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Shooters, hockey team disappoint at Olympics

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Rio de Janeiro, Aug 8 : Shooter Abhinav Bindra narrowly missed out on a medal in his Olympic swansong as the men’s hockey team suffered a late 1-2 defeat to Germany in its second match of the pool phase in a disappointing start to Monday’s campaign for India at the Rio Games here.

Adding to the disappointment was archer Laxmirani Majhi, who crashed out in the Round of 32 eliminators.

Bindra, India’s sole individual Olympic gold medallist, finished fourth in the final of the men’s 10 metre Air Rifle final at the Olympic Shooting Centre here on Monday.

Bindra started well, but a couple of wayward shots cost him dearly as he lost in the bronze medal play-off to finish fourth with a total score of 163.8.

Monday’s disappointment will see the curtains come down on the glittering career of the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist as he had earlier announced that he will retire after the Rio Olympics.

“I think I did my best but a medal was not to be. It was a tough field. Somebody had to finish fourth and I did. Well I think thats the way it is. I gave it all. It was good day a hard day. Could have been better with a medal,” a dejected Bindra, who had finished seventh, said later.

Participating in his fifth Olympics, the 33-year-old got off to a good start with scores of 29.9 and 30.2 in the first two series placing him in the top three.

He fell to the fourth spot after a relatively poor 21.1 in the third series with a total score of 81.2. But luck favoured Bindra in the fourth series as he climbed to second with 21.5 as the other shooters in the top four also faltered.

However, Bindra seemed to let the pressure get to him as his performance started to go downhill from there. The former World Champion registered progressively poorer scores of 20.8, 20.2 in the next two series.

A brilliant series of high 10s saw him go up to second after 11 shots and third after 12.

He maintained the position till the 14th shot but a couple of poor shots saw him score 20.1 in what would eventually be his final series and tied at fourth with Ukranian Serhiy Kulish after the 16th shot.

In the shoot-off that followed, Bindra could manage only a 10.0 while the Ukranian shot a brilliant 10.5 to move ahead, thus relegating the Indian to the fourth place.

The same event witnessed a heartbreak for Gagan Narang who finished a lowly 23rd in the qualification round. He could only manage 621.7 and crashed out of the event which gave him a bronze medal in the London Games.

Trap shooters Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Kynan Chenai also brought bad news by failing to enter the semi-finals after finishing 16th and 19th.

Sandhu, in his fourth Olympics, lost out after scoring a cumulative total of 115 while Chenai scored one less to be out of the fray on the second day of qualifications.

However, from the shooting range, Bindra came agonisingly close to another medal

Archer Laxmirani bowed out of the women’s individual event, beaten 101-108 by Slovakian Alexandra Longova. The Indian trailed for the very beginning of the contest and lost three of the four rounds, eventually going down 25-27, 26-28, 26-26, 24-27.

In hockey, it was a familiar scene where India failed to remain in control in the final moments. Christopher Ruhr deflected the ball from close range in the 60th minute as Germany earned a crucial win in a Pool B match that India deserved a point.

Niklas Wellen scored in the 18th minute to give the two-time defending champions the lead before Rupinder Pal Singh (23rd) brought India level with his third goal in two matches.

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Our style of play is non-negotiable: Mumbai City boss Lobera

It also means that Jahouh will now miss Mumbai’s next match against the reigning ISL Shield winners FC Goa.

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Sergio Lobera

Panaji: After Sergio Lobera’s reign at Mumbai City got off on the wrong foot on Saturday with a 1-0 loss to NorthEast United, the Spaniard said that his attack oriented possession-based game was non-negotiable.

“Our style of play is non-negotiable. I used some players in different positions from what they are used, for example Adam in right wing but I believe he has the experience to adjust. We have to improve a lot of course,” Lobera told media after the match.

Mumbai went in with two strikers up front with Adam Le Fondre playing as a make shift right winger along with Bartholomew Ogbeche. The Englishman created some good chances in the first half but a red card to midfield mainstay Ahmed Jahouh and Rowllin Borges conceding a penalty in the second meant at Mumbai ended up losing the match 1-0.

It also means that Jahouh will now miss Mumbai’s next match against the reigning ISL Shield winners FC Goa.

“Today (the red card) was a big problem for us. It changed the game, we were playing with 10 men and missing a very important player. But for the next game, I have 28 players, I am very happy with my squad. Just one player is not an excuse for losing the next game,” said Lobera.

“We need to improve, we had a short pre-season and have a short time between games. But it is my job to improve the level of the team and I am very positive that it is possible for the next game.”

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ATP Finals: Thiem beats Djokovic to reach 2nd successive final

He will now face either Daniil Medvedev or Nadal in the final which is scheduled to be played on Sunday.

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Dominic Thiem

London: Dominic Thiem outlasted world no.1 Novak Djokovic in a gripping last-four clash to reach his second successive final at the ATP Finals in the O2 Arena in London. Thiem, ranked third behind Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, won the match 7-5, 6-7(10), 7-6(5).

Thiem broke serve at 5-5 in the first set and sealed it with an ace. Djokovic, however, grinded his way to victory in the second set, denying Thiem the win despite the Austrian getting four chances to seal the game.

The third game was also pushed to a tiebreaker, which was started by Thiem but he went on to lose the next three points. He however roared back to win the next six points and while Djokovic saved a fifth match point, Thiem got the job done at the next opportunity.

He will now face either Daniil Medvedev or Nadal in the final which is scheduled to be played on Sunday.

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Even our reserves are quick, you don’t see this kind of attack: Shami

The biggest advantage is that I can now prepare for the upcoming series without any pressure. There is no burden on me. I am very comfortable at the moment.

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New Delhi, Nov 21: The depth in the fast bowling department and the camaraderie that the players share between them are among the biggest reasons why India’s pace battery is rated as one of the best in the world, according to leading pacer Mohammed Shami.

Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are considered the core of a plethora of fast bowlers who have been integral to India’s success in Test cricket in recent years.

“Our fast bowling group can bowl at 140 kmph plus and you need that kind of pace in Australia,” Shami said in an interview on the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) official website.

“Even our reserves are quick, you don’t get to see that kind of an attack. We thrive on challenges. We have the experience. We have variety in our spin bowling attack too. We can bowl fast but we are all different, our skills are different. India have quality batsmen and we bowl at them in the nets. We don’t look at names, we focus on our skills. You can be a world-class batsman, but one good ball will still get you out,” Shami said.

India will be banking on Shami and Co. during their upcoming tour of Australia. The 30-year-old pacer comes into the series after a successfull Indian Premier League in which he took 20 wickets in 14 matches.

“My performances for Kings XI Punjab in IPL has given me a lot of confidence and put me in the right zone. The biggest advantage is that I can now prepare for the upcoming series without any pressure. There is no burden on me. I am very comfortable at the moment. I had worked hard on my bowling and my fitness in the lockdown. I knew that IPL would take place sooner or later and I was preparing myself for it,” he said.

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