Dhoni And Co Celebrate Big Day

Dhoni and Co celebrate big day
 

Colombo, Aug. 15: How many times, have we, as adults been part of an Independence Day ceremony? You could probably count them on your fingers. The significance of what we take for granted at home is only understood when it happens in a foreign country.

It’s not often that our cricketers get to hoist the country’s flag in another country. In what was a pleasing gesture, the Sri Lankan cricket authorities, respecting India’s Independence Day, held a small ceremony before the start of the warm-up game at the P. Saravanamuttu stadium on Friday.

The honour of hoisting the flag was given to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is fiercely proud of being an Indian. Making it more heartening was the fact that even the Sri Lankan team stood in respectful attention as the tri-colour was unfurled. The team members then rendered the national anthem before the brief ceremony ended. A simple gesture indeed, but it sure sent the right signals. “I remember flag hoisting in my school. I attended the function for 14 years from nursery to class XII without fail. We used to celebrate that and we also used to get a box of sweets on this day,” Dhoni said.

“This is a moment (of freedom) which we should enjoy. In reality, we realise what its importance is. We should remember those who contributed (for the independence of the country). People lost their lives for it. We have to recall every thing,” said Dhoni.

Little wonder, the man wears his heart on his sleeve. Ravaged by in-fighting, the Sri Lankans may be war-torn island but they sure do recognise and acknowledge their neighbour’s independence.

Winning this match was important, says Yuvi
 

Colombo, Aug. 15: Few cricketers, other than Virender Sehwag, can match the lust for big-hitting that Yuvraj Singh possesses. The left-hander, when in the mood, can be a huge bully on the cricket field as a certain England cricketer named Stuart Broad will willingly testify. The six sixes that Yuvraj clattered off Broad in the T20 world championship is stuff of folklore now and on Friday, hes came close to achieving that feat again.

This time around, the bowler was a hapless part-timer in Jehan Mubarak and the offie must have breathed an audible sigh of relief as Yuvraj stopped at four sixes in an electrifying over.

The manner in which Yuvraj galloped away after reaching his hundred brought about the prospects of a double hundred; a few more overs in the bag could probably have done it as Yuvraj fell nearing the end of the innings.

“I thought the team’s target should be around 270. Making 200 on my own wouldn’t have been easy, but I am happy with the team’s performance,” said the left-hander who scored 172 off just 121 deliveries with the last 72 coming off a mere 26 deliveries.

Admitting that it hurt to miss out on the Test series, Yuvraj said, “There’s always the motivation to score runs whether you miss out (on Tests) or you not. You always want to perform at your best. The pitch was a little double-paced and the ball wasn’t coming on. My intention was to spend time in the middle because I hadn’t played for a while.”

Though it was a composite Sri Lankan XI on the field, the attack was a decent one with the likes of Dilhara Fernando, Thilina Thushara and Malinga Bandara in the side. For sure, it will be different when he tackles Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis in the one-day series and Yuvraj admitted as much.

“Murali and Mendis will be different. This was also an international-class attack. The knock gave me a lot of confidence. I had prepared well before coming here and I hope I can continue this form. I prepared keeping in mind the conditions in Sri Lanka, the targets of the team, and it’s nice that I succeeded immediately in the practice match.”

There was a little scare as Yuvraj injured his back while fielding and had to go off.

“It’s better now, so hopefully I’ll be fully fit before the first match (on Monday). Winning this match was very important because we were the favourites. The conditions in Dambulla will be different from here and it’s important we play according to the conditions and not to people’s expectations.”

Abhijeet bags boys crown
 

Gaziantep (Turkey), Aug. 15: Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta made it a grand Indian double, outwitting GM David Howell of England in the final round to win the World Junior chess championship, on Fridayῠ Abhijeet Gupta joined the ranks of Viswanathan Anand and P. Harikrishna and became the third Indian ever to win this championship.

Anand had won it in 1987 and Harikrishna in 2004.ῠ This is also the first time in the annals of world junior championships that both the titles at stake in the open as well as in the girls’ championship went to the same country. The Bhilwara-based Abhijeet, who is working with Bharat Petroleum Corporation, was in full swing as he cruised and bruised Howell to notch his tally to 10 points, a half point more than compatriot GM Parimarjan Negi, who finished second after playing out a draw with Arik Braun of Germany. It turned out to be an exciting day in the premier junior event of the world after Harika won the Girls’ crown with one round to spare.

Abhijeet had to win with black and in his own words, “its never an easy task to beat a Grandmaster especially with black”.ῠ However things turned for the better as Howell was at sea in the Italian opening after Abhijeet went for a complicated variation earlier on. It was clearly a case of nerves as Howell’s position deteriorated in quick time and Abhijeet won two pieces for a rook.ῠ

Yuvraj warms up with century
 

Colombo,, Aug. 15: For someone used to revelling on the big stage, it’s been a while since Yuvraj Singh came up with such a calculated assault. Not since his hundred against Australia in Hyderabad last October has Yuvraj fired the imagination as he did on Friday.

