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Why Amit Panghal carries a lot of expectations for Tokyo Olympics

Currently world No. 1, the Indian boxer is known for his foot movement. His short frame could give an advantage for uppercuts and executing sharp angular punches.

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NEW DELHI: Twenty-eight pugilists will fly punches for 4 flyweight medals at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. Indian boxing sensation Amit Panghal carries lots of hopes in the 52 kg division. Let’s have a look at his preparations for the most important medal of his career.

Amit became a household name when he returned with a gold medal from Jakarta Asian Games 2018. What’s more significant about the performance was his summit win over reigning Olympic Champion Hasanboy Dusmatov from Uzbekistan. Hasanboy could have been his biggest threat. Armyman from Rohtak tested defeat from him in QF of the 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships. Thankfully, Hasanboy is now a professional boxer and he is not participating in the Olympics.

Well, Shakhobidin Zoirov could be the biggest hurdle for the Indian. Reigning Olympic Champion and World Champion is currently World number two. Getting past the Uzbeki boxer will be the herculean task for the Indian. In their last meeting in the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championship in Yekaterinburg (Russia), Amit learned a cruel boxing lesson. He lost 5-0 to Zoirov in the final.

Billal Bennama of France lost to Zoirov in the SF of World Boxing Championship in 2019. Boxer from France could give a tough time to Amit. Indian won quite comfortably in their last meeting. The 25-year-old Indian defeated the Frenchman 5-0 in the Semi-Final of World Boxing 2020 at Cologne.

Saken Bilosinov of Kazakhstan lost to Amit in an intense battle in the same tournament in SF. Kazak pugilist is participating in Tokyo. Daniel Panev Asenov is another sensation. The double European champion cannot be taken lightly. Bulgarian is number 3 in the world in the last updated rankings of Boxing. Hu Jianguan of China clinched Bronze in Rio 2016. His most significant win was over southpaw Cuban Yasveni Veltia. Hu must be looking to upgrade his medal in Tokyo.

Mohd Flissi (Algeria) is a veteran. He must be looking to finish his career at a high. Gabriel Escobar (ESP) and Brandan Ervine (Ireland) will do everything to prove that they are not making up the numbers.

Amit is currently world number 1. He qualified after he defeated Carlo Paalam who is part of the Philippines squad at Tokyo.

The diminutive Indian is known for his foot movement. His short frame could give an advantage for uppercuts and executing sharp angular punches. Now, Amit is connecting well with flawless technique. With time, the rising star has matured in defending. Undoubtedly, he is the biggest Indian hope. He is a big fan of Indian movie star Dharmendra. His wish after the gold at Jakarta was to meet his matinee idol. It was fulfilled with a warm heart from the cine-star.

The road to glory is very tough for the Haryana boxer at the Japanese capital. Gold is all we need.

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England’s Chilwell, Mount to miss Czech Republic clash as they isolate

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England duo Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount, who are currently isolating themselves as a precautionary measure, will miss the upcoming Euro 2020 clash against the Czech Republic, confirmed England Football on Tuesday.

“We can confirm that Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount must isolate up to and including next Monday [28 June]. This decision has been taken in consultation with Public Health England,” England Football stated in an official release. The pair were confirmed overnight as close contacts of Scotland’s Billy Gilmour after his positive COVID-19 test following last Friday’s match.

Chilwell and Mount will isolate and train individually in private areas at England’s training base St. George’s Park, with the rest of the squad returning there after the fixture against Czech Republic at Wembley.

“We will continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols and the UEFA testing regime, while remaining in close contact with PHE,” the statement further added.

The entire England squad and staff had lateral flow tests on Monday and all were again negative, as was the case with Sunday’s UEFA pre-match PCR tests.

Earlier, Billy Gilmour was ruled out of Scotland’s final Euro 2020 group game against Croatia after testing positive for COVID-19, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) had stated on Monday.

SFA has confirmed that the midfielder would sit out the meeting with Croatia at Hampden Park on Tuesday night after the latest round of medical checks in the national team camp and was in quarantine after contracting COVID-19.

Meanwhile, more than 60,000 fans will be permitted at the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final at Wembley Stadium following an announcement by the UK government, increasing attendance to 75 per cent of capacity for each game, confirmed the UEFA on Tuesday.

The semi-finals will take place on 6 July (Tuesday) and July 7 (Wednesday), with the final being held on July 11 (Sunday).

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PCB AND YOUNIS KHAN DECIDE TO MUTUALLY PART WAYS

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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday said it has mutually agreed to part ways with the men’s national cricket team batting coach Younis Khan.

Younis was appointed as the batting coach last year in November on a two-year contract until the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan in an official PCB release said: “It is sad to lose an expert of the stature and experience of Younis Khan. Following a series of discussions, we both have reluctantly but mutually and amicably agreed that it was time to move in different directions.”

“I want to thank Younis Khan for his contributions during his short stint as the Pakistan men’s national cricket team’s batting coach and hope he will remain available to assist the PCB by sharing his vast knowledge with the emerging cricketers,” he added.Both PCB and Younis Khan have agreed to not make any further comment on the reasons for the former captain’s departure.

