Star Indian paddler Gnanasekaran Sathiyan has given a thumbs-up to the way the 36th National Games is being held and have lauded the efforts of Gujarat Government in organizing the multi-discipline world sporting spectacle at a world class level.
In an exclusive chat with India News Gujarat, the country’s highest ranked table tennis player said, “I am very happy to be here in Surat for the National Games. The way the event is being organized is at par with international events and I am delighted that I could be a part of this event.”
The table tennis competition of the Games has been preponed and is being held in Surat ahead of the official opening ceremony on September 29th due to players’ international commitment.
Speaking on the infrastructure for the table tennis event and the event as a whole, Sathiyan said, “I have played here before and won medals as well. The 2015 Commonwealth Championships were held here and to be honest this is a world class venue. They should make this venue exclusive for table tennis events in the country. It is great that we are able to play in such a great and fantastic arena. Everyone will definitely enjoy playing here and I hope all the top players play to the best of their abilities here.”
Gujarat as a state is famous for its hospitality and Sathiyan wants to use this opportunity of playing in Surat to explore the famous places in Surat as well as dig into the savories that Gujarat is famous for.
“Obviously I have heard a lot about Gujarat and Surat in particular from my teammate (Harmeet Desai) who is from here. Gujarati food is famous all over the country and it is a really great opportunity for me to try out the dishes here. So, obviously since we are here for the event, hopefully I would get to visit famous places and try out different food on offer here in Surat,” the 2022 Commonwealth Games men’s team gold medalist said.
India has definitely become a force to reckon with on the global stage and Sathiyan feels that a lot of credit for it goes to the Government of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s active involvement in the sports sector.
“The kind of support that we get from the government is outstanding and it has changed our outlook towards the government. We have been getting a lot of support from the government and have helped us a lot in winning international medals for India. Even our Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to athletes individually and is always ready to support us which is a huge motivating factor for all the athletes of the country. And I am sure if the support continues, we will very soon start doing well at the Olympics as well,” he concluded.
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FIFA honours Sunil Chhetri with docu series ‘Captain Fantastic’
Governing body of world football FIFA in its bid to honour Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri immense contribution towards the sport in India has come up with a unique and noble gesture.
Captain Marvel is currently the third highest active goal scorer with 84 strikes and fifth on all-time list trailing Portuguese great Cristiano Ronaldo (117) and Argentine magician Lionel Messi (86). Sunil will have a special three-episode series dedicated to his life and career and can be streamed on the digital platform of the federation FIFA+.
The series titled ‘Kick Off – Captain Fantastic’ will cover everything right including his personal and professional life and the people who has been his pillar of support for all these years.
FIFA made the decision public on Twitter and in a heart-warming photo placing Sunil alongside Ronaldo and Messi, wrote “You know all about Ronaldo and Messi, now get the definitive story of the third highest scoring active men’s international. Captain Fantastic is available on FIFA+ now.”
As per media reports, the series was shot in Bengaluru and Delhi. Both cities hold a special place for him as he plies his skills with Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League and Delhi is the place where he grew up. He is India’s most-capped player and also its leading goal-scorer.
Chhetri helped India clinch the 2007, 2009, and 2012 Nehru Cup trophies and 2011, 2015, and 2021 editions of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. The star footballer has also been honoured with the AIFF Player of the Year award for a record seven times.
Shubman Gill smashes maiden county cricket century against Sussex
Young Indian batter Shubman Gill registered his first-ever county cricket century, playing for Glamorgan against Sussex in their ongoing County Championship Division Two match on Tuesday.
In the match, the stylish batter from Punjab smashed 119 runs in 139 balls, consisting of 16 fours and two sixes. He struck the ball at a solid strike rate of 85.61. He was, however, dismissed by Jack Carson. Gill is having a solid stint in county cricket so far. He started off the season with a bang, slamming 92 runs in 148 balls against Worcestershire. However, his next outing against Middlesex saw him scoring only 22 and 11. In this match against Sussex, he outdid himself by scoring 119. So far, he has scored 244 runs in four innings at an average of 61.00, with a century and fifty each.
