I’M NOW FIT ON COURT, AND READY TO GO: SINDHU AFTER CRYPTIC ‘I RETIRE’ POST - The Daily Guardian
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I’M NOW FIT ON COURT, AND READY TO GO: SINDHU AFTER CRYPTIC ‘I RETIRE’ POST

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P. V. Sindhu

Days after giving a mini “heart-attack” to her fans, ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu says she is totally fit, not just health-wise but also on the badminton court, and is looking forward to competing in the upcoming tournaments.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, Sindhu opened up on how she coped up with the Covid-19 induced lockdown, her reaction to the Tokyo Olympics postponement, her preparation for the upcoming Asia Cup, and also her relationship with national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand.

“It was quite difficult to suddenly stop a very active routine. But at the same time we all realised how important it was to pause everything and take care of ourselves,” Sindhu said about the nationwide-lockdown which was first put in place towards March end following the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

“I tried to keep myself active by working out at home and that really helped me. I also spent a lot of time with my family and picked up some hobbies like painting,” she added.

However, even during the lockdown, Sindhu stayed active in order to make sure she stayed as fit as possible. “I was not able to play on court, hence it was a bit hard when I started playing. But I think I am now fit on court as well and ready to go.”

The Tokyo Olympics, which were slated to be held in July-August this year, had to be postponed to summer of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sindhu, however, revealed that she was prepared for the postponement considering the situation and was thus not surprised by the development.

“With everything that has been happening around the world, it was quite evident that Tokyo Games were going to be postponed and I had already started to prepare mentally.”

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Swiss Open: Sindhu, Srikanth through to semis of the tournament

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Basel [Switzerland], March 5 (ANI): Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth progressed to the semi-finals of the Swiss Open after winning their respective matches here on Friday.
Sindhu secured a 21-16, 23-21 win over Busanan Ongbamrungphan while Srikanth defeated Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-19, 21-15 to advance in the competition.
Sindhu looked better in the opening game but in the second game, Ongbamrungphan gave a very tough fight to the Indian player. However, Sindhu held her nerves and went on to win the game by 23-21.
Srikanth also had to do hard yards in the match to progress as Wangcharoen gave a tough competition. Indian shuttler won the first game by 21-19 but in the second game, Srikanth looked in control and dominated his opponent.
Earlier in the day, Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa’s fine run in the ongoing Swiss Open came to a disappointing end after a defeat in the quarter-finals.
Satwiksairaj and Ashwini showed top-notch fighting spirit before going down to World No 13 and No 5 pair -Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing of Malaysia in three sets 17-21, 21-16, 18-21. Satwiksairaj and Ashwini had staged the comeback after losing the first set but the Malaysian duo diffused the Indian attack to seal a place in the semi-finals.
In the singles match, Ajay Jayaram’s fine run at the Swiss Open Super 300 came to an end with the defeat against Thai badminton player Kunlavut Vitidsarn.
The shuttler from Thailand thrashed the India badminton player in two straight sets 21-9, 21-6. Ajay had displayed some sensational performances in the ongoing showpiece event but wasn’t able to recreate the show on Friday. (ANI)

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Road Safety World Series: Ruthless Sehwag stars in India Legends’ win

