Boxer Gurcharan reaches round of 16
Malleswari wants to set up academy in Haryana
Indians hold on to doubles lifeline
Yuvraj, Zahid may make cut
Snehasis, Porel on state senior selection panel
Jeweller romps home
Fairy Prince for Gold Cup

Sydney, Sept. 20 : 
After a day of real highs, the India camp was today looking its normal insipid self — well, almost. There was this transiently heartening victory by the Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi duo in the men’ doubles of the tennis tournament, and then India’s 81kg pugilist Gurcharan Singh fumbled a bit before emerging 11-9 winner over Ki-Soon Choi of Korea in three rounds and moved into the round of 16.

Here, however, was also Imtiaz Anees at 32nd now in the three-day event dressage and not too many chances looking bright, and Anjali Ramakanta Vedpathak finishing 33rd in the women’s 50m three-position rifle qualification. That is not including there straight-set drubbing that Leander Paes of at the hands of Sweden’s Mikael Tillstrom in the men’s singles.

These are general vagaries of Indian form, quite a known factor back home.

The high point even today was the press conference yesterday’s bronze winner Karnam Malleswari held. There is always this tendency to rest easy on laurels.

The short and tall of it

Gurcharan was the better boxer from the start of the 81kg bout. Yet, he was definitely not the most confident in the Indian boxing quartet.

He was taller of the two and could have easily used his height advantage (he is 6 feet three) on the Korean boxer, but he decided to go for holding points.

In the end though, the far great talent of the Indian pushed him through to the next round where he meets Danie Venter of South Africa.

Shot in the dark

For Anjali it was has been a mixed Games, really. Having done reasonably well in her earlier event, she did approach this was a bit more confidence. That , however, was soon in the tatters as the strong field pushed her down to 33rd position, with 566 points.

She was going superbly in the two series with 98s in the prone . Then she slipped to 92 in standing series1, managed to improve it by just one in the second series.

She returned identical series points kneeling and all her early good work was washed down the drain.

Sonja Pfeilschifter of Germany won gold in this event at 585, a modest enough score, and the silver went to Tatiana Goldbina of Russia, also at 585 and the bronze was for Renata Mauer-Rozanska of Poland also at the same score. Shoot-offs broke the tie.

The long ride

For Imtiaz it was a rather tough ride. Astride Spring Invader, he had piled up 6d1 penalties by the end of the days’s workouts, finishing way down at 32nd. He was marked at 133, 143 and 139 in the three manners of judgement. Tomorrow, he starts of 16th in order (decided by horse number, actually) for the cross country, and maybe he can still see a faint glimmer of hope around the horizon.

The crunch bit

The hockey stars come up at the crunch bit tomorrow. South Korea are drawn both their matches, versus Argentina and Spain, and surely start the underdogs versus India tomorrow, but, as coach Vasudevan Baskaran put it, “no team is small or insignificant in the Olympics.

“Chances are that each match will be a crunch match. Tomorrow is no different.” The Indian team is high spirits and in good shape for tomorrow morning’s adventure.

Dingko comes on tomorrow, in the 54kg second round (he got a bye in the first ) versus Serguey Daniltchenko and a lot many eyes will be on him for all the controversy that was.    

Sydney, Sept. 20: 
Big things are happening to Karnam Malleswari, who yesterday won bronze in the 69kg women’s weightlifting event, thus becoming the only Indian woman ever to have won an Olympic medal. She also became only the third Indian — after K. D. Yadav, who won bronze in the 57kg wrestling in Helsinki in 1952, and Leander Paes, who won bronze in the men’s singles in Atlanta in 1996 — to win an Olympic medal in independent India.

She announced happily that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had rung her up to congratulate her. Vajpayee said she had done the country proud and that the country was proud of her. That was a great moment for her, said this simple girl, a moment to remember forever.

That wasn’t really the end. “Itni TV channels, itni interviews, itni sare log, videshi, deshi, I have lost count of the number of people who met me, who interviewed me,” she said. “It’s great feeling.” Even as she turned to look at a posse of athletes, two foreign journalists pounced on her, with probing questions.

She said she will ask the government for some money to set up a training institute in Haryana. Her husband Rajesh Tyagi is likely to help her in his. “There is so much serious talent in this event in the country, one has to see it to believe it,” she said.

“I don’t understand why India should not one day become the best in the world in this. I must do my best in coaching and development of the sport.” That is her plan.

