The purpose-built Athletes’ Village must be the safest place in Tokyo during next year’s Olympics, a senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) official said on Wednesday after meetings with the Tokyo 2020 organisers.
IOC President Thomas Bach and other officials have been in the Japanese capital this week as a show of support for the organisers as they try to arrange the Games despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the decision in March to postpone the Games, the Olympics are now due to begin on July 23, 2021.
Over 11,000 athletes are expected to descend on Tokyo for the Olympics and thousands more will come for the subsequent Paralympics. The majority will stay at Athletes’ Village.
Joan Coates, an IOC official accompanying Bach, said the number of athletes would not be reduced and it was down to organisers to make them feel safe.
“We have to make sure that the Olympic Village is… the safest place in Tokyo,” said Coates, who heads the IOC’s Coordination Committee for the Tokyo Games. “The athletes have to have confidence in the safety of that.”
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ISL 7: NEUFC march onto playoffs with best-ever league finish
Panaji (Goa) [India], February 26 (ANI): NorthEast United sealed their playoff berth following their 2-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan, on Friday.
Having extended their unbeaten run to nine games, Coach Khalid Jamil also created history by becoming the first Indian manager to have managed three or more league games and still steered his team to the playoffs.
Needing just a point to qualify for their second-ever playoffs, the Highlanders showed no signs of stopping as they attacked from the first whistle. They gained an advantage in the first session through goals from Suhair Vadakkepeedika (34′) and Lalengmawia (45′).
Coach Khalid Jamil fielded an unchanged XI from their previous game while Kerala Blasters had just one change with Sandeep Singh preferred over Subha Ghosh.
The Highlanders fashioned a great opportunity soon after the start. Luis Machado sent in a delivery into the box, which was headed out straight back to him. His cross from the right found Dylan Fox but he shot wide.
On the other end, it was Kerala who missed getting ahead in the game. Bakary Kone managed to evade his marker and to get to the end of a Jessel Carneiro corner, but his header missed the target.
Though NorthEast was clearly the better side in the first session, KBFC did have their chances. But the Highlanders’ defense stood strong. Then, in the 34th minute, NorthEast took the lead.
Khassa Camara slipped in a through ball which Kone failed to deal with. Suhair Vadakkepeedika got on to the ball and got past Sandeep Singh, before rounding off an advancing Albino Gomes, to put his side ahead.
Jamil’s men increased their lead just before the breather through an astonishing Lalengmawia strike. Fox set up Lalengmawia, whose well-struck long-ranger bounced off the underside of the bar into the net. Jamil’s ecstatic look at the touchline showed just how good the goal was.
KBFC had a better start to the second session. They created chances through Rahul KP and Gary Hooper, but a finish eluded them. At the other end, Gomes was forced into a fine save when Machado showed his brilliance and on entering the box, tried his luck at goal.
Then Deshorn Brown, missed a great opportunity, striking the crossbar. Despite their chances, NEUFC just couldn’t get their third. Their best chance came when Federico Gallego played a weighted pass to Brown, who managed to evade Gomes. However, his shot from a tight angle found the side netting. (ANI)
The Northeast7s Football Tour to start on April 19 in Goa
Panaji (Goa) [India], February 26 (ANI): The Northeast7s Football Tour, Goa’ 2021 is scheduled to start on April 19, 2021, at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.
The event is the brainchild of Jessica Snock, who beholds the title of ‘Mrs. United Nations Universe 2019’ and proudly represents India as the Ambassador of the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces Council – UNPKFC.
Like many of the Northeast Indians, she too has a strong passion for the ‘beautiful game’ of football, something that’s common to Goa as well. Last year in August 2020 Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lauded sportspersons who have represented India. He also confirmed that the government is making numerous efforts to popularise sports and support sporting talent in India which can be witnessed through his initiatives like Khelo India and Fit India.
With India being awarded the opportunity of being the host nation for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Jessica Snock is confident that she is heading in the right direction as she proudly presents the concept of the ‘Northeast7s Football Tour, Goa’ 2021 with the following mission: To enlighten the country about the Northeast region through football, art, and culture, promoting sports tourism and creating a fine example of unity in diversity’.
