I-League: TRAU, Churchill Brothers share points in high-octane encounter - The Daily Guardian
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I-League: TRAU, Churchill Brothers share points in high-octane encounter



Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 21 (ANI): A high octane top-of-the-table clash between TRAU and Churchill Brothers ended in a 1-1 draw at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan on Sunday to force the I-League title to be decided on the last day of the season.
Luka Majcen’s strike was cancelled out by Phalguni Singh’s effort as the teams shared the points — with both goals coming in the first half.
Although TRAU stay on the top of the I-League table, the Nandakumar-coached side are level on points (26) with Churchill Brothers and could be sharing their pole position with Gokulam Kerala FC if the Malabarians get a win against Mohammedan SC. If Gokulam win, three contingents — TRAU, Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala FC — will have the chance to get their hand on the coveted trophy come March 27.
Churchill, desperate to put behind their woes in the Championship stage of the season that saw them succumb to two back-to-back defeats, started the match on an attacking note. The Red Machines could have taken the lead as early as the 2nd minute Luka Majcen was found inside the box by a well-weighted pass. Majcen’s shot from close range however failed to find the net, as TRAU survived an early scare.
Out to prove a point, Churchill played with the tenacity of champions in the opening minutes and heaped pressure on TRAU. In the 12th minute, Clayvin Zuniga was found by Luka Majcen inside the box, but Zuniga, who was already in an offside position could only rattle the bar with his effort. Seven minutes later, Churchill Brothers upped the ante and Zuniga once again tested TRAU’s Amrit Gope with a powerful shot. Gope made a world-class save to deny Churchill the lead.
In the 23rd minute, Bryce Miranda missed a sitter and probably the best goal-scoring opportunity of the match. With the goalkeeper out of position, Miranda had to just tap the ball home from close range, after Wendell Savio had found him inside the box. Instead, he fluffed his shot.
All of Churchill’s dominance finally paid off in the 27th minute when the referee pointed to the spot for a clumsy tackle inside the box. Luka Majcen stepped up to take the penalty kick and smashed it home to hand Churchill the lead as the scoreline read 1-0.
Playing catch-up to Churchill Brothers for much of the first half, TRAU rarely showcased shades of their former selves. With Komron Tursunov leaving for international duty with Tajikistan, the Nandakumar-coached side struggled to jot attacks as Bidyashagar Singh was left isolated up front.
However, all it took for the Manipur-based club was one through-ball in the 43rd minute to bring the match to level terms. A well-weighted pass by Bidyashagar Singh split the defensive pairing of Hamza Kheir and Keenan Almeida in two as Phalguni Singh beat them for speed and latched onto the ball. With just the opposition goalkeeper to beat, Phalguni slotted the finish home and made the scoreline read 1-1.
After the half-time scoreline read 1-1, TRAU, spurred by their equalizer had a great chance to take the lead in the 48th minute when Joseph Olaleye tried to find Bidyashagar Singh inside the box. Had Olaleye’s pass been better, TRAU could have taken the lead.
In the 54th minute, much against the run of play, Wendell Savio hit the crossbar with a curling shot from outside of the box. The ball fell to Clayvin Zuniga, who could have had a chance to score, but was unable to control the ball as TRAU survived a dangerous spell of play. Two minutes later, Kingslee Fernandes found Luka Majcen inside the box but Majcen skewed his shot wide off the goal.
Churchill Brothers upped the ante after missing a couple of chances and pinned TRAU to their own half. Clayvin Zuniga came agonizingly close to handing Churchill Brothers the lead in the 69th minute when he burst past the TRAU defence line. His shot, however, got lost in the jungle of TRAU legs causing chaos inside the box.
The Red Machines continued their attacking dominance but once again were left frustrated in the final third as TRAU committed bodies in defence and defended in numbers. Half chances for Clayvin Zuniga and Luka Majcen went amiss and TRAU playing on the counter, had rare chances in front of the goal.
TRAU could have taken home all the three points with one minute of regulation time to go as Bidyashagar was played in on goal by Joseph. The forward tried to round the advancing Shibinraj but the Churchill keeper did brilliantly to take the ball off his feet.
In the end, the scoreline read 1-1 as both teams shared the spoils of battle. With this draw, Gokulam Kerala FC could very well go level on points with TRAU and Churchill Brothers at the top of the league if the Malabarians win their clash against Mohammedan SC. (ANI)

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Union ministers felicitate Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu



Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on Monday felicitated India’s first medal winner at the Tokyo Olympics Saikhom Mirabai Chanu.

