Sindhu, Srikanth to lead India at Sudirman Cup mixed team championship

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Kidambi Srikanth

New Delhi: World  championship silver medallist PV Sindhu, and world number 8  Kidambi Srikanth will spearhead the challenge as India will field its strongest badminton contingentfor the 2019 Sudirman Cup mixed team championship to be played in Nanning, China from May 19-26.

In the last edition at Gold Coast, Australia, India had reached the quarterfinals and have been seeded 8th in this edition. They have been grouped with hosts China and Malaysia in Group D and will need to finish in top two in the league stage to reach the knock out stage.

 India had defeated Malaysia in the mixed team format to win the Commonwealth Games gold in Gold Coast last year and the absence of former world number one Lee Chong Wei should come as good news to the Indian contingent.

The 13-member Indian contingent also comprises in form Sameer Verma and will also see the return of doubles star Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who was out of action due to an injury along with Chirag Shetty.

India squad: Men: Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Manu Atri, B Sumeeth Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra

Women: PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy, Poorvisha S Ram and J Meghana

BFI recommends Amit Panghal, Gaurav Bidhuri for Arjuna Awards

Harpal Singh Bedi

Asian Games Gold medalist, Amit Panghal

New Delhi: In appreciation of their superb performances,the Boxing Federation of India (BFI)  on Tuesday recommended World Championships Bronze medallist, Gaurav Bidhuri and Asian Games Gold medalist, Amit Panghal for Arjuna Awards .

This announcement was made by BFI president Ajay Singh at a function held to  felicitate  the  boxing contingent  for their stellar performances at the Asian Championship where they finished  with the best-ever haul of 13 medals,.

Amit, a silver medalist at the CWG and a gold medallist at the Asian Games, dominated the 52Kg category at the recently-concluded Asian Championships.

 He extended his dominion in Asia as he defeated Olympic gold medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov in the quarters and Rio Olympics bronze medallist, China’s Jianguan Hu in the semis of the Asian Championships.

“We had quite a few names to dwell upon however after extensive consultation by the selection committee we decided to go with the names of the most deserving boxers, Amit and Gaurav. I extend the boxers best wishes and hope the hard work and laurels will be considered while the names are picked,” said Ajay Singh, BFI President after the meeting to finalise the names of the boxers for the coveted Arjuna Awards. 

Elite Indian coaches, Sandhya Gurung and Shiv Singh have also been recommended for this year’s Dronacharya Award. 

Sandhya has been attached with the women’s elite team for nearly a decade. Shiv Singh has coached for the past three decades; he has lent his expertise to both the men’s and women’s teams. He was the Head Coach of the Women’s team till last November.

Pooja Rani, who  became  the first Indian woman boxer to win a gold in the 81kg category at the Asian Championship, along with the entire contingent was felicitated by DG SAI, Ms Neelam Kapoor, IOA Vice President, Sudhanshu Mittal  besides senior officials of SAI and Sports Ministry.

Speaking on the occasion, Pooja said, “I would like to dedicate this medal to my sister and my coaches who has been a constant inspiration and pillar to my journey. I know this is just a beginning and I am going to work hard and aim to qualify for the World Championships, which also is an Olympics qualifier.”

The next big tournament in the calendar for the Indian pugilists is the second edition of India Open which will be taking place in Guwahati, Assam from May 20-24 and 18 countries have already confirmed their participation so far. 

The India Open will be a  platform and opportunity for our boxers to test waters ahead of the World Championships.

Top-seeds Mann Maulik Shah and Salsa Aher in Semis of Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series 2019

Harpal Singh Bedi

Top-seed and last year’s finalist Mann Maulik Shah

New Delhi: Four top seeds -Mann Maulik Shah,  Dev V Javia, Kabir Hans and  Madhwin Kamath chalked out contrasting victories over their respective rivals to move into the  boys semifinals  of the India-edition of the Roland-Garros Junior  tennis Wild Card Series at the RK Khanna Tennis Complex, here  on Monday .