True, it was just a practice game but the left-hander, smarting under the fact that he was dropped for the Test series, chose to take his anger out with the bat. For a while now Yuvraj’s prowess has been conspicuous by its absence; a little over 10 months after the ton against the Aussies in what was a losing cause, the left-hander put on a majestic display at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium. Pity, that it was just a warm-up fixture in an almost empty stadium.

The Sri Lankan XI led by Chamara Kapugedara fielded a decent attack but the manner in which Yuvraj tore into them must have sent a shiver down Mahela Jayawardena’s spine. We could dismiss it as a one-off in a not-so-serious game but as far as Yuvraj was concerned there was nothing unofficial about this business. Having spent the last five weeks or so at home while the Test team battled it out in the three-match series, Yuvraj, it was apparent, was itching for action.

What could have been a meaningless match turned highly entertaining as Yuvraj blazed away to 172 from a mere 121 deliveries. Thirteen sixes and eight boundaries thudded off Yuvraj’s willow as the park shrank to a mere playground for the rampaging Indian.

Ranged against this awesome display, it wasn’t surprising that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Indians piled up a huge 342/5 in 50 overs upon winning the toss.

As it transpired, the target proved way beyond the Lankan XI, and the hosts despite two neat cameos from the discarded Upul Tharanga (50, 58b) and Jehan Mubarak (60, 74b), were restricted to 250/6 to hand the Indians a 92-run victory.

With Virender Sehwag getting a break and Praveen Kumar and Zaheer Khan being rested, it was a bit surprising that Virat Kohli got a look-in ahead of the senior S. Badrinath.

SCOREBOARD Indians G Gambhir c Fernando b Welegedara 31, V Kohli c C Silva b Thushara 23, S Raina c Thushara b Bandara 45, Yuvraj Singh c Udawatte b Welegedara 172, R Sharma run out (Mubarak) 24, MS Dhoni not out 20, I Pathan not out 3. Total (5 wickets; 50 overs) 342 Fow: 1-41, 2-73, 3-150, 4-235, 5-334 Bowling: D Fernando 10-0-75-0, A Welegedara 9-0-64-2 (1nAb), T Thushara 10-0-66-1 (2w), J Mubarak 10-0-76-0 (4w), M Warnapura 1-0-10-0, M Bandara 10-1-48-1 (1w) Sri Lankan XI U Tharanga c Dhoni b Singh 50, M Udawatte c RP Singh b Pathan 20, M Warnapura c Gambhir b Pathan 10, C Kapugedera c Raina b Harbhajan Singh 6, C Silva c Dhoni b Ojha 38, J Mubarak c Raina b Patel 60, J Silva not out 38, T Thushara not out 18. Total (6 wickets; 50 overs) 250 FoW: 1-69, 2-86, 3-87, 4-100, 5-153, 6-225 Bowling: RP Singh 7-0-39-1, M Patel 10-1-36-1, I Pathan 8-0-48-2 (5w), Harbhajan Singh 10-1-38-1, P Ojha 10-0-59-1, R Sharma 3-0-20-0, S Raina 2-0-5-0.

Proteas pick two spinners for CT
 

Capetown, Aug. 15: Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson received a call-up on Friday when South Africa named two spinners in their squad for next month’s Champions Trophy in Pakistan.

Peterson will replace batsman Hashim Amla in the squad that is now preparing for the limited-overs section of their tour of England.

“Having a left and right-arm option in Robin Peterson and Johan Botha gives the selectors the variation they’re looking for,” Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola said in a statement.

Second-seeded South Africa play England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Champions Trophy Pool B, with the top two going through to the last four stage.

The Squad

Graeme Smith, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn.

Clarke to lead

Michael Clarke will captain Australia in the one-day cricket series against Bangladesh while Ricky Ponting continues his recovery from wrist surgery.

The Squad

Michael Clarke (captain), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

Roddick survives scare
 

Washington, Aug. 14: American Andy Roddick saved two matchpoints to overcome the onslaught of unseeded Eduardo Schwank to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

The 25-year-old defending champion struggled against world number 56 Schwank in their two hour, 43 minute second-round match on Thursday. Roddick built a 4-1 lead in the third set but then stumbled, losing the next four games and eventually facing the match points in the $500,000 event.

Each player hammered 12 aces as Roddick had difficulty returning Schwank’s serve. He won just 17 of 61 points on Schwank’s serve.

The 25-year-old Roddick is the only seeded player remaining in his half of the draw as No. 3 Feliciano Lopez, No. 6 Marat Safin and No. 7 Marc Gicquel were all ousted in the first round. Roddick could be headed for a showdown in the final with red-hot Juan Martin del Potro who is in the other side of the draw.

Next up for Roddick is Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, who finished American Bobby Reynolds 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in one hour, 52 minutes.

Big four ready for challenge
 

London: New players and coaches have arrived, familiar faces have left but the English Premier League title race again looks set to be between Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool this season.

