Pahadi Billas lift KKFI's 2021 Kho Kho Super League Championship Trophy - The Daily Guardian
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Pahadi Billas lift KKFI’s 2021 Kho Kho Super League Championship Trophy

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New Delhi [India], February 15 (ANI): Maharashtra’s Pratik Waikar continued his spectacular show at the KKFI 2021 Super League Kho Kho Tournament as Pahadi Billas lifted the trophy with a convincing six points win in the thrilling final against Panthers here on Monday.
In the summit clash played at the gleaming Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here, leading from the front skipper Waikar dished out a solid all-round performance and guided his side to 31-25 win.
The 25-year-old all-rounder, who also played as a Wazir for the team and has been consistent throughout the tournament, once again proved his mettle as he defended for one minute and 50 seconds and then chased down 11 points for his team. He found good support from his teammates Railway’s Nilesh Patil and Kerala’s Mahesh M. While Mahesh spent 1 minute and 40 seconds on the mat in defence, Nilesh impressed in the chase with six points.

The championship was played as part of the KKFI and Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK)-organised first-ever High-Performance Evaluation and Scientific Assessment training camp. The winners and runners-up team in the men’s event received 2 lakh and 1.50 lakh prize money respectively while third and fourth-ranked teams bagged Rs 50,000 each. The women teams received Rs 30,000 each.
West Bengal’s Subhasish Santra was a key performer for the Panthers with his one minute 50 seconds in defence and eight points in the chase
Three Maharashtra players picked the best achievement awards for their fine run in the tournament. Ramji Kashyap of Solapur was adjudged the Best Chaser and Thane’s Mahesh Shinde received the Best Runner Award with each of them receiving INR 50,000. While the Best Wazir of the Championship Award and INR 75,000 was won by Abhinandan Patil of Kolhapur, P Siva Reddy of Andhra Pradesh was adjudged the Best Pole Diver. Madhya Pradesh’s Sachin Bhargo won INR 50,000 for posing the best skydives in the championship.
In the women’s tournament, Panthers emerged as the winner with a dominating show throughout the tournament. On the final day, they secured nine-points win against Cheetahs to clinch their fourth successive victory and also the trophy with an unbeaten record.
Earlier in the men’s semi-finals, Panther beat Jaguars by eight points with score of 43-35 while Pahadi Billas thrashed Cheetahs by seven points (41-34) in the second semi-final. (ANI)

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India is getting closer to the top teams in world, says women’s hockey coach Marijne

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): The Indian women’s hockey team chief coach Sjoerd Marjine feels the side is getting closer to operating at the same level as the top teams in the world.
The World No. 9 Indian team battled well against the World No. 3 Germany team, but went down 0-5, 0-1, 0-2 and 1-2 in the four matches of the tour, which was held from February 27 to March 4 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Marijne and his team will now head to SAI Centre, Bengaluru for a month-long National Coaching camp.
The Indian women’s hockey team returned to action against Argentina earlier this year, where they were praised for their resilience on the tour. Marijne was happy with how his side competed against Germany as well.
“We have played against two different styles of teams and who are among the top three teams in the world. The tours helped us to understand their tactics and also to see what the benchmark needs to be to beat these teams,” said Marijne in a Hockey India release.
“Although the results were not in our favour, we are getting closer to them. Germany is a very well-organised team with a very good structure and it’s not easy to create chances against them. We were able to create enough possibilities to score in every match, but we didn’t finish well. This is something we need to work on in the next following months. We did test them in parts and have some homework to do,” he added.
Despite going down 0-5 in the first match of the tour, Rani and her side picked themselves up in the next three games. There were occasions where Germany struggled to break the Indian defence down, which impressed Marijne.
“We played that match (first match of the tour) pretty well, but every opportunity was converted into a goal by Germany. That match was a benchmark for the next following matches. I think we did well on the tour, but you have to keep looking at the bigger picture and not only focus on the results of this tour,” said the coach.
Marijne has asked his team not to be disheartened by the results in Germany as he feels fortunes can change during the Tokyo Olympics later this year.
“We couldn’t win a medal here in Germany, but we can in Tokyo and that’s why I keep looking at the performances. We were able to keep the ball longer, we intercepted some good balls but the things we need to improve in finishing and defending in the circle,” said Marijne
“Against teams like these, you need to create your chances and if you don’t, they will do for sure and that’s what happened on this tour. I am happy we were able to create some chances and now we need to work on finishing our opportunities,” he signed off. (ANI)

