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Bronze medallists from the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian men’s hockey team resumed training at SAI Bengaluru on Monday. The team hit the turf for the first time after their podium finish at the Tokyo Games and looked all charged and pepped for their upcoming international engagements.

All covid protocol guidelines are strictly being adhered to in the camp. The players have gone through the Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and are staying in separate rooms as per the quarantine rule. They are undergoing outdoor training in a different slot and are not mixing with other campers of SAI Bengaluru. The revised SOPs of the SAI allows for outdoor training.

The men’s hockey team is likely to participate in the Asian Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in Dhaka in December this year, Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in Birmingham in July 2022, Asian Games scheduled to be held in China in September 2022 and the World Cup, which India shall host in January 2023, before the Paris Olympics 2024.

Manpreet Singh, captain of the team, thanked the administration and the staff of SAI Bengaluru for working overtime to provide all facilities to the team during the prolonged training camp prior to the Tokyo Olympics

“I want to thank the entire staff of SAI Bangalore and the Regional Director on behalf of the entire team for the whole hearted support extended to the team even in difficult times,” said Manpreet in a statement.

Head coach Graham Reid said that the team was returning to training after a well-deserved break and this initial camp shall help to reorient the players to their priorities in the coming months.

He expressed his happiness on the support extended to the players by SAI Bengaluru before the Tokyo Olympics despite the challenges of the Covid situation. “The boys are all excited to resume the training and we are looking at our future engagements,” said the head coach.

Assistant coach of the team, Piyush Dubey said that the boys are now refocusing on future engagements after the euphoria of winning the bronze medal for the nation after 41 years in the Olympic hockey event.

“Our entire focus, for the time being, is on the Asian Champions Trophy in December this year and this month-long camp shall mainly target on improving the physical conditioning of the players,” he mentioned.

The men’s team was felicitated on their return to the campus of SAI Bengaluru in a grand manner on Monday. A felicitation function was organised in honour of the team.

The team was felicitated by the former regional heads of SAI Bengaluru including 1972 Olympic medalist MP Ganesh and ASV Prasad.

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A total of 28 teams will fight it out to lift the trophy at the 11th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2021 that starts from Thursday in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.

After six days of pool matches, the quarter-finals will be played on October 27, the semi-finals will be held on October 29 whereas the Medal matches are scheduled for October 30.

Speaking about the feeling in the Hockey Madhya Pradesh camp in the 11th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2021, Coach Vandana Uikey said, “The team is quite positive about their chances ahead of the 11th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2021.”

Hockey Maharashtra Coach Chingshubam Sanggai Ibemhal expressed that the team is focussing on improving on a few aspects ahead of the 11th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2021.“The girls have improved on the skill of receiving the ball and we are working on a few other skills as well,” said Ibemhal.

The participating teams include Hockey Haryana, Hockey Uttarakhand, Le Puducherry Hockey in Pool A, while Pool B features Hockey Maharashtra, Goans Hockey, Hockey Bihar. Pool C features Hockey Madhya Pradesh, Hockey Gujarat, Hockey Bengal and Pool D features Odisha, Chhattisgarh Hockey, Hockey Himachal.

Pool E will include Hockey Punjab, Hockey Chandigarh, Hockey Andhra Pradesh, Hockey Arunachal and Pool F will feature Hockey Jharkhand, Hockey Rajasthan, Delhi Hockey, Hockey Andaman and Nicobar.

Pool G will include Hockey Karnataka, Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu, Telangana Hockey, Tripura Hockey and Pool H will see Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Kerala Hockey, Assam Hockey, Hockey Jammu & Kashmir vie for the trophyz

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Denmark Open: Saina Nehwal gets knocked out, but Lakshya Sen marches on



India shuttler Saina Nehwal on Wednesday was knocked out of the ongoing Denmark Open.

Saina Nehwal lost her round of 32 match against Japan’s Aya Ohori 16-21, 14-21. The entire game lasted for 34 minutes. Earlier on Wednesday, Lakshya Sen dominated an all-Indian affair against Sourabh Verma and he registered a 21-9, 21-7 win.

Indian mix doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy on Wednesday lost in the first round of the ongoing Denmark Open. The Indian pair lost against China’s Feng Yanzhe and DU Yue by 17-21, 21-14, 11-21 here at Court 2.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Indian duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy got defeated by South Korea’s Lee Sohee and Shin Seung-chan 17-21, 13-21 here at Court 1.

