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Para-powerlifters Ashok and Paramjeet Kumar secure berths for 2024 Paris Paralympics

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New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) Indian para-powerlifters, Ashok Kumar and Paramjeet Kumar, qualified for the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, clinching silver medals on Day Two of the Para Powerlifting World Cup, in Egypt on Thursday.

Asian Games bronze medallist Ashok Kumar showcased remarkable strength and determination, securing his Paralympic berth with lifts of 192kg and 196kg, despite a setback during his second attempt. Ranked World No. 6, his stellar performance firmly places him on the qualification pathway for the Paris Paralympics 2024.

Similarly, Paramjeet Kumar’s outstanding display of strength earned him a silver medal in the fiercely contested 49kg weight category, narrowly missing out on the gold. With lifts of 160kg and 166kg, he demonstrated his prowess and secured a spot in the upcoming Paralympics, currently ranked 6th in the world.

Gold in the event was claimed by Jordan’s Omar S.H Qarada with a sequence of 170, 172 and 176kg, while bronze went to Muslim Al Sudani of Iraq with 165kg as his best lift.

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In the 41kg body weight category, Manpreet Kaur’s remarkable performance earned her a bronze medal, lifting 86kg.

–IANS

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Para-Athletics Worlds: Sun Pengxiang, Wen Xiaoyan set World Records as Chinese stars dominate

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Kobe (Japan), May 25 (IANS) Chinese para-athlete Sun Pengxiang won men’s javelin throw F41 gold with a new world record while Wen Xiaoyan lowered her own world record by winning the women’s 200m T37 final at the Para-Athletics World Championship here on Saturday. Liu Cuiqing set a new world record by triumphing in the women’s 200m T11 final.

With a throw of 48.94 meters in his second attempt, the 33-year-old Sun Pengxiang wowed the Universiade Memorial Stadium in Kobe by shattering the world record previously set by himself last year in Hangzhou. “I didn’t see that coming because my recent training lacked intensity due to my age and injuries, and I’m delighted with today’s performance,” said Sun, adding that he would further adjust himself for the upcoming 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.

Iran’s Sadegh Beit Sayah and India’s Navdeep took the silver and bronze with throws of 47.92m and 42.82m respectively, in the field competition for athletes with short stature.

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The 26-year-old Wen Xiaoyan sprinted across the finish line in 25.75 seconds at the Universiade Memorial Stadium in Kobe, smashing the previous peak of 26.18 seconds set by herself in Hangzhou, just days after she refreshed the women’s 100m T37 world record. Wen, retaining her world championship title in the women’s long jump T37, has bagged four gold medals in short-distance races, universal relay and long jump during the nine-day tournament.

Noting that her record-breaking run was within expectations, Wen told Xinhua she felt she could have done better. Asked about the trick of breaking two world records in this tournament, Wen, with a huge smile on her face, said: “The secret lies in non-stop accumulation, scientific and systematic training, a lot of brainwork, and the spirit to overcome difficulties.”

The top para-athlete added that she would step up efforts in training her performance on the curve shortly. Taylor Swanson of the United States and China’s Jiang Fenfen finished second and third with personal bests of 26.89 seconds and 27.02 seconds in the race for athletes with coordination impairments.

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With a throw of 48.94 meters in his second attempt, the 33-year-old Sun Pengxiang wowed the Universiade Memorial Stadium in Kobe by shattering the world record previously set by himself last year in Hangzhou. “I didn’t see that coming because my recent training lacked intensity due to my age and injuries, and I’m delighted with today’s performance,” said Sun, adding that he would further adjust himself for the upcoming 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.

Iran’s Sadegh Beit Sayah and India’s Navdeep took the silver and bronze with throws of 47.92m and 42.82m respectively, in the field competition for athletes with short stature.

The Kobe Para Athletics World Championships, held in East Asia for the first time, serve as a crucial qualifier for the Paris Paralympics. The championships have attracted over 1,000 athletes from 100 countries and regions competing in 168 events.