She is still rather undecided on her quitting plans. Yesterday, when she did meekly try to announce her retirement, she was shouted down by happily protesting voices. “I have not decided till now,” she said today. “Look, I have been out of the country for so long, I miss my husband, my parents and my sisters. They ring me up to congratulate me, and then ask me to go back, where I can really enjoy the medal with my near and dear ones,” said the star, sounding rather homesick.

Not the easy solution for her now. This is just the beginning of her ‘glory’ days. She has to go through this from now on, the stream of visitors, the stream of good wishes, the flowers, the functions, the adulation, the hoopla. One hopes the basic aim of building a stronger team in this contingent does not get drowned in this, as it always has in India.    

Sydney, Sept. 20: 
Leander Paes is out of the men’s singles of the Olympic tennis event, and, with Mahesh Bhupathi, holds on to a frail men’s doubles line in the second round — winning the first today — as they come up against the top-seeded Aussie pair of Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.

It is probably not as gloomy as it sounds, considering the injuries that have plagued the Indian players and the fact that the once top men’s singles pair in the world is today out of combination practice and just about starting off all over again.

Leander, personally, would probably like to quickly forget his singles match against Mikael Tillstorm of Sweden. He had’nt even started enjoying the morning sun when he had to walk out, 2-6, 4-6 loser. He had not even broken into some regulation sweat when he realised his time was out. He failed to get his serves in line, he misjudged the passing shots, and Tillstorm was good at the net.

There was this hesitation in the Indian, it seemed, though he did not quite agree, and a higher range of double faults did com1e about as a result. He was chipping and charging as Leander Paes does, but he was just not being able to mind the rest of the court as Leander Paes does. He was losing concentration, and Tillstrom was an observant student, learning and putting in practice.

That allowed Tillstrom to push through three breaks in the first set and two in the second against Leander’s one in each. There was this loss of touch, actually.

Leander agreed later. “I was out even before I could start getting a feel of the surface,” he said, none too perturbed. He had his point, he was waiting for the more important doubles tie, about two-and-a-half hours from then.

Tillstorm said he was sure that was no great match by him. “I know Leander and Bhupathi are great doubles players, and that’s what has made them famous on the circuit. I realise they are better placed in that department.” Modest words those.

Easy for Paes-Bhupathi

The Romanian pair of Andrei Pavel and Gabriel Trifu do not quite inspire awe. They did not start off favourites, and they, in a way played to form, losing to the Indian pair 3-6, 4-6 in just over an hour.

The match was mainly Bhupathi’s, it seemed. A decent amount of partnership has developed between the players already — maybe had they attended the Tashkent meet it could have been better — though way behind the electrifying combination that had once taken the two to the top of the world in doubles.

The rust shows, and could take a tournament or two to brush off. The serving was improved, probably a result of less tension, knowing the standard of the opponents, the volleying and the passing shots were good enough to earn applause.

Many in the Indian contingent had turned up, hot shot officials of the Indian Olympic Association were there, there was a cheering mood that enveloped the courtside. It was good for the Indian pair, it kept them going.

Leander needs these adrenalin rushes to build on. And he didn’t quite disappoint, Bhupathi did the major spadework, while Leander charged and chipped as only he can. The first set was over in 31 minutes, despite the duo having converted only one break point, and despite the serving being good, but still modest enough.

The second set was a push situation for the Romanians. They had little to lose anyway. They were suddenly serving better and doing more legwork. However, while the famous Sydney sun-and-shade-and-wind situation dogged the match, the Romanians realised they were short on one vital ingredient — talent. They threw away break point opportunities, allowed themselves to be passed and left in 38 minutes.

This has brought the Paes-Bhupathi duo to big time — a second round clash with the ‘Woodies’. “Day after tomorrow, it’s make or break for a medal,” said Paes.

“That is the real target. Today we realised our passing was good enough, our volleying and serving was okay, and we must build on these for the Aussie pair.”

Paes also noted that there was perhaps a point advantage for the Indians in that they have been in match practice. “They (the Woodies) have not played after the US Open, while I have played a singles here and then this doubles match. That is slender advantage.”

It is a good point, and the last lifeline, to be held to with all the Indians’ strength.    

Calcutta, Sept.20: 
Punjab’s batsman-allrounder Yuvraj Singh, a member of the U-19 World Cup-winning squad, and Baroda quick Zahid Khan are favoured to make the India XIV for the October 3-15 mini-World Cup in Nairobi.

