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IPL 2024: Avesh has shown how good he has been throughout the tournament, says Sangakkara

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Chennai, May 25 (IANS) Kumar Sangakkara, the director of cricket at Rajasthan Royals, had words of praise for India fast-bowler Avesh Khan coming good for the side in his first season with them in IPL 2024.

Before the start of the season, Avesh was traded to RR from Lucknow Super Giants and he stepped up in the absence of Prasidh Krishna and Navdeep Saini to claim 19 wickets from 16 matches at an average of 27.68 and economy rate of 9.59.

Avesh also landed a spot in the traveling reserves for India in the upcoming Men’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA from June 1. In Qualifier 2, Avesh was spot-on in his execution of yorkers and slower balls to pick 3-27 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai, though it went in vain as RR lost by 36 runs.

“First of all it was a really good trade we did. We had the opportunity to trade DDP (Devdutt Padikkal to LSG). Padikkal was a great servant of RR. He did a great job for us but we needed a fast bowler and we traded for Avesh because we knew how good he was and he’s shown that throughout this tournament.”

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“And that’s why he’s a travelling reserve as well for the World Cup for India. He’s got a great presence and good clarity, he’s very good at finishing off in the death. And I think he’s been phenomenal for RR. And we couldn’t ask for a better trier. He bowls a lot in training, he’s always up for a game. I thought again he was outstanding,” said Sangakkara in the post-match press conference.

Coming to their season-ending defeat in Qualifier 2, Sangakkara admitted that not having opener Jos Buttler was a huge loss but wished for others to step up in his absence in the business end of the tournament.

In place of Buttler, who went back home to play in England’s T20Is against Pakistan with an eye to prepare for Men’s T20 World Cup, his country-mate Tom Kohler-Cadmore opened the batting alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal, but failed to get going.

“We always say that the best ability is availability and unfortunately, we lost Jos. He is a big loss, without a doubt. When you’re in playoffs like this and you’ve got that start without Jos, we expect the other batters to also step up. All of us wanted to get over 45 runs in that powerplay minimum and we got 51.”

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“TKC couldn’t really get going but Jaiswal made up for it in that Bhuvi over. Once you hit 51, it’s just a case of batting and batting, and once you don’t lose wickets, the pressure is always on the opposition – whether you’ve to chase 12 runs an over in the last five with wickets in hand, it is not difficult to do as we saw.”

“It was just a case of being smart and keeping our composure. Unfortunately, when you lose wickets in clusters, it becomes hard. Even in the RCB chase, if you lose wickets, it gets tense and close. Unfortunately, we needed a little bit more from our middle order,” he elaborated.

Sangakkara signed off by saying experiences gained along the way will keep RR’s young and experienced players in good frame of mind for future challenges. “I think looking back at the season it was wonderful to see Riyan (Parag) and Sanju the way they batted and the way they held this side together.”

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“Yashasvi Jaiswal on and off, Dhruv Jurel, I think he’s going to be phenomenal in every format that he plays. Then of course (Ravichandran) Ashwin, what he did for us, (Yuzvendra) Chahal, (Trent) Boult was absolutely outstanding right throughout he was phenomenal, Sandeep Sharma, Avesh Khan, the list goes on.”

–IANS

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U.S. at risk of losing Winter Olympics if it probes Chinese swimmers, says Dick Pound

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U.S. at risk of losing Winter Olympics if it probes Chinese swimmers, says Dick Pound

U.S. at risk of losing Winter Olympics if it probes Chinese swimmers, says Dick Pound

Lausanne (Switzerland), July 18 (IANS) There is a possibility that the United States may lose the Olympics if its law enforcement agencies go too far in the investigation of the alleged doping case of Chinese swimmers, according to former senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound.

Pound, who is also the World Anti-Doping Agency’s founding president, told an international news agency that The Rodchenkov Act the U.S. is using to investigate the contamination case of 23 Chinese swimmers is non-compliant with the world anti-doping code.

