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How Hyderabad became a heritage city of sports

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(From left to right) P.V. Sindhu, Pullela Gopichand and Saina Nehwal.

On 2 June 2014, Telangana became the youngest state of India with the city of Hyderabad (declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in March, 2013) as its capital, which it shares with Andhra Pradesh.

About a century ago, the plague had wreaked havoc on Hyderabad. According to Anglo-Indian historian, Eric Lewis Beverley, about 20% of the city’s population had been killed by the plague. A deadly infectious disease – the plague had first broken out in 1911 to the west of Hyderabad Railway Station. But the city rebuilt itself from its medieval stronghold to a contemporary city. The sight of the plague-ridden city was transformed into a developed modern colony by draining a lake and turning part of it into a playground. No doubt, the open playground that was key to Hyderabad arose as a football powerhouse and produced many stalwart players.

Noor Mohammad and Lt. S.K. Azizuddin were both from Hyderabad and played in the Olympics (Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956), three successive Asian Games (New Delhi 1951, Manila 1954, Tokyo 1958), besides, four South-East Asian Quadrangular Tournaments, and toured to the Soviet Union (now Russia) and the Far East. The Hyderabadis did not miss a single international match at home or abroad from 1950 to 1958.

Yesteryears’ football enjoyed a special position in Hyderabad. In the heritage city of Hyderabad, the most famous football players of the earlier generation were Noor Mohammad and S.K. Azizuddin, A. Lateef (who participated in the Olympics in 1952, 1956 and 1960, was captain of the Indian team which played qualifying matches in the 1960 Rome Olympics and also a member of the Indian team which won the gold medal at the 1951 Asian Games), Ahmed Hussain, Mohd Balaram, T. Zulfiqar, Thulasi Das Balarman, S.S. Hakeem (the only football player to have played football for India, and coached the national team and officiated it; was also Regional Director of Sports Authority of India, Eastern Centre at Salt Lake Calcutta (now Kolkata) from September 1993 to April 1955), H. Hamid (played in the Rome Olympics at the age of 19), the late Yusuf Khan, B. Kannan, Kaleemudin, Rahamutullah and Mohd Habib. Last but not least, was the dedicated coach, S.A. Rahim of Hyderabad. He was the coach of the Indian football team for three successive Olympics: 1952, 1956 and 1960. After 1960, the Indian football team has been consistently eliminated in the pre-Olympic stage.

The then Hyderabad city police also won the Durand Cup – the second oldest tournament in the world – in 1954 and 1957, and later on, the Andhra Pradesh Police won in 1961.

At the Rovers Cup, played in Bombay (now Mumbai) and organised by the Western Indian Football Association, Hyderabad City Police (later, Andhra Pradesh Police) have been nine-time champions. They won every time they entered the finals. They won it five times in a row in 1950-1954, then in 1957, 1960, 1962 (joint winners) and 1963. The Hyderabad state also won the nationals in 1956-57, 1957-58, 1965-66 (Andhra Pradesh). Osmania University, Hyderabad was the winner of the All-India Inter-University Tournament, bagging the Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee Memorial Shield for three years (1954-55, 1955-56 and 1959-60), and were the runners-up in 1960-61, 1963-64 and 1965-66. So, there is no doubt that in the yesteryears, football enjoyed a special position in the entire setup of Hyderabad.

At present, the city is old enough to be also known for badminton and tennis. Chief national coach for India, Pullela Gopichand, has been churning out world-class champions. In 2008, Gopichand started the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad to impart global-class training to emerging badminton players. The academy, supported by the Sports Authority of India, along with Pullela Gopichand, has produced two Olympic medallists. Saina Nehwal, the first Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal in women’s singles, won the bronze at the London Olympics on 4th August, 2012. While, P.V. Sindhu won the silver medal in the women’s singles event at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Srikanth Kidambi also became the first Indian to be ranked World No. 1 on 9April 2018 for a week. He won six super series crowns. Jwala Gutta obtained success in doubles at a Grand Prix level of the tournament, winning the mixed doubles title at the Bulgarian Open at Sofia on October 12, 2008, with her partner, V. Diju. Court queen, Sania Mirza also became the first Indian to win the women’s doubles title at the US Open when she, along with Swiss Martina Hingis, won the title in 2015 in New York (USA).

