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Global wrestling body clarifies only WFI can select teams for Asian meet, Oly qualifiers, not ad-hoc body

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New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) The United World Wrestling (UWW), the governing body for international wrestling, has clarified that only the officially affiliated Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) can send teams to all competitions conducted under its aegis.

Currently, the Sanjay Singh-led Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been recognised by UWW whereas the Sports Ministry is yet to lift the suspension it imposed following the elections.

The need to seek clarification from UWW came after Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik claimed that the ad-hoc committee set up by the Sports Ministry will pick teams for the upcoming Senior Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 and the Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

However, UWW president Nenad Lalovic, in a letter written to Sanjay Singh, president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and sent via email, clarified that only the body affiliated with it will be allowed to put up teams for international competitions.

“It is the responsibility of the national federations regularly affiliated to UWW to select and announce their teams for the Continental Championships, the World Championships, the Olympic Games Qualifying Tournaments as well as the Ranking Series and other international tournaments on the official calendar,” said Lalovic in his mail addressed to Sanjay Singh.

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“From the outset, it is reminded here that, after the lifting of the suspension imposed by the UWW on your federation on February 13, 2024, UWW considers your federation as any other affiliated federation, duly functioning in compliance with the UWW regulations, and subject to all rights and obligations conferred by this status,” he clarified.

The letter informed that registration of players for tournaments can be made only by the UWW-affiliated national federations, using the competition administration system exclusively, under the rules and deadlines set by the federation.

This means that the Sanjay Singh-led Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will select teams for the upcoming tournaments and has recently invited all eligible wrestlers to appear for trials.

Olympian Bajrang Punia has said that he would not participate in trials in case the trials were conducted by the WFI without the intervention of the Sports Ministry.

–IANS

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IPL 2024: Shahbaz, Abhishek star as SRH set up title clash with KKR after beating RR by 36 runs (ld)

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Chennai, May 24 (IANS) Left-arm spin all-round duo of Shahbaz Ahmed and Abhishek Sharma took five wickets between themselves as Sunrisers Hyderabad set up the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 title clash with Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday after beating Rajasthan Royals by 36 runs in the Qualifier 2 at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Friday.

Shahbaz (3-23) and Abhishek (2-24) collectively bowled nine overs, conceding only 57 runs on a pitch that became dry, and with dew not there, the duo made merry to take five wickets collectively and triggered an RR batting meltdown.

Only Dhruv Jurel fought with an unbeaten 56 off 35 balls, but it wasn’t enough as RR ended at 139/7, ending their hopes of having a shot at winning the title. The result also means SRH entered an IPL final for the third time and their meeting with KKR on Sunday is their clash of this season against the two-time champions.

Chasing 176, Yashasvi Jaiswal was up and running with two boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But Tom Kohler-Cadmore struggled from the other end, moving down the pitch and around the crease to break free. It was in vain though as SRH kept him quiet with tight lines and bounce, thus increasing the pressure on the England batter.

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Kohler-Cadmore’s struggle came to an end for a 16-ball 10 when he skied to cover point off Pat Cummins. Jaiswal pushed the scoring rate when he dispatched a short-ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar over long-on for a six, followed by driving down the ground and through extra cover to pick two fours in a 19-run over as RR reached 51/1 at the end of power-play.

Jaiswal’s knock ended on 42 in the eighth over when he horribly miscued a loft off Shahbaz and holed out to long-off. With a longer boundary to use against right-handed batters via pace-off deliveries, SRH clawed back in the game via the left-arm spin duo of Shahbaz and Abhishek.

Abhishek had Sanju Samson pulling straight to long-on, followed by Riyan Parag top-edging to deep mid-wicket and Ravichandran Ashwin nicking behind off Shahbaz. Abhishek came back to rattle Shimron Hetmyer’s stumps with a flat and quick delivery, while Rovman Powell pulled straight to mid-wicket off T Natarajan.

Jurel kept RR in the hunt with his reverse-sweep and inside-out drive fetching boundaries off Shahbaz, followed by driving twice off Abhishek for a brace of fours. He took a six off Cummins, before pulling him twice for fours to get a fighting fifty. But his late efforts went in vain as SRH stormed into their third IPL final in emphatic fashion.

