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Neeraj, Manika, Sanjeev delight: 3 boxing gold, 2 wrestling gold swell India’s pride

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Neeraj Chopra

Gold Coast, April 14 : Neeraj Chopra and Manika Batra clinched India’s first-ever gold medals in men’s javelin throw and women’s singles table tennis respectively while boxers Vikas Krishan, M.C. Mary Kom and Gaurav Solanki claimed top podium finishes. Golden wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sumit Kumar and shooter Sanjeev Rajput took third-placed India’s tally to 59 medals (25 gold, 16 silver, 18 bronze) at the end of Day 10 of the 21st Commonwealth Games here on Saturday.

Among other success stories, defending champions Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa stormed into the final of women’s doubles category while Dipika and Saurav Ghosal clinched silver in the mixed doubles, even as both the men’s and the women’s hockey teams lost to England in the bronze medal matches.

Moreover, shuttlers P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and men’s doubles pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty reached the finals while the women’s doubles combine of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy bagged the bronze medal.

Paddlers also had a great day, with the men’s doubles pairs of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, and Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shankar Shetty bagged the silver and bronze medal respectively on a day three boxers Satish Kumar (91kg), Amit Panghal (49kg) and Manish Kaushik (60kg) settled for silvers.

However, Mary, a five-time world champion, defeated Kristina O’Hara of Northern Ireland by a unanimous 5:0 verdict to take the women’s 48kg title in probably her final CWG campaign.

Vikas defeated Dieudonne Wilfried Seyi Ntsengue of Cameroon by a 5:0 unanimous verdict in a close contest in the 75kg category, while Gaurav (52kg) won by a split 4:1 verdict against Brendan Irvine of Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, India’s Manish had to be content with silver in the men’s lightweight (60kg) division after losing 2:3 to Harry Garside of Australia in a hard-fought final.

Amit finished with the silver medal after losing 1:3 to England’s Galai Yafai in the final, while Satish lost the final of the 91kg category, losing 0-5 by unanimous verdict to England’s Frazer Clarke. This is the first time India got a silver medal in the super heavyweight category in the CWG.

Apart from these six boxers, three others, Muhammed Hussamuddin, Naman Tanwar and Manoj Kumar claimed bronze medals on Friday as Indian completed its boxing campaign with nine medals.

In athletics, javelin thrower Neeraj delighted the country as he registered his season’s best performance of 86.47 metres to win the final, while Vipin Kashana, the other Indian in the fray, took the fifth spot with an attempt of 77.87m.

Jinson Johnson set a new national record of 3 minutes and 37.86 seconds while taking the fifth spot in the men’s 1,500m final. Promising Arpinder Singh also missed a podium spot in the men’s triple jump with a a best attempt of 16.46m to finish fourth.

Shooter Sanjeev Rajput clinched the gold medal in men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions, shooting a total of 454.5 to create a meet record, while Chain Singh, the other Indian in the fray, finished fifth with 419.1.

But the Indian contingent had to return empty-handed from the men’s Trap event as Kynan Chenai and Manavjit Sandhu failed to qualify for the final.

Rajput’s medal was India’s 16th medal in shooting, which includes seven gold medals as the event came to close here.

In wrestling, Sumit won all his four bouts in the Nordic (round robin) format to emerge champion. Korey Jarvis of Canada got the silver while Pakistan’s Tayab Raza took the bronze.

Among the women, Vinesh won gold in the 50kg competition as she ended at the top of the standings at the end of the Nordic format.

Somveer bagged bronze in the men’s 86kg division, defeating Alexander Moore of Canada 7-3 in the bronze medal play-off.

Rio Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik took the bronze medal in the women’s 62kg category.

In badminton, it was yet another superb show, with at least a gold medal assured as World No.3 Sindhu will meet seasoned compatriot and World No.12 Saina in an all-Indian women’s singles final on Sunday.

While Olympic 2016 silver medallist Sindhu thrashed Canada’s Michelle Li 21-18, 21-8 in the semi-final, Saina overcame Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, winning by 21-14, 18-21, 21-17.

In the men’s singles, World No.1 Srikanth set his final date with Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei. While Srikanth registered an easy 21-10, 21-17 victory over England’s Rajiv Ouseph, Chong Wei overcame World No.11 Prannoy 21-16, 9-21, 21-14.

Prannoy then lost to World No.22 Ouseph 21-17, 23-25, 9-21 in the bronze medal match at the Carrara Sports Arena here.

In the men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag thrashed Sri Lanka’s Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Goonethilleka 21-18, 21-10 to enter the final.

Ashwini and Sikki bagged the women’s doubles bronze medal, beating Australians Setyana Mapasa and Gronya Somerville 21-19, 21-19.