No other team has finished in the top four for the last three seasons and despite the millions of pounds spent by clubs aspiring to break into the Champions League places, it will be a major surprise if any of them do.

United, who won the Premier League and Champions League last season are favourites to land the crown for the third successive season and equal Liverpool’s record of 18 championships.

Although they have dominated the close-season headlines because of the on-off transfer saga involving winger Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid, manager Alex Ferguson has not yet made a major signing.

Ronaldo has finally committed himself to United and though he will miss the start of the season with an injury, he again looks sure to play a significant role.

Ferguson appears confident United have the squad to retain the title, even though last season’s runners-up Chelsea now have former Brazil World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari in charge.

Scolari, who replaced Avram Grant in the close-season, has brought in Portuguese internationals Deco and Jose Bosingwa and held on to Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba who were the subject of transfer speculation.

Arsenal , have seen goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and midfielders Mathieu Flamini, Aleksandr Hleb and Gilberto Silva quit the club. Manager Arsene Wenger, though, was delighted Emmanuel Adebayor signed a new contract and will also be looking for progress from his young winger Theo Walcott.

More beijing Bling for Phelps
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: Unstoppable Michael Phelps won his sixth gold medal with his sixth world record of the Beijing Games on Friday, his triumph in the 200m medley moving him closer to an historic eight titles. Phelps led throughout and pulled away on the final freestyle leg to win by more than two seconds in a world record of 1min 54.23sec.

Hungarian Laszlo Cseh was second in a European record of 1:56.52, with American Ryan Lochte edged into third place in 1:56.53 – a repeat of the medal finish in the 400m medley on Sunday. Half an hour earlier, Lochte threw down the gauntlet as he posted a world record to beat defending champion Aaron Peirsol convincingly in the 200m backstroke.

But he was unable to derail his superstar teammate’s bid for a record eight golds at one Games, which would surpass the seven-gold standard set by US swimmer Mark Spitz at Munich in 1972. “Of course, I wanted to beat Michael Phelps,” Lochte said. “No matter what the event is, I want to win. But it didn’t happen.”

It was a hectic day, too, for Phelps, who was back on the blocks half an hour after his triumph, and just minutes after the medal ceremony, to post the second-fastest time in the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly. “I didn’t know I had as little time as I did, I didn’t even have time to go into the ready room,” he said.

“I went from the ceremony straight into putting my parka on and goggles, cap, and go. It was about two minutes, I knew it was tight, but not that tight.” Phelps has also won gold and claimed world records in the 400m medley, 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 4x100m free relay and 4x200m free relay.

Now with 12 for his career, including six from the Athens Games, Phelps owns the most gold medals of any competitor in history in any Olympic sport.

In addition to the 100m fly, he has the 4x100m medley relay remaining.

Akhil stuns champ
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: Akhil Kumar did the unthinkable to upstage world champion Sergey Vodopyanov in an edge-of-the-seat thriller to put himself a win away from an Olympic medal here on Friday. The Haryana boxer, trailing 2-6 at one stage drew parity in the dying seconds and won on points to reach the quarterfinal of the 54kg category at the Workers’ Gymnasium.

Though the boxer insists he is not ready to settle for anything less than the gold, he would be assured of a medal if he wins his quarterfinal bout on Monday. The Russian world champion grabbed early initiative and had a slight edge in the initial rounds as he raced to a 6-2 lead midway through the third round. To make it even more difficult for the Indian, the Russian used both the orthodox and southpaw stance but it did not really pay off as Akhil went on the offensive.

Akhil eventually prevailed in the third round to reduce the gap (7-8) and then in the final round, landed a couple of punches on the Russian to drew parity at 9-9. With both the boxers levelled at 9-9, the Indian was declared the winner on points. “Once I levelled the score, I knew I cannot lose,” said Akhil.

“It’s not possible to assure yourself of the gold but I can tell you that I’m here to win only gold,” said the boxer.

Fedex and Co. halt Indian Express in quarterfinals
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: If Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka were in a zone of their own, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were not far behind. They too were in a zone but their contrasting body language said it all even before the two walked onto the showcourt No. 2 followed by the Swiss pair.

The swagger was missing when they resumed on Friday from where they left off late on Thursday night – down 1-4 – and despite holding serve twice in the first set, it was evident which way the game was swinging. Federer and Wawrinka just dismissed the Indian challenge – if you could call it a challenge – in clinical fashion to enter the men’s doubles semifinals of the Olympic tennis event here on Friday by a 6-2, 6-4 margin.

India’s dismal show continued for the third day in succession after shooter Abhinav Bindra shot gold. Of course, the three boxers are still in the hunt but tennis was expected to fetch a medal with an experienced pair turning out.

So the chain was finally pulled on the Indian Express. And who could have done it better than Federer and Wawrinka! The Swiss demolished Paes and Bhupathi without much ado after gaining a sizeable lead on Thursday night.

