Sardar retains place in Asian Games squad
Ace dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh and striker Akashdeep Singh today returned to India's 18-member men's hockey squad for next month's Asian Games in Indonesia, where the country would be defending its gold medal.
The team for the 18th Asian Games, to be held in Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2, was announced by Hockey India today and featured just two changes from the Champions Trophy squad that won a second consecutive silver medal in Breda, Netherlands recently.
While Rupinder, who was rested from the Champions Trophy squad, returned to the side in place of Jarmanpreet Singh, Akashdeep replaced an injured Ramandeep Singh.
The rest of the squad, to be led by veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, is the same that took part in the final edition of the Champions Trophy.
Chinglensana Singh has been retained as the vice captain and he will be joined by the experienced Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad in the mid-field.
India's forward-line has just one change in Akashdeep replacing Ramandeep, who suffered a right knee injury in the Champions Trophy. Besides Akashdeep, SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Dilpreet Singh are the other strikers in the Asian Games-bound squad.
The team's defence will be strengthened by the return of experienced dragflicker Rupinder along side Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar and Birendra Lakra.
India defeated Pakistan in the final at the 2014 edition in Incheon, Korea to win the gold and will be eager to repeat the feat to book an automatic berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (Captain), Krishan B Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Surender Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice-Captain), Simranjeet Singh, Sardar Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad
Forwards: SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh.
Shuttler Jayaram finishes runners-up at White Nights
On a comeback trail after recovering from injury, Indian shuttler Ajay Jayaram finished runners-up at the White Nights International Challenge after losing in the finals against top seed Pablo Abian of Spain in Gatchina, Russia.
The 30-year-old Indian, who entered the semifinals at the US Open World Tour 300 event last month, had an impressive run at the tournament before losing 21-11, 16-21, 17-21 to Pablo in a 55-minute summit clash.
"It feels good to be winning matches again. Quite happy with the way I'm playing now. Especially considering being off for so long and until even a couple of months ago I had a lot of doubts about my hamstring. So I feel quite positive with the last couple of results - the US open semis and this one," Jayaram said.
"A lot of positives to take from both the tournaments. It gives me motivation to continue to work harder and hopefully I can improve on this in the coming tournaments."
Jayaram, who had achieved a career-best ranking of world no 13 in April last year, aggravated a hamstring injury at the Senior Nationals. An old knee injury also flared up and he was out of action for over six months. It affected his ranking as it nosedived 96.
The Mumbai shuttler made a comeback in April and reached the US Open semifinals last month. He is now itching to comeback to the big league and would play at the Super 100 and 300 events to rack up his ranking.
"I will be playing the Russian GP next. I will be focusing on Super 100, 300 and maybe Challenger events in the coming months. I need to get my ranking up before I can get back into the big league of Super Series," said Jayaram.
Meanwhile, men's doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Saurabh Sharma lost 21-18, 13-21, 17-21 to German combo of Bjarne Geiss and Jan Colin Völker in the semi-finals.
American F2 driver banned for collision, mobile phone in car
American Formula Two driver Santino Ferrucci was fined and banned for four races on Sunday for crashing into his Indian team mate, driving the car with a mobile phone in his hand and refusing to attend stewards' hearings.
Stewards fined the 20-year-old, who is a development driver for the US-owned Haas Formula One team, 66,000 euros ($77,497.20) and disqualified him from Sunday's race at Silverstone.
He was banned from the next two rounds in Hungary and Belgium, four races in all.
Formula Two is an official feeder series for Formula One, with races run after Saturday qualifying and before Sunday's grand prix.
Race organisers said Ferrucci had deliberately driven into the rear of Trident team mate Arjun Maini's car on the cooldown lap. He also forced Maini off the road during the race.
The Formula Two website said the American had also been seen in the car, while it was going from the support paddock to pitlane, "wearing just one glove and holding a phone in his hand".
It said that "violated both the technical and sporting regulations for incorrect driver safety equipment and the prohibition of wireless transmission devices within the car."
Trident apologised on Twitter for their driver's "unsportsmanlike and above all uncivilized behaviour".