‘Missing Olympics by a whisker was terrible’ - The Daily Guardian
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‘Missing Olympics by a whisker was terrible’

Anish Bhanwala, a 17-year-old promising shooter, talks to The Daily Guardian about his successes and failures in life.

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Shooter Anish Bhanwala.
Shooter Anish Bhanwala.

Q. You are from Haryana where wrestling and boxing are celebrated by the people, why did you pursue shooting?

A. Well, I picked swimming first. Later I started running and added shooting after a while. With the pack of sports, I participated in Pentathlon. I did fairly well there. But the pressure of study and involvement in so many sports took a heavy toll. So I sacrificed swimming and running. From the early days of 2014 onwards, I decided to push my limits in shooting only.

 Q. Tell us something about your family?

A. My father is in agriculture and also an advocate. My sister was a well-known shooter. She fetched a lot of medals from various ranges around the world. Right now, she is pursuing her MBBS degree.

 Q. You focus on 25m rapid fire pistol. Why?

A. Actually, it’s an Olympic event and this category is a constant in all major international competitions. So, to bring the big medal, I focus on the rapid-fire mostly.

Q. Can you tell our readers about your sweetest and saddest moments of life?

A. My best moment came when I broke the World record in my first international competition. It happened at Suhl in the 2017 World Cup. I crashed a 15-year standing record of 574 and took the mark to a new height of 579. I also felt equally happy when I stood in the middle of the podium in the Commonwealth Games. I was only 15 then.

 I was at my lowest when I missed the ticket to Tokyo 2020 by a whisker. I participated in the Asian championship in Doha. Top 10 was getting a place for the Olympics. I finished 11th.

 Q. When did you feel the most intense amount of pressure in your career?

 A. During the whole period of the Commonwealth Games, I underwent this phase. That was my biggest competition and maximum eyes were on my performance. I am happy that I came out with flying colours.

Q. Where do you perceive yourself 10 years from now?

A. I am only 17. So, it’s too early to judge the course of my career. But yes, I want to continue shooting and bring more glory to the nation.

Q. How are you practising amidst the lockdown?

 A. I have made a makeshift range of 10m at my residence. On it, I am maintaining my rhythm. I am leaving no stone unturned as far as practice is concerned.

Q. Shooting is the most demanding game when it comes to the aspect of mental toughness. What special you do for focus and concentration?

A. Meditation and yoga (especially Pranayama) are well-known methods. If I say it helps then I am partially correct. The pressure is bound to come into tournaments. The guidance of coaches, confidence, and experience is of more importance there.

Q. How will you connect the relationship between physical workouts in a mental game like shooting?

 A. It’s vital. A healthy mind lives in a healthy body. To hold the weapon, maintain grip, and confidence you need a solid frame. That’s why I hit the gym for about an hour daily.

Q. Anything else you are doing in these homebound hours?

A. Well, I am following a tight routine and focussing on shooting as usual. I am spending time with family, which earlier was a tough call.

Q. Finally, something do you want to convey to the youth?

A. A combination of sports and study is necessary for life. Sports teach many aspects of life. But it is a very risky business. The study gives you a backup.

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World Tour Finals: Sindhu suffers second consecutive loss, gets beaten by Intanon

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Bangkok [Thailand], January 28 (ANI): India shuttler PV Sindhu on Thursday suffered an 18-21, 13-21 defeat at the hands of Ratchanok Intanon in her second group-stage match in the ongoing World Tour Finals.
In the first game, both gave each other tough competition, with the match coming to a point where the scores were 18-18. However, the Thai player rose to the challenge and clinched the game 21-18.
The second game also got off to a similar start but Intanon shifted gears after a while and completely dominated Sindhu to win the game 21-13. The match between the two lasted for 43 minutes.
In her first group-stage match, Sindhu was beaten by Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-Ying 19-21, 21-12, 21-17.
Earlier in the day, Kidambi Srikanth put up a fighting show but couldn’t turn the match in his favour as he was defeated by Taiwan’s Wang Tzu-Wei in his second group-stage match in the ongoing BWF World Tour Finals on Thursday.
Wang defeated Srikanth 21-19, 9-21, 19-21 in a match that lasted for 78 minutes. Srikanth began the match very well with a lead of 4-2 but Wang made a comeback to square off the points at 8-8, however, the Indian shuttler continued his fine form and pocketed the first game (21-19).
In the second game, Wang dominated the proceeding and bagged the set (9-21) comfortably. Srikanth made a comeback within minutes to square the points at 9-9 but Wang took the lead (10-11) at the mid-game break in the third set. After the break, Srikanth came close but was unable to win the third set. On Wednesday, Srikanth was defeated by Denmark’s Anders Antonsen in his first group-stage match of the tournament. (ANI)

