Indian sports news wrap, January 20

Here are all the major developments in Indian sports on January 20, 2023.

Published : Jan 20, 2023 17:06 IST

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: In a first in tennis in India, a 20-member all-women’s team, led by Asia’s gold badge referee Sheetal Iyer, would officiate the six-day long ITF tournament.
REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: In a first in tennis in India, a 20-member all-women’s team, led by Asia’s gold badge referee Sheetal Iyer, would officiate the six-day long ITF tournament. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: In a first in tennis in India, a 20-member all-women’s team, led by Asia’s gold badge referee Sheetal Iyer, would officiate the six-day long ITF tournament. | Photo Credit: Getty Images


Anirudh and Vijay lose $40,000 Challenger doubles semifinals

Third seeds Anirudh Chandrasekar and Vijay Sundar Prashanth were beaten 7-5, 6-3 by alternate entrants Jan Choinski and Stuart Parker of Britain in the doubles semifinals of the $40,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on Friday.

The results:

$40,000 Challenger, Nonthaburi, Thailand Jan Choinski & Stuart Parker (GBR) bt Anirudh Chandrasekar & Vijay Sundar Prashanth 7-5, 6-3.

$25,000 ITF men, Doha, Qatar Doubles (final): Dax Donders & Sidane Pontjodikroo (Ned) bt Parikshit Somani & Khumoyun Sultanov (Uzb) 3-6, 7-5, [10-2; Semifinals: Parikshit & Khumoyun w.o. Jaimee Floyd Angele (Fra) & Elliot Benchetrit (Mar).

$15,000 ITF men, Jakarta, Indonesia Singles (quarterfinals): Sidharth Rawat bt Niki Poonacha 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.

Doubles (semifinals): Nathan Anthony Barki & Christopher Rungkat (Ina) bt Ishaque Eqbal & Karan Singh 7-5, 3-6, 10-3.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

In a first, only women to officiate at Pune ITF

Pune: Come Sunday, and the tennis-loving city of Pune would witness the first six-day NECC ITF 40K Tennis Championships, would be officiated by an all- women members’ team.

In a first in tennis in India, a 20-member all-women’s team, led by Asia’s gold badge referee Sheetal Iyer, would officiate the six-day long tournament.

Sheetal would be officiating in her 100th plus ITF event as the tournament will have all women’s chair umpires, chief of officials, lines umpires, players desk, physios working during the week.

“We are thrilled... This has been in our minds since a long but we are happy that we will be able to initiate this coinciding with India’s 75th year of Independence celebrations,” said Sunder Iyer secretary MSLTA and joint-secretary of AITA.

All-women’s team:

ITF Supervisor: Sheetal Iyer; Chief of Officials: Leena Nageshkar; Chair Umpires: Antonia Drazic (Croatia), Avanee Gosavi, Riya Chapekar, Lavleen Raizada, Dakshata Patel, Shraddha Dali; Line Umpires: Anwesha Chandra, Supriya Mallaya, Geetika Paul, Niharika Gore, Neha Uikey, Chhaya Verti, Sakshi Chug, Isha Chopra, Apurva Rokade, Kulsoom Khan, Reshma Ganapate and Anuja Maheswari.


Tikhonova beats top seed Abduraimova in ITF tournament

Anastasia Tikhonova of Russia survived two match points to beat top seed Nigina Abduraimova of Uzbekistan 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(7) in the quarterfinals of the $40,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Arera Club on Friday.

In the semifinals, Tikhonova will play compatriot Ekaterina Makarova. The other semifinal will be between second seed Joanne Zuger of Switzerland and Valeria Savinykh of Russia.

Makarova also made the doubles final in partnership with Ekaterina Reyngold. The duo will face Erina Hayashi and Saki Imamura of Japan in the final.

The results:
Singles (quarterfinals): Anastasia Tikhonova (Rus) bt Nigina Abduraimova (Uzb) 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(7); Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) bt Eri Shimizu (Jpn) 6-1, 7-6(3); Valeria Savinykh (Rus) bt Mana Kawamura (Jpn) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1; Joanne Zuger (Sui) bt Ksenia Zaytseva (Rus) 7-5, 6-4.
Doubles (semifinals): Ekaterina Makarova & Ekaterina Reyngold (Rus) bt En Shuo Liang (Tpe) & Diana Marcinkevica (Lat) 7-6(5), 7-6(4); Erina Hayashi & Saki Imamura (Jpn) bt Irina Khromacheva & Anastasia Tikhonova (Rus) 6-3, 6-2.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

AITA men’s tournament: Quamar beats top-seed Kamboj

Fardeen Quamar beat top seed Udit Kamboj 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the title in the Rs.100,000 AITA men’s tennis tournament at the Jaipur Club on Friday.