Any country not compliant with the code is not allowed to compete in or stage international sporting events. The Rodchenkov Act gives the United States broad extraterritorial jurisdiction to any international sporting competitions, either participated by American athletes or having financial connections to the United States, Xinhua said on Wednesday quoting the report.

“I guess that one of the steps that WADA is going to take at this point is to turn this particular issue over to the compliance review committee.

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“Which I suspect, if or when there’s a hearing on it, they will declare the U.S. non-compliant. It would mean they could not host the Olympics,” Pound was quoted by Reuters.

Pound said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) might consider delaying the confirmation of Salt Lake City as host of the 2034 Winter Olympics.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) has voiced its support for WADA while expressing concerns about the safety of its officials. The U.S. Department of Justice, probing WADA’s handling of the case, has summoned the executive director of World Aquatics, Brent Nowicki, to testify in the case.

A review by Swiss independent prosecutor Eric Cottier looking into WADA’s handling of the case has reached the conclusion that WADA was not “biased” and had no irregularities while the audit by World Aquatics reached similar conclusions that there was no mismanagement or cover-up.

–IANS

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ATP Tour: Zverev shakes off pain during Hamburg win over Jesper de Jong

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ATP Tour: Zverev shakes off pain during Hamburg win over Jesper de Jong

ATP Tour: Zverev shakes off pain during Hamburg win over Jesper de Jong

Hamburg (Germany), July 17 (IANS) While he continues to manage pain in his left knee resulting from a nasty fall at Wimbledon, Germany’s Alexander Zverev enjoyed a comfortable first-round win at the Hamburg Open, defeating Jesper de Jong in straight sets here on Wednesday.

The World No. 4, who overextended his knee during a slip and fell in a third-round win over Cameron Norrie at the grass-court major, dropped just seven points on his first serve and did not face a break point in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Jesper de Jong.

“I was still unsure this morning if I was going to play or not and during the warm-up, I was in quite a lot of pain,” said Zverev, who has a bone oedema and tear in the capsule of his knee.

“But somehow when I step on this court it disappears a little bit when the adrenaline gets going,” he was quoted as saying by the ATP Tour in a report on Wednesday.

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“I have an injury where I know where I stand, and it will take time to heal. It won’t heal in the next few days, it will take weeks and it’s up to me if I am going to play like that or not,” he said.

Making a successful transition from his fourth-round run at Wimbledon to the clay on home soil in Germany, the defending champion collected his 41st match win of the season and improved to 12-1 in first-round outings this season.

–IANS

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Sub-Jr Men, Women North Zone Hockey: Haryana prevail over Uttarakhand 2-1 on Day 3

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Sub-Jr Men, Women North Zone Hockey: Haryana prevail over Uttarakhand 2-1 on Day 3

Sub-Jr Men, Women North Zone Hockey: Haryana prevail over Uttarakhand 2-1 on Day 3

Jhansi (U.P), July 17 (IANS) Hockey Haryana defeated Hockey Uttarakhand in a preliminary group match in the men’s section on the third day of the 2nd Hockey India Sub-junior Men & Women North Zone Championship 2024 here on Wednesday.

Hockey Haryana took on Hockey Uttarakhand in the first match of the day and won 2-1. The goal scorers for Hockey Haryana were Sachin (5’) and Tushar (56’), while Sarthak Mahar (35’) scored for Hockey Uttarakhand.

Sachin broke the deadlock in the fifth minute of the game with a fine field goal, putting Hockey Uttarakhand on the back foot.

However, they struck back through their captain, Sarthak Mahar, with a well-taken penalty corner in the 35th minute. Going into halftime, the score was tied at 1-1.

Hockey Haryana took the lead again through Tushar (56’) with just four minutes remaining in the game. Hockey Haryana were awarded a penalty corner, and Tushar found the back of the net, ensuring Hockey Haryana secured the winning points.

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Meanwhile, in the last match of the Men’s category played on Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh Hockey beat Hockey Punjab by 9-1. For Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Shahrukh Ali (3’, 20’), Kushwaha Ketan (15’, 38’, 43’), Ankit Patel (27’), Rahul Yadav (50’, 59’) and Shubhankar Sonkar (56’), got on the scoresheet, while for Hockey Punjab, Jashanpreet Singh (10’) was the lone scorer.

