Kushagra Rawat of Delhi needs no introduction. He has earned himself a reputation of being one of the leading Indian swimmers. He is the only Indian swimmer to have qualified “B” cut timings in three swimming events for upcoming Tokyo Olympics. With the swimming pools continuing to be shut because of the pandemic, Rawat is out of water since his return from Sydney after his competition there in March. But undeterred by these hurdles resulting from pandemic, the 20-year-old swimmer continues to workout outside water on dry land. He hopes to fulfill his dream to represent India in the Tokyo Olympics.
Kushagra can be seen every morning at Rajpath, India Gate doing workout and on the terrace of his home in the evening. The Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) second year student, Kushagra doesn’t shy away from doing the household work. Kushagra swims with Glenmark swimming academy in Delhi.
In an interview, the star swimmer spoke at length about various aspects of his career and ambition. Excerpts:
Q. The current pandemic has led to closure of swimming pools in India, with swimmers like you not being able to do practice ahead of important events like Olympics. What is your take on this?
A. Several countries have opened their swimming pools with SOPs in May and June. However, India’s swimming pools are still shut. I just hope our government reviews and reopens swimming pools so all swimmers get the chance to do proper practice and get trained. During this period of Covid-19 my father played my training partner. He himself has been playing football for State Bank of India since 1981 and has been my biggest support along with my coach who constantly guided me.
Q. When did you plunge into a swimming career?
A. It was in 2007 when I was introduced to swimming and started taking interest in it.
Q. Who was your first coach?
A. Mr. S K Sharma, Head of Department, Sports at St. Xavier’s was the first coach of mine.
Q. Every sports person does recall a particular incident which at some point of time proved to be a turning point in his life. Do you also revisit such moment that was turning point in your life?
A. When I started my swimming (first time outside my school in the year 2012) at SPM Swimming pool, Tal Katora, one senior coach had denied training me. In the same year I was asked to participate in 50×4 mtrs FS relay and stood 4th. I was selected to reporesent India in SAARC, Sri Lanka in 2016.
Q. Would you like to share the moment of your life that you consider to be the most cherished moment?
A. It was when I won a medal in SAARC Sri Lanka and Asian Age Group Swimming championship, Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2017.
Q. What are the major achievements that you would like to share?
A. Malaysia Age Group Swimming 2019, where I got 2 golds 1 silver. Similarly, Asian age group swimming competition 2017, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where I won 2 silvers, 1 Bronze.
Similarly, I won two golds in SAARC swimming championships 2016. I won five golds in the 10th Asian Age group championship. I was also awarded the best swimmer trophy, 2019. I won 3 Gold medals and one silver in South Asian Games held at Kathmandu, Nepal in 2019. I am holding the best Indian performance title. Qualifying for three events in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics-2021 is also an achievement.
Q. To whom do you give credit for all the achievements you have made?
A. I give credit for my success to my coaches as well as parents.
Q. If you are asked to give suggestions for the improvement and progress of swimming in India, what would be that? A. Catch children at 7 years of age, with a review after every three years upto group one junior.
A programme should be made for updation of latest swimming techniques with coaches should train them to get the results accordingly. For that purpose, swimming camps for the coaches should also be held regularly.
Q. What all has changed for good in swimming in India, with academies all around in the country?
A. Government has introduced incentive/ scholarship for promotion of swimming. Khelo-India, a National level sports has also been introduced.
Q. Finally, what message would you like to give to those seeking to make career in swimming?
A. Your aim must be high, make your efforts accordingly, you will get your goal nearby. Believe in yourself. Enjoy life by staying positive, happy and healthy.
(The interviewer is Assistant Professor in LSR, DU and a wellknown swimmer)
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Harmanpreet’s emotional breakdown on Jhulan Goswami’s farewell game.
The Indian Women’s Cricket team stepped into the iconic Lord’s stadium for the ODI match against England. While the team aimed to create history by clean sweeping England on their pitch, this match holds its importance beyond this.
The match was special as the Indian pace baller, Jhulan Goswami will bid adieu to the sports after this match. Ahead of the third and final match, Indian captain, Harmanpreet Kaur was seen crying and then Jhulan hugged her.
