ISL 7: Our mentality has been our strength, says Mumbai City skipper Amrinder Singh - The Daily Guardian
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ISL 7: Our mentality has been our strength, says Mumbai City skipper Amrinder Singh

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Panaji (Goa) [India], March 4 (ANI): Mumbai City FC clinched the ISL League Winners Shield last week by topping the points table and Islanders’ skipper Amrinder Singh feels playing the tournament in the bio-secure bubble wasn’t easy but the mental strength of the players made it possible for the side to perform with utmost perfection.
Amrinder, who is also the goalkeeper, finished the league stage with as many as nine clean sheets and played a pivotal role in Mumbai City’s excellent performances this season.
Under Sergio Lobera, Amrinder and boys set a number of records on their way to the League Winners Shield, most notably registering the quickest-ever qualification to the playoffs in ISL history.
“Our mentality has been our strength this season. It hasn’t been easy living in the bio-secure bubble here, away from our families and playing without our fans. There were many tough moments in the season where we have had to fight together and show what we as a family are all about,” said Amrinder in a statement.
“We have plenty of leaders in this group, like Rowllin, Mandar, Bart, and many more. Having such figures alongside you in the dressing room really helps keep the focus where it should be. A lot of the younger boys in the team have also stepped up and shown their calibre and while they have looked up to the senior players in the squad, the seniors have also learnt a lot from them,” he added.
Mumbai City FC have also qualified for the group stages of the 2022 AFC Champions League, becoming only the second Indian club to achieve the feat.
Mumbai City also went on a 12-match unbeaten run, setting an all-time ISL record for the longest streak without defeat in a single campaign before the record was bettered later in the season by the Islanders’ next and semi-final opponents, FC Goa.
Having bagged the League Winners Shield and qualifying for the AFC Champions League, the Islanders’ custodian Amrinder said, “It’s a proud moment for every single person associated with Mumbai City, be it the squad, the staff or our incredible fans who have backed us in this difficult season from back home in Mumbai and across India.”
“Bringing home the first silverware in the club’s history and an opportunity to represent India in Asia is special and we’re delighted that our hard work throughout the season has shown,” he further said.
“I have been at Mumbai City for five seasons now and to be a part of this success with the club that is close to my heart is and always will be a special highlight of my life,” added an elated Amrinder.
The 27-year-old was quick to credit head coach Sergio Lobera, who Amrinder believes has been the key reason behind Mumbai City’s huge success this season.
“The coach Sergio Lobera laid down the marker right at the start of the season itself and told us we need to be ambitious. He’s an incredible coach and a guide to have and his success in India speaks for itself,” said Amrinder.
“With a short pre-season, it was a little challenging to adapt to a new philosophy with more than a few new players in the team but full credit to the coach to get us playing his style and his brand of beautiful football and you can see the results it has gotten us,” he added.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola recently congratulated Mumbai City for their success in the ISL this year.
Commenting on Guardiola’s praise, the Indian international ‘keeper expressed, “It’s special when someone as successful as Pep Guardiola takes notice and speaks about us. His words will only motivate us to go on and work harder and hopefully achieve more success together as a group. Now, our sights are firmly set on the semi-finals and the challenge it brings. We’re ready to put our best foot forward and hopefully, bring home our first ISL trophy.”
The ISL League Shield Winners Mumbai City FC will play their two-legged semi-finals against FC Goa on Friday and on March 8, at the Fatorda Stadium and at GMC Bambolim respectively. (ANI)

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Thought I had won: Mary Kom on ‘unfair’ defeat at Olympics

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Six-time world champion Mary Kom was “shocked and upset” to learn about her Tokyo Olympics exit on Thursday. Mary Kom faced a shocking defeat—split decision—at the hands of Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia to bow out from the tournament. Valencia won bout 3-2.

However, Mary Kom thought she had won since the ace boxer had clinched two rounds after going down in the first essay. “I thought I have won but after some time I saw Kiren Rijiju’s tweet, I was shocked and upset at the same time (to know that I have lost the match),” Mary Kom told reporters two hours after the bout.

After Mary Kom’s defeat, Kiren Rijiju, the Union Minister of Law and Justice, said the boxer was a clear winner but judges had their “own calculations”.

“Dear Mary Kom, you lost in Tokyo Olympics by just one point but for me you are always a champion! You have achieved what no other female boxer in the world has ever achieved. You are a legend. India is proud of you BOXING & OLYMPICS will miss you @MangteC,” Rijiju tweeted.

Mary Kom slammed the International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Task Force for “poor judging” in her Flyweight (51kg) pre-quarterfinal at the Tokyo Games which she lost despite winning two of the three rounds. The Task Force is conducting the boxing competition at the Tokyo Olympics after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) was suspended by the IOC for alleged mismanagement and financial wrongdoing. “I don’t know and understand this decision, what’s wrong with the Task Force? What’s wrong with the IOC?” she asked in a telephonic interview to PTI after the 2-3 loss to Colombian Ingrit Valencia in the pre-quarters in Tokyo. “I was also a member of the Task Force. I was even giving them suggestions and supporting them in ensuring a clean competition. But what have they done with me?” she said.

“I was happy inside the ring, when I came out, I was happy because in my mind I knew I had won. When they took me for doping, I was still happy. Only when I saw the social media and my coach (Chhote Lal Yadav repeated it to me), it sunk in that I have lost,” she said. “I had beaten this girl twice in the past. I couldn’t believe that her hand was raised by the referee. I swear, it hadn’t struck me that I lost, I was so sure,” she added.

“The worst part is that there is no review or protest. Honestly I am sure the world must have seen, this is too much what they have done,” she said. “I should have got the second round unanimously, how was it 3-2? What happened was totally unpredictable,” she reasoned.

The IOC’s Boxing Task Force had promised a more transparent judging system after amateur boxing’s credibility took a hit during the 2016 Rio Olympics judging fiasco which led to suspension of 36 officials.

Mary Kom is part of the BTF’s 10-member athletes ambassadors group.

Valencia advanced to the quarter-finals of the showpiece event after defeating Mary Kom in the women’s flyweight (48-51kg) category event.

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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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