Fardeen had earlier made the doubles final with his father Qamaruddin Khan. The father-son duo had lost to Udit Kamboj and Shivank Bhatnagar in the final.

The results (final): Fardeen Quamar bt Udit Kamboj 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

- Kamesh Srinivasan


I-League: Gokulam Kerala notches 2-0 win against Real Kashmir

Gokulam Kerala’s return to its original base proved profitable on Friday. In its first home match at the Corporation Stadium, the defending champion defeated Real Kashmir 2-0.

It was a badly needed win for Gokulam, which had played all its previous home matches at Manjeri. The second goal was netted by one of the latest recruits, Joby Justin.

In a desperate bid to bolster its disappointing frontline, there had been a signing spree by Gokulam in the transfer window. Joby and Eldar Moldozhunusov of Kyrgyzstan had joined the team only a few days ago and shortly before them, the Spanish duo of Omar Ramos and Sergio Mendigutxia had been signed.

All that seems to have some difference to the team, but only after the next few games would tell us how much. In this match, against a strong opposition, the host’s attack seemed sharper.

With V.S. Sreekuttan and Farshad Noor combining well to create chances, Kashmir’s defence came under pressure in the opening half. And it was off an excellent cross from the edge of the box by Sreekuttan that resulted in the first goal, with Thahir Zaman heading the ball in. Joby’s goal also came from a header, off a corner kick taken by Omar Ramos.

The win has taken Gokulam to the third spot. It has 21 points, just four behind the leader Sreenidi Deccan. Kashmir, with 18 points, is placed fifth.

The result: Gokulam Kerala 2 (Thahir Zaman 35, Joby Justin 86) bt Real Kashmir 0.


Indian National Car Racing Championship: Pole position for Sohil, Sandeep in Round 3

Bengaluru’s Sohil Shah, 21, qualified for pole position in the MRF Formula 2000 category as the third and penultimate round of the Indian National Car Racing Championship 2022 commenced at the Madras International Circuit on Friday.

In the only other qualifying session, for Volkswagen Polo Cup, Chennai’s Sandeep Kumar, the defending champion, grabbed the pole position to complete a fine day as he was also the quickest in the free practice session for the touring cars category (Indian Touring Cars), earlier in the day.

Sohil, a former national karting champion, who sat out the previous five races over two rounds, carried his free practice form into the qualifying session where he put in a lap of one minute, 31.910 secs, to take P1 for Saturday’s Race-1, ahead of Chennai’s Mohammed Ryan (01:32.062). Championship leader Sai Sanjay (01:32.404) from Salem qualified for P3.

Bengaluru’s Sohil Shah, who qualified for pole position in the MRF F2000 category.
Bengaluru’s Sohil Shah, who qualified for pole position in the MRF F2000 category. | Photo Credit: -

Bengaluru’s Sohil Shah, who qualified for pole position in the MRF F2000 category. | Photo Credit: -

Sandeep Kumar, 30, shaved almost a second off his practice session timing, with a lap of 01:55.729 in the qualifying run. Pune’s Pratik Sonawane, the 2019 VW Ameo Cup vice-champion, filled the front row clocking 01:56.376.

Earlier in the day during practice sessions, Chennai drivers hogged the limelight in the touring cars categories. Sandeep Kumar (Rayo Racing) was the quickest among Indian Touring Cars in a Volkswagen Virtus, clocking a best lap of 01:54.751. Akkineni Anand Prasad (Performance Racing, 01:55.286) topped in the Indian Junior Touring Cars class while teammate Ritesh Rai (02:04.254) was the best in Super Stock. Incidentally, championship leader in the ITC category, Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) from Coimbatore sat out the practice session due to engine issues.

In other practice sessions, Mamallapuram’s Raghul Rangasamy (MSport, 01.51,696) headed the timesheet in the Formula LGB 1300 category, while Justin Singh from Gurugram (02:02.422) topped the MRF Saloon Cars (Toyota Etios) field.

