Spain 1-1


Murcia (Spain), 28 January 2019: Indian Women’s Hockey Team drew 1-1 with hosts Spain in an intense second match of their tour on Sunday. Gurjit Kaur’s (43′) scored her second goal of the tournament while Maria Tost (49′) scored for Spain.

After going down 2-3 to Spain in their opening match on Saturday, the Indian team put up a spirited performance in a high-voltage second encounter here. While the first quarter ended in a stalemate, the second quarter saw India make a breakthrough with their first PC of the match. The PC was re-taken but well-saved by the Spanish goalkeeper. 

The score continued to be 0-0 at half-time but Spain created a PC opportunity soon into the third quarter. The Indian goalkeeper made an impressive save to deny the hosts. In the following minutes India increased their tempo that resulted in yet another PC which was brilliantly struck by dragflicker Gurjit Kaur in the 43rd minute.  

The 1-0 lead against the 2018 Women’s World Cup Bronze Medal winners didn’t last too long as a defensive lapse by India gave way to Spain scoring a beautiful field goal through Maria Tost in the 49th minute which levelled the scores 1-1. The final quarter remained intense until the hooter with both teams taking their game a notch above and pushing for a winning goal but neither succeeded with the match ending in a draw.

On 29 January, India will play their third match against Spain at 17.30 hours IST.


IAAF approves the application of 42 Russian athletes to compete internationally as neutral athletes

Press Release

The IAAF Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of 42 Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2019 under competition Rule 22.1A(b) while the Russian national federation (RusAF) remains suspended.

The application process for athletes seeking neutral status in international competitions in 2019 opened in December 2018. The Doping Review Board is prioritising, wherever possible, applications from athletes wishing to compete in the current indoor season.

The Doping Review Board, which is composed of Robert Hersh (chair), Sylvia Barlag and Antti Pihlakoski, has accepted the applications of the following athletes:

First name, family name (discipline) – in alphabetical order
Diana Adasko (triple jump)
Maxim Afonin (shot put)
Dzhennifer Akiniimika (sprints)
Mariia Aglitckaia (100m hurdles)
Rinas Akhmadeev (long distance)
Elizaveta Bondarenko (pole vault)
Oleg Braiko (jumps)
Viktor Butenko (discus)
Timofey Chalyy (400m hurdles)
Danila Danilov (hammer)
Alexey Fedorov (triple jump)
Aksana Gatauillina (pole vault)
Georgiy Gorokhov (pole vault)
Illia Ivaniuk (high jump)
Maria Kochanova (high jump)
Viacheslav Kolesnichenko (sprints)
Alexander Komarov (combined events) – European U20 Championships only
Vilena Komarova (combined events)
Elena Kulichenko (high jump)
Anna Krylova (triple jump)
Maria Lasitskene (high jump)
Aleksandr Lesnoi (shot put)
Denis Lukyanov (hammer)
Alena Lutkovskaia (pole vault)
Alena Mamina (sprints)
Polina Miller (sprints)
Vasiliy Mizinov (race walks)
Timur Morgunov (pole vault)
Ilia Mudrov (pole vault)
Olga Mullina (pole vault)
Egor Nikolaev (1500m)
Sofia Palkina (hammer)
Viktoriia Prokopenko (triple jump)
Vera Rudakova (400m hurdles)
Fedor Shutov (long distance)
Illia Skkurenev (combined events)
Anastasiia Shkurutova (hammer)
Sergey Shubenkov (110m hurdles)
Anzhelika Sidorova (pole vault)
Olesia Soldatova (400m)
Yana Smerdova (race walks)
Elizaveta Tsareva (hammer)

All 42 athletes were afforded neutral status in 2018.

The participation of all these athletes as neutral athletes in international competition is still subject to formalities for eligibility under IAAF Rules being completed and subject to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organisers.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: “In 2015 the IAAF Council suspended the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF). We put two processes in place at that time. The first was a process by which RusAF could be reinstated. This included a clear set of steps and actions to be overseen by a special taskforce led by Rune Andersen. The second was the ANA process which was designed to separate clean athletes from a tainted system, a process which would allow clean athletes from Russia an opportunity to compete in international competition and give all other athletes confidence that athletes granted ANA status had been through an eligibility process. My thanks go to the Doping Review Board and the Athletics Integrity Unit for their diligence and hard work year on year to maintain this process.”

As this is an ongoing process, the IAAF will only make announcements as and when decisions are made by the Doping Review Board concerning successful applications and those athletes have been informed.



Kenya’s Cosmas Lagat and Ethiopia’s Worknesh Alemu upset the odds

– Indian winners Nitendra Singh Rawat and Sudha Singh qualify for Doha World Championships
– Sudha Singh creates new course record and personal best timing at TMM

Mumbai,20 January 2019: Kenya’s Cosmas Lagat and Ethiopia’s Worknesh Alemu upset the odds to triumph at the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2019, winning in 2:09:15 and 2:25.45 respectively.

Both marks were the second fastest winning times in the history of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race, the pair taking first prize cheques of USD $45,000 in India’s richest road race.

With temperatures higher than expected and reaching 23 degrees Celsius when the gun went, the men’s race naturally started steadily and a large pack of 14 runners – including three pacemakers – went through 10km in 30:53, 20km in 1:02:18 and the halfway point in 1:05:15.

However, Lagat made a decisive surge just before 29 kilometres and quickly put daylight between himself and his rivals as well as partially splitting up the leading pack.

Lagat passed 30km in 1:32:34, assisted by two pacemakers who he kept instructing to go faster, with a chasing pack of seven men 11 seconds behind.

The remaining pacemakers were to drop out at around 32 kilometres but Lagat bravely pressed on and kept on increasing the gap, to almost 40 seconds by 35km, although later he admitted that despite feeling strong, he spent much of the final 10 kilometres running scared.

“It was a good moment to make a break, but I also knew there were good runners behind me and from 35km I was never sure how close there were to me or whether they were coming back to me,” reflected Lagat.

In fact, at 38km he had almost a minute’s lead before Ethiopia’s Aychew Bantie edged away from his compatriot Shumet Akalnew in the closing kilometres to clinch second and reduce the winning margin to 50 seconds by the finish.

Lagat crossed the line in 2:09:15 for his third win over the classic distance in six outings – his other two victories also coming in hot weather conditions in the Spanish city of Sevilla – with Bantie second in 2:10:05 and Akalnew third in 2:10:14.

“I thought Lagat might come back to us, in the last kilometres because he had changed his pace so quickly and he ran so fast (between 29km and 35km) but after 35km I knew I was running for second place,” said Bantie.

Pre-race favourite Abera Kuma, the fastest man in the field with a best of 2:05:50, drifted away from the leading pack just after 30km and was never in contention afterwards for a place on the podium, eventually finishing seventh in 2:13:10

In contrast to the men’s race, the leading women started with a flourish and the sizable leading pack with their male pacemakers went through 10km in 34:28, 20km in 1:08:42.

Four women were still in contention at 30km (no official halfway split given) – Alemu and her Ethiopian compatriots: pe-race favourite Amane Gobena, Birke Debele and Mergetu Alemu – which was passed in 1:43:14, still giving hope that the course record of 2:24:33 set by Kenya’s Valentine Kipketer in 2013 could be challenged.

Mergetu Alemu soon dropped off the pace and a couple of kilometres down the road so too did Debele but Gobena hung until Worknesh Alemu made a second and decisive surge just before the 35km signpost.

Alemu shook off Gobena but given the credentials of her rival and the intensity of the conditions, with temperatures by now having risen to 26 degrees, nothing was certain but she maintained her focus to clock an impressive personal best of 2:25:45 and finishing 24 seconds ahead of the 2018 Tata Mumbai Marathon champion, who finished second in 2:26:09 despite later saying that she had been suffering from stomach problems over the final 10 kilometres.

Debele hung on for third in 2:26:39 as Ethiopian runners filled the first seven slots.

India’s Sudha Singh finished eighth in 2:34:56, an Indian best in Mumbai, a personal best and the second fastest time by an Indian woman ever, just 13 seconds away from the Indian national record.

It was a great day for the Indian runners both Nitendra Singh Rawat and Sudha Singh, the men’s and women’s winners respectively, who clocked timings which enabled them to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

While Nitendra Singh Rawat comfortably clocked 2:15:52 in the men’s race, he missed the course record by mere four seconds. His teammate Gopi Thonakkal, however, had a forgettable day as he developed cramps en route, but managed to clock 2:17:03 to finish second among the Indian runners.  Karan Singh, winner of the Mumbai Marathon in 2014 and 2015 finished third 2:20:10.

In the women’s category, Sudha Singh clocked her personal best 2:34:56 to finish eighth overall and best among the Indian women runners here, but missed the Indian best in this event by mere 13 seconds.  The national record in this event stands in the name of O.P. Jaisha, who clocked 2:34:43 during the World championships in Beijing four years ago.

However, Jaisha’s Mumbai course record of 2:37:29 got a beating today and Sudha pockets an additional INR 200,000 bonus amount as Course Record Jackpot. Two-time Mumbai marathonwinner, Jyoti Gawte, finished second clocking 2:45:48 and Jigmet Dolma from Ladakh managed to secure the second-runner up position with the timing of 3:10:42.

Rawat, who has happy to have qualified for the World Championships, said: “The pacers that were given to us were really good. We were faster than the pace that we set in the beginning, which would have helped us with the better timings. However, certain ups and downs post the half-way mark were the reasons for a slightly lower timing.”

Rawat and Gopi ran together till the 29-km mark, post which Gopi took the lead. However, Rawat got a win by increasing the pace at the final stretch.

Gopi said: “My preparation was good, and accordingly I was expecting a better timing. After 35 minutes, I felt that my calf muscle got tight because of which I had to stop in between and begin again. I just had one thing in mind and that was to finish the run. However, I could not put in a lot of efforts as the injury affected my pace.”

Leading results:

Overall Marathon Elite Men: Cosmas Lagat (KEN) 02:09:15; Aychew Bantie (ETH) 02:10:05; Shumet Akalnew (ETH) 02:10:14; Daniel (ETH) 02:10:55; Ayenew Mekuant (ETH) 02:11:16; Silas Too (KEN) 02:12:08; Abera Kuma (ETH) 02:13:10; Deresa Geleta (ETH) 02:13:11; Kipkenoi Kipsang (KEN) 02:14:44; Douglas Chebii (KEN) 02:15:28.

Overall Marathon Elite Women: Worknesh Alemu (ETH) 02:25:45; Amane Gobena (ETH) 02:26:09; Birke Debele (ETH) 02:26:39; Mergertu Alemu (ETH) 02:31:00; Almaz Negede (ETH) 02:31:45; Menesech Tsegaye (ETH) 02:32:45; Zinash Gerado (ETH) 02:34:32; Sudha Singh (IND) 02:34:56; Dinknesh Mekash (ETH) 02:36:31; Khishigsaikhan Galbadrakh (MNG) 02:45:22.

Marathon Indian Men: Nitendra Singh Rawat 02:15:52 (IND); Gopi Thonakal (IND) 02:17:03; Karan Singh (IND) 02:20:10; Rashpal Singh (IND) 02:21:01; Bahadur Singh (IND) 02:21:12; Lal Jee Yadav (IND) 02:26:20; Durga Bahadur Budha (IND) 02:26:57; Mohit Rathore (IND) 02:28:47; Pradeep Singh Chaudhary (IND) 02:32:01; Sanvroo Yadav (IND) 02:33:39.

Marathon Indian Women: Sudha Singh 02:34:55; Jyoti Gawte 02:45:48; Jigmet Dolma 03:10:42; Rani Yadav 03:12:26; Tsetan Dolkar 03:13:13; Seema 03:17:24;

Indian Half Marathon Men: Srinu Bugatha 01:05:49; Shankar Man Thapa 01:06:07; Kalidas Hirave 01:06:38; Man Singh 01:07:06; Balliappa A. B. 01:07:11.

Indian Half Marathon Women: Meenu 01:18:05; Saigeeta Naik 01:19:01; Manju Yadav 01:25:11; Sudha Pal 01:31:14; Arati Dudhe 01:32:46.

Run In Costume:

Individual Winners:

1st – Happy Toy Banker (Encourage Children to Play Outdoors)
2nd – Viraat Sinh (Deforestation & Habitat Loss)
3rd – Ameeta Kantrod (Different Faces of Women)

Group Winners:

1st – Shrimad Raj Chandra Love and Care (Spinning the Yarn of Love and Care)
2nd – Samarpan Meditation Yoga Prabha Bharati Seva Sanstha Trust (Master Your thoughts, Master your life)
3rd – Sparsh Charitable Trust (Right to Play).


St+Art Foundation creates one of Goa’s biggest murals

Goa, January 2019: Artist Dattaraj Naik has painted one of Goa’s biggest football themed mural which depicts the state’s love for football through the eyes and aspirations of a young child. A multidisciplinary artist hailing from the state itself, Naik’s mural features a boy sitting at a study table while dreaming about playing football.

This mural represents a common situation amongst the school children in Goa who try to keep a balance between academic studies and their favourite sport, football. It brings forth the dreams and aspirations of a young child who wants to get out onto the field but is held back due to academics and other circumstances.

Commissioned by St+ Art Foundation, one of India’s leaders in the Street Artspace, the mural is the foundation’s ‘gift’ to Goa in the words of Hanif Kureshi, the founder of the organisation.

Speaking further on the project, Hanif Kureshi stated, “The Street Art Foundation has always endeavored to make art more accessible to the public and creating spaces that speak to the soul.  With this mural, I think we were able to touch the hearts of many. Football is a religion in Goa – one that encompasses all and sundry in the state. Every child in Goa dreams of playing the game. This is an attempt to bring out the same. We hope to create more such pieces in the days to come. This, I hope will give budding artists a platform to show their talent and bring a vibrancy to the whole place.”

The mural also sees a Gaur in the background which represents the club FC Goa, which represents Goa in the ISL. Fans and football followers across Goa come together to support their home team and the sport.

Helping and collaborating with St + Art foundation in this endeavor is FC Goa. Speaking on the development, Akshay Tandon, the President of FC Goa stated, “The St+ Art Foundation has been a leader in their space and we are humbled to be partnering with them. It is forever our endeavor to cultivate not only the beautiful game in the country but also the culture around it. Sports are a great way of not only learning but also an avenue for children to express themselves. Our team is built on this ethos as well. This mural, I am confident will inspire children to take to the field and also impact parents.”

About St+ Art Foundation

St+art India (read start) is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2014 with the intent of making art more democratic, and for all. By taking art out of the conventional spaces such as museums and galleries, instead of embedding it within the spaces we inhabit and navigate every day, St+art explores the synergy between art and its ability to transcend socio-cultural barriers and lead to an exchange of ideas through unique and collectively shared experiences in public space.

Since 2014, St+art India has gone onto do 11 festivals and 4 exhibitions in 7 different cities of India. Across this period, we’ve worked partnered with over 250 artists and 275 walls across the country.

About Dattaraj Naik

Dattaraj Naik is a multidisciplinary artist from Goa, India. After pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Applied Art from Goa College of Art, Panjim and he completed his Masters’ degree from Faculty of Fine Arts – MSU Baroda, Gujarat.

Moving to Baroda was an upward learning curve for Naik as he explored different material in his art practice and also added a sense of design to his illustration skills. His artworks are highly inspired from the streets and from everyday life events.

As a keen observer, Dattaraj likes to exaggerate interesting characters and compose them in a simple explicit way. His work includes inspiration from nature as he is sensitive towards it. He has also done several projects on conservation of nature.

While currently working at Guerrilla Art & Design, a Delhi-based design company, he continues to work as a street artist and a graffiti writer.

About FC Goa

FC Goa is a professional football club based out of Goa that competes in the Indian Super League. The club is one of the most consistently successful teams in the competition. The Gaurs have reached the semis in two occasions and the final in 2015. FC Goa is currently the highest scoring side in league history.

Co-owned by Mr. Jaydev Mody, Mr. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Mr. Ashish Kapadia, Mr. Akshay Tandon, and Mr. Virat Kohli, the club has over the years produced talents such as Mandar Rao Desai, Princeton Rebello and Manvir Singh who have represented India at various age levels as well as the senior team.


Priyanshu Singh extends lead to four shots in round three of Final Qualifying Stage

Kensville Golf & Country Club, Ahmedabad, January 16, 2019: Gurugram’s Priyanshu Singh extended his lead to four shots in round three of the PGTI’s Final Qualifying Stage for the 2019 season being held at the Kensville Golf & Country Club near Ahmedabad.

The 22-year-old Priyanshu (72-70-70), the overnight leader by three shots, further built on his lead with a second successive round of two-under-70 that moved his total to four-under-212.

Delhi’s Wasim Khan (74-71-71), last year’s PGTI Qualifying School champion, was placed second at even-par-216.

Priyanshu came up with a flawless round and his two birdies on the seven and 15th came as a result of conversions from a range of 16 to 20 feet. The professional from the DLF Golf & Country Club, the only player in the field to have not shot a single over-par round so far, also made two brilliant par-saves on the 14th and 17th where he recovered well from the trees and hazard respectively.

Priyanshu, who won the Pre Qualifying II last week, said, “I struck the ball much better today as I hit some decent low shots off the tee. However, my putting was not as good as the previous rounds. I missed some short putts. But the two par-saves on the 14th and 17th kept the momentum going for me. I’ll now look to sign off with another solid effort in the final round.”

Wasim Khan marginally improved from overnight tied second to sole second thanks to his 71 on Wednesday.

Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane (72) occupied third position at two-over-218.

At the end of round four on Thursday, the top 41 players will earn full cards for the 2019 PGTI season.


Priyanshu Singh moves into three-shot lead at Final Qualifying Stage

Eighty players make the halfway cut

Kensville Golf & Country Club, Ahmedabad, January 15, 2019: Gurugram-based Priyanshu Singh moved into a three-shot lead in round two of the PGTI’s Final Qualifying Stage for the 2019 season being held at the Kensville Golf & Country Club near Ahmedabad.

The 22-year-old Priyanshu (72-70), who won the Pre Qualifying II last week, followed up his opening round of even-par-72 with a valiant two-under-70 on day two of the Final Stage to total two-under-142.

Chandigarh teenager Aadil Bedi (73), Ludhiana’s Pukhraj Singh Gill (71) and Delhi’s Wasim Khan (71), last year’s PGTI Q School champion, were in tied second with matching totals of one-over-145.

