Month

February 2021

Deepak Kumar

2019 Asian Games silver medallist Deepak Kumar (52kg) had to be content with the silver medal after losing the final face-off in a split decision against two times European Champion and Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov in the men’s fly weight final bout at the 72nd Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Saturday.

Deepak, who has been in terrific form as evidenced by his scintillating 4-1 victory against the reigning Olympic champion and World Champion, Shakhobidin Zoirov from Uzbekistan in the semis on Friday fell short in the final against the determined local boy Daniel Asenov, who won the bout 3-2.

Deepak started with a cautious approach and was exposed to some solid punches from his opponent in the first round. The boxer from Hisar looked to improve and up his attack and gave his all in the second round with some decisive punches landing on the opponent’s face. While Deepak showed controlled aggression, despite that Asenov held his ground.

An assertive and steady Deepak though put his all in the final round but the 2019 European Games silver medallist Daniel Asenov landed some clear punches in the dying minutes to win the bout 3-2 in a really close encounter.

“It is disappointing that I could not win the gold but these last few days have been nothing short of a dream come true. I was determined to make a mark in this tournament especially when I got an opportunity to play against a Champion opponent like Shakhobidin Zoirov in the semis. I am very happy that I could come out a winner. Though a lot of work still needs to be done and I will be focusing on it along with my coaches as I go return to India,” Deepak added.

This silver medal is also the 23-year-old Deepak’s maiden medal from this prestigious and Europe’s oldest tournament. He lost here in the first round last year.

Naveen Boora (69kg) was the other Indian to win a medal in the tournament as he ended his campaign with a Bronze medal in his first International outing for India.

The next AIBA Continental Forum for Europe will be held online on February 27. ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti will participate in the event and make his presentation: Governance in Sport Organizations. 

‘The European continent is the leader in boxing development. To be the front runner is a huge responsibility to the whole world. I am positive that Europe will share its experience with other countries, and not only will the continent continue its progress but become a platform for global boxing development,’ AIBA President Umar Kremlev claimed. 

Europe is preparing to host two major competitions in 2021 – AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships in Kielce, Poland and AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. 

‘The first two AIBA World Championships are to be hosted by Europe after the pandemic. The continent has succeeded in hosting international tournaments during these challenging times, and I am sure that the major tournaments will be held in the best possible way and all the necessary safety measures will be taken,’ added AIBA President.  

AIBA celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. 

‘This is an important date in our calendar. For 75 years, AIBA has been developing the sport of boxing worldwide, aiding our athletes, coaches and officials. We have reached this milestone with a strong desire to reform AIBA and make it great again. I am sure that we are on the right track,’ he concluded.

Goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam’s career has been on a steep rise since making her breakthrough with eye-catching displays in the 2018 Youth Olympics, a tournament where India clinched the historic Silver medal. In the following year, she was named ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ in the 4 Nations Junior Women Invitational in Dublin and was fast-tracked to the senior squad.

Bichu now has to compete with seasoned campaigners such as Savita Punia and Rajani Etimarpu for a spot in the Indian team. But the 20-year-old is calm about her role with the senior team and is relishing training alongside her seniors.

“Savita didi and Rajani didi help me a lot,” Bichu said. “I approach them with my doubts and are more than happy to help me out. Even they ask me about their weaknesses, and how they can go about correcting them despite me being new at the senior level. They treat me like a friend…or like a sister. They’ve given me a lot of love and I respect them a lot.”

Part of the Core Probable Group that is training for the Olympic Games, Bichu understands this is a great opportunity for her to make an impression and imbibe the qualities it takes to be a standout goalkeeper. 

“I get really excited just thinking about the Olympics. Because it’s such a big tournament, I have to work harder. I’m trying to absorb all the advice my seniors and coaches have been giving me,” she stated.

The Manipuri earned some much-needed game time during the team’s tour of Argentina last month. India didn’t get a win against the world No 2 side but were praised for the resilience and character they showed in each of the matches. 

