Indian men lose to Thailand, fail to qualify for semifinals
The Indian men failed to qualify for the semifinals of the Asia-Oceania blind football championship after a 0-2 loss to Thailand at the United Sports Centre, Kakkanad in Kochi on Wednesday.
India finished its campaign with one win, one draw and two losses in Group ‘A’. China and Thailand took the semifinal spots from Group ‘A’ while Japan and Iran made the grade from Group ‘B’.
The four semifinalists automatically qualify for next year’s World championships in Birmingham. India will now search for other routes, including the inter-continental event, to qualify for the World championship.
The result (league): Thailand 2 (Bancha Munphet 9, Wanchana Pradapsri 28) bt India 0.
- Stan Rayan
The Union Sports Ministry has decided to fund two overseas exposure trips of prominent wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
While double World championships bronze medallist Vinesh is attending a high-altitude training camp in Belmeken, Bulgaria, Olympics bronze medallist and multiple Worlds medallist Bajrang is all set to compete in the Bill Farrell Memorial International event in New York on November 18 and 19.
Vinesh, accompanied by her physio Ashwini Patil, is training under former Olympic silver medallist Serafim Barzakov at the 19-day camp, which began on November 7. The camp would include top wrestlers such as 2021 Worlds gold medallist Bilyana Dudova and 2020 Olympic bronze medallist Evelina Nikolova among others.
Bajrang will get a chance to compete against some of the prominent and up-and-coming American wrestlers in the New York event.
- Y.B. Sarangi
India continues golden run at 15th Asian airgun meet
New Delhi: Rhythm Sangwan beat compatriot Palak Ghulia 16-8 for the gold in women’s air pistol in the 15th Asian Airgun championship in Daegu, Korea, on Wednesday.
Both the shooters stepped it up in the second stage of qualification after modest scores in the first phase, to outwit the much better scoring Koreans. Kim Bomi who shot 588 in qualification finished fourth behind compatriot Kim Jangmi.
In fact, India continued its domination and swept all the four gold medals on the day. Olympian Manu Bhaker pipped qualification topper Esha Singh (578) 17-15 for the junior women’s gold.
The Indian men’s and junior men’s teams also won the gold medals to swell the gold collection.
The men’s team did have to be at its fighting best as it prevailed 16-14 over host Korea, after dominant fare in the first two stages.
ITF men’s tournament
Qualifier Kazuki NIshiwaki of Japan beat fifth seed Manish Sureshkumar 7-6(3), 6-2 in the first round of the $25,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament at the MSLTA Complex on Wednesday.
Former national champion Siddharth Vishwakarma got past third seed Vladyslav Orlov of Ukraine. Siddharth led 5-3 when Orlov retired. He will play qualifier Faisal Qamar in the second round.
Unranked Sandesh Kurale capitalised on the wild card and beat qualifier Rishi Reddy in straight sets, to set up a second round against top seed Oliver Crawford of USA.
- Kamesh Srinivasan
Ramkumar and Arjun Kadhe in quarterfinals
Arjun Kadhe and ARamkumar Ramanathan beat Sho Shimbukuro and Yosuke Watanuki of Japan 3-6, 6-3, [10-8] in the doubles pre-quarterfinals of the $53,120 Challenger tennis tournament in Kobe, Japan, on Wednesday.
- Kamesh Srinivasan
Indians face tough draw at Asian Cup table tennis
Table tennis legend Achanta Sharath Kamal and top-ranked Indian G Sathiyan will have their task cut out as they face a tough draw at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup Tournament beginning Thursday in Bangkok.
World No. 44 Sharath Kamal, who is set to receive the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, will run into Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, ranked No. 16, while world No. 39 Sathiyan will open against 26th-ranked Yukiya Uda from Japan.
World No. 44, Manika Batra will be the lone Indian woman competitor in the USD 200,000 prize money event and she will be up against Chinese Chen Xingtong, ranked world No. 7 and seeded No. 3, in the opening round at the Hua Mak Indoor Stadium.
The men’s and women’s singles event of the 33rd edition of the event, held in a direct knockout format for the first time, has the top 16 Asian players, including No. 1 seed Wang Chuqin and Lin Gaoyuan from China, seeded No. 3 and two strong Japanese contenders in No. 2 seed Tomokazu Harimoto and Yukiya Uda.
Both Sathiyan and Sharath achieved sixth positions -- so far their best finish -- in the 2019 edition in Yokohama and the 2015 edition in Jaipur, respectively.
Sharath has been in good form this year, having claimed three gold medals in the Commonwealth Games, while Sathiyan too was part of the gold-medal winning men’s team in Birmingham, where he also picked up a silver in men’s doubles and bronze in singles.
Amateur Avani Prashanth holds 5-shot lead in the 15th Leg of Hero WPGT
Avani Prashanth put herself in the driver’s seat with a superb four-under 68 on the first day of the 15th Leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Chandigarh Golf Club on Wednesday.