In contrast to the sparse crowds after the heavy rains in the afternoon, the stands were full, spectators waiting outside to have a glimpse of the match when it resumed. The much younger Swiss pair did not allow any leeway to Lee and Hesh and unmindful of the loud cheers from the Indian section of the crowd went about their task in a systematic manner.

Booming serves, excellent netplay, super volleys and down-the-line shots marked their game while the Indians struggled to find their feet on the slow surface.

Wawrinka, a first-timer at the Olympics, matched his senior partner and ably controlled the net, sending down crisp volleys.

Now contrast the Indian gameplan. Apart from the unforced errors the duo committed, they lacked in co-ordination at the net besides failing to anticipate as their rivals often caught the Indian pair on the wrong foot.

As if this was not enough, the routine of the Indian duo – getting the crowd to egg them on – did not take them anywhere as they struggled to hold serve in the second set.

Bhupathi was marginally better on the day. Leander almost goofed it up in the eighth game after leading 30-0. He, however, compensated in his next game with a love-game win.

Afterwards, both Leander and Mahesh walked off even without waving to the crowd, while Federer and Wawrinka blew kisses in all directions.

The attitude of the Indians could be best described by the way they conducted themselves against the Brazilians the other evening.

Competing against two novices, the Indians lacked grace and showed their pumped up fists after winning a point – it was in response to the emotions the Brazilians had shown after they managed to win a crucial point in the previous game. The experienced duo could have given credit to the youngsters but they couldn’t digest it. Today again, when they walked off from the court, they could not digest the defeat.

Arrogance is the last thing one would want from somebody so experienced like Lee-Hesh. Indian sportspersons need to learn from people like Federer and Wawrinka.

Lightening Bolt through with Gay and Powell
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: Jamaica’s world record-holder Usain Bolt threw down the gauntlet to his 100 metres rivals here on Friday as he recorded the sixth fastest time this year in his Olympic second round heat.

The 21-year-old ran an effortless 9.92 seconds to win his heat, a faster time than the other two athletes seen as Bolt’a main challengers for gold.

Former world record-holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica won his heat in a slower time of 10.02secs while America’s world champion Tyson Gay only finished second in his heat. It was a great night for the Caribbean as all five of the heats were won by representatives from the region, backing up Jamaican Michael Frater’s claim earlier on that he thought six of the area’s fastest men would make it through to Saturday’s final.

Gay looked like someone who hadn’t raced competitively for over a month and was under pressure throughout his race, trailing in third half-way down the track before going hard to secure second behind the impressive Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago, who clocked 9.99secs.

The 26-year-old American sprinted through the press area, faster than he had done on the track, but was called back by a US team official to give his version of his performance.

“I felt good and relaxed,” said Gay, who has been off the Grand Prix circuit for over a month recovering from a hamstring injury.

“I’m just trying to make it through.”

The first of the second round heats produced a surprise as Churandy Martina of the Dutch Antilles won in an impressive personal best of 9.99secs from 2005 world silver medallist Frater, while Japan’s Naoki Tsukahara filled the third and last automataic qualifying spot.

Martina, 24, may have surprised many with his performance but it didn’t surprise him.

“It’s pretty good but I have been working hard,” he said. “I am not surprised at that (the time).

Shobha finishes 29th on day one of heptathlon
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: J.J. Shobha finished day one of the two-day heptathlon event at 29th place, ahead of compatriots G.G. Pramila and Susmita Singh Roy who finished 32nd and 34th respectively in the Beijing Olympics here tonight.

Shobha, who won hearts in the Athens Olympics by running despite a torn ligament, totalled 3482 points after four events 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m while Pramila tallied 3419 and Susmita 3391.

The combined events contest got off with the 100m hurdles with the Indian trio vying for space.

Of the trio, Shobha went on to post her personal best timing of 13.62, which fetched her 1033 points.

G.G. Pramila (983) and Susmita Singha Roy (963), however, were nowhere near their best as they timed 13.97 and 14.11 respectively.

In high jump, it was Pramila’s turn to post her personal best and she leapt 1.74m to win 903 points.

In the same group, Shobha cleared 1.65, her season’s best, which earned her 795 points. Susmita cleared 1.71m to finish 18th and add 867 points to her tally.

In shot put, Shobha cleared 13.07 for 732 points, while Pramila (639) hurled 11.66 and Susmita (613) 11.27.

In 200m, the fourth and final event of the day, Shobha (922) timed 24.62, Pramila (894) 24.92 and Susmita (948) 24.34.

The Indians will return on Saturday to compete in long jump, javelin and 800m events.

Gagan, Sanjeev falter
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: Gagan Narang continued to draw a blank at the Beijing Olympics and – along with Sanjeev Rajput – failed to qualify for the finals of the shooting competition’s 50m Rifle prone event here on Friday.

Gagan, who earlier disappointed by not qualifying for the 10m air rifle finals, finished a dismal 35th in Friday’s event with a series of 98, 98, 99, 96, 99, 99 to total 589 at an average of 9.817.

