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Indian men’s hockey team return to international competition with roaring win against Germany

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Krefeld [Germany], February 28 (ANI): Playing their first international match in over 12 months, the Indian men’s hockey team led by PR Sreejesh put up a scintillating show as they outclassed hosts Germany 6-1 in the first of their four-match Europe tour on Sunday.
India’s goal scorers were Nilakanta Sharma (13′), Vivek Sagar Prasad (27′, 28′), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (41′), Akashdeep Singh (42′), and Harmanpreet Singh (47′), who outplayed the hosts and led their team to a winning start on their first assignment of 2021.
Hungry to perform, the Indian men’s hockey team played with an intent to win. They went on an attacking mode right from the start, putting pressure on the German line-up. After creating potential opportunities in the striking circle, India earned a penalty corner in the 13th minute of the first quarter, which saw midfielder Nilakanta Sharma breaking the deadlock for the visitors.
However, in the next minute, the German forward Constantin Staib scored an equaliser making the scoreline 1-1 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter started with the hosts putting pressure on India and earned themselves two back-to-back PCs in the initial minutes. The Indian side made brilliant saves and created a quick counterattack which led to midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad scoring two back-to-back goals in the 27th and 28th minute taking India’s lead to 3-1 at half-time.
In the 3rd quarter, the hosts started off on the front foot again and earned as many as six PCs. However, the Indian penalty corner defence led by Skipper PR Sreejesh held sway to thwart each of the German’s attempts. Soon after a solid display in defence, Indian forwards Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Akashdeep Singh netted scored brilliant goals in the 41st and 42nd minute, respectively to put the world number four Indian team in the driver’s seat, leading the scoreline 5-1 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Another glorious opportunity came for the Indian men at the 47th minute in the form of a PC, which saw a direct flick from Harmanpreet Singh giving India a 6-1 lead in the first match. Playing under pressure, the hosts did try hard to make a comeback, and they even pulled out their goalkeeper to put an extra attacker in the team but a great overall performance from the Indian side ensured a 6-1 victory.
“It was absolutely thrilling to play after so long and the coach’s advice to us was ‘go and enjoy the game’ and so we did. This was the same German side who are playing the FIH Hockey Pro League matches, and I feel we did well against this squad, considering we were playing after a year. We had worked a lot on individual skills and had planned tactical play against Germany back in the camp. We just had to execute it today and it was really exciting to be back with a win,” stated PR Sreejesh after the scintillating performance.
After a day’s break, the Indian men’s team will take on hosts Germany on Tuesday, March 2. (ANI)

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Tokyo Olympics: World No. 1 Kento Momota knocked out

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Japan shuttler Kento Momota on Wednesday was knocked out of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics after the world number one failed to progress from Group A in the men’s singles event.

On Wednesday, Momota was defeated by South Korea’s Heo Kwang-hee. The South Korean defeated Momota 21-15, 21-19. Momota had won his first match of Group A against Timothy Lam 21-12, 21-19, but he failed to rise to the occasion in his next match, and as a result, he has bowed out of the ongoing Olympics in the men’s singles event.

Earlier on Wednesday, India shuttler Sai Praneeth lost his second Group D match against Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in the Tokyo Olympics here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 3. Caljouw defeated Praneeth 21-14, 21-14 in straight games.

Star shuttler PV Sindhu defeated Hong Kong’s Ngan Yi Cheung in her second Group J match of the Tokyo Olympics here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 2 on Wednesday.

Sindhu defeated Ngan Yi Cheung in straight sets 21-9, 21-16 to cruise into the elimination round of women’s singles. Elsewhere on Tuesday, India men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy defeated Great Britain’s duo of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in a crucial final Group A Play Stage game. The Indian duo defeated Lane and Vendy 21-17, 21-19 in their final group stage match.

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Rahi Sarnobat, Manu Bhaker to resume India’s challenge in shooting

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India’s Rahi Sarnobat and Manu Bhaker will resume India’s shooting challenge at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics, when they take the field in the first precision round of qualification in the Women’s 25M Pistol competition on Thursday at the Asaka Shooting range.

The precision round is slated to begin at 5.30 am IST. Rahi, fresh from an ISSF World Cup stage gold in Osijek, Croatia, leading up to the Games and Manu, will have to go through two days of qualification on Thursday and Friday before the top eight are separated after the second rapid-fire round. The 44-strong women’s Sport Pistol field on day six of the Olympic Shooting competition closely resembles the Air Pistol competition of day two and will have all the finalists of that event, barring the Chinese who have changed personnel.

