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NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in California helicopter crash

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Los Angeles, Jan 27: Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas of southern California on Sunday.

“It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas,” the City of Calabasas confirmed on its official Twitter account, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10 a.m. Nobody on the ground was hurt, the city tweeted.

Five people were confirmed deceased, no survivors in Calabasas helicopter crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tweeted.

According to reports, Bryant was travelling with at least three other people in his private helicopter when it went down. CNN later confirmed Bryant’s death. He was 41. There has been no word from his family so far.

Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene near Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street at around 10 a.m., the department tweeted.

Flames that erupted in the crash have been extinguished. The investigation is underway.

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Indian Olympic chief unwilling to comment on games status over Coronavirus

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New Delhi, Feb 26 Amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, questions are now being raised whether the Tokyo Olympic Games — scheduled to be held in July and August — would go as per the schedule or not.

However, Indian Olympic Association chief Narinder Batra, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is not willing to comment on the status of the Tokyo Games as he believes it’s too soon and there’s plenty of time left before the start of the quadrennial event.

According to a report in New York Post, senior IOC member Dick Pound has said that if it proves too dangerous to hold the Olympics in Tokyo because of the coronavirus outbreak, organisers are likely to cancel it altogether than to postpone or move it.

Asked to comment on the statement, Batra told IANS: “I haven’t read or seen any statement as off now. So, I won’t be able to comment on any hypothetical statement.”

Earlier, IOC coordination commission head Johan Coates had ruled out shifting the Olympics Games from Tokyo and had said that it has no “contingency plans”.

A number of sporting events have been affected, with medical experts in Japan advising against staging large events. The Asian Boxing Qualifiers, which were slated to be held in Wuhan, China in March, were shifted to Jordan.

Training for Olympic volunteers was suspended over the weekend, and Sunday’s Tokyo marathon has been closed to all but elite runners.

On Tuesday, Japan also suspended its football league, making it the latest sporting victim of the deadly coronavirus which has so far claimed thousands of lives across the world.

The Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9. China toll has crossed 2,600.

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Kapil Dev questions ‘in-form’ Rahul’s absence from Test team

New Zealand were completely whitewashed in the five-match T20I series. However, they made a strong comeback and went on to win the three ODIs and have now won the first Test in the two-Test series.

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New Delhi, Feb 25 : Former India skipper Kapil Dev has criticised Virat Kohli’s boys following their thrashing in the Test series opener in Wellington, a game which they lost by 10 wickets at the Basin Reserve on Monday.

“We have to praise New Zealand, they are playing very good cricket. The three ODIs and this Test match, they have been excellent. If we analyse this match critically, well, I do not understand how one can make so many changes. There is a new team in almost every match. No one in the team is permanent, if there is no security over your place, it will affect the form of the players,” Kapil told ABP News.

The Indian batting line-up, which boasts of players like Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, failed in both the innings at the Basin Reserve — a reason which Kohli himself admitted for the reason for their downfall against the Black Caps.

“Such big names in the batting order, if you cannot score even 200 runs in 2 innings, you have not been able to conquer conditions. You have to focus more on planning and strategy,” Dev added.

New Zealand were completely whitewashed in the five-match T20I series. However, they made a strong comeback and went on to win the three ODIs and have now won the first Test in the two-Test series.

Kapil was also surprised at the non-inclusion of K.L. Rahul — who was the Player of the Series in T20Is — in the Test squad.

“I do not understand. There is a lot of difference between when we played and what is happening now. When you build a team, you have to give confidence to players. When there are so many changes made, it does not make sense. Management believes in format-specific players. Rahul is in great form, he is sitting out, it does not make sense. I believe when a player is in form, he needs to play,” he added.

Team India will now aim to level the series when they take on the Black Caps in the second and final Test beginning Saturday at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

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PM Modi inaugurates 1st edition of Khelo India University Games

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Cuttack, Feb 22 : The inaugural edition of the Khelo India University Games was launched here on Saturday with a dazzling opening ceremony with Prime Minster Narendra Modi too gracing the occasion with his virtual presence.

Speaking to the august gathering through a video link, the Prime Minister declared the Games open and exhorted the athletes to better their own performances.

“It is a historic moment for Indian Sports. With the launch of Khelo India University Games India has entered the league of countries where university games are organized at this level. I congratulate the organizers from Odisha who have put together this spectacular event and wish the 3000+ youth athletes from across the country all the best for the Khelo India University Games.

“In the coming few days, the goal is to win medals but even more to better your own performance. Your hard work here will take you, your families and your country’s dream ahead. You have torch bearers like Dutee Chand here to inspire you. This is the start of a new sports revolution in India,” said the Prime Minister.

A colourful 45-minute cultural show marked the ceremony, with a number of top dignitaries, led by Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister of Petroleum, Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports Kiren Rijiju, witnessing the show.

As many as 4,000 spectators enjoyed the immaculately conceived ceremony inside the stadium even as scores watched it on LED screens just outside the stadium.

After the stupendous success of the Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati last month, the Indian Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to take it to the next level by hosting the Khelo India University Games (KIUG). The Odisha government promptly stepped forward and put everything in place in less than a month.

The KIYG officially began on Friday morning with competitions in archery, fencing, football, basketball and volleyball. It is the largest ever multi-discipline sports event being conducted at one venue for university students and hopes to unearth talented sportspersons for India.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “It is a moment of great pride for us to be hosting the first edition of the Khelo India University Games here in Odisha in association with the Government of India and the KIIT University. Khelo India University Games will provide a great platform to showcase sporting talent at the national level.

“Some of the athletes will return with medals, some with experience and all with great memories from the Games. I welcome all of you to the sport-loving state of Odisha. And, on behalf of the Government and people of Odisha, I wish all the athletes the very best for their sporting events,” Patnaik said.

Rijiju, during his address, said that the people of India will definitely see many international champions coming out of the Khelo India University Games. “I’m sure we will find more Olympians and unearth more talent from the Games. It gives a platform for athletes to showcase their talent at the highest level and also for athletes to interact with one another to share expertise. I’m confident that through initiatives such as the Khelo India Youth Games and the Khelo India University Games, India will have more stars in the future.”

The opening ceremony was a glittering affair with 390 students performing and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Odisha. Aruna Mohanty choreographed a sequence which showcased dance forms such as Odissi and Sambalpuri.

The torch relay which kick-off the Games was led by India archer Muskan Kirar who passed on the baton to swimmer S.P. Likith who handed over the torch to former India hockey player Dilip Tirkey who lit the cauldron. The oath taking ceremony for the athletes was led by ace sprinter Dutee Chand who is taking part in the Khelo India University Games.

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