Olympic effect: Mirabai Chanu already seeing more interest in weightlifting

Star weightlifter Mirabai Chanu said the amount of love she has received from fellow Indians since her Olympic medal-winning feat last month has left her overwhelmed

New Delhi: Star weightlifter Mirabai Chanu has observed a heightened interest in the power sport since her silver medal-winning feat at the Tokyo Olympics and expects more women to compete at the highest level in the near future.

Speaking at an event organised by Adidas here on Friday, Mirabai said the amount of love she has received from fellow Indians since her feat last month has left her overwhelmed.

“It wasn’t like that before Tokyo but I am seeing a marked interest in weightlifting for the first time. It makes me confident that more women will represent India in the next Olympics.

“The sport is a lot about strength and power but there is not a lot of difference between weightlifting and other sports. I see lot of youngsters taking up to the sport especially women,” she said.

The performances from Indian women stood out in Tokyo whether it was Chanu’s outing on the opening day or P V Sindhu‘s bronze or the hockey team reaching the semifinals for the first time. India golfer Aditi Ashok also became a household name by finishing a highly creditable fourth after being in medal contention till the every end.

“It is all about hard work and women are working as hard as anyone and the results are for all of us to see,” said Mirabai when asked about women excelling in sports.

“I have received a lot of love from fellow Indians ever since I have come back. This is a big moment for me. To win a medal for India is a dream come true.”

Welcome to the club: Boxing pioneers Vijender, Mary Kom wish Lovlina

Vijender was the first Indian male boxer to win an Olympic medal in 2008, Mary Kom became the first woman to finish on podium in 2012 London edition.

New Delhi: “Welcome to the club,” said the trailblazers of Indian boxing Vijender Singh and MC Mary Kom as they celebrated Lovlina Borgohain being assured of an Olympic medal in the Tokyo Games on Friday.

While Vijender was the first Indian male boxer to win an Olympic medal in 2008, Mary Kom became the first woman to finish on podium in 2012 London edition. Both had won bronze medals and they are hoping that Borgohain would better that in Tokyo.

“Welcome to the club,” the 35-year-old Vijender said when PTI contacted him for his thoughts on Borgohain’s win in the quarterfinals in Tokyo.

Borgohain defeated former world champion Nien-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei 4-1 to make the last-four stage where she will face reigning world champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey.

“We had been waiting for this medal, everyone had worked so hard. I am very happy for her,” said Mary Kom from Tokyo, left heartbroken only the day before when she lost to Colombian Ingrit Valencia in the pre-quarters despite winning two of the three rounds during the bout.

Vijender was particularly impressed with Borgohain’s tactics, which reminded him of his own campaigns in the amateur circuit.

“What a fabulous fight. Her tactics were brilliant. She used her right hand so effectively, reminded me of my own days in the amateur circuit. God bless her,” said the 35-year-old.

“She has a tough one in the next round but with that temperament, she can definitely go far,” he added.

Mary Kom shared the sentiment.

“She has always been this understated girl. It is a medal worth celebrating,” she said.

Boxing Federation of India (BFI) president Ajay Singh pointed out her struggles and said they have been waiting for this moment while calling her a “born fighter”.

“It’s a news that we all were eagerly waiting to hear. This is a proud moment not just for boxing but also for Assam and for the entire country. It was a very courageous effort by Lovlina, indeed.

“She was down with COVID last year and was admitted in the hospital. Her mother too was going through a life-threatening ailment. But Lovlina is a born fighter. This is a huge milestone for Indian boxing and the way this young girl has proved herself makes us all proud.

The youngster, who was laid low by COVID-19 last year and missed a training trip to Europe because of it, let out a huge scream after the referee raised her hand, pent up emotions finally getting the better of her.

Singh added, “We at BFI would like to congratulate her on this achievement. This is also a testament of the process that we followed in the last four years.

“However, as I said to Lovlina today, this is just a start. She needs to plan carefully and ensure she wins a gold for India.

“Lovlina is symbolic of a young, new and fearless India. I am sure that young boxers like her will ensure many more Olympic medals in the future.” PTI PM

Indian-origin Samir Banerjee lifts Wimbledon boys’ singles title

Up against compatriot Victor Lilov, the teenager won 7-5 6-3 in the summit clash that lasted one hour 22 minutes.