–IANS

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Golf: Vidhatri takes a one-shot lead over three others in 9th Leg of Women's Tour

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Golf: Vidhatri takes a one-shot lead over three others in 9th Leg of Women's Tour

Golf: Vidhatri takes a one-shot lead over three others in 9th Leg of Women's Tour

Hosur (TN), July 17 (IANS) Vidhatri Urs, who finished in the Top-3 in her first two starts as a professional on the Women’s Pro Golf Tour, led the field by one shot after the first round in the ninth leg of the Tour at the par-71 Clover Greens course here on Wednesday. Playing in her only third event as a professional, though she has won on the Hero WPGT earlier as an amateur, Vidhatri carded a fine 3-under 68.

Vidhatri, who had five birdies against two bogeys, leads by one shot over a trio of players, Sneha Singh, the 2023 Order of Merit winner, promising amateur Saanvi Somu, and another emerging young star, Karishma Govind. They all shot 2-under 69 each.

Vidhatri, who has been knocking on the door of a win as a professional, birdied the third but dropped shots on the next two holes and turned in 1-over. On the back nine, Vidhatri birdied the 10th, 12th, 15th, and 17th and had no bogeys as she carded 3-under 68.

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Sneha had an eagle on Par-3 ninth and three other birdies against one bogey and one double bogey. Saanvi Somu had a steady 69 with three birdies against one bogey. Mannat Brar was 4-under through 15 holes, but a bogey on the 16th and a double on the 17th pulled her back.

Shweta Mansingh had a good start with three birdies in the first five holes, but she also dropped shots on the second and the fifth. Then bogeys on Par-5 ninth and 10th took her over par, but a late birdie on the Par-4 15th hole brought her back in red figures at 1-under 70.

Agrima Manral had 10 pars in a row before two birdies on the 11th and 13th and then had bogeys on the 16th and the 18th.

Emphasising the depth in Indian women’s golf, another amateur Mannat Brar was tied with the seasoned Gaurika Bishnoi in fifth place at 1-under 70, as six players shot under par on the first day at the Par-71 Clover Greens at Hosur. Anvitha Narender, winner of the eighth leg, Shweta Mansingh, and Agrima Manral were tied for seventh at even par rounds of 71.

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Five others, Hitaashee Bakshi, Amandeep Drall, Rhea Purvi Saravanan, Jahaanvie Walia, and amateur Anuradha Chaudhuri were tied for 10th with scores of 1-over 72 each. The entire field finished in single-digit scores.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics: How an injury helped Jyothi Yarraji get stronger and confident for the Games

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Paris Olympics: How an injury helped Jyothi Yarraji get stronger and confident for the Games

Paris Olympics: How an injury helped Jyothi Yarraji get stronger and confident for the Games

Mumbai, July 17 (IANS) There is success at the end of adversity for all those hard-working people who have a positive attitude. Indian hurdler Jyothi Yarraji found a silver lining in troubled times when she suffered an injury in May, just a couple of months before the Olympic Games in Paris.

Jyothi was left a bit scared when she suffered a hip flexor injury while competing in Finland in May but the 24-year-old National Record holder in women’s 100m hurdles, maintained a positive attitude and worked hard in the gym, working on her upper body, even though she could not walk and run.

As a result, says coach James Hillier, Jyothi is now stronger and better prepared for the Olympics than she was earlier, the injury actually coming out to be a blessing in disguise for the athlete supported by Reliance Foundation.

“Yeah, it’s an interesting situation because it was effectively five weeks from the injury to when she raced at the Inter-state (National Inter-State Athletics Championship in Panchkula, Haryana). And Jyothi did just one session before that, effectively one run over hurdles. So, after one practice session before the competition, she still ran 13.06 seconds, which is phenomenal. So, actually, she’s gained confidence after the injury. I believe she’s more confident now than had she not had the injury,” Hillier said during an interaction organised by Reliance Foundation.