The halfway cut fell at 15-over-159. The top eighty players made the cut.

Priyanshu Singh, who was overnight tied third and one off the lead, staged a fight-back after a double-bogey on the fourth hole on Tuesday. He added four birdies to his card between the ninth and the 17th thanks to some splendid putting and long conversions.

Priyanshu, who played college golf in the United States before turning professional in November last year, is now the only player in the field to have not shot an over-par round in tough scoring conditions this week.  

Priyanshu said, “While I haven’t struck it well so far this week, my putting has been the best highlight of my game. I was well supported by my caddie who helped me read the greens that finally contributed to my good score. I’m now really excited about the next two rounds and the prospect of earning my PGTI card in my first attempt at Q School.”

Amateur Karan Pratap Singh of Gurugram and Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane were tied for fifth at two-over-146.

At the end of round four on Saturday, the top 41 players will earn full cards for the 2019 PGTI season.


Md Dulal Hossain, Rishi Kumar take opening round honours at Final Qualifying Stage

Kensville Golf & Country Club, Ahmedabad, January 14, 2019: Bangladesh’s Md Dulal Hossain and Lucknow’s Rishi Kumar took the opening round honours at the PGTI’s Final Qualifying Stage for the 2019 season as both golfers shot scores of one-under-71 for the joint lead at the Kensville Golf & Country Club near Ahmedabad.

While Md Dulal Hossain sank three birdies at the cost of two bogeys, Rishi Kumar produced two birdies in exchange for one bogey on an extremely windy day.

Dulal’s three birdies came as a result of conversions from a range of five to nine feet.

Dulal said, “I struck the ball really well despite the tough conditions. My putting was also decent but I need to further improve on it. I didn’t have a great season on the PGTI last year as I missed a lot of cuts. But I feel my game is now on the upswing and a good performance this week will help me start the season with a new lease of confidence.”

Chandigarh teenager Aadil Bedi, who recently qualified for the Asian Tour, was placed tied third at even-par-72. He shared third place with two other Chandigarh golfers, Gurbaaz Mann and Rajinder, as well as Lucknow’s Vijay Kumar and Gurugram’s Priyanshu Singh.

The top 80 players (+ ties) will make the cut after round two of the Final Qualifying Stage. At the end of round four, the top 41 players will earn their full cards for the 2019 PGTI season.

Constantine : India didn’t deserve to go out

Sharjah, January 15: India missed out on the knockout spot by a whisker and eventually finished at the bottom of the Group A standings after a 0-1 defeat to Bahrain on Monday evening at the Al-Sharjah Stadium, UAE.

The Blue Tigers started off their Asian Cup campaign in style with a 4-1 thrashing of Thailand before they went down to UAE 0-2 in a game which they dominated the proceedings. However, they needed a point going into the final game but a late penalty in the 90th minute ended their hopes of a historic progression into the knockout stages of the continental competition.

“I am bitterly disappointed to go out in the 90th minute with a penalty. The boys are sick as you can imagine. I am just disappointed for them as they gave everything in the last few games. We perhaps didn’t create enough chances as we did in the first two games. That’s it. We go home,” said coach Stephen Constantine, who resigned from the position after the game.

The 56-year-old pointed that had India converted the chances that came their way against UAE or if the boys would have held for the final five minutes on Monday, they would have surely made the cut for the round of 16.

“It’s a stark reality. We didn’t deserve to go out. We came here to try and qualify from the group. Overall, it is more than what people expected. Nobody had even expected us to qualify for the Asian Cup in 2015 in first place. The boys have exceeded expectations. Unlucky we did not score three of four chances against UAE and in front of Bahrain, we could not hold out last three or four minutes. That’s football,” he exclaimed.

Constantine clarified that India didn’t go into the game in order to clinch a point. He reasoned that lack of experience did them in as they conceded a cheap penalty in the dying embers of the game.

“We didn’t intentionally sit out for a draw. Bahrain were full of energy and looking to get the goal. We were defending deeper and deeper and were finally punished. But I think we were a bit unlucky. To defend well for 90 something minutes and then get beat by a penalty is harsh.

Commenting on his resignation as head coach coming immediately after India’s exit from Asian Cup, the former Rwanda coach explained, “I have been here for four years. My objective from day one was to qualify for the Asian Cup and we have done that. I am exceptionally proud of the players for everything that they have given. I think my cycle is finished. I did what I was asked. It is time for me to move on.

“I was there in India from 2002-2005. I left the country in a better place than it was in 2002. In my tenure from 2015-19, they are in a much better place than they were in 2015. We have a crop of young players who have a bright future. They need to qualify for these tournaments on a regular basis. They have the talent pool to do that,” he mentioned.

“I don’t think it is the saddest day in my coaching career. It is not a great day for sure. These things happen in football. I think we didn’t do enough today to win this game. And obviously, I will be sad to leave the boys because they were fantastic to me. And it is time to move on,” he signed off.


India lost to Bahrain 1 (Jamal Rashed 90+1’)

SHARJAH, UAE: The Indian National Team lost by a solitary goal against Bahrain at the Sharjah Stadium in UAE today (January 14, 2019) to finish bottom of Group A with three points, crashing out of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

Jamal Rashed’s 91st-minute penalty broke Indian hearts as the opponents ran out eventual winners, after a solid defensive performance from Constantine’s men.

In a nervous start for the Blue Tigers, Anas succumbed to injury in the opening minutes and was replaced by Salam Ranjan Singh. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s goal was threatened and he was called into action as early as the 5th minute when he pulled off an uncanny save off Komail’s shot from outside the box.

With Bahrain literally keeping possession for the first ten minutes, India’s first chance came in the 13th when Pritam Kotal released a cross for Ashique Kuruniyan, whose header was blocked by the opposition defence. Halicharan Nazary’s 22ndminute shot added to India’s shot tally but hit the side-netting.

The 28th minute saw some exquisite passing by India in Bahrain’s box. Pronay Halder found Halicharan on the wings, who dribbled in and laid one for Sunil Chhetri lurking in the box. Last ditch tackle from Bahrain’s defence blanked Chhetri as he was attempting to shoot on goal from less than 10 yards.

With Bahrain having the lion’s share of possession, the Blue Tigers defended with their lives, with Sandesh Jhingan marshalling the backline. The Indian midfield, compact, came back to help the backline, hence allowing Bahrain shots from distance.

Though Bahrain penetrated into the Indian box, the opponents did not create any serious trouble that Sandesh and his line could not deal with. Even skipper Pronay Halder made a goalline clearance in the dying embers of the first half to keep Bahrain at bay.

Coach Constantine added more spark in the attack with the introduction of Jeje Lalpekhlua at the half-way point, replacing Ashique Kuruniyan. But it still was the defensive performances of Pronay Halder and Sandesh Jhingan that provided the forwards cover and thwarted the opposition attacks.

In the 60th minute, Sandesh Jhingan made a sliding tackle to deny an open goal tap-in to Bahrain forwards after a cross from the Indian right flank went unchecked.

A few minutes later, Udanta Singh got into the thick of defensive action and made a sensational tackle in the Indian box to rob the opponents of possession. Minutes before, he was brought down around the Bahrain box and the resulting free-kick was sent over the bar by Sunil Chhetri.

In the 73rd minute, Bahrain got an indirect free-kick inside the box after Gurpreet had collected a back pass but the Indian defence line saw out the free-kick, flinging bodies to keep the ball out of the goal.

The India custodian pulled off a world-class save in the 83rd minute to deny Bahrain from a close-range header, following a corner kick, and Pritam Kotal blocked the resulting shot.

Jamal Rashed scored from the spot in the dying embers of the game to hand Bahrain a last gasp win after Pronay Halder brought Hamad Al Shamsan down in the box.

INDIA: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika (4’ – Salam Ranjan Singh), Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose; Udanta Singh, Pronay Halder (C), Rowllin Borges, Halicharan Narzary (79’ – Anirudh Thapa), Ashique Kuruniyan (45’ – Jeje Lalpekhlua), Sunil Chhetri.


Defending champions Hyderabad Hunters to take on two-time finalists Mumbai Rockets in the race to the Vodafone PBL4 finals

– Sindhu lead Hunters have lost only one trump this season
– Mumbai spearheaded by Sameer Verma is ready to make amends for their missed opportunities

Bangalore, January 11: The Vodafone Premier Badminton league, after an enthralling league stage which witnessed some power-packed action has narrowed down the top 4 teams who will be battling it out in the semis for a finals berth and to get a step closer to the coveted trophy. While the first semi-final will be played between table toppers Awadhe Warriors and the home team Bengaluru Raptors, defending champions Hyderabad Hunters will take on Mumbai Rockets in a bid to repeat last year’s success at the city’s Kanteerava stadium tomorrow.

The Hunters have carried forth their sublime form from the last time around, garnering 24 points to finish second at the table. Led by the exquisite PV Sindhu from the front, the Hyderabad team has lost only one trump match in the season so far, winning 5 of their 6 trumps used and will be keen to extend it further.

Speaking on the eve of their semis clash, Hunters skipper PV Sindhu said, “We are really excited to have made to the semi finals. Though the stakes are higher but as a team we are playing well and we will be giving everything to keep outselves in the title hunt.”

With the likes of Anders Antonsen and Sameer Verma, on the other hand, spearheading the Mumbai attack alongside the experinced Lee Yong Dae, the Rockets cannot be tread lightly either. Their lineup boasts of some serious firepower and the Hunters will have a task cut out for themselves when they face Mumbai Rockets on court.

Mumbai, which finished fourth in the table with 19 points have enjoyed a very consistent season and will once again seek to strike the chord right and seal their place in the grand finale.

Runners up in the first and second edition of the PBL, the Rocket’s will thus be extra-charged to make amends for their missed opportunity and give themselves a promising chance in their run to earn their maiden PBL title.

“This is a good opportunity for us; Hyderabad Hunters are the defending champions and we’d like to beat the best to be the best. We have a good chance and the team looks extremely confident. We have been training really hard  am sure Bengaluru will be up for a great contest,” said Mumbai’s icon player, Lee Yong Dae.


UAE beats India 2-0

India 0 lost to UAE 2 (40’ Khalfan Alhamsi, 88′ Ali Mabkhout)

AIFF Media Team

ABU DHABI: Aiming for qualification from the group stages, the Indian National Team ended up on the losing side going down 0-2 to hosts United Arab Emirates in their second Group stage match of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The Blue Tigers next play Bahrain in their last match on January 14. India are presently on three points from 2 matches, the same as Thailand, with UAE currently topping the group with 4 points from 2 matches.

It was a day when the Indians hit the post twice in the second half and muffed two in the first-half. Alhamsi’s 40th-minute strike much against the run of play, and then Ali Mabkhout’s 80th-minute goal played villain on a night where the Blue Tigers gave the hosts the scare of their lives from the first minute itself.

It just seemed like fate did not allow India to score.

In the first half, India could have almost sealed it. The Blue Tigers started with an attacking intensity, and although lacked possession, chances came in bright and plenty.

India could have surged into the lead as early as the 8th minute when Sandesh Jhingan got a free-header off a corner kick but headed it wide.

Three minutes later, the Arab custodian Khalid Bilal pulled out a world class save to break Indian hearts and deny Ashique Kuruniyan’s shot from close range after Sunil Chhetri had put him through.

If that wasn’t enough of a goal scoring chance, skipper Chhetri was handed a golden opportunity in the 23rd minute. Chhetri was found in the box by Anirudh Thapa but his header went straight to the rival Goalkeeper.

Had India taken these chances, the Blue Tigers would have been up 3-0 in less than thirty minutes — such was the intensity of their counter-attacks which was promoted through the defensive solidity at the back.

With India unable to take their chances, UAE scored against the run of play in the 40th minute. Khalfan Alhamsi took advantage of a slight miscommunication in the Indian defence and found the back of the net through a chip from a tight angle.

India had another chance to open their goalscoring tally after the UAE defence fluffed a routine clearance providing Sunil Chhetri with a tight angle to score. Chhetri’s placement went inches past the goal as India failed to capitalize and went trailing into the breather.

Changing over, the chances kept coming for India. In the 53rd minute, Jeje Lalpekhlua, who was brought on as a substitute for Halicharan Narzay, tried to slyly chip past the goalkeeper from range after a failed clearance fell to his chest. His shot, however, went past the goal and the UAE goalkeeper.

In the 55th minute, the Blue Tigers rattled the crossbar after Udanta Singh’s shot kissed the bar and went away, following a one-two with Sunil Chhetri inside the box.

In the 73rd minute, however, UAE skipper’s Alhammadi’s shot rattled the left post.

But they had the last laugh when in the 88th minute, Ali Mabkhout breached India’s defence and found the back of the net to take it beyond India’s reach.

A desperate India went all out and UAE had another close shave when Sandesh Jhingan’s header off a Rowllin Borges’ free-kick bounced back off the bar.

INDIA: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose; Udanta Singh (79’ – Jackichand Singh), Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa (70’ – Rowllin Borges), Halicharan Narzary (45’ – Jeje Lalpekhlua), Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri (C).


We are still in the running: Chhetri

AIFF Media Team

ABU DHABI: The morning after the Blue Tigers went down to hosts United Arab Emirates in their second Group league match of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, Head Coach Stephen Constantine expressed that the team now “needs to get ready for the next game” against Bahrain.

“We have to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game. We need to aim for a win and get something from that game. Hopefully, we can get the result to qualify,” Constantine stated.

India next plays Bahrain on January 14 and a victory will ensure the Blue Tigers a spot in the Round of 16.

Talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri also echoed Constantine’s words. “We are still in the running. We are ready to face Bahrain. As a team, we are united. We are ready to fight. That’s our game plan against Bahrain,” Chhetri maintained.

Against India, the Indians muffed some gifted opportunities, hit the bar twice and eventually went down 0-2.

Referring back to the match, Constantine explained: “I said to the boys you did not lose this game. You have shown what you are capable of. Even they (UAE players) were surprised and did not believe that we were this good.”

“We are only going to get better with this kind of games. The team has an average age of 25. The players will get only better from here. We had four clear chances to score but UAE scored with the half chance they had,” he maintained.

Skipper Chhetri added: “It was a tight game. If we could have taken our chances it could have been different. UAE are a good side, and they converted their chances.”


India must be wary of wounded UAE

Abu Dhabi, January 9: India’s 4-1 victory over Thailand in the opening match of the Asian Cup 2019 was phenomenal, but now Stephen Constantine’s boys have an even bigger task on hand. Their next opponents are hosts UAE at the Zayed Sports City on Thursday where they will hope for a repeat.

Coach Constantine will be pleased with how the second half against Thailand turned out. India not only managed to shut down a lethal Thai attack after being tied 1-1 at the break, but also threatened at the other end through quick transitions in attack.

That stupendous show earned India three valuable points, a place on top of the group and a goal average of plus three.

“We have a very young side here and they are excited. Of course, hosts UAE will be a different game. They are a very good side but they are just another team standing in our way,” said Constantine.

India grabbed their chances against Thailand with the strikers clinical upfront. Sunil Chhetri scored a brace, while Jeje Lalpekhlua and Anirudh Thapa scored the other two goals.

Although he was not among the goals, the player who caught everyone’s eye was Ashique Kuruniyan. Chhetri and the FC Pune City winger had their eyes on goal whenever they were on the ball and the direct running of the latter and the technique and finishing prowess of the former left the opposition’s defence helpless. More of the same will be expected against a superior opponent in UAE.

With a FIFA ranking of 79, UAE are the highest-ranked team in Group A and poses a difficult challenge for India. The Whites will look to boss the midfield where Anirudh Thapa and Pronay Halder will come up against a tightly-knit three-man midfield.

India will also be required to be vigilant at the back as the likes of Ali Mabkhout and 2015 Asian Player of the Year Ahmed Khalil are goal-scorers with predatory instincts in the attacking third. Mabkhout is seven goals shy of becoming UAE’s all-time top scorer. The defensive pairing of Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika will be kept busy at the back.

UAE will miss the services of the injured Omar Abdulrahman who is regarded as one of Asia’s best players, but Alberto Zaccheroni’s men have enough firepower to test Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in India’s goal.

UAE were held by Bahrain in their opening match and, in front of their home crowd, they will be eager to make amends.

“What we lacked on the pitch was the fighting qualities from the players. We will address this when we are preparing for the next game against India and we’ll come with a different attitude,” said Zaccheroni.


ICC announces amnesty

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced a 15-day amnesty to participants who have previously failed to report any information concerning corrupt conduct in Sri Lankan cricket. The amnesty, which will run from 16-31 January, will apply to all participants under both the ICC and Sri Lankan Cricket Anti-Corruption codes.

Under these codes, both domestic and international participants are obliged to report, without delay, full details of any approaches, incident or information that they receive to engage in corrupt conduct. Failure to do so is a serious offence and can result in a ban from cricket of up to five years. However, under the amnesty, any information reported by a participant will not attract a charge for their failure to report previously.

Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager – Anti-Corruption, said: “This is the first time the ICC has held an amnesty and it is in response to the very specific challenges we face in Sri Lanka. Allowing retrospective reporting of alleged approaches to engage in corrupt conduct will assist in our ongoing and wide-ranging investigations, as well as enabling us to continue to develop a comprehensive picture of the situation there.

“If any player or participant has any information concerning corrupt conduct they should come forward and share it with us now without fear of any repercussions.

“We would urge any participant with any information that may demonstrate corrupt conduct affecting cricket in Sri Lanka to come forward in the strictest of confidence.”

Reports can be made 24 hours a day in a number of ways:


Never in my wildest dreams, did i think i would play so many games for India: Sunil Chhetri

By Shoubhik Mukhopadhyay,
AIFF Media Team

ABU DHABI: In today’s dynamic world of football, it’s not easy to go out and perform day in and day out, especially when your performance is being scrutinized from every possible angle. Amidst all of the analysis by all of India’s opponents, Sunil Chhetri has made it look so easy, no matter whichever team he faces.

A day after the talismanic striker surpassed Lionel Messi in the highest scoring active player’s list, courtesy his brace against Thailand in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 opener, Chhetri spoke at a length about the victory, the team, his fitness mantra, debut, getting past Messi and much more.


Did you foresee this day on your debut against Pakistan in 2005?

