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Sports Shorts: India lose to Australia in final hockey match

May 17, 2019 14:03 IST


IMAGE: Nilakanta Sharma and Rupinderpal Singh registered their names on the score sheet for India. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter

The Indian men's hockey team ended their tour Down Under with a 2-5 loss to world No 2 Australia in the fifth and final match, in Perth, on Friday.

Trent Mitton (11th and 24th minutes), Flynn Ogilvie (3rd), Blake Govers (28th) and Tim Brand (43rd) scored for the hosts while Nilakanta Sharma (12th) and Rupinderpal Singh (53rd) registered their names on the score sheet for India.


The visitors had the opening chance in the match, but it was cleared by Eddie Ockenden, while on the counter Australia forced Indian goalkeeper Krishan Pathak to make a brilliant save towards his left side as deflected it outside for a long corner.

The following seconds saw Australia score the opening goal of the match in the 3rd minute as Ogilvie managed to get the final touch.

The 8th minute saw Mandeep Singh win a penalty corner for India, but the resulting execution was wasted as Nilakanta Sharma could not trap the ball properly. This meant Australia broke on the counter but only for Rupinderpal Singh to return back and clear the ball away.

Australia won their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, but the shot was blocked by India, and cleared away.

However, the next minute saw India play out a loose ball from the back which was lost by Gurinder Singh, and it was Australia's Mitton who took advantage as he found himself in space on the left flank and fired the ball past Pathak to make it 2-0.

However, India were quick to respond as Gursahibjit played a pass into the circle from the left flank, and it was Indian midfielder Nilakanta who got the last touch to put the ball into the back of the net, and pull a goal back in the 12th minute.

The first few minutes of the second quarter were quiet for both the teams, but it was India who found the opening chance in the 19th minute when Mandeep Singh's deflection went over the bar.

India maintained possession in the second quarter and had another chance in the 23rd minute when Vivek Sagar Prasad played a quick ball into the circle, but Mandeep could not collect it.

Mitton found himself in a great position on the right side of the striking circle as Joshua Simmonds played a great pass to him, and Mitton turned and fired the ball past PR Sreejesh into the back of the net to make it 3-1 after 24 minutes.

In the 29th minute, Gurinder Singh was dubiously fined or a push inside the 16-yard line by the umpire, and the resulting penalty corner saw Blake Govers fire a shot past Sreejesh's left side into the back of the net to make it 4-1 at the half-time.

The third quarter saw Australia maintain possession but were not able to create any opportunities in the opening few minutes.

The 40th minute saw Blake Govers run down the right flank beating a few defenders but could not keep his shot on target, while on the other end, India struggled to stitch passes together.

In the 43rd minute, Armaan Qureshi had a glorious chance to score India's second goal but Johan Durst made a fine save on his left side, and it was Australia who managed to score on the counter as Tim Brand pushed the ball past Pathak to make it 5-1 with just one quarter to play.

India needed to score heavily in the last quarter and they tried to create chances but the Australian defence made sure that they did not give them space in the circle.

It was only in the 53rd minute that India managed to score their second goal as Rupinderpal converted a penalty corner as he fired the ball past Durst's left side to make it 5-2.

Double Olympic champion Dahlmeier retires at 25

Double Olympic biathlon champion Laura Dahlmeier announced her retirement from the sport on Friday after a rollercoaster season that saw her miss out on gold at the world championships.

A multiple world champion, the German, who became the first female biathlete to achieve a sprint and pursuit double at the same Olympics when she won both at the Pyeongchang Games last year, has dominated her sport in recent years.

But the latest season was far from successful by Dahlmeier's standards as injury, illness and a dip in form took their toll.

"After an unbelievably tough season with lots of highs and lows I no longer feel the 100 percent passion that is needed for professional sports," Dahlmeier said in a statement.

"This is why after some long thought I decided to end my active biathlon career."

Dahlmeier, who won seven gold medals at world championships, also secured bronze in the individual event in Pyeongchang.

British runner Pavey says Nike froze sponsorship when pregnant

British distance runner Jo Pavey has become the latest female athlete to complain that Nike halted her sponsorship payments when she was pregnant, Sky News reported on Thursday.

The five-time Olympian said the athletic apparel company froze her payments when she revealed that she was expecting her first child Jacob, who was born in 2009.

"When I announced I was pregnant my contract was immediately paused," Pavey, who won 10,000 metres bronze at the 2007 world championships, told Sky.

"One of the main problems is the target to get the contract back and the timescale," she said.

"It was the joy of running that kept me going because you think, 'What will be will be' and I was focused on being a mum. But you don't want to feel punished for being pregnant."

Pavey's comments come after American middle distance runner Alysia Montano made similar claims in a video on the New York Times website earlier this week.

"I was sponsored by Nike and when I told them I wanted to have a baby during my career, they said, 'Simple, we'll just pause your contract and stop paying you,'" said Montano, who famously competed while eight months' pregnant in 2014.

"How about when you tell my daughter she can achieve anything, you back it up?"

Nike frequently promotes gender and racial equality in its advertising campaigns.

In a statement to Reuters, Nike said it had changed its policy last year on sponsorship so that no female athletes would be 'penalized financially for pregnancy'.

"Nike is proud to sponsor thousands of female athletes," a Nike spokesman said in an emailed statement.

"As is common practice in our industry, our agreements do include performance-based payment reductions. Historically, a few female athletes had performance based reductions applied."