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Women’s Hockey WC: India outclass Italy 3-0 to enter quarters

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London, Aug 1 (IANS) Asian champions India powered past lower-ranked Italy with an easy 3-0 victory in a playoff here on Tuesday to set-up a quarter-final against Ireland in the Women’s Hockey World Cup.

World No 10 India produced a good all-round display and were helped by goals from Lalremsiami (ninth minute), Neha Goyal (45th) and Vandana Katariya (55th) at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

India had to be alert against world No 17 Italy, who had defeated higher-ranked sides South Korea and China to qualify for the playoffs. Even though the European outfit conceded 12 goals against the Netherlands in their last game, both Italy and India were guarded against each other. It resulted with the match opening up with a slow tempo during the beginning moments of the first period.

But India created a glorious opportunity in the ninth minute as Navjot Kaur won the first penalty corner of the match. The resulting flick was taken by Gurjit Kaur and her fierce strike was deflected away by the first rusher.

India took their long corner quickly, managing to exploit the space in the Italian striking circle, and young striker Lalremsiami benefitted from it as she produced a calm finish from the left side of the goal to give India the lead.

The early stages of the second quarter saw India’s captain Rani Rampal create a chance in the 17th minute as she ran by the left baseline, passing the ball inside which was eventually cleared by Italian goalkeeper Martina Chirico.

The Italian goalkeeper was called into action again two minutes later as Udita found herself in the striking circle, clear of all Italian defenders, but Chirico got to the ball first to clear away the danger.

India seemed content to invite the Italians inside their half, and looked to attack them on the counter, hoping to catch their opponents off guard.

On the other hand, Italy also had chances to go forward, but failed to deliver inside the striking circle, giving away free hits too often as India took their lead into the half-time break.

India could have gone 2-0 up in the 34th minute as Navneet Kaur found herself in possession with her back towards the goal. The young forward turned and deceived the Italian goalkeeper but just missed the target as she placed the ball wide of the goal-post.

India continued to surge forward and earned three penalty corners in this quarters. From the third penalty corner, Reena Khokhar’s flick deflected off an Italian defender and clumsily got trapped under the goalkeeper. The Indian attackers looked to put the ball into the back of net and it was Neha who got the final touch to extend India’s advantage.

Trailing 0-2, Italy showed some urgency in the fourth quarter. Drag-flicker Agata Wybieralska forced a good save from goalkeeper Savita.

However, India upped the ante to kill off the game by earning two back-to-back penalty corners in the 54th and 55th minutes. In the second penalty corner, Gurjit Kaur’s fierce low flick towards the right side of goalkeeper was cleverly deflected in by Vandana to make it 3-0.

Following the win, Sjoerd Marijne-coached india will take on Ireland on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals.

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Great Learning ropes in Virat Kohli as brand ambassador

Earlier this month, Great Learning had announced a collaboration with Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in the US to launch online ‘Master of Science in Data Science Programme’ in India.

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New Delhi, Sep 14 : Ed-tech company Great Learning on Monday announced the appointment of Virat Kohli, as its brand ambassador.

The captain of the Indian cricket team, who also topped a recent ranking of India’s most powerful celebrities, will now be the face of the Great Learning brand, the company said.

He will lead the brand’s latest ‘Power Ahead’ campaign, which underlines the importance of lifelong learning and showcases how high-quality learning at the right time can help professionals and students power ahead in their career.

“Kohli is the obvious choice to be our brand ambassador because he best embodies the great learning ethos of excellence and continuous learning,” Mohan Lakhamraju, Founder and CEO, Great Learning, said in a statement.

“We are looking forward to this association with Kohli through which we wish to spread the message that now, through the high quality online learning offered by Great Learning, anyone can grow and succeed,” Lakhamraju added.

The company is also launching a multi-film campaign with Kohli during the upcoming Dream 11 IPL, where the brand is Associate Sponsor on Disney + Hotstar.

The films showcase Kohli reflecting on the brands philosophy of continuous learning being a necessity for sustained career growth, something he embodies only too well in his game.

“Great Learning is a leader in the professional learning space and has built a reputation for delivering high quality education and career transformations,” said Kohli.

“I also share the same passion for excellence that Great Learning does and am excited about our association,” Kohli added.

Earlier this month, Great Learning had announced a collaboration with Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in the US to launch online ‘Master of Science in Data Science Programme’ in India.

The fully online, 18-months-long Master’s programme offers an opportunity to earn a world-class master’s degree from a global top-30 ranked university for graduates and working professionals in the country.

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Naomi Osaka beats Victoria Azarenka to win US Open

The victory is Osaka’s third Grand Slam singles title.

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Naomi Osaka returned to the fore in women’s tennis by coming back to defeat Victoria Azarenka and win her second United States Open on Saturday.

Osaka’s 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory capped a run of powerful play and political activism in New York. She wore seven different masks with different names for each of her matches to honor Black victims of violence. She walked on court Saturday with a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed in Cleveland by a white police officer in 2014.

Osaka’s victory on Saturday came in radically different conditions than her first title run in New York in 2018.

In that final, she defeated Serena Williams in a tumultuous straight-set match that turned ugly when Williams clashed in Arthur Ashe Stadium with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who called three code-of-conduct violations against Williams.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty on Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty on Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Shocked, devastated: IOC, UWW react to Navid Afkari’s execution

The International Olympic Committee and amateur wrestling’s governing body United World Wrestling (UWW) on Saturday reacted to the execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari.

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Geneva: While IOC said that it was “shocked” by the development, the UWW said that the news has left the “entire wrestling community” mourning.

Provincial prosecutor general Kazem Mousavi was quoted as saying by Iran’s state television’s website that 27-year-old Afkari was executed in a prison in the southern city of Shiraz on Saturday. Afkari had been found guilty of “voluntary homicide” for murdering a man during the anti-government protests in 2018.

“United World Wrestling has learned that the scheduled execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari took place this morning in Iran,” said UWW in its statement.

“It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind the scene work of United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, the IOC together with the NOC of Iran did not achieve our goal. The news is devastating and the entire wrestling community mourns his death,” it added.

Earlier, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it is “shocked” by the development.

“In letters, Thomas Bach, the IOC President, had made direct personal appeals to the Supreme Leader and to the President of Iran this week and asked for mercy for Navid Afkari, while respecting the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” it said in its statement.

“It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind-the-scenes work of the IOC, together with the NOC of Iran, United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, did not achieve our goal. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari,” it added.

The IOC did not specify if it is planning to take action against Iran on the matter.

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