Pakistan men’s national cricket team will travel to the United Kingdom without a batting coach, while the decision to appoint Younis Khan’s replacement for the West Indies tour will be made in due course.Pakistan men’s national cricket team will tour the UK from June 25 to July 20 for three ODIs and three T20Is, while the West Indies tour will be from July 21 to August 24 where the visiting team will feature in five T20Is and two Tests.

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Discrimination must be addressed, says Rijiju on Covid-19 restrictions for Indian athletes

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Kiren Rijiju

Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju has said “there cannot be any discrimination with any country” as he vowed to address the issue ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

His remarks came as new regulations were put in place by the Japanese government pertaining to entry conditions to Japan affecting 11 countries including India ahead of the Tokyo Games. “We got the information from Japan that there are certain concerns… as per the Olympic charter there cannot be any discrimination with any country in the participation for the Olympics,” Rijiju said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

“If there are rules which are discriminatory to Indians or for that matter any country this has to be addressed. I have already conveyed to IOA to register a formal complaint before the organising committee in Japan, which they already did,” he said.

“So if there are rules and regulations which is not good for us as a sports minister I will strongly raise the issue. So matter has come and we had already conveyed, hopefully, there will some right action taken up,” he added.

An Olympic Mission Cell has been set up in the Embassy of India in Tokyo, as a single-window node to provide logistic support to the Indian contingent bound for Tokyo Games.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has decided to depute maximum additional support staff such as coaches, doctors, physiotherapists, to optimise the performance of the athletes in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

“Our Embassy in Japan is also dealing with this matter. So through our Indian embassy and IOA, we are conveying all these concerns,” said Rijiju.

A number of Indian athletes are training abroad for more than 30 days and will be travelling directly to Tokyo. The countries where they are training are not on the list of the 11 countries that have these new additional conditions.

The sports minister also informed that vaccination for Tokyo-bound athletes have been carried in a “smooth manner”.

“Initially we faced some difficulty for the athletes who are already training outside as countries have their own rules and regulations,” said Rijiju while replying to a query from ANI.

“But we have handled the situation carefully and whether in India or abroad the vaccination has been carried in a very smooth manner,” he added.

Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 and the Games will run up to August 8 this year. The event was slated to be held last year, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Kiwis bowled out for 249, take 32-run lead

With a constant drizzle delaying the start by an hour, the Indian bowlers had conditions tailor-made for them to start on fifth gear. The first 30 minutes saw only 5 runs being scored.

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Mohammed Shami picked two wickets in the second session on day five as New Zealand were bundled out for 249 in the first innings in the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) final against India on Tuesday.

If Shami struck twice in the session, Ishant scalped the big wicket of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson. Ravichandran Ashwin removed Neil Wagner at the cusp of the tea as the Kiwis extended their lead before being bowled out for 249. The Kiwis have taken a lead of 32 runs in the first innings. India were on top after the first session on Tuesday but New Zealand fought back to take a crucial first-innings lead,

In the second session, Shami continued his fine form and got his third wicket as he trapped Colin de Grandhomme in front of the stumps for 13. Kyle Jamieson then joined skipper Williamson in the middle and scored at more than run a ball before getting out.

Shami went for 12 in an over but managed to get the wicket as Jamieson was caught at long leg to leave New Zealand at 192/7.

Williamson and Tim Southee then took New Zealand above the 200-run mark as the Kiwis gained a lead in the first innings.

However, minutes after New Zealand took the lead, Ishant bagged the big wicket of Williamson who fell just one run short of his fifty.

In the dying minutes of the second session, Ashwin sent back Neil Wagner for a duck as New Zealand got reduced to 234/9.

Southee and Trent Boult did frustrate the Indian bowlers, however, Ravindra Jadeja did the honours as he dismissed Southee to bundle out New Zealand for 249.

In the first session, Mohammed Shami scalped two and Ishant picked one wicket to put the Kiwis in a spot of bother at 135/5.

India ended the opening session of the fifth day on a high after a quality display from pacers.

With a constant drizzle delaying the start by an hour, the Indian bowlers had conditions tailor-made for them to start on fifth gear.

But Ross Taylor and Williamson ensured they managed to miss the good balls and played out the ones which were in line of the stumps.

The first half an hour saw only 5 runs being scored and that showed the determination in both Taylor and Williamson’s approach.

Shami finally broke through as he got Taylor to drive on the up, only for Shubman Gill to come up with a smart diving catch at short mid-off.

Few minutes later Ishant finally reaped the reward of putting in the hard yards as he got one to take the edge of Nicholls’ bat and Rohit Sharma picked a brilliant catch in the slip cordon. Shami was not done yet either as he bowled a sensational delivery to send back BJ Watling.

With play being washed off on the first and fourth day, the game is set to go into the reserve day and a first innings lead could mean all that much more as both teams would wish to go for the kill with the WTC title on the line.