Never. Not even in my wildest fantasies, I thought that this would happen to me. Playing for my country the very first time was so enjoyable, memorable and nothing less than a great honour. But, I never thought that I would go on to play so many games and score goals for India.

What’s the secret behind your sublime goal-scoring form?

There is no secret behind these results. I am blessed to have played the game with the best of the teammates — both for all my clubs and Country. Both in Bengaluru FC and India, everyone helps me out. They support me and that is very important. I just try to continue doing the best for the team and the result follows.

You have redefined the fitness of late. How do you maintain it?

There is absolutely no secret. You have to just work hard and make sure you train well. Most importantly you need to eat and sleep well. The fact that I love playing Football, and playing for my country drives me to push further. I think I am undergoing the phase when I’m the fastest, fittest in my life. I don’t think age is a barrier for me.

Has the win sunk in already? How did you guys enjoy the victory?

We did nothing to enjoy.  It’s just about sticking to the routine. We had the recovery sessions, and now the gym. It’s not done yet and nothing has been achieved so far. It was a decent win but just one win, no more or no less.

What’s the plan ahead?

We have to focus for the 10th, the match against hosts UAE. It will be a very difficult game. If you ask me — without taking anything from Thailand, the least difficult one among the three matches was against Thailand.

The most difficult game one will be against the UAE and lest we forget, Bahrain will be equally tough for us. We are concentrating on the next one now and we need to give a good account of ourselves.

Ashique was deployed in a new role yesterday. How do you analyse his performance?

Pretty good, I must say. It was a new position for him as he generally does not play as a striker. But he worked really hard. Jeje is the talisman for us. He is probably one of the main reasons why we have reached the Asian Cup finals. So it was quite a task for him to fill in Jeje’s shoes.

Before the Asian Cup, you told that defenders have a tough task to cut out. How did our boys fare last night?

It was a top-notch performance by everyone. Right from Gurpreet, Subhasish, Anas, Sandesh, Pritam — everyone was so good. At times, the whole team dig deep to defend, but these four guys have been really solid at the back.

Personally, you have ticked many a box for the National team. What next for you?

I don’t think anything about personal achievements at the moment. It’s all about the team and we need to focus on keeping a clean sheet against UAE.

You have surpassed Messi in the highest scoring active player’s list. Isn’t this particular record a special one for you?

No record for me now. After 10 years, probably, when we’ll sit with a drink in our hand will talk about records. (laughs).


USA cricket announced as the ICC 105th member

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today welcomed USA Cricket as its 105th Member, in what is a historical milestone for the governing body established in 2017 to unify and develop the cricket community in the United States following the expulsion of USACA.

USA Cricket’s application to become the 93rd Associate Member in accordance with the ICC Constitution was approved by ICC Members following the Membership Committee’s recommendation to the ICC Board late last year and is implemented with immediate effect.

As a Member of the ICC, USA Cricket is now eligible to receive funding in accordance with the ICC Development Funding Policy and can sanction domestic and international cricket in the United States.

A transition plan has been agreed for the governing body, which has, to date, been managed by the ICC Americas regional support programme. This will see all governing body obligations transferred to USA Cricket under the auspices of the USA Cricket Board of Directors this month. The recruitment of a Chief Executive and key management roles will begin in due course as the immediate priorities of the new Member.

ICC Chief Executive, David Richardson said: “This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and I would like to congratulate the Chair of USA Cricket, Paraag Marathe, and the Board, on this important milestone and wish them all the very best for the future.

USA Cricket Board Chair, Paraag Marathe said: “USA Cricket was established to bring together the cricket community in the United States, develop the game and unlock the sport’s undoubted potential for growth. Today’s confirmation that it is the ICC’s newest Member is a significant staging post on that journey.

“As David mentioned, this recognition is not just the work of our Board but is a result of thousands of volunteer hours over the last 18 months and USA Cricket appreciates the time, effort and sacrifice of all those involved.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors and the entire U.S. cricket community, I also want to thank the ICC and the other 104-member countries for your faith in us to deliver on the nearly limitless potential for cricket in the United States. We do not take this responsibility lightly and pledge to lead this great game with the integrity, passion and tireless work ethic that is a foundation for global cricket.”


Pro Volleyball League adds six more international players for the inaugural edition

Each franchisee gets one player through a draft process

New Delhi, 7th January, 2018: As the Inaugural edition of the Pro Volleyball League draws closer, the league added six more International players for the first season. With this, each team filled their quota of 2 foreign players in the squad of 12 and are all set for the first edition of the league starting 2nd February. The newest franchise based sports league of India is an initiative of Baseline Ventures and Volleyball Federation of India and will see six teams from six cities vying for the title in the first season.

In the second draft of the Pro Volleyball League, Russia’s Victor Sysoev was picked by Ahmedabad Defenders,  Slovakian Adrej Patuc by Kochi Blue Spikers, Canada’s Nicholas Del Bianco by U Mumba Volley, Latvian Ruskans Sorokins by Chennai Spartans, Canada’s Alex Bader by Black Hawks Hyderabad and Republic of Congo’s Illouni Ngampourou by Calicut Heroes.

In a career spanning 14 years across Romania, Switzerland and Russia, Sysoev started with Lokomotiv Novosibirsk. The 34-year old Patuc, who will represent Kochi franchise, has 15 years of experience that started at Slovakian club VKP Bratislava in 2003. Canada’s Del Bianco started playing club volleyball with the Trinity Western Spartans. The 26-year old was also a member of the National team from 2014-2017 and went onto play in countries like Switzerland, France and Germany.

Sorokins is one of the most experienced pro joining the league with Chennai Spartans. The 36-year old Latvian has over 21 years of playing experience in both court and beach volleyball and also has represented Latvia in the 2012 London Olympics and has played in countries like Kazakhstan, Slovakia, France and  Belgium among others.

Bader, another Canadian international in the league will play for Black Hawks Hyderabad, started his volleyball career in 2014 with his home club Calgary. Ngampourou from the Republic Of Congo who will play for the Calicut heroes, will be the first African player to be a part of the Pro Volleyball League. Ngampourou, who plays as a middle blocker, is known for his defensive prowess.

Talking about the new set of International players joining the league, Tuhin Mishra, MD and Co-founder of Baseline Ventures, said, “We have added some fantastic international players to the league. These names have years of playing experience across the globe and carry tremendous repute with their respective teams. With the second set of International player draft completed, all the teams have full-fledged and balanced squads with a specialist player in every position.”

The first draft of the International players took place during the players auction in New Delhi last month. Carson Clarke was picked by Black Hawks Hyderabad, Paul Lotman by Calicut Heroes, Rudy Verheoff by Chennai Spartans, Tomislav Coskovic by U-Mumba Volley,  David Lee by Kochi Blue Spikers and Novica Bjielica by Ahmedabad Defenders.  

The inaugural edition of the league will see six franchises vying for the title. Ahmedabad Defenders is owned by Bonhomie Sports Event Mgmt. Ltd., Kerala’s Calicut Heroes is owned by Beacon Sports while the Chennai Spartans is owned by Chennai Spartans Pvt. Ltd. U Mumba Volley is owned by U Sports, who also own a team in the Kabaddi league while Black Hawks Hyderabad is owned by Agile Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Thomas Muthoot owns the Kochi franchise called the Kochi Blue Spikers.

Pro Volleyball League’s first season will be held in two volleyball hotbeds of India i.e. Kochi (Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium) and Chennai (Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium). Each of the six teams will have 12 players including two foreign players and two Indian U-21 players. The league will be played over a total of 18 matches with each team playing each other once in a round-robin format and the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals. All the matches will be broadcasted live on Sony Six and Sony Ten 3 and will be streamed live on Sony LIV.

About the Pro Volleyball league

An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. Packaged in the brightest of colours, the first edition of the highly anticipated tournament is set to provide high octane Volleyball action to fans of the sport across the country in the month of February 2019.


India beat Thailand 4-1 in AFC Asian Cup

Thailand 1 (33’ Teerasil Dangda) lost to India 4 (27’, 47’ Sunil Chhetri, 68’ Anirudh Thapa, 80’ Jeje Lalpekhlua)

ABU DHABI: Back in the AFC Asian Cup after an eight-year wait, the Blue Tigers kicked-off their campaign in Asia’ elite footballing tournament in style with a 4-1 win over Thailand.

A brace from talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri and a goal each from Anirudh Thapa and a sublime finish by Jeje Lalpekhlua rounded India’s first victory in the Asian Cup since 1964.

The superb performance in the second half sealed it for India. Some tacky play in the attacking third, non-stop pressing and some no-nonsense defending stayed the highlights.

With the pairing of Sandesh Jhingan and Anas commanding the backline, the Blue Tigers’ defensive compactness in the early minutes proved to be stubborn.

India closed down quicker in the midfield, not allowing their players time on the ball. It only provided the time for the likes of Ashique Kuruniyan and Anirudh Thapa to dictate play in an attacking stance. And although Thailand dominated possession, India had the better of the chances and showed bright signs around the opponent’s 18-yard box.

Ashique Kuruniyan’s pace and tackiness down the left wing gave India an opportunity to score as early as the 3rd minute, but his cross, flashed in front of goal, with no Indian bodies able to make contact.

India surged into the lead in the 27th minute. A quick throw-in by Sunil Chhetri on the left flank released Ashique on the flanks and the latter burst through the Thai defence to earn a penalty kick, courtesy a handball by Thailand’s’ Theerathon. Chhetri, as composed as ever, converted from the spot.

But the Tigers could not hold to the lead for long. In the 33rd minute, Thailand equalized after Teerasil Dangda’s header crashed into the Indian net from a free-kick.

Changing over, India regained their lead, a brilliant strike from Chhetri doing the trick for them. Chhetri banged it in from the top box off an Ashique back-heel after Udanta Singh’s run had done the damage.

Chhetri almost scored his hat-trick in the 63rd minute when Thailand’s goalkeeper Bootprom muffed a cross from Udanta, only an onrushing Chhetri’s effort was saved for a corner.

By then it was all India in the midfield. The combination for the third one in the 68th minute was a marvel to watch. Following an exquisite defence-splitting pass from Chhetri, Udanta teed-off Anirudh Thapa in the box for the latter to chip into the net over two helpless Thai defenders and the goalkeeper.

Substitute Jeje’s strike in the 80th minute sealed the fate for India. He received it from Halicharan on the top of the box, turned in a flash and placed it with the edge of his boot.

India next play face hosts UAE in their second match of the tournament on January 10.

INDIA: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK) (C); Subhashish Bose, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathokida, Pritam Kotal; Ashique Kuruniyan (78’- Jeje Lalpekhlua), Pronay Halder (87’ – Germanpreet Singh), Anirudh Thapa (78’ – Rowllin Borges), Udanta Singh, Halicharan Narzary, Sunil Chhetri.


Air quality device installed in Australia as part of the IAAF’s Global Programme to monitor and share air quality data

The IAAF has today launched its first air quality monitor in the Southern Hemisphere, at Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre in Australia, as part of a pilot programme to measure air quality at stadiums around the world.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe, accompanied by Athletics Australia President Mark Arbib, switched on the device, the third installed at athletics stadiums as part of the IAAF’s five-year partnership with UN Environment, which is designed to create greater global awareness and promote action on air pollution.

The ultimate aim of the programme is to develop an air quality monitoring network linking 1000 IAAF-certified tracks around the world.

Commenting at the installation ceremony, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: “We are all advocating and promoting more active lifestyles across the age spectrum and in all communities in order to fight the increasing sedentary lifestyles which in themselves cause heart disease, diabetes and other prolonged medical illnesses. But with over half the world’s population living in urban areas in 2015 and rising to a predicted 60% by 2030, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) – that is double the 30% of the world’s population who lived in urban areas back in 1950 – it is vital that we ensure we are not swapping one set of serious health risks for another. In the same way as the quality of water we drink is vital, it is high time that we are all equally demanding about the quality of air we breathe.”

President of Athletics Australia, Mark Arbib, said: “We are very supportive of the IAAF’s decision to make the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre the third stadium around the world to receive an air quality monitor.

“Air quality is something we mostly take for granted in Australia, but air pollution has a direct impact on the health of our population and as we have seen globally, the consequences can be dire if pollution reaches high levels over prolonged periods. We welcome the leadership of Sebastian Coe and the IAAF on this important issue and urge all governments and sporting federations to keep environmental and climate challenges at the front of their minds at all times.”

The IAAF’s goal is to help the global efforts of organisations like UN Environment and WHO by gathering data, conducting studies and helping to raise awareness and educate people on air quality. The IAAF’s ambition is to install a clean air monitor in all 1000 IAAF-certified track around the world over the next five years in partnership with UNEP.

The data will be available to the cities the tracks are in and, in time, will enable the IAAF to conduct meaningful performance studies with athletes who train and compete on these tracks and in these stadiums and use this information to benefit communities.

“It’s a big ambition and we have started small,” said Coe. “We are installing air quality monitors in six athletics stadiums in different parts of the world – in Monaco (installed in September), Addis Ababa (November), Sydney today and Mexico City, South America and Japan being installed over the next two months. We will run this pilot for the best part of a year to understand more about the data we can collect and, in that time, we hope to conduct one or two controlled studies on athlete performance and how their performances correlate to the quality of air they are breathing.

“The sport of athletics is run through member associations based in 214 countries. We are bigger than the United Nations. We want to use our know-how, our voice and our athletes to bring this issue to the forefront of both policymakers and the public. We need to act now. We need more awareness based on solid facts, we need more education on the impact of poor air quality on our communities and our children and we need more voices to demand better policies around pollutants,” said Coe.

The monitoring devices, produced by the Spanish firm Kunak, will collect real time air quality data, measuring levels of several pollutants including PM2.5 (particles), PM10, O3 and NO2, which research shows are the four main elements that have an impact on the performance of athletes.



Bengaluru Bulls crowned champions, beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-33 in the final

– Pawan Sehrawat was the fittest player on the mat as he put in 25 raids
– Pawan Sehrawat’s two-point raids in the second half were the brave moments of the match

Pawan Sehrawat produced a raiding masterclass to lead Bengaluru Bulls to their maiden title as they were crowned champions of Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season 6. Sehrawat scored 22 raid points as Bengaluru Bulls beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-33 in a thrilling final in front of a packed house in Mumbai. Sehrawat singlehandedly led Bulls to the title as he turned the match around in the second half with a  terrific performance. Gujarat Fortunegiants were in the match till the last five minutes and fought really hard but couldn’t contain Sehrawat. Sachin got a super 10 for Gujarat Fortunegiants but just fell short to lead his team to the title.

Bengaluru Bulls got off the mark with a tackle point as they sent Gujarat’s danger man Sachin to the bench. Prapanjan made a successful raid to give Gujarat Fortunegiants their first point. Pawan Sehrawat got his point as he secured a bonus as Bengaluru Bulls tied the match at 2-2 after four minutes. It took more than six minutes for Gujarat’s famed defence to get their first tackle point.

The first half was closely contested as after 10 minutes both teams were level at 6-6. Gujarat Fortunegiants burst into life in the last five minutes as they reduced Bengaluru Bulls to lead 10-7. In the 19th minute Prapanjan made a two-point raid to inflict an all out and give 15-9 lead. At the end of the first half, Gujarat Fortunegiants led 16-9.

Bengaluru Bulls’ defence started the second half strongly as they picked up a couple of tackle points. Gujarat though kept their noses in front till the 27th minute as they maintained a six-point lead. Pawan Sehrawat then turned the match on its head with a slew of successful raids. He picked up a couple of two-point raids including one in the 31st minute that led to Bengaluru Bulls inflicting an all out and taking 23-22 lead.

Rohit Gulua produced a super raid for Gujarat Fortunegiants in the 36th minute as they led 27-25. Pawan Sehrawat picked a couple of more points and Mahendra put in a strong tackle as Bengaluru Bulls leveled the match at 29-29 in the 37th minute. In the 39th minute Pawan Sehrawat made a two-point raid as Bengaluru Bulls inflicted a critical all out to lead 36-29.  Gujarat Fortunegiants picked up a few raid points as they trailed 32-37 in the last minute. Sehrawat produced another two-point raid as Bengaluru inflicted another all out in the 39th minute as they were crowned champions for the first time.


Hyderabad Hunters score 4-3 against Ahmedabad Smash Masters

– Axelsen finishes home leg with a win as the Vodafone PBL4 moves to Bengaluru for the final leg
– Caljouw loses for the first time in 5 matches

Ahmedabad, January 6: Ahmedabad Smash Masters skipper Viktor Axelsen bounced back from a three-match losing run to end the home leg on a high at the Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4 at The Arena by SE TransStadia, here on Sunday. Axelsen snapped the four-match winning streak of Hyderabad Hunters’ Mark Caljouw who had been in imperious form so far this season.

The former world champion, who is still not 100% fit, was desperately looking for a win to get back on track. Axelsen showed his hunger and determination in oodles by mixing up his smashes with deft touches that put the Dutchman, who is playing his first PBL in an uncomfortable position in the first game. Despite losing an exhilarating 51-shot rally, the Dane pocketed the opener 15-11.

The match had a different complexion from the mid-point of the second game. Caljouw found his rhythm to move ahead to 8-5 as Axelsen went off the boil. Even though the Dane regrouped to make it 10-10, the Hunters player could still get the game at 15-13.

Order was restored in the decider. With the crowd rooting vociferously for the lanky Dane, Axelsen found his game once more. He first built an 8-3 lead before finishing it off 15-11, 13-15, 15-8 in a 48 minutes long against the Dutch.

Earlier in the day, the defending champions started the tie on a positive note with their mixed doubles pair of Bodin Isara and Eom Hye Won beating the Ahmedabad duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Sikki Reddy 15-14, 15-9. Bodin and Eom simply upped the intensity from an 11-11 tie to take the opening game on a golden point.

The second game was way more hassle-free for the Hyderabad duo. From 4-4, they grabbed four consecutive points and never let the Smash Masters come back into the match.

There is a huge gulf in the world rankings between Ahmedabad’s World No. 23 Daren Liew and Hyderabad’s 146th ranked Rahul Yadav Chittaboina. The two have faced off only once before which went in favour of the Malaysian.

Sunday was no exception as Liew beat him 15-13, 15-9 to win the Trump for Ahmedabad and give his team a vital lead in the score. Chittaboina did show some spirited fightback to draw level at 12-12 after initially trailing 7-10 but it was not enough to make a dent in the confidence level of Liew.