A total of 73 Chinese para-athletes are competing in the championships, which will conclude on Saturday. Originally scheduled for 2021, the event was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Rishabh Pant shares photo with teammates as India players leave for New York

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Mumbai, May 25 (IANS) Having made a grand return to action following a 15-month break because of a near-fatal accident, young wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant posed with some members of the Indian team as they departed for New York for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here on Saturday. Pant was seen enjoying the adulation of fans and meeting his former teammates, taking selfies with fellow players at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on Saturday.

Pant on Saturday posted a picture of some of his teammates including Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jasprit Bumrah and spinner Kuldeep Yadav.

Pant led Delhi Capitals in IPL 2024 and was also quite successful with the bat, scoring 446 runs in 13 games at an average of 40.55 and a strike rate of 155.40. However, he could not steer his side to the playoffs, as DC finished sixth in the table with 14 points from as many games.

The first batch of the Indian team, comprising captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid, reached Mumbai airport on Saturday for a late-night departure for New York to participate in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup starting from June 1.

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As per various visuals posted on social media platforms, the first batch of players, along with Indian team support staff, left for New York via Dubai and comprised of players who are not participating in the business end stage of IPL 2024.

Apart from Rishabh Pant, the other players that left for New York include Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, along with reserve players Shubman Gill and Khaleel Ahmed were seen entering the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport for their travel to New York journey.

Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya were not seen in the visuals of the Indian team’s departure to New York, with some reports suggesting the latter is in London and could link up with Rohit & Co from there.

Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal and Yashasvi Jaiswal, along with reserve players Avesh Khan and Rinku Singh are expected to join the Indian side in New York in a couple of days.

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Samson, Chahal, Jaiswal and Avesh wrapped up their IPL 2024 commitments on Friday with Rajasthan Royals’ 36-run loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 at Chennai, while Rinku will play for Kolkata Knight Riders in the tournament’s title clash at Chennai on Sunday.

–IANS

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FIH Pro League: Spirited Indian men go down to Belgium in shoot-out thriller 

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Antwerp (Belgium), May 25 (IANS) A spirited Indian men’s hockey team went down 1-3 in the shootout against hosts Belgium after ending the regulation time with a 2-2 draw in a high-octane FIH Hockey Pro League 2023-24 match here in Antwerp on Saturday. For India, Araijeet Singh Hundal (11′) and Sukhjeet Singh (57′) scored in regulation time while Felix Denayer (30′) and Florent Van Aubel (50′) scored for the home team.

It was Belgium’s aggressive goalkeeping that saw them through this thrilling encounter where India went all-out to avenge their 1-4 loss in the previous match against the hosts.

India got off to a fine start with a dominant display of ball possession, and structured foray into the circle. Though young forward Abhishek’s first shot on goal in the opening minutes found no success, he teamed up with Sanjay to help India win their first PC of the match as early as in the 9th minute.

Skipper Harmanpreet Singh came up with a good flick but an experienced Vincent Vanasch saved it well. Building on this momentum in their attack, India drew first blood in the 11th minute when young forward Araijeet Singh Hundal scored a brilliant field goal.

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A well-timed aerial ball by Manpreet Singh from the midfield was picked up superbly by Sukhjeet Singh. He did well to control the ball and unleash a powerful shot on goal but an attentive Araijeet gave it the finishing touch with a perfect deflection to put it past Vanasch.

The final moments in the first quarter saw India put up a spirited defence, led by keeper Krishan Pathak. He made a diving effort to save Cedric Charlier’s reverse hit.

The visitors went into the second quarter with improvised attacks as young guns Sukhjeet and Abhishek continued to impress. They managed to fetch India their second PC, which was well-taken by Jugraj Singh but the Belgian defence was too strong to break.

Though India created several chances in this quarter where they could have taken the score line to 2-0, they instead ended up conceding a goal seconds before the half-time hooter. It was an infringement in the circle that gave away a PC. While Alexander Hendrickx’s drag-flick was saved by Pathak, he could do little to stop Denayer who picked up the high rebound to get the ball in.

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After the 10-minute half-time break, India took the intensity of the game up a notch. In a display of aggressive play, Manpreet Singh made a stupendous defensive interception to prevent a shot on goal from Nelson Onana. The sensational defensive work showcased India’s intent to give it their all against Belgium.

