Bajrang first Indian to win Ali Aliev title, cements his spot on top of World Rankings

Harpal Singh Bedi

Bajrang Punia

New Delhi: Display tremendous fight back spirit ace grappler Bajrang Punia overpowered Russia’s Viktor Rassadin 13-8 in the 65 kg category to become the first Indian to win the Ali Aliev International Wrestling Tournament in Kapiisk, Russia, his second major Championship victory in as many weeks.

After winning the Asian Championships in Xi’an, China last week, Bajrang showcased his trademark second period resilience as he came through stiff resistance from a host of local favourites over two days, to prove his credentials as the world’s best wrestler in his category.

With the wins, Bajrang has cemented his place on top of the World Rankings this year and is currently the highest ranked freestyle Asian wrestler in the world.

“I think the fact that I’m competing in 3 different continents in 3 weeks is itself an incredible feat and I’m thankful for all the support I’ve received through this period. I did have the belief that I could do well in these competitions and am pleased with my performances so far.

” I am now looking forward to participating at Madison Square Garden and will continue to do my best to live up to the nation’s expectations in the tournaments to come,” Bajrang said after this win.

He was accompanied by personal coach Shako Bentinidis and physiotherapist Manish Chhetri.

Bajrang, who is part of the JSW Sports Excellence Program, will now get on the road once again as he heads to New York for the Beat the Streets ‘Grapple at the Garden’ benefit on May 6 at the historic Madison Square Garden arena.

Bajrang has been invited for the charity event where he will take on former cadet world champion and two-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis.

VFI appoints Serbian Dragan Mihailovic as National Volleyball Coach

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: The Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) on Friday appointed Serbia’s Dragan Mihailovic as new the Head Coach of the National team.

The VFI also named Pryemyslaw Gaszyoski and Valadimir Radosevic as the team’s Physio Trainer and Physiotherapist respectively.

Apart from the men’s national team, the three will also be working closely with the Men’s U-23 team and other junior teams representing India. The trio has been appointed for five months and will work with the team for the Asian Championships scheduled to be held in Iran in September this year.

Mihailovic has more than 25 years of experience as a coach and has won several medals as an assistant coach with Serbia at the World Championships, European Championships as well as Olympics.

He also comes with the experience of having worked with clubs like Orestiada and Panathinaikos.

Expressing his delight on his appointment as the Indian coach, the Serbian said, “It gives me great pleasure to be associated with the Indian national team. There is immense talent here and I am excited to work with them. I am also excited to be working with Pryemyslaw and Valadimir and will look to deliver results and take Indian Volleyball to greater heights during our time here.”

According to VFI Secretary General Ramavtar Jakhar the appointments have been made with focus on an Olympic berth in the future. “We have tried to put together a great support staff who can work closely with the team to help them get closer to the Olympic dream.

“While that remains the long term goal, we also hope to secure an Asian Games medal and participate in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in near future.”

HERO Indian women’s football league to kick off in Ludhiana

Harpal Singh Bedi

NEW DELHI: The12-team Hero Indian Women’s League will kick off in Ludhiana, Punjab on Sunday, May 5.

Defending champions Rising Student’s Club kick-start the Hero IWL edition as they face-off against Gokulam Kerala FC on Sunday.

The teams are divided into two groups of six each, are set to participate in the tournament. Group I consist of Rising Student’s Club, Gokulam, FC Alakhpura, Hans Women Football Club, Central SSB Women Football Club and Panjim Footballers. Meanwhile,

Group II consists of Manipur Police, Sethu FC Bangalore United FC, SAI-STC Cuttack, FC Kolhapur City, and Baroda Football Academy.

“Women’s football in our country is going through an exciting phase. We have seen the Indian Women’s Team produce some great results at the International front,” said All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das.

“We are sure to see the rise of more talented players in the third season of the Hero Indian Women’s League. I would like to thank the Punjab Football Association for their support in hosting the IWL, and wish the participating clubs all the best for the tournament in Ludhiana,” he added

Delhi Capitals’ Head Coach Ricky Ponting promises better showing by his team against Rajasthan Royals

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Delhi Capitals’ Head Coach Ricky Ponting on Friday promised a better showing by his side in their last league match of the IPL 2019 against Rajasthan Royals at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here on Saturday afternoon.

Talking to media persons on the eve of the match Ponting said is “looking forward to how his team will bounce back” from their loss to CSK.

The two teams have previously faced each other on 19 occasions which has seen RR register 11 victories, while Delhi have managed to win only 8 matches.

Ponting said that the match against RR will be important for both the teams. He said, “We need to win this game to qualify in the top-2, which is our aim. We have a lot to play for, tomorrow, and we know that. We want to release the pressure a little bit, but we understand that every game is very difficult to win.

“Rajasthan will come into the match knowing that they have nothing to lose, and they also have a great side. So tomorrow will be a really good contest, but our group is very closely knit and I am looking forward to seeing how the boys bounce back.”

The head coach praised young Shreyas Iyer’s leadership this season,. “Our job is to make the players’ job as easy as possible on the field, and the reason we have won the eight games in this season, is because of the players. They have played at a very high level of intensity, and the credit goes to Shreyas and the boys. He has done a terrific job, he was new to the role when he took over as captain half-way through last season, but I can see on a daily basis that he is growing as a person as well.

He admitted that unavailability of fast bowler Kagiso Rabada was a big loss but hoped that his team will manage well “It was decision that was out of our hands, it was a decision made by Cricket South Africa so we respect that.

Kagiso complained of a stiff back after our last match here in Delhi against RCB, so CSA have taken a precautionary measure for the World Cup. It is a big loss for us obviously, but it is something that we believe that we can cover. We have someone like Trent Boult who was our highest wicket-taker last season, and him coming back into the side will be a huge boost for us.”

About Boult said “He has only played that one game here in Delhi, so it is hard on him if we judge him basis that performance. But saying that, his first two overs the other night against CSK were outstanding where he only conceded two runs. His new ball skills are pretty good, and we are going to work on the death bowling skills in our training session today, and hope that we can hone those skills collectively.”

Ponting was optimistic that his side will put behind the defeat it suffered against CSK, “It shouldn’t be difficult at all. We have played some excellent cricket this season, the boys are very aware of what they can do on the field. I spoke to the boys after the loss, and I feel that if you want to lose a match like that, it has come at the right time. It serves as a reminder to us that we cannot take the foot off the pedal, and we need to focus on our basics, and I am sure that we will bounce back pretty strongly tomorrow.”