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Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], March 5 (ANI): India Legends were off to a flying start in the Road Safety World Series T20 by comfortably beating Bangladesh Legends by 10 wickets at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium here on Friday.
The night belonged to the Indian legends Virender Sehwag and captain Sachin Tendulkar as they turned the clock back with their class batting act as the duo with their unbeaten 114-run opening partnership saw India achieve an easy target of 110 runs in 10.1 overs.
In the successful chase, Sehwag made an entertaining 35-ball 80 with 10 boundaries and five massive sixes while captain Tendulkar played the second fiddle to the Nawab of Nafagarh with 33 (26balls, 5×4). It was a Sehwag show from the word go. He slammed Mohammed Rafique in the very first over for 19 runs which included three boundaries and a huge six.
He was ruthless in his approach and did not spare even the good balls of Bangladesh bowlers. The Delhi batsman completed his half-century in a typical Sehwag way with a six off seamer Alamgir Kabir.
It was a matter of time that India finished the game after Sehwag completed his milestone. He eventually saw the team through with a shot over the ropes off medium-pacer Khaled Mashud.
Earlier, Bangladesh chose to bat first after winning the toss under lights. But they couldn’t live up to their own expectations of batting well on a slow wicket and were folded out for 109 in 19.4 overs. Opener Nazimuddin was the highest scorer for Bangladesh with 49 off 33 balls including eight fours and a six followed by Javed Omar (12) and Rajin Saleh (12). The rest of the Bangladesh batsmen fell for single-digit scores.
For India, seamer Vinay Kumar, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, and Yuvraj Singh took two wickets each.
Bangladesh were off to a decent start with both openers Nazimuddin and Omar stitching a 59-run stand for the first wicket. However, once Ojha got the first blood by getting Omar out in the eight over, rest nine wickets fell for 50 runs.
On a slow wicket, the Indian spinners did well to keep the runs in check which resulted in Bangladesh batsmen throwing wickets one after another and eventually ended up making 109
Brief scores: Bangladesh Legends 109 (Nazimuddin 49; R Vinay Kumar 2/25, P Ojha 2/12, Yuvraj Singh 2/15); India Legends 114 (Sehwag 80*, Tendulkar 33*). (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: You both are very important assets to the team: Rohit tells Pant, Sundar

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): India’s opening batsman Rohit Sharma on Friday praised Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar for their brilliant performance on day two of the ongoing fourth Test against England and said they are very important assets to the team.
Pant single-handedly put India in command on the second day of the fourth Test against England with his third century in Test cricket. Pant scored 101 runs in the innings while Sundar is still batting at 60. At stumps, India’s score read 294/7 with Sundar and Axar Patel (11) at the crease — leading the visitors by 89 runs in the first innings.
“You both are very important assets for the team because you guys do more than one skill. Your (Sundar) bowling is very important for the team… Rishabh, your keeping was so encouraging to watch. You seem to be working every day on your keeping which is why we see the results as well on the field. I understand it is not easy keeping on pitches like that,” Rohit said in a video shared on BCCI’s website.
Having started cautiously, Pant took the English bowlers to the cleaners in the final session to take the game away from the visitors.
Commenting on Pant’s approach, Rohit said: “We saw two Rishabh Pant today, the first half of Rishabh Pant was nice, compact and you were respecting the good balls and but at the same time, you were trying to press on the bad balls as well. That was good to see. But the second half was completely different. It was important to play those shots on a pitch like that because we know that the pitch is not easy to keep batting like that.”
Replying to Rohit, Pant said: “The only game plan I had was to just see the ball and hit my shot after we got the lead.”
Rohit then asked Sundar how is he feeling after playing impressive innings. To this, Sundar: “Amazing (feeling) honestly. I should thank the management and senior players for keeping faith in me. I just wanted to play my natural game. After about 15-20 balls, I thought if I could just defend and spend a lot of time in the middle, I would be able to get runs and also put the team in a better position. Very glad that it happened today.” (ANI)

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Rijiju expresses grief over demise of Nikolai Snesarev

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Friday expressed grief over the demise of noted distance running coach Nikolai Snesarev in the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala.
“I’m deeply saddened to learn about the sad demise of middle and long distance running coach Nikolai Snesarev. He has been a great coach and helped many medal winners during his association with India since 2005. My condolences to his family and the entire athletics fraternity,” Rijiju tweeted.
Earlier in the day, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) condoled the sudden demise of Snesarev. AFI, in its statement, also said: “The 72-year-old Belarussian national died with his boots on, having overseen his wards’ training this morning.”
AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla said: “We are stunned by the news that coach Nikolai was found dead in his room today. He returned to India only a few days ago, having agreed to train steeplechaser Avinash Sable for the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” he said in a statement. “We will cherish his long association with Indian athletics and will miss him.”
Sumariwalla said India was fortunate to have benefited from Nikolai Snesarev’s rich experience over a number of years. “He was a hard-taskmaster and one who developed his own training routines for his athletes. He was highly respected in the international circles and we were privileged that he shared a wonderful relationship with India,” he said.
Having first come to India in 2005, Nikolai Snesarev coached 10,000 m runners Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut to a 1-2 finish in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and Steeplechaser Sudha Singh to gold. It was the first time that Indian women won medals in the 25-lap race.
Later that year, he suggested to Lalita Babar to shift to Steeplechase. Thanks to his sustained efforts, she became the first Indian athlete to reach a track final in the Olympic Games since PT Usha in 1984 when she made it to the Steeplechase final in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He trained a number of Indian distance runners to attain peak performance.
“As someone who believed in research, he showed us the way with his pioneering efforts towards improving the endurance and speed of his athletes. He insisted that athletes never touch any medicines while training with him, imposing a blanket ban on all kinds of medication, even prescribed ones,” Sumariwalla said. (ANI)

