Neeraj Chopra to compete in Lausanne Diamond League on Friday
NEW DELHI: Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has recovered from the "minor" groin strain injury he had suffered last month and is set to take part in the Diamond League Meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on August 26.
A good show in Lausanne can ensure Chopra a berth in the Diamond League Finals in Zurich on September 7 and 8 as he is at fourth spot in the standings. The top six in the standings will make the Zurich Finals. The Lausanne event is the last leg which has a men's javelin throw competition.
The 24-year-Chopra had pulled out of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games last month due to the injury he had suffered during the final of the World Championships on July 24 in Eugene, USA, where he had won a historic silver.
He pulled out of the Birmingham CWG (July 28-August 8) just two days before the start of the multi-sport event as he was advised a four-week rest by his medical team. He then underwent rehabilitation in Germany.
"Feeling strong and ready for Friday. Thanks for the support, everyone. See you in Lausanne!" Chopra tweeted.
Chopra's name figured among the participants for the Lausanne leg when the organisers issued the list on August 17 but his appearance in the competition had been a matter of speculation due to the injury.
Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla had said that Chopra will take part in Lausanne if he is "medically fit".
After his second place finish in the Stockholm leg -- first ever on podium -- on June 30, Chopra is in fourth spot with seven points in the standings. Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic leads the standings with 20 points, followed by Germany's Julian Weber (19 points) and world champion Anderson Peters (16 points) of Grenada.
At the start of the season, Chopra had said that he would like to do well in the Diamond Leg Finals.
The groin injury may have affected his preparations, but Chopra can aim for his maiden Diamond League title as the six-man field in Lausanne is not that strong as compared to the Stockholm leg.
Peters is recovering from injury after he was beaten up on a boat in his country earlier this month. Vadlejch is in the fray and so is struggling Keshorn Walcott, the 2012 Olympic champion.
Chopra's season best is 89.94m while Vadlejch has a season's best of 90.88m and Walcott 89.07m.
This will be Chopra's second competition in a Diamond League Meeting this season. Before that, he finished fourth in Zurich in August 2018.
He has taken part in eight Diamond League meets so far -- three in 2017, four in 2018 and one this year. He had two fourth-place finishes, the other one being in Doha in May 2018, when he had thrown 87.43m, before taking the second place in Stockholm.
The winner of each Diamond Discipline at the Final will become "Diamond League Champion" and be awarded a Diamond Trophy, USD 30,000 prize money and a wild card for the World Athletics Championships 2023.
Birmingham CWG silver medallist Avinash Sable was earlier among the participants in the men's 3000m steeplechase but his name is no longer in the list.
Daniel Ricciardo to leave McLaren at end of F1 season
LONDON: Daniel Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of the 2022 Formula One season by mutual agreement and one year before the end of his contract, both parties announced on Wednesday.
Ricciardo joined McLaren from Renault at the end of 2020 but, despite winning last year's Italian Grand Prix at Monza in a one-two finish, has struggled to match British team mate Lando Norris's performance.
Ricciardo is expected to be replaced by compatriot Oscar Piastri, currently a reserve for Renault-owned Alpine.
'No more racing in Russia', says Formula One CEO Domenicali
Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali said the sport has no plans to hold future races in Russia.
The Russian Grand Prix was scheduled to be held in Sochi this year before moving to Igora Drive in St. Petersburg in 2023, but F1 canceled the race after Russia invaded Ukraine. And Domenicali said the sport has no intention of returning to the country.
"I've always believed that you should never say never," Domenicali told Sport Bild magazine, per GrandPrix.com. "But in this case, I can promise for sure -- we will no longer negotiate with them.
"There will be no more racing in Russia."
Alexey Titov, the CEO of Russian GP promoter ANO Rosgonki, said he expects F1 to refund payments made following the cancellation of this year's race.
"This debt exists, it is confirmed and our position on it is unchanged," Titov told Russian news agency Tass. "We expect a refund regardless of the current position of Formula One Management in relation to holding races in the Russian Federation.
"The current situation in world sports is extremely politicized. It is necessary to take Domenicali's words here with this in mind. What he said has a pronounced political connotation that has nothing to do with the real spirit of sports.
"The future of our relations today is really unclear. We will take Domenicali's position into account in our further work."