London, Jul 11  Indo-American tennis player Samir Banerjee lifted the Wimbledon boys’ singles title on Sunday, a remarkable triumph for the youngster who was testing his skills in a Grand Slam for only the second time in his fledgling career.

All of 17, the boy from New Jersey just wanted to win a match at the biggest stage in the junior circuit, but little did he know that he would be the last boy standing at the hallowed grass courts.

Up against compatriot Victor Lilov, the teenager won 7-5 6-3 in the summit clash that lasted one hour 22 minutes. He broke his rival thrice and dropped serve only once in a facile win.

“I came into this tournament looking to win a round and trying to play well because I knew I was playing well before this,” he was quoted as saying by itftennis.com.

“I didn’t really know how I would do on grass so I wanted to come in and give it my best. It’s amazing that I have been able to play this well.”

As Lilov’s backhand sailed over the baseline on match-point, Banerjee dropped his racquet, put both his hands on his head in disbelief as if to say that this was not what he expected to do but still accomplished.

“Remember the name – Samir Banerjee. The American wins his first junior Grand Slam singles title by beating Victor Lilov in the boys’ singles final,” the official twitter handle of the Championships posted.

Legendary Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj congratulated Banerjee.

“Wonderful win for Indian American 17 yr old Samir Bannerjee in the boys singles at Wimbledon 2021. Wish him well for a great future,” the 67-year old who reached singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon and US Open tweeted.

Banerjee’s father was born in Assam, and his mother was brought up in Andhra Pradesh before both migrated to the USA in the mid-1980s and got married there.

The youngster, reportedly, will take a break from the tour to enroll for a degree in either economics or political science at the Columbia University in the coming months.

While Banerjee’s victory is a testament to the system that US Tennis Association has put in place, India has been struggling to field a worthy contender at junior Grand Slams for some time now.

Due to the lack of a robust domestic circuit and not having enough competitions at home to earn world ranking points, India has been struggling to create the next crop of youngsters.

Yuki Bhambri was the last Indian to win a junior singles title when he triumphed at the Australian Open in 2009 while Sumit Nagal won the Wimbledon boys’ doubles event in 2015 with Vietnam’s Ly Hoang Nam.

Ramanathan Krishnan was the first Indian to win a junior major when he won the 1954 Junior Wimbledon championship.

His son Ramesh Krishnan won the 1970 junior Wimbledon and junior French Open titles while Leander Paes won the 1990 junior Wimbledon and junior US Open.

Paes was also a runner-up at the junior Australian Open.

ICC set to award some points for each match won during WTC 2

There would be changes to the points system was first declared by ICC interim CEO Geoff Allardice during a media interaction earlier this month.

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) will award standardized 12 points for every match won during the second World Test Championships cycle which kicks off with the five-match series between India and England in August.

Teams will get six points in case of a tie and four points if the match ends in a draw.

There would be changes to the points system was first declared by ICC interim CEO Geoff Allardice during a media interaction earlier this month.

“Instead of each series being worth the same number of points, 120, irrespective of whether the series is played over two Tests or five Tests, the next cycle will see each match being worth the same number of points – a maximum of 12 per match,” an ICC board member

“Teams will be ranked on the percentage of available points they won from the matches they have played.”

The changes in the points system will have to be ratified by the ICC chief executives committee in the coming weeks.

“The aim was to try and simplify the points system and to allow teams to be meaningfully compared on the table at any point, though they may have played differing numbers of matches and series,” the Board member added.

Apart from the India-England series, the Ashes later this year will be the only other five-match affair in the second cycle which will end in June 2023.

Australia’s tour of India next year is the only four-Test series in the upcoming cycle.

The nine Test teams will play a total of six series: three home and three away just like the previous edition.

In the inaugural edition, which New Zealand won after defeating India in the final earlier this month, the ICC had changed the qualification criteria for the World Test Championship from maximum points earned to percentage points earned from the matches contested after many scheduled series was cancelled due to COVID-19.

During the last cycle, the value for each series was 120 points where a two-match India-Bangladesh series had 60 points for a win while a four-match India-Australia Test series had 30 points in-store per victory.

“England will play the most Tests (21) in WTC-2 followed by India (19), Australia (18) and South Africa (15). The inaugural WTC winners New Zealand will play only 13 matches, similar to that of West Indies and Sri Lanka, but one less than Pakistan (14),” ‘ESPNcricinfo’ reported.