India too has the experienced Rahi, also the reigning Asian Games champion, in place of Yashaswini Deswal who played the Air Pistol event, to accompany Manu.The 15-member squad has six starts to go and is still searching for its first shooting medal at the Games.

India archer Pravin Jadhav crashed out of the men’s individual event in Tokyo Olympics after losing to USA’s Brady Ellison at Yumenoshima Ranking Field on Wednesday. The 25-year-old suffered a 6-0 defeat in the Round of 16 match against Brady Ellison — also the current World Record holder.

World No.1 in men’s recurve category, Brady started the match with 9-10-9 in response to which Jadhav scored 9-8-10, which handed Ellison two easy points. In the second set, Ellison had a very bad start with an 8 but the Indian didn’t manage to benefit from that mistake of the American as he scored a poor 7 with the final arrow after he aimed 10 and 9 with the first two arrows.

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OLYMPICS: INDIA WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM LOSE TO GREAT BRITAIN 4-1

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The Indian women’s hockey team suffered a third successive defeat in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics as Great Britain won the encounter 4-1 here at the Oi Hockey Stadium — South Pitch on Wednesday.

Great Britain got off the blocks very quickly as Hannah Martin opened the scoring from the team’s first circle entry of the match inside just 75 seconds. The Indian team got better as the first quarter progressed to create few chances here and there, but GB’s defence assured their team went ahead without conceding a goal into the next fifteen minutes.

In the second quarter, Hannah Martin again prevailed for GB as she scored her second goal of the match. Indian goalkeeper saved the first shot but Martin converted on the second chance as the ball crept in between the feet of Savita.

India responded in quite a fashion after Sharmila Devi came up with a poacher’s finish from a PC. This was Sjoerd Marijne’s team first goal in Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the Indian No. 7 waited at the goal-mouth to guide the ball in following the flick by Gurjit Kaur.

The second half gave Indians no respite despite winning multiple PCs as GBR extended their lead by scoring on the rebound. The fourth quarter had the same story in store for the Women in Blue as the defending Olympic Champions hit the final nail by scoring their fourth goal of the match.

This is India’s third successive defeat after losing to Germany in their second match 0-2 on Monday.

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FORWARD LINE HAS TO DO BETTER AGAINST ARGENTINA IF INDIAN HOCKEY WANT TO DO WELL IN TOKYO

V BHASKARAN

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The Indian hockey team has played three matches so far in which they have lost the second match to Australia very badly and the results of the remaining two matches have undoubtedly gone in India’s favor but I am not completely satisfied with the way Indian players have performed. Especially the forward line has disappointed me a lot.

Looking at India’s forward line, it seems that they are not in the match. I have full faith in the abilities of my forward players. Lalit Upadhyay or Dilpreet all are very talented.  All of them have played good hockey recently but they are far from their best performance in the Olympics. Trapping near the forward line is not good. They need to do more than what they are doing. So far only 25 percent of them have come forward.

The need is to continuously do well. Our team has to play the open game. I only say one thing, make the most of the first quarter. Be aggressive in this quarter and score first, which pays a lot. Secondly, we are good during penalty corner, and we can take advantage of it. We don’t have to lose points after losing the match against Australia. Now there is a need to show all-round play. Goal chances have to be created. The way Simranjit Singh was playing, he made way for the goal.

Let’s assume that the defense line will make mistakes but the effort should be that mistakes are minimized. Also, lessons have to be learned from past mistakes. Argentina is the Olympic champion but we are no less than them in terms of capabilities. I am sure the forward line will definitely do better in this important match.

(The author is a member of the gold-winning team at the 1980 Moscow Olympics)

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DHANANJAYA, KARUNARATNE SHINE AS LANKA DEFEAT INDIA IN 2ND T20I

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Dhananjaya de Silva’s unbeaten knock of 40 runs followed by Chamika Karunaratne’s cameo of 12 runs helped Sri Lanka defeat India by four wickets in the second T20I of the three-match series here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Wednesday.

With this win, Sri Lanka has levelled the three-match series at 1-1. The final game will be played on Thursday. Chasing 133, Sri Lanka got off to a bad start as Avishka Fernando (11) was sent back to the pavilion by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the second over of the innings. Sadeera Samarawickrama scored 8 runs from 12 balls and his struggle finally ended in the 7th over as Varun Chakravarthy clean bowled him, reducing Sri Lanka to 39/2.

Skipper Dasun Shanaka (3) failed to leave a mark as he was stumped by Sanju Samson of the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav and Sri Lanka were reduced to 55/3, still needing 78 runs more for the win from 65 balls. The set batsman Minod Bhanuka (36) was also dismissed by Kuldeep and Sri Lanka was put on the back foot at 66/4.