Hillier discussed in detail the impact the injury break had on her preparations and how it steeled her resolve to continue working on her strength and become better.

“She never stopped training (despite the injury). So, the only day she didn’t train was the next day when she couldn’t physically walk. After that, she was in the gym. She was straight in the gym. She was doing upper body, she was doing everything that she could do. So, what we did is we just changed the focus of training. She was in the gym five hours a day doing strength training, postural training, coordination training, proprioception training, all this sort of stuff.

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“Now, she’s come back from the injury, and she’s now fitter, faster, stronger than she would have been had she not got injured. I’m absolutely convinced of it. What she’s been doing in training here has been phenomenal.

“Her posture now, the position she’s hitting are so good because she’s had five weeks of strength training. So, okay, she wasn’t doing hurdle training at that time, but she didn’t need to do hurdle training. She’s already fit for that. So, the opportunity for us to change the focus of training has actually, I believe, delivered us a better athlete and a better, better-prepared athlete for the Olympic Games.

Hillier said Jyothi has learned a lot from that injury and how it has helped her use adversity to build for success.

“So, this injury has been part of her journey and has actually been a really, really positive thing, not a negative thing. So, yeah, and kudos to Jyothi, because her mindset during this has been so professional. She accepted the injury very, very quickly, and she went straight into focus, focusing on the training that we gave her. And she was extremely positive, extremely dedicated, and, you know, the things that she’s learned from this injury will make her a stronger person and a stronger athlete in this Olympic Games,” said Hillier on Wednesday.

Hillier said Jyothi has emerged better and stronger from the injury. He said this would help her perform better at the Olympics.

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“I believe she’s a better and stronger person for this injury. Everybody that’s at the Olympics will have issues, right? Everybody’s going to be dealing with stuff. So this is part of an athlete’s life, you know, this is how it goes. But, yeah, I believe now she’s stronger than she’s ever been, in the mind, in the body, and the injury is part of the preparation, and it’s weirdly been a good thing. So, yeah, let’s see how it all goes,” said the coach about her ward with whom he has been working since 2018.

On her part, Jyothi said the injury was one of the numerous disappointments she has faced in the last few years. She said keeping a positive mindset helped her overcome that difficult period and emerge stronger.

“There are a lot of disappointing moments. There is one in every situation we face. Whenever I face some challenges, whenever I hit some hurdles or I break the record, still it’s not considered or I can’t do what I want in the race all the time. I used to just tell myself that ‘we are humans. It’s okay. Just keep focusing. Don’t lose yourself. And you have a bright future’. The things, everything, positivity, whatever I can tell to myself and I go forward and do the things just I said to myself.

“I really got a little scared because it’s really ahead of the Olympics, it’s not a good time to occur. The injuries, we can’t change. Nobody accepted it this time. Everyone else is training, but we won’t be able to do what we want to do. So, the time I just cry and we see that. So I don’t do that. I always go to the gym if I have pain in the flexor. I just worked on my upper body and I work on my calves and work for my harmonies, hamstrings, and I did meditation, breathing exercises, and worked on my concentration,” said Jyothi about how she worked her way through the injury setback,” she said.

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Jyothi, the Asian Championship, Asian Games, and Summer University Games medallist, said she worked step by step in the gym, building on strength and making the most of the opportunity. Asked how she managed to keep a positive attitude during this testing period and the various others she faced over the years, Jyothi said her first reaction to problems and adversity is to cry herself out and get into repairing the problem and improving herself.

“If anything goes wrong, I will cry. Then I will remove my pain and start again. That’s it. But the thing is, this is my job, right? This is what I love to do. So I have to accept the minus points and try to go forward. I don’t have any options. I don’t have any second option. This is what it is, it is a do-or-die situation. If I’m not working on improving myself, then I won’t be able to do it in my whole future. I have to push now. If I’m not pushing now, I’m breaking my hopes and my career and my capabilities, unable to be what I want to be in the future,” said Jyothi, who is currently training in Poland. She will be participating in an event this weekend before reaching Paris on July 29.

–IANS

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