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Sports Shorts: Asiad gold medallist Panghal nominated for Arjuna

Last updated on: September 11, 2018 19:54 IST

Amit Phangal

IMAGE: India’s Amit Panghal celebrates after defeating Olympic and Asian champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan at the Asian Games. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI

Asian Games gold medal-winning Indian boxer Amit Panghal was, on Tuesday, nominated for this year's Arjuna awards by the Boxing Federation of India.

Panghal, who won the light-flyweight (49kg) category gold after defeating reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the Asiad final, joined Sonia Lather and Gaurav Bidhuri in the list of boxing nominees for the country's second-highest sporting honour after the Khel Ratna.


"I am honoured to be nominated; I can't describe how happy I am. My medal is talking for me and that is what I have always wanted," the 22-year-old, only the eighth Indian boxer to claim an Asiad gold, said.

There were doubts on whether he would be considered given a positive dope test back in 2012, for which he served a one-year ban.

However, given the fact that he is done with the punishment for the "inadvertent" violation and that it happened when he was competing at the youth level, the BFI decided to recommend his name to the Ministry.

"It happened when I was just a kid who knew nothing. I was a teenager and had come to my village after being diagnosed with chicken pox; there was probably something in the medicine that the doctor gave me," Panghal said.

That apart, the youngster from Haryana's Rohtak is enjoying a breakthrough year, starting with a bronze meal win at the Asian Championships in May 2017.

He followed it up by making the quarters in just his debut World Championships, losing a close contest to Dusmatov in August.

Just about six months later, he went on to claim a gold medal in the India Open in Delhi and prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Bulgaria.

A silver medal in the Commonwealth Games put him in the big league before he outshone his teammates with a gold in the Asian Games in Jakarta.

"It has been a dream, I am still living it. Hopefully the Arjuna award will be the icing on the cake," he said.

Among the boxing nominees, he faces competition from Sonia, a World and Asian silver-medallist, and Bidhuri, only the fourth Indian boxer ever to get a World Championship medal.

The Delhi boxer won a bronze in the showpiece event last year in Hamburg.

The National Sports Awards ceremony, held on August 29 every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, is being held on September 25 this year.

The change of schedule was done because of the clash of dates with the Asian Games, which concluded on September 2 in Jakarta.

Borgohain, Grewal win opening rounds at Polish boxing tourney

Indian boxers Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Ritu Grewal (51kg) scored contrasting victories in the opening round of the 13th International Silesian Championship for women, in Gliwice, Poland. 

Borgohain prevailed over Russia's Elmira Azizova 4-1 on Monday night. The Russian was a silver-medallist at the Nation's Cup earlier this year and had won bronze at the country’s National championships.

Borgohain, a gold medallist at the India Open and bronze winner at the Ulaanbaatar Cup in Mongolia earlier this year, is up against the Czech Republic's Martina Schmoranzova next.

Grewal defeated local favourite Asanowicz Roza 5-0. She will square off against Svetlana Soluianova of Russia in the second round.

India have sent a reasonably strong team for the tournament, which features boxers from 21 countries, including England, Kazakhstan, France, Germany and Ukraine.

The Indian team for the event is a mix of youth and experience, featuring veterans like the celebrated M C Mary Kom (48kg) and L Sarita Devi (60kg) and up-and-coming names, like former Youth World champion Shashi Chopra (57kg) and Asian youth champion Manisha (54kg).

Manisha won a silver at the Youth World Championships in Hungary last month.

Sindhu, Srikanth, Prannoy through to second round of Japan Open

Ace Indian shuttler P V Sindhu had to toil even as Kidambi Srikanth and H S Prannoy scored easy victories to progress to the second round in their respective events at the Japan Open, on Tuesday.

Third seed Sindhu had to sweat it out for 53 minutes before prevailing 21-17, 7-21, 21-13 over unseeded local girl Sayaka Takahashi in the women's singles opening round.

Sindhu will next play China's Fangjie Gao, who defeated Jakka Vaishnavi Reddy, the other Indian in fray, 21-10, 21-8.

Having finished second-best yet again with a historic silver in the Asian Games, Olympic medallist Sindhu is desperate to break the final jinx in Tokyo.

Sindhu won silver medals in all the major events this year -- the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships and the Asian Games -- but the gold has eluded her for a while now.

In the men's singles, Prannoy defeated current Asian Games gold medallist Jonathan Christie of Indonesia 21-18, 21-17 while Srikanth got the better of Chinese Yuxiang Huang 21-13, 21-15 in another first round match.

While Prannoy will be up against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in the second round, Srikanth will take on Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong.

Both Srikanth and Prannoy had suffered shock defeats in the second round of the Asian Games and the duo will be looking to make amends.

However, it was curtains for Sameer Verma, who fought hard before going down 18-21, 22-20, 10-21 in another men's singles opening round encounter.

Meanwhile, it was a mixed outing for the Indian mixed doubles pairs as Satwiksairak Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponappa crashed out in the opening round even as the combination of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy sailed into the next round.

Ranikireddy and Ponappa were shown the door by second seeds Yilyu Wang and Dongping Huang of China 13-21, 17-21, while Chopra and Reddy stormed into the second round with a 21-9, 21-6 victory over Malaysian duo of Mathew Fogarty and Isabel Zhong.

Chopra and Reddy will face another Malaysian combination of Peng Soon Chang and Liu Ying Goh in the next round.

Tyson to promote MMA league in India

Former World champion boxer Mike Tyson will mentor a Mixed Martial Arts event -- the Kumite-1 League, which will feature Indian fighters and be launched on September 29 in Mumbai.

