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Hardik Pandya denies disrespecting Ambedkar

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New Delhi, March 23: India all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Thursday denied that he had posted derogatory comments against legendary social reformer Bhim Rao Ambedkar on social media.

Pandya, who is preparing for the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was embroiled in a controversy after a fake Twitter account bearing his name lashed out at Ambedkar for introducing reservation policy.

“Who Ambedkar ??? The one who drafted a cross law and constitution or the one who spread the disease called reservation in the country,” the tweet read.

Following this a Rajasthan court on Wednesday directed Jodhpur police to file an FIR against the India all-rounder.

However, Pandya on Thursday issued a statement denying any involvement in the matter.

“There have been multiple misleading reports and articles being circulated in the media today, wherein it is being alleged that I had posted a tweet which was derogatory and insulting to the late B.R. Ambedkar. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that no such tweet and/or statement, whether on twitter or any other form of media, has been issued by me,” he said.

“The tweet in question was posted by a fake account using my name and display image. I use only my verified twitter handle to make official communications via twitter and the said tweet was posted by a spurious account, pretending to be me.

“I have the utmost respect for Ambedkar, the Indian Constitution and the many communities that call India their home and I would not indulge in making any kind of statement which is derogatory and/or which insults the sentiments of any community. I use social media to interact with my fans and I believe that in this age of social media one must be vigilant of misinformation and act responsibly,” he added.

Pandya further said that he will approach the court to clear his name.

“I will also be making the necessary submissions in the court in order to establish that the said tweet cannot be attributed to me in any manner whatsoever and to further highlight the issue that the said tweet was posted by an imposter posing as me in order to tarnish my reputation, which is a menace faced by many well-known personalities across India today,” he said.

IANS

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Ozil quits international football amid furore over photo with Erdogan

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Mesut Ozil with Tayyip Erdogan

Berlin, July 23 (IANS) Germany’s attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil announced his retirement from international football on Sunday, a month-and-a-half after his photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sparked a controversy.

The 29-year-old Ozil, a cornerstone of Germany under coach Joachim Low, announced his decision on Twitter, after defending the photo taken with Erdogan and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan in May, reports Efe.

“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect. I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement but now I don’t,” the Arsenal star said.

“This decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my teammates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany. But when high-ranking officials of the DFB (the German football federation) treat me as they did, disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into a political propaganda, then enough is enough,a he added.

The photograph was interpreted by some critics as Ozil’s explicit support for Erdogan’s re-election campaign amid ongoing tense relations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Having a picture with president Erdogan wasn’t about politics or elections. It was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country,” Ozil said in a lengthy statement on his official Twitter account earlier in the day.

Ozil is considered a symbol of integration in Germany, where people of Turkish descent make up the biggest immigrant community, numbering 3.5 million, half of whom retain their right to vote in Turkey.

Ozil slammed DFB president Reinhard Grindel, who he accused of trying to benefit his own political views. He also accused the DFB president of racism.

“I know that Grindel wanted me out the team after the picture, and publicised his view on Twitter without any thinking or consultation, but Low and (director) Oliver Bierhoff stood up for me and backed me,” he revealed.

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”

Low decided to keep both players on his 2018 FIFA World Cup squad even though fans raised doubts about Ozil’s loyalty to the German national team.

The controversy haunted both players during the World Cup and Germany’s early exit from the tournament added fuel to the fire.

“Are there criteria for being fully German that I do not fit?” Ozil asked. “My friend Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose are never referred to as German-Polish, so why am I German-Turkish? Is it because it is Turkey? Is it because I’m a Muslim?”

Since his debut in 2009, Ozil has appeared in 92 matches for Germany’s national team, scoring 23 goals. He was part of Germany’s World Cup-winning squad in 2014.A

Ozil was also part of the German squads which reached the semi-finals of 2014 World Cup and two European Championships in 2012 and 2016.

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Sprinter Anas sets new national record

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Muhammed-Anas

Prague, July 21 (IANS) India’s star sprinter Muhammed Anas reset the national record on his way to the gold medal in the men’s 400 metre category at the Cena Noveho Mesta nad Metuji meet here on Saturday.

Anas clocked a time of 45.24 seconds to break his own record of 45.31, set at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia earlier this year where he finished fourth.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) took to social media to congratulate Anas.

“Congrats Mohd. ANAS for breaking his own 400m #Indian record in #Czech Rep. New Record-45.24s, Previous Best-45.31s Congrats coach Galina Bukharina for success of #HimaDas and #Anas!,” the AFI wrote on Twitter.

Anas had broken the national record earlier as well when he clocked 45.40 seconds at the Polish Athletics Championship in June 2016. That performance saw the Kerala athlete become the third Indian after the legendary Milkha Singh and K.M. Binu to qualify for the Olympics in the men’s 400m category.

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Hockey World Cup: Indian women’s team to face hosts England

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India vs England Womens Hockey

London, July 21: The mood among the Indian women’s hockey team is upbeat as they are set to take on hosts England in their opening match of the World Cup here on Saturday.

India, grouped in Pool B, will take on World No.16 Ireland on 26 July followed by World No.7 US on 29 July apart from facing the Olympic Champions England in their home ground on the opening day of the prestigious tournament.

“The pressure will be on England and not on us,” asserted Indian Team skipper Rani Rampal on the eve of the match.

“Yes they will have the home ground advantage but we are not new to playing in front of big crowds. We have done well against England before and we will carry the confidence of doing well in our recent tournaments including the CWG where we had tasted victory against England in the Group Stage in Gold Coast.

“We will go into the match with the belief that we can beat them. We just need to make sure we don’t make silly mistakes like we did in the Bronze Medal match at the CWG which cost us the game,” Rani added .

India’s previous appearance at the FIH World Cup was in 2010 when the event was held in Argentina.

Rani then was the cynosure of India’s ninth-place performance as she had scored maximum of seven goals for the team during the course of the tournament.

While there will be a lot riding on Rani during the World Cup 2018 too, she has a unit that has shown confidence-inspiring performance over the past two years where India even climbed to a career-best ranking of World No.10.

After having arrived in London a week prior to the start of the tournament, the Indian Team has had good training sessions at the event venue Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Stadium including two practice matches against Australia and Belgium.

“We have had good match practice against two of the top teams in the World. The team is upbeat and excited ahead of the first match and right now, our only focus is to do well against England. We have played USA and Ireland too in the past and have specific game plan against them. But for now, our focus is on the first match,” Rani said.

IANS

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