Asia Cup: VVS Laxman named India's interim coach after Rahul Dravid tests positive for COVID
VVS Laxman will take over as India's interim coach for the Asia Cup after head coach Rahul Dravid tested positive for COVID-19, the country's cricket board (BCCI) said on Wednesday.
Laxman, who is also the head of cricket at the National Cricket Academy, had led the second-string side that beat Zimbabwe in a three-match one-day international series this month.
Dravid tested positive on Tuesday before the team's departure to the United Arab Emirates and will join them once he tests negative and is cleared by the BCCI medical team.
"Laxman... will oversee the team's preparation in the absence of Rahul Dravid, who tested positive for COVID-19 before the team's departure to the UAE," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.
"Laxman has linked up with the squad in Dubai along with vice-captain KL Rahul, Deepak Hooda and Avesh Khan, who travelled from Harare."
India will begin their Asia Cup defence with Sunday's clash with arch-rivals Pakistan in the six-team Twenty20 tournament.
Antim Panghal scripts history, becomes India's first-ever U-20 world wrestling champion
NEW DELHI: Antim Panghal became the first-ever Indian woman wrestler to win a gold at the U-20 world championships, when she defeated Kazakhstan’s Atlyn Shagayeva 8-0 in the 53kg category final in Sofia, Bulgaria on Friday.
It was for the first time in the competition’s 34-year long history that an Indian girl has finished on top of the podium. Antim, the youngest of four siblings, dominated Shagayeva with her leg attacks and takedowns to be crowned the world junior champion.
Belonging from Haryana’s Bhagana village in Hisar district, the 17-year-old won all her bouts by huge margins, including the prized scalp of European champion Olivia Andrich, whom she defeated by technical superiority (11-0).
In the quarters, Antim had pinned Japan’s Ayaka Kimura before blazing past Ukraine’s Nataliia Klivchutska (11-2) in the semis. Antim was inspired to pursue her career in sports after watching her eldest sister, Sarita, make the senior ranks as a national-level kabaddi player with the Indian team.
"I didn't know about the record. Only after winning the final did my coaches tell me that I have become the first-ever woman wrestler from India to win the championships. It's a proud feeling for everyone. I am thankful to my parents for allowing me to pursue wrestling, especially my didi (sister Sarita) for always supporting and encouraging me. My target is to win an Olympic medal for the country and this is just the beginning for me," a joyous Antim said after her win.
In other bouts, Sonam Malik and Priyanka won silver medals in 62 kg and 65 kg respectively, while Reetika (72kg) and Sito (57kg) settled for a bronze each after triumphing in their repechage rounds. India has so far won 12 medals at the U-20 Worlds, with the men’s freestyle wrestlers clinching a silver and six bronze and women grapplers cornering one gold, two silver and an equal number of bronze.
FTX Crypto Cup: Praggnanandhaa beats Carlsen in final round but loses out on top prize
MIAMI: Young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa produced a superb performance, winning three straight games including two in the blitz tie-breaks to outwit world No.1 Magnus Carlsen 4-2 in the final round of the FTX Crypto Cup here on Monday.
However, despite the win over Carlsen, the 17-year old could only take second place in the final standings.
The Norwegian won the top prize on the basis of a higher score. He finished with 16 match points to the Indian prodigy's tally of 15.
"I've been playing badly all day, but now I'm getting the results I deserve... it's never good to lose, but this is as good a time as any!," Carlsen said after the match.
Alireza Firouzja, another highly-rated teen and a prodigy, also finished on 15 points but had to settle for third place as he had lost the clash against Praggnanandhaa earlier.
The first two games of the Carlsen-Praggnanandhaa match were drawn before the world No.1 went ahead by clinching the third.
In a surprise turn of events, the Indian won the fourth game to push the match into the tie-breaks. He shocked the Norwegian by winning both the games in the tie-break.
Praggnanandhaa has been in splendid form this year and had previously beaten the world champion twice in online events.
He also played a crucial role in the India 'B' team claiming a bronze medal in the 44th chess Olympiad in Chennai recently.
"I think it could have done better the last few days but I think overall 2nd is good," Praggnanandhaa said after the game against Carlsen.
Praggnanandhaa started his campaign with victory over world No.4 Firouzja and also scored wins over Anish Giri and Levon Aronian.
"Fantastic finish towards the end! @rpragchess won in blitz tiebreak against Magnus #FTXCryptoCup ! Great defensive skills at crucial junctures, some good opening preparations, some bad decisions, overall very satisfying," his coach R B Ramesh tweeted.
In other matches in the final round, Firouzja beat Aronian 2.5-1.5, Quang Liem Le (China) beat Hans Niemann, while Jan-Krzystof of Poland thrashed Anish Giri 2.5-0.5.
The eight-player all-play-all tournament was the American finale of the Champions Chess Tour. Each match was played over four rapid games, with blitz tiebreaks in case of a 2-2 draw.
