ATHLETICS

Qosanov Athletics Meet: Dhanalakshmi surprises Safronova; Annu Rani and Ancy Sojan among gold winners

S. Dhanalakshmi surprised host Kazakhstan’s former Asian Games champion Olga Safronova as she won the women’s 200m gold in a personal best 22.89s at the Qosanov International Athletics Meet, a World Athletics Continental Tour event, in Almaty on Sunday.

It was the third fastest time ever by an Indian, behind Saraswati Saha’s national record (22.82s) and Hima Das’ 22.88.

Meanwhile, Asian silver medallist Annu Rani took the women’s javelin throw gold with a good 62.29m effort while long jumper Ancy Sojan maintained her consistent run and pocketed the gold with 6.44m. Her last three jumps were all above 6.40m.

With Asian record holder Tajinderpal Singh Toor pulling out, Karanveer Singh won the men’s shot put while Eldhose Paul, who was desperate for a 17m-plus to improve his chances of going to next month’s World championships in the US, took the silver with 16.55m while U. Karthik struggled through his series before producing a 16.15m in his final jump for the bronze.

K.M. Chanda came up with a nice piece of front-running to take the women’s 800m while Krishan Kumar took the men’s two-lapper.

-Stan Rayan

HOCKEY

Indian junior women's hockey team loses 1-4 to Netherlands in U-23 5 Nations tournament final

Beauty Dungdung's goal was the lone bright spot as the Indian junior women's hockey team lost 1-4 to the Netherlands in the final of the U-23 5 Nations Tournament here on Sunday.

India's lone goal came from Dungdung (29th), while Belen Van Der Broek (26th), Amber Brouwer (31st), Emma Santbrink (53rd), and Sanne Hak (55th) were on the target for the Netherlands.

The Netherlands side placed India under early pressure by earning its first Penalty Corner just minutes after the game began.

The Indian team, on the other hand, stood tall and prevented the opposition from scoring.

India steadily grabbed control of the game as the first quarter progressed, earning it its first penalty corner (PC) of the match. However, it missed out on gaining the lead since it did not materialise. Following that, both sides increased their attacking efforts in pursuit of their first goal, but were unsuccessful as the first quarter came to a close.

Unlike the previous quarter, India went on the offensive in the second and was rewarded for it, winning its second PC in 10 minutes. The Netherlands squad earned a PC minutes later but was unable to convert it. It did not have to wait long for its first goal, as Belen Van Der Broek scored on a PC in the 26th minute.

After India won a PC, Dungdung levelled the contest in the 29th minute. A minute later, the Dutch gained another PC, which Amber Brouwer converted, putting them ahead at the half-time break.

As the third quarter began, India attempted to boost its assault in search of an equaliser, while the Netherlands looked to double its lead.

After a few tough minutes, the Dutch won the dominance battle, earning another PC. However, the Indian team held their nerve and stopped them from scoring.

Despite their inability to convert the PC, the Dutch finished the third quarter ahead of India.

The Netherlands team started the game's last quarter on the offensive, and it paid off as they earned their first PC of the fourth quarter in five minutes.

India launched a counterattack in return, and as a result, it was able to win a PC. It, however, was unable to tie the game because the PC did not result in a goal.

Emma Santbrink scored the third goal for the Netherlands in the 53rd minute, and Sanne Hak added another two minutes later to take the game away from India.

TENNIS - ITF Women's Tennis

Karman Kaur Thandi put up a majestic game and mustered energy for a spectacular sprint to the finish line in her 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 victory over World No. 3 junior Sofia Costoulas of Belgium in the final of the USD 25,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Tennis Project in Baliawas, Gurugram, on Sunday.

More than her ability to play the big game, serving solid and hammering winners, the 24-year-old Karman won everyone’s heart with her fighting spirit, while capturing her second title at this level.

After a good start, she recovered from being down 2-4 in the first set, to seal it at 6-4. In the second, the 17-year-old Belgian showed what she was capable of, with her athleticism and intelligent game.

ALSO READ - Vijay Amritraj honoured with Golden Achievement Award by ITF

In the three-hour battle, the key was the dash to the finish and Karman got it perfect. After taking a shower that gave her a cool mind - the ITF heat rule allowed a 10-minute break before the
decider - Karman had the resolve to take charge.

The wiry Karman broke Sofia’s serve in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead and tightened her grip after that, closing out the match without any further drama.

"I am very happy. It is a new beginning for me. I had no expectations coming into this tournament. I just wanted to get on court and play my game. I did have the niggles and pain, but am happy to have pulled through," said Karman, quick to thank her physio Diksha and long-time
coach Aditya Sachdeva for the support from the RoundGlass Academy.

"Whatever chances I got, I converted. Taking the lead was important in that third set," Karman said.

Having endured a roller coaster ride for the last two years, Karman was in tears on clinching the match point. She was quite emotional as she hugged her father Chetanjit Singh for long, as he had done everything possible to keep her on the professional circuit around the world.