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Previously, Rahul Tripathi’s 37 and Heinrich Klaasen’s fighting fifty took SRH to a decent 175/9 after being inserted into batting first by RR, who had good bowling performances from Avesh Khan (3-27) and Trent Boult (3-45). RR’s seamers excelled by bowling cutters into the pitch, conceding only 25 runs in the last three overs, even as their spinners went wicketless in their combined eight overs.

Abhishek got going by pulling and driving Boult for exquisite boundaries before the pacer had the last laugh as the batter miscued a short ball to backward point. Tripathi was quick off the blocks by hitting seven boundaries, four of which came against Ravichandran Ashwin.

But Tripathi fell for 15-ball 37 when his attempt to ramp a rising slower short ball from Boult was caught by short third man. In the same over, Boult struck again as Aiden Markram threw his hands at a wide ball and the edge flew to the short third man’s hands.

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Travis Head overcame a slow start by hitting four boundaries collectively off Avesh and Sandeep Sharma but was caught at short third man in an attempt to ramp a slower bouncer off the latter. Klassen tried to keep SRH innings afloat with his gigantic sixes off Chahal but didn’t get support from the other end.

Nitish Kumar Reddy reverse-swept to short third man off Avesh, who also rattled Abdul Samad’s off-stump. Klaasen continued his rearguard act by smacking Boult for a six down the ground, before reaching his fifty in 33 balls.

But Klaasen missed the very next ball he faced, as a yorker from Sandeep uprooted his leg-stump. Avesh’s impressive time in the match concluded with him having Shahbaz Ahmed heaving to long-on and inflicting a run-out of Jaydev Unadkat on the last ball of the innings.

Brief scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad 175/9 in 20 overs (Heinrich Klaasen 50, Rahul Tripathi 37; Avesh Khan 3-27, Trent Boult 3-45) beat Rajasthan Royals 139/7 in 20 overs (Dhruv Jurel 56 not out, Yashasvi Jaiswal 42; Shahbaz Ahmed 3-23, Abhishek Sharma 2-24) by 36 runs

–IANS

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IPL 2024: Shahbaz, Abhishek star as SRH set up title clash with KKR after beating RR by 36 runs

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Chennai, May 24 (IANS) Left-arm spin all-round duo of Shahbaz Ahmed and Abhishek Sharma took five wickets between themselves as Sunrisers Hyderabad set up the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 title clash with Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday after beating Rajasthan Royals by 36 runs in the Qualifier 2 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Friday.

Shahbaz (3-23) and Abhishek (2-24) collectively bowled nine overs, conceding only 57 runs on a pitch that became dry, and with dew not there, the duo made merry to take five wickets collectively and triggered an RR batting meltdown.

Only Dhruv Jurel fought with an unbeaten 56 off 35 balls, but it wasn’t enough as RR ended at 139/7, ending their hopes of having a shot at winning the title. The result also means SRH entered an IPL final for the third time and their meeting with KKR on Sunday is their clash of this season against the two-time champions.

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Chasing 176, Yashasvi Jaiswal was up and running with two boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But Tom Kohler-Cadmore struggled from the other end, moving down the pitch and around the crease to break free. It was in vain though as SRH kept him quiet with tight lines and bounce, thus increasing the pressure on the England batter.

Kohler-Cadmore’s struggle came to an end on 16-ball 10 when he skied to cover point off Pat Cummins. Jaiswal pushed the scoring rate when he dispatched a short ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar over long-on for a six, followed by driving down the ground and through extra cover to pick two fours in a 19-run over as RR reached 51/1 at the end of power-play.

Jaiswal’s knock ended on 42 in the eighth over when he horribly miscued a loft off Shahbaz and holed out to long-off. With a longer boundary to use against right-handed batters via pace-off deliveries, SRH clawed back in the game via the left-arm spin duo of Shahbaz and Abhishek.

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Abhishek had Sanju Samson pulling straight to long-on, followed by Riyan Parag top-edging to deep mid-wicket and Ravichandran Ashwin nicking behind off Shahbaz. Abhishek came back to rattle Shimron Hetmyer’s stumps with a flat and quick delivery, while Rovman Powell pulled straight to mid-wicket off T. Natarajan.

