Here are all the major developments in Indian sport on Sunday, January 8, 2023.
Sathiyan suffers shock defeat to Quek, Indian women enjoy wins in WTTC Continental
G. Sathiyan, ranked 39th, suffered a shock defeat to Singapore’s Izaac Quek, placed precisely 200 rungs below, while eight Indians moved into the singles second round in the Asian WTTC Continental Stage table tennis tournament in Doha on Sunday.
Nation’s top-ranked male player on the world list and widely expected to advance, Sathiyan led 2-0 and again 3-2 before Quek completed an 8-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 11-9 upset. Sanil Shetty was the other Indian to lose after running into Iran No 2 Amir Hossain Hodaei in six sets.
Sharath Kamal, Harmeet Desai and Manush Shah faced varying levels of challenges in their opening encounters.
Among the women, Swastika Ghosh was the pick. Ranked 243, Swastika defeated Kazakhstan’s No 1 and World No. 140 Zauresh Akasheva 13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7.
National champion Sreeja Akula, Manika Batra, Reeth Rishya and Diya Chitale brushed aside lower-ranked players for a place in the second round.
Santosh Trophy 2022-23: Kerala beats Mizoram to enter the final phase
Host Kerala thrashed Mizoram 5-1 to qualify for the final phase of the Santosh Trophy football championship on Sunday. The win took Kerala to the top of Group II.
Both the teams had won all their matches in the group and this encounter was going to decide who would come first in the group and thus earn the confirmed ticket for the final phase of the National championship. It proved far too easy for Kerala, which had won the Santosh Trophy last year.
On this day, Naresh opened the scoring half-an-hour into the game. He struck again in the second half, with Nijo Gilbert, Gifty Gracious and Vishak Mohanan adding on to Mizoram’s misery.
The first goal came off a rebound off Mizoram’s goalkeeper Lalmuanawma, with Naresh showing the presence of mind to convert the lucky opportunity. No more goal came in the first half.
Two minutes into the second half, though, Nijo made it 2-0 for the host, through a terrific free-kick from just out the D.
Kerala’s joy, though, was overshadowed by the personal loss of one of its players, Riswan Ali. His father, V.P. Muhammadali, died during the match.
-P. K. Ajith Kumar
I-League: Gokulam Kerala’s Spanish gambit pays off
Gokulam Kerala’s desperate measures seem to be working. The management, which replaced its coach and two key players midway through the I-League, must be happy with the team’s 1-0 victory against Churchill Brothers on Sunday.
The management must be particularly happy that the goal was scored by one of the replacements, Sergio Mendigutxia, who joined the team along with fellow-Spaniard Omar Ramos. It was their first match for Gokulam, just as it was for their coach, compatriot Francesc Bonet.
With the win, Gokulam, the champion for the last two seasons, has moved into the third spot, with 18 points from 10 games. Sreenidi Deccan is still leading the table with 22 points, while RoundGlass Punjab, which has played a game less, is on 20. Churchill remains seventh with 12 points.
Churchill must be regretting the chances it missed in this game, which saw quite a bit of end-to-end football. With both sides struggling to convert the opportunities that came their way, a goalless draw could not have been ruled out, until the host made a superb move down the centre, with just 10 minutes of normal time remaining.
It was finished off in style by Mendigutxia, off a fine assist from V.S. Sreekuttan. The Spaniard did well to put the ball into the far post, beating Churchill’s goalkeeper Albino Gomes.
- P.K. Ajith Kumar
RoundGlass Punjab FC dominates NEROCA to remain unbeaten at home
RoundGlass Punjab continued its unbeaten run at home, beating NEROCA FC 3-1 in the I-League at Panchkula on Sunday.
Luka Majcen, Brandon Vanlalremdika and Krishnananda Singh scored for the winner while Yumnam Gopi Singh scored the consolation goal for NEROCA FC.
RGPFC has maintained its second position in the table below Sreenidi Deccan FC which has played a match more than them.
RGPFC started the half with more intent and deployed its usual high press strategy giving no time on the ball for the opponent. Juan Mera and Pranjal Bhumij were lively on the wings.