Sanjeev finished slightly better than Gagan at 26th. He fired a series of 97,100,99,98,99,98 to total 591 at an average of 9.850.

Ukraine’s Artur Ayvazian qualified top of the heap with a sensational series of 100,100,100,100,100 and 99. Ayvazian totalled 599. American Matthew Emmons was second on the list after firing a series of 99, 100, 98, 100, 100, 100 for a total of 597.

Top guns inch closer to semis
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: Australia, Spain and the Netherlands broke away from the pack with their third wins to step closer to the semifinals of the Olympic men’s field hockey on Friday.

Reigning champions Australia almost certainly ended Pakistan’s hopes with a 3-1 win in pool B despite Shakeel Abbasi’s stunning reverse hit opening goal in the 16th minute.

Grant Schubert drew level four minutes later and Jamie Dwyer gave the Hockeyroos the lead six minutes into the second session before Travis Brooks increased the margin in the 59th minute.

Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf rued the missed chances, but said the temporary suspension of Muhammad Waqas in the first half cost the team dearly. “Losing a player at crucial stage of the match did not help us,” said Zeeshan. “We played well and should have scored more goals but wasted many chances.”

The Netherlands, losing finalists at Athens, joined Australia at the top of the pool with a 4-2 win over Canada mastermined by a hat-trick from penalty corner ace Taeke Taekema.

Measuring marathons, down to the last inch
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: Five weeks ago, David Cundy and his wife, Fran Seton, came to Beijing from their home in Australia to measure the Olympic marathon course. Their role, their avocation, is a quiet one, and its results are pretty much taken for granted. But the only way to know for sure that a marathon course is precisely 26 miles, 385 yards is to call upon official measurers, like Cundy and Seton.

The idea is to slowly ride a bike over the marathon course, measuring distances with a device, a Jones counter, which keeps track of each revolution of the bicycle’s wheel. It is a device invented by a nine-year-old boy more than three decades ago.

To learn how wheel revolutions translate into miles and kilometers, the measurers start by using a tape measure to lay out a precise distance. Then they ride their bikes along that path.

In Beijing, known for its heavy traffic, the measurers reasoned that the best time to ride and measure the course would be at night. So, at 11:10 pm on July 10, Cundy, Seton and an entourage arrived at Tiananmen Square, where the race begins, to lay out a 300-metre distance for calibration. At five minutes to midnight, with the Jones counter calibrated, the official measurement began. The work was slow and painstaking – the measurers had to stop at every kilometre and find signposts, like a lamppost nearby, that would enable them to specify how to go back and find each kilometre and each mile and mark them on the course.

That is because there is a timing point in the marathon at each mile and at every five kilometres. The measurement was completed at 7 am.

“We make sure that not only is the full distance accurate but the splits are accurate too,” Cundy said.

“For all the research in the world and all the global positioning systems, this is still recognised as the best measurement system in the world,” he said. He remembers a time when there were no precise measurements of marathon courses. It was the mid 1980s and Cundy volunteered to help organise a marathon in Canberra.

“I started to wonder how you should measure the course,” he said. That led him to discover the Jones system, which had never been used in Australia. Gradually, it came into worldwide use. And Cundy found himself one of a small fraternity of official measurers, working on 12 to 20 courses a year.

It took decades, though, before it was routine to precisely measure marathon courses. For that reason, the International Association of Athletic Federations, which appoints course measurers, waited until 2004 to recognise world records in marathons. Until then, the federation would say a time was the world’s best, but not a world record.

The Beijing course, Cundy said, would make for a fast marathon were it not for the hot and humid weather. The women’s marathon is on Sunday morning, and the men’s race is on the morning of August 24. The route goes along smooth, wide, tree-lined roads and it is flat.

The course does have one glitch, though. The Beijing Olympic Committee planners, who designed the route, wanted it to start in Tiananmen Square and end in the National Stadium. But their course was a tiny bit short. To make up the extra distance, they had to add a little stretch at the end.

They did it by adding a hairpin turn. The runners must run 50 metres past the entrance to the stadium, turn around, and run back to the entrance before running in.

N. Korean shooter fails dope test
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: North Korean shooting double medallist Kim Jong-su has tested positive for a banned substance, been excluded from the Beijing Olympic Games and stripped of his medals, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday.

Kim won silver in the men’s 50m pistol and a bronze in the men’s 10m air pistol shooting. Tan Zongliang of China now takes silver in the 50m, with Vladimir Isakov of Russia taking the bronze. In the 10m, Jason Turner of the US inherits Kim’s bronze.

Kim tested positive for beta-blocker propranolol, IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. Beta-blockers are misused to decrease the heart rate and stop possible trembling.  IOC Medical Commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist said Kim’s positive test showed it was an intentional act due to the substance’s ability to provide to the user precision characteristics necessary for sports like archery and shooting.

“I could not interpret that other than a deliberate intake,” Ljungqvist told reporters.  A female Vietnamese artistic gymnast, who finished out of the medals, also tested positive for a banned substance and has been excluded from the Games, the IOC said.

