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No spectators being allowed in NIS Campus, Federation Cup to start from Monday

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Patiala (Punjab) [India], March 14 (ANI): An air of expectation is in evidence at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports complex as it gears up to host the 24th Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships from Monday which will be held without fans.
As many as 617 athletes have registered for 38 events in the five-day meet that would offer an indication of the enthusiasm and evolution of the country’s best track and field stars. With the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled to start on July 23 this year, a number of athletes will be looking to consolidate their rankings with good performances here, if not to attain qualifying marks.
For the likes of Steeplechaser Avinash Sable and Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra, the Federation Cup would serve as a platform to chisel the rough edges further.
The three Indian Grand Prix meets (February 18, 25, and March 5) built the stage for the Federation Cup championships. Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra’s new national record (88.07m) on March 5, long jumper M Sreeshankar’s 8.05m effort the previous week and sprinter Dutee Chand’s comfortable victories in the 100m in the first two meets were the highlights.
Of the four finals on an opening day, the women’s 10,000m and javelin throw events will hold greater attention of fans and connoisseurs alike. Long-distance runner Sanjivani Jadhav will return to national-level track competition after serving a two-year sanction. She will be up against 2019 South Asian Games silver medalist Kavita Yadav, Arati Patil, and a crop of younger competitors.
In the past couple of years, India’s top woman javelin thrower Annu Rani has had precious little competition, but she will try and dig deep within her reserves to match the Olympic qualification standard of 64.00. She has embraced consistency, only rarely not producing a throw in excess of 60m. It has taken her to the World No. 12 ranking.
Away from the finals, there will be considerable interest in Dutee Chand’s quest to stop the clock inside the 11.15-second mark that would secure automatic qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Sreeshankar will feature in the Long Jump qualifying while Asian Games 800m gold medalist Manjit Singh will return to competition after nearly two years when he runs the 1500m.
Besides, the availability, form and fitness of the men’s and women’s 400m runners will also evoke more than cursory attention. Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Amoj Jacob, Arokia Rajiv, Dharun Ayyasamy will all showcase their prowess in the two rounds for men on Monday while the women’s first-round heats will offer some important pointers.
The Standard Operating Procedures, laid down by the Athletics Federation of India and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, will be in force. Competitors, who are expected to have an RTPCR Negative Report, are being allowed entry into the NIS Campus only two hours before their respective events with no spectators being allowed in the campus. (ANI)

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Have potential to win AFC Cup, ISL: ATK Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Amrinder

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ATK Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Amrinder Singh feels his team is eyeing a strong show in the tournament and has potential to win 2021 AFC Cup and 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL).

The Mariners are playing FC Nasaf in Uzbekistan in their AFC Cup inter-zone semi-final on September 22 and their ISL campaign starts against Kerala Blasters FC on November 19 at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda. The custodian, who won the ISL trophy with Mumbai City FC last season, is eyeing a strong show in both competitions. “I want to give my best in every game and keep clean sheets. If we keep clean sheets, then we won’t lose games and that will help us win the ISL and AFC Cup. We have a great squad that is capable of winning the AFC Cup and I would do my best,” Amrinder was quoted as saying by official website of ISL ahead of the FC Nasaf tie.

Amrinder is not unduly worried over facing FC Nasaf, one of the strongest teams in the prestigious continental club competition in Asia. “No matter who the opponent is, we always train hard and give our best. In the game against Nasaf, we will do the same. Every game is equally important for me,” he said.

The 28-year-old is quite pleased with the Mariners’ ongoing training in Dubai. “The facilities which we have in Dubai are really good. It’s going to be a tough game in Uzbekistan but these training sessions are quite useful for us,” he said.

“I’ve already played in the AFC Cup final for Bengaluru but unfortunately, we couldn’t win in 2016. it. This time with ATK Mohun Bagan, I am determined to go all the way and win the cup. This is one of my goals for the season,” he said.

When asked to draw comparisons between the defences of ATK Mohun Bagan and current Hero ISL champions Mumbai City FC, Amrinder, who had 10 clean sheets to his name last season, said: “Both the clubs are top clubs in Indian football.

In Mumbai, we had players like Mourtada Fall and Hernan Santana [now with NorthEast United FC]. And now, in ATKMB, we have Tiri, Carl McHugh and many Indian players. I feel confident with these players as they have already proved themselves in [Hero] ISL. We are trying to establish good coordination among us so that we can keep more clean sheets.”

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ENGLAND, TOTTENHAM LEGEND JIMMY GREAVES DIES AGED 81

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Tottenham Hotspur and England’s legendary footballer Jimmy Greaves passed away at home in the early hours of Sunday morning, aged 81.

Throughout his wonderful playing career, Jimmy’s strike rate was phenomenal. His Spurs return was 266 goals in 379 appearances between 1961 and 1970 – 220 goals in 321 league games, 32 goals in 36 FA Cup ties and five in just eight League Cup ties and nine in 14 European matches. He’s also Spurs’ highest scorer and the highest-scoring player in the top flight of English football, with 357 goals to his name. The 37 league goals that he netted in the 1962/63 season remains to this day Spurs record by any player in a single season.

