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Sports Shorts: Vishy Anand finishes joint fifth at World Blitz

Last updated on: June 21, 2014 20:35 IST

World Blitz: Anand finishes joint fifth, Carlsen wins title



India's Viswanathan Anand had to be content with a joint fifth finish even as reigning World champion Magnus Carlsen scripted history by winning the World Blitz Championship that concluded in Dubai, on Saturday.

Anand, starting the day on 7.5 points from the first 11 games, scored another six points out of last 10 to end on 13.5 points in all which was good enough for the joint fifth place. the five-time world champion finished seventh overall when the tie was resolved.

After winning the world rapid, Carlsen became the first chess player ever to hold three world championship crowns as he handsomely won the blitz title too with a remarkable 17 points.

Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia gave Carlsen a tough fight in the race but eventually he and Hikaru Nakamura of United States tied for the second spot a full point behind Carlsen.

For the records, Nepomniachtchi won the silver while the bronze went to Nakamura who started as the top seed in the championship.

Le Quang Liem of Vietnam finished sole fourth on 14 points and it was a four-way tie for the fifth spot in which Anand figured alongside Azerbaijani duo of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rauf Mamedov and Levon Aronian of Armenia.

Anand remained close but not enough to stake his claim for a podium finish. The final day started well for the Indian as he beat compatriot P Harikrishna, drew with Carlsen and then beat Georg Meier of Germany to notch 2.5 points from the first three games.

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Image: Viswanathan Anand
Photographs: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters


Sports Shorts: FIFA Rankings: India women's team grabs 50th spot

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India's women football team moved one place up to grab the 50th spot among 175 nations in the latest FIFA rankings.

The team also grabbed 11th position in the AFC rankings, moving up one spot.

It is the second time that the women's football team has come up in the top 50 since the inception of rankings in 2003.

The team last played matches in May 2013 for 2014 Asian Games qualifier losing against higher-ranked Mayanmar and Chinese Taipei and gained one point after drawing with host Palestine.

Earlier this month, the AIFF mooted the plan of hosting women's I-league from 2015.

The team will be taking part in the women's SAFF Championship at Pakistan in November later this year.

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Image: Indian women's football team

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Japan Open TT: Indian challenge ends

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Ace paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal suffered a 0-4 loss to Japan's Jun Mizutani in the men's singles as Indian challenge came to an end at the $ 300,000

ITTF World Tour Japan Open Superseries, here today.

Sharath Kamal went down without a fight 4-11, 5-11, 6-11, 11-13 against Jun in the pre-quarterfinals.

Earlier in the morning, Soumyajit Ghosh exited from the semifinals, going down in straight games to Hugo Calderano of Brazil in the U-21 singles.

The Brazilian, who won 11-9, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 at Yokohama, has come a long way from his early shaky appearances to beat the Indian.

It was no shame for the top-ranked Indian in the world to go down to the higher-ranked Japanese, but what was disturbing was the meek surrender of Sharath Kamal.

In fact, the Indian was kept on a tight leash right from the beginning by the classy Japanese and it took the toll on a normally fighting Sharath Kamal.

India's men paddlers will return home before departing for the Commonwealth Games next month. Meanwhile, the women paddlers who are training in China too will join them after their training stint.

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Image: Achanta Sharath Kamal

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Phelps enjoys mixed success at Santa Clara meet

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Michael Phelps continued his comeback from retirement with a tie for victory and a second-place finish at a US Grand Prix Series meet in Santa Clara, California on Friday.

While certainly not back to his dominant best since hanging up his goggles following the 2012 London Olympics, Phelps tied for first in the 100 metres butterfly with Tom Shields but had to settle for second behind Nathan Adrian in the 100m freestyle.

In his third meet since taking nearly two years out of the sport, the 28-year-old Phelps competed in multiple finals in the same session for the first time on his return to competitive swimming.

The most decorated Olympian of all-time (22 medals, 18 gold) matched Shields with a time of 52.11 seconds to share top spot in the butterfly, finishing the faster of the two but unable to edge his way in front.

The pair's time was the joint-second fastest by an American this year behind Ryan Lochte.

Earlier, Phelps clocked 48.80 seconds in the 100m freestyle, beaten easily by Olympic champion Adrian, who touched the wall in 48.17.

Phelps is scheduled to swim the 200m freestyle on Saturday and the 200m individual medley on Sunday.

The women's headliner of the meet, Missy Franklin, finished second in the 100m freestyle behind Simone Manuel.

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Image: Michael Phelps of the United States

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Formula One: FIA stewards uphold grid penalty on Perez

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The five-place grid penalty imposed on Sergio Perez after his Canadian Grand Prix crash was upheld by Formula One's governing body (FIA) in Austria on Friday.Perez's team, Force India, appealed the penalty on the grounds that they had new evidence regarding the crash with the Williams of Felipe Massa.

