Six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg) and Sakshi (54kg) stormed into the Asian Boxing Championship finals after notching up stupendous victories in their last-four stage bouts here on Thursday. While Mary Kom prevailed 4-1 over Mongolia’’s Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg, two-time youth world champion Sakshi upstaged top-seeded Kazakh Dina Zholaman 3-2.
However, Monika (48kg) settled for a bronze medal after going down 0-5 to second seeded Alua Balkibekova of Kazakhstan. The top-seeded Mary Kom dug from her huge reservoir of experience to outwit the sprightly Altantsetseg.
The veteran’’s right hooks were particularly impressive in a compelling performance. She fought with a perilously low guard despite the aggressive intent shown by her rival and relied on her sharp reflexes to score on counter-attacks. The 38-year-old will now be gunning for her sixth gold medal at the continental showpiece. She will be up against Kazakhstan’’s Nazym Kyzaibay, a two-time world champion. Sakshi also endured a tough one against Zholaman but came out trumps, riding on her grit.
Earlier, in an intense contest, Monika just could not keep pace with Balkibekova, who craftily dodged the Indian’’s attacks and connected some eye-catching combination punches to dominate the proceedings. On Wednesday night, the Olympic-bound Ashish Kumar (75kg) lost 2-3 to Asian Games silver-medallist Abilkhan Amankul of Kazakhstan in the quarterfinal.
Also going down in the quarters was Narender (+91kg). He lost 0-5 to Kazakhstan’’s Kamshibek Kunkabayev. On Friday, five Indian men — Amit Panghal (52kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Shiva Thapa (64kg), Vikas krishan (69kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) — will fight it out in the semifinals.
Of these, Panghal and Krishan are bound for Tokyo Olympics. India have secured an unprecedented 15 medals in the tournament.
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Your victories are inspiring generations in sports: PM Modi to Thomas Cup team
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Thomas Cup team of the badminton champions, who shared their experiences of the tournament. The players talked about different aspects of their game, life beyond badminton and more.
The Prime Minister told the team that they will win many more medals in the course of time. They have to play a lot and bloom (khelna bhi hai khilna bhi hai) and have to take the country into the world of sports. “Now India can’t lag behind. Your victories are inspiring generations for sports”, the Prime Minister added. Kidambi Srikanth talked about the great feeling among the player about being recognized by the Prime Minister in a proud way. The Prime Minister asked the team captain about his leadership style and challenges.
The Prime Minister said, “On behalf of the entire country I congratulate you and your entire team as after decades, Indian flag has been firmly planted. This is not a small feat…Keeping the nerve and team together under tremendous pressure is something that I can understand very well. I congratulated you on phone but now I am feeling the joy of complimenting you in person”. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy conveyed the elation and tribulation of the last ten days. He recalled the memorable support that he got from the team and support staff. He said that the team is still re-living the moments of victory.
Chirag Shetty also narrated his journey of the tournament and recalled coming to PM residence with Olympic Contingent. The Prime Minister said that he noted the disappointment among a few players when some of them could not win a medal at the Olympics.
The Prime Minister inquired about the bout of food poisoning that Lakshya faced during the tournament. When asked about his advice for young children who are taking up the sport, Lakshya asked them to devote their full attention to training. The Prime Minister asked Lakshya to recall his strength and balance that he deployed when faced with the trauma of food poisoning and remember the lessons learnt for harnessing his strength and resolve.
HS Prannoy said that this is even a more proud moment as the team could win the prestigious tournament in the 75th year of India’s independence. He said that pressure was immense in the quarter final and semi-final and he was happy that that could be overcome due to the support of the team.
Prime Minister greeted the youngest of the lot, Unnati Hooda who complimented the Prime Minister for never discriminating between medallists and non-medallists. The Prime Minister told her that he firmly believes that Unnati will shine as her name indicates. He told her that she has a long way to go and she should never allow victories to make her feel complacent.
Treesa Jolly told about the excellent family support she received for her sporting quest. The Prime Minister said that the country is proud of the way that our women team played in the Uber Cup.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister said that this team has infused tremendous energy in the country by winning the Thomas cup. A long wait of seven decades finally came to an end. ‘Whosoever understands Badminton, must have dreamt about this, a dream that has been fulfilled by you’ “Such successes inject great energy and confidence in the entire sporting ecosystem of the country. Your victory has done something that cannot be accomplished by greatest of the coaches or the oratory of the leaders”, PM Modi said.
