Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has said that elite athletes can return to their rigorous training for events, including the Tokyo Olympics, by the end of the month since they have not been included in the list of activities allowed yet. Speaking in a webinar organised by the FICCI sports committee on Corona & Sports with champion sports personalities, Rijiju said, “Practice session/training can resume by month end. Sports in India is yet to get relaxation since it is not included in the list of necessary practices.”
Rijiju spoke on how sportspersons and their associations have come forward to donate money and create awareness in the time of need. The minister, who also holds the independent charge of youth affairs, said his ministry has trained 40 lakh volunteers from the National Service Scheme and the Nehru Yuva Kendra. The planning for Olympics or international competition did not seem to be a priority and was missing in the discussion. Apart from Rijiju, the two-hour webinar saw the participation of FICCI Secretary-General Dilip Chenoy, Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, international footballer Gurpreet Singh, cricketer Robin Uthappa and legendary badminton coach Pullela Gopichand. Chenoy, in his welcome address, threw light on how the world of sports is changing and more and more people are going for online activities.
He said that many countries have already started sporting activities like the Korean National Baseball League which is the third largest in the world, golf courses have been thrown open in the US, the German football team has resumed practice sessions despite three players testing positive for coronavirus. He said FICCI would be happy to work with the government to work out a roadmap for opening up the sports sector so that it returns to normalcy as soon as possible.
Women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal said, “We have done lots of indoor activities to raise funds for the needy. We are missing our family as we are in the camp.” Gurpreet Singh, who is in Australia, did mention of “jogging in the sun” and said it’s important, in the time of uncertainty, to stand together and motivate each other to deal with the situation. Robin Uthappa said this is the best time to utilise with important people around you. He said that he is keeping fit and waiting to get back to active playing soon. Gopichand was more focused on the training part of young athletes and said currently the health of the people is priority
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Never felt that I needed to sub Bale: Mourinho
Wycombe [UK], January 26 (ANI): Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that he never felt like taking Gareth Bale off during the club’s impressive win over Wycombe. Tottenham secured a brilliant 4-1 win over Wycombe in the FA Cup here on Tuesday.
During the clash, Wycombe scored the opening goal in the 25th minute but Bale’s strike levelled the scores. Harry Winks then handed Tottenham a lead in the 86th minute before Tanguy Ndombele netted twice in the dying minutes of the match to take the scoreline to 4-1.
“It was good. Some good movement. Some one and against ones, beating people, attacking people, creating chances. Of course, scoring a goal,” Goal.com quoted Mourinho as saying about Bale’s performance.
“Apart from that I never felt he couldn’t play the 90 minutes. I never felt that I needed to change him and that is good. Of course, the Championship [opponents] is a good, competitive level and the aggression is high and the intensity is good. So I’m happy,” he added.
The manager is also impressed with the team’s overall performance in the game and said the attitude of the players was “very professional.
“We had some good performances from the boys that started the game. Of course, Winks was man of the match, which is very much deserved because I thought he was very, very good in everything he did, apart from the goal,” he said.
“The goal is just a very small important detail but I’m happy because I think the attitude of the team was very professional and it’s the kind of game that, even if we lose because we don’t take chances and they score in the last minutes, let’s say that I wouldn’t be sad because it was a very professional performance,” Mourinho added.
Tottenham will now take on Liverpool in the Premier League on Friday. (ANI)
ISL 7: SC East Bengal rope in goalkeeper Subrata Paul on loan from Hyderabad FC
Panaji (Goa) [India], January 26 (ANI): SC East Bengal on Tuesday announced the signing of seasoned India goalkeeper Subrata Paul on loan from Hyderabad FC for the remainder of the ongoing seventh season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
This will be Paul’s second stint with East Bengal after the 2008-09 season in which he bagged the Federation Cup.
“I can’t explain how happy and overwhelmed I am to be back at SC East Bengal. I know the weight and meaning of the red and gold colours. I consider myself very lucky and blessed to be a part of SC East Bengal. I cannot wait to get on the pitch and help them shine,” Paul said in a statement.
Paul, 34, played six matches for Hyderabad FC this season keeping two clean sheets.
“Subrata is vastly experienced and has been doing an amazing job between the sticks for a long time now. His signing bolsters our goalkeeping options. Subrata’s wealth of experience will also help the other keepers around,” SC East Bengal head coach and Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler said.
Paul has kept as many as 28 clean sheets in his ISL career with 91 appearances with clubs like Mumbai City FC, NorthEast United, Jamshedpur FC, and Hyderabad FC
“We all know his experience and the quality that he has got. I have worked with him before at Jamshedpur FC and I know what he can bring to the squad. So hopefully he is ready to compete with Debjit (Majumder) for the first team place,” SC East Bengal goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms said.
“I know his work rate. He works really hard and that rubs off on the other goalkeepers around him. It makes my job easier if goalkeepers want to work. On another note, I wish Sankar (Roy) all the best. He has also worked hard in training,” he added.
Nicknamed the ‘Spiderman’ for his heart-stopping saves during India’s AFC Asian Cup campaign in Qatar in 2011, Paul has donned the India colours 67 times and is one of the few Indian players with European pedigree, having plied his trade for Danish club Vestsjaelland.
It was for his exploits against South Korea in the Asian Cup that Paul was nicknamed ‘Spiderman’ by the international media.
An Arjuna award recipient, Paul has been part of India’s title-winning sides that lifted the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, the 2015 SAFF Championship as well as the Nehru Cup triumphs in 2012 and 2009. (ANI)
World Tour Finals: PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth to lead India’s charge
Bangkok [Thailand], January 26 (ANI): Badminton players Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu will be the only shuttlers from India in action at the Badminton World Federation World Tour Finals, slated to begin on Wednesday.
