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Tendulkar praises Sunil Chhetri, India skipper felicitated by Eastern Command of Indian Army;

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Kolkata, June 7 (IANS) Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday praised Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri, who bid adieu to football in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Kuwait at the Salt Lake Stadium here. Tendulkar, who holds the record for most runs scored by a player in international cricket, hailed Chhetri for scoring 94 international goals.

“No goal is easy to achieve. Let alone 94 international ones.

“You’ve held the flag high, Sunil Chhetri. Congratulations on a remarkable career!” Tendulkar wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Meanwhile, Chhetri was felicitated post-match by the Eastern Command of the Indian Army.

India were held goalless by Kuwait at home in Chhetri’s farewell game, a second-round Group A match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifier here at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), leaving them to beat Qatar in a must-win away game on June 11.

Lieutenant General Ram Chander Tiwari, UYSM, AVSM, SM, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, presented a sparklingly impressive memento to Sunil while paying rich tribute to his contribution to the sport. He was accompanied by Lt. Gen. Srikanth, VSM. Chief of Staff HQ, Eastern Command, and Maj Gen Rajesh Arun Moghe, VSM. GOC Bengal Sub Area.

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Lt. Gen. Tiwari elucidated the retiring Indian legend’s long relationship with the Army stating, “Sunil has always embodied the values of a professional soldier, fighting for his country till the very end and against all odds. Athletes like him are a role model for the youth of this country and the Indian Army is proud of its long association with such a legend of football. Son of an Army man, Sunil has made the entire Army fraternity proud with his attitude, commitment, and dedication in a long and memorable career. We wish him a most fulfilling life after he is done playing the game.”

With 94 international goals, Chhetri was the highest international goal scorer playing actively, has had the backing and support of the Indian Army all along his journey towards becoming a professional footballer.

His father, K. B. Chhetri, was an officer in the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers of the Indian Army and he picked up the game in the Army Public School in Delhi. Thereafter he joined the City Football Club for whom he played the Durand Cup in the 2001-02 season. Although his team did not progress much, Sunil played all the games and also scored a goal, which saw him get his first big break with the legendary Mohun Bagan Club of Kolkata.

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The Army had planned and celebrated the whole occasion in a manner befitting a legend. A combined pipe band of the 14th and 15th Battalions of the Bihar regiment of the Indian Army played the welcome tribute segment to Sunil Chhetri. The 2.5-minute tune was composed by Bir Nepali. Then when Sunil finally exited the stadium, he was escorted out by two bagpipers playing a tune by Auld Lang Syne.

The memento was in the form of a trophy, resembling the number 11 Chhetri Jersey in a celebratory pose. It is inspired by the career of Sunil who carried the hopes of the tri-colour for 19 years on his shoulders. The number 11 and Chhetri in the Indian jersey blue shall be ingrained in Indian football history celebrating him.

The Eastern Command, under the aegis of the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS), which is overseen by the Chief of Defence Staff as its President and the three Service Chiefs as its Vice Presidents, organises the famous Durand Cup, Asia’s oldest football tournament.

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–IANS

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Indian Grand Prix 3: Abha Khatua, misses national mark, maintains good form with shot put title in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru, June 12 (IANS) Asian Championship silver medallist Abha Khatua, who set a national record in the Federation Cup athletics last month, came up with a below-par effort to win the title in the Indian Grand Prix 3 2024 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.

In men’s javelin throw, Sachin Yadav topped the standings after recording a personal best of 82.69m on his penultimate attempt. Rohit Yadav finished second with 75.52m while Asian Games silver medallist Kishore Jena did not start.

Jyothika Sri Dandi and Subha Venkatesan also came up with personal best timings in the women’s 400m.

However, the focus was on Abha Khatua as she had set a national record of 18.41m in the women’s shot put at the Federation Cup athletics last month.

On Wednesday, Abha, an Asian Championships silver medallist, won the gold in the Indian Grand Prix 3 with a throw of 17.93m on her final attempt. Shiksha finished second with 15.38m while Ambika V recorded a 14.32m throw for the third spot.

