DESPITE BEST EVER MEDAL TALLY, PERFORMANCE IN SEVERAL EVENTS REQUIRES INTROSPECTION - The Daily Guardian
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DESPITE BEST EVER MEDAL TALLY, PERFORMANCE IN SEVERAL EVENTS REQUIRES INTROSPECTION

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The Tokyo Olympics have come to an end with the closing ceremony. This was India’s best performance ever at the Olympics. A medal in athletics after 121 years, a medal in hockey after 41 years and a medal in weightlifting after 21 years were memorable.

Not only a gold medal after 13 years in Olympics, reaching very close to a medal for the first time in women’s hockey and golf, winning a match in men’s singles tennis event after 25 years, winning three matches for the first time in table tennis and in archery beating former Olympic champion South Korea for the first time ever in Olympics and also in the same sport defeating world number one a day before, were surprising incidents in Olympics.

Similarly winning two medals in wrestling after nine years and to establish itself as the first sport in the country in which we won a medal in the fourth consecutive Olympics was significant. P.V. Sindhu achieved the distinction of being the only Indian woman to win medals in two consecutive Olympics and she became the second player in the country after Sushil to get this achievement. Former world champion Mirabai Chanu, who was a slightly weak in the snatch event, performed well this time and clinched the silver medal by performing well in her favorite clean and jerk event. By crossing the path shown by Karnam Malleswari 21 years ago, she erected a bigger destination than that.

Similarly, winning a medal in boxing after nine years by Lovlina in boxing was also a big one, but in the midst of all this, Neeraj Chopra`s gold is the main attraction of this Olympics. His gold brought the whole country into ecstasy. He showed great determination, due to which he proved to be the Kohinoor of India in this Olympics.

The problems were no less for Neeraj either. First the Australian coach left, then the legend coach of Germany withdrew five months before the Olympics due to a dispute with SAI and the Athletics Federation of India. Then he could not practice for about one and a half years due to the injury of the elbow. Covid time has given a big challenge. Three months before the Olympics, when Neeraj talked about changing his style in javelin throw, that too was nothing short of a shocking moment. But with the help and hard work of Germany’s bio-mechanic, he got rid of all these problems and from now on he has set a new goal of breaking the Olympic record.

On the other hand, to criticize golfer Aditi Ashok and women’s hockey team for not winning medals is to show your ignorance. Actually, the achievement of these two in Tokyo is actually nothing less than miracle. Golfer Aditi, ranked No. 200 in the world, deserves to be saluted for her courage she showed during the event when she faced the world number one and another silver medalist of Rio Olympics. The player had also secured the joint top spot at one point in the four-day event.  Reaching close to the medal is also a big achievement.

A team that has not qualified for the Olympics from 1984 to 2012 and has not won a match even after qualifying last time and a team that has lost the first three matches in this Olympics, it was no sense to keep hopes from such a team, but after this, the way the team won three consecutive matches in which one against two-time Olympic champion Australia, shows their class.

Then building up the pressure by taking the lead against Argentina and defending champion Great Britain is really commendable. On the other hand, it would be redundant to judge the performance of Aditi and the women’s hockey team by medals. They did what no one expected.

Of course, the Indian men’s hockey team ended the medal drought after 41 years, and the Indian team has now become the number three team in the world, but at the same time India’s defeat in the league match against Australia and in the semi-finals against Belgium must be scrutinised.

Wrestler Bajrang Punia defeated the Kazakhstan wrestler, whom he lost 9-9 in the semi-finals of the World Championship held in Nursultan. This time by beating 8-0, he showed how he had worked hard after the loss. Similarly, Ravi Dahiya proved to be a new sensation of Indian wrestling by winning three bouts.  In tennis, Sumit Nagal defeated the Uzbekistan player who had defeated Roger Federer a few years back. 

On the other hand, Vinesh’s defeat at the hands of the Belarus wrestler, whom she had defeated in PWL, is a matter of concern. Similarly, Deepak Poonia’s loss in the bronze medal bout also raised questions on his thinking as it deprived a certain medal from India’s hand. Barring Saurabh Chaudhary, none of the Indian shooters made it to the finals.

The writer has covered fifth Olympics as TV commentator.

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WILL TREAT EVERY GAME AS FINAL AND GIVE MY 100%, SAYS SUNRISERS SPINNER RASHID KHAN

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Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) spinner Rashid Khan has said the side will be treating every game in the UAE-leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 as their final match. SRH is languishing at the bottom of the points table and the side will have to battle it out to make it to the top four.

Rashid is also working on his batting skills to give SRH an edge lower down the order. “From one and a half years, I have been working on my batting as last 15-25 runs are very crucial for the side. So just trying my best to do different things, haven’t practised a lot of shots in the nets but I’m just focusing on having the right mindset,” said Rashid in the video. “Definitely looking forward to the rest of the season, yeah we didn’t have the ideal start in the first half of the tournament but looking forward to finish up well and treat every game as a final and give my 100 per cent,” he added.

Wickets in the UAE are said to assist the spinner, speaking about the same, Rashid said, “We have played enough games in UAE’s conditions and just need to find out the good areas on the wicket.”

All-rounder Jason Holder and the side’s new signing Sherfane Rutherford on Friday arrived in UAE ahead of the resumption of the 14th edition of the IPL.The 14th season, which was postponed in May this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume on Sunday in Dubai with a blockbuster clash between Chennai Super Kings and defending champions Mumbai Indians.After the CSK-MI clash, the action will then shift to Abu Dhabi where KKR will square off against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Sharjah will host its first game on September 24 when Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Chennai Super Kings. In all, 13 matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah, and 8 in Abu Dhabi.

