Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 14 (ANI): India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said that Rishabh Pant is working “incredibly hard” on his wicket-keeping and is confident that the latter will go from strength to strength.
Pant produced a brilliant catch on Day 2 of the second Test against England off Mohammed Siraj’s delivery to dismiss Ollie Pope here on Sunday. However, in the first Test against England, Pant had missed an easy stumping off Ashwin’s delivery.
While backing Pant to perform well with the gloves, Ashwin said that it becomes “really hard” for the player when he is constantly compared to others. Ashwin said Pant has been compared to MS Dhoni for a long time and now the comparisons are drawn with Wriddhiman Saha.
“With respect to Rishabh Pant’s keeping, the name of the game is confidence. He has been batting well and he has been working incredibly hard on his keeping as well. When you are constantly being compared to someone who has done well for years, it can be really hard,” Ashwin said in the press conference at the end of the day’s play.
“I really do feel for Rishabh on a lot of occasions even when I am watching games from home when he is playing the white-ball format. He was constantly compared with the great MS Dhoni for a long time and now he gets compared for his wicket-keeping with Saha,” Ashwin said.
“I think sometimes it is better to give a break and let people build on the confidence. And he definitely got the ability, that is why he is here and I have no doubt, he will go from strength to strength from here on,” he added.
In the second Test against England, India are in a commanding position and Ashwin made a massive contribution to put the hosts in the driver’s seat. With the help of Ashwin’s five-wicket haul, India managed to end England’s first innings on 134 runs.
Earlier, in the first innings, India had scored 329 runs with the help of Rohit Sharma (161), Ajinkya Rahane (67), and Pant (58*). At stumps on Day 2, India’s score read 54/1 in the second innings and enjoy a 249-run lead.
Ashwin is delighted with his performance and said the fans made the achievement even better.
“It is wonderful to have the crowd back. We had not played with crowds in India for a long time and the Indian cricket fans were also waiting to get back and watch the sport. Also, playing in front of my home crowd is always special for me and to get 5 wickets here is something that I will always cherish and in front of the crowd is even better,” he said. (ANI)
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Tokyo 2020 will be first ‘gender-balanced’ Olympics in history: IOC
Lausanne [Switzerland], March 8 (ANI): On International Women’s Day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Government of Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) are reiterating their commitment to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer a landmark in gender equality on and off the field of play, paving the way for a more equal and inclusive society.
“At the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Almost 49 per cent of the athletes participating will be women, according to the IOC quota allocation. These will be the first gender-balanced Games in history. There will be a ground-breaking competition schedule ensuring equal visibility between women’s and men’s events and featuring nine more mixed events than at Rio 2016, raising the overall number to 18,” IOC said in a release.
For the first time ever, all 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) should have at least one female and one male athlete in their respective Olympic teams. All 206 NOCs and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team will be encouraged to have their flag carried by one female and one male athlete at the Opening Ceremony.
At the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020: At least 40.5 per cent of all the athletes will be women, according to the IPC Qualification Criteria. This equates to 1,782 athletes, an increase on the 1,671 women who competed at Rio 2016 (38.6 per cent).
At the Opening Ceremony, all the competing National Paralympic Committees will also be encouraged to have their flag carried by one female and one male athlete.
Following the appointment of its new President, Hashimoto Seiko, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has increased the size of its Executive Board, bringing the percentage of women to 42 per cent. It has also created a Gender Equality Promotion Team under the leadership of its Sports Director, Kotani Mikako, in order to further promote gender and inclusion initiatives during the Games.
“The IOC is committed to gender equality in all areas, from the athletes competing on and off the field of play to leadership roles in sports organisations. With only four months to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Movement is getting ready for a new milestone in its efforts to create a gender-equal sporting world — the first gender-balanced Olympic Games in history,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
Indian football has improved in last 10 years, progressing in right direction: LaLiga India head
New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Despite being a cricket-loving nation, the enthusiasm for football is no less in India. There has been decent development in the infrastructure and grassroots level to encourage football in the country and with foreign league officials now talking about the growth and development of India’s football ecosystem, the rise is clear.
In an interaction with ANI, LaLiga India head Jose Antonio Cachaza spoke about Indian football and its progress in the last few years. He is very pleased with the number of efforts that have been made to popularise the sports in the country including the various domestic leagues — Indian Super League and I-League.
“I’m convinced that football will develop in India. It is just a matter of time but it will. You have big stars, you have Sunil Chhetri, you have Bhaichung Bhutia. Now, new players are coming in, you have old clubs which are mostly based in Bengal — ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal — but there are also new clubs that are developing the brand,” Cachaza told ANI.
