My biggest inspiration is Rani: Indian Junior Women's defender Gagandeep - The Daily Guardian
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My biggest inspiration is Rani: Indian Junior Women’s defender Gagandeep

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], February 19 (ANI): Indian Junior Women’s defender Gagandeep Kaur said that her “biggest inspiration” is India skipper Rani.
Sports is in the genes of Indian Junior Women’s defender Gagandeep as her grandfather Jagir Singh, who served in the Indian army, was an International Kabaddi player in the late 1970s. The young defender not only comes from a sports background but also from a place where Indian Women team captain Rani hails from.
Born in Shahabad Markanda, a small rural subdivision in Kurukshetra district in Haryana also touted as the “Nursery of Women’s Hockey” in India, Gagandeep just like other girls in the town also took to hockey at a young age.
“My grandfather had always wished that someone else from the family should also take up sports just like him. But my father chose to move to the United Kingdom for livelihood, while my uncle did try his luck in athletics but couldn’t achieve much. So, all his hopes came down to me. I started playing hockey in school and then joined the hockey academy in Shahabad,” stated Gagandeep.
“Within a couple of years, I started playing nationals and started earning recognition in the town. My biggest inspiration has been Rani di. Having watched her from close quarters, it gives confidence to a player like me. It makes us believe that we can also do something. So, my ultimate goal has always been to don the India jersey with my name,” added the young defender who was part of Indian Junior Women’s recent success in Chile.
The 21-year-old defender has been a part of a few glorious moments for the Junior Women’s team, which includes the Bronze Medal-winning Junior Asia Cup 2016 campaign and two Gold Medal-winning tournaments in 2019, which were Cantor Fitzgerald U21 International 4-Nations tournament in Ireland and 3 Nation tournament in Australia, respectively.
“Gaining the right exposure with the Junior team has been critical for my growth. The most memorable tournament for me thus far has been the U21 International 4-Nations tournament in Ireland because I scored a match-winning goal in the Final. That goal I’ll never forget in my life. You know, it’s a different feeling to contribute to the team’s victory, that too in the final match against the hosts,” recalled the youngster, who led the team to 1-0 victory against Ireland in the 4-Nations tournament.
Having moved from her native Shahbad to Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab to train under her childhood Coach Baldev Singh, Gagandeep was a part of the Punjab team, which defeated her home-state Haryana in the Final of the Hockey India Junior Women National Championship in 2015. On the back of her performance at the National Championship, the defender got her maiden call-up to the Junior Core Group in 2016. Since then, she has been one of the key players for the Indian Junior eves.
As she gears up for the upcoming Junior Women’s Asia Cup, Gagandeep is aiming to make the cut for the National Senior Group before she finishes her stint with Junior team this year.
“I have been giving my 100% in the training and trying to improve day-by-day. I believe the Chile tour helped us assess the areas which we need to focus on before the Junior Women’s Asia Cup. I feel I am in a good shape both mentally and physically, and I am confident of doing well in the upcoming assignments. I want to make the most out of the opportunities and hopefully, get a call-up for the Senior Group as soon as I finish my stint with the Junior team,” concluded Gagandeep. (ANI)

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SLC appoint Tom Moody as Director of Cricket

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Colombo [Sri Lanka], February 28 (ANI): Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Sunday confirmed the appointment of former Australia all-rounder, Tom Moody, as the new Director of Cricket.
Moody’s appointment came after recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee of the SLC to revamp Sri Lanka’s Cricket operations.
“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce the appointment of Mr. Tom Moody as the ‘Director of Cricket,’ effective from March 1, 2021. His appointment comes following recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee of the SLC to revamp Sri Lanka’s Cricket operations,” official handle of SLC tweeted.
Moody has previously worked as the coach of Sri Lanka for a period of two years and under his tenure, Sri Lanka managed to reach the finals of the 2007 50-over World Cup in West Indies.
Earlier, Moody has also served as the coach of SunRisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He will also be SunRisers’ Director of Cricket this year. (ANI)

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14-member Indian boxing team leave for Boxam Tournament in Spain

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New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI) A 14-member strong Indian boxing team on Sunday left for Castellon, Spain to participate in the upcoming Boxam International Boxing Tournament scheduled from March 1 to 7.
A six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Manish Kaushik (63kg) are key highlights as the duo set to make a return in the ring for the first time since the Asian Olympic Qualifiers held in Jordan in March last year.
The highly-cm will consist of eight men and six women players including nine Olympic qualified as well as other top Indian boxers.
Young boxer Jasmine, who was highly-impressive during the camp, is also accompanying the boxers during her maiden senior tour. She will participate in the women’s 57kg category. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Hosts pushing conditions to extremities, we know it will turn from ball one, says Foakes

