Mizoram U-19 head coach Murtaza Lodhgar dies of heart attack in Vizag

Lodhgar was a power-house performer in club cricket but due to presence of domestic giant Utpal Chatterjee, he played only nine Ranji Trophy games.

New Delhi: Former Bengal left-arm spinner and Mizoram U-19 head coach Murtaza Lodhgar died of cardiac arrest on Friday night in Visakhapatnam, Cricket Association Bengal president Avishek Dalmiya has confirmed.

Lodhgar, 45, was in the port city with the Mizoram colts, who were set to play the league phase of Vinoo Mankad Trophy (U-19 National One Dayers) as BCCI’s domestic season is set to commence.

“The tragedy happened just after dinner,” Dalmiya told PTI.

“Murtu bhai (as he was known in Bengal circles) along with team’s physio went out for an after-dinner walk and suddenly felt enormous chest pain and fell on the road.

“The physio and other team members immediately took him to the hospital where he was declared brought dead late on Friday.

“I still can’t believe that Murtu bhai is no more. It is a personal loss for me as he was one of the pillars of first division club Rajasthan SC. He was one of the most loved cricketers in our fraternity and also worked with our women’s team with distinction. It’s an irreparable loss,” Dalmiya said.

The Cricket Association of Bengal is trying to make arrangements so that his family can bring his mortal remains to the city for the burial. The deceased cricketer’s family will be flying to Vizag on Saturday.

Lodhgar was a power-house performer in club cricket but due to presence of domestic giant Utpal Chatterjee, he played only nine Ranji Trophy games in which he had 34 wickets.

One of the highlights of his short first-class career was a five-wicket haul against Karnataka at the JU (Salt Lake) ground in the 2004-05 season.

He played a few more matches that season but never got consistent opportunities as he was in the wrong side of 30s and slightly portly for the top-level cricket.

“Gone way to early my friend,” tweeted former Bengal captain Deep Dasgupta.

He was regular at the bustling club cricket scene in the United Kingdom.

However friends and well-wishers will remember him as an ever-smiling, humble person. PTI

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.

Mary Kom, Manpreet Singh to be India’s flag bearers at Tokyo Games opening ceremony

In a first, India is having two flag-bearers -- one male and one female -- at the upcoming Tokyo Games to ensure "gender parity". This was recently informed by IOA chief Narinder Batra.

New Delhi: Celebrated boxer M C Mary Kom and men’s hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh will be the flag bearers at the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics.

One of India’s biggest hopes, wrestler Bajrang Punia will be the flag bearer at the closing ceremony on August 8.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has communicated the decision in this regard to the Organising Committee of the Games.

In a first, India is having two flag-bearers — one male and one female — at the upcoming Tokyo Games to ensure “gender parity”. This was recently informed by IOA chief Narinder Batra.

The country’s lone individual Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra was the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The Tokyo Games are scheduled to open on July 23 and over 100 Indian athletes would be gunning for podium finishes at the showpiece, which was postponed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At its executive board meeting last year, the International Olympic Committee had made provisions for flag-bearers from both genders at the opening ceremony.

“…the IOC Executive Board also decided that there should be for the first time ever at least one female and one male athlete in every one of the 206 teams and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team participating at the Games of the Olympiad,” IOC chief Thomas Bach had said.

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.

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“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.

Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar arrested by Delhi Police in murder case

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar was arrested from Delhi on Sunday in connection with the murder of 23-year-old former junior national wrestling champion Sagar Dhankhar. He was held by the Southern range of Delhi Police’s Special Cell.

Kumar had been on the run since May 5 when an FIR was registered against him under IPC Sections 302 (murder), abduction (365), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) at Model Town police station. On May 4, Dhankhar, who had competed in the 97-kg Greco-Roman category, was beaten to death following a clash between two groups.

