DLP Correspondent in New Delhi

Delhi Capitals is set to conduct the DC Junior Cricket League between 21 February to 06 March 2021, across three venues in Delhi NCR. The 40-overs-a-side tournament, which is open to players in the Under 14 age group, will feature the region’s top 16 academies. 

“The U-14 age group is a crucial one for any cricketer aspiring to play the sport professionally, but at the moment, it’s a bit unstructured, and there are not too many opportunities,” said Jagrit Anand, Head of DC Academies, on the occasion. “Our aim is to provide children in this age group a solid platform to showcase their talent.”

Hitkary Pharmacy, makers of sherbets and honey, has been roped in as title sponsors for the tournament. “At Hitkary, we believe in spreading good health and wellness through our products, and hence it made perfect sense for us to associate with a tournament that involves children, in whom it is crucial to inculcate healthy habits, for a healthy future,” said Nitin Malhotra, CEO, Hitkary Pharmacy. 

The teams will be divided into four pools for the tournament. Each team will play 3 league matches, following which there will be quarter finals, semi final and a final. DC Academies have resumed coaching in all three venues this year, after a hiatus owing to the global pandemic.   

The team registrations for the DC Junior Cricket League 2021 are now open. Interested teams can write in to [email protected] for more details on the tournament. 

Indian Women’s Hockey team defender Gurjit Kaur reflected on her team’s recent tour of Argentina, their first assignment in a year, which concluded earlier this month. Despite not registering a win on the tour, the Rani-led Indians went toe-to-toe against the world no 2 side. Gurjit thinks the hard-fought series made her a better player.

“It felt great to be back on the field after one whole year. I am happy with my performances too, having faced a top side,” Gurjit said. “We competed well against them. If you compare our performances over the last three-four years, the team has vastly improved, and that bodes well for us going into future tournaments,” she added. 

Getting used to the rigours of bubble life comes with its own set of challenges. The 25-year-old thanked Hockey India and Sports Authority of India for helping the players acclimatize to their new environment. 

“Of course, it was tough to get back to a competitive arena during the early part of the tour. But, I feel, as a team we adapted quickly. It is only natural to feel a little rusty when you are away from a competitive environment or so long,” Gurjit said. “Life inside the bubble wasn’t easy but thanks to SAI and Hockey India, all the arrangements were in place.”

The Indian team were defeated 2-3 and 0-2 by the senior Argentina side. However, the visitors ended on a happy note, drawing 1-1 against Las Leonas in the final game of the tour. Rani and Co also faced Argentina’s junior and B teams.  

Gurjit is now looking ahead as the clock ticks down towards the 2021 Olympics. “Personally, I am satisfied with my performances. I will be sitting down with my Coaches to assess areas where I can still improve,” she said. 

“With the Olympics coming up, this was a good test for us. We are preparing well for Tokyo and will continue to get better,” Gurjit signed off.

Dustin Johnson of the USA.

Dustin Johnson won his second Saudi International in three years – he was second once – as he showcased his preference for the Saudi International. Though he was not really in trouble he still had to stave off the challenge of Tony Finau and Victor Perez.

The PGA TOUR’s top star, Johnson, who is the World Number One, won his third title in eight starts and fourth in 13, as he cemented his position at the top of world rankings even more. He has a huge lead of more than three and a half average points over second ranked Jon Rahm.

India’s sole player in the field, Shubhankar Sharma, missed the halfway cut.

Johnson, who won the inaugural event here two years ago before finishing as runner-up to Graeme McDowell 12 months later, carded a closing 68 at Royal Greens Golf and Country club to finish on 15 under par. That was two clear of Finau and Justin Rose.

“Conditions when we started were really tough,” Johnson said. “I knew I was hitting it well, I saw the leaderboard and I knew the guys were playing well.

“I kept giving myself chances – I didn’t hole any of them but I hit good shots and I finally holed a really nice putt on 13 and from there on I played solid.”

He added: “Couldn’t hole any putts today. Just the reads, I’d see it going left to right it would go right to left; I’d see it going right to left it would go left to right. It was tough all day today.

