Sports Shorts: Kapil Dev to head Arjuna Awards selection committee
Former India cricket captain Kapil Dev will head the Arjuna Awards selection committee to select this year's outstanding sportspersons while former hockey skipper Ajitpal Singh is likely to be in charge of selecting the Dronacharya awardees.
"Yes, Kapil Dev will be heading the Arjuna Awards committee," sports secretary Ajit Sharan said on Thursday.
While Kapil, who bagged 434 wickets in 131 Tests in his 16-year-long career, got the Arjuna in 1980, former Olympian Ajitpal was conferred the Award in 1970, and awarded it in 1972.
A source in the sports ministry said the government had issued a notification in writing to all persons concerned. The awards will be conferred on National Sports Day on August 29.
The ministry has already received several nominations from various federations.
Each committee will have 15 members, including 12 eminent sportspersons and three officials. The three officials -- director general of the Sports Authority of India and a joint secretary and deputy secretary from the ministry -- will be on both committees.
Last year's Arjuna and Dronacharya awards selection committee's were headed by four-time world billiards champion Michael Ferreira and mountaineer H P S Ahluwalia respectively.
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Image: Kapil Dev
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images
Sports Shorts: Paes not to play against Serbia in next Davis Cup tie
After making himself available for the Asian Games, veteran star Leander Paes is set to miss the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Serbia due to personal reasons.
Paes is locked in a legal battle with his partner Rhea Pillai for the custody of their daughter and one of the hearings of the case would be around the tie, scheduled for September 12-14 in Bangalore.
"Leander will play Asian Games and was very much willing to play in the Davis Cup as well. However due to his personal compulsions, AITA has decided to accept his request to not play against Serbia," AITA Secretary General Bharat Oza said.
Early this year, the 40-year-old had asked for a break from national duty but AITA recently named him in the squad for the Asian Games after Paes opted to play at the quadrennial event.
Later Paes had said that he was available for national duty if required. He had missed the Asia/Oceania Group I ties against Chinese Taipei and Korea also.
World number two Serbia are expected to arrive without world No. 1 Novak Djokovic but they have formidable doubles players such as Nenad Zimonjic in their ranks.
Image: Leander Paes
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
'Disappointed to miss out on CWG gold, focus now on Asiad'
Utterly disappointed for missing out on a gold medal in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games, female shuttler P V Sindhu has now set her eyes on the upcoming World Championships and Asian Games to make up for the disappointment in Glasgow.
Sindhu hopes to learn from her mistakes which she committed in Glasgow and wants to put up much-improved performances in the World Championship in Copenhagen, starting later this month and Incheon Asian Games to be held from September 19 to October 4.
"I am disappointed because I know could have won a gold (in Glasgow CWG). Of course I got a medal (bronze) and now I will have to move on and focus on the other coming tournaments. It was really tough (to miss gold) because everyone thought I would win a gold. But never mind, it happens. Ups and downs are natural in life," Sindhu, who is currently ranked world number 11 in women's singles said.
Image: PV Sindhu
Photographs: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Sports Shorts: 'Disappointed to miss out on CWG gold, focus now on Asiad'
"I have World Championships and Asian Games coming up and I hope I would do really well in these tournaments. Preparation would begin soon because we have very less time and the schedule is also very tight this time. I hope we would really prepare well," she said.
Still smarting from the semifinal loss in the Glasgow Games, the 19-year-old shuttler said minor errors cost her the gold medal.
"Expectations were always high. But some silly mistakes happened from my side (in the Commonwealth Games). It was a very crucial match. I was a bit nervous also," Sindhu said.
Asserting that she is fully fit and raring to go, Sindhu said she is keen on improving different aspects of her game before the two upcoming events.
"I am fully fit. I hope I would improve. I would work on my strokes and also fitness level more and more," she concluded.
Image: PV Sindhu
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Top women players tell FIFA, 'World Cup on turf is discriminatory'
Some of the world's top women soccer players say FIFA's proposal to play the 2015 Women's World Cup finals in Canada on artificial turf instead of grass is discriminatory and violates human rights.