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Mohammadi to embark on boxing career after leaving Afghanistan due to turmoil

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By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Afghanistan boxer Nawid Mohammadi, who left his country and came to India in 2013 because of turmoil back home, said he wants to do well in the sport and make his country proud.
The 17-year-old is currently training in the national capital and will be making his professional boxing debut on May 1 in the featherweight division. The ‘India Unleashed’ fight night will comprise of 10 fight cards that will include top-20 talents scouted.
The star attractions for the night are going to be Pawan Goyat, Chandni Mehra (featherweight) and Suman Kumari (lightweight). Amidst the three, Goyat will be gunning for a title shot.
“I left my country because of turmoil and came to India with my family and later, I started boxing in 2017. I used to play in my country also, but now I am doing it in India. I want to be a professional boxer so that I can make my country proud,” Mohammadi told ANI.
Aspiring to be a world champion, Mohammadi wants to set an example and be a role model to children in India as well as his ancestral country, Afghanistan.
When asked if he would like to return to his country: “Yes, I want to go but now my focus is to do well in boxing. That’s my land, and one day, I would love to go back.” (ANI)

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Juventus’s Rodrigo Bentancur tests positive for COVID-19

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Turin [Italy], March 5 (ANI): Italian club Juventus has announced that Rodrigo Bentancur has tested positive for coronavirus. The club said Bentancur is in isolation and asymptomatic.
“Juventus Football Club announces that, during the checks provided for by the protocol in force, Rodrigo Bentancur has tested positive for Covid 19. The footballer is in isolation and asymptomatic,” the club said in a statement.
“The club is in contact with the relevant health authorities for the definition of an effective implementation of the protocols required to allow the training and competition activities of the Team Group,” it added.
Juventus is currently preparing for the Serie A clash against Lazio. The club will be high on confidence as they had secured an impressive 3-0 win in the previous game, played against Spezia on Wednesday.
During the match, Alvaro Morata, Federico Chiesa, and Cristiano Ronaldo had scored one goal each to hand Juventus three points from the clash.
Sitting third on the Serie A table with 49 points, Juventus will play against Lazio on Sunday. (ANI)

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Finch, bowlers set up series decider as Australia thrash New Zealand in fourth T20I