Perez had been progressing patiently and a fine approach to six feet on the 15th saw him join Finau one adrift of the leader.

Finau three putted the 16th to drop two back, although Johnson and Perez in the group behind also found problems on the par three. The Frenchman hit his tee shot into a swale to the right of the green and, after pitching through the putting surface, ran up a double bogey to end his challenge.

Johnson failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker but, after Finau had bogeyed the 17th attempting to force the issue, Johnson produced a magnificent drive on the same hole to leave a simple up and down for birdie.

There was still some drama to be had on the last – Finau was a whisker away from holing out from the sand for eagle, while Johnson found a bunker off the tee and almost picked out another trap with his lay-up.

However, once his ball settled on the fairway he was able to conservatively pitch to the middle of the green and two putt for the win.

Rose made five birdies in a flawless closing 65, while Perez missed a birdie chance on the last to finish alongside Scotland’s Callum Hill in fourth.

With inputs from

Raninder Singh (Photo credit: Twitter)

National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh on Monday announced, that he would be persuading the General Body of the National Federation, scheduled to meet on March 5, 2021, to stay the recent decision taken by the Governing Body, to ban certain Shooters from the next Nationals for disciplinary reasons. 

Invoking powers vested on him as President, Singh said, “It has always been our endeavor to act in the best interests of our Sport and our Shooters. As such, no one is as pained as us when at times severe action is needed to be taken on anyone belonging to the Shooting fraternity, most of all, on our dear Shooters. I received several requests from the parents and the affected Shooters themselves on the recent decision taken by the Governing Body.”

“As such I have decided to refer the decision to the General Body, scheduled to meet early next month, and persuade them to not implement the said decision. However, this will certainly be a one-off, and any such disciplinary breach, will not be tolerated in the future.”

In a meeting held last week, the Governing Body of the NRAI had banned the following Shooters from taking part in the next Nationals, for breach of discipline.

1.   Sriharsha R. Devaraddi
2.   Keshav Sharma
3.   Vikram Singh Bhati
4.   Imroz Ahmed
5.   Pratyush Aman Barik
6.   Yashaswini Singh Deswal
7.   Tarun Kumar Dahiya
8.   Meenal Yadav
9.   Tejpreet Kaur Oberoi
10. Dilpreet Singh
11. Rajeev Ranjan
12. Visnu Shivraj Pandian
13. Krishan Kumar
14. Jyothi H Sannakki
15. Ishank Ahuja

World champion powerlifter Mahant Gaurav Sharma, who recently switched to shooting, is all set to take part in the 36th Delhi State Shooting Championship, scheduled to start on February 8 at the Manav Rachna Shooting Ranges, Village Pali, Haryana.

Gaurav had earlier won the bronze medal in 10m ARM shooting event at the Khelo Masters Games 2019-2020 in Ghaziabad. 

Excited about the event, Gaurav said, “After lockdown this is my first event. I am really happy with it. I want to give my best. My coach Falaq Sher Alam is guiding me well.” 

Gaurav will take part in the Double trap event this year. Gaurav, who took up powerlifting at the age of 17, is a giant of the sport. He had won two gold medals at the European Championships in 2019. 

“For any athlete it is an honour to represent India and when the tricolour goes high, you can’t express that feeling,” Gaurav said. 

The Delhi athlete also clinched two gold medals at the 2016 World Powerlifting Championships in England. In 2007, he won four gold medals at the Commonwealth Championships in New Zealand. 

Initially starting out as a weightlifter, Gaurav later switched to powerlifting under the guidance of Dronacharya awardee coach Bhupender Dhawan. But now he has switched to shooting. “Shooting is something that helps me keep calm. I will try to participate in more shooting competitions now,” he added.

Indian Women’s Team forward Sharmila Devi has been proving her mettle in every opportunity she gets. Be it her first outing for the Indian Team at the Tokyo Test Event in 2019 or the FIH Olympic Qualifiers where she showed her raw talent by scoring an important goal against USA which propelled the team’s 5-1 victory in the first match.

