Here are all the major developments in Indian sport on Thursday, December 8.
Gautami, Swapnil top qualification as finals beckon
Madhya Pradesh duo of Gautami Bhanot and Swapnil Kusale topped the women’s 10m air rifle and men’s 50m rifle 3 positions (3P) qualification rounds, respectively, at the 65th National Shooting Championship here on Thursday.
Bhanot and Kusale, both from Railways, lead the eight finalists who go into the ranking round on Friday where the two top finishers will fight it out for the gold subsequently.
Jabalpur’s Gautami shot a stunning 632.5 to top a quality 648-strong field in the women’s air rifle, falling just 0.5 short of the national mark in the event.
Bhakti Khamkar, Nancy, Shriyanka Sadangi, Elavenil Valarivan, R. Narmada, Aishwarya Murlidhar and Yukthi Rajendra, were the other seven to follow Gautami into the ranking round.
In the men’s 3P, Swapnil shot 590 to top the field over the Navy’s Niraj Kumar, who shot 588.
Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar, Ganga Singh, Akhil Sheoran, Chain Singh, Sanjeev Rajput and Harshit Binjwa are the other finalists.
AITA women’s tournament
Riya Sachdeva overcame a hard start to beat top seed Kavya Khirwar 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals of the Rs. 100,000 AITA women’s tennis tournament at the Joygaon Academy on Thursday.
In the other semifinal, second seed Riya Uboveja had an equally tough battle as she pipped seventh seed Radhika Yadav 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(4).
- Kamesh Srinivasan
ITF tennis tournament
Oscar Moraing of Germany beat top seed Sasikumar Mukund 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) in the pre-quarterfinals of the $15,000 ITF tennis tournament in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on Thursday.
In the battle of wits that lasted three hours and 20 minutes, Mukund saved three match points, including two in the 12th game of the decider to force the tie-break. Both players broke serve four times in the match, and Mukund failed to capitalise on the early exchange of breaks in the third set.
- Kamesh Srinivasan
Women’s hockey tournament
Gagandeep Kaur scored twice to guide Railway Sports Promotion Board to a 3-1 victory over Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the league phase of the Nehru women’s hockey tournament at the Shivaji Stadium on Thursday.
Both the teams, however, made the semifinals.
The Railway team will take on Madhya Pradesh Academy, Gwalior in the semifinals at 12.30 p.m., and the CRPF will challenge Pritam Siwach Academy, Sonipat, at 2.30 p.m. on Friday.
- Kamesh Srinivasan
Saito’s strike hands Aizawl FC 1-0 win over NEROCA FC
Akito Saito’s goal helped Aizawl FC beat NEROCA FC 1-0 in a sixth-round match of the I-League on Thursday.
A second-half header from the Japanese defender proved enough for the host, which saw more of the exchanges, to take full points home.
The game began on a fast note with Aizawl having an edge over NEROCA.
The host enjoyed the majority of the possession in the early minutes of the game but couldn’t find any scoring opportunity.
R. Lalthanmawia came closest in the sixth minute when the winger cut inside from the left, beating his marker in the process to shoot but his effort didn’t produce the desired result.
Midway through the first half, the game burst into life as Aizawl created three back-to-back chances.
In the 24th minute, Lalthanmawia, on the left wing, dribbled past his marker and put a cross inside the six-yard area for R. Ramdinthara, who failed to control the ball.
A minute later, Lalchhanhima Sailo passed the ball to K. Lalrinfela on top of the penalty area and rolled the ball back into Sailo’s way. However, the midfielder’s shot was saved by NEROCA custodian Soram Poirei Anganba.
At the half-hour mark, Ramdinthara played Sailo on the right wing, who crossed it for Henry Kisekka at the near post, but the Ugandan put his header wide.
After the restart, the host again took charge of the proceedings, this time building attacks from the left.
Zodingliana Ralte twice created good chances for Ramdinthara inside the box. The forward put his header off the target on the first occasion while failing to make the necessary connection on the next one.
At the hour mark, Kisekka shielded the ball before passing it for substitute Matias Veron inside the 18-yard box. The Argentine pulled the trigger but his shot was blocked for a corner. The resultant set-piece taken by Lalthanmawia was thumped into the net by Aizawl’s Saito.
Aizawl FC moved to sixth place in the points table with eight points from six games while NEROCA is currently eighth on the table with six points from as many matches.