Matches Win

Matches Loss



Mumbai Rockets






Hyderabad Hunters






Pune 7 Aces  






Awadhe Warriors






Bengaluru Raptors






North Eastern Warriors  






Chennai Smashers






Ahmedabad Smash Masters






Delhi Dashers







Top seeds rule the roost at Tata Open Maharashtra

– World No. 6 Kevin Anderson beats Ivo Karlovic in three sets 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 to clinch the singles crown
– Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan win their maiden ATP Tour title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Luke Bambridge-Jonny O’Mara

Pune, 5 January 2019: Top-seeds of Tata Open Maharashtra lived up to their billing as World No. 6 Kevin Anderson was crowned the Singles Champion while Indian pairing of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan won their first ATP Tour title on the concluding day of the event held here at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium on Saturday.

Anderson defeated 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic in three sets 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in the singles final, while in the Doubles competition, the Indian pair reigned supreme in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 against the British duo of Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara.

The Singles’ Final saw both the players depend mostly on their serves as they hit 57 aces between them. Kevin Anderson, who hit 21 out of those 57 aces, was more effective with his returns and won the battle of the tallest ever ATP Tour Finalists in the history of the Open Era. The 6’8” South African returned Karlovic’s second serves much better in the first set (54%) and won 90% of his first serves. 39-year-old Karlovic was also good with his first serves as he hit a total of 11 aces in the first set itself but struggled to return successfully. Even though Anderson twice had the opportunity to break the Croatian, Karlovic saved the two break points and took the set into a tie-break.

The decider saw Karlovic take a 2-1 lead through a couple of serves which included an ace, but it was the World No. 6 who came back to win the next five points and return for the set.  with an ace to make it 1-0 while Karlovic also showed his quality as he hit back with two great serves, the second being his 11th ace of the match. Some clever play from Anderson saw the South African go ahead 4-2. Karlovic still did not look comfortable playing long rallies, and ended up going behind 2-6. Even though Karlovic managed to save two set points, he was unable to go on par, and ended up losing the first set owing to a double fault at 4-6.

The second set saw both the players hold their serves for the first six games each, however Karlovic looked under pressure on a couple of instances as he had to save four break points. But the lanky Croatian’s game improved in the second set as he won 100% points off his first service to make it difficult for the World No. 6. Karlovic served 11 more aces on his way to winning the second set and his exploits in the tie-break saw him win 7-6(2) with Anderson struggling to keep up with the 39-year-old’s serves.

The deciding set of the match saw both the players use their serves to their advantage, holding throughout and taking the set into the tie-break yet again. Anderson did have a chance to close the match on a couple of occasions but lost three match points to see the tie go to the tie-break. Karlovic’s exploits took him to a 5-2 advantage in the tie-break but the 39-year-old twice lost his serve at 4-5 and ended up conceding the set and the match to give Kevin Anderson his first ATP 250 title since last year’s New York Open.

In the Doubles Final, Bopanna’s trademark big serves and some smart net-play from Sharan gave the top-seeded Indian pairing their first ATP Tour title. Such was Bopanna’s form with his service that he lost only four points on it in the entire match. The two pairs were not giving an inch until the 7th game when British pair had a chance to break which they missed. In the following game, Indian pair wasn’t so benevolent breaking O’Mara’s serve to take a 5-3 lead and eventually winning the first set.

Spurred by the capacity home crowd, Bopanna-Sharan took the initiative early on in the second set as they broke the British pair in the fifth and seventh game to go 5-2 up. Sharan’s serve in the eighth was broken, perhaps giving the Bambridge-O’Mara team some hope. But that was not to be as Bopanna did what he does best, serving out the 10th game in style to seal the deal.


Badminton champs at IIM

Prof. Rakesh Basant Dean of External Relationships,IIAM (2nd from Left) along with Badminton Champions Saina Nehwal and Carolina Marin, P Gopichand and Prasad Mangipudi, ED,SportzLive during their interaction with the students on Saturday in Ahmedabad.

Ahmedabad, January 5: The badminton champs who are in the city for the Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4 campaign for the first time had a unique experience in an interactive session held at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM). The ‘meet and greet’ event which took place at the reputed institution witnessed the presence of badminton stalwarts like 2018 CWG gold medalist Saina Nehwal and reigning World Champion Carolina Marin along with National Coach and PBL mentor, P Gopichand. While the shuttlers expressed their thoughts on issues of child marriage, girl education their experience as players and what takes to be a Champion and chase dreams.

Speaking about the interactions,  Marin said, “It was a unique experience for me to talk to students, however as players, we keep learning and we are students for life, said the three times world champion. Marin.

Saina Nehwal, the 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist while sharing her story of how she got into badminton, the champion motivated the students and said. “take every challenge in life head-on and success will be yours.”

Apart from the interactions, the shuttlers also shared some light moments and played a game of badminton with the students.


Bengaluru Bulls crowned champions, beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-33 in the final

– Pawan Sehrawat was the fittest player on the mat as he put in 25 raids
– Pawan Sehrawat’s two-point raids in the second half were the brave moments of the match

Pawan Sehrawat produced a raiding masterclass to lead Bengaluru Bulls to their maiden title as they were crowned champions of Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season 6. Sehrawat scored 22 raid points as Bengaluru Bulls beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-33 in a thrilling final in front of a packed house in Mumbai. Sehrawat singlehandedly led Bulls to the title as he turned the match around in the second half with a  terrific performance. Gujarat Fortunegiants were in the match till the last five minutes and fought really hard but couldn’t contain Sehrawat. Sachin got a super 10 for Gujarat Fortunegiants but just fell short to lead his team to the title.

Bengaluru Bulls got off the mark with a tackle point as they sent Gujarat’s danger man Sachin to the bench. Prapanjan made a successful raid to give Gujarat Fortunegiants their first point. Pawan Sehrawat got his point as he secured a bonus as Bengaluru Bulls tied the match at 2-2 after four minutes. It took more than six minutes for Gujarat’s famed defence to get their first tackle point.

The first half was closely contested as after 10 minutes both teams were level at 6-6. Gujarat Fortunegiants burst into life in the last five minutes as they reduced Bengaluru Bulls to lead 10-7. In the 19th minute Prapanjan made a two-point raid to inflict an all out and give 15-9 lead. At the end of the first half, Gujarat Fortunegiants led 16-9.

Bengaluru Bulls’ defence started the second half strongly as they picked up a couple of tackle points. Gujarat though kept their noses in front till the 27th minute as they maintained a six-point lead. Pawan Sehrawat then turned the match on its head with a slew of successful raids. He picked up a couple of two-point raids including one in the 31st minute that led to Bengaluru Bulls inflicting an all out and taking 23-22 lead.

Rohit Gulua produced a super raid for Gujarat Fortunegiants in the 36th minute as they led 27-25. Pawan Sehrawat picked a couple of more points and Mahendra put in a strong tackle as Bengaluru Bulls leveled the match at 29-29 in the 37th minute. In the 39th minute Pawan Sehrawat made a two-point raid as Bengaluru Bulls inflicted a critical all out to lead 36-29.  Gujarat Fortunegiants picked up a few raid points as they trailed 32-37 in the last minute. Sehrawat produced another two-point raid as Bengaluru inflicted another all out in the 39th minute as they were crowned champions for the first time.
Final Score

Bengaluru Bulls – Gujarat Fortunegiants

38 – 33

Match Awards:









Prize Money














Rs.3 crore














Rs.1.8 crore
















































































Tata Mumbai Marathon
Ethiopia’s Abera Kuma heads the men’s field

Defending women’s champion Amane Gobena returns

Mumbai, 5th January 2019: Race promoters Procam International have once again brought some of the world’s top road runners to India to contest the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2019, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race and one of Asia’s leading marathons, on Sunday 20 January. In 2018, Ethiopian athletes took the honours in the City of Dreams with victories in both the men’s and women’s races and runners from this country head the elite fields this year.

Leading the men’s list, which contains four runners who have run under 2:08:00 and 11 under 2:09:00, is Abera Kuma.

Kuma, 28, ran his personal best of 2:05:50 when finishing second in last year’s Rotterdam Marathon and in that sort of form could certainly challenge the TMM course record of 2:08:35 set in by Kenya’s Gideon Kipketer in 2016.

The Ethiopian is hoping that success in the TMM 2019 will help him book a place in the Ethiopian team going to the IAAF World Championships in Doha later this year, having already been part of Ethiopian teams at the 2011 and 2013 world championships on the track as well as two IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Kuma will be racing in India for the first time but no doubt he will have got some useful advice about what to expect from his younger sister Dibaba Kuma, who was an impressive winner at the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K last month.

One man who has experience of Mumbai and indeed India, having raced in the country several times before, is Bahrain’s Shumi Dechasa, who finished fourth in last year’s race.

The 29-year-old Dechasa is the second fastest man in the field with a best of 2:06:43 and has been a top 15-finisher at the last two world championships, including fifth place in 2015. He will be looking to make the TMM podium, at the very least, after the disappointment of just missing out on a top-three place 12 months ago.

Another runner to highlight in this year’s men’s elite field is Ethiopia’s Aychew Bantie.

Bantile finished fifth in Mumbai last year, at the time only his second marathon, but then reduced his best to 2:08:15 when finishing second at the Kosice Marathon in October and could be ready to make another improvement.

No less than nine men in this year’s race have personal bests faster than the course record and will be motivated by the fact that a US$45,000 first prize cheque, for both men and women, is on offer in India’s richest road race. (See prize money structure here.)

Amane Gobena is not only the defending champion in Mumbai but will also be the fastest woman on the TMM 2019 start line opposite the famousChhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT).

Now 36, the Ethiopian is still a force to be reckoned with. She ran her personal best of 2:21:51 when finishing second in the 2016 Tokyo Marathon and in addition to her TMM 2018 win, she also finished third in the renowned Prague Marathon last year.

The formidable TMM women’s course record of 2:24:33 has stood to Kenya’s Valentine Kipketer in 2013 but Gobena showed that it could be challenged in 2018 when she ran the second fastest winning time ever, crossing the line in 2:25:49.

in what is anticipated to be an enthralling and entertaining contest in front of tens of thousands of spectators lining the course in India’s entertainment and financial hub, two previous Mumbai women’s winners have returned to try to regain their crowns.

The Ethiopian pair of 2016 champion Shuko Genemo – who finished third at the TMM 2018 but later in the year ran a season’s best of 2:26:10 when finishing fifth in a very high-quality Ljubljana Marathon – and her two-time predecessor in 2014 and 2015, Dinknesh Mekash will be part of a large contingent of Ethiopian runners in the women’s race, six of whom have run under 2:27:00.

Among that group is the 23-year-old Birke Debele who finished fourth in Mumbai last year but improved her personal best to 2:25:28 when finishing second in the Hamburg Marathon last April.

“This is the 16th edition of the Tata Mumbai Marathon and I think this may be the best elite field we have had,” said Vivek Singh, Jt. MD of Procam International.

“Having had the race recently elevated to IAAF Gold Label Road Race status confirms its position as India’s iconic marathon event and one of the leading marathons in the world.

“Every year, we at Procam International set the bar a little higher in a bid to bring the best athletes to India and stage the best athletics events in the country. I can look down the list of international runners who will be coming to Mumbai and feel excited about watching these elite runners, race for glory on home soil.”

The TMM 2019 Event Ambassador will be India’s own six-time world amateur boxing champion Mary Kom, who also won the 2018 Commonwealth Games light-flyweight gold medal in addition to a myriad of continental titles and a 2012 Olympic Games bronze medal.

MALE ELITE ATHLETES (with nationality, year of birth and personal best)

Abera Kuma                         ETH/1990        2:05:50            
Shumi Duchasa                    BRN/1989       2:06:43
Jacob Kendagor                 KEN/1984       2:07:33            
Elijah Kemboi                     KEN/1984       2:07:34
Cosmas Lagat                      KEN/1995       2:08:14
Aychew Bantie                    ETH/1995        2:08:15
Kipkemoi Kipsang                KEN/1990       2:08:25            
Silas Too                                 KEN/1988       2:08:26
Abdi Ibrahim Abdo             BRN/1997       2:08:32            
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir                 MON/1981     2:08:50
Shumet Akalnew                 ETH/1988        2:08:50
Ayenew Mekuant               ETH/1991        2:09:00
Eliud Barngetuny                  KEN/1987       2:10:15                                    
Derese Reta                          ETH/1997        2:12:05
Deresa Geleta                     ETH/                2:12:33
Daniel Muteti                                    KEN/1994       debut


Amane Gobena                  ETH/1982        2:21:51
Dinknesh Mekash                 ETH/1985        2:23:12
Shuko Genemo                    ETH/1995        2:24:31
Birke Debele                         ETH/1995        2:25:28
Melesech Tsegaye              ETH/1994        2:26:44
Worknesh Alemu                 ETH/1990        2:26:50
Mergertu Alemu                  ETH/1997        2:28:08
Tejitu Daba                            BRN/1991       2:28:50
Failuna Matanga                 TAN/1992       2:30:00
Almaz Negede                     ETH/1987        2:30:33
Zinash Gerado                      ETH/1998        debut


Top-seeds Bopanna-Sharan advance to Doubles Final

The Indian duo defeated the pairing of Simone Bolelli and Ivan Dodig 6-3, 3-6, 15-13; will face British pair of Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara in the Final on Saturday

PUNE, 04 January 2019: Day Five of the Tata Open Maharashtra saw the doubles top-seed pairing of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan advance to the Final as they beat the Italian-Croatian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Ivan Dodig 6-3, 3-6, 15-13 in a thrilling Semi-Final encounter held here at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Tennis Stadium on Friday.

The Indian pairing started the match by grabbing the opening game and keeping their serve intact while Bolelli-Dodig also did the same to make it 1-1. Sharan utilised his serve to good effect as he won the next game to put his team 2-1 ahead. Dodig served in the next game with his partner Bolelli providing good support at the net and winning their second game. Bopanna used his experience in the next game to win his service game while Simone Bolelli showed why his team reached the Semi-Finals as he made it 3-3.

It was Sharan who made it 4-3, but the eighth game was the one where the Croatian Dodig could not save double break points and gave an opening to the top-seeds as they led 5-3. In what turned out to be the last game of the first set, it was the 38-year-old Bopanna who ended up serving a double fault but recovered in time to save a break point, and then take the set 6-3.

The second set started with the Bolelli winning the first service game and giving his Croatian partner some much needed confidence after his serve got broken in the first set. The consequent two games saw both Bopanna and Dodig holding on to their serve but it was Sharan whose serve was broken in the fourth game which gave Bolelli-Dodig a 3-1 advantage. Bolelli held his serve to put more pressure on the Indians which was visible in the next game when Bopanna put a ball long when he should have scored a winner.

Eventually the Indian pair saved a break point to win the game as scoreboard read 4-2. Dodig did not repeat the mistakes of the first set and held his serve to make it 5-2 but Bopanna-Sharan saved a break point again to stay in the set as Sharan served to make it 5-3. The top-seeds then did save a set point off Bolelli’s but lost the deciding point of the set which meant the match went into the Super Tiebreak.

The final act of the match saw the top-seeds go 2-5 behind. But combining their experience and deft touches, Bopanna-Sharan pair levelled it at 5-5. With Bolelli-Dodig seeming to have run away with the match at 9-7 it was the Indians who saved two match points to keep their hopes alive.

The highlight of the Super Tiebreak was the back-hand winner by Bopanna to make it 9-9 and then backed it up with another winner to make it 10-9. With Sharan serving for the match, it was Bopanna who scuffed his return to give their opponents another opening at 10-10. Both the pairs had chances to finish the match but it was only at 13-13 that Dodig hit a long return which gave Sharan the chance to serve for the match and the 32-year-old held to advance to the finale by a 15-13 win in the Super Tiebreak.

“It was a tough situation for us when we were down two match points but we always try to not change too much and stick to our plans. It is important to have the consistency in our game and it worked today,” said a delighted Sharan after the hard fought win.

The Singles competition will also see two Semi-Finals to be played today as Ivo Karlovic takes on Steve Darcis while top-seed Kevin Anderson will play Defending Champion Gilles Simon in the last match of the penultimate day.


Awadhe Warriors jump to second spot in Vodafone PBL4

Ahmedabad lose their first match at home

Ahmedabad, January 4: World No. 5 Son Wan Ho beat former world champion Viktor Axelsen as Awadhe Warriors thumped Ahmedabad Smash Masters at the Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4 at The Arena by SE TransStadia, here on Friday.

World No. 10 Beiwen Zhang too won her Trump match to pave the way for Awadhe’s third win in four ties this season. This was the Smash Masters’ second defeat on the trot after having topped the leaderboard in the initial stages of Season 4.

Birthday boy Viktor Axelsen had an uphill task against the in-form Son Wan Ho of the Warriors, considering the fact that he has still not recovered fully from the ankle injury that hampered his season last year. He looked subdued as the Korean dictated the terms, involving the Dane in long rallies.

From 10-3, the steady Son Wan Ho piled on the pressure on his rival, who conceded the opener 7-15.

Axelsen looked much more settled in the second game and built a 6-1 lead. Son did come back to within three points of the Dane but his unforced errors allowed Axelsen to grab the game 15-8.

In the decider, a resilient Axelsen erased a 3-7 deficit to even the score at 7-7. The persistent effort was still not enough as his unpreparedness at the net was exposed repeatedly by the Korean, who finished the 15-7, 8-15, 15-10 win to bring about Axelsen’s third defeat of the season.

Earlier in the day, Awadhe’s Beiwen Zhang wanted to make a statement, having beaten the BWF World Tour Finals champion PV Sindhu this season. And the World No. 10 did exactly that in her trump clash with Ahmedabad’s Kirsty Gilmour, even though it wasn’t easy for her.

The two are tied at 1-1 in their head-to-head record in the international circuit and the match went the same way, with not much to separate the two. Gilmour’s excellent defensive skills were on display as she managed to edge her opponent to go up 8-5 and then continued the tempo to pocket the game 15-10.

Gilmour made it very close in the second game and trailed Zhang by just a solitary point at 11-12. But her hopes of wrapping it up were dashed by a highly motivated Zhang who took the next three points as well to set up a decider.

