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Sathiyan bows out of TT WC in Round of 16

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Chengdu (China): Star Indian paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran on Saturday crashed out of the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Men’s World Cup after losing his Round of 16 match to Germany’s Timo Bull.

Sathiyan, who made it to the main draw after defeating Simon Gauzy of France and Jonathan Groth of Denmark in the preliminary round, had to face a crushing 1-4 (11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 9-11, 8-11) defeat to Timo.

Playing in his first-ever World Cup, the World No. 30 clearly kept up with his mood and took the first game 11-7. However, the German was quick to respond with a leveller himself and won the game two 11-8.

In the third game, the former world number one used all his magic tricks to move beyond the reach of the 17th seeded Indian and won 11-5.

Timo didn’t take the game stretch for too long as he took the next two games 11-9 and 11-8 to win the match 4-1 and book his place in the quarterfinals.

The 26-year-old Indian however should take heart from his performances in Chengdu. He accounted for Simon Gauzy, the no.12 seed, in his opening encounter (11-13, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8), prior to overcoming Jonathan Groth, the no.14 seed (11-3, 12-10, 7-11, 16-14, 8-11, 11-8) to seal top place in his group.

Prior to their meetings in Chengdu, Sathiyan had played Simon and Jonathan, each on three occasions in world ranking events, he had lost all six matches.

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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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