‘The Northeast7s Football Tour, Goa’ 2021 aims at being an annual event. This is one of Jessica’s endeavours and is set to have its inaugural inception this year. This tournament will help in detecting grassroots-level talent along with a healthy dose of entertainment. With the Minister of State, Ministry of Youth affairs and sports, Kiren Rijiju, and Chief Minister of Goa, Dr Pramod Sawant publicly endorsing the launch of this tournament, this endeavour is already off to a great start.
The Northeast has always been a hub of football in the country. The region has produced some of the finest players to have graced Indian football. Bhaichung Bhutia, Renedy Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, the list of household names goes on. Not to forget, the Indian national team’s first captain, Dr. T Ao was from one of the Seven Sister States, Nagaland. He led India during the 1948 London Olympics held after a gap of 14 years due to the Second World War.
The tournament is scheduled to be played amongst 28 teams. Each team will consist of a minimum of 10 players and a maximum of 12 players. Teams are encouraged to register with one coach, one manager, and one physio onboard. Competing categories of men’s, women’s, and veterans will battle it out amongst 55 matches spread across 3 days of adrenaline-fuelled football alongside 2 grassroots exhibition matches from local teams.
The tournament will be played in a seven-a-side format and each game will be played on a full-sized football field split in two with two games being played simultaneously on each half. There will be 2 halves of 15 minutes each with an immediate side switch at half-time. (ANI)
Your contribution will always be remembered: KL Rahul to Vinay Kumar
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 26 (ANI): As Vinay Kumar R announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, India batsman KL Rahul congratulated the pacer, saying that his contribution will always be remembered.
“From leading Karnataka to trophies, to backing youngsters, and playing a vital role in shaping their career. I will always have a huge amount of respect for the way you played the game. Your contribution will always be remembered. Wishing you the best for your future endeavours,” KL Rahul tweeted.
Opening batsman Mayank Agarwal also took to Twitter to congratulate Vinay Kumar on his career.
“Congratulations @Vinay_Kumar_R on a wonderful career. Been an inspiration to many and created some terrific memories. Wishing you the very best ahead,” Agarwal tweeted.
While announcing his retirement, Vinay Kumar had tweeted: “Today “Davangere Express” after running for 25 years and passing so many stations of cricketing life, has finally arrived at a station called “retirement”.
“With a lot of mixed emotions, I Vinay Kumar R hereby announce my retirement from international and first-class cricket. It is not an easy decision to make, however, there comes a time in every sportsperson’s life where one has to call it a day.”
Vinay Kumar played for India in all three formats of the game. In his career, he played 1 Test, 31 ODIs, and 9 T20Is for the country, managing to take 49 wickets across all formats of the game.
The best figures in his international career came in the ODI format where he returned with the figures of 4/30 against England in Delhi in 2011.
Kumar played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Kochi Tuskers Kerela in the Indian Premier League. He also led Karnataka to two consecutive Ranji Trophy titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
In November 2018, he had played his 100th match in the Ranji Trophy. In 2019, he had moved from Karnataka to Puducherry, ahead of the Ranji Trophy season. (ANI)
Sevilla Sporting Director feels Messi will stay at Barcelona
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Sevilla FC Sporting Director Monchi on Friday said that he feels that Lionel Messi will “come to some sort of agreement” with Barcelona and will continue with the club.
Last year, Messi and Barcelona had a fallout after the striker had expressed his desire to leave the club. However, in the end, the Argentine stayed with the club as he did not want to settle matters in court.
But since then, there has been a lot of speculations regarding his future and he has been linked to various clubs, including Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Manchester City.
“I think Messi is very important for the Spanish league, but I also think that the Spanish league has got the capacity to continue and be a competitive and interesting league despite the fact that Messi or other players will leave. As far as the question of whether Messi is going to stay or not, I am not 100 percent sure about that. But I think at the end of the day, this is my personal opinion, I think he will come to some sort of agreement and I think Messi will stay at Barcelona, this is my personal opinion,” Monchi said during a virtual press conference.
Sevilla suffered a 3-2 defeat against Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Commenting on the same, Monchi said his team should forget about the first leg match and go into the second leg thinking that they need to win the game by two goals.
“I think we should forget the first leg and go to Dortmund, thinking it is just one match and we got to win it by two goals. We will consider it as a single match and it will start as 1-0 and we have to score two goals to win,” he said.
However, there is time for the second leg match and currently, Sevilla is gearing up for the match against Barcelona in the LaLiga, set to take place on Saturday.