The shortlisting will be done in Chennai tomorrow —- the last selection to be made by the present committee headed by Chandu Borde.

According to The Telegraph’ssources (who, thanks to the telecom snafu, could only be contacted in the morning), allrounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi and wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra, both of whom too are U-19 World Cuppers, stand a “decent chance.”

Of course, Sodhi more than Ratra. After all, there’s a possibility the selectors may formally assign vice-captain Rahul Dravid with one more responsibility —- that of wicketkeeping.

In that case, neither Ratra nor Reuben Paul (accused of pitch-tampering not many seasons ago) will make the cut. Even Vijay Dahiya will then figure among the also-rans.

The presence of three specialist wicketkeepers among the probables does suggest the selectors have plenty to choose from. That is terribly misleading, though.

Having sidelined Nayan Mongia, Syed Saba Karim and M.S.K.Prasad, the selectors themselves aren’t sure who should be offered the big-gloves.

As captain Sourav Ganguly hadn’t reached Chennai till this morning, sources remained in the dark about his choice —- not just with regard to the wicketkeeper, but a good many other berths as well.

The well-placed rookies apart, prominently in the frame is veteran Vinod Kambli, whose last India appearance was in Toronto exactly a year ago.

On the face of it, the absence of Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja, ‘rested’ by the Board, assures a place for Kambli. But...

So, all his experience notwithstanding, Kambli will still be keeping fingers crossed.

Another veteran, Venkatesh Prasad, however is certain to be recalled. Intriguingly, Prasad wasn’t even among the probables for the Asia Cup, India’s last engagement.

Significantly, the selection of yet another oldtimer, Robin Singh, is far from guaranteed. If Operation World Cup 2003 begins tomorrow, he is bound to lose out.

Sodhi stands to gain.

Besides Sourav, Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Prasad, the certainties are: Sunil Joshi, Ajit Agarkar and Hemang Badani. Kambli is, well, almost there.

In the running, but with odds against them (as of this morning, that is), are Sadagopan Ramesh, S.Sriram and Mohammed Kaif. Ideally, Ramesh should return, but the question is: Where to slot him?

After their appalling performance in the Asia Cup, it will be a big surprise if Thiru Kumaran and Amit Bhandari are retained.

Eyebrows too could be raised if Debashish Mohanty makes a comeback. His recall would have been assured had Toronto been on, this year —- conditions in Nairobi, though, are different.

Incidentally, 18-year-old Yuvraj, a southpaw, is Yograj Singh’s son. Back in the mid-Seventies, it may be recalled, Yograj was deemed “more talented” than even Kapil Dev.    

Calcutta, Sept. 20: 
Snehasis Ganguly and Subroto Porel were today included in the state senior selection committee. They replace Amitava Roy and Dipankar Sarkar. Chairman Ashok Malhotra stays along with Pronab Roy.

Robin Mukherjee was named chairman of the junior selection committee. The other members are I. B. Roy, Jolly Sarkar and Mintu Das.

At the working committee meeting of the CAB, it was also decided that the body will convene a special general body meeting to recommend changes in rules regarding inter-club transfers of all India players.

George win

George Telegraph defeated Nepal XI 4-2 in their opening match of the All Airlines Gold Cup football tournament at the Mohun Bagan ground today. The winners led 2-1 at the breather.

Prasanta Chakraborty, Pratap Senapati, Gourav Dutta and Dipankar Chatterjee struck for the home team. Niranjan Rai Majhi and Rajesh Sahi scored for Nepal XI.

Elsewhere, Kishore Bahini drubbed Howrah PAJ 16-0 in a nursery league tie.    

Calcutta, Sept. 20: 
Trainer Richard Alford landed a popular double while fellow-professional Deepak Karki notched up a lucrative brace at today’s races. The plum of the season, the Monsoon Cup, was, however, won by Vijay Singh’s hot-favourite Jeweller.

Allowing stablemate Aldebro a commanding lead till the 600m marker, Cristopher Alford atop Jeweller closed in the gap and cruised passed the leader 350m from home.