The World Cup finals for men and women, contested every four years, have always been played on natural grass. Players and coaches believe there is a higher risk of injury on artificial turf and that it causes more wear and tear on athletes' bodies.
In a three-page letter dated July 28 to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Canadian Soccer Association, lawyers representing players from Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, the United States, New Zealand and Costa Rica, among other countries, said: "The proposal is discriminatory and violates Canadian law."
Next: No plans to shift future men's tournaments to artificial turf
Image: Simone Laudehr and Luisa Wensing of Germany celebrate after the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 final
Photographs: Martin Rose/Getty Images
No plans to shift future men's tournaments to artificial turf
"If your organizations will not engage in a meaningful dialogue on how to correct the discriminatory treatment of women players, we are prepared to pursue legal action which we are confident should succeed," the letter said.
A FIFA spokesman confirmed the letter had been received, but declined to comment. The Canadian Soccer Association also declined to comment and referred enquiries to FIFA.
In the letter, the players, who include Abby Wambach of the United States and Germany's Nadine Angerer - FIFA players of the year for 2012 and 2013 respectively - said they can suggest "several affordable ways" to host the tournament on grass.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup for men in Brazil was played on grass and there are no plans to shift future men's tournaments to artificial turf. Some professional soccer leagues and some FIFA World Cup age-group matches are played on artificial turf.
Canada will host the Women's World Cup in June and July 2015 in six cities - Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton, where stadiums with artificial turf predominate.
One of the lawyers for the group of players, Hampton Dellinger of Boies, Schiller & Flexner in Washington, DC, said that while all legal avenues will be pursued to convince the World Cup authorities to provide grass surfaces, a boycott is not on the table.
Next: Phelps seventh in 100 freestyle at US nationals
Image: Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi (left) of Germany and Cathrine Dekkerhus (right) of Norway battle for the ball
Photographs: Martin Rose/Getty Images
Phelps seventh in 100 freestyle at US nationals
Multiple Olympic champion Michael Phelps finished seventh in a loaded 100 metres final at the United States National Championships in Irvine, California on Wednesday ending his hopes of swimming four individual events at this month's Pan Pacific championships.
Phelps was last at the turn and could make up little ground in the final 50 in the glamour event on the first day of the championships.
London Olympic champion Nathan Adrian dominated a race featuring seven Olympians to win in 48.31 seconds, while Ryan Lochte, swimming in lane eight, finished second as Phelps touched in 49.17.
It was the most significant race for Phelps since he came out of retirement in May, nearly two years after winning his record 18th Olympic gold medal.
His seventh-placed finish ensured he did not qualify for the event at the Pan Pacific Championships to be held on the Gold Coast in Australia later this month, though he still has the 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley to swim in order to qualify for the US team.
Adrian described his swim as 'not great' but was nonetheless pleased to win.
Next: Bayern manager Guardiola angry after loss
Image: Michael Phelps
Photographs: Getty Images
Bayern manager Guardiola angry after loss
Angry Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola did not shake hands with his opposite number after his star-studded side lost to the MLS All-Star team in a fierce friendly in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday.
The Spaniard gave Caleb Porter a one-fingered wave-off, apparently angry at some of the tackles by the MLS players as the German champions were beaten 2-1.
Guardiola offered the refereeing panel a token handshake and quickly disappeared into the tunnel.
The acrimonious ending overshadowed a brilliant first half goal by Polish striker Robert Lewandowski that gave Bayern the lead.
Lewandowski, who moved to the Bundesliga champions from Borussia Dortmond in the close season, struck a piledriver from just outside the box into the roof of the net that beat MLS keeper Nick Rimando with sheer pace.
But substitute Bradley Wright-Phillips scored an equally impressive goal in the 51st minute when he latched onto a through ball and hammered a left-foot shot into the far corner from about 20 metres.
Landon Donovan then snatched the win for the All-Stars with a right-foot shot from 10 metres in the 70th minute.
Most of the Bayern first-team regulars started on the bench in the team’s sixth pre-season game.
