A summary of sports events and persons who made news on Saturday
Ramit Tandon is the sole new face in the Indian men's squash squad for the Asian Games scheduled in Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.
The women's team has two fresh faces in Tamil Nadu's Sunayna Kuruvilla and Delhi's Tanvi Khanna. Considering that the Women's World Team Championship follows the Asian Games in Dalian in September, it was decided that the same team will compete in the Chinese city.
Experience is the strength of the contingent with the men's squad to be spearheaded by the highest ranking Indian in Saurav Ghosal besides Harinder Pal Sandhu and Mahesh Mangaonkar.
Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal pick themselves automatically in the women's side.
India had won a record four medals at the Incheon Asian Games four years ago including a men's team gold.
The criteria that the SRFI adopted for selecting the men's team was giving weightage to players who have been regulars on the professional circuit.
With five of them (Vikram Malhotra is the fifth) in the list, the team composition was easy with June PSA rankings as the key parameter.
Saurav and Harinder as the top two will play both the singles and team event while Ramit and Mahesh will be part of the team event.
In the women's section, the picture was different. With two high performing players and high rankers in Joshna and Dipika, it was clear the services of these two will be utilised for singles and team events.
For the two remaining slots to fill for the team event, trials were conducted at the ISA courts in Chennai over five days from June 5.
It was decided to call those players who had finished top four in the last national and those who have been participating in the PSA events.
Under this criteria, the players who had attended the trials were Sunayna, Tanvi, Sachika Ingale, Janet Vidhi, Aparajitha Balamurukan, Urwashi Joshi and Riya Sisodia. A few others Akanksha Salunkhe, Lakshya R and Anaka Alankamony declined the invitation while Ashita Bhengra pulled out at the last minute citing injury.
High jumper Tejaswin wins American Inter-University title
National record holder high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, who has decided to skip the upcoming Asian Games citing a strained neck, won gold in the United States' National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Track and Field Championships in Eugene, USA, on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Delhi athlete Tejaswin, who holds the national record of 2.28m, cleared 2.24m to win the American Inter-University (NCAA) title.
He became only the third Indian to win the NCAA title after Mohinder Singh Gill, who won five titles from 1969 to 1971 in the triple jump, and discus thrower Vikas Gowda (in 2006), who recently quit the sport.
Tejaswin, who was representing Kansas State University, was the fifth freshman to win the national championship in high jump. He is studying business administration at the University on a four-year scholarship.
Tejaswin took just one attempt each in clearing 2.08m, 2.13m, 2.18m and 2.21m. There were four jumpers who cleared 2.21m and the bar was raised to 2.24m. Tejaswin was unsuccessful in his first two attempts to clear 2.24m but eventually succeeded in his third and final attempt, celebrating the win by thumping his chest.
After securing the gold, he went for 2.30m but failed in all his three attempts.
This win came after Tejaswin informed the Athletics Federation of India about his decision to pull out of the Asian Games to avoid any career-threatening injury. In his letter to the AFI earlier this month, Tejaswin had cited "tightness" on his neck as the reason to not compete at the Asian Games.
Speaking to the media after winning the gold, Tejaswin said, "I was really looking forward to this, so I'll probably go to Disneyland. I'll probably go there and spend a couple of weeks and then get back to my summer training. I don't want this situation to arise next year, where I'm in a tie with three people. I really want to put out a big mark next year so that I can be an outright winner," he said.
Grapplers Khatri, Pawan qualify for Asian Games
Grappler Mausam Khatri, bronze medallist at the 2010 Asian Games, and Pawan Kumar booked their places in India's men's squad for the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia even as the Wrestling Federation of India withheld the result of the 57kg category after trials were held in Sonepat on Saturday.
Celebrated wrestler Sushil Kumar, a two-time Olympic medallist, and CWG gold medallist Bajrang Punia were exempted from the trials by the WFI because of their past performance. They will carry India's hopes in the 74kg and 61kg respectively.
Khatri edged out Satyawrat Kadiyan in the final round of trails for a place in the 97kg category while Pawan will represent India in 86kg category.
Sumit booked his place in the 125kg category.
The result in the 57kg category has been withheld as Sandeep Tomar, the 2016 Asian Championship gold medallist, Utkarsh Kale and Ravi finished on equal points and may grapple again.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rahul Aware (57kg) and bonze medallist Somveer (86kg) did not take part in trails since they couldn't control their weight, according to WFI sources.
The WFI also announced names of Greco Roman wrestlers for the Games, scheduled to be held in Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.
Gyanendra (60kg), Manish (67 kg0, Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Harpreet Singh (87 kg), Hardeep (97kg) and Naveen (125 kg) were selected by the WFI.
The trials for female wrestlers will be held in Lucknow on Sunday.
India's skeet shooters fail to impress
Indian shooters Ganemat Shekhon and Parinaz Dhaliwal finshed a lowly 39th and 57th in the qualifying of the women's skeet event at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Siggwei, Malta, on Saturday.
Ganemat shot 96 out of 125 in the qualification while Parinaz shot 73.
Scoring was tough under the conditions and even gold medallist Amber Hill of Great Britain, shot 112 to top the qualification chart.
In the men's skeet, all three Indians in the fray -- Anantjeet Singh Naruka, Gurihal Singh Garcha and Ayush Rudraraju – found it tough to make it to the final six after they were placed 53rd, 87thand 94th after day one of qualification.
Anantjeet shot 42 out of 50 to be the best placed Indian while Gurnihal and Ayush shot 38 and 37 respectively after the first two rounds of qualification.
Lalbiakkima settles for bronze in President's Cup
Indian boxer Nutlai Lalbiakkima (49kg), who upstaged Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov in the quarterfinals, settled for a bronze medal along with two others after a semifinal loss in the President's Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Lalbiakkima lost to local favourite Erzhan Zhomart to bow out in the semifinal stage.
"For us, the bout belonged to Lalbiakkima. He turned in another exceptional performance but unfortunately this time, he ended on the losing side," coach Jai Singh Patil, who is travelling with the team, told PTI.
Also ending with bronze medals were former world youth champion Sachin Siwach (52kg) and Priyanka in the women's draw.
Sachin lost to Filipino Rogen Ladon in his semifinal clash.
"The competition in this tournament is world class. The draws were big and featured A teams of countries like the USA and Uzbekistan. We can be proud of our our performance so far," Patil said.
Gaurav Bidhuri enters final of Russian boxing tourney
World Championship bronze-medallist Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) continued a fine comeback from injury as he advanced to the semi-final of the Umakhanov Memorial boxing tournament in Kaspiysk, Russia today.
Bidhuri defeated Russia's Magomed Shakhbanov to enter the final.
Bidhuri had been out of action ever since his bronze medal at the Hamburg World Championship in September last year owing to a nagging back injury.
However, the other Indian male boxer, Rohit Tokas (64kg), lost his quarterfinal bout to local favourite Ramazan Daudi to bow out of medal contention.
Among the women, Saweety (75kg) was the lone Indian to make the final after she defeated Russian Kyubov Yusupova.
However, world youth champion Shahsi Chopra (57kg), former Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Pinki Jangra (51kg) and Pavitra (60kg) lost their respective bouts to settle for bronze medals.