Austrian Grand Prix stewards considered a request by the team before first practice at Spielberg and agreed to review the decision reached by different officials in Montreal almost two weeks ago.

The Canada stewards had found Mexican Perez guilty of causing the last lap collision by changing his line as the Brazilian tried to overtake. Perez denied doing anything different to previous laps.

Force India argued they had been unable to consult their driver before the original hearing because he was in hospital and had therefore seen the stewards without input from him about the cause of the accident.

The stewards said they had recognised "exceptional circumstances" and exercised their discretion to review the matter.

But on Friday an FIA statement said that it was wrong of Perez to try to defend his position in the braking area for the corner.

Perez was unhappy with the decision, as he remained adamant he had done nothing wrong.

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Image: Sauber's Sergio Perez
Photographs: Getty Images

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McIlroy misses cut as Ilonen keeps Irish Open lead

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Pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy missed the cut despite carding a two-under-par 69 in the second round of the Irish Open at the Fota Island Resort in County Cork on Friday.

The world number six, let down by an opening 74 in perfect conditions the previous day, lost out by one stroke as he finished with a one-over total of 143.

Finn Mikko Ilonen, the overnight leader, followed his opening course-record 64 with a 68 to stay in front on 10-under 132.

Ilonen was two shots ahead of Frenchman Romain Wattel (65), England's Robert Rock (66) and Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell (66).

Northern Irishman McIlroy, who was joint 23rd at the US Open on Sunday, had been looking to move to the top of the Race to Dubai money list and back into the top five of the world rankings.

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Image: Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy
Photographs: Mathieu Belanger/Reuters

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'Rusty' Woods will return to competitive golf next week

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Tiger Woods, out since late March after having back surgery, will return to competitive golf at next week's Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, the former world number one said on Friday.

Woods said he expected to be rusty but was excited to be returning.

"I've just started to hit full shots but it's time to take the next step," Woods said on his Facebook page. "I will be a bit rusty but I want to play myself back into competitive shape. Excited for the challenge ahead."

The June 26-29 PGA Tour event is hosted by Woods and benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.

“I think everyone’s surprised it’s next week because I don’t think anyone had a clue, but he knows his body better than anybody," two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen told Golf Channel.

But Woods agent Mark Steinberg said, “His doctors and trainers have given him the go ahead. He has been listening to them every step of the way."

Image: Tiger Woods of the US Team reacts
Photographs: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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Jeev makes cut but Shiv and Bhullar miss out

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Jeev Milkha Singh dropped down steeply on the leaderboard with a round of two-over 73, but was still the only Indian of the three to make the cut at the Irish Open, in Cork, Ireland.

Jeev, three-under for the first round, is now one-under for 36 holes and in tied 43rd place.

Jeev had one birdie on 10th, a bogey on 13th and a double bogey on par-3 seventh.

Meanwhile, Shiv Kapur (74-70) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (74-76) missed the cut and exited from the tournament early.

Mikko Ilonen maintained his two-stroke lead on the second day, but the Finn has Graeme McDowell breathing down his neck after the home hero shot a superb round of 66.

McDowell had set the early pace with six birdies to climb to eight under par on another glorious day in Cork, but he was overhauled later in the day by Ilonen, who mixed five birdies with two bogeys in his round of 68.

England’s Robert Rock and Frenchman Romain Wattel made it a three-way tie for second place alongside McDowell after signing for respective rounds of 66 and 65.

Unfortunately for the huge crowds at Fota Island Resort, Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy both missed the halfway cut on one over par; but Padraig Harrington is firmly in contention to win his national Open for a second time after carding a round of 67 for a six under par aggregate total.

Image: Jeev Milkha Singh
Photographs: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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Sharmila retires in second round of Ladies Slovak Open

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Sharmila Nicollet retired in the second round even before the midway cut was applied at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open in Brezno, Slovakia.

Sharmila had shot a poor 81 in first round and was clearly in discomfort with her game and hence, she withdrew from the tournament on Friday night.

Meanwhile, Sally Watson put together an impressive second round of five-under-par 67 and led the field with many of the players being blown off course by the afternoon's swirling wind, which dried Gray Bear's fast and undulating greens and fairways further.

Watson cleverly plotted her way around the golf course and felt particularly comfortable on the greens.

After a steady opening nine containing two birdies against one birdie, Watson found her stride on the back nine, picking up four birdies in five holes from the 11th to establish a three stroke lead over the field at eight-under-par.

Three strokes behind Watson are two players who are also in good form -- Valentine Derrey (70) of France, who won the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open and Czech Republic's Klara Spilkova (68), who ended sixth in the same tournament.

Spilkova went out in level par and was delighted to have finished strongly with four birdies on the back nine. A round of 69 for Russian Maria Balikoeva took her into a share of fourth place at three-under with Denmark's Malene Jorgensen (71).

English duo Liz Young and Eleanor Givens were a stroke further behind.

Image: Sharmila Nicollet
Photographs: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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