“I was delighted to get back on the pitch while playing against Argentina,” Bichu reflected on her team’s first tour after more than a year. “We played with a lot of spirit and passion. I was nervous during the first game, playing after such a long gap. But it got better as time progressed.

“Previously, we used to be beaten by huge margins against Argentina, but I think, our defence held strong throughout the tour. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there,” she added.

For young Bichu, aspiring to play at the Tokyo Olympics is just the beginning. She has mapped out her plans for the future. “I want to play in all of them – Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and as many Olympic Games possible,” she said brimming with determination.

While the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in shelving active sports across the globe, ELMS Sports Foundation bolstered initiatives at grassroot-level training among Indian schools and trained more than 10,000 Physical Education teachers from all over the country, thereby strongly implementing the vision of physical literacy further.

While the entire country was coming to terms with the sudden lockdown, ELMS Sports Foundation was quick to adapt and convert the on-ground training program into online training sessions for Physical Education teachers of government schools around the country along with education departments from the states of Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Tripura, and Jharkhand.

“I am humbly grateful to all the teachers who have attended the six-module foundation program for their association with ELMS Sport in this mission to give a quality Physical Literacy Experience to the children,” said Vita Dani, co-founder of ELMS.

While expressing his gratitude to all Physical Education gurus, who are the first point of contact for a kid to be introduced to sports and physical literacy in the country, mentor of ELMS and badminton legend Pullela Gopichand said: “Let us come together to ensure that even the last five children in a class receive quality physical literacy experience and embrace it for life. This is a vital moment as we move towards our goal of empowering Physical Education teachers with the right knowledge and support to get optimal results for their efforts. This promises to be an exciting moment for all involved. In order to make India a sporting nation, this mission should reach each and every citizen of the country.”

Another mentor of ELMS is Olympic champion shooter Abhinav Bindra, who added, “This will be the first step we will be taking towards imparting modern techniques and practices at the grassroots level. This project promises to impact not only the students in schools but also millions of students the PE teachers will train after school.”

Extending its reach, the team at ELMS has also collaborated with several educational institutions and Physical Education Teachers Associations to conduct these programs in states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Punjab. The online program consisted of more than 300 online sessions with each session’s duration being two hours.

2019 ASBC Youth Asian Boxing Championship silver medallist Ankit Narwal (64kg) started his campaign  with a convincing win to enter the Quarter-finals of the 30th Adriatic Pearl Youth Men and Women Boxing Championship in Budva, Montenegro on Wednesday.

Haryana Boy Ankit, who has won three successive Gold Medals at Khelo India Games displayed his brilliant attacking prowess and started with a flurry of punches from the start to register a resounding 5-0 win over Uzbekistan’s Lazizbel Fattoev and moved to the quarter-finals where he will face Ukraine’s Ratmir Turchaninov.

It wasn’t a flawless day for India though as Meitei Sanjarmbam (56kg) and Vishal (7kg) lost their pre-quarterfinal bouts against Ukraine’s Dmytro Todorov and Ukraine’s Nurisiom Ismoilov respectively.

Later tonight, 7 Indian boxers will be looking to secure a podium finish when they enter the ring for their Quarter-final bouts. 2018 Best Asian Women’s Junior Boxer Arundhati Choudhary (69kg) will be looking to start her campaign with a win, when she faces Finland’s Evelina Taimi, late on Thursday night.

Other Women boxers in the quarters and in fray for the medal are Babyrojisana Chanu (51kg) and Vinka (60kg). Meanwhile, 4 Men Boxers, Arambam Naoba Singh (52kg), Sumit (69kg), Vishal Gupta (91kg), Jugnoo (91+ kg) will be in contention for Bronze Medal tonight.

