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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Indian juniors pip Malaysia to win Youth Olympic Qualifiers

Sports Shorts: Indian juniors pip Malaysia to win Youth Olympic Qualifiers

April 29, 2018 18:32 IST

A summary of sports events and persons who made news on Sunday

Vivek Sagar Prasad

IMAGE: India’s Vivek Sagar Prasad in action. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter

India's junior men's team held their nerves to beat Malaysia 2-1 in the shootout to win the Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers, in Bangkok, on Saturday.

 

The victory will give India a chance to participate in the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires in August. The tournament was played in new Hockey 5's format.

In the women's final, India led by Salima Tete lost 1-4 to China as they ended their campaign as runners-up.

In the men's final, India were locked 4-4 after regulation time.

Malaysia made the first breakthrough after Mohamad Anuar scored in the 11th minute but India upped their ante in attack as they struck an equalizer in the 12th minute through Rahul Kumar Rajbhar.

Later, skipper Vivek Sagar Prasad fetched India 2-1 lead with his scintillating goal in the 14th minute. Muhammad Moharam however equalized the score to 2-2 soon after in the 15th minute.

India again scored in the 18th and 20th minute through Prasad and Rajbhar respectively taking 4-2 lead.

However defensive lapses saw them concede two goals in the 26th and 30th minutes in the final quarter to end the regulation time at 4-4.

In the shootout, however, India scored through Rabichandra Moirangthem and Rajbhar while Prashant Chauhan did well to keep the Malaysian attackers from converting as India pulled off a thrilling victory.

In the women's final, China dominated the proceedings with a 4-0 lead in the first quarter of the match. Goals were scored by Liu Chencheng (3rd, 4th), Zou Meirong (4th) and Ma Ning (8th) that dented India's chances.

Though Chetna scored India's lone goal in the 16th minute, they couldn't muster a winner, thus finishing as runners-up.

Skeet shooters fail as India finish 12th in Changwon WC

Indian shooters drew a blank in the men's skeet competition as the country finished 12th at the year's second ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage in Changwon, Korea, on Sunday.

Sheeraz Sheikh, who had shot 49 out 50 to place 11th after the first day of qualifications yesterday, shot rounds of 23, 22 and 24 today to end in the 23rd place with a score of 118.

Two other Indians in the fray Smit Singh and Angad Bajwa shot scores of 116 each to finish 37th and 43rd respectively. Only the top six among 81 shooters in the fray qualified for the finals and 121 was the final qualifying score.

USA's Vincent Hancock, a double Olympic and three time world champion, beat reigning Olympic champion Gabriele Rossetti of Italy to win the men's skeet gold on the concluding day of the event.

The legend has so far claimed victory in both the World Cup stages this year and yet again equalled the world record score of 59 out of 60 shots in the final.

Shahzar Rizvi's silver in the 10m men's air pistol competition helped India finish 12th in the medals tally here. A total of 24 out of 70 participating nations won medals. China topped the tally with four gold medals, followed by Russia with three and USA with two.

Prajnesh wins maiden singles title on Challenger circuit

Prajnesh Gunneswaran clinched his first ever singles title on the ATP Challenger circuit when he downed Egypt's Mohammed Safwat in the final of the Kunming Open in Anning, a victory which will push him inside top-200.

Prajnesh, who had won the decisive fifth rubber of the recent China tie, beat the Egyptian 5-7 6-3 6-1 in one hour and 52 minutes.

It was second final at the Challenger level for southpaw Prajnesh, who had lost the Pune summit clash to Sadio Doumbia in October 2016.

The 28-year-old from Chennai, ranked 260, pocketed USD 21,600 and earned 125 points which are likely to help him jump more than 80 places when the new ranking chart will be issued on Monday.

India will now have three players inside top-200 as Prajnesh is expected to be around 175. Yuki Bhambri leads the chart for the country at number 83 and is followed by Ramkumar Ramanathan (115).

"This victory could not have come at a better time. First time I have earned so many points from a single event. These 125 points will help me a lot. I think it will help me secure (qualifiers of ) both Wimbedon and US Open," Prajnesh, who will appear his final year exams at University of London, said from Anning.

"This win has taught me what it takes to be in top-100. I always knew what I need to do to move to the next level but now I know how to do it. I think I am good enough to be in top-100," Prajnesh, studying Buisness Administration, added.

Prajnesh, who had a bright career as a junior but lost many years after turning Pro due to stress fractures in his knees, said after winning the fifth rubber against Chinese prodigy Yibing Wu, he has got a better understanding of his game.

"I was confident taking him since I was much higher-ranked but what I took from that match at 2-all, playing for country, was better understanding of my game."

Prajnesh will take a few weeks off to appear in exams and will again start playing closer to the French Open.

Indian fencer wins silver medal at Reykjavik tourney

India's C A Bhavani Devi won a silver medal in the sabre event of the Tournoi World Cup Satellite Fencing Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The Tamil Nadu fencer went down 10-15 to USA's Alexis Browne in the final yesterday, according to a press note.

She had beaten Parede Torres 15-9 in the quarterfinal and followed it up by getting past Guila Arpino of Italy 15-10 in the semifinal.

She posted a picture of herself with the medal on her Twitter feed.

Bhavani Devi had won a gold medal at the Reykjavik tournament last year to become the first Indian win to do so in an international fencing event. 

Shubhankar finishes Tied-15 in China Open

Going on a birdie-spree towards the end, Shubhankar Sharma fired a 5-under 67, his best card of the week, to finish T-15th at the Volvo China Open in Beijing.

The 21-year-old finished at 12-under 276, best among all Indians in the fray. He had six birdies, three of them in last four holes, for a fine finish.

Sharma, who leads the Asian Tour's Habitat for Humanity Rankings is also second behind Masters champion Patrick Reed on the Race to Dubai standings.

Alexander Björk became the first Swede to lift the trophy after he closed with a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 to win by one shot at the Topwin Golf and Country Club.

Among other Indians, Arjun Atwal (71) was T-32nd, Gaganjeet Bhullar, who at one stage rose to T-2 earlier in the week, ended T-63, while Shiv Kapur (71) was T-66 and Khalin Joshi (79) was T-68.

“The week has been decent. It's not great but it's decent. I think I could have done a little bit better. I left a few shots out there but that's golf. I am happy that I finished in double digits under-par,” said Sharma.

“I was sick earlier but not that sick. It was just slight fever and cold. It's alright. I am happy to be leading the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings now but it's still a long way to go for the season. I just have to keep building on my position. We will see what happens.”

The 27-year-old Björk, who started the round one shot back, rolled in seven birdies for a winning total of 18-under-par 270 and a maiden title on both the European Tour and the Asian Tour.

Adrian Otaegui of Spain birdied the last to sign for a second straight 67 and finish in second place. Wallace settled for a 68 following a closing par to share third place with countryman Jordan Smith (64) and Jorge Campillo (67) of Spain on 272.

Ashun Wu produced the shot of the day when his eight-iron tee shot from 158 yards found the bottom of the cup on the par-three 13th hole. It was the third hole-in-one of the week. 

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