Also Read: Indian swimmer Maana Patel qualifies for Tokyo 2020 in ‘Universality quota’

Belgium takes on Italy for a spot in Euro 2020 semi-finals

Belgium has only beaten Italy once before in a competitive game in the 1972 European Championship quarterfinals.

Munich: Belgium’s leading scorer at the European Championship is no stranger to Italy’s veteran defenders.

They all play in Serie A.

Romelu Lukaku will likely be the main attacking threat when Belgium takes on Italy in Munich on Friday in the Euro 2020 quarterfinals. The Inter Milan forward has scored three goals in his team’s four victories so far.

And with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard both doubtful for the game, Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini and teammate Leonardo Bonucci both defenders at Juventus will know just who to focus on.

“It’s a quarterfinal. It will be decided on small details,” Belgium midfielder Youri Tielemans said.

“I think one phase can turn the game in our favour, or against us. We have to be concentrated from the first minute and finish strongly. It’s going to be very, very tough, very, very physical.”

Belgium, which is trying to win its first major soccer tournament three years after a third-place finish at the World Cup, hasn’t lost in 13 games and is the top-ranked team in the world.

The Italians haven’t been beaten in a national team record 31 matches, though they were taken to extra time by Austria in the round of 16.

“It’s a nice challenge to beat them after a run of 31 unbeaten games. I estimate the odds 50-50,” said Belgium midfielder Thorgan Hazard, Eden’s younger brother and the scorer of the only goal in the team’s 1-0 victory over Portugal in the last round.

“It’s an advantage that we didn’t have to play extra time.”

Also Read: Wimbledon: Kerber wins three-hour match, Medvedev and Zverev on song

Both teams won all three of their group matches, and with France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany all eliminated from Euro 2020, the winner in Munich will certainly be among the favourites for the title.

“We must continue to believe in ourselves,” Italy midfielder Jorginho said.

“The most serious mistake would be to think that we’ve already done something great.”

Neither De Bruyne nor Eden Hazard’s injury worries are new. De Bruyne fractured his nose and eye socket in a collision with Chelsea defender Antonio R diger while playing for Manchester City in the Champions League final, but the latest problem is a bruised left ankle sustained after a tackle from Portugal midfielder Jo o Palhinha in the round of 16.

“I don’t know if De Bruyne will play in the game, but he’s definitely a player who makes the difference, with a higher-than-average football intelligence,” said Jorginho, a Chelsea midfielder who plays against De Bruyne in the Premier League.

The injury-prone Hazard was also taken off early against Portugal with a hamstring issue. Belgium coach Roberto Mart nez said Monday that both Hazard and De Bruyne were “50-50” for Friday’s game.

Belgium has only beaten Italy once before in a competitive game in the 1972 European Championship quarterfinals.

Belgium takes on

Also Read: Indian swimmer Maana Patel qualifies for Tokyo 2020 in ‘Universality quota’

Indian swimmer Maana Patel qualifies for Tokyo 2020 in ‘Universality quota’

Maana Patel is the third Indian swimmer to have qualified for Tokyo 2020 after Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash achieved Olympic Qualification Timing (OQT) 'A' level recently

New Delhi: Indian woman swimmer Maana Patel’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics has been confirmed through ‘Universality quota’, the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) said.

Maana will take part in the 100m backstroke at the Tokyo Games and is the third Indian swimmer to have qualified after both Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash achieved Olympic Qualification Timing (OQT) ‘A’ level recently.

The Universality quota allows one male and one female competitor from a country to participate in the Olympics, provided no other swimmer from the same gender qualifies for the Games or receives a FINA invite based on his or her Olympic Selection time (B time).

“It’s an amazing feeling. I have heard about the Olympics from fellow swimmers and watched it on the television and seen a lot of pictures,” Maana told Olympics.com.

“But to be there this time, competing with the best in the world, just gives me goosebumps.”

The 21-year-old sustained an ankle injury in 2019 and only made a comeback earlier this year. “It was a tough year to come back after the injury,” Maana admitted.

“Though the pandemic and the lockdown was a blessing in disguise as it helped me recuperate well, but then later the frustration crept in. I am not used to staying away from the water for this long.”

Her first event of the year was Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championships in April, where she clocked 1:04.47 seconds for the gold medal in the 100m backstroke.

“I was happy with my timing in Uzbekistan. Nothing great. But to get back into competitive racing and managing 1:04 was good. I knew I was on the right track.”