Cachaza further mentioned that while steps are being taken in the right direction, it will take some time before India feature in the FIFA World Cup or any Indian player is seen in the LaLiga.
“India still has to grow and I say it from my heart that India is working in the right direction. You had your ways of work probably not same that other countries have. But the steps are in the right direction. I look at football at three levels — grassroots, professional leagues, and the national team. In these three levels, Indian football has improved a lot in the last 10 years. Don’t look that your national team is still far away from playing the World Cup. You look at how it is moving in the right direction. ‘When India will play World Cup?’, I don’t know. I think I will see an Indian race player playing in LaLiga but I don’t know when,” he said.
Asked about the reason behind football’s development in India in recent times, he replied, “I think the number one factor is that India itself is realising that football is important and growing Indian football is the way to connect to the overall sports ecosystem. It is India itself. India is betting on its football. The first element is India believing on itself and on its own football. Everything else comes on top of that and helps that to develop.” (ANI)
International Women’s Day: Sporting codes unite ahead of landmark World Cups in New Zealand
Dubai [UAE], March 8 (ANI): For a nation preparing to host three major world cups and a massive global conference on gender equality in sport, it’s hard to think of a more fitting image to mark UN International Women’s Day than Kendra Cocksedge, Katie Bowen and Sophie Devine standing shoulder to shoulder atop Eden Park’s towering stadium roof, peering down to the fabled playing surface and pondering what the sporting gods will grant them when their big days arrive.
The trio teamed up to help promote what promises to be a remarkable period for female athletes.
Bowen, a 59-cap Football Fern, Cocksedge, the Black Ferns vice-captain, and Devine, the power-hitting skipper of the White Ferns teamed up for a media event in Auckland to help promote what promises to be a remarkable period for female athletes.
Along with the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup (March-April 2022), Fifa Women’s World Cup (July-August 2023), and Rugby World Cup 2021, New Zealand will also welcome the world’s largest gathering of experts on gender equality in sport and physical activity to the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in May 2022.
Bowen, who attended the event before heading to the United States to link with her club Kansas City ahead of the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season in the United States, said: “It’s going to be massive for the nation. I think that it’s going to really help the development of the youth, and we hope to inspire not only young females but also young boys.”
Bowen’s Football Ferns will be out to make history in 2023 when the eyes of the world will be on New Zealand and co-hosts Australia as they stage the 32-nation global sporting spectacular.
New Zealand women’s cricket team captain Sophie Devine has been in the thick of the sporting action in recent weeks after losing the ODI and T20I series against England at home.
Devine, who conquered her fear of heights to join Bowen and Cocksedge at the top of Eden Park, said: “It’s unbelievable to be a female athlete at this time. To have three women’s world cups here in New Zealand over the next three years is just awesome so please get along and support these fantastic athletes.”
White Ferns will next take on Australia in a T20I series beginning March 28. Both England and Australia will return to New Zealand shores in 2022, having already booked their spots at the eight-nation Cricket World Cup.
It was announced last week that Rugby World Cup 2021 would likely be postponed to the end of 2022, and while the delay was disappointing for Black Ferns veteran Cocksedge, the anticipation still remains.
“I’m still highly motivated that there is a World Cup on home turf and at the end of the day borders will hopefully be open and we will be able to get lots of support from family and friends and people outside of the country as well,” she said.
May 2022 will also see around 1000 international participants travel to New Zealand to attend the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport.
The event is the largest gathering of experts in gender equality in sport and physical activity in the world. It has been held every four years since 1994. For the first time in its 25-year history, it will be staged as both a physical event LIVE in Auckland and online as a digital event in parallel.
Rachel Froggatt, CEO of Women in Sport Aotearoa — host to the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport — said: “As a nation, we are about to witness a period of extraordinary social change for women and girls. The world’s best female athletes and the world’s best strategic thinkers in sport and physical activity are getting ready to travel to Aotearoa, to showcase their skills and talent across four major events. Together, these events will forever transform the visibility of women’s sport, but also significantly increase the value of sport and physical activity for women and girls at all levels of the system.” (ANI)
Djokovic breaks Federer’s record of holding number one ranking for most weeks
London [UK], March 8 (ANI): Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has broken Roger Federer’s record of being at the top of the ATP Rankings for the maximum number of weeks.
With the start of this week, Djokovic has extended his stay at the top spot for 311 weeks and as a result, the record of Federer has been broken.