Jurel kept RR in the hunt with his reverse-sweep and inside-out drive fetching boundaries off Shahbaz, followed by driving twice off Abhishek for a brace of fours. He took a six off Cummins, before pulling him twice for fours to get a fighting fifty. But his late efforts went in vain as SRH stormed into their third IPL final in emphatic fashion.

Brief scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad 175/9 in 20 overs (Heinrich Klaasen 50, Rahul Tripathi 37; Avesh Khan 3-27, Trent Boult 3-45) beat Rajasthan Royals 139/7 in 20 overs (Dhurv Jurel 56 not out, Yashasvi Jaiswal 42; Shahbaz Ahmed 3-23, Abhishek Sharma 2-24) by 36 runs

–IANS

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Pivotal reforms approved by Asian football body's Competitions Committee

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Al Ain (UAE), May 24 (IANS) The Competitions Committee of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) underlined its determination to enhance football activities in the region after approving a host of key decisions given the strategic reforms to be introduced this year. At its third meeting held here on Friday, the Committee commenced proceedings by expressing its best wishes to Al Ain FC and Yokohama F. Marinos ahead of their epic showdown in the second leg of the AFC Champions League Final at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday.

At the outset, the Committee noted the enhancements required to elevate the organisational standards of the AFC U23 Asian Cup, particularly against the backdrop of the non-Olympic qualifiers’ editions. Moving forward, the Committee agreed to discontinue the non-Olympic qualifiers’ editions from 2030, and for the Competition to be organised quadrennially from 2028.

Additionally, following FIFA’s decision to organise both the men’s and women’s editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup annually rather than biennially, the Committee also approved the new reforms to the AFC U17 Asian Cup.

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Given the expanded 48-team FIFA U-17 World Cup, where the AFC has been allocated eight slots to join the hosts of the 2025 to 2029 editions, Qatar, the Committee approved the decision to organise the Qualifiers and Finals of the AFC U17 Asian Cup annually.

The decision was taken to uphold the principles of sporting merit and ensure the progressive development of Asian youth teams through continued exposure to more competitive Continental matches whilst simplifying the hosting requirements for future hosts in line with FIFA’s approach to enhance efficiencies and sustainability.

Moving forward, the Committee agreed to the competition format principles of the AFC U17 Asian Cup starting from the 2026 edition and mandated the Administration to finalise and implement the plan subject to the entry status and the full details of the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be confirmed by FIFA.

At the same time, the Committee decided to award the hosting rights of the AFC U20 Asian Cup 2025 to the Chinese Football Association, while the AFC U17 Asian Cup 2025 has been awarded to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.

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Given the launch of the revamped three-tier club structure later this year, the Committee approved the 2024/25 Competition Regulations of the AFC Champions League Elite (ACL Elite), AFC Champions League Two (ACL Two), and AFC Challenge League (ACGL).

The main updates include areas such as the Technical rules, Competition system, Player registration windows, and the newly introduced Homegrown player policies which can be accessed here in due course, whilst the match scheduling principles for the ACL Elite League Stage and the ACL Two Group Stage was also approved.

The Committee agreed that a specialised software-based match scheduling in compliance with the core principles centered on the format, calendar and sporting fairness will be applied whilst conditional principles will be determined and applied by the Administration at its discretion in consideration of sporting, organisational, marketing, and broadcasting matters.

Additionally, given the transition from the two-tier to three-tier club structure, as a general principle, it was agreed that the requirements and provisions of the AFC Champions League Final will apply to the ACL Elite Finals, whilst the current AFC Champions League (excluding Final) will be applicable for the ACL Elite (excl. Finals) as well as the ACL Two (all stages) and the AFC Cup™ (Group Stage and KO stage) applied to the ACGL (all stages).

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Similarly, the records and statistics of the preceding AFC Club Competitions will be recognised and integrated within the revamped club competitions. The records and statistics of the AFC Champions League will be carried forward to the ACL Elite, the AFC Cup transitioned to the ACL Two, with the data from the AFC President’s Cup (discontinued after 2015) transferring to the ACGL.

