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DDCA honours King Kohli with stand at Arun Jaitley Stadium

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New Delhi, Sep 12 : In a glittering ceremony in the national capital on Thursday, not only was the famous Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium rechristened the Arun Jaitley Stadium in honour of the late Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) President Arun Jaitley, but the new players’ pavilion was also named after India skipper Virat Kohli.

All this in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and a host of BCCI officials -— both past and present.

Held at the Weightlifting Hall of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the occasion saw the Indian team in attendance as their skipper was duly honoured for his contribution to the game. The DDCA Annual Honours 2019 also saw promising cricketers from Delhi being honoured with mementoes for their performances.

The show started with a dance performance before DDCA President Rajat Sharma took over the stage as he welcomed everyone and showered laurels on not just Jaitley and Kohli, but also Shah. He spoke on how former Finance Minister Jaitley played a pivotal role in making Delhi cricket what it is today.

He also revealed how DDCA has decided to start two academies where poor kids will be trained for free. The Commonwealth Games Village and Pitampura will be the venues for the two academies. The DDCA President added that former Delhi stars would contribute in the effort without charging a penny.

The rechristening of the stadium was done by Shah, Rajat Sharma, Rijiju and the family members of Jaitley with an audio visual clip being played in the background. Shah presented the Jaitley family with a memento to honour the occasion.

After that it was all about King Kohli as Rajat Sharma, Shah and the India skipper took the stage as the new pavilion was unveiled.

Speaking on the occasion, Kohli spoke of how special the evening was and how it was double joy as the stadium was also named in honour of Jaitley on the same evening. Kohli also thanked his family and his childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma for his contributions over the years.

“When I left home today, I told my family one anecdote. I remember getting a ticket to watch a game in 2001 at the stadium and asking for autographs from the players. So to have a pavilion in my name at the same stadium today is surreal and a great honour,” Kohli revealed.

The whole team was felicitated after this by Shah and Rijiju following which the players posed for a group photograph.

In the DDCA Annual Honours, Dhruv Shorey, Navdeep Saini, Jonty Sidhu and Tejas Baroka were the top award getters, among others.

Speaking on the occasion, former India skipper Kapil Dev said: “Wonderful to have a stand in the name of Virat. And whatever DDCA does for Arun Jaitley is not enough given his contribution.”

Former India player Ajay Jadeja said that it was a truly deserved gift for Kohli. “Virat is a special player and he deserves this kind of a recognition. To be actively playing and getting a stand in his name is a great feeling,” he said.

Former DDCA Vice President and India opener Chetan Chauhan spoke about his long association with Jaitley.

“Arun Jaitleyji was DDCA President for 14 years and I was the Vice President. He was our friend, guide. Whenever we needed direction, he would help us. The biggest help he did was to rebuild the Kotla stadium. So it’s befitting to name it in his honour,” he said.

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Australia suspends Olympic bid amid COVID-19 recovery

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Sydney, May 25 (IANS) Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.”

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‘Hockey has lost its brightest star’: Balbir Singh Sr passes away

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Balbir Singh Senior

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Hockey India has expressed condolences on the sad demise of legendary player Balbir Singh Sr who breathed his last on Monday morning in Mohali. The triple Olympic Champion and World Cup-winning team manager had been battling for life since May 8 when he was hospitalised.

“Today, we have not only lost our greatest hockey legend but we have also lost ‘our guiding light’. While his achievements in post-independent era have been well-documented, Balbir Sr remained the greatest fan of the sport and was always there when we needed his advice. Hockey has lost its brightest star and everyone at Hockey India is pained by this news,” said Hockey India President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad.

He further said: “Balbir Singh Sr’s exemplary achievements, his passion for the sport, his life as an icon of the game will remain an example for generations to come. On behalf of the federation, I express my deepest condolences to his family.”

He was the most decorated athlete in Indian sports history with Olympic medals in 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Games. He coached the Indian team which won the bronze medal at the 1971 World Cup and was manager of the Indian team that won the gold medal at the 1975 World Cup.

He had scored five goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Under his captaincy, India scored 38 goals and conceded none on its way to the gold medal in 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Beating England 4-0 in their own backyard during the final of the 1948 Olympic Games as an independent nation was Balbir Sr’s ‘greatest moment’.

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Former Pak batsman Taufeeq Umar tests positive for COVID-19

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New Delhi, Former Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Umar featured in 44 Tests and 12 ODIs, amassing 2,963 and 504 runs respectively for Pakistan.

He played his last international match in 2014, a Test against New Zealand in Dubai.

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