This is the first year since 2014 that a race has not been held at the Sochi Autodrom, with Mercedes having won every race to date.
FIH announces Pro League venues for upcoming season; Rourkela added as second Indian host city
NEW DELHI: Odisha's Rourkela was on Tuesday added as the second Indian venue, besides Bhubaneswar, for the upcoming FIH Pro League season beginning in October with the matches to be held at the stadium built to host the men's World Cup in January.
A brand new stadium has been built in Rourkela to host some of the matches of the FIH men's World Cup to be held from January 13 to 29.
Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium, which will host most of the matches of the World Cup, is the other Indian venue which will also stage FIH Pro League games.
Other venues which will host matches of the FIH Pro League from October 28, 2022 to July 5, 2023 are Newcastle and Hobart in Australia, Mendoza and Santiago del Estero in Argentina, Antwerp (Belgium), London, Eindhoven and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Christchurch and Wellington in New Zealand.
"As already announced in March, a new schedule - based on a series of 'mini-tournaments' where several teams will gather in one venue to play two matches against each other - will come into force for this new Pro League season," the FIH said in a statement.
"This format will have a major positive impact on players' welfare and the environment, thanks to a substantial reduction in the amount of travel needed for each team and the officials.
"Another great advantage of this revised format is that it increases the number of dates available for athletes to compete in their domestic leagues and club competitions," the statement further read.
The FIH also said that it will implement the system of promotion and relegation from the upcoming season of Pro League.
While the team finishing last will be relegated as usual, the side winning the newly-added 2022 FIH Nations Cup will be promoted to the Pro League season in 2023.
"The integration of the promotion-relegation principle will substantially add to the excitement around Pro League. Also, the new format is beneficial to everyone, athletes, National Associations, clubs and fans in particular," FIH CEO Thierry Weil said.
"We're glad to welcome some new venues for this season; this is great for the growth of our sport! We're very much looking forward to the fourth edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League!" he added.
CoA initiates poll process at Hockey India, appoints returning officer
NEW DELHI: Former electoral officer in the Bihar government, Ajay Nayak has been appointed as the returning officer for the Hockey India elections, to be conducted by October 9.
The appointment was made during a meeting held between the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) running the sport in the country currently.
The meeting was attended by FIH acting president Seif Ahmed, CEO Thierry Weil and members of the CoA, Justice Anil R Dave, SY Quraishi and Zafar Iqbal.
AK Majumdar has been appointed as the assistant returning officer.
"They will be assuming their positions with immediate effect," the national federation said in a statement.
The two-member FIH delegation was in the national capital to discuss the way forward and avert a possible suspension of Hockey India, currently placed under the CoA on the directive of the Delhi High Court.
The FIH categorically stated that it "does not consider the court as third party", ruling out the possibility of a ban with only months left for the men's World Cup, to be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29.
PHF launches probe into corruption allegations against former star player Shahbaz Ahmed
KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has launched a probe into the corruption allegations against former secretary and legendary player Shahbaz Ahmed, its chief said on Monday.
PHF President Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar, who was re-elected to the top job last week, confirmed at a press conference that there were charges of corruption against Shahbaz who was famous for his spectacular dribbling skills during his playing days."Yes, there are serious charges of corruption against Shahbaz including misuse of funds and an inquiry is being held against him. If he is found guilty of corruption he could also face prison," Khokar said.
Shahbaz, who captained Pakistan to Champions Trophy and World Cup titles in 1994, was brought in as secretary of the federation by Khokar when he became President in 2015.
Shahbaz served as secretary until December 2018 before he resigned in disgust, complaining about lack of funds in Pakistan hockey.
Khokar, who won his third term as president, has now brought in Haider Hussain as secretary in place of Asif Bajwa. Hussain is also a former international player.
Khokar himself has been under fire as the national team's performance has not shown any signs of improvement during his tenure.
Pakistan failed to qualify for next year's World Cup in India after they finished fifth in the Asia Cup. In the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Pakistan were placed seventh.
But Khokar defended himself, insisting that he had spent money out of his pocket and used his personal contacts to secure sponsorship for the PHF.
"If it had not been for the Sindh government which has given us grants, there would be no hockey in Pakistan. What am I supposed to do without proper funds for the game?"