Final placings: 1. Magnus Carlsen 16 match points, 2. R Praggnanandhaa 15, 3. Alireza Firouzja 15, 4. Liem Le 12, 5. Jan-Krzystof Duda 11, 6. Levon Aronian 8, 7. Anish Giri, 8. Hans Niemann 0
Oleksandr Usyk beats Anthony Joshua by split decision in heavyweight title fight
JEDDAH: Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk won his rematch against Anthony Joshua by split decision to retain his world heavyweight titles in just his fourth fight in the division in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Usyk, 35, who dismantled the defending champion in London last year, faced an improved Joshua but outboxed him once again to set up a potential unification bout with Britain's Tyson Fury.
"I want to chank God for the help that he gave me today," Usyk told the crowd at the 12,000-seat King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah.
"I give this victory to my country, to my family, to my team and to all the military who are defending the country," he added.
The fight was watched on free-to-air TV by millions of Ukrainians living under the Russian invasion. Usyk signed up to fight for his country before accepting the rematch.
An angered Joshua peppered his post-match speech with expletives despite the presence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, de facto ruler of the deeply religious country.
Chain Singh wins Rifle Prone T5 title at shooting trials
NEW DELHI: Seasoned shooter Chain Singh on Sunday won the Men's 50m Rifle Prone T5 title while Olympic medallist Vijay Kumar finished third in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol T5 at the National Shooting Selection Trials.
Singh scored 623.6 in a 60-shot event to beat Indian Navy's Niraj Kumar who came second with a score of 622.5.
Madhya Pradesh's talented shooter Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, who had won gold at the Changwon Shooting World Cup in Korea in July, came third with a score of 622.2.
Meanwhile, at the pistol trial event in New Delhi's Karni Singh Shooting range (DKSSR), Uttarakhand's Ankur Goel defeated Haryana's Sameer 28-25 in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol T5 trials.
Vijay Kumar, who won a silver at the London Olympics 10 years ago, came third with a score of 21.
Ankur had earlier shot 577 in qualification to reach the semi-final stage in fourth position while Sameer topped the stage with a score of 579.
Double delight for Hazel in women's air rifle event at National Selection Trials
BHOPAL: Haryana shooter Hazel clinched a double in 10m air rifle, winning both the senior and junior women's T5 national selection trials at the MP Shooting Academy range on Saturday.
She beat Railways' Meghana Sajjanar 17-15 in the senior women's gold medal match and Karnataka's Yukhti Rajendra 17-9 in the junior women's final respectively.
She missed out on a treble, falling to Haryana's Nancy 10-16 in the Youth competition final.
She shot a solid 631 in the qualifiers which helped her come second behind Meghana in the event, while she topped the junior and youth qualifiers.
At the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range in New Delhi where the Pistol trials are underway, Uttar Pradesh's Ujjwal Malik got the better of Haryana's Samrat Rana 16-2 in the men's 10m air pistol T5 final.
Ujjwal had also topped the qualifiers with a score of 587, while Samrat came second with the same score but with lesser inner 10s.
Samrat, however, won gold in the junior men's 10m air pistol event, beating UP's Sagar Dangi 16-14 in the final.
Haryana also won gold in the youth men's 10m air pistol event when Jatin Kumar got the better of the Army's Pradhyumn Singh 16-6 in the gold medal match.
I have stopped following the herd now, I try to lead them: Avinash Sable
PUNE: Avinash Sable has learnt to break records, win medals, and beat the Kenyans. But more importantly, he has learnt to think like a winner.
One chat with the Beed runner assures that his silver in the 3000m steeplechase event at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games was no fluke. As one listens to him speak, he comes across as a solid prospect for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
An army runner, Sable reckons he is a changed man post his experience at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sable, who returned to the Army Sports Institute, where he is training for the Diamond League, remains unperturbed with the hype that surrounds him. He stays humble about most of his achievements, including breaking the National record nine times.
“I never felt breaching NR is an achievement. My aim is to take the timing as low as I can. I want to take it to the sub-8 minute. The aim is to take the timing to a level where the upcoming athletes feel motivated to breach that and at the same time believe that if I can achieve it, they can do it too,” Sable, 27, told TOI.
Sable was noticed first when he broke Gopal Saini’s 37-year-old record in 2018. However, he feels his records shouldn’t take this long to break.
“The faster the records break, the better it is for the growth of the event. If records set by me take another 30 years to break, we will go 30 years behind the world. When I took up this sport, I had a target of 8.29s. The coming batch will now have the target of running 8.05s or maybe 8mins and it is achievable.”
Sable feels training abroad has changed his perspective and has helped him get rid of the complexes that Indian athletes normally have.
“I always thought athletes from other countries have something special that we lack. I thought their training and diet was better than ours, but my perception changed when I went to the US to train with them. I realized that they do similar things, eat things that I also eat. It boosted my confidence when I started beating them in training. So, then it boils down to the efforts you put in. Nobody is unbeatable,” he said.
At the CWG, Sable’s silver came by beating a powerful group of Kenyans. He feels Kenyans win as they can implement strategies while running in groups.
