Weekly Digest: Asian Games' dazzling start, Wadekar's demise

A round-up of the major events in the world of sport in the week gone by.

The Asian Games 2018 kicked off in style at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

Cricket

Ajit Wadekar, who deployed his famous spinners to devastating effect and recorded historic series wins in the West Indies and England in 1971, passed away on Wednesday. He was 77.

Failing health had restricted his movement and Wadekar was hospitalised in July too. An official statement issued by Jaslok Hospital said: “Mr. Ajit Wadekar was declared dead on arrival at the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre. He had been critically unwell for some time and was seeking treatment for the same.”(Report)

Wadekar's funeral was conducted on Friday. (Report)

From Erapalli Prasanna to Anil Kumble, the cricket fraternity mourned the demise of Wadekar and paid glowing tributes. (Report)

New Zealand Cricket appointed former Test batsman Gary Stead as the new Black Caps coach, with pundits describing him as a steady pair of hands to replace predecessor Mike Hesson. (Report)

England cricketer Ben Stokes was found not guilty of affray by a jury in less than three hours of deliberations on Tuesday following a trial at Bristol Crown Court. (Report)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) named Ramesh Powar as the coach of the Indian women's team till the World T20 in November. According to a BCCI release, Powar has been handed over full time duties till November 30, 2018. (Report)

Rishabh Pant made his Test debut at Nottingham a memorable one by becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper to claim five catches in an innings on debut. (Report)

Former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has announced his decision to retire from all forms of cricket. Johnson called time on his international career in 2015, having recovered from injury and loss of form to dominate the 2013-14 Ashes series and lead Australia to a 5-0 whitewash of England.

The 36-year-old left-arm quick had continued to play in the Indian Premier League and for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League. But Johnson will not be appearing in the forthcoming domestic short-form season. (Report)

In a far-reaching move on Tuesday, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Executive Committee, by a majority decision, suspended the newly-elected secretary Vinod Tihara for “anti-association activities.” (Report)

 

Football

Manchester City tore through the defence, as it defeated Huddersfield Town 6-1 in the Premier League. Sergio Aguero got three, one assisted by the goalkeeper Ederson. (Report)

Manchester United lost away to Brighton and Hove Albion for the third league game in a row, going down 3-2 to Chris Hughton's men. (Report)

India U-15 girls won the SAFF U-15 Championship after beating defending champion Bangladesh 1-0 in the final. (Report)

Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus debut was underlined by a collision with Stefano Sorrentino, resulting in the Chievo goalkeeper suffering a broken nose, whiplash and a bruised shoulder. (Report)

Prominent football clubs from India and across the world urged their supporters to extend all support to the flood-affected people in Kerala. (Report)

The legendary Bembem Devi, who was in her first coaching assignment at the SAFF U-15 Women’s Championship, says she’s extremely happy to be playing an active role in redefining the youth setup of women's football in the country. (Report)

 

Tennis

Leander Paes, who won two gold medals in the last Asian Games that he had competed in Doha in 2006, has withdrawn from the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, with a ‘heavy heart’. After having had long discussions with captain Zeeshan Ali over the last few weeks, the 45-year-old Leander decided to write to the All India Tennis Association (AITA), expressing his decision, on Thursday. (Report)

The sudden withdrawal of Leander Paes, who has won five gold medals in the Asian Games, has triggered some pertinent questions in the tennis circles. Even though the plight of the Olympic gold medallist was pitiable, as he had to depend on the singles prowess of partners like Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal to boost India’s chances of a doubles medal, him pulling the trigger at the last minute has not won Leander much sympathy.

"Why did Leander wait till the last second," is the question in everyone’s lips. And Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan expressed it without any hesitation in his own way, "How does Leander get to wait till the 11th hour before deciding." (Report)

Serena Williams has revealed the worst loss of her career, in last month's Silicon Valley Classic, came immediately after she had discovered the man convicted of killing her sister Yetunde Price had been released on parole, earlier, in the year. (Report)

World tennis chiefs on Thursday approved a radical Davis Cup revamp that will overhaul the 118-year-old competition, condensing the annual worldwide showpiece into an 18-team, week-long event. (Report)

 

Motorsport

Fernando Alonso is to leave Formula One at the end of the season, McLaren has confirmed. (Report)

McLaren have announced that Carlos Sainz Jr will join the team from 2019 as a replacement for Fernando Alonso. (Report)

 

More Sports

For the first 76 seconds, Bajrang Punia made it look ridiculously easy. The final of the 65kg Freestyle wrestling competition on the opening day of the Asian Games here looked like being yet another walk in the park for the 24-year-old, who had won all his previous bouts on the day on technical superiority.

It didn’t exactly pan out that way but at the completion of his grudge match against Japan’s Daichi Takatani, Punia was the proud winner of India’s 140th Asiad gold with a 11-8 scoreline, the first in this edition and reiterated his credentials as the brightest spark in the next generation of Indian wrestling and able successor to the mantle of Yogeshwar Dutt - his mentor. (Report)

‘Is that really our President? Did he really do those stunts?’

Those were the little questions that popped up in many heads here as Indonesia President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo appeared to arrive on a bike for the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games after performing a few little stunts on the way to the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Saturday evening.

It did not matter but it sent an apt signal with ‘Energy of Asia’ being the theme of the Asiad, which began in Jakarta and Palembang, as Indonesia showed its young face to the world. (Report)

The Indian badminton team, led by Kidambi Srikanth, made a resounding start to its campaign at the 18th Asian Games, thrashing minnows Maldives 3-0 in the opening match of the team competition on Sunday. (Report)

Indian swimmers Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj finished a creditable fifth and seventh in the men’s 200m butterfly and 100m backstroke events respectively at the 18th Asian Games here on Sunday. (Report)

Chinese giant Sun Yang swept to Asian Games 200m freestyle gold on Sunday to add to his Olympic and world titles — then had his national anthem played twice after a flag-pole malfunction. The triple Olympic champion produced a blistering last two laps to clock one minute, 45.43 seconds and successfully launch his quest to win five gold medals in Jakarta. (Report)

MORE FROM THE ASIAN GAMES

The inclusion of eSports as an official medal sport for the 2022 Asian Games cannot yet be confirmed, an Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) official said on Saturday. (Report)

 

Chess

India’s Viswanathan Anand took the 10th and final position in the St. Louis Rapid and Blitz chess tourney that concluded on Thursday, securing 13.5 points out of a possible 27 games. (Report)

E. Arjun of India has become the 54th Grandmaster from India. (Report)

Nihal Sarin became India’s 53rd Grandmaster after attaining his third and final GM-norm in the Abu Dhabi Masters on Tuesday. (Report)

 

Badminton

While the Indians may be sweating over the threat posed by Japan's Kento Momota, Chief Coach P. Gopi Chand felt India could pick up some very crucial lessons from its opponent. (Full interview)

 

Hockey

Indian men’s hockey team coach Harendra Singh is chasing a second successive Asian Games gold not just to secure qualification to the 2020 Olympics, but also kick-start preparations for the year-end World Cup, where he is eyeing a podium. (Full interview)

Golf

Paul Waring marked his 200th European Tour appearance by claiming his maiden title after Thomas Aiken found the water in a Nordea Masters play-off. (Report)