Zhang overturned a 0-3 deficit to add five consecutive points to her kitty and never let go of the lead after that. A calm and poised Zhang then kept going to grab the 10-15, 15-11, 15-11 win.

The men’s doubles was yet another highly entertaining affair where Awadhe’s Lee Yang and Mathias Christiansen teamed up against Ahmedabad’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Nandagopal Kidambi.

Determined to get the Smash Masters back on track after the loss in the first rubber, Satwiksairaj and Nandagopal kept it competitive till 12-12. However, Christiansen’s precision in the last few points helped swing the game their way with a 15-12 win.

The Ahmedabad duo rebounded strongly in the second game. With the young Rankireddy upping the intensity of his smashes, the Warriors had to bow down 10-15 in the second game.

But Christiansen once more made the difference in the decider. His perfect shuttle placement suffocated Rankireddy who couldn’t find his attacking shots. Racing ahead to 8-3, the Awadhe team wrapped it up 15-12, 10-15, 15-8.


Ramanathan goes down fighting against fourth-seeded Jaziri

Pune, January 03 2019: India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan went down fighting in his second round match of the Tata Open Maharashtra losing to fourth-seed Malek Jaziri in three sets 6-7,7-6, 3-6 here at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium. The 24-year-old Indian produced an inspiring display against the Tunisian as the game went on for close to three hours.

World No. 132 Ramanathan used his fierce serves to his advantage dishing out 10 of the 20 aces in the first set. The Chennai-born player showed great resilience saving a set point to take it to tie-breaker. Even in the tie-breaker, Jaziri had a set-point at 6-5, but Ramanathan bagged three back-to-back points, two on his serve and one on Jaziri to win the set at 7-6 (6).

In the second set, both the players played to their strengths. Jaziri showed great resilience saving two break points in the 11th game. Ramanathan held on to his serve to make it 6-6 and take it to yet another tie-breaker. Jaziri lost the first point on his serve in the tie-breaker as Ramanathan followed it by two on his serve to lead the proceedings at 3-0. Jaziri picked himself up from there to win five consecutive points and gain momentum to win the second set at 7-6 (5).

The deciding set was the one where 34-year-old Jaziri used his experienced as he broke Ramanathan thrice to secure the set 6-3 and with it, the match. The Tunisian will now meet Belgium’s Steve Darcis later today.

The doubles competition saw two Quarter-Finals take place which saw Indian pairing of N. Sriram Balaji and local boy Arjun Kadhe lose out to Great Britain’s Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara in straight sets 6-7, 1-6. Fourth-seed Spanish pair of Gerard Granollers and Marcel Granollers also advanced to the Semi-Finals with a 6-4, 6-7, 10-6 victory over Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay.

Earlier in the day, third-seed Gilles Simon also made his way through to the next round as he overcame Ilya Ivashka’s challenge in three sets 6-7, 6-2, 6-1. The defending champion will now meet his countryman Benoit Paire who beat World No. 89 Jiri Vesely in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.

World No. 95 Ernests Gulbis was involved in the upset of the day beating second-seed Hyeon Chung in straight sets 7-6, 6-2. The Latvian will now take on Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic who beat World No. 97 Evgeny Donskoy 6-4, 7-5.

Top-seed and World No. 6 Kevin Anderson had to dig-in to secure his berth in the Quarter-Finals as 23-year-old Laslo Djere gave him a tough outing with the match ending 7-6, 7-6 in Anderson’s favour. He will now meet World no. 81 Jaume Munar who comfortably beat Italy’s Simone Bolelli 7-5, 6-0.


Singles – Second Round

[1] K. Anderson (RSA) d L. Djere (SRB) 76(3) 76(6)
E. Gulbis (LAT) d [2] H. Chung (KOR) 76(2) 62
[3] G. Simon (FRA) d I. Ivashka (BLR) 67(3) 62 61
[4] M. Jaziri (TUN) d [WC] R. Ramanathan (IND) 67(6) 76(5) 63
[5] B. Paire (FRA) d J. Vesely (CZE) 64 62
[7] J. Munar (ESP) d [Q] S. Bolelli (ITA) 75 60
[PR] S. Darcis (BEL) d M. Mmoh (USA) 46 76(4) 62
I. Karlovic (CRO) d E. Donskoy (RUS) 64 75

Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinals

[4] G. Granollers (ESP) / M. Granollers (ESP) d D. Molchanov (UKR) / I. Zelenay (SVK) 64 67(3) 10-6
L. Bambridge (GBR) / J. O’Mara (GBR) d [WC] N. Balaji (IND) / A. Kadhe (IND) 76(5) 61


Lovlina in quarter-finals
Haryana and Kerala pugilists put up impressive showing in National Championship

Vijayanagara, January 3: Lovlina Borgohain, who finished with a bronze medal at the New Delhi the world championships in November, simply walked into the quarterfinals owing to a walkover in the JSW Sports presents third Elite Women’s National Boxing Championships at the Inspire Institute of Sport here today.

Though the most interesting aspect of the Nationals was four of Kerala boxers—Divya Ganesh (69 kg), Indira K.A. (75kg), Anaswara P.M. (81+kg) and Fousiya A.T. (81kg)—entered the quarterfinals along with four boxers from Haryana while three pugilists from Railways, two each from Delhi, Punjab, Chandigarh and All India Police and one from Rajasthan, make it a worthwhile event for themselves.

Except for Fousiya, who got a walkover from AIP’s Neha Jhadav, Divya beat Tamil Nadu’s S. Preethi 5:0, Indira achieved an RSC-1 decision against Gujrat’s Riya Upadhyay and Anaswara won on points (5:0) against Maharashtra’s Shayaan Pathan to move up for Kerala. 

As Haryana’s quarterfinal entrants—2017 World Youth Championship Bronze medalist Anupama was the lone boxer who benefited from a walkover from Ravi Chandrika Balga of Andhra Pradesh—even as Nisha, Nupur and Pooja Rani showed their ring superiority to advance to the quarterfinals. 

Coming back to Lovlina, who got walkover in the welter class (69 kg) pre-quarterfinals from Andhra Pradesh, Marathamma Saitivada. The 21-year-old Assamese, will be entering the ring for the first time when she takes on Mithrem Jagirdar of Gujarat, who stopped Delhi’s Anjali with an RSC-1 verdict in the quarters.

But the best bouts of the day were witness in the middleweight class, when Railways Neetu had to outbox to beat AIP’s Kalawanti with a split verdict (3:2) and also Avneet Kaur of Chandigarh, who tackled the tough Delhi pugilist, Shalakha Sansanwal, also by the same margin. Avneet will be up against Manu Badhan of Punjab tomorrow in the Quarter-finals. 

The two bouts had the edge-of-the-seat atmosphere as Neetu, despite starting well, seemed to have overtaken by Kalawanti in the second round before the former regained rhythm to win the judges’ verdict in her favaour. Similarly, Avneet did well to send down combination punches to open against her Delhi rival and continued with it in the second and third intermittently to draw the judges attention towards her even when Shalakha was making a good impression with her lefts and occasional rights.  

There were quite a few walkovers on the day, including Jharkhand’s Banty as she conceded to Chandigarh’s Sohini. The Chandigarh girl has earned a last-eight meeting with Meemthoi Devi of All India Police, who won 5:0 against Nancy Payasi of Madhya Pradesh.

But in other Ring 1 action, there were quite a few RSC verdicts which helped separate the pretenders from real contenders as Haryana’s Nisha downed Soma Yadav of Bihar, Railways Pooja won against Babita Bisht of Uttarakhand, both in 69 kg, Nupur, also of Haryana, won a RSC-1 decision against Sridivya A. Kandukuri of Andhra Pradesh in middle weight (75), Rekha of Himachal surprised Tamil Nadu’s J. Kumari with RSC-3 verdict and, finally, Punjab’s Manu Badhan beat Karnataka’s Devashree when she joined the growing list of RSC winners, forcing the referees take early decisions to end their opponents’ ordeal. 

At the adjacent Ring 2, there were eight RSC decision, coming in favour of Jigyasa Rajput of MP, Saara Afsaroodin Qureshis of Telangana, Mohini Thite of Mahrashtra and Pooja Rani of Haryana—all in light heavy weight category (81), while the other came in heavy weight class (+81) when Palwinder Kaur from Punjab, Barbara A Sampson from Rajasthan Kashna Kumari from Uttar Pradesh and Kavita Chahal from AIP secured their berth in the quarterfinals. 

The other winners included Pratibha Thakur (HP), Pooja (Delhi) and seasoned campaigner, Seema Poonia from the Railways, who had it as easy as it can get against Gonella Naganika of Telangana, winning the bout 5:0.


Sung humbles Marin

Chennai Smashers notch its second win at the Vodafone PBL4

Ahmedabad, January 3: Former World No. 2 Sung Ji Hyun held her nerves to stave off a spirited comeback from Olympic champion Carolina Marin as Chennai Smashers beat Pune 7 Aces at the Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4 at The Arena by SE TransStadia, here on Thursday.

This was the second win on the trot for the Season 2 champions following their huge 6-(-1) win over the Ahmedabad Smash Masters. As for Sung, this was her second big upset this season, having accounted for PV Sindhu in an earlier match.

Pune captain and icon player Carolina Marin couldn’t find her sharpness in the initial stages of the match. Too many unforced errors bothered the Olympic champion as the Chennai shuttler raced ahead to 10-5.

The southpaw remained unfazed by that start and steadily got into the groove to draw level at 13-13. However, her efforts were in vain as the Korean managed to squeeze out the tight first game 15-14.

Having lost the opener closely, a resilient Marin looked lethal in the second game, racing ahead to 8-0. Continuing her brutal form, the unstoppable Spaniard wrapped up the second game 15-7.

Sung put up a valiant fightback in the decider to come back from 5-8 down to even the score at 9-9. With Marin inching ahead, the Korean dug deep to come up with a fabulous slice dropshot to make it 13-13 before completing the victory for the Smashers.

Earlier in the day, the tie started off with a highly entertaining mixed doubles match between the Chennai Trump pair of Chris-Gabby Adcock and the Pune pair of Ivanov-Kjaersfeldt.

With both determined not to give the other an inch of space, what ensued was a pretty competitive first game. The Chennai pair eked out the game 15-13 by the slightest of margins.

Ivanov upped the intensity of his smashes in the second game to build a 10-8 advantage for Pune. But the Adcocks showed why they are the No. 9 team in the world through a determined fightback to take the close Trump match 15-13, 15-14.

Consistency was the keyword for Chennai Smashers’ Rajiv Ouseph in the men’s singles rubber against Pune’s Brice Leverdez. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist used a perfect concoction of attack and variation to take the game away from the Frenchman.

Starting off with a commanding 8-2 lead, he never relented and managed to close out the first game 15-6.

The 30th ranked Leverdez, who is four places above Ouseph in the BWF World Rankings, got down to work in the second game. Inching ahead to 8-7 at halftime, he was able to keep steadily adding points to go up to 10-7 before pocketing it 15-8 in a fantastic turnaround.

Rajiv made up for his mistakes and remained more consistent in the decider. Despite Leverdez drawing level at 11-11, Ouseph was able to hold his nerves for a 15-6, 8-15, 15-13 victory.


Hyeon Chung knocked out; Kevin Anderson, Benoit Paire, Jaume Munar progress to Quarter-Finals

Pune, January 02 2019: Day Three of the Tata Open Maharashtra saw World No. 95 Ernests Gulbis cause an upset against second-seed Hyeon Chung to progress to the Quarter-Finals of the singles competition here on Wednesday. The Latvian defeated the World No. 25 South Korean in straight sets 7-6, 6-2 in their second round match held here at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium. Top-seed and World No. 6 Kevin Anderson also secured his berth in the Quarter-Finals as he defeated 23-year-old Laslo Djere in straight sets 7-6, 7-6.

In the first of four big singles matches of the day, it was Gulbis who came from four games down in the opening set to win in the tie-breaker and turn the momentum in his favour winning the first set 7-6. Gulbis used his first serve to his advantage, winning 23 points which included eight aces during the entire match. Whereas, Chung seemed to have lost confidence after going down in the first set and could not return well enough to stay in the match as he lost out the second set 2-6 in what was a disappointing display for the 22-year-old.

“I thought I had a good start in the first set but I started to lose points and it became tough to comeback then, but I will need to improve in the coming season and hope to come back here next year,” said Chung after the defeat.

While 30-year-old Gulbis did not mince words in analysing his performance, “I think I started slow and he (Chung) was much better in the first set but I managed to comeback to save the set from 2-5 down and the rhythm helped me in saving the match.”

But Anderson was given a tough fight by World No. 93 Laslo Djere as both the sets went into the tie-break. The 32-year-old South African secured the first set by winning the tie-break 7-3, while the second set was equally challenging for him with Djere pushing hard. But it was Anderson who held his nerve and won the match in straight sets, serving a total of 20 aces in the process.

Fifth-seed Benoit Paire was in cracking form as he wrapped up his second round match against World No. 89 Jiri Vesely in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. The 29-year-old Frenchman had to overcome a tough challenge from Vesely in the first set as the scores were tied at 4-4 after eight games, but Paire was up to the task as he won 20 out of 22 points on his first serve and served 11 aces during the match to produce a dominating performance.

World No. 81 Jaume Munar also produced an impressive performance as he made his way through to the Quarter-Finals by defeating World No. 141 Simone Bolelli comfortably in straight sets 7-5, 6-0. The oldest player to take part at the Tata Open Maharashtra, Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic also progressed to the next round with a two-set victory over World No. 97 Evgeny Donskoy in a match which lasted just over an hour.

Results: Singles

E. Gulbis (LAT) d [2] H. Chung (KOR) 7-6(2), 6-2
[1] K. Anderson (RSA) d L. Djere (SRB) 7-6(3), 7-6(6)
I. Karlovic (CRO) d E. Donskoy (RUS) 6-4, 7-5
[5] B. Paire (FRA) d J. Vesely (CZE) 6-4, 6-2
[7] J. Munar (ESP) d [Q] S. Bolelli (ITA) 7-5, 6-0


Srikanth, Sai Praneeth guide Raptors to victory at Vodafone PBL4

Ahmedabad, January 2: Bengaluru Raptors rode on skipper Kidambi Srikanth and B. Sai Praneeth’s winning efforts to beat former champions Delhi Dashers at the Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4 at The Arena by SE TransStadia, here on Wednesday.

This was the Raptors’ second consecutive victory at the league. With this, Srikanth continues his unbeaten streak this season, having won all three of his matches so far.

The teams opted to have their Trump matches up first. Sai Praneeth’s cancellation of Delhi’s Trump HS Prannoy was followed by the Raptors losing their own mixed doubles Trump. Srikanth then took the court to get a three-game win before Vu Thi Trang completed the job for Team Bengaluru.

In the first rubber of the game, Bengaluru’s Sai Praneeth met his Pullela Gopichand Academy training partner HS Prannoy, who represented the Delhi franchise. When the match started, it was evident that Prannoy, already hobbled by a right knee injury, wasn’t at his best. Facing breathing issues, the Indian national champion had a hard time stringing together points. Sai showed beautiful control of the shuttle to build a 6-2 lead.

It was only after the mid-game break that Prannoy started showing signs of resurgence and drew level at 10-10 before Praneeth dashed his hopes with a 15-12 scoreline.

Having gone down 8-10 in the second game, Prannoy found a second gear to explode to 13-10. With the score tied at 14-14, a struggling Prannoy found a wondrous drop shot to take the second game.

Sai cut down on his errors to take an 8-6 lead in the decider and extended it to 12-8 with a superb round-the-head shot, and finally slammed shut the match 15-12, 14-15, 15-13.

Bengaluru Raptors began their mixed doubles on a grand note, racing away to 5-0 through Commonwealth Games silver medallists Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith. But a spirited fightback from Delhi’s Maneepong Jongjit and Evgeniya Kosetskaya saw the latter snatching the game 15-13.

Agile as ever, the Thai shuttler simply kept oozing brilliance and carried the Dashers to 12-9 before adding the next three points as well to take the 15-13, 15-9 win.

Riding on his jump smashes, Bengaluru captain Kidambi Srikanth went ahead to 6-2 against Delhi’s Tommy Sugiarto. Looking fully in control of the play, he was relentless as he kept the scoreboard ticking to move up to 12-6, and then grabbed the one-sided opener 15-6.

The Indonesian showed real character to force an 8-3 turnaround in the next game. Srikanth went on a lull to allow Sugiarto to build a 13-8 advantage. A brief spark from the Indian couldn’t stop Sugiarto who pocketed the game.

The former World No. 1, however, managed to rebound strongly in the deciding game. Varying his shots, the aggressive Srikanth quickly went up to 8-4 as his opponent started looking more and more clueless.

It was just a matter of time before the Raptors man wrapped up the rubber with a 15-6, 12-15, 15-10 victory.

Delhi Dashers erased that setback soon through their women’s singles exponent Chia Hsin Lee. She opened the rubber with a strong play to get the first game 15-12.

However, having never met Bengaluru’s Vu Thi Trang on the international circuit, she simply wasn’t prepared for the fightback. The Bengaluru player absolutely toyed with her to grab the second game 15-3 in some smashing display.

Vu refused to give up in the decider despite Chia keeping it competitive till 6-6. Vu is ranked 59th and is placed 18 spots below Chia. That did not matter at all as a determined Vu kept cruising to add seven of the next nine points to fetch the tie win for Bengaluru.

The Ahmedabad leg will continue till January 6 before the league moves on to Bengaluru for the final proceeding of Vodafone PBL Season 4.


Delhi Dashers lose to Bengaluru Raptors- 0-2

(MS1)-HS Prannoy (T) lost Sai Praneeth: 12-15; 15-14; 13-15
(XD)-M.Jongjit/E.Kosetskayta bt M.Ellis/L.Smith (T): 15-13; 15-9
(MS2)T.Sugiarto lost K.Srikanth: 6-15; 15-12; 10-15
(WS)-C.H.Lee vs Vu Thrang: 15-12; 3-15;8-15


Six-Time World Boxing Champion, Mary Kom, is Event Ambassador of Tata Mumbai Marathon 2019

Mumbai, 2nd January 2019: Procam International, pioneers of distance running events in India, today announced the six-time World Women’s Boxing Champion, Indian Olympic Boxer and Padma Bhushan Awardee, MC Mary Kom as the Event Ambassador for the 16th edition of the IAAF Gold Label Tata Mumbai Marathon, to be held on 20th January 2019.

