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India take unassailable 3-0 lead in David Cup tie against Pak

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Nur-Sultan: India took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the ongoing Davis Cup tie over Pakistan as old warhorse Leander Paes along with debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan won the third rubber here on Saturday.

The Indian duo of Paes and Jeevan defeated Pakistani teenagers Mohammed Shoaib and Hufaiza Abdul Rehman 6-1, 6-3 in just 53 minutes. With the win, Paes bettered his own Davis Cup record by winning his 44th doubles match.

Hufaiza and Shoaib began with a hold of serve in the opening game of the match, but the Indians broke the teenagers in the third game before holding their own for a 3-1 lead.

The Indian pair then took control of the match from the start and didn’t allow their opponents to put any kind of pressure. Simply put, the Pakistani teenagers were no match against the Indian duo.

Last year, Paes had become the most successful doubles player in the history of Davis Cup when he won his 43rd doubles match after he went past Italy’s Nicola Pietrangeli during the tie against China.

On Friday, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal toyed with Pakistan to give India a 2-0 lead. While Ramkumar swept aside 17-year-old Muhammed Shoaib in just 42 minutes in the opening singles encounter, Sumit Nagal earned his first-ever Davis Cup win after he beat Hufaiza Mohammed Rehman 6-0, 6-2 in the second rubber.

The tie was first supposed to take place in Islamabad but after India expressed reservations over travelling to Pakistan due to security issues, it was moved to a neutral venue by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

India will now travel to Croatia for the World Group Qualifiers, to be held on March 6-7.

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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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