“I played my first match for the Senior side in 2019 and ever since then, I have been getting fantastic exposure with the team and I am happy to receive these opportunities and want to make each one count,” Sharmila expressed. In India’s recent tour to Argentina, she scored twice for India in low-scoring games that proved crucial for the team against a top-quality side like Argentina who are ranked No.2 in the world.

“The Indian Team was playing against Argentina after nearly four years. The senior players who had previously played against Argentina in 2017 recalled how strong a team they are and how important it is for us to execute our plans perfectly. Though we were quite effective against them and came very close to winning, I felt we should work a lot more on converting opportunities in the circle. We were making enough and more circle entries but were unable to convert,” stated the forward highlighting the area which they will be working on when the core group returns to National Camp on 14 February 2021.

The 19-year-old from Hisar, Haryana lauded the efforts of Hockey India in ensuring the tour was well organised despite these trying circumstances due to the pandemic. She also feels this exposure in Argentina will hold in good stead as the team prepares for the prestigious Olympic Games.

“Playing in Argentina was a very different experience. The opponent was no doubt very challenging, which made this tour exciting, but the way everything was organized and playing in a bio-secure bubble was a different experience altogether. Even the hotel we stayed at took extra care in ensuring our comforts and the food was suitable to our palate which is rarely ever the case when we travel. We are very grateful to Hockey India for ensuring a safe environment for us to compete. Though we are disappointed we didn’t secure a win, the lessons from this exposure will help us prepare best for the Olympic Games,” Sharmila said.

AIBA President Umar Kremlev came for an official visit to Africa to take part in the AIBA Virtual Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Kremlev met with representatives of the Ministry of Sports of Kenya, National Olympic Committee of Kenya and the President of Kenyan Boxing Federation Anthony Otieno Ombok, as well as with African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) President Dr Mohamed Moustahsane who supported boxing development ideas. 

‘I am really happy to be in Africa, on the continent which has great potential for boxing development. There are a lot of talented boxers here, and we need to create the proper conditions for them to ensure they can show their best results. AIBA will provide help and support. All AIBA countries are important for us, and boxing development everywhere is our priority,’ Kremlev claimed.  

‘Africa has a unique history of boxing, there were 8 Olympic champions and 4 world champions on the continent. I am confident that African boxers can perform even better. We will do everything possible to ensure they can show their best at the international level,’ AIBA President said in a statement.

‘I am very pleased with the enthusiasm and dedication of Kenyan Boxing Federation’s work. The support of the national federation is very important for boxers, and they are not left alone here. In turn, AIBA will help the development of boxing in the country,’ Kremlev concluded.

Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Sports of Kenya Joe Okudo said that they had a good discussion on the sports development. 

‘We had a good discussion of the development of boxing in the country and on the continent. We talked about the possibility of opening an international boxing gym in the country, so that not only athletes could train, but also we can organize education programs for referees and judges, for coaches, cutmen and ringside doctors’ said Okudo.

The AIBA President added that on Sunday he will go to see the site for the construction of the future boxing gym.

‘Tomorrow we will see the land where the boxing academy is to be built. We will make a plan for the development of the sport in the country to make sure boxing becomes the number one sport in Kenya. The next time I come to the country, the gym will already be opened. We also will help Kenyan boxers with necessary equipment. We plan to hold one of the tournaments in Kenya, which will unite all Africa. In addition to medals, boxers will receive financial rewards on it,’ said the AIBA President.

SGFI President Sushil Kumar had alleged that secretary-general Rajesh Mishra had manipulated SGFI constitution to stay in power.

The sports ministry has declared the recent elections of the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) null and void. The SGFI had elected new office bearers during its annual general body meeting held in December in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu.

The ministry, however, rejected the SGFI request to grant annual recognition to it as a national sports federation (NSF) that oversees sports at the school level on the grounds that the National Sports Development Code 2011 guidelines were overlooked during the December elections.

The ministry in a letter to the SGFI said that the SGFI should hold the elections again as per the Sports Code.

Double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who was president of the SGFI, had alleged that the SGFI secretary-general Rajesh Mishra had manipulated SGFI constitution to stay in power.