The 30th edition of the Adriatic Pearl Youth Tournament will go on till February 22. And with the presence of strong competition from twelve countries including boxing powerhouses such as Russia and Ukraine, the upcoming tournament will provide a good opportunity for Indian youth boxers to get into much-needed match practice ahead of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships which is scheduled in Poland from April 10-24.

Amandeep Drall and Hitaashee Bakshi endured a double bogey each, but still managed a share of the lead at the end of the first round of the fourth leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Poona Club Golf Course on Wednesday. Both of them shot 3-under 68 each at the Par-71 layout.

The duo was one shot clear of surprise third place holder Jyotsana Singh, who despite two late bogeys carded 2-under 69.

Amandeep, leader on the Hero Order of Merit, who showed signs of a revival in fortunes last week with a runner-up finish, continued that this week with a card of 68 that included six birdies, a bogey and a double bogey. Hitaashee, who had a run of four birdies in five holes, with a double bogey in between, also had a bogey and a double bogey.

Hitaashee’s elder sister Jahanvi and Ridhima Dilawari were also under par at 1-under 70, while seven players, including players with a fair bit of experience on the Ladies European Tour, shot even par rounds. The seven players tied for sixth were Tvesa Malik, Diksha Dagar, Vani Kapoor, Seher Atwal, Ananya Datar, Khushi Khanijau and amateur Khushi Hooda.

Amandeep Drall opened with birdies on first and fourth but soon after had a bogey on the Par-4 fifth and a double bogey on the Par-5 seventh. She recovered well with four birdies against no bogeys between ninth and 16th for a 68.

Hitaashee, who broke through for her first pro win in December 2020, birdied three in a row from 12th and had three other birdies. She dropped a bogey on Par-4 eighth and a double on Par-4 11th.

Tvesa Malik, playing her first event in 2021, carded even par but was disappointed that two of her three bogeys came on Par-5s, the 12th and 18th.

Last week’s winner amateur Avani Prashanth did well to recover from a difficult start of bogey-bogey to card 2-over 73 and was lying T-15.

For the second week running, there was a hole-in-one as Rhea Purvi Sarvanan aced the Par-3 182-yard 16th hole, but she also had a triple bogey on the Par-5 eighth hole and carded 2-over 73. While there was one ace, there were two eagles. Shriya Vivek (73) holed her second shot on the Par-4 10th and Ishvari Prasanna eagled the Par-5 12th.

Things did not work as per plan for Gaurika Bishnoi as she shot 4-over 75.

Tee times for the second round of the fourth leg of the Hero WPGT at Poona Club Golf Course, Pune :

8:30 AM : Saaniya Sharma 83; Marshneil Prasad 83;

8:40 AM : Durga Nittur 82; Disha Kavery 82;

8:50 AM : Mehar Atwal 81; Nishna Patel (A) 80; Astha Madan 80;

9:00 AM : Trimann Saluja 80; Anousha Tripathi 79; Geetika Ahuja 78;

9:15 AM : Rhea Jha 78; Asmitha Sathish 77; Shweta Mansingh 76;

9:25 AM : Ishvari Prasanna 76; Shagun Narain 75; Gaurika Bishnoi 75;

9:35 AM : Nayanika Sanga (A) 74; Puneet K. Bajwa (A) 74; Oviya Reddi 74;

9:45 AM : Neha Tripathi 74; Rhea Purvi Saravanan 74; Avani Prashanth (A) 73;

10:00 AM : Shriya Vivek 73; Sneha Singh (A) 72; Gauri Karhade 72;

10:10 AM : Khushi Khanijau 71; Ananya Datar 71; Diksha Dagar 71;

10:20 AM : Khushi Hooda (A) 71; Tvesa Malik 71; Seher Atwal 71;

10:30 AM : Vani Kapoor 71; Ridhima Dilawari 70; Jahanvi Bakshi 70;

10:40 AM : Jyotsana Singh 69; Hitaashee Bakshi 68; Amandeep Drall 68.

