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India end third best CWG show with six medals on final day

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Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal, File Photo

Gold Coast (Australia), April 15 (IANS) The star badminton trio of Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth were the centre of attraction as the Indian contingent ended their campaign at the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG) on a high here on Sunday.

India bagged a total of six medals on the final day. India finished the Games with 26 golds, 20 silvers and 20 bronze medals. This year’s total of 66 medals is the third highest haul for India in the history of the CWG.

Their best performance till date came at home during the 2010 Delhi Games, which produced a tally of 101 medals. That included 38 gold, 27 silver and 36 bronze.

The second highest medals tally of 69 came at the 2002 Games in Manchester, England. The Indian contingent won 30 gold at that edition along with 22 silver and 17 bronze.

Saina and Sindhu were involved in an intense, high tempo women’s singles final. Saina displayed superb form to clinch a 21-18, 23-21 victory for the second CWG singles title of her career. Her maiden CWG singles gold came at the 2010 Games in New Delhi.

For Sindhu, this was the second CWG singles medal of her career, the first being bronze at Glasgow 2014.

Srikanth was involved in an equally entertaining men’s singles final against Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei. Although Srikanth dominated the opening game, Lee showed his true class later in the contest to register a 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 victory for the fifth CWG title of a glittering career.

The last two games were totally one-sided as the veteran Malaysian star handed out a masterclass in placement and deception. Srikanth was virtually reduced to a spectator as Lee piled on the points.

The men’s doubles team of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also settled for the silver medal after going down 13-21, 16-21 to England’s Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge.

In squash, defending champions Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa settled for the silver medal in women’s doubles after losing 9-11, 8-11 to New Zealand’s Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy.

This was Joshna’s first and Dipika’s second medal at Gold Coast after taking silver in the mixed doubles with Saurav Ghosal.

Veteran table tennis star Achanta Sharath Kamal bagged the men’s singles bronze medal by beating England’s Samuel Walker 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10.

Meanwhile, Manika Batra grabbed her fourth medal at this year’s CWG. She bagged bronze in the mixed doubles table tennis competition in the company of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.

Manika and Sathiyan defeated compatriots Sharath Kamal and Mouma Das 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 in the play-off for the third position at the Oxenford Studios here.

IANS

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Coach Ravi Shastri reveals why Dhoni took the ball from umpire

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New Delhi, July 19: Team India coach Ravi Shastri on Thursday dismissed all speculation on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s retirement.

Shastri’s comments came after social media on Wednesday was abuzz with speculation that the 2011 World Cup winning captain MS Dhoni will soon retire from all formats of the game.

Dhoni was seen taking the match ball from the umpires at the end of the third one-day international against England at the Headingley cricket ground in Leeds on Tuesday, and Twitter went on overdrive as fans began to wonder about the significance of the move.

“Is Dhoni retiring?” was the talking point as all and sundry began to wonder about the significance of the former India skipper walking away with the match ball despite India having lost the match. Dhoni asked for back towards the pavilion.

Thus coach put a full stop on all the speculation and said,” “That’s rubbish. MS is not going anywhere”.

Shastri said Dhoni took the ball from umpire to show it to bowling coach Bharat Arun.

Dismissing the speculation, Shastri said: “MS wanted to show the ball to Bharat Arun. He wanted to show him the wear and tear the ball had endured, to get a general idea of what the conditions were like.”

“But right now, all this clamour is nonsense. He just wanted to show the ball to Arun to just have a look at it after close to 45 overs had been bowled,” Shastri told Times of India.

Dhoni had come under fire following his 59-ball 37-run knock in the second ODI of the series at Lord’s. In fact, the crowd at the iconic venue booed Dhoni in the same game where he completed 10,000 ODI runs.

Following that game, Kohli had come out in Dhoni’s support, saying, “When he does well, people call him the best finisher ever and when they don’t go well, they all pounce on him. We all have bad days in cricket and today was a bad one for everyone, not just him.”

“Also, you want to take the innings deep; you don’t want to just lose by 160-170 runs, and he has the experience, but some days it just doesn’t come off. Other people jump to conclusions, but we don’t — we totally believe in him,” Kohli had said.

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Pant gets maiden call; Shami back for first 3 England Tests

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Rishabh Pant

New Delhi, July 18: Explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was on Wednesday picked as the second choice stumper as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recalled pacer Mohammed Shami in the 18-member squad for the first three Tests of the five-match rubber against England.

Pant was rewarded with the Test call-up following a successful run with the willow in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Shami, who was dropped from the lone Test match against Afghanistan for failing a fitness test, made his way back to the team after clearing the mandatory yo-yo test. Middle-order batsman Karun Nair has also been re-called to the squad while Rohit Sharma failed to make it.

Pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who is recuperating from a thumb injury, has been included in the squad, but will be available for selection from the second Test onwards based on his fitness, a BCCI statement confirmed.

Meanwhile, fellow paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar has his back injury after featuring in the third One-day International (ODI) against England on Tuesday and was left out of the first three Tests.

“Bhuvneshwar Kumar aggravated a lower back condition in the third ODI against England. His condition is being assessed by the BCCI medical team and a call on his inclusion in the Test squad will be made soon,” the board said.

India’s squad for first three Tests against England: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.

IANS

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Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra wins gold at Sotteville Athletics Meet

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New Delhi, July 18: India’s star javelin-thrower Neeraj Chopra clinched a gold medal at the Sotteville Athletics Meet in France on Tuesday.

Chopra, who had won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, threw 85.17 metres to bag the top prize.

Neeraj is India’s top javelin thrower and he proved his mettle once again on the international stage when he won the gold medal with a massive margin.

While Neeraj Chopra threw a distance of 85.17 m, the second best was Adrian Mardare of Moldova who threw a distance of 81.48 m.

The bronze medal went to Lithuania’s Edis Matusevicius, whose best throw of the night was 79.31m.

The winning distance from Chopra was, however, less than what he achieved to win a historic Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold in Australia earlier this year. He had improved on his season’s best with an effort of 86.47m in Gold Coast to become the country’s first javelin-thrower to win a CWG gold.

Last week, he finished fifth at the Rabat Diamond League with a best throw of 83.32m.

So, the victory at the Sotteville Athletics Meet augurs well for his Asian Games preparation which will be held next month in Indonesia.

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