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India wins four gold medals in Asian Athletics Championships

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Bhubaneswar, July 8: It was a superb day for Indian athletes as they bagged four gold medals in the 400m and 1500m events in both the men’s and women’s races at the Asian Athletics Championships at Kalinga Stadium on Friday.

Asian Athletics Championships
Heavy showers disrupted the proceedings of the evening session on Day 2, but it wasn’t enough to stop fans from cheering for the Indian athletes who responded in style on a day where 10 medal events were at stake, even as a major upset came about at the end of the evening in the men’s 100m final.

India’s lead in the medal standings stayed put as they won four gold, two silver and two bronze medals to add to their tally on Day 1. The hosts now have six gold, three silver and six bronze medals overall.

Nirmala Sheoran broke into the lead at the last turn and stayed there until the end under the unrelenting rain to take gold with a time of 52.01 seconds in the women’s 400m, while Quach Thi of Vietnam ended with the silver medal with 52.78. Jisna Mathew completed the medals by taking third place, while 2015 Asian Championships silver winner and Asian Games bronze medalist M.R. Poovamma finished just outside the medal standings.

Asian Athletics Championships

Nirmala Sheoran won the gold in the Women’s 400m event.

National champion Muhammad Anas, who broke the national record in the men’s 400m two months ago, emerged in the lead at the final turn and held off stiff competition from compatriot Rajiv Arokia to make it an Indian one-two in pouring rain. Anas finished with an impressive time of 45.77 seconds and Arokia took silver with 46.14 seconds, just ahead of Oman’s Ahmed Mubarak who settled for bronze. Just like Poovamma in the women’s 400m, Amoj Jacob also finished fourth, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.

Middle distance runner Ajay Kumar Saroj, however, caused a big upset in the men’s 1500m by beating Qatar’s Asian Games bronze medalist Jamal Hairane quite convincingly. Saroj clocked in an impressive 3:45.85 and finished over a second ahead of Hairane, while Iran’s Moslem Niadoost rounded off the medals by taking bronze.

asian athetics championships

 Ajay Kumar Saroj celebrates after winning the gold medal during the Men’s 1500m event.

In the women’s 1500m, Chitra P.U. dominated the field after a spectacular flourish in the final lap and opened up a lead of more than a second over China’s Geng Min and Japan’s Ayako Jinnouchi, who got silver and bronze respectively.

Ace Indian sprinter and local favourite Dutee Chand settled for bronze in the women’s 100m behind the Kazakhstan duo of Viktoriya Zyabkina and Olga Safronova, who clinched gold and silver respectively in an intense final. Zyabkina won her second gold in the 100m at the Asian Championships after winning it in Pune in 2013, while Incheon Asian Games gold medalist in the 200m, Safronova settled for second place.

The men’s 100m final had a surprise in store as Hassan Taftian of Iran came from behind in the last half of the race to clinch gold by a hundredth of a second, ahead of defending champion Femi Seun Ogunode of Qatar. Taftian finished with a time of 10.25 seconds to Ogunode’s 10.26, while Yang Chun-Han of Chinese Taipei claimed bronze in a tightly contested field.

But there was more disappointment in store for Amiya Kumar Mallick, who was disqualified from the third semi-final of the men’s 100m after making a false start as it began to drizzle earlier in the evening. Mallick had been part of another disqualification in the morning session on Day 2, when he passed the baton exchange zone in the final turn of the men’s 4x100m semi-finals.

There was more to cheer in the men’s shot put event, with youngster Tajinder Pal Singh Toor winning silver ahead of seniors Omprakash Singh Karhana and Jasdeep Singh Dhillon. China dominated the women’s shot put final with a gold and silver double, while in the women’s high jump, Nadiya Dusanova of Uzbekistan won the gold medal, carrying on from compatriot Svetlana Radzivil who had won the gold in the same event last year.

Thailand’s Suttisak Singkon won gold in the men’s decathlon after two days of gruelling competition which saw him finish with a total of 7,732 points, ahead of Japan’s Kazuya Kawasaki who won silver and last year’s silver medalist Guo Qi of China, who had to settle for the bronze medal this time.

IANS

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World Cup 2018: Germany face must-win against Sweden

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Sochi, June 23: Holders Germany will have to beat Sweden in order to avoid an early exit from the FIFA World Cup when the two sides meet in a crunch Group F clash at the Fisht Stadium here on Saturday.

Blessed with a strong squad brimming with talented players, Germany were hot contenders to become the first team in 56 years to retain the World Cup.

But after a shock 0-1 defeat to Mexico, the jolted four-time winners will have their task cut out against Sweden. A reversal will all but end their campaign.