In the 79th minute, four of Germany’s World Cup-winning team – Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lamm, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze - came on simultaneously in a mass substitution, though Schweinsteiger left the game before the end after a challenge that may have prompted Guardiola’s subsequent ire.
In the 86th minute, Dutch star Arjen Robben came on as Bayern ended the game with almost a full-strength line-up, but the All-Stars held on to record the win.
Next: Goetze breaks silence
Image: Thomas Muller, right, of Bayern Munich heads the ball into the box during the second half of the game against the MLS All-Stars st Providence Park
Photographs: Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Germany's World Cup winner Goetze breaks silence
Germany's World Cup hero Mario Goetze said he did not have time to think about what he was doing when he controlled the ball with his chest before sweeping a sweet volley past Argentina's Sergio Romero in the final.
"You don`t really think very much when you´re in a situation like that," Goetze, 22, said in the Bild newspaper on Wednesday in his first interview since scoring the winning goal.
"I could try to describe what happened to you but only after taking a look at the replay myself. In the match it all happens intuitively," added Goetze whose extra-time strike gave Germany a 1-0 victory.
The Bayern Munich forward dismissed suggestions he had had a mediocre World Cup until coming on before extra-time in the final after staying on the bench for most of the knockout round.
He started Germany's first four matches but was replaced at halftime in the round of 16 match against Algeria.
"Everyone wants to play as much as possible in the World Cup," said Goetze. "I think that I made a contribution to our winning the World Cup. Whenever I got my chances, my performance values were alright. I kept training hard (after being benched) and kept believing in myself."
Goetze said he did not want to give any interviews after the World Cup because he wanted to digest it all himself first.
"To be honest I had to let it all sink in first," he said when asked why he had declined to give any interviews.
"I wanted to savour the moment. I also wanted to avoid saying something in a moment of euphoria that would stick forever. I`d rather stay down to earth. That's why I wanted to get away from it all for a while."
Goetze also took aim at the media for being unfairly critical of him for not wanting to comment at times.
Next: Ba hat-trick fires Besiktas
Image: Mario Goetze of Germany celebrates scoring his team's first goal in extra time
Photographs: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Ba hat-trick fires Besiktas, Celtic humbled
A Demba Ba hat-trick sent Besiktas into the Champions League playoff round at the expense of former winners Feyenoord and past champions Celtic were humiliated 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw on Wednesday.
Ludogorets Razgrad went through on away goals after a dramatic 2-2 draw at 10-man Partizan Belgrade and Zenit St Petersburg scored three second-half goals to end a brave challenge from AEL Limassol
Scotland's Celtic, who reached the last 16 two seasons ago and beat Barcelona on the way, were humbled 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw after losing the second leg 2-0 at home.
Michal Zyro and Michal Kucharczyk scored in each half to take the Polish champions within two games of their first group stage appearance since 1995-96.
Moldova, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan's hopes of being represented in the group stage for the first time ended as their champions were all eliminated.
Azerbaijan's Qarabag Agdam took a 2-1 lead to Salzburg, only to be sunk by two-first half goals from Martin Hinteregger as they lost 2-0 to the Austrians in the third qualifying round, secondleg tie.
Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol lost 2-1 on aggregate to Slovan Bratislava after a goalless draw at home to the Slovakians and Kazakhstan's Aktobe were beaten 2-1 at former champions Steaua Bucharest, going out 4-3 on aggregate.
Napoli, Porto, Athletic Bilbao, Bayer Leverkusen and Arsenal enter the fray in the final qualifying round with the draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Friday.
Besiktas, who finished third in the Turkish Super League last season, only qualified in a knock-on effect because champions Fenerbahce are serving the second of a two-year ban over domestic match-fixing in 2011.
Danish champions Aalborg BK stunned Dinamo Zagreb when Anders Jacosben scored twice, the second a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area, to give them a 2-0 away win to overturn the Croatians' 1-0 opening victory.
Other teams to qualify were FC Copenhagen, who beat Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2-0 after a goalless draw in the first leg, and 1979 runners-up Malmo, who qualified on away goals after beating Sparta Prague 2-0 for a 4-4 aggregate draw.
Image: Demba Ba
Photographs: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images