 In the girls section top-seed Salsa Aher, 2nd-seed Bhakti Shah, 4th-seed Shaikh Humera and unseeded Sarah Dev advanced to the Semi-Finals  after winning their respective encounters.

4th-seed Madhwin Kamath  overpowered  Haryana’s Divesh Gahlot in the opening match  in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.  3rd-seed Kabir Hans from Odisha defeat Rhythm Malhotra from Delhi in three sets 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Whereas in the third Quarter-Final  top-seed Mann Maulik Shah ousted  Madhya Pradesh’s Denim Yadav6-3, 7-6 (4). The last Quarter-Final saw 2nd-seed Dev V Javia (Gujarat) defeat unseeded Haryana’s Sushant Dabas in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.  

In the  Girls’ category  2nd-seed Bhakti Shah (Telangana) beat Maharashtra’s Gargi P Pawar in straight sets 6-2,6-2 in a lop sided contest. In the second Quarter-Final  Punjab’s unseeded player Sarah Dev  produced a marvelous performance to knock-out 3rd-seed Nikita Anandkumar Vishwase  7-6(5), 6-4.  4th-seed Shaikh Humera played out of her skin to defeat Telangana’s Sunskriti Damera in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(7). The last Quarter-Final of the day saw top-seed Salsa Aher from Maharashtra defeat Uttar Pradesh’s Kaavya Sawhney 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3..

Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series culminates on Wednesday where the boys and girls will be taking part in their respective Final matches to fight for the ticket to Paris, in the presence of this year’s Roland-Garros Brand Ambassador and legendary Belgian tennis player Justine Henin. The winners of the competition will get a chance to participate in the Wild Card Qualifiers of the Junior Roland-Garros 2019.

AIFF names Romanian Doru Isac as its Technical Director

​Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Monday named Romanian Doru Isac as its technical director for a three-year tenure. ​

Mr. Doru was selected from a list of over 60 candidates who had applied for the post which was advertised earlier this year.​The 56-year-old Isac was one of the three candidates interviewed by the AIFF’s technical committee, headed by Shyam Thapa ​
Gaioz Darsadze of Georgia and Jorge Castelo of Portugal were the other two candidates interviewed by the technical committee. The post of technical director remained vacant since Australian Scott O’Donnell decided to quit in 2017. Former India player and coach Savio Medeira was looking after the post as interim technical director since then. ​
The well-travelled Isac has worked in various managerial capacities as well as technical director in many European and Asian countries. ​
Born in Craiova, Isac comes with a rich experience of almost 29 years in International Football across many countries namely France, Japan, USA, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Qatar amongst others. He was last employed as the Sporting Director of three-time J-league Champions Yokohama Marinos FC.​
Welcoming Isac, AIFF president Prafull Patel said  “It’s nice to have Mr. Doru on board. His vast experience will come in handy for Indian Football. I expect him to guide us to the next level.”​ AIFF General Secretary   Kushal Das said the biggest challenge is to “sustain the momentum” gained in Indian Football.​ “Indian Football has been experiencing a significant transition in recent years. I look up to Mr. Doru to work on, and improve on the roadmap already laid down for the youth teams, and at the same time make value addition to our coach education programme, grassroots, women’s football, and men’s football too,” Mr. Das stated.​
 Mr. Doru thanked the AIFF for the opportunity, saying he is “looking forward to the challenge.”​ “I need to thank All India Football Federation for the opportunity. I’m eager to make a positive contribution to the progress of Football in India, and to work with everyone from the AIFF family,” Mr. Doru stated.​
 He mentioned that he is “looking forward to starting employment immediately after obtaining the traveling visa to India.”​Isac is widely known as assistant to Arsene Wenger at Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight from 1997 to 2002. He also has worked with former Portugal and Real Madrid manager Carlos Queiros as well as Bora Milutinovic. ​