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ISL 7: FC Goa, Mumbai City play out 2-2 draw

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Goa [India], March 5 (ANI): FC Goa missed the chance to enter the second leg of their Indian Super League (ISL) semi-finals with an advantage as they squandered a lead twice in their 2-2 draw against Mumbai City FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday.
Goa broke the deadlock through Igor Angulo’s penalty (20′) before his goal was canceled out by Hugo Boumous (38′). Goa took the lead again through Saviour Gama (59′) but Mourtada Fall (62′) soon netted a vital equaliser to help the Islanders escape with a vital point.
The first-half proved to be an entertaining affair with both sides keeping each other on their toes. Goa dominated the first half and fashioned better chances but Mumbai clawed their way back to keep the scoreline level at the break.
Mumbai keeper Amrinder Singh was called into action early on, making a routine save in the fifth minute. Jorge Ortiz’s cutback found Gama whose effort was parried away for a corner. But, just moments after being denied a penalty, Goa were awarded one when Mandar Rao Dessai clipped Ortiz in the box. Angulo stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent Amrinder the wrong way to notch his 13th goal of the season.
Goa were forced to make a substitution soon after the half-hour mark when Seriton Fernandes was stretchered off, replaced by youngster Leander D’Cunha, who made his first ISL appearance. The side to concede the most goals from set-pieces, Goa’s weakness was exposed again as Boumous came back to haunt his former team.
Ahmed Jahouh took a quick free-kick and released Boumous, who attempted a pass on the right. The ball fell back into his path following a deflection off Gama and the Frenchman drilled his volley into the bottom corner to mark his return, after a four-game ban, in style.
Mumbai dominated the proceedings after the break but it was Goa who scored against the run of play around the hour mark, after a stunning solo goal from Gama. The full-back made a marauding run at the heart of Mumbai defence before unleashing a long-range shot that found the bottom corner.
But their lead lasted for three minutes as Fall, the man who scored the winner to hand Mumbai the League Winners Shield against ATK Mohun Bagan, found the net again. Jahouh’s cross found an unmarked Fall, who placed his header into the back of the net with ease.
The closing stages were scrappy with both sides struggling to fashion clear-cut chances. However, a draw, in the end, means both teams will have all to play for in the second leg. (ANI)

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IND W v SA W: 10 per cent capacity of stadium to be opened for spectators, says UPCA

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 5 (ANI): The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) on Friday announced that the 10 per cent capacity of Ekana Stadium will be opened for spectators for the upcoming India women’s series against South Africa.
India and South Africa will lock horns in a five-match ODI series before they face each other in three T20Is. The ODI series will begin from March 7 while the T20I series will be played from March 20 at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
“Keeping in view the COVID-19 situation and permission of the local administration only 10 per cent capacity of Ekana Stadium will be opened for spectators to watch the game. In order to promote women cricket, the Association has kept lower denomination ticket rates of Rs. 200/- and Rs. 400/- on sale through Paytm,” the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association said in a statement.
The All-India women’s selection committee on Saturday announced the squads for the ODI and T20I series against South Africa.
Ekta Bisht, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia, and Shikha Pandey aren’t part of the squad while C. Pratyusha, Yastika Bhatia, Ayushi Soni, Swetha Verma, Monica Patel, and Simran Dil Bahadur have earned their maiden call-ups.
Veteran cricketer Mithali Raj will lead India in the ODIs while star batter Harmanpreet Kaur will captain the hosts in the T20I series against South Africa.
India Women’s ODI squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), D. Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma (wicket-keeper), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C. Prathyusha, Monica Patel.
India Women’s T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Nuzhat Parveen (wicket-keeper), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur. (ANI)

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