Thi Ngan Thuong Do tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic which can be used as a masking agent for other drugs.

State-run Sports and Culture newspaper quoted Hoang Vinh Giang, head of Vietnam’s Olympic team, as saying the 19-year-old athlete used a diuretic at her last training because she wanted to be slimmer, without checking with doctors of the team.

“It is regretful for Ngan Thuong because she is an athlete trained in China since her childhood and she has seized many achievements for Vietnam’s gymnastics,” the newspaper quoted Giang as saying.

“We do not know why Thuong has such a thought to have a slimmer body so she made that mistake,” he was quoted as saying.  Ljungqvist said the gymnast could be a victim of bad information as the drug was also used by women for pre-menstrual tension.

“My interpretation is that it is a problem resulting from poor information of the athlete, not enough knowledge what to take,” Ljungqvist said.  Davies said both athletes would now be referred to their federations for any possible further sanctions.

 

12-year-old makes wide-eyed debut
 

Beijing, Aug. 15: Antoinette Guedia Mouafo of Cameroon, 12, became the Beijing Games’s youngest competitor Friday, racing in a 50m pool for the first time as she contested the women’s 50m freestyle heats.

“It’s amazing to swim in an Olympic-size pool,” said the youngster, who stepped professionally onto the starting block, grasped the front edge and took the plunge. “It’s true, I have never swum in a 50-metres long pool, I usually swim in a 20 or 25 metres one.”

She admitted that she found the experience, before 17,000 fans at the Water Cube where her age was pointed out to the crowd, daunting. “It’s impressive, it’s nice, but I am a bit shy, so this is not easy for me,” she said. “Before I came, I didn’t really know what the Olympics was. It is huge.”

Guedia Mouafo finished a creditable fourth in her heat, in 33.59sec. It was the 83rd-fastest time out of 90 starters and 9.39sec behind overall leader Cate Campbell of Australia, who at 16 is four years her senior. Guedia Mouafo said she was introduced to swimming by her father when she was eight, in a hotel pool in Douala, Cameroon.  

Gold on I-Day fantastic: Harika
 

Hyderabad, Aug. 15: Andhra Pradesh’s Dronavalli Harika did the nation proud on Independence Day by winning the World Junior Girls Chess Championship at Gaziantep in Turkey. In the 12th and final round on Friday, Harika drew with Katrina Nemcova of the Czech Republic to tally 10.5 points, a massive 1.5 points clear of her nearest rival Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.

The 17-year-old became the second Indian girl ever to become the Junior World champion after Koneru Humpy, also from Andhra Pradesh, won it in 2001. Harika, which means ‘beloved of Indra’, may well be ‘beloved of India’ after gifting a gold medal to the nation on the biggest day. “I am happy to win a gold for my country on this auspicious day. It is a fantastic feeling and the most memorable moment of my life,” Harika told this newspaper from Turkey.

It had been tough for her initially as she shared the lead and often slipped to the second spot. But it was her mild and composed stature that just kept her going. “My past experience helped me combat anxiety – I was unlucky to miss the title last year after squandering the lead to lose the last three rounds. That failure translated into determination to win the tile this year,” she said.

And yes, Abhinav Bindra’s Olympic gold medal was an added inspiration. “Bindra’s gold was a very proud moment for all of us,” she says. Harika was confidence personified as she wished chess was part of the Olympic program. “Had chess been part of the Olympics, I could have won a laurel too,” she said.

Harika has won the World under-14 and World under-18 titles but the World Juniors is special. “I did not have to face the tension of the final draw and so the game did go easy as compared to the previous tournaments,” she said. Harika is accompanied by her grandmother in Turkey, but has been in constant touch with her coach Rama Raju back home.

“I could not accompany her this time, for personal reasons. I was delighted when I got the news over the phone. Her consistency and hard work has paid off,” said an excited Rama Raju. Harika had prepared hard for the tournament. “As a build-up, I took part in two open tournaments in Spain a fortnight before the Championship. The experience motivated me to go ahead with my moves,” she said.

Success has not come without sacrifice. “There have been many,” she says, adding “my academics too have taken a setback, but I am more than happy to chase my dream and follow my passion for chess.” Now, Harika has three important tournaments coming up – the Women’s World Championship in Russia, followed by World Mind Games in Sienna and the Chess Olympiad in Germany. And she has already begun making her moves.

Hyderabad runners
 

Hyderabad, Aug. 15: Following are the acceptances for the races to be held here on Sunday.

1. The Astronomic Plate (Div-II) (Category II, maiden 3-year-olds only) 1300 metres, 1.10 pm: Allegation 56, Green Vision 56, Pacific Groove 56, Spinthemall 56, Standing Ovation 56, Top Shape 56, Cannon View 54.5, Classic Dancer 54.5, Ice Candy 54.5.

2. The Cuddapah Plate (Category III, 4-year-olds and up, rated upto 50) 2200 metres, 1.40 pm: Bossei Girl 62, Realtor 62, Toledo 60, Cannon Treasure 59, Vanen Berg 54, World Wide 52, Golden Sabot 54.5.