With inputs from www.golfxyz.in

Having made their maiden Indian Premier League final in 2020, the JSW and GMR co-owned franchise Delhi Capitals will look to further strengthen their side as they gear up for the IPL 2021 Auction scheduled on Thursday in Chennai.

Delhi Capitals retained its core squad in January 2021, while releasing as many as six players for the upcoming season. Going into the auction, with a total of eight vacancies, including three overseas slots, Delhi Capitals’ Assistant Coaches Mohammad Kaif and Pravin Amre expressed that the runner-up of the previous edition will look to bid for the possible back-ups for their retained core unit.

“We already have our main core unit who played in the last season. We have released a few players, so we will be looking to fill those gaps. I think flexibility is the key in the auction. One can have all the plans for the auction, but things can change on the auction table. We have to take spontaneous decisions. Our main players have been playing continuously and there are no fitness issues as well. So, we’ll be looking to acquire some back-up players in tomorrow’s auction,” said Kaif.

Commenting on the current squad, Delhi Capitals’ Assistant Coach Pravin Amre said, “I must say the owners and the Head Coach have done a great job by retaining the core unit of this team who played the final in 2020. To be honest, if we are asked to play tomorrow also, we have a playing XI ready with us, so I think that’s the successful planning, and that’s what we learned from other teams also, who back their core for a long time. This team actually played great cricket last year, and everyone, not only management, but they won the hearts of DC fans also. I think that’s the reason why they deserve to be here as a unit.”

Amre added that the Delhi Capitals team management has a well-defined plan heading into the IPL Auction 2021.

“We are in a clear frame of mind about what we are going to do on the auction table. We are not desperate to go behind only one player, who can come and fit in the playing XI, that’s not the case for us. The IPL is a tough tournament, anything can happen with key players, like injury or other reasons, so that’s why we should have that back-up for each and every one. So, that’s the area we are looking to target going into the auction,” said Amre.

Delhi Capitals Retained players: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Praveen Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Woakes.

Rising Indian pugilists Ankit Narwal and T Sanamacha Chanu are among the key attractions as 19 Indian boxers are all set to begin their campaign at the 30th Adriatic Pearl Youth Men and Women Boxing Championship starting from today in Budva, Montenegro. This is first-time since the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian youth team is participating at any international tournament.

Haryana boy Ankit, who will be seen competing in the 64kg category, has emerged as India’s biggest hope for future with his brilliant performances in the youth circuit in the recent years including three successive gold medals at the Khelo India Games and Silver medal at the 2019 ASBC Youth Asian Boxing Championship held in Mongolia.

Priyanshu Dabas (49kg), Naoba Singh Arambam (52kg), Sanjarambam Yaiphaba Meitei (56kg), Akash Ramesh Gorkha (60kg), Sumit (69kg), Vishal (75kg), Vishal Gupta (91kg) and Jugnoo (+91kg) are the other 8 Indian boxers to participate in the men’s category.

While the 2019 ASBC Asian Women Boxing Championships gold medallist T Sanamacha will lead women’s charge for India. The Manipuri girl, who trains at the MC Mary Kom Academy and has been highly impressive in the recent years will be a strong contender for the title in the 75kg category.

The girl’s team consist of Vinka (60kg), who also won gold at the 2019 ASBC Asian Women Boxing Championships. 2019 Asian Junior Girls Champion Alfiya Pathan (+81kg), Gitika (48kg), Naorem Babyrojisana Chanu (51kg), Neha (54kg), Preeti (57kg), Lucky Rana (64kg), Arundhati Choudhary (69kg) and Raj Sahiba (81kg) are the other 9 participants in the tournament.

The 30th edition of the Adriatic Pearl Youth Tournament, which is starting late in the night today, will go on till February 22. And with the presence of strong competition from thirteen countries including boxing powerhouses such as Russia and Ukraine, the upcoming tournament will provide a good opportunity for Indian youth boxers to get into much-needed match practice ahead of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships which is scheduled in Poland from April 10-24.

