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Sports Shorts: Bhullar is first Indian-origin player to join NBA

Last updated on: July 08, 2014 19:53 IST

Sports Shorts: Bhullar is first Indian-origin player to join NBA

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Sim Bhullar has become the first player of Indian origin to be a part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) after he signed a summer contract with the Sacramento Kings, a professional basketball team in the United States.

The 21-year-old Bhullar, who is 7.5 feet tall and weighs 360 pounds, is a centre from New Mexico State University.

Originally from Canada, Bhullar's parents hail from Punjab.

The six-footer's younger brother, Tanveer, who is 7.2 feet, also plays college basketball at New Mexico State.

Bhullar's name was not originally drafted in last month's NBA Draft, and that might deter him from playing for the Kings when the 2014-2015 season begins later this year.

The Indian-origin player made everyone take note of him in college as he averaged 10.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game in his two-year career with the Aggies.

In an interview with a Toronto paper The Globe and Mail, Bhullar said he wanted to make the most of it by dropping out of college after his sophomore year and enter the draft.

"Guys my size don't have very long careers and you have to take advantage of it and do the best you can with the time you have to play," Bhullar was quoted as saying by the Globe and Mail.

"I didn't want to get hurt in another college season and ruin my chances. And I'm not the kind of guy that's doing it just to make money right away; I just want to play at the highest level," he said.

In 2013, the Kings became the NBA's first team to have an Indian-origin majority owner -- Vivek Ranadive.

Since taking over the reins of the Kings, which was lying low in recent years due to less winning percentages and declining ticket sales, Ranadive has transformed the organisation into one of the better ones in the league.

- NEXT: Juniors Senthil Kumar, Fadte win squash titles in Germany


Image: Sim Bhullar #2 of the New Mexico State Aggies (right)
Photographs: Steve Dykes/Getty Images

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Sports Shorts: Juniors Senthil Kumar, Fadte win squash titles in Germany

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Indian juniors Velavan Senthilkumar and Yash Fadte clinched the under-17 and under-13 boys' titles respectively in the Pioneer Cup, a European super series squash tournament for juniors, in Cologne, Germany.

Senthilkumar, seeded 21, shocked top seed Dmitri Steinmann of Switzerland in four games in round two before upsetting second seed Enzo Corgliano, from France, in four games (11-3, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8) in the final on Monday to lift the under-17 crown.

His compatriot Robin Singh Mann finished third after defeating Canadian Rahul Sehrawat in four games.

Unseeded Fadte also shocked the top two seeds from France -- Manuel Paquemar in the quarters and Toufik Mekhalfi in the final -- to win the boys under-13 title.

Unseeded Fadte, who recently won a silver medal on debut while playing for India in the 21st Asian Junior Individual Squash Championship in Kish Island, Iran, beat Mekhalfi 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 in a 36-minute final.

The boy from Vasco, Goa, stunned top seed Paquemar 11-6, 13-15, 11-4, 11-4 in a 49-minute quarter-final match before defeating another French rival, seventh seed Matteo Cremoux, in the semis.

Earlier, Fadte defeated Yannick Mahieu of Belgium in the first round, Karim Farrag of Czech Republic in the second round and Nathan Mead of England in the third round, without dropping a game.

"This victory was crucial especially after I narrowly missed winning the title in Iran," said Fadte from Germany.

"Playing in such tournaments gives me valuable exposure and experience."

Harshit Kaur Jawanda of India finished runner up in the girls under-17 group after going down to Chloe Chemtob of Canada 11-5, 2-11, 6-11, 10-12 in the title clash.

- NEXT: Nike to end kit supply deal with Manchester United


Image: Yash Fadte


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Nike to end kit supply deal with Manchester United

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US sportswear company Nike will not renew a long-running kit supply deal with English soccer club Manchester United because of the cost of a new contract, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said.

Nike has been supplying United's famous red shirts since 2002 but the current agreement expires next year. Its withdrawal is expected to clear the way for the club to sign a lucrative new deal with German sportswear company Adidas.