"Karman showed excellent skill and tenacity. Am sure she will build on this success," said coach Aditya Sachdeva.

For the moment, the 497th ranked Karman, who gained 50 WTA points, will have another tournament at the same venue next week, to try and climb the ranking ladder.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

Nichole beats Shefali

Joell Nichole beat Shefali Arora 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 10-7 in the first qualifying round of the $25,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Tennis Project, Baliawas, on Sunday.

The second successive tournament at the venue attracted more good players, leading to better competition.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

Anirudh and Vijay win doubles title in Belgium

The top seeded pair of Anirudh Chandrasekar and Vijay Sundar Prashanth beat second seeds Constantin Frantzen and Tim Sandkaulen 7-6(5), 6-4 in the doubles final of the $25,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament in Belgium.

While it was the fifth doubles title for Anirudh, it was the 22nd for Vijay.

In the $25,000 women’s event in Serbia, Prarthana Thombare and Zhibek Kulambayeva won the doubles title with a walkover in the final.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

GOLF

Aditi Ashok lies 47th at KPMG Championship

India's Aditi Ashok was saved by three birdies in the latter half of the back nine as she carded an eventful even par 72 in the third round of the Women's PGA Championship here.

The Bengaluru golfer, who made the cut on the line, is now 3-over for three rounds and Tied-47th.

Aditi, who has played the most Majors for any Indian, men or women, has been having modest results this season so far and is looking for a strong finish on the LPGA.

She is currently 80th on Race to CME, the order of merit for LPGA.

Meanwhile, Korea’s In Gee Chun shot 3-over 75 and saw her lead getting cut and is now three shots ahead going into the final round at Congressional Country Club.

On a day when many of the leaders were in trouble, Chun seemed fine till she made a double bogey on the par-5 16th hole. She carded 75.

An 8-iron from there went over the green, but Chun did manage to get up and down for a 7, a double bogey. The two-time major champion from South Korea led by five shots after the first round and six at the halfway point. After the third round, she had an 8-under 208 total.

Lydia Ko (76) and Jennifer Kupcho (74) — Chun's playing partners — had their own struggles, but Lexi Thompson and Hye-Jin Choi both shot 70 and were tied for second with Sei Young Kim (71) at 5 under.

Hannah Green (72) was fifth at 4-under, a stroke ahead of Atthaya Thitikul (68). Brooke Henderson (73), Kupcho and Jennifer Chang (73) were tied for sixth with Thitikul.

-PTI

Neha Tripathi finishes T-36 in Prague; Diksha, Vani T-43

Neha Tripathi finished Tied-36th at the Tipsport Czech Ladies Open here on Sunday.

Neha, who has been working hard to get on to the bandwagon on the Ladies European Tour, endured a grinding day with four birdies, two of them in the last three holes, against three bogeys for 73 and a total of 3-under for 54 holes.

The other two Indians, Diksha Dagar (71) and Vani Kapoor were Tied-43rd. Amandeep Drall and Ridhima Dilawari missed the cut.

Czech amateur Jana Melichova (69) and pro Klara Spilkova (70) finished 1-2 in a fine result for the host country. Melichova, who zoomed up the leaderboard with a second round 65, started the final round one shot behind the overnight leader, Nicole Broch of Denmark.

Melchova played the front nine in 4-under and a birdie on 10th took her to 16-under and way ahead of the field. Broch and Spilkova were now three behind, but tension got Melchova, and she gave away three bogeys in a row from 12th to 14th but a late birdie on Par-3 17th gave her some cushion.

Spilkova fought back with closing birdies on 17 and 18 but fell one short. Broch birdied 16 and 18 and was also one shy of Melchova.

Next week at the German Masters Diksha, Vani, Amandeep Drall and Ridhima Dilawari will join amateur Avani Prashanth, who has an invite for the event, and Tvesa Malik, who will be back after a week’s break.

Neha Tripathi is a reserve and if she makes it to the main draw, that will make it a massive seven Indians in the field.

-PTI

VOLLEYBALL - India beats Malaysia

The Indian senior women’s volleyball team defeated Malaysia 3-0 in its preliminary third league match of the 21st Princess Cup in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.

India won 25-17, 25-16, 25-22.

The tournament, which started on June 24, will conclude on June 30.

From the Indian side, attacker Anushree K. P. and blocker Soorya shone with goals.

Achyuta Samanta, president of Volleyball Federation of India (VFI), congratulated the team for its third successive win in the championship.

- PTI

SWIMMING - Mihir, Aneesh continue golden run

Mihir Ambre and Aneesh Sunilkumar Gowda continued their good run in the Singapore National swimming championships in Singapore on Sunday.

Mihir emerged as the fastest swimmer of the championship, winning the 50m freestyle gold, while Aneesh took the 1500m freestyle title to add to the golds they had won earlier in the event.

- Stan Rayan