A member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad, Jimmy also scored 44 goals in his 57 senior international appearances, with 42 of those caps – and 28 goals – won while a Spurs player.

Born in East Ham on February 20, 1940, Jimmy’s career started in the junior ranks at Chelsea where he turned professional in May 1957. He scored on his Blues debut – something which would become a familiar trait throughout his playing days – ironically against Spurs at White Hart Lane on August 24, 1957, in a 1-1 draw.

He remained at Stamford Bridge until June 1961, when he moved to AC Milan, and his 41-goal haul in the First Division in 1960/61 still stands as Chelsea’s record for a single season.

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HAFEEZ, MCCLENAGHAN ENGAGE IN TWITTER WAR OVER NEW ZEALAND ABANDONING THE PAKISTAN TOUR

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Cricketer Mohammad Hafeez on Saturday took a dig at New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for postponing their tour of Pakistan citing security threats.

“Thanks to the secutity of pakistan forces to make arrangements to @BLACKCAPS to reach at airport Safe & Sound. Wonder same route & same security but no threat today???” tweeted Hafeez. The Blackcaps abandoned their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed on Friday. New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play hosts on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern before Blackcaps announced they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan. Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.

New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed NZC chief executive David White’s sentiments. “We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision. The players are in good hands; they’re safe — and everyone’s acting in their best interests,” he said.

In response, New Zealand pacer Mitchell McClenaghan has told Pakistan batsman Mohammed Hafeez that the BlackCaps should not be blamed for abandoning the tour of Pakistan, rather if there is someone to blame then it is the New Zealand government.

“Come now bro. This has a bad taste to it… Don’t blame the players or the organisation… blame our government. They have only acted on the advice they have received. I’m absolutely certain these young men – all wanting to prove themselves wanted to play. they had no choice,” tweeted McClenaghan.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White on Sunday said that he is grateful to the Pakistan Cricket Board for helping organise the safe departure of the New Zealand team.

“We appreciate this has been a terribly difficult time for the PCB and wish to pass on our sincere thanks to chief executive Wasim Khan and his team for their professionalism and care,” said White in an official statement. White also said NZC and the BlackCaps had been very much looking forward to the Pakistan series but were faced with no option but to abandon the tour after receiving, on Friday, advice from the New Zealand government of a specific, credible threat. This advice was supported by NZC’s security consultants – who were on the ground in Pakistan, and by other independent sources.

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SOUTHAMPTON DRAW SHOWS MAN CITY HAS A PROBLEM

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16 goals in 3 matches. That’s a statistic of a World-Class attacking team and Manchester City had been flawless in their matches against Norwich, Arsenal and RB Leipzig with 12 different goalscorers in these 3 competitive games.

But the draw against Southampton proves that Manchester City might need a prolific striker in their side if they are to defend their Premier League title and challenge for their first-ever UCL trophy.

The Champions were held 0-0 at home against Southampton, even lucky to get away from an overturned red card decision which would have otherwise led to a Southampton penalty. Manchester City had 8 shots on target in the game and even had a late Sterling winner termed offside to deny them the 3 points.

Such matches are no surprise in the premier league where teams tend to defend deep against the big guns, fighting hard to salvage a point. Southampton succeeded in doing that. The difference-maker in such instances often is that prolific No. 9 who needs one opportunity to hit the net. Manchester City evidently has no one.

Since Aguero departed from the club and ended his 10-year stint as the Manchester City striker, it was expected that the club would announce a big-name replacement. And, not like they did not try to do that. When Harry Kane expressed his intentions to leave the club last season, the destination was almost certain. Manchester City was clearly interested in bringing him to the club alongside Aston Villa winger Jack Grealish and even reportedly made a whopping 150 million bid to do so. If this transfer window— that has seen the entire complexion of the footballing world being moved— missed something, it was this dream transfer. Tottenham managed to hold on to Harry Kane.

A recent example of a No. 9 making difference was Chelsea’s game in their match against Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League. The match was headed for a draw when, BANG! Their 97m Euros worth striker Romelu Lukaku scored out of nowhere ensuring a hard-fought 1-0 win.

Manchester City needs a proper No. 9 in their team, with forward Gabriel Jesus failing to maintain the form required and Torres not really belonging to that position. The Challenge too has increased. Chelsea looks solid with the signing of Romelu Lukaku, Liverpool are back after Van Dijk’s return from injury and well, arguable the best goalscorer of all time, Ronaldo having returned to rivals Manchester United.

The City’s pursuit will now resume in January, where they have the option to either go all out or make a signing in the interim. What will be exciting to see is if they decide to do the former, where strikers Erling Haaland and Mbappe could be possible transfers, looking at the value City might be able to spend and these players expected to move on from their respective clubs sooner than later.

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Gaikwad, Jadeja help Chennai become Super Kings against Mumbai

Gaikwad and Jadeja starred with the bat as CSK posted a score of 156/6 in 20 overs against Mumbai Indians. Later CSK’s flamboyant bowling performance restricted Mumbai to mere 136 for 8 in the allotted overs.