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Abha is yet to breach the Paris 2024 Olympics qualifying mark of 18.80m but she is currently 27th in the Road to Paris rankings.

The top 32 eligible athletes as per rankings and the entry standard will make it to the women’s shot put event at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Sachin Yadav topped the men’s javelin throw event with a personal best effort of 82.69m on his penultimate attempt. Rohit Yadav finished second with 75.52m.

The Paris 2024 Olympics qualifying standard in men’s javelin throw is 85.50m. Neeraj Chopra and Kishore Jena had breached the entry standard for the Paris 2024 Olympics last year.

Asian Athletics Championships bronze medallist Jyothika Sri Dandi clocked a personal best of 51.53s to win the women’s 400m final.

Tokyo Olympian Subha Venkatesan also logged a personal best of 52.34s to finish second. Meanwhile, Poovamma Raju Machettira was third in 52.62s.

Asian Games silver medallist Ancy Sojan beat Asian Championships bronze medallist Nayana James in the final to win the women’s long jump title. Ancy recorded a 6.52m jump on her final attempt which helped her overcome Nayana’s 6.48m leap. Bhavani Yadav Bhagavat finished third with 6.27m.

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–IANS

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ATP Tour: Musetti survives Koepfer scare in Stuttgart; Tiafoe reaches quarters

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Stuttgart (Germany), June 12 (IANS) Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti reached his third tour-level quarterfinal on grass on Wednesday at the Stuttgart Open, clawing his way past Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-7(9), 7-6(5), 6-3 in a hard-fought second round match.

The fifth-seeded Italian failed to convert five set points in the first set and then rallied from 3/5 in the second-set tie-break to stay alive in Stuttgart. He struck 15 winners in the third set to advance after two hours and 49 minutes.

With his 13th win of the season, Musetti levelled his ATP head-to-head series with Koepfer at 1-1. The No.30 player in the ATP Rankings also reached the quarterfinals in Stuttgart last year and will aim to go one step further this week when he next plays Alexander Bublik after the third seed defeated the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hamad Medjedovic 6-1, 7-6(4).

Bublik, who fired 18 aces against Medjedovic, clinched the biggest title of his career last season on grass at the ATP 500 in Halle.

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Defending champion Frances Tiafoe continued his title defence with a 7-5, 7-6(5) win against German Yannick Hanfmann.

Tiafoe, who beat Struff in the title match last year to win his third ATP Tour crown, saved all 11 break points he faced according to Infosys ATP Stats to triumph after one hour and 55 minutes.

The fourth-seeded American holds a modest 13-12 record on the season. He will hope he can rediscover his best level this week on the German lawns, where he next takes on Jack Draper or Marcos Giron.

–IANS

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Bengal Pro T20 League: We need to focus on building stands, says Siliguri Strikers skipper Priyanka Bala after loss in first match

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Kolkata, June 12 (IANS) Following their defeat in the opening match of the Bengal Pro T20 League, Siliguri Strikers Women’s team skipper Priyanka Bala emphasized the need to focus on building partnerships in the middle to secure victories in upcoming games. Siliguri Strikers Women lost the opening match to Harbour Diamonds on Wednesday here at the Jadavpur University campus grounds, Salt Lake. Harbour Diamonds Women began their campaign on a winning note.

Despite the loss, Priyanka Bala remains optimistic about the team’s prospects

“We played well but we have to improve on certain aspects so that we can make a comeback in the League,” said Priyanka Bala after the defeat in the opening match.

Batting first, Siliguri Strikers got off to a slow start with opening batters crawling their way in the middle. It was skipper Priyanka Bala who played a knock of 23 in 13 balls and took her side to 95/5.

Chandrima Ghosal also scored 24 runs in 22 balls but due to Siliguri Strikers starting very slow in the T20 match, the side wasn’t able to cross 100. Harbour Diamonds registered their first win in the opening match.

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“Today we didn’t build any partnerships, so our main focus will be to build a partnership in the next match. And in bowling we need to see our line and lengths and then bowl accordingly,” said skipper Priyanka.