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 28 (ANI): Amid the debates over the nature of the pitch that was prepared for the pink-ball Test between India and England in Ahmedabad, England wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes on Sunday said that his side knows that the pitch is going to turn from ball one as the hosts are pushing their conditions to the extremities.
India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the pink-ball Test. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners.
But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen. India batsman Rohit Sharma clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons. Even skipper Virat Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams.
“Obviously, we got thoroughly outplayed. Those were tricky conditions, but they played well. They have a couple of class spinners and we did not have answers to them so I think going forward, we have to be good enough to counter that to score big runs on the board. I think we know what we are going to get in the last Test in terms of surface. They are pushing their conditions to the extremities and we know it is going to spin from ball number one, it is about finding a way to play well in those conditions,” said Foakes during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“The last two pitches are the hardest I have kept on, the last game, the pink-ball was skidding and the amount it was spinning, I have never seen that and it was a challenge to keep on those wickets. We have been outplayed in the last two games, but we are in a position to draw the series, we have to put a good performance and if we go away with a 2-2 draw, it will be a good performance,” he added.
Further talking about the pitches, Foakes said: “The two pitches I have played on, I have never seen the ball turn like that so I think they were very challenging wickets, they were like day five pitches from ball one. We just have to grind out and try to put runs on the board. It is not an easy thing to do. If we get out, we get out, but we need to score runs in a hard way. I do not think anything they did, we did not expect. It just the extremities of what happened, we have never faced before. It is just trying to learn and trying to develop.”
“I think, the reaction was not great because we lost quite quickly. But we are in with a chance of registering an awesome achievement if we win the last Test against India. We have to better than we were in the last game, if we can do that, we can perform better, and then we can have a chance,” he added.
If India manages to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side would qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) and the side would take on New Zealand in the summit clash. England is now out of the WTC final contention after losing the third Test against India. (ANI)

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Man City’s fighting quality sign of ‘great team’, says Stones

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Manchester [UK], February 28 (ANI): Manchester City’s centre-back John Stones has said that the battling quality shown by the team will hold them in good stead and it is a sign of true greatness.
City managed to defeat West Ham 2-1 on Saturday to consolidate its position at the top of Premier League standings and this was the side’s 20th straight win across all competitions.
Ruben Dias and Stones got among the scoring sheets as City registered a 2-1 win over West Ham.
“We knew we were going to have a battle. Massive credit to West Ham and how they set up. We had to dig deep and they made it really difficult for us. We were a bit deflated after conceding late in the first half but we had to show our character and our experience, come out in the second half and fight like we always have done,” Goal.com quoted Stones as saying.
“I feel we put our hearts on our sleeves, really dug in and the defensive work from everyone, I think is the sign of a great team and hopefully things to come,” he added.
With this win over West Ham, City consolidated its position at the top spot of Premier League standings and the side has 62 points from 26 games, 13 points clear of the second-placed Manchester United.
City will next take on Wolves in the Premier League on March 2 while West Ham will square off against Leeds United on March 8. (ANI)

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Vinesh Phogat wins gold at Ukraine wrestling event

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Kyiv [Ukraine], February 28 (ANI): Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat on Sunday won the gold medal in the women’s 53-kg category at XXIV Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial in Kyiv.
Vinesh Phogat defeated world number seven Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus in the finals to win the gold medal and make a winning return to her first competitive outing since the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
“It is a winning return for #TOPSAthlete @Phogat_Vinesh as she wins the gold medal in the women’s 53 kg at the #OutstandingUkrainianWrestlersAndCoachesMemorial event after beating World #7 and 2017 World Champion Vanesa Kaladzinskaya 10-8 in the final,” SAI Media tweeted.
The Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medalist had defeated Romania’s Ana A by fall in the semi-final on Saturday to reach the summit clash.
Vinesh has already booked a place in the Tokyo Olympics for the 53kg category.
Now, the 26-year-old will be seen in action in the season’s first ranking tournament from March 4-7 in Rome. (ANI)

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Pedri pulled muscle in his left leg, to be monitored: Barcelona

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Barcelona [UK], February 28 (ANI): Spanish club Barcelona FC on Sunday provided an injury update on Pedri after the midfielder was seen arriving at the club’s hotel on crutches.
Pedri had gone off the field with an injury to his left leg during Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday, reported Goal.com.
“The medical evaluation and tests carried out this morning have shown that the first team player Pedri has a pulled muscle in his left leg. His recovery will be monitored,” Barcelona said in its official statement.
Barcelona will now take on Sevilla on Wednesday in the second-leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final.
Ronald Koeman’s side trails 0-2 from the first-leg. The side is now back in La Liga title race and the club trails Atletico Madrid by just two points.
La Liga is the best chance for Barcelona to win a title as the side trails Paris Saint-Germain 1-4 in the Champions League after the first-leg debacle.
The second leg for the round-of-16 match will take place on March 10. (ANI)

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