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As part of the plans to ensure safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE to donate doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world.

National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will work with their local governments to coordinate local distribution in accordance with each country’s vaccination guidelines and consistent with local regulations. The IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are working with the NOCs and National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) to encourage and assist their athletes, officials and Games stakeholders residing in their territories to get vaccinated in their home countries in line with national immunisation guidelines, before they go to Japan.

According to the organisers, based on the feedback from the NOCs and NPCs, it is expected that a significant proportion of Games participants will have been vaccinated before arriving in Japan. The new MoU adds to these efforts.

Additional doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken out of existing programmes, but will be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world.

“This donation of the vaccine is another tool in our toolbox of measures to help make the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 safe and secure for all participants, and to show solidarity with our gracious Japanese hosts,” said IOC President Thomas Bach in an official statement.

“We are inviting the athletes and participating delegations of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games to lead by example and accept the vaccine where and when possible. By taking the vaccine, they can send a powerful message that vaccination is not only about personal health, but also about solidarity and consideration of the wellbeing of others in their communities. We would like to thank Pfizer and BioNTech for this very generous donation to support the vaccination of athletes and Games participants ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” he added.

Prof. Ugur Erdener, Chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission, said: “We see the importance of vaccination all around the world. We encourage the athletes and Games participants to take the vaccine whenever possible. Vaccination is an important tool to protect not only themselves, but also their communities.”

During a conversation between Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer, and Suga Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan, which is the host country of Tokyo 2020, Bourla made an offer to donate the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for athletes and their delegations participating in Tokyo 2020. Following this conversation, the Japanese government had a meeting with the IOC and now the donation plan has been realised.

“With hundreds of millions of vaccines already administered, and hundreds of millions more to go, Pfizer is committed, together with BioNTech, to doing all we can to help end this pandemic and help return the world to a sense of normalcy,” Bourla said.

“The return of the Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a monumental moment of world unity and peace after a gruelling year of isolation and devastation. We are proud to play a role in providing vaccines to athletes and their national Olympic delegations where possible.”

“Providing vaccines to Games participants is one of the critical ways to help ensure the Games are as safe and successful as possible. With more than 430 million doses already delivered, our vaccine continues to help protect lives around the world and bring us back to our normal lives,” said Ugur Sahin, MD, CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech.

“This year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games are an historic moment representing the global community and how we stand together. We are honoured to be able to contribute the vaccine to support the safety of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The announcement follows the release of the second edition of the Playbooks, which give detailed information and guidelines to the various stakeholder groups participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

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Virat Kohli takes RCB to fourth place after win against GT

Royal Challengers still need Delhi Capitals, who have a superior net run rate than them, to lose their final league fixture to Mumbai Indians, to enter into playoffs.



A blistering half-century by chase master Virat Kohli guided Royal Challengers Bangalore to a convincing 8 wickets win against table-toppers in their IPL 2022 match at Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday. With this victory in the must-win encounter, RCB leapfrogged Delhi Capitals for the fourth spot on the Indian Premier League 2022 table with 16 points against their name. Royal Challengers still need Delhi Capitals, who have a superior net run rate than them, to lose their final league fixture to Mumbai Indians, to enter into playoffs. Virat Kohli finally broke out of the funk, with 73 off 54 balls, his highest score this IPL.

Skipper Faf Du Plessis scored 44 off 38 balls while Glenn Maxwell finished with a quick 40 off 18 balls.

Batting first, a blistering half-century by Hardik Pandya and quick 34 by David Miller steered Gujarat Titans to a challenging 168/5 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Pandya smashed 62 runs off 47 balls while Miller played a brilliant quick knock of 34 runs off 25 balls.

For RCB, Josh Hazlewood scalped two wickets while Wanindu Hasaranga settled for one. Chasing 169, RCB openers Virat Kohli and Faf Du Plessis enjoyed a good start as their score read 55/0 after the powerplay in the match.

The RCB duo continued with their carnage as their score read 93/0 at halfway mark in the chase. The 100-run partnership was up between Virat and Faf in the 12th over. Faf du Plessis simply rode in Kohli’s slipstream during a 115-run opening stand before holing out for 44 off 38 balls in the 15th over. Rashid also got rid of Kohli, in his next over, but the game was all but over by then.

Glenn Maxwell then came out all guns blazing and put up a show of his own as finished with 40 off 18 balls.

Earlier, opting to bat first, Gujarat Titans got off to a great start as openers Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill trashed Siddarth Kaul for 14 runs in the first over of the innings. In the third over, Josh Hazlewood gave a big blow to GT as he dismissed star batter Shubman Gill when he had barely scored a run.

Glenn Maxwell gave another blow as he removed Matthew Wade with GT at 38. GT lost the third wicket at 62 as Wriddhiman Saha was sent to the pavilion.

David Miller then came to the crease and tried to anchor Gujarat’s innings with skipper Hardik Pandya.

Gujarat Titans were at 72/3 after ten overs as the Banglore bowlers kept a check on the flow of runs through tight bowling. Miller and Pandya took their team’s total beyond the 100-run mark in the 14th over as they trashed Maxwell for 18 runs.

As they hammered RCB bowlers, Siddarth Kaul came up with a tight 16th over which conceded only four runs.

The partnership between Miller and Pandya took GT to 118-3 after the 15th over. RCB heaved a sigh of relief as Wanindu Hasaranga removed Miller after he had scored 34 leaving GT at 123/4.

Rahul Tewatia then joined GT skipper to post a respectable total against RCB in the last three overs. But Tewatia could not do much as he was sent back to the pavilion by Hazlewood after scoring two runs.