Navdeep in action. Photo Credit: LOC Fazza

Promising Para-athletes Navdeep and Arvind secured two quotas for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as India’s gold medal tally swelled to nine after the third day of competitions at the 12th Fazza International Championships – Dubai 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix here.

Overall, India has claimed 17 medals with nine gold including four from Friday.

Friday evening was lit up by brilliant shows from Indian men Javelin throwers –reigning world champion Sandeep Chaudhary (F44), Ajeet Singh (F46) and Navdeep (F41), who were later joined by Pranav Prashant Desai with a yellow metal in men’s 200m F64.

Meanwhile, world champion Javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar (F46) had to be satisfied with the bronze.

Navdeep, whose first international event was the 2017 Asian Youth Para Games also in Dubai, produced a brilliant throw of 43.58m in his third attempt to take the gold in Men’s javelin F41 event. UAE’s Anas Alhosani (6.96 m) ended second.   

“I felt confident with my throw today. My first throw wasn’t very good, but then I tried to focus and got a good throw. Sandeep bhaiya and Navdeep Sir have been helping me with my technique at JN Stadium in New Delhi,” said the former World junior champion who had to compete with a new Javelin owing to late submission of his own Javelin.  

“I am very happy to also secure a quota. I want to win a medal at the Tokyo Paralympic now.”

Meanwhile, Arvind attained the Minimum Qualification Standard with a distance of 14.05 m men’s shot out final F35/36. He finished fifth in the event.

Nice feeling to be back in Dubai grounds

In Men’s Javelin 38/F42/ F44/ 63/ 64, Chaudhary hurled the javelin to a distance of 61.22 metres, though much less than his world record effort of 66.18m at the Dubai 2019 Worlds at the same ground, but was enough to take the gold.

He was better than Columbia’s Luis Fernan Lucumi Villegas (54.95 m), who set a new American record, and Chaminda Hetti Arachchige of Sri Lanka (56.34 m).

 “It’s a nice feeling to return to one of my favourite grounds. My body felt good to compete after a long time. But I was hoping to get my personal best today. Nevertheless, to open the season with over 61m distance is not bad.

“In the coming months, it will be more about following the process and staying in shape before we start our final preparation for the Tokyo 2020,” said Chaudhary.

Ajeet Singh sent the spear to a distance of 58.76 m to finish ahead of Sri Lanka’s Gamini Ketawala (58.55 m) and fellow Indian Gurjar (57.74 m) in Men’s Javelin F46 final.

For Ajeet, this was his third international medal in thrid competition. “I am very happy to compete in an international event after long time. But I am not to satisfied with my performance today. I expected to throw at least 58 metres. I will go back and work on my technique now,” said the Gwalior born Para athlete, who clinched his first international gold medal in 2019 China Grand Prix.

Later, Pranav Prasant Desai added India’s fourth gold medal clocking 24.96 seconds in men’s 200m T64 to finish ahead of Thailand (25.60s) and Kazakastan’s Rufat Khabibullin (28.86s)

The third day of competitions also witnessed Italian teenager Ambra Sabatini setting a new world record en route the gold in the women’s final T62/ 63/ 64 clocking 14.59 seconds.

Dinachandra Singh.

With their focused pinned on the Junior Men’s Asia Cup, India Colts began training today following a week-long quarantine. The 37-member Junior Men’s Core Group reported to SAI, Bengaluru on 6 February 2021 and underwent mandatory quarantine followed by a RTPCR swab test before resuming training from Saturday.  

The Core Group will vie to make the most of the National Coaching Camp which concludes on 1 May 2021. “The focus of this camp will be to improve our fitness, speed and create some match-scenarios to be best prepared for the Junior Men’s Asia Cup,” expressed Coach BJ Kariappa.  