Dhananjaya de Silva and Wanindu Hasaranga then joined hands together and they put on 28 runs in quick succession, but this partnership was cut short by Rahul Chahar as he dismissed Hasaranga (15) with Sri Lanka still 39 runs away from the target.

In the last three overs, Sri Lanka required 28 runs for the win, and de Silva along with Chamika Karunaratne ensured that the hosts get over the line.Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan top-scored with a knock of 40 runs as India posted 132/5 in the allotted 20 overs. Sent into bat first, India got off to a steady start as openers Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad put on 45 runs inside the first six overs. The first-wicket stand of 49 runs finally came to an end on the final delivery of the seventh over as Gaikwad (21) was sent back to the pavilion by Dasun Shanaka.

Devdutt Padikkal then joined Dhawan in the middle and both batters found it tough to rotate the strike. However, in the 11th over, Padikkal broke the shackles as he dispatched Dhananjaya de Silva for a massive six. However, the 32-run stand between these two batters finally ended in the 13th over as Akila Dananjaya clean bowled Dhawan (40), reducing India to 81/2.

In trying to look for a big shot, Padikkal (29) also perished in the 16th over, having been clean bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga, reducing India to 99/3.Sanju Samson (7) also failed to leave a mark and India were struggling to post a respectable score on the board.

In the final overs, India struggled to register boundaries and were restricted to under the 150-run mark. For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Navdeep Saini remained unbeaten on 13 and 1 respectively.

Brief Scores: India 132/5 (Shikhar Dhawan 40, Devdutt Padikkal 29, Akila Dananjaya 2-29); Sri Lanka 133/6 (Minod Bhanuka 36, Dhananjaya de Silva 40*, Kuldeep Yadav 2-30).

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Tokyo Olympics: Sindhu, Pooja, Deepika steal spotlight on Day 5

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Shuttler P.V. Sindhu, archer Deepika Kumari, and boxer Pooja Rani stole the show for the Indian contingent on Wednesday in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, but the women’s hockey team disappointed and their road to the knockout stage is now looking difficult.

Shuttler P.V. Sindhu and archer Deepika KumariBoxer Pooja Rani

It was shuttler Sindhu who brought respite to the entire nation as she stormed into the pre-quarterfinals in the women’s singles in the ongoing Olympics. Sindhu defeated Hong Kong’s Ngan Yi Cheung in her second Group J match. The 26-year-old defeated Ngan Yi Cheung in straight sets 21-9, 21-16 to cruise into the elimination round of women’s singles. Archer Deepika Kumari defeated USA’s Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez at Yumenoshima Ranking Field on Wednesday. The India archer defeated her opponent from the US 6-4 in the 1/16 eliminations round. The match was on a knife’s edge, but Deepika’s composure was amazing to watch, and she ended up winning the match.

Boxer Pooja Rani registered a dominating performance as she stormed into the quarter-finals of the women’s middleweight (69-75kg) category after defeating Ichrak Chaib of Algeria in the Round of 16 here at the Kokugikan Arena. Rani defeated Chaib 5-0.

The day had started off on a bad note for the Indian contingent as the women’s hockey team stumbled to a 1-4 defeat against Great Britain. This is now the third consecutive match that the Indian women’s hockey team has lost. The side earlier suffered defeats at the hands of the Netherlands and Germany.

This is India’s third successive defeat after losing to Germany in their second match 0-2 on Monday. The Netherlands had thrashed India in their opening game on Sunday. India will now face Ireland (July 30, 2021), and South Africa (July 31, 2021) before the knockout stage, which begins on August 2.

Archer Tarundeep Rai had shown an amazing fighting spirit to make a comeback and win against Ukraine’s Oleksii Hunbin 6-4 to march into the round of 16. However, his campaign ended on the very same day as he lost to Israel’s Itay Shanny in the 1/16 eliminations round.

A similar fate was in store for archer Pravin Jadhav as he crashed out of the men’s individual event in Tokyo Olympics after losing to USA’s Brady Ellison. The 25-year-old suffered a 6-0 defeat in the Round of 16 match against Brady Ellison — also the current World Record holder.

India shuttler Sai Praneeth lost his second Group D match against Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in the Tokyo Olympics at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 3. Caljouw defeated Praneeth 21-14, 21-14 in straight games.With this loss, Praneeth has failed to qualify for the next stage as he lost both his group stage matches. In the first game, Praneeth was the one in the lead, but Caljouw staged a comeback and he took the first game 21-14. A similar story unfolded in the second game, as Praneeth was not able to capitalise on a good start, and in the end, he ended up losing the match in straight games.

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