ISL 7: Grant hoping to finish the season with a 'smile on our face' - The Daily Guardian
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ISL 7: Grant hoping to finish the season with a ‘smile on our face’

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Goa [India], February 24 (ANI): After suffering a defeat against NorthEast United FC, SC East Bengal’s assistant coach Tony Grant shifted his focus on the next game and hoping to finish the Indian Super League (ISL) season with a “smile on our face”.
NorthEast United FC picked up a 2-1 win against ninth-placed SC East Bengal at the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday to stay on course for a top-four finish in the ISL 2020-21.
Suhair Vadakkepeedika opened the scoring for NorthEast in the second half before the Red and Gold Brigade’s Sarthak Golui put the ball into his own net. SC East Bengal were then reduced to 10 men following Raju Gaikwad’s send-off and Golui pulled one back for the Kolkata club late in the game.
“Hopefully some of our injured players get fit and we can field our strongest team. And hopefully, we can finish the season with a smile on our face [they play Odisha FC on Saturday]… we can catch the top four because when you analyze the games we’ve played this year with the teams in the top four, there’s not a great deal between us. All we have to do is get the recruitment right, the training programme is fine. These are the things that need to be done and spoken about for the next season,” Grant said after the match.
Analysing the match, Grant said: “I thought first half we sort of controlled the game, I didn’t see them really causing us many problems… the goal came from a long ball to our forward and no one backed him up. Then there was a lack in concentration and cohesion. …We had a 20-minute spell when the lads all of a sudden just fell apart before they got back into the game. But the first goal was not a good goal to give away.” (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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India’s athletics coach Nikolai Snesarev dies

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Friday condoled the sudden demise of noted distance running coach Nikolai Snesarev in the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala.
“The 72-year-old Belarussian national died with his boots on, having overseen his wards’ training this morning,” AFI said in a statement.
AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla led the outpouring of grief in the athletics community. “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 benefit 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 10,000m 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. And, 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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Neeraj Chopra sets new target for himself after breaking national record

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): After breaking a national record, Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has a new target in mind, which is to throw over 90m.
Neeraj warmed the hearts of Indian athletics fans with a national record throw of 88.08m on his return to the competitive fray after more than a year in the Indian Grand Prix III at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports here on Friday. His best throw was a centimetre better than the record he set in the Asian Games in Jakarta on August 27, 2018.
Each of his four legal throws were better than the 81.63m that Shivpal Singh managed with his fifth attempt on a day when the wind added to the challenge of the throwers.
“I want to throw over 90,” Neeraj said when asked if he has a target set for himself during a virtual press conference.
Neeraj also expressed elation over breaking the national record. “It’s a good feeling to break a national record,” he said. The athlete also said: “It’s is always good to improve and I am happy with the achievement. I had a good release in that throw.”
Owing to injuries and coronavirus pandemic, Neeraj did not compete for a long time. Therefore, the athlete is also delighted over making a return.
Talking about the difficulties he faced during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Neeraj said: “It was difficult when there was a lockdown. However, things started to get a bit normal after the lockdown was lifted.”
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) Adille Sumariwalla also attended the virtual conference and said it is important to have good bench strength. He said having a group of good athletes is beneficial for the players as they help each other improve as well as push each other to do even better. (ANI)

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Swiss Open: Satwiksairaj-Ashwini, Ajay Jayaram crash out from tournament

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Basel [Switzerland], March 5 (ANI): 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 on Friday.
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 being 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.
Earlier, ace Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap had a disappointing start as they crashed out of the Swiss Open in the first round on Wednesday.
Olympic medalist Nehwal lost in a tough-fought clash against Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan 16-21, 21-17, 21-23 that lasted for 58 minutes, while Nehwal’s husband Kashyap lost to lower-ranked Pablo Abian of Spain 15-21, 10-21 in straight games. (ANI)

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Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka cleared to travel to West Indies, will join team during ODI series

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Colombo [Sri Lanka], March 5 (ANI): Sri Lanka all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who miss the flight to West Indies due to an issue related to securing his visa, will now travel on Sunday to join his teammates.
Shanaka, who was named in the ‘White Ball Squad’ for West Indies series, did not travel with the team due to a visa issue he confronted, pursuant to the loss of his previous passport, which had a valid visa for the USA stamped on it.
Sri Lanka Cricket on Friday said that the all-rounder will now travel to West Indies via France and is expected to join the national team during the ODI segment of the tour.
“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce that Dasun Shanaka will travel to West Indies on Sunday, 07th March 2021,” the SLC said in an official statement.
Meanwhile, West Indies defeated Sri Lanka in the first T20I on Wednesday (local time). Kieron Pollard’s six 6s in an over stole the show the hosts registered a comprehensive four-wicket victory.
Chasing 132, the hosts got off to a blazing start as the openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons put on 52 runs in the very first three overs. However, Sri Lanka staged an emphatic comeback as spinner Akila Dananjaya took a hat-trick in the fourth over to send back Lewis (28), Chris Gayle (0), and Nicholas Pooran (0).
But Pollard hit Dananjaya for six 6s in the sixth over to gain the upper hand. He departed after playing a knock of 38 off just 11 balls, but in the end, Jason Holder (29) and Dwayne Bravo (4) guided Windies to a four-wicket win with 41 balls to spare.
With this win, the hosts have gained a 1-0 lead in the series. Both the teams would now lock horns in the second T20I on Friday (local time).
After the T20I series, West Indies will shift focus towards the 50-over format. The first ODI between Sri Lanka and West Indies will be played on March 10. (ANI)

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David de Gea to miss match against Man City, confirms Solskjaer

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Manchester [UK], March 5 (ANI): Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Friday confirmed that David de Gea will be missing the team’s upcoming match against Manchester City.
Earlier in the day, De Gea took to Twitter to announce that his girlfriend Edurne has given birth to their daughter. De Gea had also missed the club’s previous game. Dean Henderson will be playing in place of De Gea in Sunday’s Manchester derby.
“It’s a fantastic day for David, of course. When you become a dad it’s possibly the best feeling you can have. Those who are lucky enough to have had that feeling know exactly what David is going through now. We’ll give him the time he needs before he comes back,” the club’s official website quoted Solskjaer as saying.
“He asked to go home and in the old world it’s a day and you go and you’re ready again. With the pandemic and the quarantines, it’s a different world. Still, we felt when David wanted to be there to support his girlfriend that’s not even a decision to make. Dean [Henderson] came in and played well and he’s ready. I’ll give David the time he needs of course,” he added.
Manchester United are currently placed in the second spot on the Premier League table with 51 points, 14 points behind table-toppers Manchester City. (ANI)

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