“You need at least 2-3 athletes to make strategies, being the lone runner, I don’t have that luxury. But I have now learnt to break their strategies. At the World Championships, the race was made so slow and since I didn’t have experience of something like this, I fell in the trap. I later realized that I could have gone faster than them and changed the pace of the race. I did that at the CWG. I had prepared to break their strategy and run my own race,” Sable said.
The Indian finished his race in 8.31.75s at the World Championships, his slowest time in five years.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I have stopped following the herd now. I now try to lead them.”
Sable says he has changed as a person and as an athlete after his poor show at the Tokyo Olympics. Sable had timed 8:18:12s in the heats and failed to qualify for the final.
“I was a different person before Tokyo. When you get early success things look good, but it changes once you start to struggle. I have learnt a lot from my failure at the Olympics. Like everybody else, I was hoping to win a medal. But when I couldn’t, I thought a lot for three months and I questioned the purpose of training when I couldn’t win medals. A lot of overthinking happened, and I thought of quitting and didn’t feel like getting out of my bed for months while being home,” he admitted.
“But then I realized I had to put in more effort and when I am getting so much support from the federation, the government, and the army, along with people who are directly responsible for my training, the least I could do was work hard. I got out of the mind games and started training again,” he said.
Sweden's Armand Duplantis retains European pole vault title
MUNICH: Sweden's Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis retained his European pole vault title in comprehensive fashion in Munich on Saturday.
Duplantis, fresh from breaking his own world record in Eugene as he clinched world gold with 6.21 metres last month, set a championship record of 6.06 metres for gold at the Olympic Stadium.
Germany's Bo Kanda Lita Baehre claimed silver with a best of 5.85m, while Norway's Pal Haugen Lillefosse took bronze (5.75).
Coming into the continental showpiece, Duplantis was on an 18-competition winning streak and was once again a class apart from a field that struggled throughout in cool, damp conditions.
Duplantis came in at 5.65m, with two rivals already out of the reckoning.
The US-born Swede sailed over that mark, a further trio of vaulters falling by the wayside, and passed at 5.75m, as did France's three-time European champion and former Olympic gold medallist Renaud Lavillenie.
The Frenchman faltered three times at 5.85m, however, while Duplantis flew over at that mark. Similar successes came at 5.90 and 5.95m.
Lita Baehre was by that stage out of the competition, so Duplantis had the bar raised to 6.06m.
The Swede readied himself, launching down the runway and propelling himself well clear to better by 1cm the previous championship best set by the Soviet and Ukrainian great Sergey Bubka.
Any thoughts of a fresh bid at bettering his own world record were short-lived, however, Duplantis quickly telling officials he'd had enough.
Neeraj Chopra can compete in Lausanne Diamond League if 'medically fit': AFI chief
NEW DELHI: Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who pulled out of the recent Commonwealth Games due to a minor injury, can compete in the Lausanne Diamond League Meeting on August 26 if he is "medically fit", according to the top boss of Athletics Federation of India (AFI).
The 24-year-old Chopra figured in the list of competitors for the Lausanne leg of the Diamond League Meeting on August 26.
But he is yet to take a call on his participation in the prestigious competition.
"Neeraj will participate in (Lausanne) if he is declared medically fit," Sumariwalla told PTI on Saturday.
Chopra had missed the Birmingham CWG due to a "minor" groin strain he suffered while winning a historic silver in the World Championships in Eugene, USA last month. He was advised one-month rest.
"Neeraj is working on his rehabilitation and his team will take a call about the Lausanne Diamond League closer to the event," a source had said a few days back.
Birmingham CWG silver medallist Avinash Sable also figured in the men's 3000m steeplechase event.
Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Daniil Medvedev to set up Borna Coric clash in Cincinnati Open final
Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas edged world number one Daniil Medvedev 7-6(6) 3-6 6-3 in an absorbing semi-final at the Cincinnati Open on Saturday to set up a summit clash with Borna Coric after the Croatian's 6-3 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie.
Tsitsipas saved a set point in the opening tie-break to take the lead but collapsed in stunning fashion in the second set, falling behind 5-0 before narrowly avoiding a bagel.But the Greek, who had just two wins in nine matches against Medvedev coming into the encounter, raised his game in the decider and broke the U.S. Open champion at 3-2 before comfortably serving out the match with some exquisite net play.
Sunday will be Tsitsipas' first final appearance in Cincinnati and his fifth overall in 2022.
Coric reached his second ATP Masters 1000 final - and first since undergoing shoulder surgery last year - with a commanding performance against Norrie, who offered little resistance against his opponent's heavy hitting from the baseline.
British ninth seed Norrie started brightly and raced into a 3-1 lead before Coric found his groove to win five straight games and secure the opening set.
"It was a very tough day, a very long day as well," said Coric after both men's semi-finals were delayed due to rain.
"At the beginning I was not there, I was not feeling the ball very well. Then I did find my rhythm. I started to serve better, I started to play much better and I think that was the key to the match."
Coric, who struck 22 winners in all, kept up the momentum in the second set, clinching eight straight points to take a 4-2 lead before closing out the match to set up a third career meeting with Tsitsipas.