An inspiration to all, the 35-year-old ‘Magnificent Mary’ is the only woman to become World Amateur Boxing champion for a record six times, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the seven world championships. She has been conferred with some of the highest awards of India, including the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, and Padma Bhushan in the year 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2013 respectively. She has also been ranked as No. 1 AIBA World Women’s Ranking Light Flyweight category, and became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea and is the first Indian Woman Boxer to win Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Mary Kom is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning the bronze medal.

In 2016, Kom was nominated by the President of India as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.

On being announced as Event Ambassador of the Tata Mumbai Marathon, MC Mary Kom said, “The Tata Mumbai Marathon has paved the way for a running revolution in India and is the largest showcase of individuals pushing boundaries of the human spirit. As a sportsperson and mother, I understand that behind every success is a story and support network. Mine not just ensured I excelled in my sport, but inspired me to Be Better! It is this sense of inspiration that connects me with the event and I am happy to be the Ambassador for the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2019. It will be a moving experience to see 46000 runners cross the start line on Sunday, January 20th, all united by the BeBetter spirit!

Vivek B Singh, Joint Managing Director, Procam International said, “We are privileged to have on board the world-beater, Mary Kom, as the Event Ambassador for the IAAF Gold Label Tata Mumbai Marathon. We congratulate her for the historic 6th title win in the World Women’s Boxing Championships, and for being the first female to achieve this feat. From being a legend in the world of Boxing, to being an important catalyst for the growth of sports in India, Mary Kom is an inspiration; an individual that epitomizes the spirit of Tata Mumbai Marathon.”  

Tata Mumbai Marathon is amongst the world’s top 10 marathons. With prize money of USD 405,000, the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2019 will witness over 46,000 participants, including world-class Indian and international athletes, professional and amateur runners, and fitness enthusiasts.

About Procam International

Since its inception in 1988, Procam International has been the driving force behind the growth and development of sports management in India. Envisioned by founders Anil and Vivek Singh, Procam, is one of the leading companies in holistic sports management, sports consultancy, and live television programming. With astute planning and exemplary execution, Procam has a track record of conceptualising and promoting over 100 international events, across disciplines -Powerboat Racing, Cricket, Football, Tennis, Distance Running, Squash, WWE, Horse Racing, Volleyball among others. These events have elicited the participation of the highest caliber of athletes, as well as huge public interest and attendance.

Pioneers of the distance running movement in India, Procam International’s Big 4 –Tata Mumbai Marathon, Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Tata Consultancy Services World 10K and Tata Steel Kolkata 25 K are global leaders in their respective distances. These events have ushered in a running revolution that has helped to re-define, the health, fitness and giving paradigm of our country.

Tata in Sports

Tata Group, a global enterprise with combined revenues of around US $100 billion, along with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one of the world’s leading IT services, consulting and business solutions organisations, are the title sponsor of the Tata Mumbai Marathon. Sport has always been an integral part of the Tata group for over 75 years. Tatas association with multiple sports ranging from cricket, football, hockey, badminton, chess, athletics, mountaineering and  motor racing, among others, has produced many award-winning sportspersons, helped the development of marginal communities and supported sporting teams, national and international events as well as training academies. The Tata Sports Club was set up in 1937 to encourage sports among its employee base across the country. TCS is the sponsor of many premier global marathons across the world like the TCS New York City Marathon, the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, and the TCS Lidingloppet (the world’s largest cross-country run), and the technology partner of the marathons held in London, Chicago, and Boston — all part of the company’s effort to promote health and fitness in the communities, the world over.


ICC announces Women’s ODI and T20I Team of the Year

– Suzie Bates and Harmanpreet Kaur named ODI and T20I captains, respectively
– Bangladesh’s Rumana Ahmed and Sana Mir of Pakistan also named in the squads
– Bates, Healy, Mandhana and Yadav feature in both the ODI and T20I squads
– Downloadable video clips of Bates and Kaur are available on the Online Media Zone

The International Cricket Council today announced the women’s ODI and T20I teams of the year with New Zealand’s Suzie Bates named as captain of the 50-over side and Harmanpreet Kaur of India appointed captain of the 20-over side.

The two sides have been selected by the same voting academy*, which comprised members of the media and broadcasters who also voted for the annual women’s individual awards to be announced later today, and took into consideration player performances in the 2018 calendar year.

Bates’s appointment as the ODI captain is a recognition of her contribution in inspiring her side to second position in the ICC Women’s Championship after three rounds. In the seven ODIs this calendar year, Bates has scored 438 runs with two centuries and a half-century. Bates is presently ranked seventh in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Players Rankings for ODI Batters.

Kaur has been rewarded for spearheading her side to the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 in the Caribbean in November. In that tournament, Kaur scored 183 runs at a strike-rate of 160.5, while in the 25 matches in the calendar year, she accumulated 663 runs at a strike-rate of 126.2. Kaur is ranked third in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Player Rankings for T20I Batters.

Reacting to the news, Bates said: “Thank you very much to everyone who voted for the ICC team of the year. To be named captain is just an absolute honour. Obviously, I have been playing for a long time and stepped down from captaincy, but to be named captain of a World XI is pretty special and something I will always remember.

“It would be nice one day if we got together to play as a group and to captain some of the superstars, but once again such a huge honour and congratulations to all the award winners for this year.”

Kaur was delighted to be appointed T20 captain, when she said: “To be honest, it was really surprising for me. The last two years we did not get enough T20I matches to play and it was really tough for me to build that confidence in the team and show that self-belief that we can do well in T20Is. Credit goes to all team members, the way they worked hard and show that self-belief.

“This award means a lot to me to build my confidence, BCCI is showing confidence on me – that I can do well in the format and I am looking forward to do well in the future.”

The 11-member women’s ODI side comprises players from seven countries, including two each from England (Tammy Beaumont and Sophie Ecclestone), India (Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav), New Zealand (Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine) and South Africa (Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp), and one player each from Australia (Alyssa Healy), Pakistan (Sana Mir) and Deandra Dottin (the Windies).

For Sana Mir, this is a second ICC recognition in as many months after her delivery to Ireland’s Laura Delany in the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 was voted as the Play of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018. Sana has been selected in the ICC squad following her 19 wickets in seven matches and is top-ranked in the ODI bowling table.

The T20I side boasts players from five countries, including four players from the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 champions Australia (Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner and Megan Schutt), three players from losing finalists India (Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Poonam Yadav), two players from New Zealand (Suzie Bates and Leigh Kasperek) and one player each from Bangladesh (Rumana Ahmed) and England (Natalie Sciver).

Rumana is the first Bangladesh player to have been selected in the ICC squad. The right-arm leg-spinner has been the second most successful T20I bowler in the 2018 calendar year with 30 wickets in 24 matches, including four wickets in four matches in the ICC Women’s World T20 2018.

Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav are the two India girls who feature in both the ODI and T20I squads. Other players to find places in both the squads are Australia’s Alyssa Healy and Suzie Bates of New Zealand.

ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year (in batting order):

1.     Smriti Mandhana (India)

2.     Tammy Beaumont (England)

3.     Suzie Bates (New Zealand) (captain)

4.     Dane van Niekerk (South Africa)

5.     Sophie Devine (New Zealand)

6.     Alyssa Healy (Australia) (wicketkeeper)

7.     Marizanne Kapp (South Africa)

8.     Deandra Dottin (Windies)

9.     Sana Mir (Pakistan)

10.  Sophie Ecclestone (England)

11.  Poonam Yadav (India)

ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year (in batting order):

1.     Smriti Mandhana (India)

2.     Alyssa Healy (Australia) (wicketkeeper)

3.     Suzie Bates (New Zealand)

4.     Harmanpreet Kaur (India) (captain)

5.     Natalie Sciver (England)

6.     Ellyse Perry (Australia)

7.     Ashleigh Gardner (Australia)

8.     Leigh Kasperek (New Zealand)

9.     Megan Schutt (Australia)

10.  Rumana Ahmed (Bangladesh)

11.  Poonam Yadav (India)

*The voting academy was: Melinda Farrell, Melanie Jones, Lisa Sthalekar (all Australia), Charlotte Edwards, Kalika Mehta (both England), Anjum Chopra, Snehal Pradhan (both India), Lesley Murdoch (New Zealand), Urooj Mumtaz (Pakistan), Natalie Germanos (South Africa), Alan Wilkins (Wales) Ian Bishop (West Indies).


Sami Ul Hasan
ICC Head of Media and Communications
Dubai Mobile – +971 50 452 8662
Email –


The ICC is the global governing body for cricket. Representing 104 members, the ICC governs and administrates the game and is responsible for the staging of major international tournaments including the ICC World Cup and Women’s World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Men’s and Women’s World T20.

The ICC presides over the ICC Code of Conduct which sets the professional standards of discipline for international cricket, playing conditions, bowling reviews and other ICC regulations. The Laws of the game remain under the auspices of the MCC.

The ICC also appoints the umpires and referees that officiate at all sanctioned Test matches, One Day International and Twenty20 Internationals. Through the Anti-Corruption Unit it coordinates action against corruption and match fixing.

The ICC Development department works with associate members to improve the quality of international cricket, build better cricket systems, get more people playing cricket and grow the game.


Direct Qualifiers for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 confirmed

Former champions Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to feature in group stage of 16-team tournament

Dubai, 1 January 2019: The International Cricket Council today confirmed the sides that have qualified directly for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 to be held in Australia, based on the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings as on 31 December 2018.

As per the qualification criteria set for the tournament, Australia and the other nine top ranked sides have ensured direct qualification. The top eight make it straight to the Super 12s stage while the remaining two will play in the group stage along with six other teams who will make it through from the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in 2019. Four teams from the group stage will advance to the Super 12s.

Of the top 10 sides on the rankings table, top-ranked Pakistan, India, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the Windies and Afghanistan will start their campaign directly in in the Super 12s. Former champions and three-time finalists Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will have to contend with the other six qualifiers in the group stage of the tournament, which will be held from 18 October to 15 November 2020.

Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga was disappointed at the 2014 champions not making it to the Super 12s but was confident of the team doing well in the tournament while Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan indicated that recent performances had given them belief and they would prepare well for the challenge.

Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga: “It is a bit disappointing that we have not been able to ensure a direct Super 12s berth but I’m confident that we will do well in the tournament.

“Having played three finals and winning once, it is natural that everyone expected us to finish in the top-eight but we have to take the opportunity in the extra matches of the group stage and prepare well for the knock-out matches.

“We have some fine players in the ranks and it is only a matter of doing our best when the time comes. We look forward to challenges coming our way as we prepare for the big event.”

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan: “We have not secured a direct Super 12s berth but I’m confident that we will do well in the tournament by going through the group stage.

“We are a side capable of beating the best on our day and I see no reason why we can’t go far in the tournament. There is still some time and we will use it to be at our best for the T20 World Cup.

“We won a T20 series against the West Indies, the world champions, in their backward not so long ago. That performance has given us a lot of belief in our Twenty20 capabilities.”


Bopanna-Divij, Ramanathan start with contrasting wins

-Top-seeded doubles pair beat Albot-Jaziri pair 6-1, 6-2
– Ramanathan comes back from a set down to beat Granollers 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Pune, January 1 2019: Top-seeded pair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan registered a dominating first round win on Day Two of Tata Open Maharashtra here at Mhalunge Balewadi Tennis Stadium on Tuesday. The Indian pair outclassed Radu Albot-Malek Jaziri pair 6-1, 6-2 to live up to their top billing at India’s only ATP World Tour event.

Playing on Court 1, the Asian Games gold-medal winning duo took less than an hour to move to the second round dispatching the Moldova-Tunisian pair. In second round,Bopanna-Divij will take on Indo-Mexican pair of L Paes/ M. Reyes-Varela that beat D. Marrero/ H. Podlipnik-Castillo 6-3, 6-4.

In the third match at the Centre Court, perhaps the most exciting one of the Day 2, Ramkumar Ramanathan took on Spain’s Marcel Granollers in what was their second ATP Tour meeting.

Granollers broke Ramanthan in the first game itself. The Indian came back breaking his opponent’s first serve too. But Granollers took the initiative breaking Ramanathan second time and maintained his grip on the 1st set winning it 6-4 in 35 minutes.

But Ramanathan was determined to stay alive. With a more controlled game, the 24-year old sealed the second set 6-4 breaking the 32-year old in the tenth game to take the match to decider.

Ramanathan was charged after winning the second set and continued his momentum in the third. What defined Ramanathan’s form was the stunning cross-court in the fourth game to break the Spanish player and take a 3-1 lead in the decider. The two players held their serves until Ramanathan sealed the set and match at 6-3. Ramanthan will now take on fourth-seeded Jaziri in 2nd round on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, India’s Saketh Myneni, who entered the main draw after two gruelling qualifying matches, withdrew due to a foot injury. Thiago Monteiro came in his place a lucky loser to face France’s Benoit Paire. The fifth-seeded Frenchman got the better of Monteiro in straight sets 7-6(5), 6-3 with 18 aces.

In the first match at the Centre Court, Ivo Karlovic got the better of Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5. The match between one of the youngest players and the oldest at the event lasted for an hour and 14 minutes where the 39-year old Croatian hit 13 aces enroute the straight sets win over the 18-year old qualifier from Canada.

Karlovic broke Auger-Aliassime in the fifth game and held on to his serve to lead 4-2 and eventually won the first set 6-4. Auger-Aliassime put up a stronger show in the second but Karlovic broke him in the 11th game and dished out three aces in the final game to seal the second set 7-5 and the match.


Men’s Singles: 1st Round

(Q) S Bolelli d D Istomin 6-4, 6-4
I Ivashka d H Hurkacz 6-7 (9), 6-2, 603
I Karlovic d (Q) F Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5
(5) B Paire d (L) T Monteiro 7-6(5), 6-3
J Vesely d (Q) A Hoang 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
(W) R Ramanathan d M Granollers 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Men’s Doubles: 1st Round

D Molchanov/ Zelenay d P andujar/ R Carballes Baena 6-1,6-4
(1) R Bopanna/ D Sharan d R Albot/ M Jaziri 6-1, 6-2
S. Bolelli (ITA) / I. Dodig d [3] M. Arevalo / J. Cerretani 6-4, 5-7, 10-7
L Paes/ / M. Reyes-Varela d D. Marrero/ H. Podlipnik-Castillo 6-3, 6-4


UP Yoddha thrash Dabang Delhi 45-33

– Prashant Kumar Rai’s super raid in the second minute was the brave moment of the match as it set the tone for Yoddha victory
– Rishank Devadiga was the fittest player on the mat as he put quick and successful raids

In a one-sided encounter, UP Yoddha hammered Dabang Delhi 45-33in eliminator 3 of Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season 6. Prashant Kumar Rai was the star of the show as he scored 13 raid points and got able support from Rishank Devadiga who chipped in with 8 points. For Dabang Delhi, it was a disappointing night as their defence couldn’t muster enough points. Naveen Kumar top scored for Delhi but couldn’t save his team from crashing out of the competition. UP Yoddha will now play Gujarat Fortunegiants on Thursday to determine who will play Bengaluru Bulls in the final.

UP Yoddha got off to a flying start when Prashanth Kumar Rai made a super raid in the second minute. Dabang Delhi were reeling under the shock as they suffered an all out as earl as the third minute. UP Yoddha led 11-1 after three minutes and it looked like Dabang Delhi won’t recover from the early onslaught.

Chandran Ranjit made a two-point raid in the 7th minute as Dabang Delhi trailed 6-13 but UP Yoddha enjoyed the upper hand as after 10 minutes they led 17-8 . In the 14th minute UP Yoddha further asserted their supremacy as they inflicted another all out to lead 25-10. At the end of the first half, UP Yoddha led 27-13 and it looked like game over for Dabang Delhi.

Dabang Delhi tried to make a comeback in the second half and inflicted an all out in the 24th minute to trail 21-31. But Prashant Kumar Rai extinguished all their hopes of a comeback with a super raid in the 27th minute as UP Yoddha led 36-22. Another all out was inflicted in the second half as UP Yoddha were in complete command of the match.

The last few minutes were all about Dabang Delhi bringing some respectability to the score line. Naveen Kumar got a super 10 for the losing side but his effort went in vain as Delhi crashed out of the tournament.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches in the second qualifier on Thursday i.e. 3rd January 2019, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Eliminator 3 – VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season VI Powered by Thums Up

Match Report

UP Yoddha defeated Dabang Delhi KC in the 3rd Eliminator match of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season VI and now they will play against Gujarat Fortunegiants in Qualifier No. 2 which will take place at DOME@NSCI SVP Stadium, Mumbai on Thursday, 3rd January, 2019.

Final Score

Dabang Delhi KC – UP Yoddha

33 – 45

Match Awards


Bengaluru Bulls thrash Gujarat Fortunegiants 41-29, enter the final

– Pawan Sehrawat’s back-to-back super raids in the second half was the brave moment of the match
– Rohit Kumar put in a solid all-round performance to show his high fitness levels

Bengaluru Bulls produced a solid second half performance as they thrashed Gujarat Fortunegiants 41-29 in the first qualifier of Vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 6 to seal a spot in the final. Pawan Sehrawat continued his fine run of form and top scored for the Bengaluru Bulls with 13 raid points. Captain Rohit Kumar had an outstanding all-round game and scored 11 points for Bengaluru Bulls Sachin got yet another super 10 for Gujarat Fortunegiants and was ably supported by Prapanjan who scored 5raid points. While Bengaluru Bulls have qualified for the final, Gujarat still have a chance to make it when they play in the second qualifier against the winner between UP Yoddha and Dabang Delhi.

Pawan Sehrawat opened Bengaluru Bulls’ account with a running hand touch in the second minute while Sachin got a two-point raid for Gujarat Fortunegiants. It was Sachin who kept the Fortunegiants in the initial period of the match by picking bonus and raid points.

After seven minutes of play both teams were level on 7 points apiece as Prapanjan made a successful raid for Gujarat Fortunegiants.  Gujarat’s famed defence was having a quiet first half and took 11 minutes to score their first tackle point.

It was an extremely cagey affair with both teams playing with a bit of caution. Bengaluru Bulls were reduced to just three men when substitute Sumit Singh made a crucial do-or-die raid. At the end of the first half, Gujarat Fortunegiants held a slender one-point advantage to lead 14-13.