3. The Aristocracy Cup (Category III, 3-year-olds only, rated upto 50) 1200 metres, 2.10 pm: Hurricane Bay 61, Hardcore 60.5, King Size 60.5, Ravileena 60, Colourful 59.5, Splendid Scot 58.5, Easy Touch 57.5, The Scot 49.

4. The Nine Carat Plate (Div-II) (Category II, 4-year-olds and up, rated upto 75) 1400 metres, 2.40 pm: Indian Dancer 61.5, Rudolph Valentino 61.5, Bernardo 57.5, Prohibition 55.5, Embattled 54, Golden Tricks 54, Irish Intellect 53, Pillatronics 52, True Value 52, Tigana 51.5, Star Crush 49.5.

5. The Basalat Jah Memorial Cup (Category I, 3-year-olds and up) 1800 metres, 3.15 pm: Coral Gables 62, Maximise 59.5, Blast In Class 59, Turf Raider 59, Arrow of Light 57.

6. The Nine Carat Plate (Div-I) (Category II, 4-year-olds and up, rated upto 75) 1400 metres, 3.45 pm: Glaring Godzilla 61, Cannon Scot 60.5, Punjab Regiment 58, Danzsingh 56.5, Speed Motive 54, Our Quest 53.5, John Galt 53, Super Brand 53, Flashy Trend 57.5, Winning Rays 52, Young Star 51, Drum Dance 50.5.

7. The Astana Plate (Category III, 4-year-olds and up, rated upto 25) 1100 metres, 4.20 pm: Debonaire 61, Man On Fire 61, Pretty Fit 61, Star Kid 61, Recast 60.5, Autumn Gold 57, Zagreb 57, Sugar Gold 56, Emerald Beauty 55, Million Deal 54, White Chieftan 52.5, Citi Chief 49, Rajputana Rifles 49.

8. The A.P. Governor’s Cup (3-year-olds and up) 1200 metres, 4.55 p.m: Oasis Star 56.5, Auxiliary 52.5, Lenavi 50.5.

9. The Astronomic Plate (Div-I) (Category II, 3-year-olds only) 1300 metres, 5.25 p.m: Accordion 56, Go Easy 56, Onera Onera Onera 56, Romantic Flyer 56, Smarty Prince 56, Sweety Boy 56, Classy Act 54.5, Nandanvanaa 54.5, Phar Lap 54.5.

Jackpot: 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9. 1st treble: 1, 2, and 3. Second treble: 3, 4, and 5. Third treble: 6, 7 and 9.

Lancashire bags Independence Cup
 

Hyderabad, Aug. 15: Leo D’Silva-trained five-year-old Lancashire, ably ridden by J.H. Christopher, won the Independence Cup, the main event on the 11th day of the Hyderabad monsoon season races held here on Friday.

The winners is owned by M/s T. Venkatram Reddy, representing Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd, and M/s M. Rama Krishna Reddy and Gautam Chand Jain.

1. The P.G. Reddy Memorial Cup 1600 metres: Lady Escort (Miss Ameeta Mehra & Dr Pratap C. Reddy) 53 Gnaneshwar 1, Bourbon Star 57.5 Suraj Narredu 2, Vijayasamrat 56 Harish 3, Time On 60 Ch.K. Chary 4. Won by: Short Head, 2-1/2L, 6L. Time: 1:40.68. Trained by: Laxman Singh. Favourite: Bourbon Star.

2. The Akkanna Plate (Div-II) 1100 metres: Chamatkar (M/s J. Silvester & Kuchikula Dayakar Reddy) 56 Harish 1, Al Malawi 54.5 D. Singh 2, Retro Magic 54.5Gananeshwar 3, Indian Brave Heart 56 Lakshmikant 4. Won by: 1-1/4L, 2L, 8L. Time: 1:09.17. Trained by: Silvester. Favourite: Chamatkar.

3 The Goa Plate 2000 metres: Golden Shadow (Col S B Nair) 60 P.S. Chouhan 1, Power Ranger 55 A. Imran Khan 2, Chief De Mission 56.5 Sk Sharookh 3, Silver Rose 49.5 (Cd 51.5) Suraj Narredu 4. Won by: 3-1/2L, 1-1/2L, 1-1/2L. Time: 2:06.79. Favourite: Hyper Kinetic. Trained by: S. Abbas.

4. The Byerly Brigade Cup (Div-I) 1400 metres: Blazing Bounty (Dr Pratap C. Reddy) 59 D. Singh 1, Corps Command 58 Ch.K. Chary 2, Festivals Of India 50.5 (Cd 49) A. Ramana 3, Sir Almas 53 Sk Farokh 4. Won by: 3L, 2-1/2L, 1/2L, Time: 1:29.47. Favourite: Blazing Bounty. Trained by: Laxman Singh.