“Since the Senior Men’s Core group is also housed in the same campus, we want to make most of their presence here and will plan a few sessions where the Junior players can get some match-practice against them,” he added.  

The Junior Men’s Core Probable list includes goalkeepers Pawan, Prasant Kumar Chauhan and Sahil Kumar Nayak while the defenders called-up are Sanjay, Cyril Lugun, Nabin Kujur, Sunil Jojo, Dinachandra Singh Moirangthem, Niraj Kumar Waribam, Shardanand Tiwari and Abhishek Lakra.  

The midfielders selected for the National Camp includes Gregory Xess, Sukhman Singh, Maninder Singh, Gopi Kumar Sonkar, Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Akashdeep Singh, Yashdeep Siwach, Ankit Pal, Vishnu Kant Singh, Mareeswaran Sakthivel, Surya NM, Darshan Vibhav Gawkar and Gurmukh Singh. Among forwards Amandeep, Rahul Kumar Rajbhar, Boby Singh Dhami, Arshdeep Singh, Shivam Anand, Sudeep Chirmako, Mohd Sadiq, Uttam Singh, S Karthi, Manjeet, Diljeet Singh, Araijeet Singh Hundal and Prabhjot Singh have been called-up for the camp. 

“With the mandatory quarantine period completed, we have begun training from today onwards and the players are all upbeat to make the most of this National Coaching Camp,” Kariappa said. 

Junior Men’s Core Probable List:  

Goalkeepers:  

  1. Pawan (Hockey Haryana)  
  2. Prasant Kumar Chauhan (Uttar Pradesh Hockey) 
  3. Sahil Kumar Nayak (Hockey Odisha)  

Defenders: 

  1. Sanjay (Hockey Chandigarh)  
  2. Cyril Lugun (Hockey Odisha)  
  3. Nabin Kujur (Hockey Odisha)  
  4. Sunil Jojo (Hockey Odisha)  
  5. Dinachandra Singh Moirangthem (Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy)  
  6. Niraj Kumar Waribam (Manipur Hockey)  
  7. Shardanand Tiwari (Uttar Pradesh Hockey)  
  8. Abhishek Lakra (Hockey Odisha)

Midfielders: 

  1. Gregory Xess (Hockey Odisha) 
  2. Sukhman Singh (Hockey Chandigarh) 
  3. Maninder Singh (Hockey Chandigarh) 
  4. Gopi Kumar Sonkar (Uttar Pradesh Hockey) 
  5. Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem (Manipur Hockey)  
  6. Akashdeep Singh (Hockey Punjab) 
  7. Yashdeep Siwach (Hockey Haryana) 
  8. Ankit Pal (Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy)  
  9. Vishnu Kant Singh (Uttar Pradesh Hockey)  
  10. Mareeswaran Sakthivel (Hockey Unit Of Tamil Nadu) 
  11. Surya NM (Hockey Karnataka) 
  12. Darshan Vibhav Gawkar (Hockey Maharashtra)  
  13. Gurmukh Singh (Hockey Haryana)
     

Forwards:  

  1. Amandeep (Hockey Chandigarh) 
  2. Rahul Kumar Rajbhar (Services Sports Control Board)  
  3. Boby Singh Dhami (Hockey Haryana) 
  4. Arshdeep Singh (Hockey Chandigarh) 
  5. Shivam Anand (Uttar Pradesh Hockey)  
  6. Sudeep Chirmako (Hockey Odisha) 
  7. Mohd Sadiq (Hockey Maharashtra)  
  8. Uttam Singh (Uttar Pradesh Hockey)  
  9. S Karthi (Hockey Unit Of Tamil Nadu) 
  10. Manjeet (Services Sports Control Board) 
  11. Diljeet Singh (Hockey Chandigarh) 
  12. Araijeet Singh Hundal (Hockey Punjab) 
  13. Prabhjot Singh (Hockey Punjab)