"Clearly Nike's football business is booming and they could easily afford to do this (deal). They had the right to match any other offer but looking at the deal on the table, they will walk away as it doesn't make commercial sense," the source said.

United got around 38 million pounds ($64.7 million) from the Nike deal in 2012-13, including its share of profit from the sale of merchandise around the world.

Media reports had suggested the club was looking for a new deal worth around 60 million pounds per season.

Nike and Adidas are battling for supremacy in the soccer kit industry, with the American company having made big inroads into a sport that its German rival long dominated.

United, owned by the American Glazer family, are looking to rebuild after a disappointing season in which the 20-times English champions finished only seventh in the Premier League.

The club has installed Dutchman Louis van Gaal as their new manager and he will take charge after the World Cup where he has steered the Netherlands to the semi-finals.

Adidas and Man Utd both declined to comment.

- NEXT: Pistorius murder trial


Image: Manchester United's Wayne Rooney walks off with Ryan Giggs (right)
Photographs: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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Defence team closes case in Pistorius murder trial

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Oscar Pistorius' defence team wrapped up its case in the murder trial of the Olympic and Paralympic athlete on Tuesday and the court adjourned for a month to allow the legal teams to prepare and submit their closing arguments.

Pistorius, who had his lower-legs amputated as a baby, could face life in prison if he is found guilty of murdering his law graduate and model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot and killed at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year.

The 27-year-old athlete, known as 'Blade Runner' because of the carbon-fibre prosthetics he uses on the track, says he killed Steenkamp in a tragic accident, shooting at what he thought was an intruder hiding behind a locked toilet door.

The state alleges he killed in a fit of rage after an argument.

- NEXT: Tour de France


Image: Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during court proceedings
Photographs: Leon Sadiki/Pool/Reuters

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Kittel wins Tour de France stage three

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Germany's Marcel Kittel produced another show of raw power to win his second stage of this year's Tour de France on Monday, storming down The Mall for a commanding victory.

With his Giant-Shimano team setting a searing pace at the front of the peloton as it snaked around some of London's most well-known landmarks, Kittel burst to the line at the end of the 155-km third stage, a flat run from Cambridge.

Slovakia's Peter Sagan was second with Australian Mark Renshaw, Omega Pharma-Quick Step's main sprinter in the absence of Mark Cavendish who crashed out on Saturday, third.

While Kittel put down another marker in his fight with Sagan for the sprinter's green jersey, Italian Vincenzo Nibali will wear the yellow one as the race leaves Britain for France after one of the most memorable starts in its history.

Nibali, one of the biggest threats to Britain's reigning champion Chris Froome, finished comfortably in the pack to retain his two-second lead.

"I really enjoyed my first day with the yellow jersey," Nibali, who was third overall in 2012 behind Bradley Wiggins and Froome, but had never worn the fabled garment until his victory in Sheffield on Sunday, told reporters.

"My next goal is to complete the fifth stage (on cobblestones in northern France) with no worries and I'll take one step at the time.

"I hope to entertain my fans who enjoy seeing me in the yellow jersey, in Italy and elsewhere."

Despite losing nearly 20 minutes in the overall standings during a brutal day of climbing in Yorkshire on Sunday, Kittel crosses the Channel with fond memories of Britain, having also won a bunch sprint in Harrogate on Saturday.

- NEXT: 'My job was 500 metres long'


Image: Marcel Kittel of Germany and Team Giant-Shimano celebrates as he wins stage three ahead of Peter Sagan (right) of Slovakia and Cannondale in second place in the 2014 Le Tour de France from Cambridge to London on Monday
Photographs: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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'My job was 500 metres long, but the biggest fight was already over'

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With main rival Mark Cavendish having abandoned after his horror crash on Saturday, the German powerhouse will take some stopping on the flatter stages.

"My job was 500 metres long, but the biggest fight was already over," the 26-year-old, who took his total of Tour stage wins to six, said of the work of his team mates.

"My boys had done a great job before that. I lost their wheels at some point, but Tom Veelers brought me back to the wheel of Koen de Kort.