She had recently taken part in events in Serbia and Italy as a tune up for the Tokyo Games.

At the Belgrade event, she bettered her national mark in the 100m backstroke.

“One thing that I ensured was that I wanted to make the most of every opportunity. I had my schedule organised. My intake was controlled. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance,” Maana said.

Also Read: Wimbledon: Kerber wins three-hour match, Medvedev and Zverev on song

“I clocked 1:03 at Belgrade, the target is to go 1:02 or lower in Tokyo.”

With Universality quota which is not even the ‘B’ qualifying mark, Maana knows that Olympics for her is more about gaining experience.

“I am not looking for much here, just the experience of swimming at the Olympics. The 2023 season is an important year for us. I see the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games as a real opportunity for a podium finish,” Maana reckoned.

Wimbledon: Kerber wins three-hour match, Medvedev and Zverev on song

Angelique Kerber needed 3 hours, 19 minutes to get past unseeded Sara Sorribes Tormo, while Daniil Medvedev saw off promising Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets to reach the third round at Wimbledon.

Former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber needed 3 hours, 19 minutes to get past unseeded Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 in the second round. The two players traded blows in a match that saw 15 breaks of serve, including seven in the final set. Kerber finished with 47 winners and just as many unforced errors. The German won Wimbledon in 2018 and has three Grand Slam titles overall. Sorribes Tormo has never been past the second round at a major.

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev saw off promising Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets to reach the third round at Wimbledon. Medvedev beat the 18-year-old Alcaraz 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 and then predicted his opponent will soon be a top-10 player.

Alcaraz has drawn similar praise from countryman Rafael Nadal and made the third round at the French Open this year. He was playing Wimbledon for the first time after being given a wild card. Medvedev is a two-time Grand Slam finalist but has never made it past the third round at Wimbledon. Former U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori lost 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 to Jordan Thompson of Australia.

Back on Centre Court, Coco Gauff beat an opponent twice her age to reach the third round at Wimbledon. The 17-year-old American defeated 34-year-old Russian veteran Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-3 to keep her on track for making another run into the second week at the All England Club.

Gauff became an instant sensation when she reached the fourth round two years ago at the age of 15 — saving a match point before beating Polona Hercog on Centre Court in the third round. She has since won two WTA titles and made the quarterfinals at this year’s French Open.

Gauff had a slight wobble at 3-0 in the second set when she missed an easy forehand to be broken for the first time at this year’s tournament. But she broke again to clinch the win when Vesnina double-faulted on match point. Vesnina was making her 13th appearance at Wimbledon and made the semifinals in 2016.

Top-ranked Ash Barty overcame nine double-faults and a bad line call on match point to move into the third round at Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Anna Blinkova. Barty's forehand was called out on her second match point but a replay showed it clipped the line. The point was replayed and Barty clinched the win when Blinkova hit a shot long.

She had other problems, too, especially with her serve. Aside from the slew of double-faults, Barty was broken three times in the match and had 33 unforced errors. But she also hit 33 winners, compared to 12 for Blinkova.

Cameron Norrie defeated Australian wild card Alex Bolt 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 on No. 1 Court to join Andy Murray and Dan Evans in the third round. It's the first time three British men have made it that far since Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Danny Sapsford did it in 1999.

The 29th-seeded Norrie was given a standing ovation by the home crowd after producing his best result so far at the All England Club. He made the third round at the Australian Open and French Open this year, and the 2020 U.S. Open, but had only won one match at Wimbledon in three previous appearances.

No. 3 Elina Svitolina became the sixth top-10 seeded woman to be eliminated in the first two rounds at Wimbledon. The 2019 Wimbledon semifinalist lost to Magda Linette of Poland 6-3, 6-4 after hitting only eight winners in the match, compared to 28 for her opponent. Svitolina hit 34 winners in her first-round match against Alison Van Uytvanck.

She joins No. 4 Sofia Kenin, No. 5 Bianca Andreescu, No. 6 Serena Williams, No. 9 Belinda Bencic and No. 10 Petra Kvitova in making an early exit at the All England Club. Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, had to retire injured during her first-round match. In total, eight of the top 11 women in the WTA rankings are out as Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka did not enter.

