HOPEFULLY, WE WILL PEAK AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES: SAJAN PRAKASH - The Daily Guardian
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HOPEFULLY, WE WILL PEAK AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES: SAJAN PRAKASH

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First Indian swimmer to qualify for two consecutive Olympics Sajan Prakash is eyeing an impressive performance at the Commonwealth Games which will take place in July this year in Birmingham. The 28-year old finished eighth in the finals of the 200m butterfly event at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. The multiple medal winner at the National Games is leaving no stone unturned to do better this time.

“After the (Tokyo) Olympics, I have been preparing for the Commonwealth Games and how to peak at the right moment. We have done many competitions from January till now and we have lined up a qualifying tournament for the Commonwealth Games. So, hopefully, we will peak at the Commonwealth Games well. It all depends on the day how we are going to perform, Sajan Prakash told ANI.

The two-time Olympian swimmer on Tuesday attended an event in which Longines was announced as the Official Timekeeper for Commonwealth Games 2022. Actor Vikrant Massey was also present. Sajan Prakash said he was not taking too much pressure. “We are playing for India. I want to do my best every day in training and that will reflect well in the competition, the day of the race,” he said.

Vikrant Massey said he admired Sajan Prakash for his achievements and has made the country proud on multiple occasions. “He has been a national champion on multiple occasions. It is an honour to be sharing the stage with him,” Massey told. Indian athletes are not only looking forward to Commonwealth Games but they are also eyeing the Asian Games scheduled to be held in September in China.

At the Asian Games 2018, Sajan Prakash participated in 100m and 200m butterfly, 4x200m Freestyle Relay, and 4x100m Freestyle Relay. He finished 5th in 200m Butterfly clocking timing of 1:57.75 and in the 4x100m freestyle relay, he finished 8th position in the finals. “We are always on the track performing and achieving and preparing for that moment and nothing in life is easy. We have something on our shoulders,” he said.

Sajan Prakash, who has competed in multiple national and international tournaments, praised Khelo India Youth Games and Khelo India University Games. “If you compare with the US, they have a big university system, the NCAAs and I think that has worked predominantly well where many world champions and Olympics medallists have come. Many swimmers will also participate in Khelo India tournaments. This is the biggest initiative in India to take our sports to a different level,” he said.

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ARCHERY WC: INDIAN MEN’S COMPOUND TEAM ENTER FINAL

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The Indian men’s compound team stunned the team from South Korea to reach the final at the Archery World Cup 2022 stage 2 in Gwangju on Wednesday.

The South Korean team looked on track for the top spot during early matchplay but their hopes were denied by the Indian trio of Abhishek Verma, Aman Saini and Rajat Chauhan in a tight semifinal decided by a tiebreak. They had already let India overcome a two-point deficit in the fourth end of regulation and then put down a 26 in the shoot-off, easily bested by India’s 29.

South Korea then returned to form for the bronze medal match, where the local heroes soundly ousted Denmark, 238-229. The Indian women’s compound team comprising Avneet Kaur, Muskan Kirar and Priya Gurjar, meanwhile, secured a bronze. Up against Turkey in the bronze medal playoff, the Indian trio overturned a late deficit to win a thriller 232-231 to claim a podium spot.

Indian men’s team will face France in Saturday’s final in what will be a replay of the gold medal match from the Stage 1 World Cup from last month. India won the contest 232-230 at the Turkey meet.

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Anderson, Broad back as England announce Test squad against NZ

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England have announced a 13-member squad for the first two Tests of their upcoming ICC World Test Championship assignment at home against New Zealand, starting June 2.

Yorkshire batter Harry Brook and Durham seamer Matthew Potts have been called up for the first time. Brook has been the standout batsman in Division one of the County Championship. The 23-year-old, who made his England T20 debut in January in the Caribbean, has scored 758 runs at an average of 151.60, including three centuries and four half-centuries for the white rose county during the summer campaign.

Twenty-three-year-old Potts has been in impressive form in the County Championship. He is the season’s leading bowler, with 35 wickets and four five-wicket hauls, including his most recent return of seven for 40 in Durham’s win over Glamorgan.

The veteran pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who had been left out of the previous squad travelling to West Indies, made a return to England’s Test side for the three-match series against the reigning World Test Championship winners.

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PAULO DYBALA GIVES HEARTFELT FAREWELL MESSAGE TO JUVENTUS FANS

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Paulo Dybala on Tuesday night gave a heartfelt farewell message to Juventus supporters in an emotional video on his social media accounts.

Dybala played his last match for Juve against Lazio on Monday. At 77 minutes in the match, after seven seasons for the Bianconeri, Paulo Dybala waved the Allianz Stadium goodbye. The number 10 made his way around the ground as he received the lap of honour. “I came here at 21, as the number I was carrying on my shoulders at that time. In these years, I have grown up as a footballer and as a man,” he said in a video posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

“They were wonderful years, full of joy, of work, goals and wins. Not always has it gone as we hoped or as we deserved. But we never gave up. Thanks to this team I have really figured out important goals. Here I found special team-mates and I always felt loved by fans, by people, by children and I will never forget this.”