“Everyone is aware that this is our first ‘final’, it’s annoying that it comes so early, but it’s self-inflicted,” team director Oliver Bierhoff was quoted as saying.

Germany were all over the place in the first half against Mexico and their heroics in Brazil four years ago seemed distant.

After the defeat, there have been catcalls to drop under-performing players like Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira.

Sweden, meanwhile, will believe they can cause another upset after their confidence lifting 1-0 win over Korea Republic. This was their first win in the competition since hosting the tournament in 1958.

The Swedes are no strangers to upsetting the odds, beating France during qualification and getting past Italy in the play-offs, so an under-performing German side will hold no fears for Janne Anderson’s men.

IANS

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FIFA WC 2018: Confident Mexico up against under-pressure Koreans

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Mexico FIFA 2018

Rostov-on-Don (Russia), June 23: A confident Mexico will be eyeing their second win to seal a pre-quarterfinal berth when they take on South Korea in a Group F match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Rostov Arena here on Saturday.

The South Americans were impressive during their 1-0 win over defending champions Germany in their campaign opener where they put on one of the best team performances.

Meanwhile, the Asian side will be under pressure after going down 0-1 to Sweden on Monday and are facing the prospect of being eliminated at the group stage in a second consecutive World Cup.

Korea head coach Shin Tae-yong will certainly be wanting something special from his side to keep themselves alive in the mega event.

The Koreans played well in their first match, but found the going tough against the tall, physically strong Swedes.

While the Koreans did well in the midfield, the well-organised Sweden defence coupled with the Europeans’ physical advantage proved too much for them.

While most of the Mexican players do not have too much of a physical presence, their superior skills and tactical ability will present a different sort of challenge for the Koreans.

Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio will be hoping for a repeat show from his side and despite being known for reshuffling his lineup, he is not expected to make much changes against the Koreans.

Hirving Lozano, star for Mexico against Germany, scored the only game of the match and will be eager to go against South Korea to find the back of the net again.

However, despite having a great start to their campaign and being favourites in Saturday’s clash, Mexico midfielder Marco Fabian believes his side has to still do a lot.

“We reached our first target and have beaten Germany, but we can’t sit back,” Fabian told the media.

“Some consider us to be group favourites now, and that’s a compliment – but it’s one we shouldn’t believe. There are no favourites in this World Cup,” he added.

On the other hand, Koreans after suffering a defeat by Sweden, would have to reconsider their 4-3-3 formation which handed space to their opponents in the first game.

South Korea midfielder Koo Ja-cheol said his teammates were preparing to tackle Mexico and had found striker Javier Hernandezas as one of the major threat.

“Of course we are not ready to give up. Everyone put in so much effort to get here,” Koo said.

“What we want is to turn fans’ disappointment into joy,” he added.

Overall, it will be a herculean task for the Asian outfit to pull off a victory against the Mexicans on Saturday.

IANS

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FIFA WC 2018: Belgium aim to defeat Tunisia to seal knockout spot

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(PC - @FIFAWorldCup/Twitter)

Moscow, June 23: Belgium will aim to register a second consecutive win and book their spot in the knockout rounds when they take on Tunisia in a Group G match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Spartak Stadium here on Saturday.

The talented Belgium squad are the favourites in the group and they gave ample glimpses of their class in a comfortable 3-0 win over Panama in their campaign opener.

Star centre-forward Romelu Lukaku scored twice in that game and his height and physical presence should be useful against the physically strong Tunisia defence.

The Belgians boast a number of stars in their line-up including the likes of star Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

However, it will not be easy going for Belgium against Tunisia, who have a strong defence and are well organised in midfield.

The north Africans gave England a tough time in their first match. The English line-up, studded with Premier League stars, was effectively blunted by the Tunisia defence.

The Tunisian midfield also did well, consistently winning the 50-50 balls and doing well when in posession. However, they fell short in the final third due to the poor quality of the final pass.

Despite their shortcomings upfront, Tunisia seemed good eonugh to come away with a point. It was the silly conceeding of a corner in second half injury time and some poor marking of England’s star striker Harry Kane at the far post that kept them from what would have been a well-deserved draw.

Tunisia will be keen to avoid such mistakes against the higher rated Belgians. They will however miss goalkeeper Mouez Hassen, who has returned home to undergo surgery on an injured shoulder.

Despite his team’s dominant performance in the first match, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez is not ready to take Tunisia lightly.

“They have a lot of bravery and they’re very dynamic,” he said of Tunisia.

“The players have a good understanding between each other and they can bring energy and intensity on counterattacks. They play direct, efficient football,” Martinez told FIFA.com.

IANS

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