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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Triple Olympic champion Stephanie Rice to help Indian swimmers

Sports Shorts: Triple Olympic champion Stephanie Rice to help Indian swimmers

Last updated on: July 03, 2014 20:07 IST

Sports Shorts: Triple Olympic champion Stephanie Rice to help Indian swimmers

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Stephanie Rice, Australia's triple Olympic champion who called time on her illustrious swimming career in April at the age of 25, has joined hands with sports management firm Rhiti Sports to improve the standard of the sport in India.

The champion swimmer had a humble upbringing in Queensland before going on to become one of the biggest names in the sport by winning gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, all in world record time.

Rhiti Sports claimed that Rice plans to set up academies in India and is looking forward to grooming young talent.

On her association, the 26-year-old said: "I'm really excited on the opportunity to join Rhiti Sports, which already manages some of the biggest sports names in the world. I feel India is a land of immense sports potential and all that you need to do is to convert it into Olympic medals by providing good infrastructure along with proper coaching.

"I hope through Rhiti Sports, I'm able to fulfil dreams of those youngsters who want to become world-class swimmers."

She is already involved with the launch of her own kids' "RACE" swimwear line back home, besides hosting corporate swimming clinics, health and fitness programs.

"We're thrilled to have Stephanie Rice on board. Swimming is considered to be a very glamorous sport and has a lot of scope in our country. We're proud that with our association with Stephanie, we can contribute in its growth," said Arun Pandey, Rhiti Sports’ Managing Director.

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Image: Stephanie Rice
Photographs: Marianna Massey/Getty Images

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Danish, Gurwinder in C'wealth Games hockey squad

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Experienced Danish Mujtaba and Gurwinder Singh Chandi have been recalled to the Indian men's 16-member hockey squad for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Both Danish and Chandi, who were not part of the World Cup squad, will be making a comeback in the national team after recovering from injuries.

Danish, who was suffering from a knee injury since May last year, was part of the squad that went on a preparatory tour to The Hague, Netherlands, just ahead of the World Cup, but did not find a place in the main team for the quadrennial event, where India finished a lowly ninth.

Despite finishing a poor ninth at the World Cup, Hockey India repose faith in Sardar Singh and retained him as captain of the Glasgow-bound squad.

P R Sreejesh, who is the lone goalkeeper in the 16-member squad, will also don the additional responsibility of vice-captaincy at the July 23-August 3 event.

Barring goalkeeper Harjot Singh, midfielders S K Uthappa, Jasjit Singh and forward Mandeep Singh, most of the player who were part of the World Cup squad were retained.

Ramandeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah, who were part of the World Cup squad but had to return home before the start of the tournament after getting injured in practice games, were also included.

Sardar, Sreejesh, Danish, Chandi and Gurbaj Singh are the five players who featured in the last Commonwealth Games and part of the side that was humiliated 0-8 by Australia in the final of the 2010 Delhi edition in Delhi.

Hockey India selectors -- B P Govinda, Harbinder Singh, R P Singh and Arjun Halappa along with Director High Performance Roelant Oltmans and chief coach Terry Walsh -- shortlisted the players on the basis of their performance during the selection trials conducted at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on June 30 June and July 1.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh (vice-capt)

Defenders: Gurbaj Singh, Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh, Kothajit Singh, V R Raghunath.

Midfielders: Dharamvir Singh, Sardar Singh (capt), Danish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet Singh.

Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, S V Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Nikkin Thimmaiah.

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Image: Sardar Singh and V Raghunath go through a penalty-corner drill in training


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No deal on Suarez by Barcelona, Liverpool yet

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Barcelona and Liverpool held 'productive' talks in London on Wednesday over the possible transfer of disgraced Anfield striker Luis Suarez but no deal was finalised, British media reported.

Barcelona appear to be leading the race among clubs linked with the 27-year-old Uruguayan, who was expelled from the World Cup and handed a nine-match competitive international ban as well as a four-month sanction from any soccer activity for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The BBC quoted a senior Liverpool source as saying Wednesday's talks had been productive and would continue.

"There are sensible expectations on both sides. Further talks and discussions will take place but no deal has yet been finalised," the source added. Sky Sports television reported a similar outcome.

The meeting between the Merseyside club officials and a delegation led by Raul Sanllehi, Barcelona's director of football management, had been scheduled to discuss the future of last season's Premier League top scorer.

In order to prise Suarez away from Liverpool, the Spanish club will either need to meet a release clause, reportedly around 70-80 million pounds ($118-$134 million), in his revised contract or possibly offer a player-plus-cash deal.

Should the Merseysiders opt for the latter agreement, Barcelona's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez -- a Liverpool target in the past -- appears to be the Anfield side's preferred choice as Suarez's replacement.