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Ruturaj Gaikwad’s masterful 88-run knock was followed by a spirited bowling performance as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) defeated Mumbai Indians (MI) by 20 runs in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

For CSK, Dwayne Bravo scalped three wickets and Deepak Chahar took two. For Mumbai Indians, Saurabh Tiwary was the highest scorer after playing a knock of 50 runs. With this win, Chennai Super Kings went to the top of the IPL table while Mumbai is now in danger of falling outside the top 4 if they get on a losing streak. Chasing 156, Mumbai Indians got off to a shaky start after Deepak Chahar trapped Quinton de Kock in front of wickets for LBW in the 3rd over. Chahar struck again in his next over to send Anmolpreet Singh (16) back to the pavilion. MI debutant was completely deceived by the superb knuckleball of Chahar.

Suryakumar Yadav had a short stay at pitch after Shardul Thakur sent him back in his first over. SKY was caught at cover by Faf. Saurabh Tiwary and Ishan Kishan tried to reverse the momentum towards the side of defending champions. The duo steadied the ship for MI while CSK did well to keep the boundaries out of the equation.

Bravo came clutch for the team in yellow in his first over as he broke the partnership and took the wicket of Kishan (16). MI stand-in captain Kieron Pollard (15) was then trapped by Josh Hazlewood in 13.1 over. Soon Krunal Pandya followed his skipper as he was run out in the next over.

Saurabh Tiwary scored fifty, but with no big partnership with a fellow batter in the middle and death, Mumbai Indians suffered a crushing defeat on the resumption of IPL. Adam Milne and Rahul Chahar got out in the last over of Dwayne Bravo.

Earlier, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja starred with the bat as Chennai Super Kings posted a score of 156/6 in the allotted twenty overs against Mumbai Indians. Gaikwad and Jadeja played innings of 88 and 26 respectively for the Super Kings. Dwayne Bravo also played a useful cameo of 23 runs from just eight balls. For Mumbai Indians, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah and Adam Milne scalped two wickets each.

Opting to bat first, Chennai had the worst possible start when Boult sent Faf du Plessis packing for zero in the very first over of the innings. In the very next over, Adam Milne sent back Moeen Ali to the pavilion after a superb diving catch from Tiwary. Milne also retired-hurt Ambati Rayudu with a nasty short ball that nipped back at him and got the Indian on the forearm.

Soon, the situation for Chennai went from bad to worse as Suresh Raina visit at the pitch was ended by Boult in the 3rd over of the innings. In the last over of the powerplay, Adam Milne struck again after Boult caught Chennai skipper MS Dhoni’s low pull shot attempt. Mumbai Indians bowlers enjoyed a brilliant 1st powerplay as they restricted Chennai at 24/4 after 6 overs.

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja were the next two batters and the duo successfully provided much-needed normalcy for the team in yellow. The pair battled through the immense pressure by Mumbai bowlers and stabilised the Super Kings’ innings.

Ruturaj Gaikwad reached his half-century in the 16th over of the innings. Playing in his 100th IPL match, Japrit Bumrah scalped his first wicket of the match in 16.4 over as he broke the very important partnership of Jadeja and Gaikwad. Jadeja got out after scoring an important 26.

Dwayne Bravo then partnered Gaikwad on the pitch and hammered towering sixes at the death before getting out by Bumarh in the last over. Bravo scored a quickfire 23 in just 8 balls. Ruturaj Gaikwad finished the innings with an unbeaten 88 of 58 balls.

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WILL TREAT EVERY GAME AS FINAL AND GIVE MY 100%, SAYS SUNRISERS SPINNER RASHID KHAN

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Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) spinner Rashid Khan has said the side will be treating every game in the UAE-leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 as their final match. SRH is languishing at the bottom of the points table and the side will have to battle it out to make it to the top four.

Rashid is also working on his batting skills to give SRH an edge lower down the order. “From one and a half years, I have been working on my batting as last 15-25 runs are very crucial for the side. So just trying my best to do different things, haven’t practised a lot of shots in the nets but I’m just focusing on having the right mindset,” said Rashid in the video. “Definitely looking forward to the rest of the season, yeah we didn’t have the ideal start in the first half of the tournament but looking forward to finish up well and treat every game as a final and give my 100 per cent,” he added.

Wickets in the UAE are said to assist the spinner, speaking about the same, Rashid said, “We have played enough games in UAE’s conditions and just need to find out the good areas on the wicket.”

All-rounder Jason Holder and the side’s new signing Sherfane Rutherford on Friday arrived in UAE ahead of the resumption of the 14th edition of the IPL.The 14th season, which was postponed in May this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume on Sunday in Dubai with a blockbuster clash between Chennai Super Kings and defending champions Mumbai Indians.After the CSK-MI clash, the action will then shift to Abu Dhabi where KKR will square off against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Sharjah will host its first game on September 24 when Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Chennai Super Kings. In all, 13 matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah, and 8 in Abu Dhabi.

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