“The record is broken! @DjokerNole now holds the record for most weeks at No. 1 in the @fedex ATP Rankings,” the official handle of ATP Tour tweeted.
Federer had held on to the record for being at the number one spot for most weeks as he stayed at the pole position for a total of 310 weeks.
The 33-year-old Djokovic had risen to the top of the ATP Rankings for the first time in July 2011.
Djokovic had ended 2020 at the number one spot in the rankings and this was the sixth time that the Serbian finished the year at the pole position.
Earlier this year, Djokovic had won the Australian Open for the ninth time.
On February 21, Djokovic defeated Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in the finals of the Australian Open 2021 at the Rod Laver Arena to clinch his 9th Australian title.
This was also the 18th Grand Slam win for the Serbian player. (ANI)
Meghan Markle teaches meaning of being noble to me every day: Serena Williams
Washington [US], March 8 (ANI): As Meghan Markle revealed that members of the British royal family expressed concern to her husband Prince Harry about the potential skin colour of the couple’s first child, American tennis star Serena Williams on Monday highlighted how Meghan continuously lives her life with empathy and compassion.
“Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life — and leads by example — with empathy and compassion. She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced. I know firsthand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimize us, to break us down, and demonize us. We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism,” Serena said in a Twitter post on Monday.
“The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating, and all too often lethal. I want Meghan’s daughter, my daughter, and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect. Keep in your memory the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law,” she added.
On Sunday, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle revealed that members of the British royal family expressed concern to her husband Prince Harry about the potential skin colour of the couple’s first child.
As per People magazine, Meghan said that her son Archie was denied a royal title and royal protection and that there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he is born.” In her sit-down interview with Oprah, which aired on Sunday, Meghan said the palace decreed that Archie would not have any title, a move she says was “different from the protocol.”
“They didn’t want him to be a prince . . . which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” the Duchess of Sussex told Oprah.
She added, “we have in tandem the conversation of, ‘He won’t be given security. He’s not going to be given a title.’ And also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
An astonished Oprah asked Meghan who made that comment, with the ‘Suits’ actor declining to answer, saying the revelation would be too damaging.
Regarding the conversations, which Meghan was not part of, Oprah asked, “Because they were concerned that if he were too brown, that that would be a problem? Are you saying that?”
Meghan responded, “I wasn’t able to follow up with why, but that — if that’s the assumption you’re making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one, which was really hard to understand, right?”
Later in the interview, Oprah pressed Harry on the issue, asking him who was behind the comment. “That conversation I’m never going to share. It was awkward. I was a bit shocked,” he said.
When Harry and Meghan were married in May 2018, Queen Elizabeth gave them the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Archie was entitled to the “courtesy title,” Earl of Dumbarton. However, the couple announced shortly after his birth that they had not given him a courtesy title and he would be known as Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
Under current guidelines, great-grandchildren of the monarch are not princes or princesses, except for children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, which is why Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children are Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Meghan and Harry’s CBS special with Oprah marked the couple’s first joint interview since their royal exit, which was recently made permanent. In the interview, the duo discussed the reasons behind their decision to step back from their royal duties, which they had first announced in January 2020.
Meghan and Harry officially stepped down from their roles as senior royals last year. Since last summer, Meghan and Harry have been living with Archie in their new home in Southern California, not far from Oprah’s, near Santa Barbara.
Their interview with the former talk show queen and media mogul aired a month after Harry made a rare TV appearance on ‘The Late Late Show With James Corden’. Markle and Harry, who tied the knot in 2018, welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison, in May 2019. (ANI)
Anirban Lahiri replaces Brooks Koepka at The Players Championship
Florida [USA], March 8 (ANI): Eight-time PGA TOUR winner Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the 2021 Players Championship due to injury.
“Brooks strained his right knee and he is scheduled to further consult with doctors this week to receive a more extensive evaluation and outlook,” said Blake Smith, Koepka’s manager.
“We will be able to provide additional updates and information as we learn more,” he added.
With Koepka’s withdrawal, the field now includes 48 of the top 50 in both the FedExCup standings and the Official World Golf Ranking. He will be replaced in the 154-player field by Anirban Lahiri of India.
Koepka, currently seventh in the FedExCup standings on the strength of a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, last played at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession where he finished in a tie for second.
The action from PGA Tour — The Players Championship — Day 1 will be live on Eurosport and Eurosport HD from 10:30 pm IST onwards on Thursday. (ANI)
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