India U-17 team for friendly against UAE U-20 national side announced
Bibiano Fernandes, the head coach of the India U-17 men’s football team, has announced a 22-member squad for a friendly against UAE U-20 national team in Dubai on January 16, 2023.
The team will also play two friendlies against Uzbekistan on January 22 and 24 in Goa.
The Indian U-17 team qualified for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup earlier this year, and after a brief break, has been in camp over the course of the last month.
In addition to the players that were with the team during the AFC U-17 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Saudi Arabia, the team management had also called up a number of players to their camp at the AIFF Elite Academy in Goa for trials.
ITF Juniors: Kim, Mincheva wins boys’ and girls’ titles respectively
Jangjun Kim of Korea and Vlada Mincheva of Russia won the boys’ and girls’ titles respectively in the ITF junior tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Saturday.
The 16-year-old Kim showed an all-round ability and endless energy as he battled past the strongly-built Timofei Derepasko of Russia 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-5 in a battle of wits that lasted more than three hours.
It was Derepasko who was serving for the match at 5-3 in the decider, but Kim played near flawless in the climax to pull through, much to the admiration of the small gathering.
The Korean, set to break into the top 100 of the world junior rank, has already been given a taste of the men’s circuit, including the Challengers to possibly prepare him for the big league.
The quality of tennis that Kim played and the energy he showed in covering the court, sprinting all the time into position and whipping his strokes with uncanny craft were clear indications that he would be seen on the big stage soon.
In the girls’ final, the fleet-footed Vlada, the left-hander who could muster tremendous intensity in every point, outplayed the top seed, Ashton Bowers of the USA for the loss of five games, in quick time.
Quite remarkably, the 15-year-old Vlada who has also got a lot of exposure in the women’s circuit already did not drop more than five games to any of her five opponents in the tournament.
It may be recalled that Emma Raducanu of Britain won this tournament in 2018 before skyrocketing to the US Open women’s title in 2021.
For talented juniors across the world, it was an excellent platform to get ready for the junior Grand Slams, and the two champions Kim and Vlada stole everyone’s heart with their energy, elegance and efficiency on the court.
Yuki and Saketh win a thriller for title
Top seeds Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni came through a cracker of a doubles final, with their reputation enhanced, as they recorded a 2-6, 7-6(7), [14-12] victory over Christopher Rungkat and Akira Santillan in the $80,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Bangkok on Saturday.
The champion team collected 75 ATP points and $4,645. The runners-up won 50 points and $2,700.
It was the sixth Challenger title as a pair for Yuki and Saketh who had won five last year. Saketh also won another Challenger with Ramkumar Ramanathan last year in Bengaluru.
Before being downed by injuries, Yuki had won six Challenger doubles titles till 2016, including one with Mahesh Bhupathi in Delhi.
Saketh had also won eight Challenger doubles titles earlier, with a bunch of partners like Sanam Singh, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Divij Sharan, Arjun Kadhe and Vijay Sundar Prashanth.
With both of them in the top-100 of the world doubles rank, Yuki and Saketh would aim to break into the ATP tournaments and Grand Slam events this season.
National selection trials: Gulia beats Sangwan to top women’s air pistol
Palak Gulia beat Rhythm Sangwan 16-12 to top women’s air pistol in the second National shooting selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.
The 17-year-old Palak was consistent right through and on par with 19-year-old Rhythm before pulling through in the climax.
Quite remarkably, the 49-year-old Padma Devaram competed hard with the youngsters and placed third ahead of qualification topper and the reigning national champion Divya TS (586).
Anuradha Devi, Manu Bhaker, Aakanksha Bansal and Ruchita Vinerkar were the others to make it to the second stage.
In men’s air pistol, Arjun Singh Cheema overwhelmed Dharmendra Singh Gaharwar 16-6 for the top spot, after qualifying with 583.
Qualification topper Sumit Raman (586) placed fifth behind Ujjawal Malik and Gursewak Singh.
Sharvan Kumar, Varun Tomar and Kethavath Ganesh were the others to make the second stage.
With India opting to skip the World Cup for rifle and pistol in Jakarta, Indonesia, this month, the team for the World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, to be staged from February 17, should be finalised soon.
Meanwhile, the shotgun trials are being held at the Moti Bagh Club in Patiala.