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India thrash South Africa 5-1, win FIH Series Finals

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Indian Hockey team FIH Tournament
#Bhubaneswar: Indian Hockey team players pose with Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik after winning #FIHMensSeriesFinals 2019 at Kalinga Stadium.

Bhubaneshwar, June 15 (IANS) India beat South Africa 5-1 here on Saturday to win the FIH Series Finals title. Goals from Varun Kumar (2nd and 49th minute), Harmanpreet Singh (11th and 25th minute), and Vivek Sagar Prasad (35th minute) gave world no. 5 India a routine win over the 16th ranked South Africa, whose lone goal was scored by Richard Pautz in the 53rd minute.

Earlier, Asian Games champion Japan beat the US 4-2 to secure third place. By virtue of reaching the summit clash, both India and South Africa had qualified for the Olympic qualifiers which will be held in either October or November 2019.

It took less than two minutes for India to win their first penalty corner at the Kalinga Stadium. Varun Kumar made no mistake with his drag flick and India drew first blood early in the game. The lead was doubled in the 11th minute when Harmanpreet converted from another PC.

India dominated much of the first quarter and it was only its dying minutes that South Africa got a chance at the goal. Nqobile Ntuli’s reverse hit however, was kept away by Indian custodian Krishan Bahadur Pathak.

India were awarded a penalty stroke when Birendra Lakra was stick-checked inside South Africa’s circle by Jethro Eustice. Harmanpreet put it away easily and India were three goals to the good.

The change of ends led to no change in the flow of the game with India remaining the dominant side in the second half too. The hosts scored in the fifth minute of the third quarter having with Prasad scoring from close range after being set up by Simranjeet Singh.

India could got another penalty corner in the 41st minute but could not convert it with Amit Rohidas’ attempt being kept out by the South African keeper. However, they got another PC in the 49th and this time Varun Kumar made no mistake and the score read 5-0 in India’s favour.

South Africa got a consolation goal thanks to back-to-back penalty corners, the second of which led to a goal. Pautz deflected in Eustice’s flick to reduce the margin to 5-1.

Four minutes from the final hooter, India secured two more penalty corners but failed to convert both. South Africa also got a third penalty corner towards the end but could not add to the singular goal they had scored.

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Great Learning ropes in Virat Kohli as brand ambassador

Earlier this month, Great Learning had announced a collaboration with Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in the US to launch online ‘Master of Science in Data Science Programme’ in India.

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Virat Kohli

New Delhi, Sep 14 : Ed-tech company Great Learning on Monday announced the appointment of Virat Kohli, as its brand ambassador.

The captain of the Indian cricket team, who also topped a recent ranking of India’s most powerful celebrities, will now be the face of the Great Learning brand, the company said.

He will lead the brand’s latest ‘Power Ahead’ campaign, which underlines the importance of lifelong learning and showcases how high-quality learning at the right time can help professionals and students power ahead in their career.

“Kohli is the obvious choice to be our brand ambassador because he best embodies the great learning ethos of excellence and continuous learning,” Mohan Lakhamraju, Founder and CEO, Great Learning, said in a statement.

“We are looking forward to this association with Kohli through which we wish to spread the message that now, through the high quality online learning offered by Great Learning, anyone can grow and succeed,” Lakhamraju added.

The company is also launching a multi-film campaign with Kohli during the upcoming Dream 11 IPL, where the brand is Associate Sponsor on Disney + Hotstar.

The films showcase Kohli reflecting on the brands philosophy of continuous learning being a necessity for sustained career growth, something he embodies only too well in his game.

“Great Learning is a leader in the professional learning space and has built a reputation for delivering high quality education and career transformations,” said Kohli.

“I also share the same passion for excellence that Great Learning does and am excited about our association,” Kohli added.

Earlier this month, Great Learning had announced a collaboration with Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in the US to launch online ‘Master of Science in Data Science Programme’ in India.

The fully online, 18-months-long Master’s programme offers an opportunity to earn a world-class master’s degree from a global top-30 ranked university for graduates and working professionals in the country.

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Naomi Osaka beats Victoria Azarenka to win US Open

The victory is Osaka’s third Grand Slam singles title.

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Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka returned to the fore in women’s tennis by coming back to defeat Victoria Azarenka and win her second United States Open on Saturday.

Osaka’s 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory capped a run of powerful play and political activism in New York. She wore seven different masks with different names for each of her matches to honor Black victims of violence. She walked on court Saturday with a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed in Cleveland by a white police officer in 2014.

Osaka’s victory on Saturday came in radically different conditions than her first title run in New York in 2018.

In that final, she defeated Serena Williams in a tumultuous straight-set match that turned ugly when Williams clashed in Arthur Ashe Stadium with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who called three code-of-conduct violations against Williams.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty on Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty on Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Shocked, devastated: IOC, UWW react to Navid Afkari’s execution

The International Olympic Committee and amateur wrestling’s governing body United World Wrestling (UWW) on Saturday reacted to the execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari.

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Navid Afkari

Geneva: While IOC said that it was “shocked” by the development, the UWW said that the news has left the “entire wrestling community” mourning.

Provincial prosecutor general Kazem Mousavi was quoted as saying by Iran’s state television’s website that 27-year-old Afkari was executed in a prison in the southern city of Shiraz on Saturday. Afkari had been found guilty of “voluntary homicide” for murdering a man during the anti-government protests in 2018.

“United World Wrestling has learned that the scheduled execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari took place this morning in Iran,” said UWW in its statement.

“It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind the scene work of United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, the IOC together with the NOC of Iran did not achieve our goal. The news is devastating and the entire wrestling community mourns his death,” it added.

Earlier, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it is “shocked” by the development.

“In letters, Thomas Bach, the IOC President, had made direct personal appeals to the Supreme Leader and to the President of Iran this week and asked for mercy for Navid Afkari, while respecting the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” it said in its statement.

“It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind-the-scenes work of the IOC, together with the NOC of Iran, United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, did not achieve our goal. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari,” it added.

The IOC did not specify if it is planning to take action against Iran on the matter.

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