No doubt, Hyderabad made for a global sports powerhouse — flying kites has always been a great tradition in the city.

The writer is a former Associate Professor at the University of Delhi and a Consultant at the Limca Book of Records.

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What Sports Are The Most Frequently Bet On?

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Betting on sports is a vast industry making up over 30% of the entire gambling industry. If we take a look at what this might look like in numbers, around 500 billion dollars is used for gambling around the world each year. This means that approximately 150 billion dollars are spent on sports betting annually, which shows just how big a market it is.You are probably wondering what sports are most frequently bet on throughout the year. Here is a list of some of the most popular sports that people tend to bet on the most. We will take a look at whether it is because people just enjoy watching and betting on their favorite sport or whether a specific sport gives you an advantage while betting. 

American Football

In the USA, American Football is without a doubt the number one sport that people both love to play and watch. The NFL has some of the most diehard fans of any sport, and people follow the game like a religion. With huge tournaments such as the super bowl, which attract attention from all around the world, it is no surprise that American Football is one of the most popular sports when it comes to betting.Another reason that people love to bet on American Football is the variety of leagues that are available to bet on. People can bet on college football all the way up to the NFL, which means there isn’t a shortage of teams to rally behind and place bets on. They can also choose to bet on live games or make predictions before they start. More options mean more opportunities to place all kinds of bets on different teams, which adds to the popularity of this sport in the gambling scene.  

Soccer

Soccer is the biggest sport in the world with the largest number of people playing it globally. It is then no surprise that it is also a huge sport when it comes to placing bets. With the advancement of technology, the types of bets that people can place on soccer matches have progressed over the years. The most noticeable type of bet that has caused sports betting within soccer to skyrocket is the ability to cash out early. This type of betting has made watching soccer a lot more exciting as people have to be paying extra attention to the screen to decide whether they want to get out of the bet or stay in for the maximum gain.In the UK alone, it is estimated that a mind-blowing 1 billion pounds are spent on soccer bets each year. Soccer as a sport has also only gone up in popularity over the last few years with the American soccer league, MLS, gaining a lot of attention. Although it is a long way from being as popular as American football, soccer in the US appears to be gaining a lot more traction and fans from around the world. For this reason, it is easy to see that soccer is going nowhere anytime soon, and the interest in betting on the sport will likely only increase. 

Horse Racing

For those that are unaware, horse racing was the number one sport for betting for the longest time. This may not still be the case however, horse racing still plays a massive part in the sports gambling world, with an estimated 100 billion dollars being spent betting on the sport each year. In addition to this, horse racing is the only sport where you can actually bet on it at all times of the day.Horse racing is a huge day out for many people who save part of their earnings to spend betting on horses in the hopes of winning big. This may come as a big surprise, but Japan actually has the biggest horse racing market, with the United Kingdom following behind and then Australia behind them. 

Tennis

The number three spot when it comes to sports most frequently bet on is tennis. You might not have expected this but there are some reasons why this is the case. The first being that placing bets on tennis is considered relatively safe due to the odds being fairly low. For example, if one of the top players, such as Rafael Nadal, is scheduled to play against a player who is not considered very strong, it is a relatively safe bet to place on Nadal winning.   

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HUMPY, SACHDEV, KULKARNI GIVE INDIA LEAD IN WOMEN’S SECTION AT 44TH CHESS OLYMPIAD

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Koneru Humpy, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni scored victories as India A pulled off a 3.5-0.5 win against Kazakhstan to emerge as sole leader in the women’s section after ninth round of 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu on Monday.

Top-seed India A were given a winning start in the penultimate round by Humpy when she outperformed Zhansaya Abdumalik. R Vaishali, on the other hand, had to share points against Bibisara Assaubayeva before Sachdev and Kulkarni tilted the result of the match in India’s favour after securing wins over Xeniya Balabayeva and Guliskhan Nakhbayeva in their respective games.

With just one more round remaining, India A have grabbed the leading spot with 17 points while Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine are jointly holding the second position with 16 points each.