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): Skipper Aaron Finch smashed 79 off 55 balls before the bowlers put on an all-round show to help Australia seal a comfortable 50-run win over New Zealand in the fourth T20I on Friday.
It was a clinical performance from Australia in a must-win match as they bowled out New Zealand for 106 to set up a series decider on Sunday.
While Finch led from the front and took Australia to a competitive 156/6 almost single-handedly, it was an all-round performance from the visitors’ bowlers as Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Glenn Maxwell all picked wickets.
Chasing a decent 157, New Zealand suffered an early jolt as Agar removed the in-form Martin Guptill in the fifth over with just 21 runs on board.
Wickets kept falling at regular intervals as New Zealand struggled to get a partnership going. Tim Seifert, skipper Kane Williamson, and Glenn Phillips all went cheaply as hosts scored just 41 runs in the first 10 overs.
It seemed like New Zealand was never really interested in the chase as they lost James Neesham and Mitchell Santner in the next two overs. With seven down for 64 runs, the chase was almost over as New Zealand required more than 90 runs in the last six.
Kyle Jamieson scored 30 off 18 balls but it wasn’t enough to repair the damage as the Kiwis were bundled out for 106 in the 19th over.
Earlier, opting to bat first, Australia got off to a bad start as Mitchell Santner struck in the first over. Opener Matthew Wade after hitting a four and six cut the ball into the hands of Ish Sodhi at short third man.
Josh Philippe then joined skipper Aaron Finch and played a sluggish innings while Finch continued to score at a run a ball. Philippe survived a close LBW call in the sixth over as Australia scored 37/1 after the completion of powerplay.
But Philippe wasn’t able to make the most of reprieve as he was sent back to the dugout in the next over by Sodhi. Last match’s hero Glenn Maxwell was looking dangerous but he too went back after Trent Boult ended his cameo.
Marcus Stoinis and Finch stitched a 25-run stand but Kane Williamson’s sensational catch ended the all-rounder’s innings in the 13th over. Boult in the next over dismissed Ashton Agar as Australia was reduced to 97/5 with skipper Finch looking for a company.
Wickets kept falling at one end while Finch continued scoring at a brisk rate. Australia were 130 for the loss of six wickets after the 19th over and Finch switched gear in the final five balls and whacked four sixes off Kyle Jamieson.
Brief Scores: Australia 156/6 (Aaron Finch 79*; Ish Sodhi 3-32); New Zealand 106 (Kyle Jamieson 30; Kane Richardson 3-19) (ANI)

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We must stick to our professional duties: Rijiju to Boe

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday said that everybody should stick to their professional duties in the best interest of Indian sports. His comments came after badminton coach Mathias Boe urged the minister to intervene in actor Taapsee Pannu’s matter as the Income Tax (IT) department conducted raids at her premises.
“Law of the land is supreme and we must abide by that. The subject matter is beyond yours and my domain. We must stick to our professional duties in the best interest of Indian Sports,” Rijiju replied on Boe’s tweet on Friday.
Taking to Twitter, Boe on Thursday wrote, “Finding myself in a bit of turmoil. Representing India for the first time as a coach for some great athletes, meanwhile, I-T department is raiding Taapsee’s houses back home, putting unnecessary stress on her family, especially her parents. @KirenRijiju please do something.”
In January, the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) approved the request of India’s badminton players Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy — ranked World No. 10 in men’s doubles — to rope in Boe of Denmark to train them in the run-up to the Olympics.
The raids, which started on Wednesday, continued on Thursday as well with the IT department carrying out searches at the commerce centre of KWAN Talent Management Agency in Mumbai. On Wednesday, Income Tax officials conducted raids at the properties of Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee and film producer Vikas Bahl while carrying out searches at their offices and residences. (ANI)

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New Zealand pacer Southee reprimanded for breaching ICC code of conduct

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee has been reprimanded for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the third T20I against Australia in Wellington.
Southee was found to have breached Article 2.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Player and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “showing dissent at an Umpire’s decision during an International Match.”
In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Southee, for whom it was the first offence in a 24-month period.
The incident occurred in the first over of the match on Wednesday, when Southee shouted at the umpire in a disrespectful manner after a leg-before review taken against Australia opener Aaron Finch was declared an umpire’s call and given not out.
Southee admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Jeff Crowe of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees and ratified by the ICC Cricket Operations department as per the COVID-19 interim playing regulations. There was no need for a formal hearing
On-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Wayne Knights, third umpire Shaun Haig and fourth official Chris Brown levelled the charges.
Level 1 breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand, a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee, and one or two demerit points.
Riding on skipper Aaron Finch, Maxwell and Ashton Agar’s performances, Australia bounced back in the series with a comfortable win over New Zealand.
New Zealand was 109/3 at one stage, but Agar wreaked havoc and picked six wickets to bundle out the hosts for 144. Agar turned the game in Australia’s favour with three wickets in the 13th over. (ANI)

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