The women’s doubles pair of Jakkampudi Meghana and S Ram Poorvisha also lost their game against the Indonesian duo by 8-21, 7-21, at court 2.

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Premier League club Newcastle United on Wednesday confirmed that Steve Bruce has left his position as head coach.

He leaves the Magpies after more than two years in charge, having steered the club to 13th and 12th-place finishes in the Premier League and reaching the quarter-final stage in both the Emirates FA Cup and Carabao Cup during his tenure.

In an official release, Bruce said: “I am grateful to everyone connected with Newcastle United for the opportunity to manage this unique football club.”

Graeme Jones will lead the team on an interim basis, starting with Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, and will be supported by the coaching team of Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence, Ben Dawson and Simon Smith.The process of recruiting a new head coach is under way.

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Mehtab Hossain heaps praise on India U-23 team ahead of qualifiers



As the India U-23 lads assembled in Bengaluru ahead of the AFC U23 Qualifiers, lavish praises poured in from a different bio-bubble in Bengaluru – that too from someone who has been a mainstay in the middle of the park for the Blue Tigers over the last decade – Mehtab Hossain.

“It was a treat to watch Lalengmawia play – not just the final, but in the matches that he has been fielded. I am particularly happy with his performance – after all, he plays a similar position to myself,” exclaimed Mehtab. “Sunil (Chhetri) was brilliant as usual in the SAFF Championship. I can praise him all day long, and it would still not be enough,” Mehtab said

Apuia has come through the ranks from the junior National Teams, representing India in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, before going on to play a crucial role for the Indian Arrows side in the Hero I-League in 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.

“Apuia (Lalengmawia) has a very cool head. He makes football look so simple – never in a hurry, and always so much time on the ball. I am very fond of him. I just hope he improves on his play,” Mehtab


After winning the SAFF Championship in Male, Maldives on Saturday, the likes of Dheeraj Singh, Suresh Singh, Lalengmawia Ralte, Jeakson Singh, and Rahim Ali have joined the U23 side in Bengaluru. Among the 28 probables summoned for the AFC U23 Qualifiers, all except Sahil Panwar have reported to Bengaluru. As per medical reports from Odisha FC, Sahil is currently suffering from an injury and hence, wasn’t available for the Qualifiers.

The 35-year-old Mehtab, who is currently playing for Madan Maharaj FC, has been following the fortunes of the Blue Tigers from inside the Hero I-League Qualifiers bio bubble.

“There were others too, who played so well. Pritam played well, it was his cross in the second half that helped us break the deadlock. It was nice to see Suresh score a very important goal that gave us the breathing space in the second half,” he continued. “The midfielders need to capitalise on the chances which they get. If they do, it will help us immensely on the field.”

Mehtab was also particularly pleased with the character that the Blue Tigers showed during the SAFF Championship and going on to finally win the SAFF Championship without losing a single game.

“The way the team turned it around was a big testament to the mentality of the players and the coach,” said Mehtab. “The killer instinct that they showed, to never accept defeat in the face of

adversity shows their character. People, especially footballers go through rough phases, but it’s all about how you come back from such phases. This is exactly what I told the youngsters in our club while watching the matches.”

“Such trophies on the international stage are always good for Indian football, it bodes well for the future. As a former National Team player, I would always love to see the boys win more. That will always help take Indian football forward together,” the veteran midfield general averred.

The 28-member list of probables is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Prateek Kumar Singh, Mohammad Nawaz.

Defenders: Narender Gahlot, Bikash Yumnam, Alex Saji, Hormipam Ruivah, Halen Nongtdu, Asish Rai, Sumit Rathi, Akash Mishra, Sahil Panwar. Midfielders: SK Sahil, Suresh Singh, Amarjit Singh, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Deepak Tangri, Rahul KP, Komal Thatal, Nikhil Raj, Bryce Miranda, Princeton Rebello. Forwards: Vikram Partap Singh, Rahim Ali, Rohit Danu, Aniket Jadhav.

Fixtures: October 24: Oman vs India; October 27: India vs UAE; October 30: India vs Kyrgyz Republic

After winning the SAFF Championship in Male, Maldives on Saturday, the likes of Dheeraj Singh, Suresh Singh, Lalengmawia Ralte, Jeakson Singh, and Rahim Ali have joined the U23 side in Bengaluru.