BWF Worlds: Saina Nehwal wins, gets a bye in second round, advances to PQFs
Former world No.1 Saina Nehwal made it to the pre-quarterfinals of the BWF World Championships in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Saina, who won a silver and bronze at the Worlds, is just two more victories away from winning her third medal at the Worlds.
Saina downed Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong 21-19, 21-9 in women's singles first round. Saina got a bye in the second round as her opponent Nozomi Okuhara pulled out in the last minute. The Japanese former world champion got a bye in the first round and by virtue of that Saina got a direct entry into the third round.
Saina will play the winner of the second round match between Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand and Yvonne Li of Germany on Thursday.
Teen shuttlers Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly made short work of Low Yeen Yuan and Valeree Siow of Malaysia 21-11, 21-13 in the women's singles first round. The Indian girls have a tough second round against 10th seeded Malaysians Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan. The girls lost thrice this year against the Malaysians and two times at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.
Another Indian pair of Ashwini Bhat and Shikha Gautam eased past Martina Corsini and Judith Mair of Italy 21-8, 21-14. They are also drawn up against the formidable Korean pair of Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong.
Seasoned campaigners Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy play top seeds Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan of China on Wednesday.
India suffered two losses in mixed doubles. Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto lost their second round match to 14th seeds Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran of Thailand 14-21, 17-21 while Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore of England knocked out Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan 21-10, 23-21 in the first round.
Women's singles: Saina Nehwal bt Cheung Ngan Yi (Hkg) 21-19, 21-9
Women's doubles (Rd I): Gayatri Gopichand Pullela/Treesa Jolly bt Low Yeen Yuan/Valeree Siow (Mas) 21-11, 21-13; Ashwini Bhat/Shikha Gautam bt Martina Corsini/Judith Mair (Ita) 21-8, 21-14.
Men's doubles (Rd I): Fabien Delrue/William Villeger (Fra) bt Krishna Prasad Garaga/Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala 21-14, 21-18.
Mixed doubles (Rd I): Gregory Mairs/Jenny Moore (Eng) bt Venkat Gaurav Prasad/Juhi Dewangan 21-10, 23-21.
(Rd-II): 14-Supak Jomkoh/Supissara Paewsampran (Tha) bt Ishaan Bhatnagar/Tanisha Crasto 21-14, 21-17
'Weak-spirited' Kento Momota limps out at badminton worlds
TOKYO: Japanese badminton star Kento Momota blamed his fear of failure for a "weak-spirited" second-round exit from the world championships on Wednesday after losing 21-17, 21-16 to India's HS Prannoy.
Number two seed Momota, whose career has been in free fall since a car crash more than two years ago left him badly hurt, limped out after another meek performance in front of a stunned crowd in Tokyo.
Momota, once badminton's undisputed king, looked a shadow of the player that won a record 11 titles in 2019, and he pulled no punches when analysing his own performance after the match.
"I was so scared of making mistakes that I shrunk within myself a little and I think that was why I lost," the crestfallen 27-year-old told reporters.
"I realised that midway through the match, but I couldn't do anything to fix it. I was weak-spirited and that's so frustrating."
Momota dumped shot after shot into the net and was powerless to stop world number 18 Prannoy from taking control early in the match.
Momota vowed to try to get back to his former position at badminton's summit but he said he would need some time to get over this latest disappointment.
"I think I used to win titles too easily," he said.
"It became a matter of course that I would win them, but it's difficult and some players never win even one."
"I don't think at all that I'm not capable of winning titles," he added.
Prannoy will play in the next round against his Indian compatriot Lakshya Sen, who advanced with a 21-17, 21-10 win over Spain's Luis Enrique Penalver.
"I can't really be happy about what I've done because you don't have time for that," Prannoy said.
"You have to get ready for what's to come next tomorrow and hopefully keep getting better."
Malaysian number five seed Lee Zii Jia also booked his place in the next round with a comfortable 21-9, 21-12 win over Portugal's Bernardo Atilano.
Lee is aiming to become the first Malaysian ever to win a world badminton title and he said he was "feeling good" after making short work of Atilano.
"I think the real challenge will be tomorrow, and my opponent will be tougher than today," said the 24-year-old.
