Priyanka Goswami, Sandeep Kumar, break national records, qualify for Tokyo Olympics - The Daily Guardian
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Priyanka Goswami, Sandeep Kumar, break national records, qualify for Tokyo Olympics

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Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], February 13 (ANI): Sandeep Kumar (Haryana) and Priyanka Goswami (Uttar Pradesh) became the first Indian athletes to qualify for next year’s World Athletics Championships Oregon22 when they broke the men and women’s 20km Race Walk National Records respectively on the 1km loop on the Morabadi Road on Saturday.
Together with Rahul Kumar, who finished second in the men’s event, they also qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games to be held later this year.
Both men are athletes from the Army Sports Institute. They took the number of Indian race walkers who have made the grade to five, joining KT Irfan and Bhawana Jat. Their efforts have raised the number of Indian qualifiers to 14 so far.
The 34-year-old Sandeep Kumar, who competed in the 50km Race Walk in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, was just outside the Olympic qualifying standard (1:21:00) despite winning here last year in 1:21:34.
He endured a year’s wait to attain his primary target. With Rahul hot on his heels through the first half of the race, he opened up the lead before the 15km mark.
Irfan (Kerala) trailed the leaders by nearly three seconds at the halfway stage dropped out of the race after 15km but Haryana’s Hardeep Singh shadowed him for 15 loops before pulling away to finish third behind Sandeep Kumar (1:20:16) and Rahul (1:20:26). Delhi’s Vikash Singh was unable to get past Hardeep over the final few loops and settled for fourth place.
The 24-year-old Priyanka Goswami, second to Bhawana Jat last year, was determination personified as she took the early lead and sustained her pace through the 20km to secure a victory, with Olympic and World Championships qualification to boot. A victory by just over four seconds gave her immense satisfaction as well.
Priyanka Goswami breached the Olympic Games and World Championships qualifying mark of 1:31:00 quite comfortably.
The winners today, who used the first opportunity to qualify for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 in July next year after the 18-month qualification window for the 20km Race Walks opened on December 27, 2020, were pleased that there were the mandated three international Race Walk judges at hand to oversee the races.
The results
Men 20km walk: 1. Sandeep Kumar (Haryana) 1:20:16 (New National Record. Old: 1:20:16, KT Irfan, London, 2012 and Devender Singh, Nomi, 2016); 2. Rahul Kumar (Haryana) 1:24:41; 3. Hardeep (Haryana) 1:47:47.
Women 20km walk: 1. Priyanka Goswami (Uttar Pradesh) 1:28:45 (New National Record. Old: 1:31:29, Baby Sowmya, Delhi, 2018; Awaiting ratification 1:29.54, Bhawana Jat, Ranchi, 2020); 2. Bhawana Jat (Rajasthan) 1:32:59; 3. Sonal Sukwal (Rajasthan) 1:36:05. (ANI)

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IND W v SA W, 2nd ODI: Jhulan, Smriti star as hosts register nine-wicket win

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 9 (ANI): Jhulan Goswami’s four-wicket haul and Smriti Mandhana’s unbeaten 80-run knock helped India defeat South Africa by nine wickets in the second ODI of the five-match series on Tuesday here at the Ekana Cricket Stadium.
With this win, the hosts have now levelled the five-match series 1-1. Both teams will now lock horns in the third ODI on Friday at the same ground.
Chasing 158, India batter Smriti Mandhana smashed two sixes off the first two balls she faced and this gave the hosts early momentum. However, the Proteas stormed right back as Shabnim Ismail clean bowled Jemimah Rodrigues (9) in the fifth over of the innings.
Punam Raut then joined Smriti in the middle and the duo did not let the momentum drop for the hosts. Both batters put on an unbeaten stand of 138 runs as the hosts gained a victory by nine wickets with 128 balls to spare. Giving Smriti company, Punam remained unbeaten on 62.
Earlier, Jhulan’s four-wicket haul helped India bundle out South Africa for just 157. Asked to bat first, South Africa got off to a bad start as match-winners from the first ODI, Lizelle Lee (4) and Laura Wolvaardt (9) were sent back to the pavilion by the fifth over, reducing the visitors to 20/2.
Lee was dismissed by Jhulan Goswami while Wolvaardt was sent back to the pavilion by Mansi Joshi. Skipper Sune Luus and Lara Goodall then came together at the crease and both batters formed a 60-run stand to revive the Proteas innings.
But as soon as Proteas innings started to gain normalcy, Manasi Joshi dismissed Luus (36) in the 21st over. Soon after Rajeshwari Gayakwad sent Mignon du Preez (11) back to the pavilion, reducing Proteas to 99/4 in the 26th over.
Jhulan and Harmanpreet Kaur got the big scalps of Marizanne Kapp (10) and Goodall (49) and this put Proteas on the backfoot at 130/6 in the 34th over and the hosts were now looking to end the visitors’ innings in a jiffy.
Proteas lower-order was not able to provide much resistance and in the end, the side was bowled out for 157 inside 41 overs. Mansi Joshi returned with two wickets while Gayakwad scalped three wickets.
Brief Scores: South Africa Women 157 (Lara Goodall 49; Jhulan Goswami 4-42); India 160/1 (Smriti Mandhana 80*, Punam Raut 62*, Shabnim Ismail 1-46). (ANI)