“During this period, my responsibilities have grown and I have always tried to face them in the best way. We were together for seven years. Seven years of beautiful moments. And even some tough moments.”

“Our paths are parting today but I will always carry all of you with me in my heart. Because you gave me so much love, so much respect. I hope to have given you some ‘joya’. Thank you all,” he added.

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HEARTBREAK FOR KKR AS DE KOCK, MOHSIN SEAL LAST-BALL THRILLER FOR LSG

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A blistering century by Quinton de Kock and an attacking half-century by KL Rahul saw Lucknow Super Giants defeat Kolkata Knight Riders in a nerve-wracking IPL 2022 match by 2 runs at the Dr DY Patil Stadium here on Wednesday.

With this loss, KKR are out of IPL 2022 playoffs contention with 12 points against their name after all 14 league matches played. Lucknow climbed to the second spot with 18 points with its victory in the high-scoring match that had spectators on the edge of their seats. Lucknow Super Giants’ opening pair smashed several records as they remained unbeaten at the end of 20 overs with 210 runs on board. The duo scored the highest opening stand in IPL history. Quinton de Kock remained unbeaten with a swashbuckling 140.

KKR showed a lot of heart and courage in their chase as they clocked 208 runs after the 20 overs, just 3 runs short of the target. Shreyas Iyer smashed 50 while Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh played quick knocks of 42 and 40 respectively. For LSG, Moshin Khan and Marcus Stoinis scalped three wickets each.

Chasing 211, KKR had a decent start as their batters played aggressively to post 60 runs after the powerplay with the loss of two wickets.

Opener Venkatesh Iyer was the first to go back to the pavilion after Quinton De Kock took an absolute blinder of a catch off Mohsin Khan in the first over of the KKR’s innings.

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EPL: LIVERPOOL BEAT SOUTHAMPTON

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Liverpool made sure this thrilling Premier League title race will go to the final day after the Reds came from behind to seal a crucial 2-1 victory at Southampton on Tuesday night.

Knowing that defeat at St. Mary’s would lead to Manchester City being crowned 2021/22 champions, a Liverpool side showing nine changes from the team that won the FA Cup final on Saturday, went behind to a stunning Nathan Redmond goal. But they responded with goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip to set up a grandstand finale to the season.

The race for the title is out of Liverpool’s hands, however, as City are one point ahead going into their last match at home to Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa.

If City match Liverpool’s result against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield, they will become Premier League champions for the sixth time. But should City draw or lose and Liverpool win, the Reds will take the title for the second time in three years.

If City lose and Liverpool draw and both sides end up on the same number of points, the only way the title will return to Anfield is if there is a massive swing in goal difference.

The focus in the Premier League now turns to Thursday.

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Women’s World Boxing Championships: Nikhat Zareen storms into final

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Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen punched her way into the final with a sensational win while Manisha and debutant Parveen ended their campaigns with bronze medals after defeats in the semi-finals at the 12th edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Exhibiting a skilful display, Nizamabad (Telangana)-born boxer, Nikhat pulled off a comprehensive 5-0 win against Brazil’s Caroline De Almeida in the 52kg semi-final. On the other hand, Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) gave their all but ended up with 0-5 and 1-4 defeats against the 2020 Olympic Games bronze medallist Italy’s Irma Testa and Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst respectively.

Playing her only second World Championships, Nikhat will take a shot at gold on Thursday when she squares off against Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in the fly weight final. Jutamas stunned the two-time World Championships medallist experienced Kazakh boxer Zhaina Shekerbekova 4-1 in the semi-final.

In the first Indian bout for the day, Nikhat started off cautiously but soon shifted the gears and went into all out offensive, unleashing a flurry of punches. Her Brazilian opponent struggled to keep pace with a technically superior 25-year-old Indian, who looked in a commanding position after the first two rounds.

Having taken a lead, the former junior youth world champion, Nikhat didn’t let the momentum slip in the final round as she moved around the ring, maintaining distance and also hit some timely punches before securing a dominating victory.

However, in the feather weight category, Manisha tried her best but found it tough to cope with her strong rival from Italy, who fought aggressively and did not give the Indian many chances.

Parveen too faced a tough challenge from the Irish boxer in a more physical bout. The Haryana youngster, despite losing the first round, recovered well and made an impressive comeback.

However, the 2019 European Championships bronze medallists Broadhurst took charge in the final round and clinched the intensely-fought match in her favour, ending the Indian’s dream run on debut at the prestigious event, which has been witnessing exciting action in the presence of 310 boxers of 73 countries from across the world.

This year’s tournament also marks the 20th anniversary of the Women’s World Championships.

In the last edition of the tournament, held in Russia in 2019, Indian boxers clinched one silver and three bronze medals. India have won 36 medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 19 bronze, in the 11 editions of the tournament so far–the third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).

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