A Delhi court on May 18 had rejected the anticipatory bail filed by Sushil Kumar and observed that the allegations against the champion wrestler were serious. Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava had already announced Rs 1 lakh reward for information leading to his arrest of Sushil Kumar and also took non-bailable warrant against him from the court.

Investigation has revealed that Kumar had travelled between Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana while trying to evade arrest. The Delhi Police has also received leads that suggest that Sushil, along with the others who are said to be involved in the May 4 clash at Chhatarshal wrestling academy, might have used multiple SIM cards to cover their tracks.

According to the police, Sushil left home as soon as the news of the 23-year-old’s death broke. “On May 5, he left his house at around 9.30 am after he came to know that Sagar succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment. He had come to Shalimar Bagh where he met his old associate. Later, the two took a car and travelled to Uttarakhand. From there, they moved to Muzaffarnagar, and later they returned to Delhi. The police, during their investigation, have obtained CCTV footage from Meerut toll point that shows Sushil entering Delhi on May 6,” a senior police officer said.

It is also learned that the investigators have picked a man from outer Delhi, who is said to have arranged around 10 SIM cards for Sushil and his associate Ajay Kumar, a physical education teacher at Chhatrasal Stadium.

“It is suspected that they dumped the SIM cards after using it,” sources said.

During the hearing of the anticipatory bail, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava had opposed Kumar’s plea and told the court, “We have the electronic evidence wherein Sushil Kumar is seen with a ‘danda’.”

Additional Sessions Judge Jagdish Kumar who dismissed the bail plea said, “It is submitted that the motive is these as the deceased, though, vacated the rented premises owned by the wife of accused (Sushil Kumar), but he has not paid the rent for two months.”

Earlier, Additional DCP (North-West district) Dr Guriqbal Singh Sidhu had said, “We have recorded statements of all the victims and they have all named Sushil Kumar. We are conducting raids to nab him. We have found during investigation that a quarrel had allegedly taken place between Sushil Kumar, Ajay, Prince Dalal, Sonu, Sagar, Amit and others in the parking area of the stadium.”

Olympics might get Cancelled if COVID situation worsens: Japan

Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary General of Japan’s ruling party Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said on Thursday that cancelling this year’s Tokyo Olympics could be an option if COVID-19 situation worsens. “What is the meaning of the Olympics if we spread infectious disease to many people during Olympics?” he added. Mr Nikai is known for his frank comments. While many other ruling party politicians have avoided discussing this issue Nikai openly talked about it.

“We need to cancel it without hesitation if they’re no longer possible,” Nikai said. He said this in a TV show which is yet to be aired that cancelling the games might be an option if the rapid spread of Coronavirus continues making it difficult for the organisers to continue the event. This remark came when the capital on Wednesday began a 100-day countdown.

Head of the government Covid-19 panel warned Japan has entered a “fourth wave” of infections. Recorded number of cases has been reported in Osaka in recent days. The world biggest sporting event has already been delayed by a year and is being held without international spectators.
Opinion polls show a majority of Japanese favour postponing or cancelling of the games. Netizens of Japan also tweeted in favor of #CancellingOlympics with more than 20000 tweets.

India end best-ever World Cup campaign with 2 more gold

New Delhi, Mar 28  India pulled the curtains down on its best-ever ISSF World Cup campaign with two more gold medals here on Sunday, somewhat making up for missing out on the chance to swell its unprecedented tally of 15 Olympic quotas.

Dominating the event from start to end, hosts India topped the chart with an incredible tally of 30 medals, half of them being gold.

The country also bagged nine silver and six bronze medals in what could be the last major international outing for rifle and pistol shooters before this summer's Tokyo Olympics.

On the last competition day, shotgun shooters Prithviraj Tondaiman, Lakshay Sheoran and Kynan Chenai ended India's campaign with a gold medal in the men's trap team event.

Before that, the trio of Shreyasi Singh, Rajeshwari Kumari and Manisha Keer claimed the gold medal in the women's trap team final after blanking Kazakhstan 6-0.