"It's a big challenge for me -- I want to be the first to win the world championships from Malaysia. I think everyone has a big chance to win so we will see."
Defending champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore had to fend off a furious second-game fightback from Guatemala's Kevin Cordon before closing out their contest 21-12, 11-21, 21-12.
Number eight seed Loh played down the pressure of arriving in Tokyo as the reigning champion and said he intended to "treat it like any other tournament".
"I'm definitely happy on the winning side, always," he said.
India's Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Kidambi Srikanth was stunned 21-9, 21-17 by China's unseeded Zhao Junpeng.
Number 12 seed Srikanth, the silver medallist at last year's world championships and part of India's Thomas Cup-winning team in May, said he "could have maybe played better".
"He just played well when it really mattered," said the former world number one.
BWF World Championships: Prannoy stuns Momota, Lakshya sails into pre-quarters
TOKYO: HS Prannoy stunned second seed Kento Momota in straight games to record a sensational win while reigning Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen also sailed into the men's singles pre-quarterfinals of the World Championships here on Wednesday.
Unseeded Prannoy rose above expectations to shut the door on crowd favourite and two-time former world champion Momota 21-17, 21-16 in a second round tie.
Incidentally, it was Prannoy's first win over Momota in eight matches. In their previous clashes, the Indian won only one game against his higher-rated Japanese rival.
Earlier in the day, reigning Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen sailed into the pre-quarterfinals with a straight game win over Spain's Luis Penalver.
The young Indian badminton ace Sen won his second round contest 21-17, 21-10, taking 72 minutes to complete the formality.
Prannoy and Sen will face each other in an all-Indian last 16 clash on Thursday.
However, last edition's runner-up Kidambi Srikanth crashed out after a straight game defeat to world number 32 Zhao Jun Peng.
Srikanth went down against his Chinese counterpart 18-21, 17-21 in a match lasting only 34 minutes.
The 29-year-old was out of sorts in the opening game as it took only 12 minutes for Zhao to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Indian, already on the back foot, tried to up the ante in the second game and led 16-14 but too many unforced errors helped Zhao secure the victory.
Sen won his second round contest 21-17 21-10. After trailing 3-4, the ninth seeded Sen grabbed a six-point lead to be 13-7. The Indian continued to stay ahead before comfortably wrapping up the first game.
Sen, a world championship bronze medallist, then maintained his stranglehold over the Spanish shuttler and won the second game by a bigger margin.
In the second game, the first six points were shared between the two players, but the 21-year-old Indian pulled ahead riding on his superior play.
Enjoying a massive nine-point lead at one stage of the second game, it was only a matter of time before Sen completed the job.
Earlier, the Indian men's doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila moved to the pre-quarterfinals but Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy made a second round exit from the prestigious tournament.
The unseeded Arjun and Kapila upset eighth seeds and last edition's bronze medallists Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark 21-17, 21-16 in their second round match.
They will face Hee Yong Kai Terry and Loh Kean Hean of Singapore next.
Ponnappa and Sikki, on the other hand, were handed a 15-21, 10-21 loss by top seeds Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan of China in 42 minutes.
The other women's doubles pairing of Pooja Dandu and Sanjana Santosh's also crashed out of the tournament, going down to third seeds Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan of Korea 15-21, 7-21.
The eighth seeded men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy thrashed Guatemala's Solis Jonathan and Anibal Marroquin 21-8, 21-10 to storm into Round of 16, where the duo will be up against Denmark's Jeppe Bay and Lasse Molhede.
BWF World Championships: Kapila-Arjun cruise into quarterfinals
TOKYO: The Indian men's doubles pair of Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun moved to the quarterfinals with a come-from-behind victory over Terry Hee and Loh Kean Hean at the World Championships here on Thursday.
The unseeded Indian duo had to toil hard for 58 minutes to win its round of 16 clash against the Singaporeans 18-21 21-15 21-16.
Arjun and Kapila will cross swords with the third seed Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in the last eight stage.
The two have enjoyed a good run in the tournament. They had upstaged eighth seeds and last edition's bronze medallists Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark 21-17 21-16 in their second round match.
Later in the day, Saina Nehwal and the men's doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankeyreddy and Chirag Shetty will play in their pre-quarterfinals, while Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy will face each other in an all-Indian last 16 clash.