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AUSTRALIA WITHDRAW FROM JUNIOR HOCKEY WORLD CUPS

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The Kookaburras (Australian men’s hockey team) and Hockeyroos (Australian women’s hockey team) will not compete in the next edition of the FIH Pro League, with Hockey Australia (HA) also confirming non-attendance at various other FIH events over the coming months on Friday.

Australia and New Zealand will not take part in season 3 of the FIH Pro League as a result of Covid related government travel restrictions and uncertainty in both nations. According to Hockey Austalia, all participating countries and the FIH Pro League Council agreed it was untenable for international teams to travel to Australia and New Zealand, as well as for Australian and New Zealand teams to play overseas and return without having to quarantine.

“Based on risk assessment and current Australian government health advice, Hockey Australia is not considering overseas hockey-related trips at this time,” said Hockey Austalia acting CEO, Michael Johnston.

“The decision on our absence from the FIH Pro League was a collective one agreed on by all nations based primarily on other countries’ difficulty or inability to travel into Australia and New Zealand.

“In Australia it is apparent the easing of international travel restrictions is still a way off and none of the competing countries wanted to enter the next Pro League season without a level of assuredness,” Johnston added.

Hockey Australia said it remains committed to the Hockeyroos competing at the FIH women’s hockey World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands from July 1-17 next year.

The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos will also be part of the Australian Commonwealth Games team that will head to Birmingham in England between July 28 and August 8 2022.

With Covid causing ongoing challenges and risks with travel and subsequent quarantine, Hockey Australia has also withdrawn teams from the following tournaments:

-FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup India 2021 (November/December)- FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021 (December)

– FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Belgium 2022 (February)

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THERE WAS NO PRESSURE ON KOHLI, IT’S ALL ABOUT WORKLOAD: MADAN LAL ON T20 CAPTAINCY

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Former India all-rounder Madan Lal on Friday said India skipper Virat Kohli was not under pressure to step down from T20I captaincy and appreciated his decision. While speaking on Virat Kohli quitting T20I captaincy, he said: “There was no such pressure on him and I appreciate his decision. Today cricketers are playing all three formats of the game and Kohli is also captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and seeing the workload he is currently at the peak of his career which is good for himself and the team.”

When asked about Sachin Tendulkar quitting the captaincy under pressure, Madan Lal said, “Kohli has not quit the captaincy as he has built a team and taken Indian team to number one Test ranking team so it’s not about quitting. It’s all about workload and there is pressure on everyone and you have to deal with that.”

Talking about ODI and Test match captaincy, Lal said there should be no changes in both formats. Talking about Rohit Sharma leading the T20 side, he said till now Rohit has done captaincy for Mumbai Indians and has done well in other matches. “We are lucky we have another captain coming in and we are grooming them and captain also learns from grooming and Kohli has not left T20 and Rohit will benefit from the output Kohli gives him.”

Madan Lal feels at present Rohit Sharma is the right candidate for T20 captaincy and the next skipper could be KL Rahul. On Rahul being made T20 captain, Lal was against it and said Rohit is already there and there should be no overlap and it will spoil the team and Rahul can be made vice-captain.

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NEW ZEALAND JUST KILLED PAKISTAN CRICKET: SHOAIB

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Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar on Friday came down heavily on New Zealand for abandoning their tour of Pakistan and said the team just killed Pakistan cricket.

Taking to Twitter, Akhtar wrote: “NZ just killed Pakistan cricket.” He went on to add: “Following points for New Zealand to remember: 9 Pakistanis were killed in the Christchurch attack. Pakistan stood strong with New Zealand. Pakistan toured New Zealand in the worst of Covid circumstances regardless of the crude treatment by NZ authorities on that tour.

“This was just an unverified threat, it could have been discussed. Prime Minister Imran Khan personally spoke to his NZ counterpart and assured but it was still refused. Pakistan has safely hosted South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe & PSL.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Friday before Blackcaps announced that they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan. Imran Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.

New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

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EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED ON THE ‘ABRUPT POSTPONEMENT’ OF THE SERIES, SAYS BABAR AZAM

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Friday expressed disappointment after New Zealand cricket announced they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan due to New Zealand government security alert.

“Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan Cricket Fans. I’ve full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be!” Babar Azam tweeted. “Such a shame for Pakistan Cricket .. These late call offs will damage the game hugely financially .. Hopefully security issues can be resolved to allow cricket to be played again in Pakistan .. !!” wrote former England captain Michael Vaughan on his twitter handle.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Friday before Blackcaps announced that they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan.

Imran Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.

New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

“Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same.

“The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team,” Pakistan Cricket Board stated in a statement.

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New Zealand abandon Pak tour after security alert

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The Blackcaps have abandoned their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed on Friday.The side was to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. “However, following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour,” NZC said in a statement.

NZC chief executive David White said it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving. “I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option,” he said. NZC said arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed White’s sentiments.

“We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision. The players are in good hands; they’re safe — and everyone’s acting in their best interests,” he said.

NZC said it will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Friday before Blackcaps announced that they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan.

Imran Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.

“Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same. The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team,” Pakistan Cricket Board stated in a statement.“The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here,” PCB added.

PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. “However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal,” said PCB.

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