The first part of the second half was a close affair yet again with the biggest surprise being Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar struggling to get a tackle point. Gujarat Fortunegiants inflicted an all out in the 33rd minute to lead 26-20.

Pawan Sehrawat came up with a terrific super raid as he picked up three points to bring Bengaluru Bulls back in the game. Sehrawat followed it up with another super raid as Bengaluru Bulls inflicted an all out to lead 29-26.

With less than four minutes to go Bengaluru Bulls led 32-26 and looked in control of the match. Bengaluru Bulls inflicted an all out in the 39th minute to ensure Bengaluru Bulls’ victory and a place in the final of the season 6.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches in the second qualifier on Thursday i.e. 3rd January 2019, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Qualifier 1 – VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season VI Powered by Thums Up

Match Report

Bengaluru Bulls beat Gujarat Fortunegiants in the 1st Qualifier Match of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season VI and becomes the first team to reach the finals.

Final Score

Gujarat Fortunegiants – Bengaluru Bulls

29 – 41

Match Awards:



Aadil Bedi, 17, earns Asian Tour card with tied ninth finish at Q School
Aman Raj too secures maiden tour card

Chiragh Kumar retains card; Abhijit Singh Chadha returns on the tour after a three-year gap

Hua Hin, Thailand, December 30, 2018: Seventeen-year-old Aadil Bedi, one of the rising stars on the Indian golfing horizon who turned professional only two months back, took a giant stride in his fledgling career by qualifying for the Asian Tour on Sunday.

Three other Indians, including 23-year-old Aman Raj, former Asian Tour winner Chiragh Kumar and Abhijit Singh Chadha, also earned their Asian Tour cards after finishing inside the top-35 players and ties at the end of the fifth and final round of the 2019 Asian Tour Qualifying School’s Final Stage.

Aadil Bedi (67-72-68-69-63), the youngest player to tee up in the Final Stage, fired a sensational eight-under-63 in the last round to finish tied ninth at 16-under-339, the best among the Indians, to earn full playing rights in Asia. Notably, it was the Chandigarh-based teenager’s maiden attempt at qualification.

Bedi, one of India’s leading amateurs prior to turning professional this year who also represented the country at the 2018 Asian Games, gained 27 spots from his overnight tied 36th as a result of his bogey-free final round of 63 at the Lakeview Resort and Golf Club in Thailand on Sunday.

The supremely fit Aadil, who notched a career-best third place finish at the PGTI’s Bengaluru Open earlier this month, said, “I lost a dear friend on the first day, back home. It was tough mentally, but I managed to play well and I’m glad that it has all come together. I had that belief in myself and that I have the game to earn the card.

“Now that I’ve earned the card, there’s more purpose in my practice and I’ll be definitely looking forward to the tournaments that I get to play. It was difficult to focus at times. When there are long waits between holes, or between rounds at night, I think about my friend. But, it was a good week. I’ve played really solid in all parts of my game.”

Aman Raj (69-64-74-68-65), the 2016 PGTI Emerging Player of the Year who went on to win his first professional title at the PGTI event in Jaipur this year, made the progression to the Asian Tour for the first time in his career after finishing tied 13th at the Q School with a total of 15-under-340. The Patna-based professional’s flawless final round of six-under-65 featured some long birdie conversions and propelled him 14 places from his overnight tied 27th.

Aman said, “My putting was exceptional through the week. The second round of 64 set up the week for me. It gave me the belief that I could finish inside the top-5. I now look forward to my first full season on the Asian Tour.”

Chiragh Kumar finished tied 35th at 10-under-345 to retain his Asian Tour card. Abhijit Singh Chadha, who also took a share of 35th place, claimed his card to make a return to the Asian Tour after a gap of three years. Both players shot final rounds of even-par-71 to drop 15 places from their overnight tied 20th.

The event was won by American Austen Truslow who totaled 24-under-331.

The four other Indians who had made the fourth round cut of the top-70 and ties but did not finish among the top-35 and ties after round five and thus missed their card, were Amardip Malik and Veer Ahlawat (both tied 57th at seven-under-348), Karandeep Kochhar (tied 65th at five-under-350) and Gaurav Pratap Singh (71st at even-par-355).


Dabang Delhi beat Bengal Warriors

– Naveen Kumar’s two-point raid in the 25th minute as the brave moment of the match
– Ravinder Pahal put in a strong defensive performance to show his high fitness levels

Dabang Delhi came up with a strong second half performance to beat Bengal Warriors 39-28 in the second eliminator of Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season 6.  Naveen Kumar and Chandran Ranjit led from the front as they combined to score 19 raid points. In defence, Ravinder Pahal scored four tackle points. It was a slow performance in second half by Bengal Warriors which led to their downfall. Maninder Singh top scored with 8 points but just didn’t get enough support from other raiders.

Chandran Ranjit opened Dabang Delhi’s account in the second minute with a successful raid. Maninder Singh picked up a couple of raid points as after two minutes Bengal Warriors leveled the match at 2-2. Bengal Warriors inflicted an all out in the 9th minute to lead 7-4. Bengal Warriors held the edge in the first half with Maninder Singh picking up raid points at regular intervals.

In the 15th minute Maninder made a two-point raid to give Bengal 12-8 lead but Chandran Ranjit replied with a  two-point raid of his own as Dabang Delhi trailed 10-12. Dabang Delhi forced a super tackle in the 16th minute to level the match at 12-12. Bengal Warriors came back strongly to inflict an all out in the 19th minute as they led 17-12. At the end of the first half, Bengal Warriors led 18-12.

Dabang Delhi made a strong start to the second half as they picked three raid points in the 21st minute to trail 15-18. Bengal Warriors were in the lead for the first part of the second half as after 25 minutes they led 20-19. Naveen Kumar made a brilliant raid in the 28th minute to give Dabang Delhi 24-20 lead. In the 32nd minute Dabang Delhi inflicted an all out to lead 33-23.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when Gujarat Fortunegiants play Bengaluru Bulls while UP Yoddha take on Dabang Delhi on Monday i.e. 31st December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

Dabang Delhi KC – Bengal Warriors

39 – 28

Match Awards:



Ricky Ponting formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame


Dubai, 26 December 2018: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was today formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. To mark the occasion, Ponting received his commemorative cap from compatriot ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Glenn McGrath during the tea break on the opening day of the third Test against India in Melbourne.

Ponting was named in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame along with former India captain Rahul Dravid and England woman wicketkeeper-batter Claire Taylor during the ICC Annual Conference in Dublin in July, which Ponting could not attend.

Ponting, after receiving the cap, said: “It’s an incredible feeling, I think for it to happen here at the MCG is what makes the whole thing a little bit more special. I found out today I am one of 25 Australians to be inducted. When you play one Test for Australia, you join a very elite group of players but now to part of the ICC Hall of Fame, you join an even more elite group of cricketers, so it’s a pretty special day today.

“I have lots of great memories with Glenn. I went to the cricket academy with Glenn in about 1990, so I have known Glenn for a long time. It’s a really cool thing that they do to have a fellow inductee actually hand over your cap and induct you in, so to have someone like Glenn do it, with whom I’m working with now and have played with for 10 or 12 years, makes the whole thing a little bit better.

“It’s great recognition. I thank the ICC for what they have done in making this possible. To be here in the MCG with 75,000 people, it makes it an awesome day.”

Ponting, a three-time ICC Cricket World Cup winner including two times as captain, is the 25th Australia cricketer to be formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. The 44-year-old retired from international cricket in 2012 after scoring 13,378 runs in 168 Tests with 41 centuries, 13,704 runs in 375 ODIs with 30 centuries and 401 runs in 17 T20Is with two half-centuries.

Ponting was named the ICC Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007 while also being named the ICC Test Player of the Year in 2006.


Gujarat Fortunegiants beat Patna Pirates 37-29

– Sunil Kumar’s super tackle in the 39th minute was the brave moment of the match
– Rohit Gulia was the fittest player on the mat as he made multiple successful raids

Gujarat Fortunegiants produced an excellent second half performance to beat defending champions Patna Pirates 37-29. Sunil Kumar with  a high five marshaled the defence superbly for Gujarat Fortunegiants. Rohit Gulia with 10 points and Ajay Kumar with 8 points led the raiding charge. Despite getting a super 10 Pardeep Narwal missed two raids in the last two minutes as Patna are now staring at an eliminiation. Patna Pirates can still make it to the playoffs if UP Yoddha don’t win against Bengal Warriors

Patna Pirates in the first half relied on Pardeep Narwal’s raid points as they maintained a lead. Gujarat Fortunegiants’ defence got their first tackle point in the 7th minute to trail 5-6. Pardeep Narwal made a two-point raid in the 11th minute to give Patna 8-6 lead. Rohit Gulia kept Gujarat Fortunegiants in contention as he led the raiding charts for the team.

After 14 minutes it was a close encounter with Patna holding a slender one-point lead. Gujarat’s defence made a slow start to the match but came on their own as they inflicted a super tackle to level the match. At the end of the first half Gujarat Fortunegiants led 13-12.

The second half began on a strong note for Gujarat Fortunegiants. With Rohit Gulia picking raid points consistently and their defence keeping Pardeep Narwal quite Gujarat led 21-16 after 30 minutes. Narwal struggled to score in the initial period of the second half.

Tushar Patil made a two-point raid in the 35th minute as Patna cut the lead to 22-24 but were reduced to just two men. Gujarat Fortunegiants inflicted an all out in the 36th minute as they led 28-23.

Pardeep Narwal picked up a two-point raid in the 37th minute as Patna trailed 26-29. With less than three minute to go Gujarat Fortunegiants held a slender two-point lead. Sunil put in an excellent super tackle on Pardeep Narwal to give Gujarat 32-28 lead. Gujarat forced another super tackle in the 39th minute to ensure a victory.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when Bengal Warriors will play UP Yoddha while Bengaluru Bulls take on Jaipur Pink Panthers on Tuesday i.e. 26th December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

Gujarat Fortunegaints vs Patna Pirates

37 – 29

Match Awards:



Bengal Warriors beat Bengaluru Bulls 37-31

– Maninder Singh’s super raid in the 35th minute was the brave moment of the match
– Maninder Singh showed immense strength to power through Bengaluru Bulls defence

Bengal Warriors came up with a terrific second half performance as they beat Bengaluru Bulls 37-31 in Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season 6. Bengal Warriors fine home streak continued with Maninder Singh leading their charge with 16 raid points. A five-point raid by Maninder turned the match in Bengal Warriors’ favour. Jang Kun Lee scored 7 points and also became the first foreign player to reach the 400 raid point landmark in the history of Pro Kabaddi League. For Bengaluru Bulls, Pawan Sehrawat scored 10 points but his team squandered a big advantage in the second half. Both these teams are already assured of a place in the playoffs.

Pawan Sehrawat picked two raid points as Bengaluru led 3-0 after two minutes. Jang Kun Lee opened Bengal Warriors raiding account. Maninder Singh made a two-point raid in the fourth minute as Bengal Warriors trailed 4-5.

After 10 minutes of play, Bengal Warriors led 8-7 and the match was evenly poised. Jang Kun Lee made a two-point raid in the 17th minute as Bengal Warriors trailed 12-14. Bengal Warriors defence had a quiet first half and scored just two tackle points. At the end of the first half, Bengaluru Bulls led 15-12.

Bengaluru Bulls inflicted an all out in the 24th minute to lead 21-15. Post the all out Bengal Warriors woke up and went on an excellent run. They didn’t allow any easy points to Bengaluru Bulls. Bengal inflicted an all out to lead 26-25 but the pivotal moment came when Maninder Singh produced a terrific raid. In one raid, Singh scored five raid points and put Bengal Warriors in command. Another all out was inflicted by Bengal Warriors which assured them of a comfortable victory.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when Bengal Warriors will play UP Yoddha while Bengaluru Bulls take on Jaipur Pink Panthers on Tuesday i.e. 26th December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

Bengal Warriors vs Bengaluru Bulls

37 – 31

Match Awards:



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Haryana Steelers play out a thrilling 40-40 tie with Tamil Thalaivas

– The brave moment of the was Vikas Kandola’s raid in the last minute to clinch the tie
– Ajay Thakur showed immense strength and high fitness levels throughout the match

Tamil Thaliavas and Haryana Steelers played out an exciting 40-40 tie in Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season 6. Haryana Steelers avoided defeat as they scored two points in the last minute. Monu Goyat top scored for Haryana with 17 points and put in a stellar performance. Ajay Thakur was in fine form for Tamil Thalaivas and he too scored 17 points. Haryana ended their league campaign on a positive note as did Tamil Thalaivas. Both teams finished bottom of the table in their respective zones.

Tamil Thalaivas began strongly and led 3-0 after three minutes with Ajay Thakur picking up a raid point. Haryana Steelers came back to trail 3-4 after five minutes. It was a close affair in the first 10 minutes. Monu Goyat picked up a two-point raid in the 7th minute to level the match at 6-6.

Haryana Steelers forced a super tackle in the 13th minute as they tied the match at 11-11. Anand was the star raider for Thalaivas in the first half. He picked up three raid points in two minutes as they led 16-14 at the end of the first half.

Tamil Thalaivas inflicted an all out at the start of the second half to lead 19-16. Haryana Steelers weren’t deterred by the all out and kept picking up points. In the 26th minute Haryana inflicted an all out to lead 27-23. Ajay Thakur made a super raid in the next minute to bring Thalaivas back in the match. In the 29th minute, Thalaivas inflicted an all out to lead 32-28.

It was a closely fought encounter with both teams level on 36-36 after 36 minutes. Ajay Thakur picked up two raid points in two minutes to give Thaliavas 39-37 lead after 38 minutes.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when Bengal Warriors will play Bengaluru Bulls while Patna Pirates take on Gujarat Fortunegiants on Tuesday i.e. 26th December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

Haryana Steelers vs Tamil Thalaivas

40 – 40

Match Awards:



Bengal Warriors edge out Telugu Titans 39-34

– Jang Kun Lee’s super raid in the first half was the brave moment of the match
– Surjeet Singh was the fittest player as he showed immense strength to tackle Titans’ raiders

Bengal Warriors continued their hot streak in their home leg as their beat Telugu Titans 39-34 in Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6. Maninder Singh scored 12 raid points for Bengal Warriors to lead his team’s charge.  Maninder also became the fastest man to reach 500 points in Pro Kabaddi League as he achieved the feat in 56 matches. For Telugu Titans it was the youngster Armaan who stood out and scored 11 points. Bengal Warriors have already qualified for the playoffs while Telugu Titans ended their campaign with a defeat.

Bengal Warriors got off to a flying start with Jang Kun Lee getting a super raid in the second minute. Telugu Titans fought back to level the match at 7-7 after five minutes. Maninder Singh continued to pick the points for Bengal Warriors in the first half.  At the end of the first half, Bengal Warriors 23-15 with Jang Kun Lee getting a raid in the 20th minute.

Bengal Warriors inflicted an all out in the 26th minute to lead 30-18. For Telugu Titans the performance of Anand was a revelation as he picked up raid points at will. After 30 minutes, Bengal Warriors led 32-22 and were in full control of the match.

The Titans did try to mount a comeback but the deficit proved too much in the end as they crashed out of the league.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when Bengal Warriors will play Bengaluru Bulls while Patna Pirates take on Gujarat Fortunegiants on Tuesday i.e. 26th December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

Bengal Warriors vs Telugu Titans

39 – 34

Match Awards:



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UP Yoddha edge out U Mumba 32-31

– Prashanth Kumar Rai’s last minute raid was the brave moment of the match
– Sachin Kumar’s stellar defensive performance highlighted his high fitness levels

UP Yoddha edged out U Mumba 32-31 in an exciting match of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6. Prashanth Kumar Rai (8 points) with a two-point raid in the last minute clinched the win for UP Yoddha. It was a disappointing night for U Mumba as Siddharth Desai and Rohit Rana both suffered injuries. The loss means that U Mumba won’t finish top of the table in Zone A. UP Yoddha still have a slim chance of making it to the playoffs. Sachin Kumar had a brilliant game in defence for Yoddha and earned 6 tackle points while Rishank Devadiga got 7 raid points.

U Mumba made a strong start to lead 3-0 after two minutes but Shrikant Jadhav got 2 raid points as UP Yoddha cut the deficit to 3-4. U Mumba then forced two super tackles in the space of three minutes to lead 8-5 in the 8th minute.

UP Yoddha forced an all out in the 13th minute as they lead 14-8 after 14 minutes. U Mumba came back strongly with Abolfazl Maghsodlou producing a super raid to level the match 14-14 after 17 minutes. UP Yoddha didn’t buckle under pressure as Prashanth Kumar Rai made consecutive two-point raids. At the end of the first half, UP Yoddha led 18-15.

UP began the second half strongly with a super tackle in the 21st minute to lead 20-15. But U Mumba inflicted an all out in the 23rd minute to level the match at 20-20. For the next 10 minutes it was an evenly contested fight with both teams picking raid and tackle points.

Rishank Devadiga made a two-point raid in the 32nd minute to give UP Yoddha 29-25 lead. It was a close affair as with less than five minutes to go but Rohit Baliyan made a two-point raid in the 38th minute to level the match at 31-31. Darshian Kadian forced an error out of Yoddha’s defence in the 40th minute to tie the match at 32-32. Prashanth Kumar Rai made a brilliant two-point raid in the dying seconds gave Yoddha 34-32 lead.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when Bengal Warriors will play Dabang Delhi on Sunday i.e. 23rd December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

U Mumba vs U.P. Yoddha

32 – 34



Dabang Delhi beat Bengal Warriors 37-31

– Maninder Singh showed great strength as he powered through Dabang Delhi’s defence
– Meraj Sheykh’s super raid in the last minute was the brave moment of the match

Bengal Warriors’ unbeaten run in their home leg came to an end as they lost 37-31 to Dabang Delhi. Meraj Sheykh (13 points) was the star for Delhi as he produced a super raid in the last minute to lead them to a win. Maninder Singh top scored for Bengal Warriors with 9 points. Both teams have already sealed a spot in the playoffs. Dabang Delhi finished the league campaign with 68 points from their stipulated 22 matches.