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Olympic year has well and truly started, need to accelerate our learnings: Graham Reid

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Antwerp (Belgium), March 9 (ANI): The Indian men’s hockey coach Graham Reid has expressed satisfaction following his team’s successful outing in Europe where they remained unbeaten.
The two-week tour was India’s first assignment since 2020, a year marred by the coronavirus that disrupted normal life and restricted the team to nearly ten months of training in a bio-secure environment in SAI Centre, Bengaluru.
“I’m pretty happy with the performance; I’m very happy with the way the tour was — from point of view of getting some international competition. That was really important,” said Reid in an official Hockey India release.
In the four-match tour, India secured a 6-1 win and 1-1 draw against Germany in Krefeld. They followed this up with a 1-1 draw and 3-2 win against Great Britain in Antwerp, Belgium.
The experience, Reid feels will be critical in their lead up to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“We go back to Bengaluru from here and will be training there for a few weeks before we set out on another tour of our FIH Pro League matches in Argentina. I believe the next few months leading up to Tokyo are going to be busy for us with competition and some training in between where we will work on the things we need to. The Olympic year has well and truly started now for us and we need to accelerate our learnings,” he said.
While the team will analyse each game against Germany and Great Britain in detail once they regroup in Bengaluru this week, Reid feels there were plenty of takeaways from the tour.
“Our performances against Germany were mixed. It was pretty good beating them 6-1, we took them by surprise and made good use of the opportunities, but we let too many penalty corners in.”
“The second game saw better defensive efforts from us. The 3rd against GB was OK. It was a bit colder in Antwerp, different pitch and perhaps we didn’t play as well as we should have. But the last game (where India beat GB 3-2) was first-class! We led most of the game, came back twice from a stalemate, scored in the last few minutes which is a really important thing to get over,” said Reid.
The coach also pointed out the team’s niggles that need to be addressed when they return to the training pitch in SAI, Bengaluru.
“We will go over the data from this tour once we return to SAI, Bengaluru but the first thing that require attention is: making sure we tighten our defence. We allow them (opponents) to come back in the middle (of the game) a bit too much. The last match was a little bit better. We are starting to make some ground on that.
“We are getting into the 25-mark a lot, we found that during our FIH Pro League matches too but we need to get better returns from our 25 entries. Covert them into circle entries, goal shots, and PCs. We have tried some different things here in Europe. Some things worked, some didn’t. Overall, I am quite happy,” stated Reid. (ANI)

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Ashwin named ICC Men’s Player of the Month for Feb, Beaumont bags women’s award

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Dubai [UAE], March 9 (ANI): The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday named spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as the Men’s Player of the Month (February) while England opening batter Tammy Beaumont was named as Women’s Player of the Month.
ICC Player of the Month Awards recognise and celebrate the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket each month.
Ashwin won the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for February 2021, for his impressive performance against England as part of India’s successful Test series victory. In the 3 Tests he played, he scored a 106 in the second innings of India’s second Test victory over England in Chennai and took his 400th Test wicket in the third Test victory in Ahmedabad.
Scoring a total of 176 runs across these games and taking 24 wickets, Ashwin was the unanimous choice to win in the men’s category for February and garnered the most votes in the fan vote.
England’s Tammy Beaumont played 3 ODIs in February against New Zealand where she passed fifty in each of these, totalling 231 runs. Beaumont was overwhelmingly named the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for February 2021.
Commenting on Ashwin’s performance in February, Ian Bishop representing the ICC Voting Academy said: “Ashwin’s consistent wicket taking, even in helpful conditions have helped to put his team ahead in a very important series. His century in the second Test was as critical as it came when England was trying to claw their way back into the match. That knock ensured that India shut the door on the opposition.”
Commenting on Beaumont’s performance in February, Ian Bishop added: “Three half centuries of which two were in helping her team win the match was outstanding from Beaumont. Particular emphasis on the fact that two of the knocks were unbeaten innings, and coming inevitably, on two occasions whilst having lost her opening partner early on, she had to see things through for her team, which was incredible.” (ANI)