The following minutes in the third quarter saw both teams trade chances in their respective circles but they remained goalless with the score continuing to read 1-1. Vanasch remained Belgium’s cynosure in defence as he made a great save to stop Gurjant Singh’s diving deflection from the right only seconds before the third quarter ended.

The final quarter saw Belgium’s attackers test the Indian defence. While their PC in the initial minutes of the fourth quarter was denied after a good referral by India, a defensive error in the following minutes gave away a PC to the hosts.

This time Florent Van Aubel was on fire. His backhand touch after Hendrickx’s drag-flick was saved by Sreejesh. But he gave Belgium the much-needed 2-1 lead, sending the home crowd into celebratory mode.

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However, this 50th-minute goal did not dent India’s spirit as they continued their hunt for an equalizer in full gusto. It was Captain Harmanpreet who led India’s resurgence, playing up the field, he received the ball at the top of the circle and turned around to send a brilliant pass to Sukhjeet poised in front of the post. His one-handed deflection earned India that elusive equaliser.

While India brought the Belgian crowd on the edge of their seats as they won another great chance to extend their lead through a PC, the execution didn’t go as planned, ending the regulation time with a 2-2 draw. This would be India’s sixth draw of the season.

–IANS

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Manchester United stun Premier League champs Man City, win FA Cup for 13th time

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London, May 25 (IANS) English giants Manchester United stunned four-time Premier League winner Manchester City 2-1 in the final of the FA Cup to win the prestigious title for the 13th time at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. Manchester United emerged winner and will now enter the Europa League next season, as a reward for winning English football’s most famous knockout competition for the first time since 2016.

First-half goals from two United Academy graduates, Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo, in the 30th and 39th minutes respectively put the Reds in control of the showpiece occasion.

Although City substitute Jeremy Doku pulled one goal back for the Premier League champions in the 87th minute United could not be denied and went on to win the title.

Pep Guardiola’s men, who were eyeing what would have been a historic back-to-back double, dominated the second half with Erling Haaland hitting the bar and Kyle Walker denied by a stunning save from Andre Onana.

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Substitute Jeremy Doku, who made a superb impact, then deservedly struck six minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish.

But Erik ten Hag’s men defended valiantly through the remainder of the game to see out a triumph that some pundits had thought unlikely in the build-up.

City came into the game seeking to make more history, while United were trying to secure a tangible reward for a disappointing season. If anything, the pre-match atmosphere and build-up were even more loud and passionate than 12 months ago as these two age-old rivals locked horns on the biggest stage once again.

There may have been no 12-second goal drama this time around, unlike Ilkay Gundogan’s stunning opener in 2023, but just as 12 months ago there was a frantic action-packed start.

First Kyle Walker needed to be aware that Erling Haaland was sent flying in the box through a challenge by Lisandro Martinez but referee Andrew Madley adjudged no foul with VAR upholding that view. While the victory brought Manchester United a 13th FA Cup title, it also seems to have revived the tenure of manager Erik ten Hag, who was being considered a “dead man walking” by many analysts.

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He may now get to lead the club in the next season, at least for the first few months of the new season and in the Europa Cup.

–IANS

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Golf: Diksha Dagar tied-20th at the Jabra Ladies Open

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Evian-Les-Bains (France), May 25 (IANS) Diksha Dagar closed with back-to-back birdies and ensured a Top-20 finish at the Jabra Ladies Open at the Evian Golf resort. Dagar, starting her final round from the first bogeyed the opening hole but got back that with a birdie on the eighth. Bogeys on the 10th and the 14th dropped her to 2-over, but the two birdies on 17 and 18 meant an even par 71. That saw her total 2-over for the week and finished T-20.

Earlier in the morning, the cut was applied at 5-over and Sneha Singh missed it by a shot. The others missing out were Tvesa Malik, Amandeep Drall, Pranavi Urs and Vani Kapoor.

Swiss star Morgane Metraux holed three birdies in a row from the 14th to the 16th to ensure a fine win as she raced to 10-under. Chiara Tamburlini eagled her final hole to finish 7-under and second.

–IANS

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