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar feels with a lot of overs left in the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) final, India have to bat well to put New Zealand under pressure.

“Good bowling by @MdShami11& @ImIshantbacked by some terrific fielding by India. Crucial runs were scored by Jamieson & Southee along with Williamson. With around 130+ overs left in the game India will have to bat well if they want to put under pressure,” Tendulkar tweeted.

Former batsman VVS Laxman is “sure” that India will bat nicely in the second innings of the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand.

But I am sure the Indian batsman will apply themselves nicely in the second innings,” he said in a tweet.

Brief Scores: India 217; New Zealand 249 (Devon Conway 54; Ishant Sharma 3/48, Mohammed Shami 4/76)

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ASHOK KUMAR: THE ONLY INDIAN REFEREE TO OFFICIATE IN TOKYO OLYMPICS

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He is calm, composed, focused and aspires to become known as one of the best. “I was always a strong-headed person. I knew the subjects in which I was not good and subjects where I can outperform others,” said Ashok Kumar, who will be the only referee from the country to officiate in wrestling matches of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

In the same manner, he drove his life, and today has set a benchmark by becoming the maiden referee from India to officiate wrestling matches in Tokyo Olympic, and he has successfully achieved it for the second consecutive time.

Born in a state where wrestling is much loved, Haryana, Ashok Kumar, 52 grew a passion for the game in his early age which he never gave up even after not pulling off greats as a player. But his admiration for the game led him to become a coach for the game.

“While serving in the Indian Air Force I got many opportunities to play the game and train. I was able to get into the rhythm and soon realized that if I become the coach of the game then I’ll be able to stay close to the game, and nurture new generations,” Ashok Kumar told The Daily Guardian.

Ashok enrolled himself at National Institute for Sports for two years and pursued a diploma. After completing it, he was appointed coach for the air force team and several other service teams. “Within few years, I got a call to coach the Indian national team and that moment changed my life, literally. I was able to interact with players and my involvement was also getting recognition. My reputation with players was really smooth and I believe even players were able to show some faith in me,” he added.

“I represented India for three to four years, from 2001 to 2004 I was the head coach of the Indian team. During this period, Ashok Kumar was informed that something happened which transformed his life. In a few matches, I was offered to officiate as referee and I feel fortunate enough to cash in those opportunities,” said Ashok Kumar.

Gradually Ashok’s interest in referring to the game grew and because of that he went to Greece in 2005, to apply for the license of becoming a referee for International games. “I cleared my tests and within two months and I got my official license for international games. And since then I am serving the game,” he added.

The new referees must not focus on the colour of corners while serving as referees as it can bring bias. “A referee should judge the game going beyond the players and countries involved in the game. They should learn and read the rule book to avoid any avoidable judgments,” said Ashok Kumar.

Kumar has also been given the World Wrestling Referee Educator accolade by the United World Wrestling. Ashok Kumar also believes that India’s representation in the game of wrestling will be really good in the Tokyo Olympics and that the color palette of the medals will be also interesting.

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LaLiga’s income exceeded 5 billion euro despite Covid-19

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LaLiga on Monday presented its financial report for 2019-2020 season, in which the total income of the Spanish football division achieved a new historical record despite the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total income of LaLiga was EUR5,045 million in 2019-2020 season , +3.6 per cent compared to 18/19. “Although this figure could have been EUR5,321m (+ 9.3 per cent) without the impact of COVID-19 according to estimates by PwC. Additionally, the average cumulative long-term growth in each of the last five seasons was +12 per cent, a figure that is worth even more when compared to other sectors and companies: IBEX35 companies, for example, decreased by -1.4 per cent on average in the last five years,” an official release by LaLiga stated. Compared to the other major European competitions, LaLiga is the only one that made a profit (EUR77m Net Result) and continues to be the leader in income on a demographic and price level equality comparison basis (EUR107 per capita).

In terms of total expenses, the cost and amortisation of sports staff continues to be clubs’ largest outlay, having risen to 60 per cent in 19/20, two points more than in the previous season, compared to the cost of non-sports staff, which remained stable at 5 per cent.

“Spanish professional football can boast resilient high-level profitability, with positive operating profitability despite the impact of COVID-19. EBITDA after transfers of players exceeded EUR1,000 million (EUR1,196 million without COVID according to PwC), thanks to the significant effort of the clubs in containing costs,” the release added.

“LaLiga maintains a great capacity for investment and a sustainable level of indebtedness (NFD/EBITDA of 1.63x), thanks to strong profitability levels. In this sense, net financial debt increased to EUR745 million, mainly resulting from net investments of EUR509 million. Of the total invested, 84 per cent was for players and 16 per cent for infrastructures.

“The pandemic broke out when the bulk of the investments had already been made or committed to in the 19/20 season. A drastic reduction in this will be seen in 20/21 as well as a decrease in the capital employed (NPA)/total income ratio -currently at extraordinary levels. The investment data shows that LaLiga generates talent that is sold abroad, affording us the possibility of reinvesting in more talent and infrastructures,” the Spanish league pointed.

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