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World Tour Finals: Srikanth loses second game, road to semis gets tougher

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Bangkok [Thailand], January 28 (ANI): India shuttler Kidambi Srikanth put up a fighting show but couldn’t turn the match in his favour as he was defeated by Taiwan’s Wang Tzu-Wei in his second group-stage match in the ongoing BWF World Tour Finals on Thursday.
Wang defeated Srikanth 21-19, 9-21, 19-21 in a match that lasted for 78 minutes. Srikanth began the match very well with a lead of 4-2 but Wang made a comeback to square off the points at 8-8, however, the Indian shuttler continued his fine form and pocketed the first game (21-19).
In the second game, Wang dominated the proceeding and bagged the set (9-21) quite comfortably. The Taiwanese badminton player maintained dominance in the game and took a three-point lead in the decider.
Srikanth made a comeback within minutes to square the points at 9-9 but Wang took the lead (10-11) at the mid-game break in the third set. After the break, Srikanth came close but was unable to win the third set. Wang’s backhand shot that came out of nowhere was the highlight of the match.
On Wednesday, Srikanth was defeated by Denmark’s Anders Antonsen in his first group-stage match of the tournament.
Antonsen defeated Srikanth 15-21, 21-16, 21-18 in his first match in the World Tour Finals. The entire match lasted for one hour and 17 minutes. Srikanth came out all guns blazing in the first game and he did not give his opponent any chance, wrapping up the game 21-15 inside 22 minutes.
In the second game, Antonsen managed to change his fortunes around. With the winning momentum on his side, Antonsen capitalised in the third game and he walked away with a victory in the match. (ANI)

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Maguire admits Man Utd weren’t ‘good enough’ after Sheffield United defeat

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Manchester [UK], January 28 (ANI): Manchester United’s Harry Maguire expressed disappointment after losing to Sheffield United in the Premier League and said his side was “not good enough” in the match.
The bottom-placed team of this season’s Premier League pulled off a stunner on Thursday as they defeated Manchester United 2-1. Manchester United, with this defeat, failed to reclaim their top spot as they remain in the second position, behind Manchester City.
“Not good enough. We didn’t perform to a level we’ve been playing at. We didn’t play at an intensity that we’ve played at. We haven’t created enough to win the game,” the club’s official website quoted Maguire as saying.
During the match, Kean Bryan handed Sheffield United a lead in the 23rd minute as he headed in his first Premier League goal from John Fleck’s corner. Sheffield United maintained their lead through to the first half.
Maguire equalised for Manchester United in the 64th minute, heading in Alex Telles’s corner. However, Sheffield United managed to restore their lead 10 minutes later when Oliver Burke netted a goal.
Maguire admitted that a little spark and inspiration was missing which cost them the game.
“Well, we have great belief. At half-time, we knew. We knew we didn’t perform well in the first half, but we had belief that if we scored the next goal, we could go on to win the game. We scored the next goal. It was an important goal, and we never found anything extra to push — that little spark or inspiration. Something was missing,” he said.
“Like I said, we have to improve, we know that it’s not good enough for this club. We’ve got to win games, especially at Old Trafford, especially to teams who are where they are in the league. But for sure, we’ve got to improve,” Maguire added. (ANI)

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Spinner Abdur Razzak to join BCB national selection panel

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Dhaka [Bangladesh], January 28 (ANI): The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has named spinner Abdur Razzak as the third senior selector in the national panel. The left-arm spinner will work along with former skippers Minhajul Abedin, the panel chief, and Habibul Bashar.
Razzak who featured for Bangladesh in 200 international games between 2004 and 2018, will have to call off his cricketing career to take up the job.
“The Board approved the inclusion of former Bangladesh left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak in the National Selection Panel,” BCB said in an official statement.
The Bangladesh spinner, who has taken 279 wickets in all formats, feels his experience of captaining in the domestic arena will come in handy during his role. He was the first Bangladesh bowler to pick up 200 ODI wickets.
“My playing experience will certainly be valuable in this regard. I used to play cricket, and now I have to help build the national team. I have been captaining in domestic cricket for a long time and I have often helped form teams. It has usually gone well,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Razzak as saying.
“But the stakes are higher here, and the expectations are more. But still, I believe I can manage it. I am pretty sure I have to (retire). I haven’t mentioned it yet since I am awaiting the appointment letter but certainly when I join this new job, I have to quit (playing),” he added.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh kicked off their qualification campaign for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in style, sweeping their Cricket World Cup Super League series against the West Indies.
The 3-0 result at home has lifted Bangladesh to the second position in the points table as they are on 30 points along with England but ahead on net run-rate.
Australia, who are one of only two sides to play two series so far with the other being England, lead with 40 points in the Super League, which was introduced last year to add context to ODI cricket. (ANI)