In the gold medal match, the team fielded by the host nation did not break a sweat as it romped to a crushing win over Kazakhstan's Sarsenkul Rysbekova, Aizhan Dosmagambetova and Mariya Dmitriyenko, taking the number of gold won by India to 14 in the tournament.

Vijayveer Sidhu, Gurpreet Singh and Adarsh Singh looked off colour and settled for the silver medal in the men's 25m rapid fire pistol team event.

The USA's Keith Sanderson, Jack Hobson Leverett III and Henry Turner Leverett won the gold medal with a 10-2 victory over the home team.

"I had hoped that the home range would help me get my 16th quota... the cookie crumbled. But that boy (Vijayveer), he is very young and he shot very well... In the long run you will see a lot of good things from him," National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh said after the tournament.

The national shooting body's chief was satisfied with the performance of his athletes.

"Athletes morale is high, but, as I had said earlier this is not a marker for Olympics. But it's important that we have done well, because it leaves us morally high, these things matter, psychologically it's important for us.

"We have also set an example for rest of the shooting community so that they don't shy away from not hosting tournaments because of COVID-19. We are making sure that we will have regular international engagements that's why I was asked to conduct this first," Raninder said.

In the tournament's last event, the visitors led 2-0 at the start before the Indians came back to level the scores. The Kazakhstan team again went ahead only for the home shooters to rally one more time and make it 4-4.

In the deciding round, India shot better to emerge 6-4 winners.

Kazakhstan's Victor Khassyanov, Maxim Kolomoyets and Andrey Mogilevskiy bagged the bronze medal beating Qatar's Mohammed Al Rumaihi, Saeed Abusharib and Nasser Ali Al Hemaidi 6-4.

Together, the Indian team of Prithviraj, Lakshay and Kynan aggregated 494 in the qualification held here on Thursday.

The Slovakians Michal Slamka, Filip Marinov and Adrian Drobny shot a total of 498 in their qualifying outings.

The Kazakhs shot 489 in the qualification while Qatar managed to 466 to set up a bronze medal match ahead of fifth-placed UAE (327).

Kynan, who finished fourth in the individual men's trap to miss out on a podium finish on Friday, had something to cheer about as he ended the campaign on a positive note.

In the women's trap, the Indian shooters, especially the experienced Shreyasi and Manisha, missed very few shots in the final and proved to be too good for their opponents.

Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Shreyasi, Rajeshwari and Manisha scored 321 in the qualification rounds.

Kazakhstan's Rysbekova, Dosmagambetova and Dmitriyenko shot a total of 308.

On Saturday, the pair of Shreyasi and Kynan Chenai missed out on a podium finish as they settled for the fourth place in the trap mixed team final of the prestigious tournament.

In rapid fire Qualification 2, the Indian trio of Gurpreet, Vijayveer and Adarsh was second with a total score of 552, with the three shooting 184, 178, and 190 respectively.

The American team of Keith, Jack and Henry topped this stage with an aggregate of 571.

While the visiting team shot a total of 868 in the qualification, the Indians managed 857 at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

The 18-year-old Vijayveer won the individual silver medal in the rapid fire event on Friday.

On Saturday, he teamed up with Tejaswani to win the gold medal in the 25m rapid fire pistol mixed team event.

'I was down': Federer had hard time before 2nd knee surgery

Doha, Mar 8: Roger Federer never seriously contemplated retirement while he was away from the tennis tour for more than a year. He did have a hard time dealing with the need for a repeat operation on his bad right knee, though.

"I was down. Obviously I couldn't believe I had to do a second one," Federer said Sunday ahead of his appearance at the Qatar Open.

"This is definitely a moment where you maybe question a little bit more."

The 39-year-old Federer's first match since the 2020 Australian Open will come Wednesday in Doha against Dan Evans or Jeremy Chardy.

Federer's first procedure on his right knee occurred in February 2020. That knee kept swelling up after bike rides or walks with his four children; he announced in June that he had had a second surgery.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will monitor how this comeback goes over the next several months and then assess things.