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Wanindu Hasaranga’s 71-run knock backed up by an all-round bowling performance saw Sri Lanka defeat Ireland by 70 runs in Group A of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

With this win, Sri Lanka has progressed to the Super 12s from Group A. The match between Ireland and Namibia on Friday is now a shootout, and the winner will progress to the Super 12s stage of the ongoing T20 World Cup. Chasing 172, Ireland lost its opener Kevin O’Brien (5) in the very first over to Chamika Karunaratne and the innings got off to a bad start. Maheesh Theekshana then got among the act as he sent Paul Stirling (7) back to the hut. Ireland went further into a slump as Hasaranga bowled Gareth Delany (2) and the side lost three wickets with just 32 runs on the board.

Curtis Campher and Andrew Balbirnie then got together at the crease and the duo stitched together a partnership for the fourth wicket. Both batters put together a stand of 53 runs, but this finally came to an end in the 13th over as Theekshana dismissed Campher (24), reducing Ireland to 85/4.

In the end, the task proved too much for Ireland and Sri Lanka registered a 70-run win.

Earlier, Wanindu Hasaranga and Pathum Nissanka registered knocks of 71 and 61 as Sri Lanka posted a score of 171/7. Put into bat, Sri Lanka got off to the worst start possible as the side lost its first three wickets with just eight runs on the board. Paul Stirling dismissed Kusal Perera (0) while Joshua Little sent Dinesh Chandimal (6) and Avishka Fernando (0) back to the pavilion. Hasaranga then joined Nissanka in the middle and the duo retrieved the innings for the Islanders, with Hasaranga playing the role of the aggressor.

Hasaranga and Nissanka went great guns in the middle and at the 15-over mark, Sri Lanka’s score read 130/3 with the side poised to score big runs. Ireland finally got the much-needed breakthrough in the 16th over as Mark Adair dismissed Hasaranga (71), ending the 123-run stand for the fourth wicket. In the final four overs, Sri Lanka managed to add 34 more runs, taking the score past the 170-run mark.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 171/7 (Wanindu Hasaranga 71, Pathum Nissanka 61; Joshua Little 4-23) vs Ireland 101 all out (Andrew Balbirnie 41, Curtis Campher 24; Maheesh Theekshana 3-17).

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Ashwin, Rahul and Rohit standout performers as India defeat Australia in warm-up



Ravichandran Ashwin, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma were the standout performers as India defeated Australia by eight wickets in the warm-up match of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here at the ICC Academy Ground on Wednesday.

While Ashwin took two wickets, Rahul and Rohit played knocks of 39 and 60 respectively as India chased down the target of 153 quite comfortably. Suryakumar Yadav also chipped in with an innings of 38 runs.

Chasing 153, India got off to a steady start as openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma put together 42 runs inside the first six overs. Both batters stitched together an opening stand of 68 runs and it finally ended in the 10th over as Ashton Agar had Rahul (39) caught at the hands of David Warner.

Rohit and Suryakumar Yadav did not let the asking rate creep up, and the duo kept on registering boundaries at regular intervals, keeping India ahead. Both batters ensured that India does not suffer from more hiccups, and with the side 26-run away from the target, Rohit decided to retire hurt after playing a knock of 60.

In the end, India registered a comfortable victory with Suryakumar (38) and Hardik Pandya (14) remaining unbeaten at the crease.

Earlier, Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis played knocks of 57 and 41 respectively as Australia posted a total of 152/5. Opting to bat first, Australia got off to the worst start possible as David Warner (1), Aaron Finch (8) and Mitchell Marsh (0) lost their wickets cheaply. Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Warner and Marsh while Ravindra Jadeja sent Finch back to the pavilion, reducing Australia to 11/3 in the fourth over.

Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith then got together at the crease and the duo revived the innings for Australia. Both batters put on 61 runs for the fourth wicket, but as soon as Australia started gaining an upper hand, Rahul Chahar dismissed Maxwell (37) in the 12th over, reducing Australia to 72/4.

Marcus Stoinis then joined Smith in the middle and the duo accelerated the innings for Australia. Smith went on to bring up his half-century in the 17th over of the innings. In the final two overs, 21 more runs were scored and as a result, Australia posted a total of more than the 150-run mark.

Brief Scores: Australia 152/5 (Steve Smith 57, Marcus Stoinis 41; Ravichandran Ashwin 2-8) vs India 153/2 (Rohit Sharma 60, KL Rahul 39; Ashton Agar 1-14).

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