Sushil had also alleged that Mishra had forged his signature to change the by-laws of the SGFI. The Olympian apprised the sports minister about the manipulation done by Mishra and the ministry took a serious view of the alleged fraud.

Having worked extensively with an ‘athlete-first’ approach while developing Indian boxing during his first tenure from 2016 to 2020, Ajay Singh has been elected as the President of Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for the second consecutive term on Wednesday.

During the general elections held in the city hotel here in Gurugram today, Ajay Singh defeated challenger Ashish Shelar by a margin of 10 votes as he won 37-27 in the final counting.

“I thank all my colleagues and State Member Units for their support and belief in me and the team. I am happy that BFI has reposed faith in me. I hope to live up to the expectations and continue to take boxing to greater heights, said Ajay Singh after the elections.

“It is great credit to all of us that this election was conducted so peacefully. We are one family, we will work towards glory of our sport,” Singh further added.

Hemanta Kumar Kalita secured 39 votes against CV Raje (25) to join Ajay Singh as Secretary General while Digvijay  Singh secured a post of Treasurer with 33 votes against Anil Mishra (30). The elections took place in the presence of AIBA and IOA observers Yury Zaystsev and Rakesh Gupta.

Indian boxing has seen an exponential rise with the country’s boxers producing medal-winning performances consistently, including over 630 medals, in the last four years. India emerged as Top-10 in the world boxing ranking and is considered a global powerhouse. India has also secured an unprecedented nine quota places for the 2021 Olympic Games and few more are expected from the World Qualifiers which is set to take place in Paris in May.

“Organising the sub-junior championships will be one of our main priorities. Also as you know, in 2024 Olympics it is expected that boxing representations for men and women will be at par, and with Indian women traditionally doing well, we will be focusing to have more women boxers and give them opportunity. It’s very important to also have an equal gender role in the administrative and support staff. We want to encourage more participation of women in every sphere,” he added.

While addressing the media over a virtual press conference, Ajay Singh thanked AIBA for all the support in the last four years and also thanked AIBA President Umar Kremlev for sending an observer in such a short time and said will be looking forward to strengthening the relations further.

Photo credit: Twitter

Six-time world champion boxer Mary Kom has recently joined national camp and begun training for the final phase of comeback ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. A seasoned campaigner, who has been part of the Indian team and have seen the progression of the sport for close to two decades now, spoke about progress of Indian boxing and credited Boxing Federation of India’s (BFI) President Ajay Singh for Indian boxers’ unmatched performances at the global stage in the recent years.

“Ajay Singh has stood by all the players, their needs and requirements. In my long stint in boxing, he probably is the only administrator who has whole heartedly only thought good for Indian boxing and the boxers, right from the juniors to the elites. Support like that gets the best out of the players and you can see that from the remarkable performances boxers have produced in the last four year,” Mary Kom said on the sidelines of her training.

With consistent opportunities for boxers to excel in the sport in the last four years, including participation in highest-ever 80 international tournaments and exposure trips, the Indian team has seen rising in the Top-10 in the world ranking and also ranked third in Asia.
Talking about never-seen-before exposure for boxers in the last four years, the Olympic bronze medallist further complimented Ajay Singh’s leadership and efforts he has put while raising standards of Indian boxing with all possible facilities for the players.

“Earlier a top player like me also had to struggle in the red tapes of the federation but since BFI came into existence, Ajay Singh personally ensured best coaching and support staff and initiated year-long camps for players. And results of the efforts he put in are here for all of us to see. Today we have developed a strong bench strength with more than 4 to 5 world-class boxers in each weight category,” the 38-year-old said.

“Today if Indian boxing is doing well globally, I feel it is because of the efforts have been put to raise the standards of our players and our domestic facilities. I personally believe Ajay Singh has done a great job. And for India to be the best boxing nation in the world, he should continue as the President of the federation,” Mary Kom added.

On being asked how everyone takes her name when they want to associate with boxing, veteran boxer was quick to respond, “people are taking my name for their personal benefits and gains which is sad.”