DLP Correspondent in New Delhi

Manisha Keer, in practically her first full year as senior, recorded a best ever finish at an International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Shotgun stage, finishing seventh in the Women’s Trap competition on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt.

Manisha was hard done by a final round 21, to finish with a score of 113 in qualifying, which got her into a three-way shoot-off for the last two finals spots. She had scores of 23 out of 25 in each of the four preceding rounds and was in second place going into that fifth round.

She missed her first shoot-off shot, ensuring her Spanish and Polish rivals were then just fighting for bib numbers.

Top six shooters qualify for the 60-shots final round.

Kirti Gupta and Rajeshwari Kumari finished 17thand 18thin Women’s Trap respectively and the trio can still make amends in the Team competition where they are presently ranked third with a combined score of 314.

In the Men’s Trap, Prithviraj Tondaiman finished 26thwith a score of 112. Lakshay Sheoran shot 110 for a 34thplace finish while Kynan Chenai was two behind in 36thplace. He shot 109.

Manika Batra in action.

Young India paddler Sreeja Akula outshone a higher ranked opponent to progress into the last round of the women’s singles qualifiers alongside Manika Batra at the WTT Contender Doha on Tuesday. Manika and Sreeja are now just a win away from making their way into the main draw.

The World No. 150 from Hyderabad, Sreeja prevailed over World No. 74 Vega Paulina of Chile in the previous round and sent Thailand’s 87th-ranked Orawan Paranang packing 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 in the third round. She will now take on Russia’s Mariia Tailakova in the final round. Tailakova entered the last round with a 14-12, 11-8, 11-8 win over India’s Archana Kamath.

Living up to her reputation, Commonwealth Games gold medalist and star Indian paddler Batra got the better of Romania’s Irina Ciobanu 11-7, 15-13, 11-8 comfortably in the third round of women’s singles qualifiers and will face Ganna Gaponova of Ukraine in the last round.

Earlier in the final round matches of mixed doubles qualifiers, Indian pair of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee grabbed a spot in the main draw after a straight-sets 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 victory against Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez and Melanie Diaz. However, the country’s other pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Batra failed to take advantage of an early game lead and lost out to Russia’s Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova by a 11-9, 11-13, 11-13, 3-11 scoreline.

Harmeet Desai also suffered a 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 2-11 defeat against Russia’s Alexander Shibaev in the third-round match of the men’s singles qualifiers. Despite dominating the first two games, Desai couldn’t hold his nerves and conceded an unexpected loss.

At the invitation of the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, AIBA President Umar Kremlev visited the Emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. The development of boxing in the Middle East and in the Emirate of Fujairah was discussed during the meeting.

Boxing is actively developing in the region based on the full support of the local leadership. During the recent time, there has been built a modern sports infrastructure thanks to the personal involvement of the Crown Prince. All represented conditions allow hosting big boxing tournaments and championships at the highest level.

Two leaders agreed to organize the annual international tournament for the AIBA member countries in Fujairah. It was set that the first test boxing tournament will already take place in May 2021.

‘I am grateful for a productive meeting and new perspectives for boxing in the Middle East. Sports events will provide a stream of tourism. It will be convenient for athletes to fly here due to good visa conditions. With the personal support of Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, we will popularize our sport among young people, more champions will appear,’ Kremlev claimed.

‘We want to raise our champions here in our Emirate. We are going to make a big boxing center, a boxing academy, to include boxing in school and university programs. Boxing is a discipline that teaches to be a patriot of the country. Together with the AIBA leadership, we are going to organize big boxing tournaments here to popularize boxing, attract investments and give everyone the opportunity to become a star,’ the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi said.

During the visit was also agreed to hold boxing camps in the Emirates of Fujairah.

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team once again impressed in defence but couldn’t stop Germany from winning their third consecutive game in the four-match series in Dusseldorf on Monday. World No 3 Germany won by a 2-0 margin through goals from Sonja Zimmermann (26’) and Franzisca Hauke (42’).

Encouraged by their robust defensive display in the second game of the series, the Indian side continued to frustrate the German attackers. The hosts were unable to create any early momentum and had a penalty corner saved in the first quarter. While Germany pushed forward to break the deadlock, the Indian backline stood firm yet again. Germany were awarded a PC early into the second quarter but still couldn’t find a way past Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s defence. The team managed to keep out three PCs in the previous game too.

Germany ended India’s resistance in form of a goal from the third PC. This time, defender Zimmermann made no mistake as the Word No 3 side started the third quarter with a lead. Germany doubled their advantage shortly before the end of the third quarter with seasoned midfielder Hauke getting on the scoresheet. The German side held on to complete their third successive win.

