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IPL 2024: 'Train was always on track, just took a while to get going', says Suryakumar after 17-ball fifty

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Mumbai, April 12 (IANS) After Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan entertained the faithful Mumbai Indians supporters at the Wankhede Stadium with a 101-run opening stand, Suryakumar Yadav added more sparks in enthralling the crowd by hitting a 17-ball half-century to help the hosts’ chase down 197 in just 15.3 overs.

After Suryakumar hit the joint second-fastest for MI in their IPL history, quashing doubts on his return to form after a lengthy layoff caused by ankle injury and sports hernia surgery, the batter said he was always on track to being back at his best self, which took a while before Thursday’ game.

“I think about the shots I play beforehand, because I have practiced all of them during the nets. I try to make sure that I bat according to the situation of the game. If the game is progressing slowly, then I think of how I could possibly speed it up.

“Whenever I go into bat, I always try to see how I can change the game and how I can control it with my abilities. If I succeed, great, if I don’t, I’ll try again in the next game! I think the train was always on track, it just took a while to get going.

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“It’s fine, we’re coming back and have found our rhythm. It feels great to have won two games in a row at the Wankhede. It gives us great confidence and has improved the team’s atmosphere as well,” said Suryakumar to JioCinema, the official streaming partner of IPL 2024.

The 33-year-old, who is the top-ranked men’s T20I batter, was out for a duck in his return game against Delhi Capitals on Sunday, but his 19-ball 52 – laced with five fours and four sixes – has signalled that he’s ready to bring more fireworks with his trademark shots piercing the field with great panache, especially with India set to play T20 World Cup in USA and West Indies from June 1 after IPL 2023 ends on May 26.

“When his mind’s free, he just lets loose. The sky is the limit for him when he’s batting like that. He can hit them and does hit them all around the ground. To be able to come in after a strong foundation has been laid by Rohit (Sharma) and Ishan Kishan, and just do that is fantastic.

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“When he’s in the type of form like he showed tonight, the poor bowlers, no one can bowl anywhere. He’s got an incredible awareness of the field but then the skill to be able to manipulate the ball into those gaps, it’s freakish stuff. The Mumbai Indians are very lucky to have him,” said Shane Watson, the former Australia fast-bowling all-rounder.

With two back-to-back home wins, MI will next host defending champions Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday evening.

–IANS

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French Open: Alcaraz passes tough de Jong test to advance as rainy disrupts schedule

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Paris, May 30 (IANS) With Wednesday’s schedule at the French Open disrupted by incessant rain, Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz overcame a stern test from Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong to reach the third round.

With matches possible only on the two show courts — Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne Lenglen that are covered by a roof, Alcaraz won one of the three men’s singles matches that could be played on Wednesday.

But it was a difficult outing as the former World No.1 was taken to four sets and eventually prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to reach the third round.

The Spaniard, a former US Open and Wimbledon winner, started well but dropped his level in the third set and trailed by a break in the fourth. However, with the situation starting to get serious, the 21-year-old Alcaraz regained concentration and rediscovered his consistency to overcome De Jong.

The No. 3 player in the PIF ATP Rankings is competing for the first time since Madrid after he missed Rome due to an arm injury. Alcaraz blitzed J.J. Wolf for the loss of just four games in his opening match in Paris but showed signs of rustiness against de Jong in the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.

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The 23-year-old de Jong troubled Alcaraz with his consistent depth but tired in the closing stages of the match, having entered off the back of a four-hour, five-set win against Jack Draper in the first round.

Alcaraz hit 35 winners but committed 47 unforced errors under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier. He eventually sealed victory after three hours and eight minutes when de Jong struck a forehand into the net. The 20-year-old will hope to improve when he plays Sebastian Korda or Soonwoo Kwon in the third round.

Alcaraz is chasing his third major, having won the US Open in 2022 and Wimbledon in 2023. His best result at the clay-court Slam came in 2023 when he fell to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

Outer-court play at Roland Garros has been washed out for the rest of Wednesday as persistent rain continues to pour down on Paris. All of Wednesday’s outer-court second-round matches, both in progress and scheduled, have been postponed to Thursday at the earliest.

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–IANS

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Olympic pole vault champion Braz to miss Paris Games after failing dope test

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Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), May 29 (IANS) Olympic pole vault champion Thiago Braz will miss the Paris Olympic Games after breaching anti-doping regulations, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has announced.

The 30-year-old Brazilian was provisionally suspended last July after he was found to have traces of the performance-enhancing drug ostarine glucuronide in his urine following a routine test, the AIU said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the AIU said Braz had violated world athletics doping rules related to “metabolites or markers”, reports Xinhua.

It issued him with a 16-month suspension, backdated to the start of the provisional ban, meaning he will only be free to compete again in November.

The Paris 2024 Olympics will be held from July 26 to August 11.

Braz argued that he had inadvertently consumed the substance through sports supplements given to him by his nutritionist.

Ostarine is used to enhance muscle growth and athletic performance.

Braz won gold at the Rio Games in 2016 and took bronze in Tokyo five years later. He also claimed the silver medal at the World Indoor Championships in 2022 and holds the indoor and outdoor Brazilian pole vault records.

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–IANS

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IOC reacts sharply as IBA says it will award prize money to Olympic medallists

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Lausanne (Switzerland), May 29 (IANS) The International Boxing Association (IBA) on Wednesday announced that it will award prize money to pugilists who will win medals in the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, the move getting a sharp reaction from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IBA, which is supported by Russian state-owned gas corporation Gazprom and has been thrown out of the Olympics by the IOC and its recognition withdrawn alleging lack of transparency in its funding, said it would follow the example of World Athletics, the global governing body of track and field competitions, in awarding prize money to medal winners in Paris.