However, club president Josep Bartomeu told reporters on Wednesday that Barcelona were "counting on" Sanchez for next season despite enquiries from many clubs.

After initially denying that he bit Chiellini in Uruguay's 1-0 win in Natal on June 24, Suarez issued a carefully worded statement on Monday, admitting his offence and vowing there would be no repeat.

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta stoked rumours of a possible move for Suarez to the Catalan club on Tuesday by praising him for his 'humility' in admitting his mistake.

In the run-up to the tournament in Brazil, Suarez scored 11 goals in 16 qualifying matches to help Uruguay secure a berth at the finals, while at Liverpool, his 31 league goals was the catalyst for the club's surprising second-place finish.

Suarez also finished the season with a share of the European Golden Boot and was named Footballer of the Year by the Professional Footballers' Association and the Football Writers' Association.

However, his life in England has not been without controversy since he arrived from Ajax in January 2011.

He has served lengthy bans twice during his stay at Anfield, once for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra and again for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in 2013.

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Image: Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates after scoring the second goal against England
Photographs: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

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Open-bound Lahiri forced to cut short honeymoon

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A truncated honeymoon is the price Asian Tour order of merit leader Anirban Lahiri will have to pay to make his second appearance at The Open later this month.

The Indian World No 81 was honeymooning in Madagascar when he learnt about being among the 10 golfers who secured their place for the July 17-20 major at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake as the highest ranked non-exempt players.

"I am two days into my 10-day honeymoon. In the middle of a tropical rainforest in Madagascar and trying to get back to India now ASAP (as soon as possible)," the 28-year-old told the Asian Tour website.

"Total chaos. Will have to make it up to the wife big time. Super excited," said Lahiri, a four-time winner in Asia.

"Just trying to figure out my movements so that I can get ready for The Open."

The Bangalore golfer made a memorable debut at The Open in 2012 when he finished tied 31st at Royal Lytham and St Annes, sinking a magical hole-in-one during the third round.

Lahiri leads the Asian Tour's Order of Merit after winning the Indonesian Masters and recording four other top-10 finishes, while also shining in Asia's come-from-behind draw with Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in March.

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Image: Anirban Lahiri of India plays a shot
Photographs: Getty Images

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Venezuela federation not eyeing Maradona as coach

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Venezuela's Soccer Federation has not considered hiring Argentine Diego Maradona as coach of its squad, the organisation said on Wednesday, shooting down rumors and suggestions by Maradona himself that he could be in line for the job.

The federation has not yet replaced Cesar Farias, who quit in November after the team missed out on the finals in Brazil.

"There has not been a proposal to hire the famous ex athlete and coach Diego Armando Maradona, despite insistence in recent hours by different media and social networks," the group wrote in a statement, citing its President Rafael Esquivel.

"The country will know the name of the new coach once the board of directors ... makes the decision, which will be after the World Cup has concluded."

Maradona had told regional television network Telesur late on Tuesday he could become the coach of Venezuela, the only South American country that has never made it to the World Cup.

Maradona, a close friend of Venezuela's former President Hugo Chavez, said he plans to visit President Nicolas Maduro after the World Cup.

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Image: Diego Maradona
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images

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Pistorius has 'heightened fight response', defence witness says

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Double-amputee Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius can't flee dangerous situations and has a "heightened fight response" due to his disability, a defence witness told his murder trial on Thursday.

Pistorius, who had his lower-legs amputated at birth, 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.

His defence team have sought throughout the trial to portray Pistorius as a vulnerable individual who killed 29-year-old Steenkamp accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder hiding behind a closed toilet door.

The prosecution has argued that Pistorius is a gun-obsessed hot-head who regularly lost his temper with Steenkamp.

Sports psychology expert Professor Wayne Derman told the Pretoria High Court on Thursday that Pistorius had a life-long fear of crime and would be more likely to confront danger when standing on his stumps, as he was when he shot Steenkamp.

"He is not able to flee because of his disability, his fight response dominates his behaviour ... resulting in an exaggerated fight response which culminated in this horrific tragedy," Derman said.

The trial was adjourned until Monday after state prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked for more time to consult one of the psychiatrists who participated in the evaluation of Pistorius to clarify technical aspects of Derman's testimony.

The murder trial resumed this week after a month-long break for Pistorius, known as 'Blade Runner' because of the carbon-fibre prosthetics he uses in competition, to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

The court heard on Monday that the athlete was not suffering from a mental condition when he shot Steenkamp, meaning he had the ability to distinguish between the rightful or wrongful nature of his actions.

Pistorius was once revered around the world as the ultimate example of triumph over adversity as he overcame his disability to compete alongside able-bodied athletes at the London 2012 Olympics.


Image: Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria high court
Photographs: Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images - Pool/Getty Images

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