American Shelby Rogers knocked out French Open semifinalist Maria Sakkari to reach the third round of Wimbledon for the second time. Rogers beat the 15th-seeded Sakkari 7-5, 6-4 on Court 5. Sakkari became the first Greek woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal when she made the last four at Roland Garros, but has never been past the third round at Wimbledon.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova advanced with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Andrea Petkovic. Krejcikova is a former Wimbledon doubles champion but is making her debut in the singles draw. She is coming off her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. Against Petkovic, Krejcikova converted four of her five break points and finished with twice as many winners — 24 to 12.

Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev rode his powerful serve into the third round of Wimbledon, beating Tennys Sandgren of the United States 7-5, 6-2, 6-3. The German lost only five points on his serve in the first two sets, then saved the only break point he faced with a backhand winner down the line when leading 2-1 in the third.

Zverev broke again in the final game when Sandgren netted a forehand. Zverev reached the U.S. Open final in 2020 and the semifinals at the recent French Open but has never been past the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Sandgren reached the round of 16 in 2019.

Dravid, Ganguly's big hundreds in Taunton had an incredible impact on me: Buttler

London, May 19 England's swashbuckling batsman Jos Buttler says Indian greats Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly's big hundreds in the 1999 World Cup match against Sri Lanka had an "incredible impact" on him.

The duo of Ganguly and Dravid had stitched together a mammoth partnership of 318 runs for the second wicket to set up an easy victory for India.

That was long before the T20 revolution took the game by storm but, on that day in Taunton, sixes and fours rained down from the blades of the two Indian batsmen, something the destructive Buttler often does these days.

"Those were my formative years and watching that game with Ganguly and Dravid scoring big hundreds had an incredible impact," Buttler told Cricbuzz.

He was surprised by the massive Indian presence in the crowd for a match in England.

"India versus Sri Lanka in 1999 World Cup was my first experience of seeing Indian crowds and that ignites the fire of how passionate people are about the game and how cool it would be to play in a World Cup," added Buttler.

Buttler looked in good form for Rajasthan Royals in the now-suspended IPL-14, including scoring a scintillating 64-ball 124 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Considered one of England's finest limited overs batsman, Buttler was instrumental in guiding them to the 2019 World Cup victory at home, and is expected to play a crucial role in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Pant, Ashwin nominated for ICC Player of the Month awards

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant have been nominated for the newly-introduced Player of the Month awards by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Two other Indians, Mohammed Siraj, and T Natarajan are also in line for the ICC Player of the month.

Also Read: Section 144 extended for more 48 hours in Agartala

Diego Maradona will be remembered forever......

Midage Bureau

“Football is over, without Maradona there’s no more football.

There’s no Messi, there’s no Pele only Maradona for all of Argentina,” said a fan.

In Buenos Aires they remember Diego Maradona with three days of mourning for a national hero and one of the greatest football players of all time.

“The money, the millions that comes along later, naturally. What’s important is to enjoy football. There’s no success without taking pleasure in the game,” Al Jazeera quoted Maradona.

Some important facts of Diego Maradona's life

Born in 1960, Maradona was raised in a Buenos Aires slum, later; he went on to play for Argentina as a teenager.

At 165 cm tall Maradona was stocky and powerful.

His skill and balance made him unstoppable, and in 1986 he led Argentina to a sensational and controversial World Cup victory.

Argentina Fans claim saying, “He was from here, represented us, he waved our flag, gave us joy. He filled us with joy in front of the English. We didn’t wage war on them, but with that ‘Hand of God’ he gave the soul back to the people.”

Maradona also thrived in club football playing for Barcelona in the early 1980’s and then Napoli in Italy where he is still seen as a favourite son for taking them to their first ever Italian titles.

As per reports, Napoli’s stadium is to be renamed after him.

The stadium is at the moment called ‘San Paolo’.

Of the field there was turbulence. Maradona had a cocaine addiction struggled with alcohol abuse and was banned from playing after failing drug tests.

He spent four years in Cuba as a friend of Fidel Castro trying to shake his addiction.

At 2010 World Cup Maradona defied critics as Manager of Argentina to reach the quarter finals.

He also dipped in and out of club management.

His last public appearance was at a game on his 60th birthday where he appeared frail and left early.

He died at home no Wednesday less than a month later after suffering a heart attack.

Diego Maradona will be remembered for his rags to riches story his genius on the pitch and the battles with his demons off it but ultimately as one of football’s greatest legends.

Also Read: India Vs Australia: Adam Gilchrist Apologises to Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini for Slip of Tongue