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Women’s football has huge potential in India, says Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 9 (ANI): India men’s goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has said that women’s football has huge potential in India, and initiatives of promoting the sport in rural areas will go a long way in further developing the popularity of the sport.
Sandhu’s remarks came as global sportswear brand PUMA joined hands to empower Mumbai-based NGO, Parcham which has been breaking the gender stereotypes to bolster its mission of inspiring women from marginalised communities of Mumbra, a small town in Thane district near Mumbai, to take up football and make it a viable career option.
“Women football has huge potential in our country and our national team has done exceedingly well in the past. Such social inclusive initiative led by PUMA will help us to not only reach out to more and more talents at the grassroots, but it will also help to make a difference to the lives of these youngsters,” Sandhu said.
Since October 2012, Parcham has been helping women break free of prejudices and reclaim their freedom through football, and now PUMA will support them with training gear and boots that will help the Parcham girls to not only perform better on the field, but also bring in a competitive edge.
“Sports has the ability to change lives — it is a powerful tool to challenge gender norms and stereotypes. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to play, irrespective of their gender or background. Through this association, we are looking to drive the change needed for a future where every woman and girl has equal opportunities to pursue her dreams,” said Abhishek Ganguly, Managing Director, PUMA India and Southeast Asia. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Ahead of T20Is, Hardik fine-tunes bowling skills

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 9 (ANI): All-rounder Hardik Pandya has in recent times stuck to playing as a finisher in the national team. While he did bowl in the second ODI against Australia in Sydney in November, the question on everyone’s mind has been whether he will return to bowling consistently any time soon. And if his preparations for the upcoming T20Is against England is anything to go by, he could be hitting the bowling crease against the No.1 ranked T20 side.
In a video shared by Hardik on Twitter, while he is seen practising the big shots to begin with, he can be seen bowling full throttle towards the end of the clip. “Preparation done. Can’t wait to get on the field on the 12th,” Hardik wrote.
Not just the Australia series, the all-rounder also didn’t hit the bowling crease for his franchise Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League (IPL) title-winning campaign in 2020.
It was his prowess with the bat that saw Hardik being adjudged as ‘Man of the Series’ in the three-match T20I series against Australia which India won 2-1.
The 27-year-old was in India’s Test squad for the series against England, but he did not play a single Test as Virat Kohli-led side won the four-match series 3-1 to progress to the final of the World Test Championship.
WTC final will be played between India and New Zealand from June 18-22 at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
The upcoming five-match T20I series against England will help India garner perfect practice before the T20 World Cup which is slated to be played in October-November this year in India.
India’s T20I squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Rahul Tewatia, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur. (ANI)

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IND W v SA W, 2nd ODI: Jhulan picks four to bundle out visitors for 157

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 9 (ANI): Jhulan Goswami’s four-wicket haul helped India bundle out South Africa for just 157 in the second ODI of the five-match series on Tuesday here at the Ekana Cricket Stadium.
Asked to bat first, South Africa got off to a bad start as match-winners from the first ODI, Lizelle Lee (4) and Laura Wolvaardt (9) were sent back to the pavilion by the fifth over, reducing the visitors to 20/2.
Lee was dismissed by Jhulan Goswami while Wolvaardt was sent back to the pavilion by Mansi Joshi. Skipper Sune Luus and Lara Goodall then came together at the crease and both batters formed a 60-run stand to revive the Proteas innings.
But as soon as Proteas innings started to gain normalcy, Manasi Joshi dismissed Luus (36) in the 21st over. Soon after Rajeshwari Gayakwad sent Mignon du Preez (11) back to the pavilion, reducing Proteas to 99/4 in the 26th over.
Jhulan Goswami and Harmanpreet Kaur got the big scalps of Marizanne Kapp (10) and Goodall (49) and this put Proteas on the backfoot at 130/6 in the 34th over and the hosts were now looking to end the visitors’ innings in a jiffy.
Proteas lower-order was not able to provide much resistance and in the end, the side was bowled out for 157 inside 41 overs.
Mansi Joshi returned with two wickets while Gayakwad scalped three wickets.
Brief Scores: South Africa Women 157 (Lara Goodall 49; Jhulan Goswami 4-42). (ANI)

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