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Sports Shorts: Ramkumar achieves career-best rank, Yuki drops

Last updated on: February 26, 2018 17:07 IST

A summary of sports events and sports persons, who made news on Monday

Ramkumar Ramanathan

IMAGE: India's Ramkumar Ramanathan celebrates. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI

Ramkumar Ramanathan achieved his career-best ranking of 133rd position after jumping seven places even as country's top ranked tennis player Yuki Bhambri dropped four places to 105.

The 23-year-old Ramkumar had earned 12 points for qualifying into the main draw of the ATP Delray Beach Open but had lost in the first round.


Yuki fell in the qualifying event for the Dubai Duty Free championships on Sunday.

Young Sumit Nagal, who also failed to cross the qualifiers in Dubai, lost four places to be 220. The next best Indian on the ATP singles chart was left-handed Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who gained 10 places to reach 232.

In the doubles, Rohan Bopanna continues to be India's top ranked player at number 20 and was followed by Divij Sharan (54, -3), Leander Paes and (52, -3).

In the women's ranking, Ankita Raina (250) gained five places to get back to top-250 while Karman Kaur Thandi was unchanged at 281.

In the doubles, injured Sania Mirza moved up a spot to number 13.

Comeback-man Vikas adjudged 'Best Boxer' at Strandja

It was double delight for Indian boxer Vikas Krishan at the Strandja Memorial Tournament here as he didn't just claim a gold medal but was also adjudged the best boxer of the event in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia -- a first for an Indian.

The 26-year-old defeated world championships bronze-medallist Troy Isley of the USA in the middle-weight (75kg) finals to claim his first medal since the Asian Championships bronze last year in April-May.

It was a massive turnaround for Vikas, who had not just been laid low by a hand injury but had also found himself in the disciplinary line of fire after giving a walkover in his Asian Championships semifinal last year.

"It is a big comeback for me and I feel I am a much stronger boxer now. Maintaining my weight at an optimum level, which used to be a problem earlier, is no longer an issue for me. I have also improved my technique and endurance," Vikas told PTI.

Along with Vikas, Amit Panghal (49kg) claimed a gold medal, rounding off India's best ever performance at the tournament. The country ended with a whopping 11 medals -- five from men and six from women boxers. In all, the contingent clinched two gold, three silver and six bronze medals.

Shooting not scrapped from 2022 CWG: CEO Grevemberg

Shooting has not been "scrapped" from the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the CGF said today, insisting that the sport continues to remain in the optional category.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) CEO David Grevemberg refuted reports that shooting has been dropped from the Birmingham Games roster on the organisers' request.

"In response to erroneous media reports, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) would like to clarify that shooting has not been 'scrapped' from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England," Grevemberg told PTI in an official response.

"In no uncertain terms, the CGF wishes to clarify that shooting is, and always has been, an optional sport which a Commonwealth Games Host City has the choice to include on its Sports Programme should it so wish, and if it feels the sport is in line with its transformative ambitions for the Games," Grevemberg added.

Even though shooting remains an "optional sport", Grevemberg termed reports of its scrapping as an 'inaccurate' piece of news.

"Though it was already an optional sport, its status (as an optional sport) was reconfirmed by the entire Commonwealth of Nations at the 2015 CGF General Assembly.

"It is wholly inaccurate to suggest that the CGF has 'scrapped' shooting from the 2022 programme. One of the unique benefits a future Games Host City partner has is the ability to tailor the Games in line with its very own ambitions and aspirations," Grevemberg said.

Shooting's status as a CWG sport has been a matter of speculation for a while with Birmingham expressing its reservations about putting together facilities to host the event.

If shooting is axed from the Games roster, it would come as a massive blow to India, which has done quite well in the sport. India is second in the CWG's all-time medal list for shooting, having 118 medals so far -- 56 of them gold.

I-League: Minerva Punjab regain top spot with 2-0 defeat of Aizawl

Minerva Punjab renewed their title chase with a convincing 2-0 defeat of reigning champions Aizawl FC, the result breaking a run of successive home reverses and helping them regain pole position in the I-League.

Akash Sangwan broke the deadlock in the 50th minute while Ivory Coast import Bazie Armand, who replaced Bhutanese Chencho Gyeltshen moments before the final whistle, added another in the injury time (90+5).

Minerva Punjab, who finished second last the previous season, led the standings with 32 points from 16 matches, leapfrogging Neroca FC and East Bengal with two more games to play.

When winger Sangwan headed the ball in off a rebound, Minerva Punjab’s passionate owner Ranjit Bajaj broke into celebration, and so did the raucous crowd that gathered at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium.

Minerva Punjab completed the game with a strike late into the second half injury time when Opoku’s header off a Kamalpreet Singh free-kick landed on Armand’s path.

For the first goal, Kamalpreet, an U-22 player who plays at the back, started the move; midfield marshal William Opoku laid it for Chencho on the right before Sangwan’s left-footed attempt was thwarted by Avilash Paul. But Sangwan found the back of the next off the resultant rebound.

Coming off reverses in the last two outings at home, Minerva Punjab signalled their intentions at the start and there was no let-up in the intensity as the first half progressed.

In the 11th minute, Chencho was off in a flash jinking past three Aizawl defenders, before shooting Amandeep Singh’s pass wide.

Chencho was again in the thick of things but, despite a desperate attempt with his outstretched legs, could not reach Opoku’s pass.

It was then Opoku’s chance to get a clear view of the goal, but his header from Kamalpreet’s cross on the right, too went wide.

While Minerva Punjab were the dominant of the two teams, defending champions Aizawl FC too had their share of chances, and the midfield duo of Andrei Ionescu and Lalthathanga Khawlhring did keep the home defence busy.

There was another opportunity but Chencho, after leaping high to meet a cross, shot the ball straight into the waiting hands of the rival goalkeeper.

The script went on similar lines in the second half as well, as Minerva Punjab were on the lookout for goals.

After losing the last two matches, there was a change in tactics from Minerva as they resorted to playing short passes in this game, though the second half saw them playing long balls on occasions.

Minerva head coach Khogen Singh made just one change to the XI he started with against Gokulam FC, with Amandeep Singh coming in for Randeep Singh in midfield.

Gagandeep Bali started as the lone striker, supported by Chencho, Opoku and Akashdeep Singh.

Aizawl coach Santosh Kashyap made no changes to the team that started in the win against Indian Arrows. Aizawl FC remained in sixth place with 21 points. 

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