Jhulan’s cricket career has been spectacular where she played 12 tests, 2014 ODIs and 68 T20s for India. She has the record for the most number of wickets, 353 wickets, in her international career. This is the most by any player in women’s cricket.
“I’d like to thank the BCCI, my friends, my family, my coaches, teammates, and captains,” said the bowling legend to Sky Cricket before the start of the match. “Everyone, thanks for this opportunity, this is a very special moment.”
“When I started my career in 2002, I played my first series against England, and I’m ending against England in my last series. And the most important thing is that we’re 2-0 up in the series which is the most important thing for me at this moment.’
“Every moment [of 20-year career] has had a lot of emotions, a lot of effort put in. But the 2017 World Cup where our team came back and fought [is the highlight]. Nobody gave us a chance initially that we would be playing in a final, but the way we played that tournament was something different I think, and from there women’s cricket in India slowly and gradually picked up.
“And at this moment, we have our path to motivate generations and young girls to take up sport and that they have an option with cricket. I have to [keep emotions in check], I can’t come with all those emotions onto the cricket field, As a ruthless character, I have to come out and play hard cricket and give my best,” she added.
It was an emotional moment for the nation and the teammates. Captain Harmanpreet broke into tears during the farewell match of Jhulan Goswami.
Following his ‘friend and greatest rival’, Nadal withdraws from Laver Cup 2022.
Today was the final match of Roger Federer’s career and the Swiss tennis legend withdrew his name from the Laver Cup 2022 tournament. Moments later his friend and greatest rival Rafael Nadal followed him and withdrew from the event.
Nadal arrived in London, a day before his match alongside Federer. He straight up went to meet his teammates before going for the gala dinner. He could barely practice due to a shortage of time. The pair lost the final match of Federer’s glorious career to the Team World combination of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
Moments after the match, Nadal withdrew from the singles tie. He is replaced by Cameron Norrie in the lineup against Team World’s highest-ranked player Taylor Fritz.
The Laver Cup confirmed on Saturday morning: “Matteo Berrettini will be stepping in for Roger Federer: ‘I cannot wait to start.’ Additionally, Rafael Nadal withdrew for personal reasons. He will be replaced by Cameron Norrie.”
“I am not doing well. It’s been a tough time for me, I hardly slept, I was stressed. Luckily everything is okay and I was able to get here,” said Nadal in the post-match presser explaining the reason behind his withdrawal.
Emotional end to the glorious career of tennis star Roger Federer
The star tennis player, 20 times Grand slam champion, Roger Federer bid goodbye to his glorious tennis journey. Federer played his last match alongside long-time rival Rafael Nadal after announcing his retirement at the age of 41.
He described his tennis career as the ‘perfect journey’, despite losing the last match of his career and not getting a fairy tale ending. His final match was against Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and JACK Sock at a super crowded London’s O2 arena.
Federer was back on the court long after his knee injury in the 2021 Wimbledon Quarter Finals. He and Nadal won the first set but the opponents won in the end.
Federer and Nadal have been rivals for a very long time. But they were playing as a team in Federer’s last match.
“I’m happy, I’m not sad. It feels great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time. The match was great, I couldn’t be happier. It’s been wonderful,” concluded Federer after the match.
After the match, Federer was overcome with emotions as he hugged his teammate Nadal and waved to the crowd. He broke into tears while addressing the arena.“Playing with Rafa on the same team and having the guys everybody here, all the legends ….thankyou,” said Federer. His parents, wife and four children joined him on the court.
Mathias accuses Paul of using witchcraft during Euro 2016
The Paul and Mathias Pogba saga took a new twist on Friday as the latter in a series of fresh videos accused the former of using witchcraft to summon ‘butterflies’ during the Euro 2016 final that featured France and Portugal.
A total of 30 new videos surfaced on Mathias’ social media accounts where he was seen labelling accusations against Paul and said that he used a witch doctor for years.
While it is not clear when the videos were made, it accuses the former Manchester United midfielder of taking help of the witch doctor who is close to his French footballer Alou Diarra and was introduced to him by Ivory coast international Serge Aurier.