Earlier in August, it was announced that Gill will be playing for Glamorgan for the remainder of the County Championship season. It came after he won two back-to-back ‘Man of the Series’ awards in series against Zimbabwe (245 runs, one century and fifty in three matches) and West Indies (205 runs, two fifties in three matches).
Gill is the third Indian to wear the Glamorgan jersey after former India head coach Ravi Shastri played for the team from 1987-1991 and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly in the year 2005 donned the jersey of the English County club.
Sussex is struggling in the second division of the championship.
In 14 matches they have played so far, they have won only one, lost six and drawn six.
They are at the second-last position in points tally with 120 points.
Coming to the match against Sussex, after opting to bat first, Glamorgan posted 533/9 declared in their first innings, with centuries from Gill (119), Chris Cooke (141) and fifties from skipper David Lloyd (56) and Ajaz Patel (51) taking the side to a huge score. Sean Hunt (3/84) was the best bowler for Sussex. Sussex is currently at 88/1, with skipper Tom Haines (38) and Tom Alsop (3*) unbeaten. They trail in the match by 445 runs after Day two.
Hanuma Vihari to lead Rest of India squad against Saurashtra in Irani Cup
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday announced Rest of India (ROI) squad for the Irani Cup 2022 to be played against the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy Champions Saurashtra from October 1-5, 2022 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot.
The prestigious tournament is back after three years after it was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. India batter Hanuma Vihari captain of the Rest of India team, while Mayank Agarwal has also been picked in the squad. Yash Dhull, who led India to the U-19 World Cup in 2022, has also been added along with young pace Umran Malik.
Saurashtra emerged victorious in the Ranji final in March 2020, beating Bengal. They were supposed to play Irani Cup a week later before COVID-19 put things to a halt.
There was no red ball domestic cricket in India during the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19. Ranji made its return in the 2021-22 season, with Madhya Pradesh clinching its maiden title by defeating multi-time champions Mumbai by six wickets in the final back in June.
The previous edition of the competition was held back in February 2019 in which Vidarbha beat the Rest of India on the basis of the first innings lead in Nagpur.
The Rest of India squad will be coached by Sitanshu Kotak, the former Saurashtra captain, who is currently part of VVS Laxman’s larger coaching group at the National Cricket Academy.
Rest of India squad: Hanuma Vihari (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Yash Dhull, Sarfaraz Khan, Yashasvi Jaiswal, K.S.Bharat, Upendra Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Saurabh Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Mukesh Kumar, Umran Malik, Kuldeep Sen and Arzan Nagwaswalla.
Saurashtra squad: Jaydev Unadkat (capt), Cheteshwar Pujara, Sheldon Jackson, Prerak Mankad, Arpit Vasavada, Chirag Jani, Dharmendra Jadeja, Chetan Sakariya, Parth Bhut, Snell Patel (wk), Harvik Desai, Vishvaraj Jadeja, Kamlesh Makwana, Kushang Patel and Kishan Parmar.
Shubman Gill registers maiden century in county cricket
Indian opener Shubman Gill scored a scintillating 119 to register his maiden century in the County Championship here on Tuesday.
Playing against Sussex, the 23-year-old took 123 balls to reach the three-figure mark to help Glamorgan to a healthy total in the crucial match. Glamorgan are currently eight points behind second-placed Middlesex and need a win to stay in the hunt to earn promotion to the top tier of the county championship from Division Two.
Shubman, a regular for India in red-ball cricket, played a total of 139 deliveries, and his innings at the top of the order consisted of 16 fours and two huge hits over the fence.
Gill had made his debut for the English county against Worcestershire earlier this month and scored 92.
The Punjab batter has scored a total of 3002 first-class career runs in 37 matches with the help of seven centuries and 16 fifties at an average of 52.66.
Magnus Carlsen accuses American grandmaster Hans Niemann of cheating
Under fire from the chess fraternity for allegedly cheating against Hans Niemann of the USA, World Champion Magnus Carlsen has come up with his version and accused the former of cheating, which forced him to take such unprecedented steps.
The Norwegian took to twitter to issue a statement on why he withdrew from his games against the American.
“At the 2022 Sinquefield Cup, I made the unprecedented professional decision to withdraw from the tournament after my round-three game against Hans Niemann. A week later during the Champions Chess Tour, I resigned against Hans Niemann after playing only one move,” the statement from Carlsen read.
