The major developments from the world of sports on August 25 where Indians took part are as follows:
Amateur Avani in Top-10 at pro event in Sweden
Asian Games-bound Avani Prashanth, India’s top amateur, moved into the Top-10 of the Ahlsell final on the Ladies European Tour’s Access Tour.
Avani, who shot 72, added 71 to get to 1-under after 36 holes and was tied ninth.
Asmitha Sathish (74-76) and Vidhatri Urs (80-74) missed the cut, which fell at 5-over with the Top-50 and ties making the cut.
Avani, winner of the individual honours at Queen Sirikit Cup, has Top-10 finishes on the main LET Tour also. She had three birdies and two bogeys in the second round.
Avani has qualified to represent India at the Asian Games following a trial held by the Indian Golf Union. She will be joining professionals Aditi Ashok and Pranavi Urs in the team for the Games to be held in Hangzhou, China in September-October.
Gandas makes another super start with 66 in Prague
India’s Manu Gandas enjoyed an excellent start for the second week in a row as he shot 6-under 66 to be tied seventh after the first round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters.
Gandas, a DLF Academy product, who came into the DP World Tour after topping the Indian PGTI Tour in 2022, started the back nine and had seven birdies against just one bogey.
Gandas, who began last week’s ISPS Handa Invitational with a similar 66, was T-20 then, but his game showed that he was finally settling into the European circuit.
The Indian was three shots behind the first round leader, Sami Välimäki who carded his lowest round since January as he signed for a nine under par 63 to take a two-stroke lead.
Gandas started from the tenth and was off in style with four birdies in the first six holes. He dropped his only shot on the 17th. On his second nine he finished with three birdies in his last four holes with gains on sixth, eighth and ninth.
With Shubhankar Sharma taking some time off, Gandas is the lone Indian in the field.
Avani clinches maiden LET Access event
India’s Avani Prashanth shot a 67 when it mattered the most to clinch her first Ladies European Tour (LET) Access Series Ahlsell Final golf tournament at the Elisefarm Golf Club in Sweden on Friday.
The 16-year-old from Bengaluru was obviously delighted. “I am glad that I won. I have been playing well but just not well enough to cross the winning line,” Avani told Sportstar.
“After a rocky start, I held it together because I knew if I struggled on those super long holes, the rest would too,” she said.
Avani recovered a few shots from there and was on level par heading into the back and four shots off. “I saw the leaderboard after 11 and I was two back. Vidhatri was on my bag today and we both decided that it’s time to press the pedal,” said Avani.
She followed up the birdies with an eagle, hit a 5W from 215 yards to five-feet and one putted for an eagle. Avani made another birdie on the 17th and heaved a sigh of relief.
- Rayan Rozario
MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup: Kerketta hat-trick leads Indian Air Force to victory over Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN)
Manip Kerketta’s hat-trick ensured Indian Air Force 4-3 victory over Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN) in a Group-B match of the 94th MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup all-India hockey on Friday.
Earlier, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) played a perfect all-round game to outclass Punjab National Bank (PNB), the last edition’s (2019) finalist, 6-2 in another Group-B match. Hockey Karnataka held former champion Indian Railways 1-1 in a Group-A contest.
Air Force clearly appeared the better team in the first two quarters. The host showed its fighting character in the third and fourth quarters. Trailing 4-2, HUTN pulled one back through Aravind in the fourth quarter.
Attacking relentlessly and with seconds remaining for the hooter, HUTN had its last chance to equalise when it received a penalty corner. However, Air Force custodian Ponnanna produced a brilliant save by diving to his right to thwart a fierce drive by Y. Anand.
After a tame draw the other day against HUTN, CAG came with a set plan and executed it really well. No doubt, it was the much organised team throughout against a stronger opponent. From defending exceptionally well to being racy in counter-attacks, CAG rattled PNB no end.
Full credit to Karnataka for pulling off a draw against the mighty Railways. More than the forwardline, it was Karnataka’s defence that proved rock-solid against a reputed set of forwards.
AITA Championship series junior: Dev Patel, Avisha Rathod win double crown
Dev Patel and Avisha Rathod won a double crown each in the AITA championship series under-14 tennis tournament at the Drona Sports Academy, Gandhinagar, on Friday.
Dev Patel beat Kabir Parmar for the loss of two games in the singles final, and won the doubles title with Hetarth Sompura.
Avisha Rathod beat Mahi Raulji in straight sets for the singles title, and won the doubles crown with Twisha Nandankar.
The results (finals)
$25,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament: Rishab beats Digvijay in quarters
Rishab Agarwal beat compatriot and second seed Digvijay pratap Singh 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament in Tainan, Chinese Taipei, on Friday.
In the semifinals, sixth seed Rishab will play Kazuki Nishiwaki of Japan.
Victorious Sethuraman closes in on second national title
S. P. Sethuraman’s relentless pursuit for a second National chess title brought him within a draw of achieving his goal after overpowering Neelash Saha in 53 moves in the 10th and penultimate round here on Friday.
Winner in 2014, third seed Sethuraman played black and seized an advantage by trapping the white bishop by the 18th move. On the 36th move, Sethuraman traded his rook for a knight.
Armed with a bishop, knight and a rook for Saha’s rook pair, Sethuraman gained decisively from his rival’s rook-move on the 40th turn. Soon, Sethuraman’s resources proved too much to handle for Saha, who resigned when facing a loss of another pawn or an imminent exchange of rooks.
The victory raised Sethuraman’s tally to nine points – one ahead of nearest rivals Abhijeet Gupta, Abhimanyu Puranik, Diptayan Ghosh, Aronyak Ghosh, Mitrabha Guha, Vishnu Prasanna and N. R. Vignesh.
So far, a performance level of 2657 against his rating of 2591 has given Sethuraman 15 rating points which should help him return to the 2600-bracket soon.
The 11-round event has seen players from Tamil Nadu and Bengal – some of them representing Petroleum and Railways – among the front-runners. Exceptions Abhijeet and Puranik, seeded one and two, will look for a strong finish to take a high spot among the top-10 who share a tidy prize-fund of Rs. 30 lakh.
- RAKESH RAO
Quartermiler Prachi clocks personal best in Railway meet
Prachi clocked a personal best 52.40s (previous best 52.96, 2018) as she won the women’s 400m in the All-India Railway athletics championships which concluded at Rae Bareli on Friday. She broke Rosakutty’s meet record of 52.54 set in 1998.
That made the 26-year-old Prachi the third fastest quartermiler in India this year behind Anjali Devi, who failed a dope test soon after clocking the country’s fastest time (51.48s) at the Inter-State Nationals in Bhubaneswar in June, and Inter-State silver medallist Himanshi Malik (51.76).
Prachi, who represented Patiala Locomotive Works at the Railway meet, was sixth in the Inter-State meet with 53.69. Kiran Pahal, Prachi’s PLW teammate, was second in 53.26 at the Railway meet..
Vikrant Panchal won the men’s 400m in 47.43s, Sahil Silwal (70.75m) picked up the men’s javelin gold while Bhairabi Roy took the women’s long jump title with 6.27m.
- STAN RAYAN
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