The Committee also approved the calendar for the 2025/26 club season which is tabled below and mandated the Administration to adjust the calendar where necessary.

All decisions will need to be ratified by the AFC Executive Committee to take effect.

–IANS

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Malaysia Masters 2024: Mixed results for Chinese badminton team in quarterfinals

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Kuala Lumpur, May 24 (IANS) With some of their top players biting the dust, Badminton superpower China had mixed results as all matchups for the semifinals of the 2024 badminton Malaysia Masters were determined here on Friday. In the men’s singles, China’s star shuttler Lu Guangzu overpowered Jason Gunawan of Hong Kong, China 21-17, 15-21, 21-14 in a tough match lasting one hour and 24 minutes.

Title favourite Lu will be pitted against top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the semifinals on Saturday. The other semifinal will be played between NG Ka Long Angus from Hong Kong, China and Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia.

An all-Chinese semifinal has been set in the women’s singles after Wang Zhiyi won over teammate Gao Fangjie and Zhang Yiman outmatched India’s Ashmita Chaliha, reports Xinhua. The other women’s singles semifinal is going to be contested between India’s P.V. Sindhu and Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan.

Also on Friday, third-seeded men’s doubles pair He Jiting and Ren Xiangyu of China overpowered their Malaysian opponents to set up a semifinal showdown with Jin Yong and Na Sung-seung of South Korea.

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The other men’s doubles semifinal will pit Malaysian pair Junaidi Arif/Roy King Yap and second-seeded Danes Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen. In the women’s doubles, Japanese pair Rin Iwanaga and Kie Nakanishi will compete with Bulgaria’s Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva in the semifinals, while South Korean duo Lee Yu-lim and Shin Seung-chan are going to fight Malaysia’s Tan Pearly and Thinaah Muralitharan.

Saturday’s mixed doubles semifinals will see top seeds Chen Tang Jie and Toh Ee Wei from Malaysia compete with their compatriots Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie, while Indonesia’s Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas are set to play Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen and Alexandra Boje.

The Malaysia Masters runs from May 21 to 26.

–IANS

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Mumbai set for night racing after two decades; 60 Super Cars, 25 Super Bikes to take part

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Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) In all, over 60 Super Cars and 25 Super Bikes will roar to action on Saturday evening as night motor racing returns to Mumbai after nearly two decades in the Drag Star Night Race. The competitions will take place at the restricted Juhu Airport, once a haven for racing and off-roading among the elite. In keeping with the times, the night offers the modern avatar of racing: Drag Racing.

Several categories have been earmarked to make each race a battle between equals. Among them are Up To 450 BHP, 451 to 599 BHP, 600 to 799 BHP and 800 BHP and above for Super Cars and 850cc-1100 and 1100 to 3000cc for Super Bikes, the organisers informed in a release on Friday.

The JK Tyre-backed Drag Star Night Race promises high adrenaline and non-stop thrills as cars and bikes race in pairs along a 400-metre strip.

“This is a high-end racing event. Spectators will witness some of the fanciest and fastest cars go against each other. After pioneering the racing movement in India, we are now focusing on exciting motorsports events at such exclusive locations to attract the youth,” Sanjay Sharma, Head-Corporate Communication & Motorsport, JK Tyre, informed on Friday.

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As the Traction Partner, JK Tyre will equip a Super Car with their new premium tyres (Levitas Ultra) and pit it against a Formula 4 car in an exhilarating race.

“We will see a mix of factory-built and modified cars and bikes. In addition to Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and McLarens, electric cars like the Mercedes EQS, Audi RS e-tron GT, and Porsche Taycan EV, will also make an appearance,” Rongom Mukerji of Elite Octane, the organisers of the Drag Star Night Race, said.

“We have received a tremendous response from not only owners of Super Cars and Bikes but also from race enthusiasts. We are expecting a full house, marking a successful return of racing to the city,” he was quoted as saying in a release on Friday.

Among the Super Bikes are BMWs, Suzuki Hayabusas, and Kawasakis to name a few.

–IANS

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