Sindhu had crashed out of the Thailand Open after losing to Ratchanok Intanon in the quarter-final clash last week while Srikanth had withdrawn from the tournament after his roommate Sai Praneeth tested positive for coronavirus.
Srikanth had got off to a good start in the Thailand Open but had to pull out of the showpiece event. He thrashed Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin 21-11, 21-11 to seal the 38-minute long match in the first round.
Sindhu has been placed in women’s singles Group B while Srikanth is in men’s singles Group B.
“Group B has Axelsen’s compatriot Anders Antonsen, Wang Tzu Wei (Chinese Taipei), Kidambi Srikanth (India) and Ng Ka Long Angus (Hong Kong China),” the BWF said in a statement on Tuesday.
“World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) is in Group B with home favourites Ratchanok Intanon and Pornpawee Chochuwong, and world champion Pusarla V Sindhu (India),” it added.
The group stage will be followed by knockout, with the top two players/pairs from each group making it to the semi-finals. The tournament starts on Wednesday and the finals will be held on January 31.
Spain’s Carolina Marin defeated Tai Tzu Ying in the women’s singles final to lift the Thailand Open on Sunday. The Olympic gold medalist won the summit clash in two straight games 21-19, 21-17 in an encounter that lasted for 48 minutes.
Three-time world champion Marin is in women’s singles Group A with An Se Young, the Korean she beat twice over the last fortnight; Canada’s Michelle Li and Evgeniya Kosetskaya, who is the first Russian singles player at the season finale. (ANI)
Stones is a great centre-back, deserves everything: Ederson
Manchester [UK], January 26 (ANI): Manchester City’s Ederson lauded John Stones saying that the latter is a great centre-back and deserves everything.
Stones has been in outstanding form this season, playing 17 times for the club in all competitions. He also scored a goal during Manchester City’s Carabao Cup semi-final victory over Manchester United earlier this month.
“He is a great centre-back. I have always liked him. He has a huge heart. I like him and I get along with him very well. I have always supported him and I’m delighted about his success. This season, I’m very happy for him for everything he has gone through, the injuries he suffered,” the club’s official website quoted Ederson as saying.
“I think he deserves everything. I hope he can enjoy this moment and he can carry on helping us until the end of the season,” he added.
Manchester City are on a remarkable run as they have secured 10 successive victories in all competitions.
On the back of a sublime run, the club is currently placed in the second spot on the Premier League standings with 38 points, just two points behind table-toppers Manchester United.
Manchester City will next take on West Brom in the Premier League on Wednesday. (ANI)
West Indies need to play spin better: Phil Simmons
Chattogram [Bangladesh], January 26 (ANI): West Indies head coach Phil Simmons feels the boys need to improve their game against spin bowling in the white-ball format ahead of the Sri Lanka tour.
Bangladesh displayed a spirited all-round game to defeat West Indies by 120 runs in the third ODI of the three-match series at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Monday.
All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and spinner Mehidy Hasan picked 13 of the 30 wickets that West Indies lost in the three-match ODI series. Simmons also wants his side to show character and determination when they play the game of cricket.
“[I learned] that we need to play spin better. We need to be able to rotate strike and score boundaries in Bangladesh a lot better. There’s work to be done,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Simmons as saying.
“Every time you have low scores, there is not enough character, heart, determination shown. It is all about putting everything out there and making sure things happen the way you want them to happen, and that’s not been done,” he added.
It was a tough series for West Indies, the highest total they made in the 50-over format was 177 in the third ODI. Simmons feels West Indies have to improve in every department and pointed out on the dearth of runs the side is going through.
“We need to improve on everything, in every area, after losing three games. Especially the runs that we put on the board. That’s something we have to work on from now, till our next series which is in March (against Sri Lanka),” said Simmons.
The 3-0 result at home has lifted Bangladesh to the second position in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League points table as they are on 30 points along with England but ahead on net run-rate.
Australia, who are one of only two sides to play two series so far with the other being England, lead with 40 points in the Super League, which was introduced last year to add context to ODI cricket. (ANI)
There’s possibly another 100 Test matches there for de Kock: Boucher
Karachi [Pakistan], January 26 (ANI): South Africa head coach Mark Boucher feels skipper Quinton de Kock could become one of the most capped Proteas players of all time.
De Kock made his 50th appearance in the longest format of the game in the ongoing first Test against Pakistan in Karachi on Tuesday. Boucher, who made his debut against Pakistan in 1997, hopes De Kock will play at least another 100 games in the longest format.
“It’s a special occasion for any player. It’s just the start of his career. There’s possibly another 100 Test matches there for him,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Boucher as saying.
The former wicket-keeper batsman is South Africa’s second most-capped Test cricketer after all-rounder Jacques Kallis. Boucher played 150 Tests while Kallis featured in 166 games.
Boucher praised the South Africa captain and said opposition teams hope a “special player” like de Kock doesn’t get into good form.
“Quinny is a special cricketer. He is the type of player opposition hope doesn’t get into good form because he can take the game away from anyone very quickly,” said Boucher.
“Being a captain is an extra [responsibility] we have added on to him. We’re trying to help him out as much as we can in that department. But I’m very happy he has taken on that role,” he added.
The South Africa coach hopes to see the best of the wicket-keeper batsman in the ongoing Test series against Pakistan.
“I know it’s tough at times, especially if your performances aren’t exactly where you want them to be. Hopefully, we can get the best of Quinny in this series. It can only be good for him as a person, a captain, and also for the team,” said Boucher.
Meanwhile, in the first Test, South Africa got off to a bad start after opting to bat first. The side lost Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen cheaply in the first hour of play. (ANI)
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