After a bogey free four-under front nine, Avani had two bogeys and two birdies on the back nine for the day’s only under par round.
The 16-year-old Avani, a two-time winner in 2021 on the pro circuit, birdied second and then picked up shots three in a row from fourth to sixth and later had birdies on the 12th and 13th. The dropped shots came on 10th and 15th.
Avani, who has had a busy international season this year, is now five shots clear of eight players who are tied at 1-over 73.
The pack of eight includes last week’s winner Ridhima Dilawari and two amateurs, Heena Kang and Jia Kataria. The others are Siddhi Kapoor, Rhea Purvi Saravanan, Anisha Agarwalla and Lakhmehar Pardesi.
Gaurika Bishnoi, who began with a double bogey and a bogey on the first two holes, finished with 74 and was tied ninth alongside Hitaashee Bakshi.
Among other prominent names, Sneha Singh (77) was tied 13th, Neha Tripathi and Seher Atwal were tied 19th with 78 and Afshan Fatima, runner-up last week, was 23rd with a round of 79.
In 2021, Avani won the third and the 11th Legs at BPGC, Mumbai and Panchkula Golf Club on the Hero WPG Tour. She was also runner-up at the seventh leg in DLF, Gurugram and the 10th leg at the same Chandigarh Golf Club.
Defending champ Yuvraj shoots 63 to lead in Digboi event
Defending champion Yuvraj Singh Sandhu blazed his way to a scintillating nine-under 63 in the opening round to take the early lead at the IndianOil SERVO Masters golf championship on Wednesday.
Sri Lankan Anura Rohana, who made two chip-ins on day one, returned an eight-under 64 to be placed second at the Rs. 75 lakh event.
Delhi’s Kshitij Naveed Kaul was third at 65, while Greater Noida’s Arjun Sharma was a further shot back in fourth at the Digboi Golf Links.
Chandigarh’s Yuvraj, the 2022 PGTI Order of Merit leader and a winner of four titles this season, had a whirlwind start with three birdies on the first four holes.
A bogey and birdie on the fifth and ninth respectively meant that he made the turn at three-under.
The 25-year-old Sandhu’s birdie on the 11th got him back in the groove as he picked up five more birdies thereafter, landing it close to the pin consistently. He drove the par-4 14th green to set up a two-putt birdie there.
“I’m feeling a little nostalgic coming back to the venue where I won my first PGTI event last year. I’m playing on those good memories. This year the weather is even better and that makes the playing experience here at Digboi that much more special,” Yuvraj said.
“The stretch of birdies from the 11th onwards was the highlight today. After a good start, I had a quiet few holes but then on the back-nine I kept telling myself to hit maximum greens in regulation. With that thought I started hitting the ball really close and got on a birdie run.
“I had a total of 16 greens in regulation today and thanks to my good ball-striking the longest putt I made was 15 feet.” Rohan Dhole Patil of Pune began the week with a hole-in-one on the 10th. He put together a 67 to be placed tied fifth along with Kolkata’s Divyanshu Bajaj.
Among the prominent names, Khalin Joshi shot a 69 to be tied 13th, while Udayan Mane and Manu Gandas carded 70s to be tied 19th.
Among the local professionals, Deven Bhumij was tied 32nd at 71, while Dulal Kalowar and Deepraj Chetia were both tied 44th at 72.
Deepak, Vanshaj off to flying starts at Youth World Boxing C’ships
Asian youth medallists Deepak and Vanshaj made winning starts to their campaigns on the opening day of the IBA Youth men’s and women’s World Boxing Championships in La Nucia, Spain.
After Vishwanath Suresh opened India’s campaign with an impressive win earlier in the day, Deepak (75kg) came out all guns blazing and took just over a minute to beat his Albanian opponent Useid Nika with the ‘Referee Stops Contest’ verdict. Vanshaj, on the other hand, also began in similar fashion and looked in complete control against Uzbekistan’s Boltaev Shavkatjon in the 63.5kg opening round match.
His dominating display throughout the contest made all five judges vote in his favour as he registered a resounding 5-0 win.
Haryana boys Vanshaj and Deepak had clinched gold and bronze medals respectively in the ASBC Asian Youth Boxing Championships, held in Jordan earlier this year.
Five Indians, including two men, will begin their challenge on the second day of the prestigious championships.
While Lashu Yadav (70kg) and Pranjal Yadav (81kg) will play their round-of-16 matches against Poland’s Marta Czerwinska and Uzbekistan’s Oltinoy Sotimboeva respectively, Preeti Dahiya (57kg) will take on Colombia’s Claudia Daniela in the Round-of-32.
In the men’s section, Ashish will face Iran’s Nima Bayati in round-of-32 whereas Harsh will be up against Hungary’s Levente Olah in the 60kg Round-of-64.
Indian boxers produced a historic show in the last edition of the championships when they bagged 11 medals, including eight gold.
This year’s 25-member contingent consists of 13 men and 12 women pugilists.
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