5. The Byerly Brigade Cup (Div-II) 1400 metres: Mizzna (Mir Zamin Ali Khan, Mr & Mrs.Mir Sqafath & Mir Firasath Ali Khan) 55 Suraj Narredu 1, Penumatcha 56 Gnaneshwar 2, Altai 51.5 (Cd 46.5) Nitin Singh 3, Canopus 60 Christopher 4. Won by: 1-1/2L, 3L, 2L. Time: 1:29.81. Favourite: Mizzna. Trained by: Laxman Singh.

6. The Independence Cup 1400 metres: Lancashire (M/s T. Venkatram Reddy, representing M/s Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd, M/s M. Rama Krishna Reddy and Gautam Chand Jain) 53 Christopher 1, Global Presence 49 Ch.K. Chary 2, Classic Art 54.5 Ganeneshwar 3, Bold Blast 54 Suraj Narredu 4. Won by: 3/4L, 3/4L, 4L. Time: 1:26.65. Favourite: Vijayraaj. Trained by: Leo D’Silva .

7. The Deccan Prince Plate 1200 metres: Star World (Dr M.A.M. Ramaswamy) 56 A. Imran Khan 1, Music Express 58 Harish 2, Freak Fantasy 52 (Cd 47) Nitin Singh 3, Royal Flyer 61 (Cd 56) R. Umesh 4. Won by: 1-3/4L, 5L, 1/2L. Time: 1:15.37. Trained by: A. Vatsalya. Favourite: Star World.

8. The Akkanna Plate (Div-I) 1100 metres: Al Awal (M/s Mukesh Gupta, Syed Abul Hasan Razvi and Hanuman Prasad Sharma) 54.5 Gnaneshwar 1, Baywatch Babe 54.5 Suraj Narredu 2, Indradhanush 54.5 K. Anil 3, Manduro 56 Lakshmikant 4. Won by: Neck, 1L, Head. Time: 1:09.77. Trained by: A. Vatsalya. Favourite: Baywatch Babe, Indradhanush.

Dividends

1st race: W: Rs 36. P: 8, 5. F: Rs 74. Q: Rs 19. SHP: Rs 16. T: Rs 85 (816). 2nd race: W: Rs 8. P: 6, 5, 7. F: Rs 14. Q: Rs 10. SHP: Rs 13. T: Rs 20 (5,338). 3rd race: W: Rs 18. P: 6, 10, 18. F: Rs 139. Q: Rs 67. SHP: Rs 34. T: Rs 1,299 (70). 4th race: Rs 8. P: 6, 8, 27. F: Rs 32. Q: Rs 25. SHP: Rs 20. T: Rs 639 (171). 5th race: Rs 8. P: 5, 8, Rs 26. F: Rs 24. Q: Rs 22. SHP: Rs 21. T: Rs 307 (444). 6th race: W: Rs 40. P: 15, 9.ῠ F: Rs 202. Q: Rs 116. SHP: Rs 19ῠ T: Rs 1,144 (98). 7th race: W: Rs 19. P: 7, 9, 17. F: Rs 53. Q: Rs 28. SHP: Rs 25.ῠ T: Rs 444 (441). 8th race: W: Rs 36. P: 9, 6, 6. F: Rs 81. Q: Rs 34. T: Rs 171 (910). SHP: Rs 17. First treble: Rs 58 (1,247). Second treble: Rs 90 (694). Jackpot consolation: Rs 177 (2,534). Jackpot: Rs 3,100 (338).

Five jockeys, 1 trainer fined
 

Hyderabad, Aug. 15: Five jockeys and one trainer were fined for not taking sufficient care of their horses during the races held here on Friday.

2nd race, The Akkanna Plate (Div II) 1100m: Jockey D. Singh (Al Malawi) was fined Rs 2,000 for coming in whilst negotiating the final bend causing interference to Chamatkar Harish.

3rd race, The Goa Plate 2000 metres: Jockey P.S. Chouhan (Golden Shadow) was fined Rs 2,000 for shifting in at aboout 600m, causing interference to Silver Rose (Suraj Narredu up) who in turn caused interference to Hyper Kinetic (D. Gnaneshwar up).

5th Race, The Byerly Brigade Cup (Div-II) 1400m: Jockey A. Imran Khan (Global Star) was fined Rs 1,000 for shifting out entering the final straight in the process bumping Penumatcha (D. Gnaneshwar up).

Jockey Laxman (Star Spellbound) was fined Rs 1,000 for coming in soon after the start, in the process crowding Royal Bond (M. Krishna up), Canopus (J.H. Christopher up) and Global Star (A. Imran Khan up).

7th Race, The Deccan Prince Plate 1200m: Trainer Sk Kassam was fined Rs 2,000 for failing to exercise sufficient care in the saddling of his charger Jugnu (A. Ramana up) whose saddle slipped.

Jockey A. Ramana (Jugnu) was fined Rs 1,500 for shifting in at about 300 metres onto Royal Assembly (D. Gnaneshwar up) in the process bumping the latter.

Deccan Chronicle

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