“When you play against Barcelona, everyone is a threat because they are all very good players. If you are not playing at your 100 percent, Barcelona could win the match at any moment. We are talking about very top-level players. So, in matches like these, you have to be 100 percent in both, attacking and defending,” Monchi said.
Catch LaLiga action Live on Facebook Watch. (ANI)
Strandja Memorial Tournament: Deepak stuns Olympic champion to enter final
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Indian boxer Deepak Kumar produced a scintillating performance to cause a major upset at the 72nd Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria as he defeated the reigning Olympic champion Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov in the men’s 52kg semi-final bout on Friday.
Showing great composure in the ring, the Asian Championship silver medallist Deepak produced one of the best performances of his career to clinch a thumping 4-1 win against the more fancied Zoirov, who had earlier clinched the 2019 World Championship title beating star Indian boxer Amit Panghal.
With this sensational victory, Deepak has secured a place in the final and will aim to clinch the gold medal.
Later on Friday, Naveen Boora will be seen in action during his 69kg last-four bout against Asian Games gold medallist Bobo-Usmon Baturov.
Earlier, Deepak had stormed into the men’s 52kg semi-finals with a dominating 5-0 win against local boy Darislav Vasilev on the fourth day in Sofia, Bulgaria.
With this win, Deepak became the second Indian after Naveen Boora (69kg) to seal a spot in the semi-finals of the on-going tournament and also assured a second medal for the country.
Meanwhile, Indian women boxers Jyoti Gulia (51kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg) suffered 5-0 defeats in their quarter-final bouts.
Gulia lost to Romanian boxer Lacramioara Perijoc, Kachari also went down against the world championship bronze medallist Naomi Graham of USA. Manjeet Singh also lost his +91kg quarter-final bout against Armenia’s Gurgen Hovhannisyan. (ANI)
Ind vs Eng: Expected pitch to hold on a little longer than it did, says Silverwood
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 26 (ANI): England head coach Chris Silverwood on Friday said that his side expected the pitch in the third Test against India to hold on a little longer than it did at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
India had managed to defeat England within two days in the pink-ball Test. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that didn’t turn and skidded through from the spinners.
“First and foremost, it’s just a follow-up from what Joe Root said yesterday, he got 5/8 yesterday but at the same time, whatever the pitch did or it didn’t do, India ultimately played better than us on that surface, probably they pushed us to the extremes which our players haven’t experienced before,” said Silverwood in a virtual press conference on Friday.
When asked about whether England would be talking to the ICC about the pitch used in the third Test, Silverwood replied: “Listen, we will be talking about certain things behind the scenes. But at the same time, we were really disappointed that we lost with three days of cricket left. We are where we are, from my point of view, it’s about heading into the next game and coming out fighting.”
“We have spoken to Javagal (match referee), but it was not about the pitch. I think Joe and I need to have discussions about it really and see where we go from there. We have to accept that we need to get better on these pitches. You look at the first innings, we had an opportunity to score runs and make the best use of the pitch,” he added.
England had opted to go in with just one spinner — Jack Leach — in the third Test. Root, who is normally a part-timer, picked his maiden fifer and Silverwood cited this performance to say that the visitors did not make a mistake in team selection.
“Joe Root got 5/8 so the second spinner did fine for us. We did expect the wicket to hold up a little longer than it did. Looking back in history in pink-ball Tests, the ball swung for us, Jimmy and all got movement during practice. With the experience we had and having two of our bowlers in the top ten in the rankings, we felt with this pink ball, it would have been an opportunity for seamers to make an impact for us.
“It’s not that we did not think about it, there was logic, we had a look at the stats and how we can use pink ball the best. Root works very hard on his bowling, I am always saying to him that he always under bowls himself. But Joe being Joe, he had to do it this time and he got 5/8,” Silverwood said.
When asked about what type of pitch he would like in the fourth Test, Silverwood said: “I would like the pitch in the fourth Test to be a fit flatter, it would suit our gameplan. Yeah, I would like it to be flatter, but we will see what the wicket looks like in the coming days and we will take it from there really.”
After both teams failed to shine in their first innings, England was bowled out for 81 in the second essay, setting India a target of just 49. The hosts chased down the total with ten wickets in hand to go 2-1 up in the series. There has been a lot of debate around the pitch once again, but India batsman Rohit Sharma clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons.
Even skipper Virat Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams. Kohli said the quality of batting was to be blamed as most of the batsmen got out to balls that didn’t turn. (ANI)
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