The results (qualifying – top 3):
MRF F2000: 1. Sohil Shah (Bengaluru) (1min, 31.910sec); 2. Mohamed Ryan (Chennai) (01:32.062); 3. Sai Sanjay T (Salem) (01:32.404);
Volkswagen Polo Cup: 1. Sandeep Kumar (Chennai) (1:55.729); 2. Pratik Sonawane (Mumbai) (1;56.376); 3. Jeet Jabakh (Hyderabad) (1:56.630).

- Team Sportstar


Eduardo Romay to lead Kochi Blue Spikers in PVL

KOCHI: The Kochi Blue Spikers, owned by the Muthoot Pappachan Group, has named Eduardo Romay as its captain for the second edition of the Prime Volleyball League which begins in Bengaluru on February 4.

The 27-year-old Romay, who plays as universal or opposite, is the captain of Peru national team. . Before joining the Blue Spikers, Romay had played with various teams in Spain, Turkey, Austria and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, setter Vipul Kumar has been named as the vice-captain.

“It’s an honour for me to lead Kochi Blue Spikers which has a balanced team. I thank the team owners and coach for showing confidence in me and giving the responsibility to lead the team,” said Romay.

“Romay has the experience of leading the national team and his experience in various leagues in different countries will benefit the team,” said Thomas Muthoot, the Blue Spikers team owner.

- Stan Ryan


Shubhankar adds 2-under, placed ninth in Abu Dhabi

India’s Shubhankar Sharma three-putted his closing hole -- the ninth -- but was still in tied ninth place at the halfway stage of the USD 9 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships here on Friday.

Feeding off the positive memories from last year’s results, when he was runner-up at the year’s first Rolex Series elite event, Shubhankar carded 2-under 70 and was 7-under 137.

“That final bogey left a bit of a bitter taste. I should have got that par and I had one other three-putt. But still just inside the top-10 at halfway is something I would take in such a big event right at the start of the season,” said Sharma, who after his first round went to see the Ferrari World, opposite the Yas Links.

“That was great fun and it helped me keep my mind fresh and energised,” said Sharma, who was 29th in the DP World Tour Rankings in 2022.

The leaderboard had two Italians sharing the lead. They are both fresh from an excellent showing at the Hero Cup, also in Abu Dhabi last week.

Francesco Molinari, the 2018 Open winner at Carnoustie, who led Continental European team to victory over Great Britain & Ireland, shot a second straight 67 to get to 10-under. He shared the top spot with fellow Italian, Guido Miglozzi (65-69), who played under Molinari last week.

Sharma was tied ninth alongside Shane Lowry (70), Ryan Fox (66), Adrian Meronk (67), Masahiro Kawamura (70), Antoine Rozner (68) and Min Woo Lee (69).

European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald’s (64-75) triple bogey on Par-3 17th saw him fall from first lead to five shots behind the leader.

Defending champion Thomas Pieters (73-72) will miss the cut.

Sharma, who was bogey-free on the first day, started from the tenth just before noon and had to endure windy conditions. He had five birdies against three bogeys.

Summing up his round, Sharma said, “As for the difference between the first and second day was that it was smoother for me yesterday. I didn’t make any bogeys yesterday and today was up and down.

“It was quite windy from the very first hole. And putting wasn’t very easy. I made two three-putts on the front nine, which was my back nine. I three-putted fourth and ninth. So, in terms of conditions, it was tougher today.” Jason Scrivener of Australia with 65-70 was sole third, while there were five players -- Victor Perez (65), Alexander Bjork (65), George Coetzee (68), Scott Jamieson (69) and Alexander Levy (68) -- in fourth place.

Starting on the 10th, Molinari double-bogeyed his seventh hole and bogeyed his eighth. Then he fired six birdies on his back nine, the front side of Yas Links, to post a five-under 67.

Molinari was very pleased with his 67-67.

“Same score as yesterday but very different day. Many more up-and-downs than yesterday. A couple of three putts, and a couple of mental errors but also lots of good stuff, a couple of long putts made. So a bit of everything.

“Obviously a very good back nine, which is nice. I think where you are, where I’m at at the moment when you go through a tough patch, it’s nice to see that I can pick it up again?,” said the Italian.

Migliozzi closed out his round with three successive birdies for a 3-under 69.

Donald would have been pleased with the form of two potential Ryder Cup players, Molinari and Migliozzi, but not as much with his own game as he followed his opening-round 8-under 64 with a 3-over 75.

The 45-year-old birdied his opening two holes on Friday, only to bogey eight and 12 and then drop three shots at the par-three 17th.


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