Union Minister for Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju and Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of North-Eastern region Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways & Minister for AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Nisith Pramanik were also present. Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and her coach Vijay Sharma on Monday returned to India after a sensational show in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. Chanu received a warm welcome as the staff at the Delhi airport cheered for her upon her arrival.

This was the first time Chanu, who won a silver medal in women’s 49 kg weightlifting had come to India, after flying out to the USA on May 1 for a stint with renowned strength and conditioning coach Dr Aaron Horschig.

The government had swiftly arranged for Chanu to fly out at short notice with a travel ban to the USA for people coming from India set to be imposed within a few days due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

An overjoyed Chanu said, “This is a dream come true for me. I have been training for this moment for years and I am glad that it all came right for me at the biggest stage of them all, the Olympic Games.”

“The trip to the USA last year to address issues related to my shoulder was instrumental in my journey to this medal. I am grateful for all the support extended by the government towards me, without which this journey to an Olympic medal would not have been possible. I would also like to say that the ‘Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) had boosted my career and medal prospects,” she said.

Anurag Singh Thakur congratulated Chanu saying, “Mirabai Chanu’s victory is the victory of 130 crore Indians, who were filled with pride when India’s flag was unfurled and the national anthem played at the medal ceremony in Tokyo.

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Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have announced a revised match schedule for the upcoming “Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup” between the West Indies and Pakistan in the Caribbean.

A four-match T20I series, has been agreed, scheduled to start on Wednesday, July 28 at Kensington Oval, Barbados and the final three to be played at the Guyana National Stadium on Saturday, July 31; Sunday, August 1 and Tuesday, August 3. The adjustment to the Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup schedule was necessary due to the changes to the fixtures for the ongoing ODI series between West Indies and Australia, which are part of the International Cricket Council’s ODI Super League, which concludes on Monday, July 26.

Ricky Skerritt, CWI President, in an official release said: “Together with the PCB, CWI have examined various scenarios, and we jointly agreed that the best solution in the present circumstances is to cancel the first T20I and play a four-match T20I series starting on Wednesday and keep the rest of the tour schedule unchanged. We want to express our gratitude to the PCB Chairman, Ehsan Mani and CEO, Wasim Khan and the Pakistan team for their understanding in this situation and for agreeing to the revised match schedule.”

“Both teams are in the final stages of preparing for the ICC T20 World Cup, so we anticipate an exciting and entertaining series of games as both teams compete for Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup,” he added.

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I don’t look at what others are doing, focus lies on performing well: Chahal



After defeating Sri Lanka in the first T20I of the three-match series, India spinner Yuzvendra Chahal said that is not concerned about the healthy competition between the spinners in the squad as his prime focus lies is on performing well for the Men in Blue.

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. “Definitely, when the bench strength is so good, we have a pool of 30 players. Everyone is doing well, my focus is just on performing well. If you perform well, you stay in the team and if you aren’t, then you cannot stay in the team. I do not look at what others are doing, my focus is on giving good performances,” said Chahal during the virtual post-match press conference.

“When I was not playing, I was working with my bowling coach and I was working on my craft. Even during the lockdown, I was looking at where I should be bowling. I backed myself before coming on this tour. We knew we were 10-15 runs short, but that is okay. Whatever the score is, we have to defend that. My job is to control the middle overs and I was very happy that I did it. I always back myself,” he added.

When asked about his conversations with fellow spinner Varun Chakravarthy, Chahal said: “We talked before the match, I told him just to bowl how you do normally. I know the pressure can be there in the first match, it always stays there. I suggested to keep bowling the way he does, nothing changes whether you are playing international cricket or IPL.”

Earlier, Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga picked two wickets each as Sri Lanka restricted India to 164/5. Suryakumar Yadav top-scored for the visitors as he played a knock of 50 runs.