"I know it's more on the rare side for almost a 40-year-old to come back after almost a year being out. And I was surprised how long it took. But I took a decision quite early with the team that I wanted to take the time, no rush, to get back onto the tour," he said.

"Important is that I'm injury-free, pain-free, and I can actually enjoy myself out there on tour. So we'll see how it goes now. I'm curious myself to find out."

What seemed clear from Federer's session with reporters on Sunday: Wimbledon is what matters the most to him at this point.

He has won a men's-record eight titles at the All England Club and came oh-so-close to a ninth in the 2019 final there, holding two championship points before eventually losing to Novak Djokovic in a fifth-set tiebreaker.

Wimbledon was canceled last year for the first time since 1945 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is scheduled to be played June 28 to July 11.

"I know I need to go back to training after here again," said Federer, who pulled out of the Miami Open later this month.

"So from this standpoint, it's still a building up to being stronger, better, fitter, faster and all that stuff. I hope, then, by Wimbledon, I'm going to be 100%, and from then on, then the season really starts for me. Everything until then, it's just 'Let's see how it goes.'"

He is curious what travel and tournament life will be like during a pandemic "bubble life, quarantines all around, the whole mask situation" and, most of all, how his repaired knee handles competition.

"That's really the only concern I have: Is the knee going to hold up? As of now, I'm not sure," Federer said.

"I did everything I possibly could.


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I-League: Aizawl face Sudeva in a mid-table clash

Kalyani, Feb 13 Aizawl FC and Sudeva Delhi FC will be keen to outdo each other when the two sides meet in a mid-table clash of the I-League here on Sunday.

After their goalless draw against Churchill Brothers, Aizawl were stunned by TRAU 1-0, dragging the former champions down to the eighth position with eight points from seven games.

With four rounds remaining in the first phase, a victory for Yan Law's side will give them a chance to make up for lost ground and start moving into the top half of the standings to eventually fight for the top six spots.

"We were fantastic in the last game. The better team lost. The boys were fantastic, tactically disciplined. We kept most of the ball and creating chances. We just failed to convert.

"Despite the defeat, I am really proud of the players, and if we convert our chances, I am sure we can win this competition," Law said.

"The gap between the second and us is just three points. We are really hungry for a win, and I am sure if pick up a victory, it is going to change the table completely. I am really happy with the attitude and mentality that the players have shown in training and am hoping for a positive result," he added.

Sudeva Delhi FC put up an eye-catching display in their last game as they beat Chennai City FC 4-0. The newcomers loom in seventh place with eight points from six games but have a chance to make it a memorable debut campaign by making it to the top six.

After getting a 10-day rest, Chencho Dorji's all-Indian contingent will be raring to get on the field and win the game against the former I-League champs.

"The mood in the camp is good. We have watched a lot of our game tapes and worked on avoiding the mistakes. The players are rested well, and now, are looking forward to the next game against Aizawl," Dorji said.

"It is important to keep picking up points. One more loss and we could be at the bottom of the league. Aizawl play well when they are on the ball. We need to keep our focus on defence and make sure we take our chances in front of the goal," he added. PTI

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Australian Open To Continue Despite Five-Day Lockdown

Melbourne [Australia], February 12 :The Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne will continue but without fans, despite a five-day lockdown ordered Friday in its host city to control an outbreak of the UK coronavirus strain, officials said.

Premier Daniel Andrews of Victoria state, which includes Melbourne, said the tennis venue would be considered a "workplace" that can continue to function with limited staff.

The year's first Grand Slam opened on Monday with limited crowds due to existing virus restrictions, after players all underwent mandatory quarantine.

Melbourne's five million residents were ordered to stay at home for five days from midnight after a cluster of Covid cases leaked from a quarantine hotel at the city's airport.

Play was already under way on day five of the event Friday when the announcement was made, with Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokvic all due on court.

Input: timesnow

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