While World Athletics announced that it will pay $50,000 to gold medallists, but nothing to the minor medallists at this year’s Paris Olympic Games, the IBA went a step further and said it will pay bonuses to gold, silver and bronze medallists from a total budget of $3.1 million.

Reacting to the IBA announcement, the IOC said it was “unclear where the money is coming from”.

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“This total lack of financial transparency was exactly one of the reasons why the IOC withdrew its recognition of the IBA. The IBA was not prepared to transparently explain the sources of its financing or to explain its full financial dependency, at the time, on a single state-owned company, Gazprom,” the IOC said in a statement released by Christian Klaue, its Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director.

The IBA is not involved in conducting boxing competitions in Tokyo and will not be allowed to do so in Paris either.

“Due to the suspension and the subsequent withdrawal of recognition by the IOC in 2023, the IBA had no involvement in either the qualification for or the organisation of the boxing tournament of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and is not involved for Paris 2024, either. The qualifications and the Olympic tournaments were and are being organised by boxing units set up by the IOC, to protect the athletes, the National Boxing Federations and their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs),” the IOC statement said.

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The IOC once again reiterated that boxing was not part of the sports programme for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028 and said the sport can be back on the roster only if it is organised by a “credible, well-governed International Federation”.

It also said that if any national federations follow the IBA, its boxers will not be able to participate in the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

“It is therefore already clear that any boxer whose National Federation adheres to the IBA will not be able to participate in the Olympic Games LA28. The respective NOC will have to exclude such a National Boxing Federation from its membership,” said the IOC statement.

The IBA is currently fighting a case against IOC in the International Court of Arbitration (CAS), the decision of which will make things clear for the next Olympic Games.

–IANS

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Top 30 women blind cricketers called for selection trials at Bhubaneshwar

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Bengaluru, May 29 (IANS) The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) have announced the top 30 women blind cricketers of India for the selection trials to be held in Bhubaneshwar from June 6 to 10. The top 30 players were selected based on their performance in the last two years of National Tournaments.

The players will compete to find their place in the top spot to represent the country. The selection committee of CABI will then select a 17-member squad with three reserve players to represent the country for the year 2024-25.

The 30 players have been playing national-level tournaments for the last four years and the women’s national for the blind has provided an opportunity for the players to find ways to exhibit their cricketing talents.

CABI has been working throughout India to promote cricket for blind women to empower and transform them by building an inclusive society through cricket for the blind.

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Commenting on the selection Trials Chairman of the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) Dr. Mahantesh G. Kivadasannavar said, “The continuous hard work of CABI and all the State Boards have helped in creating this platform for the blind women to represent the country through cricket for the blind.”

“We formed the Women’s team in 2023 and we have found a lot of success through last year’s performance in the IBSA World Games by securing the Gold beating Australia by 9 wickets and winning the first-ever international bilateral series in India against Nepal by 4-1 lead,” he said.

The 5-day selection trials will be held at IIG Sports Academy KT Global School Khordha, Bhubaneshwar and each player will be evaluated based on their performance during the selection trials.

CABI has appointed four observers who will submit the report to the CABI selection committee and then the committee will announce the 17-member squad with the additional 3 reserved players for the year 2024 to represent the country in the upcoming events, the CABI informed in a release on Wednesday.

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“The top 30 players come from 11 states of India and this is an opportunity for the players to learn from each other which helps each individual to find better exposure through cricket for the Blind. Cricket for the Blind is a positive transformative tool to empower and transform these cricketers to be powerful individuals to inspire the millions across the globe,” said Mr Buse Gowda, President of, the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI).

–IANS

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Champions League: Dortmund enjoying underdog role ahead of final with Real

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Berlin (Germany), May 29 (IANS) Ahead of the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid this Saturday, an unprecedented rush made Borussia Dortmund’s media room burst at the seams.

Well, over 20 TV crews and an uncountable number of media representatives gathered in the container-like facilities for an international media day on the edge of the club’s training compound in the city’s northeastern suburb of Brackel to report on the final underdogs’ preparations.

“Wow, I have never seen it that packed here,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic with a smile. “That’s what we wanted. We desperately wanted that do-or-die game.”

The team and their coach seem to be enjoying their role as outsiders, having to face Europe’s record tournament winner, with 14 trophies, reports Xinhua.

“If there is one team that has proved everything is possible, it’s us,” Terzic stated, fringed by optimism after his outfit’s surprising journey through a so-called group of death containing Newcastle, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, followed by knockout stage victories over PSV Eindhoven, Atletico Madrid and PSG once again.

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“We can do it again,” the 41-year-old Dortmund coach said. “It’s our goal to win the trophy, and therefore we have to beat the undisputed Champions League champion.”

Since the Bundesliga season ended, Dortmund have been busy keeping daily routines alive. Regular training sessions, analyzing lessons, a friendly match against the under-23 youth team tactically mirroring Real Madrid and penalty training have dominated the past few days.

“The outside world might see Real as the favourite and the sure winner. But it is not easy to play us,” said Dortmund captain Emre Can.

While 25,000 ticket-holding Dortmund fans are happy to travel to London, the club and local authorities are busy setting up public viewing zones in Dortmund for up to 40,000 more.

“Everyone is eager to turn things for the better remembering the 2013 final, which we narrowly lost against Bayern,” sporting director Sebastian Kehl said, calling the 2-1 defeat in the “German final” 11 years ago a motivation booster for this season’s final.

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Kehl suggested approaching the final with easiness, cheekiness, and nonchalance while the newly promoted CEO Lars Ricken, who scored in the 1997 final against Juventus, said that the team can create unforgettable moments as “a title like that stays forever.”

“It feels good. After all, we have nothing to lose,” German international and defender Nico Schlotterbeck said, adding: “The pressure is resting on other shoulders.”

–IANS

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