New Delhi [India], March 16 (ANI): As the much-awaited Tokyo Olympics is around the corner, the athletes are giving it their all to bring out the best version of themselves at the showpiece event.
In an interaction with ANI, Indian shuttler Chirag Shetty, who plays with his partner Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in the doubles event, shared his thoughts on various topics ranging from Olympics preparation, coaching style of new Olympic medalist coach Mathias Boe and the upcoming All England Open which will commence from Wednesday.
The 23-year-old Chirag is focused on making the most from the year as there will be a lot on the plate being an Olympic year. The prime attention will be given to fitness and training as the year hosts a number of tournaments including the Olympic qualification events and the Olympics itself.
“Since it is an Olympic year there will be a lot of tournaments and training so we need to take extra care of our fitness. Last week, when we had a week off between the Swiss Open and All England Open we had a good training weekend in Zurich with our coach Mathias and it has been good so far. We have been working a lot on our fitness,” he said.
Chirag and Satwiksairaj are currently gearing up for the All England Open after that they will spend a month-and-a-half in training to “fine-tune” their skills before coming on the court to play three back-to-back tournaments for the Olympic qualification — India Open, Malaysia Open, and the Singapore Open. After that, the Indian top-ranked doubles pair will prove their mettle in the quadrennial event in Tokyo.
Earlier this year, the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) roped in Mathias Boe of Denmark to train them in the run-up to the Olympics. Sharing his thoughts on the coaching style of Olympic silver medalist Boe, Chirag expressed it is “quite different” to be coached by him.
“There is a lot more thought process in our mind when we play a certain stroke and we are trying to do new things that we can create as many attacking opportunities as possible. We are also working a lot on our defence. Overall, it has been really good and it is quite different from the style of coaching of our former coaches,” he said.
“Every year we try to set-up our targets, for example since we started playing together we always set targets of reaching the certain rank and playing certain level of tournaments like winning Super Series tournaments and consistently playing quarterfinals and semifinals in the Super Series events. Also, we aim at entering the top five or top 10 in the world rankings and so far it has worked really well for us,” he added.
Chirag feels that the Olympic village will become safer when all the athletes will be vaccinated before the games and added that he will miss the home crowd at the Tokyo Olympics as the organisers have barred international spectators from the event due to the coronavirus.
“It will be difficult to play without the home crowd but that is the case if we want to continue with the Olympics we need to abide by the guidelines. But it would be better if our home crowd would have been there,” he said.
“Like our Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the vaccines will be given to the sportspersons in the coming weeks or months’ time. I think it will definitely benefit especially the Olympic athletes because it will provide a safer environment for all the athletes. At least we have that security that all the athletes are vaccinated and they can’t spread Covid-19. If all people at the village are vaccinated it will be really good for the Games,” the World No. 10 ranked doubles player said.
He also admitted that the country’s attitude towards sportspersons other than cricketers has changed and people are recognising and accepting players from other sports as well.
“There is a change in the attitude and mindset of people regarding sports in recent years. Earlier, if you were a cricketer then only people would have seen it as a career but right now people are recognising players from lesser popular sports like athletics, badminton, tennis, and table tennis. People do think that you can now take any sports as a career.
“Personally, I feel that we need to start the move from sports-loving country to Olympic medalist sportspersons country. The first step is to love sports and need to make sports a culture similar to what the USA is doing. They celebrate Super Bowl more like a festival than just a game. I think something of that sort should be done in India as it will bring a transition and we will become a sporting powerhouse and will get a lot of medals in the Olympics,” he said.
Chirag further added that badminton infrastructure is “really good” in the country and one will see many young players coming into the game in the future.
“At the moment the badminton infrastructure is really good in India. There are a lot of courts and many more are under construction. When I started playing badminton there were not many courts but now especially in smaller cities (tier 2, tier 3 cities) there are a lot of courts and I think that will definitely help in creating better opportunities for players at the grassroots level,” he concluded.
The Indian pair will take on France’s Eloi Adam and Julien Maio in the first round of the All England Open. (ANI)
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LET THE GAMES BE FOR THE HONOUR OF COUNTRY AND GLORY OF SPORT
Have we substituted the Olympic oath—“For the honour of my country and the glory of sport’’—with a new personal oath: For glamour and money in sports!
