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Women’s Hockey League: Bengal, Odisha score narrow wins on Day 6

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Ranchi, May 6 (IANS) Hockey Bengal and Hockey Association of Odisha register victories in their respective matches on Day 6 of the National Women’s Hockey League 2024 (Phase 1) at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium here on Monday.

In the opening game of the day, Hockey Bengal prevailed over Hockey Mizoram 1-0 in a tightly-contested battle.

Despite Mizoram’s early dominance and superior attacking prowess, it was Bengal who seized the initiative. Shivani Kumari (18’) broke the deadlock, exploiting a gap in Mizoram’s defense with a precision strike into the net during the second quarter.

Despite creating several opportunities, Mizoram couldn’t convert their chances, including four penalty corners, failing to mount a comeback in the match.

Odisha beat Maharashtra

The second match of the day saw the Hockey Association of Odisha beat Hockey Maharashtra 2-1 in a thrilling game.

Odisha dominated possession right from the start, creating numerous opportunities but struggled to break the deadlock in the initial quarter.

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However, their persistence paid off when Dipi Monika Toppo (23’) netted a goal from open play, granting Odisha the lead. Despite Maharashtra’s increased attacking efforts, Sunita Kumari (51’) managed to equalise the score with a well-placed shot near the goalpost.

But, Maharashtra’s joy was short-lived as Karuna Minz (55’) capitalised on a penalty corner in the dying moments, securing Odisha’s triumph with a 2-1 win.

–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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French Open: Sofia Kenin upsets Garica to reach third round

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Paris, May 29 (IANS) Former French Open runner-up Sofia Kenin continued her resurgence with a straight sets upset of No.21 seed Caroline Garcia to reach the third round in women’s singles for the fourth time.

The 56th-ranked American had a disastrous start to 2024, winning just one of her first 11 matches. But on Wednesday, Kenin, who found her groove in style in Rome, upsetting Ons Jabeur en route to the third round, romped to a 6-3, 6-3 victory in 1 hour and 25 minutes on a rain-interrupted day in the French capital.

On Court Philippe-Chatrier, Kenin delivered another cool-headed tactical performance to take out the French No.1, her third win in as many meetings with Garcia. Indeed, Kenin has yet to drop a set in their rivalry so far.

Garcia fell to her fourth consecutive second-round exit at Roland Garros, and the 11th time she has lost before the third round in 14 appearances to date. Only three home players remain in the draw: Varvara Gracheva, Diane Parry and Chloe Paquet.

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In the pivotal fifth game of the first set, Kenin chased down a full-blast Garcia smash to land a lob precisely in the corner of the home player’s court. Garcia ended that rally, and the next, with wild forehand errors to drop serve for the first time.

Kenin will next face either No.9 seed and 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko or Clara Tauson as she bids to make the second week of a major for the first time since Roland Garros 2021.

–IANS

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Champions League: Lunin flu makes Courtois clear favourite to play in final

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Madrid (Spain), May 29 (IANS) Thibaut Courtois’ chances of playing in goal for Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League 2023-24 final against Borussia Dortmund look to be increasing with the news that Andriy Lunin missed Wednesday’s training session with flu.

Lunin has now missed two days without being able to train with the rest of the squad and he didn’t play a minute in the last La Liga match of the season against Real Betis on Saturday, while Courtois played over an hour.

Although the Spanish press report that Lunin is recovering well, the club preferred for him to miss Wednesday’s session to avoid the risk of infecting any of his companions, reports Xinhua.

Lunin was the first choice for Real Madrid for the majority of the season after Courtois tore his cruciate knee ligament in a pre-season training session, and his performances had led many to believe that he would get the nod from Carlo Ancelotti in the Champions League final.

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However, Courtois’ performances in the four appearances he has made since completing his recovery show that he has quickly returned to his best form, and the Belgian is now the favourite to play in the final with Lunin on the substitutes’ bench.

–IANS

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Boxing World Qualifiers: Ankushita, Nishant Dev seal quarters spots; Arundhati also advances

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Indian boxers continued to excel in the 2nd Boxing World Qualifiers for the Paris Olympics with former world youth champion Ankushita Boro (60kg) and Nishant Dev (71kg) registering comfortable victories in their respective weight categories reaching the quarterfinals in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday.

National champion Arundhati Choudhary also advanced to the Round of 16 of the 66kg weight category as she won her bout easily.

Boro was up against Asian champion Rimma Volossenko of Kazakhstan. But the Indian wasn’t bothered by the stature of her opponent as she went for her punches from Round 1 and never really looked in trouble throughout the bout to earn a 4-1 verdict.

In the day’s final bout involving an Indian boxer, world championships bronze medallist Nishant Dev was clinical in his 5:0 demolition of Thailand’s Peerapat Yeasungnoen to reach the last eight stage.

Earlier in the day, Choudhary began her 66 kg campaign with a clinical Round 1 against Stephanie Pieneiro of Puerto Rico. She was slightly conservative in Round 2 as she consolidated her position before dominating the next round again to get a unanimous 5:0 verdict in her favour.

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However, it was curtains for Narender Berwal in the +92kg category despite the Indian putting up a strong fight against Ecuador’s Gerlon Gilmar Congo Chala.

The 2022 Asian Games bronze medallist started slow in Round 1 and was then forced to catch up. He did well to impress three of the five judges with his punches in Round 2 and 3 of the Round of 32 bout. However, his efforts were not enough to overturn the overall deficit.

On Thursday, Sachin Siwach (57kg) will look to seal his quarterfinal berth against Batuhan Ciftci of Turkey while 2022 Commonwealth gold medallist Amit Panghal (51kg), Sanjeet (92kg) and Jaismine (women’s 57kg) will start their campaign after having received a bye in the opening round of their respective weight categories.

–IANS

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