India B and India C also notched up identical 3-1 wins in their respective Round 9 matches. While India B defeated the Netherlands with Padmini Rout, Mary Ann Gomes and Divya Deshmukh scoring victories, India C thrashed Sweden. PV Nandhidhaa and Pratyusha Bodda scored victories for India C whereas Eesha Karavade and M Varshini Sahiti settled for draws.

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THE GREAT INDIA RUN ENTERS PUNJAB, RUNNERS REACH DINANAGAR

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The Kashmir leg of the Great India Run culminated today with 11 runners entering Punjab on Tuesday evening. The runners have started their run from Mansar Lake and reached Dinanagar covering a distance of 89kms. The runners reached Dinanagar via Samba, Keediyan Gandiyal Bridge and Aman Bhalla College.

After a night halt, they will start their journey tomorrow to DAV College, Hoshiarpur via Mukerian. The Kashmir leg saw the runners complete a total distance of 255kms running through iconic locations including Bahihal, Patnitop and Mansar Lake.

The relay-run will cover 829 kilometers across 4 states from Srinagar to New Delhi from August 5 to August 15. The run is being organize to celebrate the 75th Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign. An initiative of iTV & iTV Foundation, the run builds on the success of the first chapter of the Great India Run held in 2016.

The Flag-off in Srinagar was done by Shri Manoj Sinha, L-G J&K and Shri Kartik Sharma, Rajya Sabha MP from Lal Chowk, Srinagar. In support of the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, the L-G handed the lead runner a national flag after unfurling it at the venue. The first leg of the run is being led by Arun Bhardwaj, an Ultra-marathon runner.

The run venue was decorated with 75 Indian tricolours to mark 75 years of Independence. The route covers Banihal, Patnitop, Mansar Lake, Dinanagar, Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar, Ambala Cantt. finally culminating in Delhi on August 15. Full details of the route are available at the twitter handle @TGIR2022. Daily coverage of the run will also be visible on national TV and the national press. The culmination ceremony will be held in New Delhi on August 15th with Union Minister Jitendra Singh as Chief Guest.

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India announce squad for Asia Cup 2022; Bumrah ruled out

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The All-India Senior Selection Committee on Monday announced the 14-members squad for the upcoming Asia Cup. The much-anticipated Asia Cup cricket tournament will take place from August 27 this year. The 15th edition of the tournament will be played in the UAE between six teams (main event). Defending champions India are also the most successful team, having won the trophy seven times. While the last edition of the tournament was held in an ODI format, this edition will feature the T20 format.

The six teams are divided into two groups with India, Pakistan and a qualifying team in Group A; and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan forming Group B. Each team plays the other once in the group stage with the top two teams from each group advancing to the Super 4 round. The top 2 teams from Super 4 will qualify for the final.

India’s squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan.

The star pacer of India Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel were not available for selection owing to injuries. They are currently undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru.

Three players – Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar have been named as standbys.

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Tennis legend Serena Williams announces retirement

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American legend Serena Williams, winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, announced her retirement from tennis on Tuesday, saying she is “evolving away” from the sport. The 40-year-old tennis star said that the best word to describe what she is up to is “evolution” and that she wants to grow her family. “I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” Serena said in an article for Vogue magazine. Earlier this year, she was knocked out at Wimbledon in her first singles match. However, she has now set her eyes on the US Open in what could prove her farewell tournament.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun,” she said in the Vogue interview. She has been ranked singles world number one by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 consecutive weeks.

She also finished as the year-end number one five times. Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the open era, and the second-most of all time, only behind Margaret Court’s 24.

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Indian boxers receive warm welcome

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CWG 2022 medal-winning boxers Nitu Ghangas, Sagar Ahlawat and Jaismine Lamboria received a warm welcome from people in Bahadurgarh after a successful campaign in Birmingham.

India finished 4th in the medal tally at the recently-concluded CWG 2022 in Birmingham with 22 Gold, 15 Silver and 23 Bronze medals and a total of 61 medals at the Commonwealth Games. People interacted with the boxers, felicitated them with garlands and clicked pictures with them. Nitu Ghanghas told ANI during the interaction, “After winning the gold, I have been getting good wishes from people across the country. I hope I continue receiving the same in future and I will keep winning medals for the country. I have competitions this year and I will keep winning medals with focus.”

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