Today sports have become more of a business rather than obeying to the oath we used to take during the Olympics. What has changed in the sporting pitch in today’s modern era?
One certainly cannot disregard the three most central elements involved while chasing a career in sports; luck, money and hard-work. While you cannot substitute hard work, luck and money are something that have taken precedence in becoming an ace player! When we talk about India, we are by tradition rich as far as our own national and rural games, namely hockey due to its historic connection, kabaddi, kho-kho, wrestling and few others but we as a nation have glorified ourselves as ‘one sport country’ which is cricket!
With Wimbledon and Euro cup concluding their 2020 games, it was overwhelming to see that the entire world was glued to the TV and online stream. Fans cheering for their favourite team seemed like such a grand affair between humans, society and sports. Another interesting facet of sports is its direct influence on economy. It is definitely considered a major contributor in any country’s GDP. However, sadly very few can make it to the top, so the real issue remains: Is it by luck or by simply capitalising money in the sportsman the only way or is the hard work enough to bring that talent to the top league?
India being the hub of sporting talent, somehow doesn’t feature in key international leagues. Why is India not in the list of any of these international leagues other than cricket? Ask any Indian about wanting a career in sports—he would immediately say cricket. For that matter, parents too are keen on supporting their children for a career in cricket.
With a populace of 1.39 billion, more than 30% of them subscribe to the live streaming OTT platforms for entertainment and sports; it is thus clear that sports are huge in India. The Indian sports industry values at an estimated revenue of $796 million. All major international OTT platforms capture close to 50% of the markets in India. That makes India the second biggest market for OTT consumption for foreign content.
So, in spite of having a large part of the population watching international league, why is India not capitalising by having its presence in world games. Why are we not able to produce more Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi, Bhaichug Bhuita to represent India in such leagues? Why are our talents largely confined to cricket alone?
Are we lacking behind in recognising great talents and providing them with equal opportunities, perhaps the answer is yes. What are the grave issues sports enthusiasts face in making a grand career? I decided to talk to a few sports men turned coaches who may know reasons behind why India is not able to pull up and promote young talent internationally.
The most predominant reason is the financial support to the most deserving talents—middle class parents cannot support the sports career of their child, the insecurity if he/she makes it to the top and having a stable career is also a big concern. Many parents give up halfway, when they realise the road ahead is tough, the private training cost is way above their nose, leave alone participating in international league. Brands mostly sponsor glorified names, and seldom they want to take up players at a junior level—perhaps spotting such talents is one area we lack too. Few coaches also shared that right sportsmanship attitude is lacking in some junior players due to the huge glamour value added by the cricket world—therefore picking the right players with the right attitude is sometimes a challenge. There is a lack of support from the government.
We have few Indians who truly brought honour to India by representing in Wimbledon and Olympics—Ramanathan Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan representing Wimbledon, where Ramanathan Krishnan in 1960 and 1962 and Vijay reached quarter finals in 1974 and 1981. Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes winning in mixed doubles in Australian open, Wimbledon and Davis cup, of course a must mention to Sania Mirza for being the no. 1 women tennis player in India and Mary Kom to bring glory.
A special mention to our very own flying Sikh Milkha Singh and P.T. Usha, our Indian athletes known for true sportsmanship. And this week a new name has been added: Mirabai Chanu. I am sure there are many more names, perhaps we need to start glorifying them once again to bring true honour and glory to sports in India.
The author is a writer, content creator, media consultant & sports yoga coach.
SANIA, ANKITA SUFFER SHOCKING DEFEAT IN FIRST ROUND OF WOMEN’S DOUBLES
India’s women’s tennis duo of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina suffered a very disappointing defeat in the first round of the Tokyo Olympics in the doubles event here at Ariake Tennis Court 11 on Sunday.
The Ukrainian team of Lyudmyla Viktorivna Kichenok and Nadiia Viktorivna Kichenok knocked out the Indian pair 6-0, 7-6, 10-8 in one hour and 33 minutes. The Indian duo had dominated the match at the start as they handed the Ukrainians a bagel inside just 21 minutes and took the first set with ease in Tokyo’s heat.