Rashid Khan came to bat with the skipper. In the 19th over of the innings, Pandya brought up his half-century which came of 42 balls. In the last over, the batters thrashed Hazlewood for 17 runs to take GT’s total to 168/5 in 20 overs.

Brief scores: Gujarat Titans 168/5 (Hardik Pandya 62*, David Miller 34; Josh Hazlewood 2-39) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 170/2 (Virat Kohli 73, Faf Du Plessis 44; Rashid Khan 2-32)

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The Indian men’s compound team stunned the team from South Korea to reach the final at the Archery World Cup 2022 stage 2 in Gwangju on Wednesday.

The South Korean team looked on track for the top spot during early matchplay but their hopes were denied by the Indian trio of Abhishek Verma, Aman Saini and Rajat Chauhan in a tight semifinal decided by a tiebreak. They had already let India overcome a two-point deficit in the fourth end of regulation and then put down a 26 in the shoot-off, easily bested by India’s 29.

South Korea then returned to form for the bronze medal match, where the local heroes soundly ousted Denmark, 238-229. The Indian women’s compound team comprising Avneet Kaur, Muskan Kirar and Priya Gurjar, meanwhile, secured a bronze. Up against Turkey in the bronze medal playoff, the Indian trio overturned a late deficit to win a thriller 232-231 to claim a podium spot.

Indian men’s team will face France in Saturday’s final in what will be a replay of the gold medal match from the Stage 1 World Cup from last month. India won the contest 232-230 at the Turkey meet.

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Anderson, Broad back as England announce Test squad against NZ



England have announced a 13-member squad for the first two Tests of their upcoming ICC World Test Championship assignment at home against New Zealand, starting June 2.

Yorkshire batter Harry Brook and Durham seamer Matthew Potts have been called up for the first time. Brook has been the standout batsman in Division one of the County Championship. The 23-year-old, who made his England T20 debut in January in the Caribbean, has scored 758 runs at an average of 151.60, including three centuries and four half-centuries for the white rose county during the summer campaign.

Twenty-three-year-old Potts has been in impressive form in the County Championship. He is the season’s leading bowler, with 35 wickets and four five-wicket hauls, including his most recent return of seven for 40 in Durham’s win over Glamorgan.

The veteran pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who had been left out of the previous squad travelling to West Indies, made a return to England’s Test side for the three-match series against the reigning World Test Championship winners.

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Paulo Dybala on Tuesday night gave a heartfelt farewell message to Juventus supporters in an emotional video on his social media accounts.

Dybala played his last match for Juve against Lazio on Monday. At 77 minutes in the match, after seven seasons for the Bianconeri, Paulo Dybala waved the Allianz Stadium goodbye. The number 10 made his way around the ground as he received the lap of honour. “I came here at 21, as the number I was carrying on my shoulders at that time. In these years, I have grown up as a footballer and as a man,” he said in a video posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

“They were wonderful years, full of joy, of work, goals and wins. Not always has it gone as we hoped or as we deserved. But we never gave up. Thanks to this team I have really figured out important goals. Here I found special team-mates and I always felt loved by fans, by people, by children and I will never forget this.”

“During this period, my responsibilities have grown and I have always tried to face them in the best way. We were together for seven years. Seven years of beautiful moments. And even some tough moments.”

“Our paths are parting today but I will always carry all of you with me in my heart. Because you gave me so much love, so much respect. I hope to have given you some ‘joya’. Thank you all,” he added.

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A blistering century by Quinton de Kock and an attacking half-century by KL Rahul saw Lucknow Super Giants defeat Kolkata Knight Riders in a nerve-wracking IPL 2022 match by 2 runs at the Dr DY Patil Stadium here on Wednesday.

With this loss, KKR are out of IPL 2022 playoffs contention with 12 points against their name after all 14 league matches played. Lucknow climbed to the second spot with 18 points with its victory in the high-scoring match that had spectators on the edge of their seats. Lucknow Super Giants’ opening pair smashed several records as they remained unbeaten at the end of 20 overs with 210 runs on board. The duo scored the highest opening stand in IPL history. Quinton de Kock remained unbeaten with a swashbuckling 140.

KKR showed a lot of heart and courage in their chase as they clocked 208 runs after the 20 overs, just 3 runs short of the target. Shreyas Iyer smashed 50 while Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh played quick knocks of 42 and 40 respectively. For LSG, Moshin Khan and Marcus Stoinis scalped three wickets each.

Chasing 211, KKR had a decent start as their batters played aggressively to post 60 runs after the powerplay with the loss of two wickets.

Opener Venkatesh Iyer was the first to go back to the pavilion after Quinton De Kock took an absolute blinder of a catch off Mohsin Khan in the first over of the KKR’s innings.

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Liverpool made sure this thrilling Premier League title race will go to the final day after the Reds came from behind to seal a crucial 2-1 victory at Southampton on Tuesday night.

Knowing that defeat at St. Mary’s would lead to Manchester City being crowned 2021/22 champions, a Liverpool side showing nine changes from the team that won the FA Cup final on Saturday, went behind to a stunning Nathan Redmond goal. But they responded with goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip to set up a grandstand finale to the season.

The race for the title is out of Liverpool’s hands, however, as City are one point ahead going into their last match at home to Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa.

If City match Liverpool’s result against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield, they will become Premier League champions for the sixth time. But should City draw or lose and Liverpool win, the Reds will take the title for the second time in three years.

If City lose and Liverpool draw and both sides end up on the same number of points, the only way the title will return to Anfield is if there is a massive swing in goal difference.

The focus in the Premier League now turns to Thursday.

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