Ashwini and Satwik had a poor day in the mixed doubles, losing their semi-final as well as the bronze medal playoff.

In squash, the women’s doubles pair of Dipika and Joshna beat England’s Laura Massaro and Sarah-Jane Perry 11-10, 11-5 to seal their place in the final.

However, in the mixed doubles category, Dipika, who then partnered Saurav Ghosal and settled for a silver, losing 8-11, 10-11 to Australia’s Donna Urquhart and Cameron Pilley in the final.

In hockey, the Indian men’s team lost 1-2 to England, while the women’s team suffered a 0-6 thrashing.

In the men’s category, Sam Ward (sixth, 43rd minutes) twice converted penalty corners to give England the win over India, who had restored parity in the 26th minute later with a successful penalty corner conversion from Varun Kumar.

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Serena Williams outlasts Simona Halep in epic battle in Australian Open

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Serena Williams
Photo Credit- Twitter/AustralianOpen

Melbourne, Jan 21: Serena Williams of the US advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Monday after a hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Romanian world No 1 Simona Halep.

The 37-year-old shone at the Rod Laver Arena to again demonstrate her remarkable longevity and ability to compete at the game’s highest level, reports Efe news.

“It was an intense match and there were some incredible points,” Williams said on court after the match. “I really needed to elevate my game. She’s the number one player in the world.”

The number 16 seed started strongly, storming into a comfortable lead before taking the first set 6-1 as the number one seed Halep struggled to get a foothold in the match.

After bossing the opening exchanges, Williams let her opponent back into the contest as Halep took the second set 6-4.

The American broke Halep’s serve in the seventh game of the third set to go 4-3 up; she was soon serving for the match at 5-4, sealing the win on the first of two match points.

Williams advances to the last eight of the tournament as she continues her bid to add an eighth Australian Open title to her 23 career Grand Slam wins.

IANS

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Tendulkar eagerly waiting for Anil’s Netflix web series ‘Selection: Day Part 2’

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Tendulkar Selection Day Part 2

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar engaged in a Twitter conversation with actor Anil Kapoor to announce the second season of “Selection Day”. The official Twitter handle of Netflix then announced that “Selection Day: Part 2” will start streaming from April 22 this year.

The series is a coming-of-age drama about two brothers Radha and Manju who are raised by their strict, obsessive father to be star cricket players in India.

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Happy to bat at any number: MS Dhoni

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ms dhoni-wefornews

Melbourne, Jan 18 (IANS) With just a handful of ODIs to be played ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the No.4 slot in the Indian batting order is still up for grabs and with former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni staking a strong claim with a hat-trick of half-centuries against Australia, it will be interesting to see if the team management persists with him in the quadrennial event.

Ask Dhoni, who was on Friday promoted to the No. 4 spot and ended up belting a 114-ball unbeaten 87 to guide India to a maiden 2-1 ODI series win against the Kangaroos in their own backyard, the 37-year-old is “happy to bat at any number”.

“It is not about where you want to bat; I am happy to bat at any number and after playing for 14 years I can’t say that I don’t want to bat at number six and want to bat at four,” said Dhoni, who was adjudged the Man-of-the-Series.

Dhoni’s selfless approach was echoed by none other that his successor Virat Kohli, who said “nobody is more committed to Indian cricket than Dhoni.”

Kohli also heaped praises on middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav, who despite being benched for the opening two ODIs, grabbed the opportunity with both hands in the final ODI, as the right-hander scored an unbeaten 61 and more importantly forged an 121-run unbeaten stand with Dhoni to see India home by 7 wickets.

“It wasn’t a great wicket to bat on, so we had to take it deep, but they were professional in getting the job done. We were a bit nervous but two set batsmen in knew exactly what they wanted to do. Kedar with bat and ball is always handy. We have been here for a long time,” he said.

Dhoni also praised Jadhav’s efforts saying: “Kedar did a great job in playing unorthodox shots and it is important to hit boundaries.”

Similarly, man-of-the-match Yuzvendra Chahal also made the most of the opportunity, returning 6/42 to restrict the hapless Aussies for a meagre 230 at the MCG.

Commenting on the leg-spinner’s effort, Kohli said: We wanted to get in a good combination. We wanted to give Kuldeep (Yadav) a rest and we don’t want to be too predictable as well. Chahal came in and bowled beautifully. 6/42 was magnificent.”

“It’s been an amazing tour for us. We drew the T20 series, won the Test and the ODI series. If someone gave me these results before the tour I would have taken it with both hands.”

“I am really grateful and proud of the side. It was a collective effort. We are feeling confident and balanced as a side with the World Cup in mind. Few games against New Zealand and few more back home to strengthen the areas that we need to work on as a team,” Kohli added.

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