Referring to Uber Cup, the Prime Minister said while we wait for victory we will also make arrangements for that. He expressed the belief that the quality athletes of the present team will soon get better results. “Our women team has shown their time and again their class. It is just a matter of time, if not this time, next time we will surely win”, he added.
AN OUT OF FORM VIRAT SHOULD BAT THIRD DOWN
It is not unusual for sportspersons to see up and downs, even touching the lowest ebb at times, in their career. Virat Kohli is no exception to this phenomenon so common in sports. He has performed below par in this season of IPL. A fine batsman like him could not make a place even among top 20 scorers in the tournament. It was disappointing to see Kohli struggle to make his mark with the bat.
He got out thrice without scoring a single run and scored below 10 six times. He got run out twice. The only solace for him, however, is he was able to cross the 7000-run mark for RCB in the previous match. Another big takeaway for him in this tournament is that he scored two half centuries against Gujarat Titans, who have won the largest number of matches in the league. He scored only 309 runs at an average of 23.77. With a strike rate of 117.93, he has performed quite below than what has been is hallmark.
This is the first occasion when he has scored less than 400 runs after Season 4 of the IPL tournament. I read an observation made by Faf du Plessis, the opening partner of Virat Kohli, after RCB lost to Punjab by 54 runs, with Virat losing his wicket when had scored 20 runs only. The former captain of South Africa cricket team had observed how Virat got out in different ways. He got run out. He was bowled out and was also caught out. Not only that, he also fell to what we call bad umpiring.
However, an innings is enough for a batsman to find his rhythm. I am happy to see the manner Virat Kohli scored 73 runs out of 54 balls in the last match. This would help him find his rhythm again, I am certain. The kind of approach and mindset Virat has reflects in his performance. The way he plays his shots also shows he has a hunger for runs. The innings he played against Gujarat Titans shows amply these qualities. It felt good when he said after the match that he had practiced 90 minutes behind the nets. His hard work had an imprint on his game in this match.
He has a huge fan following across the world, and everybody expects a lot from him. I believe that Virat will not disappoint them in future. He has always been a very hard-working man and these days too he is putting in all efforts to improve his performance. Audiences will certainly see good consequences of what is trying to accomplish.
He has been opening the batting for the last couple of matches. But then the opening slot is known for putting the batsman under tremendous psychological pressure. I feel he should play third down in batting order which suits him well. He would be seen batting in this slot in the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia as well.
Rajkumar Sharma is the coach of Virat Kohli and a Dronacharya Awardee
India announces squad for fifth test against England
The All-India Senior Selection Committee on Sunday named India’s 17-member Test squad for the fifth rescheduled Test against England. The match will be played at Edgbaston, Birmingham from July 1-5. India currently leads the Test series 2-1. The fifth Test match, which was supposed to be held in Old Trafford, Manchester last year, was cancelled due to COVID-19 cases in the Indian contingent.
At that time, the BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test match, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the game. Batter Ajinkya Rahane missed out from the squad due to a hamstring injury that also saw him miss the remainder of the ongoing season of IPL 2022 with Kolkata Knight Riders.
The other Test veteran for India, Cheteshwar Pujara, has made his return to the national side after delivering stupendous performances for Sussex in the County Championship Division Two. Earlier he was dropped from the squad for the home test matches against Sri Lanka.
India’s Test squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain) Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohd Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.
WAS TRYING TO GET INTO POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND WITH EVERY BALL: VIRAT KOHLI
After his match winning half-century against Gujarat Titans, Royal Challengers Bangalore star batter Virat Kohli said that he batted for 90 minutes in the nets and was trying to get into a positive frame of mind with every ball he played.
A knock of 73 off 54 not only brought a struggling batting great back to his form, but also helped RCB clinch an important win over GT by eight wickets as they chased down the target of 169 set by GT to keep their playoffs hopes alive, with captain Du Plessis (44) and Glenn Maxwell (40*) putting other valuable contributions for Bangalore.
“The standout was my preparation for yesterday. I batted for 90 minutes in the nets. I was trying to get into a positive frame of mind with every ball I played. I was just watching the ball and reacting to it, instead of thinking that it seams, swings or turns. I was telling myself to take the most positive option I could. I extended that into my game today. There are moments when you feel doubtful, but when the bowler runs to deliver a ball, you have to watch it and hit it,” said Kohli during a post-match discussion.
Kohli admitted that this season was a challenging time for him and that he had experienced everything that he could not control on the field to the fullest. Du Plessis remarked that it was great the way Kohli handled himself during these challenging times, adding that his intensity on-field during the match was GT was special.