RGPFC took the lead in the 12th minute. Pranjal played an inviting ball into the box which found a free Luka Majcen who jumped high to deposit a thumping header past NEROCA keeper to give the home side the lead. It is Luka’s fifth goal of the season.
Juan Mera dispossessed the ball from the NEROCA wing back and found Luka Majcen just outside the box. Luka played a perfect ball to the on rushing Brandon Vanlalremdika who poked the ball past Shubham Dhas to double the lead in the 15th minute.
NEROCA halved the deficit against the run of play in the 44th minute. A ball from the middle from Tangva was half cleared by the RGPFC defence but fell to Yumnam Gopi Singh who struck a first time shot which left keeper Kiran Kumar Limbu helpless.
RGPFC put the game beyond NEROCA in the 77th minute through a goal from Krishnananda Singh. Substitute Maheson Singh played a brilliant through ball for Krishnananda who rounded the rushing NEROCA keeper and tapped into the empty net.
RGPFC has 17 points from nine matches while NEROCA FC has 7 points from 10 games.
Anahat Singh becomes second Indian to win British Junior Open twice
Anahat Singh became the second Indian after Joshna Chinappa to win the British Junior Open twice beating Sohaila Hazem of Egypt 3-0 (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5) in 28 minutes.
Anahat’s first title at the championships came in her debut attempt in 2019 as she beat Whitney Wilson of Malaysia 3-1 in the final of the girls under-11 category.
The 14-year-old’s victory comes at the back of a prolific year on court when she became the youngest player to represent India at the Commonwealth Games in 2022. Apart from this, she is also the reigning under 15 national champion, runners-up at the senior national championship and winner of the Scottish Junior Open this year.
Daksh Prasad and Suhitha Maruri are the two Indian players who have got seeding in the ITF junior tennis tournament to be staged at the DLTA Complex from Monday.
Daksh has been seeded eighth in the boys event, and Suhitha seeded seventh in the girls section, of a very competitive field.
The champion of the last event in Chandigarh Donghyun Kim of Korea has been seeded sixth in the boys event, while the girls champion Dominika Podhajecka of Poland does not have a seeding.
Suhitha has drawn to play Dominika in the first round.
After three rounds of qualifying event, only Cahir Warik in the boys section and Aishi Bisht in the girls section were the only Indian players to make it into the main draw. Interestingly, in a similar tournament at the DLTA in 2018, Emma Raducanu of Britain had won the girls title before scaling the world ladder in dramatic style in New York to win the US Open women’s title in 2021.
It should be interesting to get a glimpse of the future stars this week.
- Kamesh Srinivasan
Sachin Rathi, Amaan chowdhury and Harsh Nagar combined well to help Delhi beat Gujarat 25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22 in the boys final of the ONGC 44th National sub-junior volleyball championship at the Laxmi Public School, Karkardooma, on Sunday.
In the girls final, India under-18 captain Kavita Suthar and Aina Saharan played a significant role in helping Rajasthan beat Uttar Pradesh 15-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-19 in the final.
- Kamesh Srinivasan
Biju George appointed fielding coach of Dubai Capitals
Former fielding coach of the Indian women’s cricket team Biju George has been appointed as the fielding coach of Dubai Capitals in the UAE T20 league which will begin in Dubai next week.
“It is an extension of what I have been doing for the last few years in IPL (Indian Premier League) and T20 cricket. It is an honour for me to become the first coach from the State to figure in an overseas T20 league,’‘ he said.
George was the fielding coach of Delhi Capitals during IPL 2022. He earlier had stints with Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad as fielding coach.
A BCCI level 3 coach, George coached the Kuwait national team for a brief while and was the coach of the South Zone team that won the Duleep Trophy.
- M.R. Praveen Chandran
Hemraj, Chhavi win National cross country titles
Rajasthan’s Hemraj Gurjar won the men’s 10km title comfortably while Railways’ Chhavi Yadav outsprinted Sanjivani Baburao Jadhav (Maharashtra) to take the women’s gold in the 57th National cross country championships on a challenging course in Assam on Sunday.
Services men and Railways women won the team titles.