Speaking about her innings, Priyanka said, “I batted just like I bat in any other game. Our run rate was quite slow, so I tried hitting some shots. If I would have been there till the end, we would have given them a good target.”

Siliguri Strikers will now lock horns with Murshidabad Kings on Friday in the women’s leg of the Bengal Pro T20 League.

The Bengal Pro T20 League, which is managed by Arivaa Sports, is conceptualised on the lines of the IPL involving 8 franchise teams in both the men’s and women’s categories.

–IANS

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Shooting World Cup: Bhowneesh in line for Men's trap final at Lonato

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Paris Olympic quota winner Bhowneesh Mendiratta shot a three-round qualification score of 74 out of 75 in Men’s Trap, to stay in contention for a top-six finish in qualifying round and finals berth at the ongoing International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Shotgun in Lonato, Italy on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Indian shotgun shooter will come back on Thursday for the last two rounds of qualification, with the final slated later in the day. Yu Haicheng of China was on top of the leaderboard with a perfect 75 at this stage.

Bhowneesh was the best Indian on the show on Wednesday as the others in Men’s Trap, namely, Prithviraj Tondaiman (71) was in 21st and Vivaan Kapoor (70) was in 33rd position had quite a lot of ground to cover.

In the Women’s Trap, Shreyasi Singh (67) and Rajeshwari Kumari (67) shot identical scores to occupy the 15th and 17th positions respectively while Manish Keer shot 64 to lie 43rd at this stage.

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–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Arshdeep’s four-fer restricts USA to 110/8 in key clash

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New York, June 12 (IANS) A clinical bowling performances by pacer Arshdeep Singh (4-9) and Hardik Pandya (2 for 14) helped India restrict host the United States to 110 for 8 in a Group A match of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.

Put in to bat first, the host had a disappointing start on a track that offered plenty of swing and seam movement. It took Arshdeep all of one delivery to strike Shayan Jahangir’s pad with a superb in-swinger.

With three overs on the scoreboard, USA were yet to score a boundary and had already lost two wickets, both in the first over to Arshdeep Singh. Andries Gous tried to slap a short-of-length delivery but was defeated by an extra bounce.

The USA’s only boundary in the Power-play came off a top edge that flew over fine-leg for six when Aaron Jones attempted to hook a Mohammed Siraj bumper. After scores of 94* and 36*, Jones couldn’t get going against India. He got away with a short ball that he top-edged for six off Siraj, but fell trying to pull Hardik as the ball skidded on quicker than he anticipated. It’s Siraj who took the catch at fine leg to effect the dismissal.

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Shivam Dube, who bowled all of one over in IPL 2024, was given the ball and USA went after him immediately with eleven runs in the over. Steven Taylor cut loose by walloping a 122kph half-tracker over deep midwicket. The USA were 42 for 3 after the halfway mark.

Axar Patel was handed the ball ahead of Ravindra Jadeja and he got the dangerous Steven Taylor (24) off his second over, after conceding 12 runs in the over. A ball after he was dismissed into the stands off a slot ball, Axar slowed it down and shortened his length nicely to have Taylor chop on while attempting a cut shot.

Nitish Kumar, who hit the last ball for a four to take their game against Pakistan into a Super Over, had a clean swing. It didn’t take him long to find his hitting range. Hardik kept bowling length and short-of-a-length but got punished at the first instance of bowling. Two balls later, he drilled another straight hit off a full delivery.

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In the following over, Corey Anderson slog-swept Axar to the deep midwicket fence. After a crawl of a first half, USA finally got momentum towards the end and were eyeing a score of 120. However, Kumar’s (27) journey was cut short by Arshdeep Singh courtesy of Mohammad Siraj picking a blinder at deep mid-wicket.

Arshdeep ended his spell with 4 for 9 as Pandya claimed a two-fer for just 14 in four overs.

Brief score:

USA 110/8 in 20 overs (Nitish Kumar 27, Steven Taylor 24; Arshdeep Singh 4-9, Hardik Pandya 2-14) against India.

–IANS

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