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Sports Shorts: Indian men's hockey team achieves all-time highest ranking

March 02, 2020 22:57 IST

Manpreet Singh

IMAGE: India's excellent form in the first three rounds of the second edition of FIH Hockey Pro League has seen them move from fifth to fourth position. Photograph: Manpreet Singh/Twitter

The Indian men's hockey team has climbed a rung to the fourth position, their highest since the inception of the FIH world rankings in 2003, in the recently released chart.

India's excellent form in the first three rounds of the second edition of FIH Hockey Pro League has seen them move from fifth to fourth position.


India's rise comes at the expense of Olympic champions Argentina, who dropped to fifth place.

World champions Belgium – who in January defeated Australia in Sydney to wrestle top spot from their opponents – remain in pole position, with the Kookaburras (2nd) and the Netherlands (3rd) also holding their positions in the top three.

Germany and England remain in sixth and seventh position, while New Zealand, who have earned two wins in their last three FIH Hockey Pro League matches, is static at eighth place after briefly dropping below Spain to ninth last month.

In the women's list, India occupy the ninth spot. Netherlands is at the top followed by Australia, Argentina, Germany and England.

The new model for calculating the FIH world rankings was introduced on January 1 2020, moving away from the previous tournament-based rankings system to a dynamic, match-based model where opposing teams exchange points in official, FIH sanctioned games.

The number of points exchanged depends on the result of the match, the relative ranking of the teams and the importance of the match.

Sumit Sangwan's doping ban lifted, NADA panel rules intake of banned substance unintentional

The one-year doping ban on former Asian silver medal-winning boxer Sumit Sangwan (91kg) was on Monday lifted after the National Anti-Doping Agency's (NADA) appeals panel ruled that his intake of a banned substance was unintentional.

Sangwan was cleared after a hearing conducted, in New Delhi, on Monday.

"Sumit has been cleared and his ban lifted as he has convinced the NADA panel that the diuretic he tested positive for was a case of unintentional intake," a Boxing Federation of India official said.

Sangwan was banned for a year in December 2019 after testing positive for Acetazolamide, listed as a diuretic and masking agent under World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) 2019 Prohibited List.

"I am relieved, a huge weight is off my shoulders. I knew I wasn't in the wrong. I am glad I could prove myself," an emotional Sangwan said.

"I convinced the NADA panel of my innocence by submitting some medical reports, which I had not presented in the first hearing when the ban was imposed on me," he added.

The 27-year-old international medallist said medical records showing the enlargement of his liver following the intake of the medicine helped him prove his case.

"The doctors in the panel agreed that the presence of the substance in my system at the time of testing despite me taking the medicine much earlier was because an enlarged liver had prevented it getting flushed out in the normal course of seven days," he explained.

"It (Acetazolamide) showed in my system 13 days after the intake which led to the earlier conclusion that I had taken it at the time of weigh-in at the national camp," he added.

Sangwan had maintained, from the very beginning, that it was a case of unintentional intake as he had duly consulted a doctor before taking the medication for an eye infection.

"I was in so much pain when medicines were given to me that I couldn't even open my eyes at that time. I couldn't have possibly known what was being given to me. I relied on thedoctors who were treating me," he said. 

The suspension cost Sangwan dearly as the 2012 Olympian missed out on appearing for trials for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which begins in Amman (Jordan) on Tuesday.

"I will write to the federation and ask them to reinstate me in the national camp based on my record. I was the national champion when this happened, I should be allowed to be back (in the national camp) and I am confident I will be," he said.

Sangwan's sample was collected "out of competition" on October 10.

"I have suffered a lot. To live with a blemish like that on your record is a huge mental agony. I hope to put this all behind me and find my way back to the top," Sangwan said.

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