1. Sprightly Handicap 1,100m: (4-5-1-2) Magic Ring (Amjad K.) 1; Whitney (Brij S.) 2; Arizona Star (Manohar) 3; Jayaashva (Bird) 4. Won by: 4; 5-1/2; 2-1/4; (1-13.8). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place; 13; 51; Quinella: 169; Tanala: 669. Fav: Jayaashva (2). Winner trained by D. Karki.

2. Pompano Handicap 1,400m: (2-1-7-5) Global Harmony (Manohar) 1; Royal Ruler (P. Alford) 2; Three Good (Rabani) 3; Armila (Yasin) 4. Won by: 3-1/4; Nk; 1-1/2; (1-33.4). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 12; 17; 40; Quinella: 49; Tanala: 866. Fav: Global Harmony (2). Winner trained by Mujeeb R.

3. Thrifty Allan Handicap1,200m: (1-4-3-5) Arctic Fancy (Rutherford) 1; On The Bit (Connorton) 2; Double Dancer (Rabani) 3; Amistad (C. Alford) 4. Won by: Nk; 4-1/4; 1/2; (1-19.5). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 40; Quinella: 63; Tanala: 597. Fav: Arctic Fancy (1). Winner trained by R. Alford.

4. Monsoon Cup 2,000m: (3-4-1-2) Jeweller (C. Alford) 1; Aldebro (Amil) 2; Tanganyika (Manohar) 3; Dominate (P. Alford) 4. Won by: Dist; 5-3/4; Dist; (2-11.4). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 15; Quinella: 15; Tanala: 28. Fav: Jeweller (3). Winner trained by Vijay S.

5. South Seas Handicap 1,100m: (6-1-3-9) Almond Rock (Gowli) 1; Sky Command (Manohar) 2; Winning Hand (Connorton) 3; Chivalrous (C. Alford) 4. Not run: Double Crown (5). Won by: 3-1/4; 1-3/4; 3; (1-10.7). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 11; 19; 13; Quinella: 99; Tanala: 256. Fav: Almond Rock (6). Winner trained by R. Alford.

6. Silver Balm Handicap 1,100m: (6-4-1-2) Constantine (Amjad K.) 1; Silver Raising (Akhtar) 2; Mountain Memory (Rutherford) 3; Lovely Prospect (K. Kumar) 4. Won by: 1-1/2; 2; SH; (1-12.6). Tote: Win Rs 101; Place: 23; 19; 13; Quinella: 217; Tanala: 1,120. Fav: Mountain Memory (1 ). Winner trained by D. Karki.

Jackpot: Rs 2,782; (C) Rs 66.

Treble: (i) Rs 160; (ii) Rs 380.

Barrier trials, monsoon track

1,200m: Allodium (C. Alford) and Starry Flag (Rabani) in 1-19s; (400m) 25 3/5s. Former was length better.


Outer sand track

800m: Aloritz (C. Alford) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Moved well.

Sand track

1,600m: Tsaynen Blue (Upadhya) in 1-53s; (400m) 26s. Note. Alvarada (C. Alford) in 1-57s; (400m) 24 2/5s. Moved well. 800m: Ring Dancer ( Yadav) in 54s; (400m) 24s. Good. Santillana (Salim) in 1-0s; (400m) 27s. Bird’s Empire (Rutherford) and Go With The Wind (K. Gurang) in 58s; (400m) 26s. Both easy.    

Mysore, Sept. 20: 
Although promoted after his easy victory, the Robert Foley- trained Fairy Prince with Prakash in the saddle looks good for an encore when he takes on 15 rivals in the 1,400m Bakshi Arepur Basappaji Urs Memorial Gold Cup tomorrow.


1.15 pm: Special Quest 1. Waves Of Emotion 2. Lucerne 3.

1.45 pm: Goldeneye 1. Lightning Reef 2. Silver Spring 3.

2.15 pm: Contour 1. Silk Petals 2. Wakonda 3.

2.45 pm: Soviet Bay 1. Royal Emperor 2. Kingston Heath 3.

3.15 pm: Nobody’s Angel 1. Casino Ace 2. Lovely Lips 3.

3.45 pm: Avocation 1. Gullane 2. Queen’s Ransom 3.

4.15 pm: Fairy Prince 1. Prince Obolensky 2. Estocade 3.

4.45 pm: Harry The Horse 1. Ammetter 2. Daiimio 3.

5.15 pm: Saujas 1. Red Cordon 2. Atomic Fusion 3.

Day’s Best: Avocation Double: Soviet Bay & Harry The Horse    


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