In the second set the Ukrainian team was able to hold the serve for the very first time in the match but not for long as Indians struck back soon.
With their back against the wall, the Kichenok duo broke the match serve of the Indian pair and extended the match to the tie-break in the third set.
In the final set, nerves got better of Ankita-Sania as they lost the set 10-8.
MI TO PLAY CSK ON 19 SEPT, FINAL ON 15 OCTOBER IN DUBAI
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday announced the schedule for the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 which will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A total of 31 matches will be played in the duration of 27 days.
The 14th season, which was postponed in May this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume on September 19 in Dubai with a blockbuster clash between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. The action will then shift to Abu Dhabi where the Kolkata Knight Riders 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.There will be 7 doubleheaders (5 matches already played in India – total of 12 matches) with the first match starting at 3:30 PM IST (2:00 PM Gulf Standard Time). All evening matches will start at 7:30 PM IST (6:00 PM Gulf Standard Time).
BHUVNESHWAR, SURYAKUMAR STAR AS INDIA DEFEAT LANKA IN FIRST T20I
Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked four while Deepak Chahar scalped two wickets as India defeated Sri Lanka by 38 runs in the first T20I on Sunday. Indian bowlers got the job done without any trouble as the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. India bundled out Sri Lanka for 126 in the 19th over. Chasing 165, Sri Lanka got off to a decent start scoring 20 in the first two overs. However, Krunal Pandya dismissed opening batsman Minod Bhanuka in the third over to put the hosts on backfoot.
Sri Lanka were 46/1 after six overs and were going good in the chase before they suffered another jolt. Yuzvendra Chahal cleaned up Dhananjaya de Silva to give India a breakthrough. In the next over, Bhuvneshwar struck to help India bounce back in the game as he dismissed Avishka Fernando.
Charith Asalenka kept Sri Lanka’s hopes alive as he hit regular boundaries and sixes. He stitched a vital stand with Ashen Bandara before Hardik Pandya dismissed the latter. Sri Lanka needed 61 in 6 overs and Deepak Chahar picked two wickets in his over to dent hosts’ all hopes. With wickets falling at regular intervals, Sri Lanka fell 39 runs short of the target.
Earlier, Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga picked two wickets each as Sri Lanka restricted India to 164/5. Put in to bat first, India got off to a bad start as debutant Prithvi Shaw departed for a golden duck. Skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Sanju Samson revived visitors’ inning as they brought 50 runs inside the powerplay.
However, Sri Lanka again pulled things back as they dismissed Samson in the seventh over. Dhawan then along with Suryakumar Yadav took India’s score to the 100-run mark in 12 overs and brought up the fifty-run partnership.Just when things started looking easy, India lost both Dhawan and Suryakumar in consecutive overs. In the end, Ishan Kishan smashed 20 runs off 14 balls to help India reach 164 in the allotted 20 overs.
Brief Scores: India 164/5 (Suryakumar Yadav 50, Shikhar Dhawan 46; Dushmantha Chameera 2-24 ); Sri Lanka 126 (Charith Asalanka 44, Avishka Fernando 26; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-22).
Mary Kom storms into Round of 16, Sindhu wins opening game
Boxer Mary Kom (51kg) stormed into the Round of 16 of women’s flyweight (48-51 kg) category event after defeating Miguelina Garcia of the Dominican Republic in the round of 32 here at the Kokugikan Arena. Mary Kom defeated Miguelina 4-1 in the round of 32 match on Sunday. After the first two rounds, the scoreline stood level at 19-19 and the match proved to be an exciting affair and it was evenly poised. In Round 3, Mary Kom rose to the occasion and she did enough to progress ahead in the boxing event.
Boxer Mary Kom in action against Dominican Republic’s Miguelina Hernandez Garcia, in Tokyo on Sunday.Indian shuttler P.V Sindhu
Shuttler PV Sindhu started her Tokyo Olympics campaign on a good note on Sunday as she won her opening Group J match at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 2. Sindhu defeated Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova 21-7, 21-10 in the Group J match. The entire match lasted for just 28 minutes. The 26-year-old brought out her A-game in the first game and she gave no chance to her opponent to take a breather and create any momentum. Sindhu wrapped up the first game, and she was looking set to win the match in straight games.