“Talking about today’s match, the end from where I was bowling from, the boundary on the leg-side was shorter and the Sri Lanka batters were looking to hit me on the legside. So that is why I did not bowl googly much, I was just looking to bowl dot balls. The total was not that big and we could not afford conceding fours and sixes, hence I kept mixing it up,” said Chahal.

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Karnam Malleswari



When Mirabai Chanu’s event was going on, I was eagerly waiting for her medal-winning moment because I was sure of her winning the medal. I had also ordered sweets but did not reveal it to anyone. I am glad that after 21 years, India got a medal through Mirabai Chanu. This medal will inspire other players in Tokyo too. I am doubly happy that Mirabai not only repeated the work which I had done 21 years ago but also changed the color of the medal. I am sure that this feat will happen again in the next Olympics and once again the color of the medal will change.

Well, records are meant to be broken as soon as they are made. Records will be broken, only then new talent will emerge. It has been proved that there is no dearth of talent in India. In the last Olympics, there was a long wait for the first medal. Now this medal will prove to be a tonic for the rest of the athletes as well. All I would like to say to the entire team including the Indian weightlifters is to have faith in your mind. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Think about doing your best with a free mind. Thinking too much about the medal, sometimes the pressure increases too much, which also affects the performance.

Winning a medal in the Olympics is not only important for a player, but it is also a matter of pride for the entire sports community. All the schemes of the Sports Ministry should be given credit for this success.

Along with the hard work of the coaches, all the schemes of the Sports Authority of India, TOPS scheme have also played an important role in preparing the players from India at this level. By the way, this time I predict that India will get medals up to the number of ten, and I hope our players will not let me down.

Writer is the India’s first woman Olympic medalist

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Day 3: Rough day for India, women hockey team loses

After a hard day for the country, in the evening, all eyes were on the Indian women’s hockey team and the side in blue couldn’t find a way to get on board, before going down 0-2 against the Germans.



The start of Day 3 at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics brought happiness to the face of fans as India’s lone representative in fencing, Chadalavada Anandha Sundhararaman Bhavani Devi got off to a winning start in the women’s individual sabre here on Monday.

However, the Indian fencer went down against France’s Manon Brunet in women’s individual sabre 15-7 in the round of 32 at Makuhari Messe B Hall Yellow Piste. Bhavani Devi has now set her eyes on Paris 2024. “Big Day. It was Excitement & Emotional. I won the First Match 15/3 against Nadia Azizi and become the First INDIAN Fencing Player to win a Match at Olympic but 2nd Match I lost 7/15 against world top 3 player Manon Brunet. I did my level best but couldn’t win. I am sorry,” tweeted CA Bhavani Devi.

A similar thing happened with the archery team, who won the game in the morning but ended up losing the quarter-final match on Monday.

The Indian trio of Pravin Jadhav, Atanu Das, and Tarundeep Rai overcame team Kazakhstan in the men’s team event to reach the quarters.

In the next round, the trio failed to rise to the tough challenge against South Korea in the quarter-final of the men’s archery team event here.

India suffered another setback when paddlers Sutirtha Mukherjee and Manika Batra bowed out of the women’s singles event after losing their Round 2 matches.

However, table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal progressed to Round 3 of the men’s singles event after defeating Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia here at Tokyo Metropolitan Gym — Table 1 in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.

Moreover, the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also faced a defeat in the Group A Play Stage here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 1.

Also, Angad Bajwa finished 18th in the qualifiers with a score of 120 and Mairaj Ahmad Khan ended 25th with 117, to bow out of the Men’s Skeet event.

Tennis star Sumit Nagal bowed out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing the second-round match against Daniil Medvedev here at the Ariake Tennis Court 1.

Boxer Ashish Kumar (75kg), who was playing the first match of the Tokyo Olympics, bowed out of the men’s middleweight (69-75kg) category event.

The string of defeats continued and in the afternoon as swimmer Sajan Prakash failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the men’s 200m butterfly event.

In the evening, all eyes were on the Indian women’s Hockey team and the side in Blue couldn’t find a way to get on board, before going down 0-2 against the Germans.

The women’s team played their hearts out in their second Tokyo Olympics encounter against the World Number 3 Germany side at the Oi Hockey Stadium here on Monday.

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Sheetal Kharka



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.

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