On opening the batting, Du Plessis said, “I think first few overs are extremely important. We have seen this during this season more than any other season. If you escape first 2-3 overs unscathed without any wicket, you can transfer the pressure back. The most important thing is partnership, what you do, what I do and how we do it together.”
Kohli also admitted that he had fun batting with Du Plessis. “We were not discussing too much and not complicating things. Situation was dictating what to do. Had we over complicated things, we could have given dot balls to people that we attacked,” he added. The star batter also said that its great for the team that he and Du Plessis have been in sync in such a great way during their first season together.
With Mumbai Indians set to take on Delhi Capitals on Saturday in a highly important match for RCB’s playoff chances, Kohli quipped, “I think Mumbai has two new supporters. (him and Faf). Not just two, I think 25 more supporters.”
M.S. DHONI CONFIRMS HE WILL PLAY FOR CSK IN IPL 2023
Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday confirmed he will be playing for CSK in the next edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The 40-year-old star batter of CSK announced this during the toss against Rajasthan Royals on Friday. The game against Rajasthan Royals is the last fixture for CSK in this edition of IPL. The CSK, which has won IPL four times with Dhoni has captain, has not made it to playoffs this time. Asked if the fans will see him in the yellow jersey again after this IPL season, Dhoni said “it will it be unfair to not play in Chennai and say thank you”.
“Definitely. It’s a simple reason.. it will be unfair to not play in Chennai and say thank you. Mumbai is one place, whereas as a team and as an individual, I have got a lot of love and affection. But it wouldn’t be nice to the CSK fans,” MS Dhoni said. He hoped that the teams will be travelling to different venues during next year’s IPL.
“And also, hopefully, next year there will be an opportunity where the teams will be travelling so it will be alike thank you to all the different places where we will be playing games at different venues. Whether it will be my last year or not that’s a big question, because you know we can’t really predict something two years down the line, but definitely, I’ll be working hard to come back strong next year,” he added.
In the ongoing IPL 2022, MS Dhoni had stepped down as the skipper of CSK, passing the reins to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. This led to speculations of this being the final IPL season for Dhoni. However, Dhoni was reappointed as the skipper after Jadeja stepped down mid-way through the tournament.
PM Modi’s words motivate you to do better: World boxing champion Nikhat Zareen
India’s Nikhat Zareen expressed happiness after Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated her on winning the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Turkey on Thursday. Zareen has become only the fifth Indian woman to achieve this coveted feat. Zareen defeated Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas 5-0 in the flyweight division of the championship. On this occasion, PM Modi congratulated the newly-crowned IBA Women’s World Boxing Champion and wrote motivating words for her on reaching such a feat.
“I was very happy when I got to know that PM Modi congratulated me. PM Modi tweeted for me and wrote motivational words, and these words push you to do better,” Nikhat Zareen told ANI. Speaking about the upcoming Commonwealth Games Zareen said, “I have started preparing for Commonwealth Games. Now my focus will be on winning in CWG and I will have to work hard.”
“I still can’t believe that I won the gold medal in World Championship. I am excited to go back to India and meet my friend and my family. I’m really happy to win this gold medal for my country,” she added. Speaking about the match, Zareen said, “In the second round three judges were in my opponent’s favour and then I thought I should not take it easy in the third round. Let’s go all out so that was my strategy. And I applied it in the third round and was successful in it.”
On whether she expected a win by a huge margin, she said that it was unexpected but she wanted to give her best and win unanimously.
“You never know that about can go either way. I did not want to take any chance. So the plan was to win unanimously in the first two rounds and play the third round in a relaxed way,” she added. Indian boxer Nikhat registered a dominating 5-0 victory in the final. Living up to the expectations, Nikhat thrashed Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas without breaking a sweat in the 52kg final with judges scoring the bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in the Indian’s favour.
The Nizamabad (Telangana)-born boxer became the only fifth Indian woman to secure a gold medal at the World Boxing Championships after record six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006). It was also India’s first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom won it in 2018. With Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) signing off with bronze medals after their semi-finals finish, the Indian contingent concluded its campaign with three medals at the world’s biggest boxing event, which witnessed exciting competition in presence of record 310 boxers from 73 countries and also marked the 20th anniversary of the Women’s World Championships.
Out of 12 participating Indian boxers, eight made it to the quarter-finals in this year’s tournament–the joint highest alongside Turkey. With the addition of three medals in Istanbul, India’s overall medal tally has gone up to 39, including 10 gold, eight silver and 21 bronze, in the 12 editions of the prestigious event–third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).
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