The former World heavyweight champion will be in the country to attend the first fight night, between India and the UAE, which will be telecast across the Indian sub-continent.

The Kumite 1 league will be telecast on Sony ESPN, starting with the September 29 event in NSIC Dome, Mumbai.

"Mike Tyson will fly into the country ahead of time to meet and encourage the fighters. On the fight night he will officially launch Kumite 1 league and kick- start the fight. Twenty four MMA fighters from all over the world will gather at the NSIC dome...," the organisers said.

Justice Mudgal to head selection committee for Dronacharya and Dhyanchand awards

Justice Mukul Mudgal, who headed the Supreme Court-appointed probe into the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, has been named chairman of the 11-member selection committee to pick this year's Dronacharya and Dhyanchand awardees.

The panel, headed by Mudgal, a retired Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana high court, was picked by the Sports Ministry. His appointment is yet to be officially announced.

"The meeting will take place on September 16 in Delhi," a source in the panel said.

The selection committee features former Commonwealth Games gold-winning air pistol shooter Samresh Jung and shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa among others.

The panel also comprises former National boxing coach G S Sandhu, hockey coach A K Bansal and archery coach Sanjeeva Singh apart from Sports Authority of India's Special Director General Onkar Kedia and Joint Secretary (Sports) Inder Dhamija.

The panel also has two sports journalists and Target Olympic Podium Scheme CEO Commander Rajesh Rajagopalan.

The Dronacharya award is presented to coaches for their outstanding and meritorious work on a consistent basis over a period of four years.

The Dhyanchand honour is conferred on sportspersons for their life-time achievements and contribution to sport during their active career and after retirement.

The National Sports Awards ceremony, held on August 29 every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, will be organised on September 25 this year.

The change of schedule was done because of the clash of dates with the Asian Games, which concluded on September 2 in Jakarta.

Soccer fans, evangelicals clash at Peru stadium

IMAGE: Lima's soccer fans and Evangelical Christians clash over a land dispute at the Alejandro Villanueva stadium, Lima, Peru, on Monday. Photograph: Andina/Handout/Reuters

A soccer stadium in Peru was the site of pitched battle on Monday, but not between two sports teams.

A group of evangelical Christians and the Alianza Lima soccer club both claim to own a swath of land next to the Alejandro Villanueva stadium in Lima, where the club has set up installations used for storage and parking.

Early on Monday, hundreds of members of the religious group El Aposento Alto entered the buildings and painted over the club's emblems to set up a church, TV images showed.

Soccer fans chased and used sticks to hit members of the religious group, who wore matching shirts and construction hats and shouted "Christ lives!", according to the video footage.

At least one person was wounded and several were arrested, Gaston Rodriguez, a Lima police chief, told media gathered outside the stadium.

The attorney for El Aposento Alto, Alberto Santana, told local broadcaster RPP that the religious group had documents showing it had legally purchased the property.

The Alianza Lima club disputed that, calling it an illegal "invasion" in a statement and warning fans to remain calm.

India's Junior men's skeet team wins silver at ISSF WC

India’s junior men's skeet team clinched silver but the senior shooters failed to contribute to the country's medal tally at the ISSF World Championships in Changwon, South Korea, on Tuesday.

The trio of Gurnihal Singh Garcha (119), Anantjeet Singh Naruka (117) and Ayush Rudraraju (119) combined for a score of 355 for a second-place finish in the finals.

The three had combined to top Day 1 of the qualifying on Monday.

The gold medal was won by the Czech Republic with a score 356, while the bronze went to the Italian team, which shot a score of 354.

In the junior women's 50m rifle 3 position competition, the Indian team signed off 14th with a score of 3383.

Bhakti Khamkar (1132), Shirin Godara (1130) and Ayushi Podder (1121) made up the team and neither of them managed to qualify for the individual finals.

There was no end to the seniors' disappointment, the women's skeet team ending ninth with a score of 319.

Rashmi Rathore (108), Maheshwari Chauhan (106) and Ganemat Sekhon (105) could not qualify for the individual finals.

ITF defends US Open chair umpire Ramos

Carlos Ramos

IMAGE: Chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the US Open women’s final between Serena Williams of the United States and Japan's Naomi Osaka. Photograph: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has given its backing to Portuguese chair umpire Carlos Ramos who Serena Williams branded a "liar" and a "thief" during her US Open final defeat by Japan's Naomi Osaka on Saturday.

Williams, who was seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, was given a warning for a coaching violation before incurring a point penalty for smashing her racket. After accusing Ramos of being "a thief for stealing a point from me", she was docked a game.

The six-times US Open champion, who eventually lost the match 6-2, 6-4 was fined $17,000 by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for her outburst.

"Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis. Mr. Ramos' decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were reaffirmed by the US Open's decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences," the ITF said on Monday.

Ramos, 47, is the only active tennis umpire to have officiated the men's singles finals at all four Grand Slams. He has also been on the chair for the women's singles finals at three of the four majors - the French Open in 2005, Wimbledon in 2008 and at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.

He received praise from the ITF for his professionalism in one of the most controversial Grand Slam finals of all time.

"It is understandable that this high profile and regrettable incident should provoke debate," the ITF added.

"At the same time, it is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity."

The ITF's support for Ramos comes after the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) expressed disappointment over the handling of the match and the USTA's plans to review of its communication policies after a string of umpiring controversies.

Williams' behaviour in the final has divided the fraternity.

Tennis great Billie Jean King backed the American but Margaret Court, whose major wins record Williams was trying to equal on Saturday, expressed little sympathy for the 36-year-old.