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will take on Germany in their fourth match on Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 1630 hrs IST.

Sushil Kumar with Deepa Malik.

The first-ever National Para Shooting Championship 2020-21 for Rifle/Pistol events was inaugurated at the Manav Rachna Shooting Range, in Faridabad on Monday.

Around 200 shooters from across the country are participating in the competition organised by Sports Technical Committee, Para Shooting under the aegis of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) from March 1 to 5, 2021.

Sushil Kumar, India’s most decorated wrestler who has won consecutive Olympic medals, was the Chief Guest for the day who also fired the inaugural shot at the 10-meter shooting range at Manav Rachna Shooting Academy.

PCI President Deepa Malik and Secretary General Mr. Gursharan Singh also graced the inaugural event while Dr. Amit Bhalla, VP, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions was the Guest of Honour.

“We are very delighted and thankful to Manav Rachna for hosting the first ever National Para Shooting Championship. Such championships highlight the fact that Para Sports are also the mainstream sports and this National Championship will send this message to everyone in the country,” said Malik.

Added Gursharan: “This is a historic moment for us and para shooters in the country. This will boost the Paralympic Movement in the country. It’s the first step towards producing future Paralympic shooters.”

Congratulating the players, Dr. Bhalla shared, “We wish to create a sports ecosystem for everyone to play, and represent the country in different sports.”

Also present during the ceremony were Ashok Bedi, Assistant Secretary, PCI; Rahul Swami, Chief Administrator, PCI; J.P. Nautiyal, Chairperson, STC Shooting; Subhash Rana, National Coach for Indian Para Shooting Team; Sarkar Talwar, Director-Sports, MREI and other senior dignitaries from Manav Rachna and PCI.

Owing to its world-class Olympic-level shooting infrastructure, Manav Rachna has been chosen to host this prestigious championship: Nine Olympians are currently training/studying with Manav Rachna, 7000+ budding shooters are training across 13 shooting ranges, Shotgun shooting range for Trap, Double Trap, Sporting and Skeel, and country’s only Perazzi lounge housed within the Shooting Range.

Recently the Hon’ble Union Minister for Sports Kiren Rijiju inaugurated the first-of-its-kind 25 mtr and 50 mtr convertible shooting range at the Manav Rachna campus.

Undefeated professional boxing star Vijender Singh is set to make his return to the ring on March 19 and this time he will be exchanging fists in Vegas-style boxing on the Majestic Pride Casino Ship in Goa. 

The first-of-its-kind fight will be held on the rooftop deck of the Majestic Pride Casino Ship – who have been roped in as the venue partner.  

The Majestic Pride is a lively ship docked in the Mandovi River in Panaji, Goa that takes the freshness of gaming and the exhilaration of entertainment to a whole new level. The ship also offers some stunning view of horizon of the golden land and the turquoise river. 

The bout goes beyond the traditional norms of a regular professional match and offers viewers the glitz and glamour of Vegas-style boxing event. The announcement of Vijender’s opponent will be made soon. 

Commenting on his fight Vijender Singh said: “I am really excited to return to the ring. It excites me more to have my fight set-up on a ship. It is something that has never happened before in India and I am glad to be part of this unique professional match. I am pumped up and eager as ever to enter the ring again and have been training hard to keep myself fit for the bout.” 

IOS has been instrumental in bringing professional boxing in India and has successfully conducted four fights, including two in New Delhi, one in Mumbai and Jaipur each. Now, Neerav Tomar, promoter IOS Boxing Promotions, plans to deliver a unique sporting event for boxing fans in the country. 

On Vijender’s upcoming bout, Neerav said, “This will be a great opportunity for the Indian fans to witness a unique sporting event being organised locally. This whole year gave us ample time to invest our thoughts on doing something different this time and increasing the level of professional boxing in India. A boxing match on a ship is the perfect amalgamation of the intensity of boxing and razzmatazz of the entertaining casino. We hope all the fans watching or present at the venue will thoroughly enjoy the event.” 

Speaking about the event, Rahul Khetrapal, Director, Majestic Pride Group of Hotels & Casinos said, “We are proud to be hosting this event at our casino. It is the first time ever that a fight night is being held in a casino in Goa, and we are pleased to be the trailblazer in this arena. Moreover, since the fight also marks Vijender Singh’s return to boxing after a sabbatical, it is bound to be even more spectacular and grand.” 

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.

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

1 2 3 16