The sixth seed Sindhu continued with her charge in the second game, and Polikarpova was not able to make a comeback, and as a result, the Indian shuttler ended up winning the match in straight games. On Saturday, men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy had won their opening Group Stage. The Indian duo defeated Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin 21-16, 16-21, 27-25 in the Group A game at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 3.
On the same day, India shuttler Sai Praneeth lost his group stage match against Israel’s Misha Zilberman. Zilberman defeated Praneeth 21-17, 21-15 in the Group D match here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 2.
29-year-old Vikas Krishnan lost his round of 32 match in the men’s welterweight boxing event here in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics and as a result, he has bowed out of the mega event.
TOKYO OLYMPICS, DAY 2: BIG DAY FOR INDIAN CONTINGENT
Tokyo Olympics which was declared ‘open’ on Friday with a toned-down Opening Ceremony, will see the spotlight shift to sporting activities and the second day of the Games is one of the biggest for the Indian contingent.
Saturday can indeed prove to be one of the most rewarding days for the county at the Olympics. The day possibly holds the prospect of winning six medals. Mirabai Chanu who is the sole Indian representative in weightlifting will kickstart her campaign on Saturday. Competing in the 49kg category, her real challenge lies in China’s Zhihui Hou, but looking at the recent form of the Manipur-based lifter, it is safe to say that Chanu can indeed come back with a medal.
The mixed pair competition of archery will also get underway on Saturday and after the ranking matches on Friday, Pravin Jadhav and Deepika Kumari would be paired alongside each other. Deepika might have practised with Atanu Das heading into the tournament, but who knows the pair of Deepika and Pravin might just emerge as the darkhorse.
The qualification matches will kickstart at 6 am on Saturday and it will be followed by the medal matches at 10:45 am.
In shooting, men’s 10m air pistol and women’s 10m air pistol events will be held. Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan are the two Indian shooters who have emerged as the frontrunners in the women’s 10m air pistol events after having a good showing in the events this year.
Saurabh Chaudhary is someone who everyone has put their money on to bring back gold in the men’s 10m air pistol event. South Korea’s Jin Jong-Oh is expected to be a thorn in Chaudhary’s way, but looking at the recent form, it is safe to expect the Indian youngster to emerge as the winner of gold.
On Saturday, shuttler Sai Praneeth will start his men’s singles campaign while the doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will also open their campaign. The matches will showcase the form these three shuttlers have been in, and one will be able to gauge how far the badminton contingent can go in the Games.
Both men’s and women’s hockey teams will start their bid to win gold at the Games on Saturday. While the women’s team clashes against the formidable Netherlands, the men’s lock horns against darkhorse New Zealand.
India will also make its presence felt in tennis, judo and rowing on Saturday, hence the very second day of the Games will help the fans gauge whether the nation can come back with medals in double digits or not.
Meanwhile, ace sprinter Hima Das on Friday wished all the best to the Indian athletes who are going to feature in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
Earlier this month, Hima Das sustained a hamstring injury while running in the 100m heats during the National Inter-State Athletics Championships. The ace Indian sprinter said she will watch all the games and will cheer for athletes. Hima is also confident that Indian athletes will script history in the ongoing Games.
“Indian athletes will script history this time. Unfortunately, I got injured at the last moment, never mind I’ll watch the Games and will cheer for our athletes. I just want to say everyone should cheer for our athletes as it will provide them extra motivation,” Hima Das told ANI.
Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) along with fellow boxers will feature in Tokyo Olympics. The men’s boxing side comprises number one and Asian Games champion Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), and Satish Kumar (+91kg).
The women’s squad includes Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina (69kg), and Pooja Rani (75kg).
“It’s an honour for Assam that Lovlina Borgohain will compete in the Tokyo Olympics. She is my old friend and I’m sure she will bring a medal for India and Assam,” said Hima Das. ANI
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