“I know that my actions have frustrated many in the chess community. I am frustrated. I want to play chess. I want to continue to play chess at the highest level in the best events,” he added.
During the third round of the game against Niemann at the Sinquefield Cup, Carlsen succumbed to a shock defeat to the American.
Following that, he withdrew from the event, and last week, he once again resigned after just one move against Niemann at Julius Baer Generation Cup. Niemann is behind Carlsen by almost 200 Elo points, a measure used to calculate the relative skill level of chess players.
Carlsen said that cheating is a big deal and poses an “existential threat” to the game.
“I also believe that chess organisers and all those who care about the sanctity of the game we love should seriously consider increasing security measures and methods of cheat detection for over-the-board chess.”
“When Niemann was invited at the last minute to the 2022 Sinquefield Cup, I strongly considered withdrawing prior to the event. I ultimately chose to play.”
“I believe that Niemann has cheated more—and more recently—than he has publicly admitted. His over-the-board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game, in the Sinquefield Cup, I had the impression that he was not tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions, while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do. This game contributed to changing my perspective,” Carlsen alleged.
The 19-year-old grandmaster has admitted to cheating twice, as per Chess.com, when he was 12 and 16 years of age. However, he regrets that.
“We must do something about cheating, and for my part going forward, I do not want to play against people that have cheated repeatedly in the past, because I do not know what they are capable of doing in the future,” added Carlsen in his statement.
“There is more that I would like to say. Unfortunately, at this time I am limited in what I can say without explicit permission from Niemann to speak openly. So far, I have only been able to speak with my actions, and those actions have stated clearly that I am not willing to play chess with Niemann. I hope that the truth on this matter comes out, whatever it may be,” the world champion concluded.
India goes down 0-3 against Vietnam in an international friendly
India suffered a 0-3 defeat at the hands of hosts Vietnam in their second and final match of the Hung Thinh Friendly Football Tournament at the Thing Nhat Stadium here on Tuesday. The opening exchanges saw India get off on the front foot, winning the first corner of the game, one that Sunil Chhetri swung in for Anirudh Thapa, who was lurking inside the six-yard box, but the ball evaded the latter.
At the other end, Nguyen Cong Phuong of Vietnam was played into the Indian box on the left and was looking to put in a dangerous cut-back, but Blue Tigers center-back Sandesh Jhingan was on hand to avert the danger.
The hosts did not take too long to jump into the lead when a clearance from a Vietnam corner fell kindly for Phan Van Duc, who did well to volley it home with his back turned toward the goal, giving his side the lead on the 10th minute.
Despite the lead, Vietnam did not sit back, looking to score their second of the night, but that also created gaps at the back. Akash Mishra and Ashique Kuruniyan combined on the left to create a wonderful opportunity for India in the 26th minute. Mishra soared up the left and fed it through to Ashique in the box. The latter took a touch and sent in a left-footed volley, which went wide.
Sahal Abdul Samad had a great opportunity around the half-hour mark when Udanta played it to him inside the box. He stepped past his marker and tried to cross it, but the ball went straight to Vietnam goalkeeper Tran Nguyen Manh.
Vietnam made a couple of changes at the start of the second half, and it was second-half substitute Nguyen Van Toan who doubled their lead four minutes into the second half. Giving chase after an aerial ball, Van Toan barged past Indian center-back Anwar Ali, entered the box, and slipped it into the bottom corner.
Stimac soon introduced some fresh legs into the fray, looking to change India’s fortunes, as Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, and Roshan Singh were brought on for Chhetri, Udanta, and Chinglensana, with around 25 minutes of regulation time to go.
While these substitutions did allow India to gain a bit more control of possession in the middle of the park, that also left spaces behind, which is exactly what Vietnam exploited for their third goal of the night. Bui Hoang Viet Ahn’s cross from the right was headed clear by Jhingan, but Nguyen Van Quyet got on the stray ball and smashed it home.
India threw bodies forward in the closing stages, and a cross by substitute Brandon Fernandes directed towards Sandesh Jhingan inside the Vietnam box created some excitement, but the latter’s header was straight at the keeper.
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