Maninder Singh got Bengal Warriors to a flying start with a super raid in the first minute to lead 3-0. Dabang Delhi recovered from the early shock and fought back to lead 4-3 after four minutes. The first half saw both teams going hard for victory and it was  close affair. Maninder Singh scored with a two-point raid in the 11th minute to give Bengal 10-8 lead. A costly mistake by Bengal Warrior’s defence leveled the match 10-10 after 12 minutes.

Meraj Sheykh helped Dabang Delhi inflict an all out with a two-point raid in the 16th minute. It took Bengal Warriors 19 minutes to score their first tackle point of the match. A laidback defensive performance meant that Bengal Warriors went into the break trailing at 14-20 at half time.

Bengal Warriors made a strong start to the second half. They inflicted an all out and scored 8 points in six minutes to level the match at 22-22 after 26 minutes. With both teams neck and neck there were a slew of empty raids as neither wanted to commit any silly errors.

In the 33rd minute Meraj Sheykh came up with a two-point raid to give Dabang Delhi 26-24 lead. Sheykh followed it up with another two-point raid as he completed his super 10 and give Delhi 28-24 lead. Bengal Warriors forced a super tackle in the 37th minute to make it a one-point game.

Bengal Warriors forced a super tackle in the 39th minute to tie the match at 31-31. Meraj Sheykh produced a super raid in the last minute to win the match for Dabang Delhi

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when Bengal Warriors will play Telugu Titans while Haryana Steelers take on Tamil Thalaivas on Tuesday i.e. 25th December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

Bengal Warriors vs Dabang Delhi K.C.

31 – 37

Match Awards:





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Om Prakash Chouhan prevails in the final round of 17th TATA Open 2018

Jamshedpur, December 23, 2018: The 17th TATA Open 2018 provided a fitting finale to the fiercely competitive 2018 PGTI season. Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, kept a calm head on an action-packed day to prevail by one shot after firing a rock-solid two-under-69 at the par-71 Golmuri Golf Course in Jamshedpur on Sunday.

Chouhan finished with a total score of 20-under-264 at the Rs. 1 crore event and thus ended a four-year long title jinx. It was the Mhow lad’s fifth professional title and his second win at the TATA Open. Incidentally, he registered his last win at the 13th TATA Open 2014.  

Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa had the honour of shooting the day’s best score, an eight-under-63 that helped him finish runner-up at 19-under-265. Chikka had a fabulous closing stretch as he sank birdies on his last four holes.

While Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi had already sealed the PGTI Order of Merit title with earnings of Rs. 62,81,340 before the start of the 17th TATA Open 2018, this week’s tournament decided second place on the merit list which went to Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa who had earnings of Rs. 46,17,097. Notably, Madappa did not play the Jamshedpur event. Chikkarangappa’s runner-up finish this week, helped him clinch third place on the money list with earnings of Rs. 44,01,435.

Mysuru-based 23-year-old Yashas Chandra, who missed the cut at Jamshedpur, won the PGTI Emerging Player of the Year race. His season’s earnings of Rs. 13,26,493 was the highest among the rookies by a long distance. Chandra had nine starts in the season and posted two top-5 finishes. His best result was fourth at the CG Open 2018.  

Om Prakash Chouhan (63-67-65-69), leading by one over Delhi’s Rashid Khan after round three, struck an early blow in round four with a birdie on the first. However, that was neutralized by his bogey on the next hole.

The 30-year-old Chouhan then got back to the process of rebuilding his round with a 15-feet birdie conversion on the fourth and another birdie on the ninth that came as a result of a brilliant 2-iron approach shot.

A three-putt bogey on the 10th had Om Prakash in a spot of bother as Rashid Khan drew level with him on the next hole for the first time during the final round. But ‘OP’ as Chouhan is fondly referred to, once again surged ahead after driving the green on the par-4 12th which set up another birdie for him. The gap widened on the 12th as Rashid dropped a double-bogey there and couldn’t recover thereafter.

OP, who was nurtured by stalwart Mukesh Kumar, another Mhow-based golfer, in the early stages of his career, then missed a few short birdie putts but kept his nerve to come through despite the late charge by Chikkarangappa. OP’s exceptional chip shot from over the green on the 18th hit the flag stick and led to a tap-in for par that saw him home. He thus bagged the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 16,16,500 to move up from 10th to fourth place in the Final PGTI Order of Merit standings. His earnings for the season stood at Rs. 40,69,844.

Chouhan said, “The turning point today was the birdie on the 12th. I was feeling the pressure on the 12th tee as Rashid had caught up with me. But after I birdied that hole and Rashid made a double-bogey there, I felt quite at ease. I knew I just had to keep playing regulation from there on.

“Chikka did come close towards the end but I only got to know his score when I was going to chip to set up a par on the last. Chipping is the strongest part of my game so I was quite confident of landing it close on the 18th. That’s exactly what I managed to do.

“I owe this win to my brother Deepak who also caddies for me. He has always helped me get my game back on track with his sound advice. Last night Deepak told me to play my game, not think too much about the others and shoot at least a two-under which he felt would be good enough to win. He was proved right as I won with a two-under.

“I was out of form for a long time due to a shoulder injury. In order to make up distance off the tee which I had lost due to the shoulder injury, I altered my golf swing to make it faster. But recently my brother Deepak advised me to go back to my original swing. That move paid off and I thank my brother for that.

“It’s great to win the TATA Open for the second time. I now look forward to an even better 2019 season.”

Chikkarangappa (66-67-69-63), who was one-over through three holes, sank nine birdies thereafter and got himself in the mix. Two of his last four birdies were a result of long conversions. He thus climbed seven places from his overnight tied ninth.

Noida’s Amardip Malik came up with a flawless 66 which featured four birdies on the last six holes. He clinched third place at 18-under-266.

Delhi’s Rashid Khan, the leader in the first two rounds, slipped from overnight second to fourth after a final round of 71. Khan, seeking a second title in two weeks, was all square with the leader till the 11th but his challenge faded away with the double-bogey on the 12th. His total for the week read 17-under-267.

Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi (66), the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit champion, finished 10th at 14-under-270.

Round 4 Leaderboard:

20-under-264: Om Prakash Chouhan (63-67-65-69)
19-under-265: Chikkarangappa (66-67-69-63)
18-under-266: Amardip Malik (64-69-67-66)
17-under-267: Rashid Khan (62-67-67-71)


17th TATA Open 2018
Rashid Khan continues in the lead on day two

Jamshedpur, December 21, 2018: Delhi’s Rashid Khan held on to his one-shot lead on day two of the 17th TATA Open 2018, the PGTI’s season finale, with a four-under-67 that pushed his total up to 13-under-129 at the par-71 Golmuri Golf Course in Jamshedpur on Friday.

Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow, the 2014 champion, also delivered a 67 in round two of the Rs. 1 crore event to be placed second at 12-under-130.

However, the best round of the day belonged to veteran Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, a three-time champion at the TATA Open. Mukesh signed for an error-free eight-under-63 to rise 23 places to third at 11-under-131.

The halfway cut fell at three-under-139. Fifty professionals progressed to the money rounds.

Rashid Khan (62-67), seeking a second title in two weeks on the PGTI, kept the birdies coming on day two as he made a chip-in and some top-class chip-putts to stay ahead of the rest. Rashid mixed six birdies with two bogeys and was two-under on both the back-nine and front-nine.

The 27-year-old Khan said, “I didn’t hit it as well as round one and was struggling with my irons today. Both my bogeys came as a result of some ordinary wedge shots.

“The big positive was making two birdies on the last three holes. That helped me close the round on a high.”

Om Prakash Chouhan (63-67) improved from overnight tied second to lone second as he grabbed most of his opportunities on the greens. The 30-year-old from Madhya Pradesh was even-par for the day till the eighth but then sank four birdies over the next eight holes to stay in touch with the lead.

Chouhan said, “I made some long putts today including a 12-footer for birdie on the 14th. I’ve been playing well since the last four events. I just need to close the week well now. I’ve decided not to be too aggressive over the weekend this time as that strategy has cost me dearly in the recent past.”

Mukesh Kumar’s (68-63) bogey-free 63 propelled him from overnight tied 26th to third place. Mukesh, who last won the TATA Open in 2015 after prevailing in a three-way playoff, judged the green speed to perfection on day two. The 53-year-old sank two long birdie putts and set up four birdies within a range of three feet.

Mukesh said, “I judged the green speed really well today and that made all the difference in my score. I’ll enjoy competing with the youngsters on the weekend.”

Delhi’s Kapil Kumar (66) was in fourth place at 10-under-132.

Among the prominent names, Bengaluru-based Chikkarangappa was tied fifth at nine-under-133 while defending champion Anura Rohana of Sri Lanka and Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi were both in tied 19th at six-under-136.

All the Jamshedpur players, two professionals and three amateurs, missed the cut.

Round 2 Leaderboard:

13-under-129: Rashid Khan (62-67)
12-under-130: Om Prakash Chouhan (63-67)
11-under-131: Mukesh Kumar (68-63)
10-under-132: Kapil Kumar (66-66)


Bengal Warriors beat Tamil Thalaivas 27-24

– Jang Kun Lee’s super raid in the first half was the brave moment of the match
– Ran Singh’s defensive performance showed his high fitness levels

Bengal Warriors started their home leg with a bang as they beat Bengal Warriors 27-24 in Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6. Incidentally, this was the 500th match in te history of Pro Kabaddi League. Jang Kun Lee was the star of the show for Bengal Warriors and top scored with 12 points. Ran Singh marshaled the defence for the Warriors and scored 4 tackle points. Sukesh Hegde top scored for the Thalaivas with 9 points and was ably supported by Ajay Thakur. In the absence of Manjeet Chhillar, Bengal Warriors’ defence couldn’t contain Bengal raiders and scored just six tackle points. Bengal Warriors remain in contention for place in the playoffs while Tamil Thalaivas were knocked out earlier.

Maninder Singh got Bengal Warriors to a good start with a two-point raid in the first minute. For Thalaivas, Sukesh Hegde produced a super raid in the third minute as they led 6-4. Jang Kun Lee also scored with a super raid as Bengal Warriors leveled the match at 7-7.

It was a closely fought first half with both teams’ raiders getting points. For the defenders, it was a low-scoring affair as only five tackle points were scored. Jang Kun Lee scored seven raid points in the first half for Bengal Warriors while Sukesh Hegde got the same for Tamil Thalaivas. Bengal Warriors ended the first half with a super tackle as the scored was 15-15 at the break.

Bengal Warriors defence got their act together at the start of the second half and forced a super tackle to avert an all out in the 23rd minute. Tamil Thalaivas wasted a couple of opportunities to inflict an all out in the second half. Jang Kun Lee completed his super 10 in the first half.

With less than five minutes to go, Bengal Warriors held a slender two-point lead with the score 23-21 in their favour. Bengal Warriors maintained their calm and composure in the final few minutes and won the match 27-24.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when U Mumba take on UP Yoddha whereas Bengal Warriors will play Patna Pirates on Saturday i.e. 22nd December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

Bengal Warriors vs Tamil Thalaivas

27 – 24

Match Awards:



17th TATA Open 2018
Rashid Khan dominates round one with a 9-under-62

Om Prakash Chouhan and Sanjeev Kumar also shine with scores of 63 to be tied second

Jamshedpur, December 20, 2018: Delhi’s Rashid Khan dominated round one of the 17th TATA Open 2018, the PGTI’s season finale, with a red-hot nine-under-62 at the par-71 Golmuri Golf Course in Jamshedpur on Thursday. He thus enjoyed a one-shot lead.

Rashid, who won the PGTI’s last event in Mumbai last week, carried forward his form into the year-ending Rs. 1 crore event with an outstanding run of 10 birdies that came at the expense of just one bogey.

Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow, the 2014 champion, and Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar struck sizzling 63s to be placed tied second.

Delhi’s Tapy Ghai and Noida’s Amardip Malik produced scores of 64 to occupy tied fourth.

Rashid Khan, who ended his two-year title-drought last week, seemed to continue from where he had left in Mumbai as he drove his way to the top of the leaderboard. The 27-year-old Khan made an impact early on in his round thanks to some excellent driving and tee shots that set up birdies for him on the second, third, fourth, sixth, eighth and 10th.

Rashid, who had finished a close runner-up to Shubhankar Sharma at the 2016 edition, only had a blemish on the 11th where he found the trees and as a result dropped a shot. On the back-nine, Khan’s accuracy with the 3-wood helped him collect four more birdies on the 12th, 15th, 16th and 18th.

A confident Rashid said, “I’ve been feeling the form since the Bengaluru event two weeks back. I started off with some good scores there before winning in Mumbai. I’ve been executing my shots to perfection, just the way I visualize them.

“The golf course is in excellent condition and the rain at the start of the week has made sure that the ball is holding on the green after landing. That has resulted in a lot of low scores.

“I hit my driver and 3-wood really well and thus got into good positions to attack the flag,” added Khan, who began his purple patch with an eight-under-62 in round two of the Mumbai event last week.

Om Prakash Chouhan and Sanjeev Kumar went error-free in their rounds of 63 as both left themselves a lot of short birdie putts. Sanjeev also had a chip-in birdie on the eighth.

Tapy Ghai was exceptional with the wedges making two chip-in birdies during his flawless 64. Amardip Malik, who too posted a 64, enjoyed a spectacular run of six consecutive birdies from the 15th to the second hole.

Among the prominent names, Bengaluru-based Chikkarangappa and defending champion Anura Rohana of Sri Lanka were both in tied ninth with scores of 66.

Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi, the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit champion, fired a 69 to be tied 38th.

Among the Jamshedpur-based players, amateur Navtez Singh was in tied 51st having carded a one-under-70, amateur Aditya Panchamiya was placed tied 87th after returning a two-over-73 while professional Karan Taunk and amateur Armaan Parikh were both in tied 114th with scores of five-over-76. Chhotu Singh, another local professional shot a six-over-77 to be tied 121st.

Out of the 126 players, three players could not complete their first round due to fading light. They will resume their rounds at 0715 hrs on Friday, December 21.

Round 1 Leaderboard

Nine-under-62: Rashid Khan
Eight-under-63: Sanjeev Kumar, Om Prakash Chouhan
Seven-under-64: Tapy Ghai, Amardip Malik


IAAF Nationality Review Panel clears 10 Athletes to compete under new flags


Ten athletes have been cleared to represent new countries since the last update from the IAAF Nationality Review Panel (NRP).

After the IAAF Council approved new Transfer of Allegiance rules, eight athletes were cleared in October to represent new countries.

The new regulations established the role of the NRP and the requirements under which athletes may represent an IAAF Member Federation in international competition.

The panel reviewed the first set of full applications earlier in the year and approved five athletes to transfer allegiance and determined the eligibility of three athletes who requested approval to compete for their new countries.

Since then, a further 10 athletes have been approved to transfer allegiance. Eight of those – Adhanom Abraha (Eritrea to Sweden), Nick Ekelund-Arenander (Denmark to Sweden), Samrawit Mengsteab (Eritrea to Sweden), Abdelhamid Zerrifi (Algeria to France), Ontoniel Costa Badjana (Guinea-Bissau to Portugal), Mohamed Ali (Somalia to Netherlands), Yanique Haye-Smith (Jamaica to Turks and Caicos Islands) and Yunier Perez Romero (Cuba to Spain) – can compete for their new countries with immediate effect.

USA’s Blake Haney will be eligible to represent Canada on 10 July 2019, while Greece’s Paraskevas Batzavalis will be eligible to represent Cyprus on 1 June 2021.

The NRP has received 24 complete applications so far. Some of these are still under review and, in accordance with the new regulations, only the final decisions of the NRP will be announced. The panel will continue to consider applications submitted by Member Federations that are complete, including all the required information and documents.

The new rules require a minimum three-year waiting period before an athlete may transfer to represent another Member Federation, and the provision of evidence that those countries are offering full citizenship and associated rights. No athlete can transfer before the age of 20 or transfer more than once.

“We reviewed the rules governing Transfer of Allegiance for the specific purpose of protecting our athletes from any abuses that occurred under the previous system,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

“I’m pleased to see the new system is now working as we intended, allowing athletes with a genuine connection to a new country to represent that country after appropriate checks and balances.”

The full list of decisions taken by the Nationality Review Panel can be found here.

Currently, the Nationality Review Panel is composed of Hiroshi Yokokawa, Geoff Gardner, Marton Gyulai and Rozle Prezelj.


Dabang Delhi play out a thrilling 37-37 tie against Jaipur Pink Panthers

– Selvamani’s four-point raid was the brave moment of the match
– Sandeep Dhull showed immense strength and high fitness levels to score 6 tackle points.

Jaipur Pink Panthers ended their home leg with a 37-37 tie against Dabang Delhi in Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6. Dabang Delhi would feel disappointed as they were in control for most of the match but lost their composure in the last five minutes. Deepak Hooda scored 8 points for Jaipur while Sandeep Dhull got a high five. Chandran Ranjit (11 points) and Pawan Kadian (9 points) were among the top scorers for Dabang Delhi

Dabang Delhi made a strong start and led 5-0 after four minutes as they picked up a couple of raid and tackle points. A super tackle in the 5th minute opened Jaipur Pink Panthers’ account. Jaipur Pink Panthers were kept alive in the match because of their defence as they forced another super tackle in the 8th minute to level the match at 6-6.

Dabang Delhi took the lead once again as they inflicted an all out in the  11th minute to lead 11-7. Selvamani’s super raid in the 13th minute got Jaipur back in the match once again. It was a see-saw of  amatch with Jaipur cutting the deficit every time Delhi threatened to run away with the match. Ajinkya Pawar’s two-point raid in the 17th minute made it a one point gap. At the end of the first half Dabang Delhi led 18-17.

Pawan Kadian made a super raid in the 21st minute to give Delhi 21-18 lead. But Selvamani’s brilliant four-point raid in the 24th minute got Jaipur back in the match once again.

With less than five minutes to go Jaipur were trailing by five points when Ajinkya Pawar made a two-point raid to reduce the gap to three. In the 38th minute Jaipur inflicted an all out as they trailed 35-36 and Deepak Hooda leveled the match in the next minute with a successful raid.

Fans can catch live action of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 6 matches when Jaipur Pink Panthers take on Dabang Delhi on Thursday i.e. 19th December 2018, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Gold, Star Sports First and Hotstar.

Final Score

Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Delhi Dabang K.C.

37 – 37

Match Awards:



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