He alleged that Paul paid the witch doctor a bi-monthly fee of €75,000 to €100,000 and used his services to cast spell on opposition teams. He also accused Paul of not sparing his teammates as well and alleged that he cast a curse on Kylian Mbappe too.
The former Guinea international in his video levelled allegations against the Juventus midfielder saying that he took the help of the witch doctor to win crucial matches including the Euro 2016 finals. He went on to add that the moths that swarmed Stade de France during the summit clash of the continental championship were summoned by Paul.
Legend’s Tennis League kick-starts with an opening ceremony
Legends Tennis League commences in New Delhi with an opening ceremony which was organised yesterday on 23 September 2022. The heavy rains did not stop the organisers and participating players of Legends Tennis League (LTL) to go ahead with the opening ceremony at RK Khanna Tennis Stadium. The league is being organised for Indian senior players who play on the ITF Masters Tour. More than 50 Masters players are playing in the league including those who have represented India in Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup competitions.
Former Davis Cupper and tennis coach Vivek Shokeen looked excited and exclaimed, “I think it’s a brilliant idea, we hope that it grows with more positive outcomes in the coming seasons. As it is happening for the very first time, that players of different age groups will get an opportunity to play, this would encourage them to participate. Moreover, they will be able to compete against different players and will simultaneously get chance to play doubles and mixed doubles. In tennis it’s a kind of unusual to see these kind of team events, so it’s a good start altogether and it will promote tennis in India definitely.”
Meanwhile, during the ceremony Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) Administrator Colonel Ranbir Chauhan was the guest of honour for the opening ceremony. He was accompanied by LTL organisers Dilip Mohanty and Aditya Khanna.
“When Aditya (Khanna) told me about the idea behind organising Legends Tennis League, I immediately said yes. I am so proud of my team for staging this event. I thank all the players who are committed to playing this weekend. I am sure we are about to create beautiful moments on and off the court.” confessed Dilip Mohanty, the organiser LTL.
DLTA Administrator and the guest of honour Col Ranbir Chauhan appreciated the organisers “We must acknowledge the efforts of the organisers of the league. What a fantastic idea, a league for senior tennis players is ground breaking and it is our privilege hosting all the players.” he proclaimed.
The debut season of LTL consists of six teams: Akross Acers, Aviraj Warriors, Bangalore Challengers, Punjab Aces, Rebound Ace Stag Babolat Yoddhas and Tennis Titans.
The league features more than 50 players from age 30 to age 70. Former Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup players like Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan, Vivek Shokeen, Vijayant Malik and Radhika Tulpule-Kanitkar are among the players who are participating in this league. The players are divided into nine categories – Men’s Star Player, Men’s 35+, Men’s 40+, Men’s 45+ Stars, Men’s 45+ Kings, Men’s 55+, Men’s 60+, Men’s Wild Card and Women’s 35+.
Arjun moves into semis of Julius Baer rapid chess
Teen Indian Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi eked out a narrow victory over USA’s Christopher Yoo in the quarterfinals to reach the semi-finals of the Julius Baer Generation Cup online rapid chess tournament on Friday.
Erigaisi locked in a battle with the 15-year-old Yoo clinching the victory in the tie-breaker to advance into the last four round of the tournament.
Starting the high-octane clash, it was the Indian who won the opening game but lost the next one. He then won the third one before losing the fourth to go into the tie-breaker.
However, in the blitz tie-break Erigaisi showed his class to win the first game and drew the second one to seal his spot in the next round.
Meanwhile, his compatriot R Praggnanandhaa, could not make it further into the tournament as he lost 1-3 to Germany’s Vincent Keymer.
Praggnanandhaa did not have the best of the starts in the quarterfinals and suffered a loss in the opening game. He drew the next two to stay in the hunt. The 17-year-old needing a win in the fourth game to take the encounter into the tie-break however suffered a 42-move defeat to bow out of the event.
Arjun would now take on Liem Quang Le of Vietnam in the semis who beat Hans Niemann of USA, while World champion Magnus Carlsen would face Keymer in the other last four duel. Carlsen, who had lost just once in the entire preliminary round, beat America’s Levon Aronian in the last eight round.
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