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India beat Japan 3-1, win FIH Women’s Series Finals

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Indian Womens Hockey team

Hiroshima (Japan), June 23 (IANS) An impressive Indian women’s hockey team on Sunday won the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 after defeating hosts Japan 3-1 in the Final held here at the Hiroshima Hockey Stadium.

The Indian team was helped by an early goal from Captain Rani in the 3rd minute, but conceded an equalizer in the 11th minute as Japan’s Kanon Mori scored. A brace from Gurjit Kaur scored in the 45th and 60th minutes, however, saw India register an emphatic victory.

The World No. 9 Indian team had already qualified for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2019 on Saturday after securing a place in the final of the competition.

A fantastic start to the first quarter for India saw them take the lead in only the 3rd minute as Rani stepped up to score from her team’s first penalty corner (PC). The Indian skipper struck the ball sweetly along the ground and beat Japanese goalkeeper Akio Tanaka on her right side to give India a 1-0 advantage.

India’s dominance saw them win their second PC in the 9th minute, but the team gave a foul away in the execution. Japan were unable to create opportunities for themselves as they could only manage two circle entries in the entire first 15 minutes.

The second quarter also saw India maintain possession but forward Vandana Katariya misses a glorious opportunity in the 18th minute. Picking up a loose clearance from just outside the striking circle, she ran into it to take a strike, but her shot went just wide of the post across the goal.

Japan, on the other hand, also started to get into their rhythm, and tried to create chances by using the flanks, but India’s defensive cohesion made sure that they did not succeed.

India controlled ball possession well as they made five circle entries compared to Japan’s zero. The likes of Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam and Lilima Minz stepped up to help break Japanese attacks, and rotated the ball comfortably to create opportunities for India.

However, a better performance by the Japanese defence in the final few minutes of the second quarter meant that both the teams went into the half-time break level at 1-1.

India stepped up their attacks again in the opening minutes of the third quarter winning two PCs, but could not convert them into goals. Both the teams tried to look to take the important lead, with Japan making two circle entries and getting two shots away, while India made eight entries and took five shots.

However, the last of those five shots was the one which gave India the lead as constant pressure on the Japanese in the latter stages of the third quarter saw India win another PC through Rani.

It was drag-flicker Gurjit who was India’s saviour yet again as she dispatched the ball into the top left corner of the Japanese goal to give her side a 2-1 lead in the 45th minute.

India managed the fourth quarter well as they maintained possession in the initial minutes with Navneet Kaur and Rani having opportunities to seal the victory with a third goal but their efforts were kept out by the Japanese goalkeeper.

But on the other side of the field, India defended well from a PC to avoid conceding an equalizer.

With just five minutes remaining in the match, Japan decided to take off their goalkeeper for an extra outfield player, and that helped them in creating some opportunities. However, it also worked against them in the last minute of the match as Gurjit, the top scorer of the tournament, scored her second goal of the match through a PC to make it 3-1 and wrap up the victory for India.

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Madrid Masters tennis tournament cancelled: organisers

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Madrid Masters tennis

The Madrid Open that was scheduled to take place from Sept. 12-20 has been cancelled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Spanish Capital, Organisers said on Thursday.

“As an act of responsibility in view of the current situation caused by COVID-19 and having thoroughly evaluated the circumstance that the pandemic continues to generate… it has been decided that 2020 Muta Madrid Open will not take place this year,” organisers said in a satatement.

The tounament, which was to feature both men’s and women’s draws, was seen as an important event for players to prepare for the Frech Open which begins on Sept. 27.

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BCCI issues SOP; players must sign consent form before resuming training

BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

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New Delhi, Aug 2 : The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to the state associations for the resumption of cricket. While these will help the state bodies restart cricketing activities, all players will have to sign consent forms before getting back to training.

In the 100-page SOP, accessed by IANS, the BCCI has touched on principles while returning to training, ground and practice facilities preparation with an eye on the pandemic, gymnasium protocols, physiotherapy and medical protocols as well as protocols to manage a suspected COVID-19 case.

It also has the consent form where the players have to acknowledge that there is risk associated with resuming training and that the player has been informed about the protocols in place and the precautions taken by the association.

The player also needs to acknowledge that the association can’t guarantee complete elimination of risk despite taking necessary precautions and that the player is willing to resume training.

With an eye on the whole situation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI has shared its views with the state bodies with regards to resumption of cricket.

“The BCCI as the governing body for the sport of cricket in India is responsible for ensuring that appropriate protocols are put in place to protect the health and safety of players, staff and all stakeholders. Covid-19, an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs, poses a serious threat to the health of individuals as is evident from its spread to almost all countries around the world with more than 17.5 million infections and over 0.6 million deaths as on 1st August 2020. As the world grapples with Covid-19, cricketing activity has come to a standstill and players confined to the four walls within their homes.

“It is said that cricket is a religion in India and the fanfare and fervor that cricket commands are far greater than any other sport or event in the country. Besides, it also helps generate tremendous revenue and employs players and staff across 38 State teams, both in the men and women category. BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

“However, the BCCI is concerned about the high infectivity rate of SARS CoV-2 and in the interest of health and safety of all players, staff and stakeholders, the BCCI would not like to compromise on the preventive measures by resuming too soon,” the SOP read.

“The purpose of these protocols is to ensure the safe resumption of cricket activities and the below guidelines may be amended from time to time as may be required depending on the existing Covid-19 situation in the country and the guidelines issued by the Government of India at appropriate times. These guidelines have been prepared by the BCCI Medical Team.

“All BCCI affiliated State Cricket Associations will adhere to these guidelines and take additional measures as may be necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. Approvals must also be sought from local administration and health authorities before commencing any cricket activity. The health and safety of players, staff and stakeholders will be the sole responsibility of respective State Cricket Associations.”

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Thank you all for the lovely wishes for our baby boy: Hardik Pandya

After Hardik revealed to the world that he had become a father, wishes poured for him from all quarters. His Instagram post had read: “We are blessed with our baby boy.” It was posted with the picture of the baby’s hand.

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baby boy Hardik Pandya

New Delhi, Aug 2 : India all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Sunday expressed his gratitude to everyone who wished him and his family after the birth of his first child.

Hardik had earlier announced on his social media handle on Thursday that he and Natasa Stankovic were blessed with a baby boy.

Hardik thanked everyone for their wishes and wrote on his Twitter handle: “Thank you all for the lovely wishes for our baby boy. It meansAa lot to us.”

After Hardik revealed to the world that he had become a father, wishes poured for him from all quarters. His Instagram post had read: “We are blessed with our baby boy.” It was posted with the picture of the baby’s hand.

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar wrote on his Twitter handle:”Many congratulations to the proud new parents! May the little one tiptoe with love into your hearts & stay there forever!”

India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also sent his wishes via Twitter and his post read: “Congratulations to you both!!”

“Many congratulations to you both, have a great time being a parent. God bless the lil Champ,” said batsman Suresh Raina.

“Congratulations Brotherman @hardikpandya7,” said spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

Apart from the players, Hardik’s Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also sent their wishes on Twitter.

“Welcome to #OneFamily Congratulations, @hardikpandya7 and Natasa,” tweeted MI.

“Congratulations to the couple and a warm welcome to Pandya Jr.,” said the BCCI on their Twitter handle.

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