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Australia selector Hohns admits rotating pace bowlers could be the way forward

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Melbourne [Australia], January 28 (ANI): National selector Trevor Hohns has indicated that Australia might follow the rotation policy for their pace battery during the South Africa tour while admitting it should have been done against India in the recently concluded Test series.
Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc along with spinner Nathan Lyon played all four Tests against India. While Cummins and Hazlewood starred with the ball, Starc and Lyon had to toil hard for wickets.
Starc picked eight wickets in the first two Tests against India but wasn’t able to trouble the visitors’ batsmen in the last two games which eventually saw Australia losing at The Gabba to hand the visitors the series 2-1.
Hohns feels that the Australia team management would have to be more mindful in the future and said all the bowlers who played against India have recovered and are fit for the South Africa tour.
“In hindsight, [we] possibly could have been done. Prior to finalising any team we check with medical people and even check with our players sometimes just to find out how they are doing,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Hohns as saying when asked about rotation.
“Sure, the games were pretty tight and close together, maybe we have to be a little more mindful of that going forward. However, in this instance all the bowlers had recovered sufficiently for the medicos to give them the thumbs up,” he added.
Cummins, Hazlewood, and Starc were named in Australia’s squad for South Africa series on Wednesday. Hohns said the chosen pace attack has done the job for Australia on numerous occasions so the selectors just had to make sure the bowlers recovered sufficiently after the loss against India.
“We considered those three fast bowlers, who had performed very well over a long period of time, were the best ones for the job. Once we’d checked to make sure they’d recovered sufficiently we thought it was the best attack,” said Hohns.
Meanwhile, Matthew Wade was left out of Australia’s Test squad for the South Africa tour while Tim Paine received strong support to continue as captain.
Wade will instead tour New Zealand for the T20I series as Australia will lock horns both with the Kiwis and South Africa in February and March. The Australian T20I squad will be captained by Aaron Finch and coached by Andrew McDonald.
Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed that the Australian men’s T20I squad tour to New Zealand will not change irrespective of the outcome of discussions between Cricket South Africa and CA regarding the Australian men’s Test tour of South Africa. (ANI)

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Umpire Oxenford to retire from international cricket

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Dubai [UAE], January 28 (ANI): The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday announced that umpire Bruce Oxenford has decided to retire from international cricket after a fine career that saw him officiate around the world across all three formats of the game for over 15 years.
Oxenford, who officially stands down in April, made his international debut at the Gabba in a T20I between Australia and South Africa in January 2006. A regular member of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires since 2012, Oxenford has officiated in 62 Test matches, the last of which was the final match of the Australia-India series in Brisbane.
He officiated at the last three ICC Men’s Cricket World Cups and the last three ICC Men’s T20 World Cups. He was also part of the officiating team at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cups in 2012 and 2014.
Before becoming an umpire, Oxenford represented Queensland in eight first-class matches as a leg-spin bowler and lower-order batsman. The 60-year-old from Queensland will continue to oversee domestic fixtures despite his retirement from the international game.
Oxenford said it is hard for him to believe that he officiated in close to 200 international matches.
“I look back with pride at my international career as an umpire. It is still hard to believe that I officiated in close to 200 international matches. Such a long career was not really something that I had hoped for before commencing on this journey. I would like to thank the International Cricket Council, Cricket Australia and all my colleagues in the ICC Elite and International panels for their support and encouragement over the years,” Oxenford said in a statement.
“I had a wonderful time as a match official and will miss the camaraderie that comes with being a part of such a professional group. I shall particularly miss seeing and interacting with the magnificent people who are part of the support structure of our game around the world… Whilst I will no longer stand in international matches, I look forward to continuing to serve the game that I love – officiating within Australia,” he added.
Meanwhile, Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees, said: “Bruce is an excellent umpire, and it has been a pleasure working with him over the years. He is a great team man and well respected by all his colleagues. I congratulate Bruce on behalf of everyone at the ICC for a fine international career and wish him all the success in his future pursuits. It is pleasing to hear he will continue to umpire domestically and share his tremendous experience with the next generation of Elite umpires.” (ANI)

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