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Soumya says No to headscarf, Withdraws from Iran event

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New Delhi, June 13 : Woman Grandmaster and former world junior girls’ champion Soumya Swaminathan has pulled out of the Asian Team Chess Championship, to be held in Hamadan, Iran, from July 26 to August 4 as she refused to follow country’s strict Islamic dress code of wearing a headscarf.

Terming the Islamic country’s “compulsory headscarf” rule violative of her personal rights, the 29-year-old,“I do not wish to be forced to wear a headscarf or burqa. I find the Iranian law of compulsory headscarf to be in direct violation of my basic human rights, including my right to freedom of expression and right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is to not go to Iran.”

Here is what Soumya Swaminathan wrote on her Facebook page about her decision.

“I am very sorry to state that I have asked to be excused from the Indian Women’s team for the forthcoming Asian Nations Cup ( Asian Team ) Chess Championship 2018, to be held at Iran from 26 July – 4 Aug 2018, as I do not wish to be forced to wear a Headscarf or Burkha. I find the Iranian law of compulsory Headscarf to be in direct violation of my basic Human Rights including my right to freedom of expression, and right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran.

I am very disappointed to see that player’s rights and welfare are given such less importance while allotting and/or organising official championships. I understand the organisers expecting us to wear our National Team Dress or Formals or Sporting attire for our games during official championships, but surely there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in Sports.

It is a huge honour for me to represent India everytime I am selected in the National Team and I deeply regret that I will be unable to participate in such an important championship. While we sportspersons are willing to make several adjustments for the sake of our sport, always giving it top priority in our life, some things simply cannot be compromised.”

This is not the first time an athlete pulled out of an event over the same issue. In 2016, top Indian shooter Heena Sidhu had withdrawn from the Asian Airgun meet in Iran citing the same reason.

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CBI raids Sports Authority of India office in Delhi over bribery charges

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CBI

New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted a raid at the official premises of Sports Authority of India (SAI) in New Delhi in connection with bribery charges against some of its officials.

Sources told ANI that complaints had been received against a few SAI officers who were allegedly taking bribes for approving work. Based on the complaints, the SAI asked the CBI to investigate the issue, the sources said.

SAI Director General Neelam Kapoor said”There is zero tolerance for corruption in SAI. We will support any action against corruption.”

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Ronaldo leads Juventus to Italian super cup title

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Jan 17: Cristiano Ronaldo scored the lone goal in Juventus’ 1-0 victory over AC Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana, a win that gives the Portuguese superstar his first title with the Bianconeri.

Wednesday’s match at King Abdullah Sports City between seven-time defending Serie A champion Juve and 2017-2018 Coppa Italia runner-up Milan was mostly controlled by the Turin club, who nearly got on the board in the opening minutes on a left-footed blast by Douglas Costa and a cross-shot by Joao Cancelo (just back from injury) that grazed the far post, reports Efe news.

AC Milan tried unsuccessfully to get their attack going in the first half and dodged a bullet shortly before the intermission when an apparent goal by Blaise Matuidi was disallowed for offside and Ronaldo nearly scored off a cross by Costa.

The Rossoneri finally started pushing back against Juve at the start of the second half and had their best scoring chance of the contest in the 47th minute on a left-footed rocket from the area by Patrick Cutrone that ricocheted off the crossbar.

It took Juve a few minutes to get the momentum back, a stretch in which their defenders needed to stymie some potentially dangerous Milan counter-attacks.

But just after the one-hour mark Ronaldo once again emerged as the key difference maker when he headed home a perfectly placed pass into the area by Miralem Pjanic.

The former Real Madrid talisman’s goal in the 61st minute, his 16th of the season across all competitions, forced Milan to seek more offence and bring on Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain for Samu Castillejo 10 minutes later.

But Higuain, who is on loan from Juventus and could be headed soon for English Premier League (EPL) club Chelsea, was unable to make an impact against his parent team and did not have a single scoring opportunity during his 20 minutes of action.

Milan’s chances of mounting a comeback seemed slight after Franck Kessie was shown a direct red card for a hard foul on Emre Can, although despite playing with just 10 men the Coppa Italia runners-up came close to winning a late penalty.

The video assistant referee (VAR) system, however, reviewed the play and ruled that Can did not commit a foul in the area on Tiemoue Bakayoko.

With their victory, Juve now have a record eight Supercoppa Italiana titles.

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Ganguly defends Pandya and Rahul, says ‘People make mistakes’

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sourav ganguly
Sourav Ganguly (File Photo)

Mumbai, Jan 17: Former Indian cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly has defended cricketers Hardik Pandya and K.L. Rahul over their “Koffee With Karan” episode controversy, saying people make mistakes but everyone should move on and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Ganguly spoke at the trailer launch of the Hindi film “22 Yards”, with the cast members Barun Sobti, Geetika Tyagi and Chaiti Ghoshal and director Mitali Ghoshal here on Wednesday.

Pandya and Rahul were slammed over their sexist comments on “Koffee with Karan”.

Koffee With Karan

Despite an apology to fans and their own teammates, Pandya and Rahul were suspended by the BCCI and ousted from a three-match ODI series against Australia in Sydney.

Asked if modern day cricketers should be responsible while giving statements on a public platform as a whole lot of youngsters look up to them, Ganguly said: “I haven’t watched that episode. I watch ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’. Jokes apart, I feel that you can’t generalise that only modern day cricketers should behave responsibly. People make mistakes. Let’s not get too far into that.

“I am sure whoever has done it will realise that and come out as a better person. We are all human beings. We are not machines that everything you put in comes out perfect. You have just got to live life and let others live. They are responsible people. They may be role models but they are under pressure all the time to perform. Certain things happen in life and as everyone, we should move on and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Does he feel modern day cricketers of India aren’t responsible in their behaviour as compared to the past generation of cricketers?

Ganguly said: “I feel modern day cricketers are also responsible, disciplined and obedient. In life, certain things happen and you make some mistakes so, let’s not get too far into that. Look at Virat Kohli, he is such a fantastic role model. India is a fortunate country. Every generation produces players who all of us cherish.”

He said India has produced great cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli over the years.

“There was Sunil Gavaskar and when he retired, people thought who is next, then Sachin Tendulkar came and when Tendulkar retired, people again asked who is next then people saw Virat Kohli. So, we are a very fortunate country in terms of sports and a lot of these cricketers are fantastic human beings because they come from very middle class backgrounds and fight their way up.”

Bollywood has made films on the life of sports personalities like Milkha Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and now Kabir Khan is making a film on the Indian cricket team’s World Cup victory in 1983.

IANS

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