"Because of the rain, everybody was scared. But I didn't let myself be disturbed and it's a great day for us."

After two dramatic days in the spectacular scenery of Yorkshire, Monday's stage was a chance for the peloton to take stock and conserve some energy as the race meandered around the Essex countryside in pleasant sunshine.

There were still incidents, though, with 2010 winner Andy Schleck crashing on the approaches to the city.

"I was very unlucky, it was not even raining," the Luxembourg rider, who is two minutes 24 seconds behind the race leader, said.

"One guy moved from the left to the right and I could not really avoid him and went straight down at high speed.

"I lost a bit of skin on the road. On the right side, on the arm, the hip and the ribs. I guess it was my own fault."

Frenchman Jean-Marc Bideau, who was in the sole breakaway with Czech Jan Barta, won the day's intermediate sprint.

They were both reeled in as the race reached central London.

The Tour moves into France on Tuesday with a 163.5-km stage from Le Touquet to Lille.

- NEXT: 'Rosberg is not really German'


Image: The peloton rides past Cambridge University at the start of the third stage of the 2014 Tour de France, a 155km stage between Cambridge and London, on Monday
Photographs: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

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Rosberg is not really German, jokes Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton has aimed another little dig at Formula One title rival Nico Rosberg by jokingly suggesting ahead of next week's German Grand Prix that it is not his Mercedes team mate's home race.

Hamilton enjoyed huge support on his way to winning his home British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday but he questioned how many fans would be cheering for Germany's Rosberg, the championship leader, at Hockenheim.

"To be honest Nico has never actually been in Germany, so it's not really his home race," he told British reporters with a laugh.

"I remember when we used to race in karting, he didn't stand next to a German flag. Ever.

"We'd have to go on the start line and all the drivers would stand next to the grid girl, in a line.

"The girls would be holding the flag or a sign saying Hungary, or whatever, and he always stood by Monaco. He never stood by Germany."

Rosberg, the 29-year-old son of Finland's 1982 world champion Keke, was born in the German town of Wiesbaden to a German mother but moved to Monaco in infancy.

The German still lives in the Mediterranean principality and also calls that Grand Prix a home race.

"I've known him growing up in Monaco so I know Monaco's his home," said British-born Hamilton, who is now also a Monaco resident.

Rosberg leads Hamilton by four points after nine races with 10 remaining.

His compatriot Sebastian Vettel has won the past four championships for Red Bull but has not stood on top of the podium since the end of 2013 and this year's title is a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers.

- NEXT: Ashley Cole signs two-year deal with Roma


Image: Nico Rosberg, right, of Germany and Mercedes GP sits next to Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain
Photographs: Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty Images

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Ashley Cole signs two-year deal with Roma

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Former England defender Ashley Cole has signed a two-year deal with AS Roma after leaving Chelsea at the end of last season, the Italian club said in a statement on Monday.

The 33-year-old free agent will earn 2.3 million euros ($3.14 million) a year, according to local media.

Roma, back in the Champions League after finishing runners-up to Juventus in Serie A last term, announced Cole's arrival in the Italian capital for a medical by publishing a photo of the left back on their Twitter feed with the message "Welcome to Rome, Ashley".

Cole was met at Fiumicino airport by a scrum of reporters and chanting fans.

He had eight trophy-laden years at StamfordBridge, winning the Premier League, Champions League and Europa League, as well as four FA Cup titles.

Cole also earned 107 caps in 13 years as an England player but retired from international football after being left out of manager Roy Hodgson's 2014 World Cup squad.

Roma also announced the signing of Fenerbahce's Salih Ucan on Monday, with the 20-year-old Turkey midfielder agreeing a two-year loan deal that gives the club an option to buy him in 2016 for 11 million euros).

The Serie A team must pay Fenerbahce an initial fee of 4.75 million euros ($6.48 million) for the player.

According to media reports, Roma are also keen to sign former Barcelona and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o.

The Cameroon forward won the Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010 and Roma are said to be preparing a one-year deal for the 33-year-old free agent.


Image: Ashley Cole
Photographs: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

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