Marion stays in line for 5
Loss drags India deeper down
Demanding the Olympic glory
India prepare for last hurrah
Kafelnikov’s golden return to form
Jagdale set to be selector
ITA meets for colts
Added Asset springs a surprise
Mysore tips

 
 
MARION STAYS IN LINE FOR 5 
 
 
FROM SUJIT BHAR
 
Sydney, Sept. 28: 
Only one mark was created in athletics today, an Olympic best in the women’s 20km walk, which was marred by disqualification’s, but the highlights of the day were Marion Jones second gold (in the women’s 200m), Sri Lankan Susanthika Jayasinghe’s bronze in the same event, the men’s 200m title going, surprisingly, to a Greek and the men’s long jump gold being gathered by Cuban world champion Ivan Pedroso.

In other events, the decathlon gold went to Erki Nool of Estonia and the women’s shot put to Yanina Korolchik of Belarus.

The big story was the women’s 200m final. Earlier in the evening Jones had reached the final with a fine first in her semi-final, while Jayasinghe made a strong start in a strong field to finish second. Aussie icon Cathy Freeman’s Lane 2 assignment (through a poor earlier round) set her back and she managed only a fourth, just about making it to the final.

Jones, it was proved, never really had any competition in the final. She took off strongly, crouched as usual for nearly a second before looking up, and then took the curve as if it belonged to her. Her Carl Lewis-like strides took her ahead of the field right into the homestretch, and thereafter she didn’t even bother about the rest. She finished at a season best of 21.84 seconds, nearly a couple of yards ahead of silver winner Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas.

Jones said her dream of winning five golds here was “still alive”. “I came here with lofty goals and it’s only half over. Hopefully this time tomorrow I’ll be talking to you with another gold around my neck.”

On her long jump event ahead, she said she was “confident”. She said she was “relieved the sprints are over”, adding that “tomorrow is another test”. She discounted the doubts people had of her long-jumping capabilities and said: “A lot of people have doubted me and tomorrow a lot of questions will be answered...”

She said she was “going to rest and prepare for tomorrow.” On today’s race, she said “those ladies didn’t give me anything... they made me run for my money and me earn it.”

It was Jayasinghe who was in the lead off the bend, and she was striding well. But Davis-Thompson caught up with about 20 metres to go and edged ahead at the finish line to push Susanthika to bronze (a Sri Lankan national record of 22.28 seconds).

This was only the second Olympic medal for Sri Lanka ever. The last medal they had won was in 1948 when Duncan White had won bronze in the men’s 400m hurdles.

It was a great day for the Lankan athlete who has been so often doubted, even at home, for doping, and has been through tough times despite winning silver in the same event at the Athens world championship in 1997.

A delighted Jayasinghe, surrounded by the Lankan media as she managed to talk, said she was “happy and proud” to have won an Olympic medal for her country after 52 years.” The Los Angeles-based athlete’s explanation for her success was simple: “I just tried to focus on my lane and I ran as fast as I could.” Her Lankan coach Dervin Pereira would be proud of this moment. She said “It has been a very difficult time (for preparation for the Olympics) for me. I had to go away to Los Angeles to train because of all the trouble in Sri Lanka.”

Freeman’s second lane sort of boxed her out of the race and then she took the bend badly too. She finished a poor seventh (22.53 seconds), behind compatriot Melinda Gainsford-Taylor (22.42 seconds).

The men’s 200m final produced a surprise result. Eyes were on John Capel jr of the US in Lane 4 and on Darren Campbell of Britain in Lane 6 and, of course, on Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago in Lane 8. Boldon’s poor lane assignment was because of a poor semi-final time, despite finishing third in his part. (In the other semi-final Japan’s Asian Games 100m champion Koji Ito had moved out at seventh position). Greece’s Konstantinos Kenteris had finished first in his semi-final, and he was in contention, but with all the stars around, no one expected him to win gold.

In the event, Kenteris beat the field with a brilliant homestretch rush, finishing for gold at 20.09 seconds. That made him the first Greek (quite ironically the country where the Olympics started in ancient times), to win an Olympic track medal. In 1896 the great Spiridon Louishad a won a marathon medal.

Campbell was second (20.48) and Boldon third at 20.20 seconds.

In the morning, Wang Liping of China won gold in the women’s 20km walk with an Olympic best time of 1:29.05 in a race that saw five disqualifications. Norway’s Kjersti Plaetzer won silver and Spain’s Maria Vasco the bronze.

Those disqualified included race leader Eliasbetta Perrone of Italy, the Atlanta Games silver medallist hauled up after 16km. Ousted also was Chinese medal favourite and 1999 world champion Liu Hongyu and Australian Jane Saville, who was hauled up in the tunnel, barely 100m from the finish line. Saville was simply inconsolable, running around knowing not what to do.

It was sort of accepted before the start of the men’s long jump final that the great distances of world record-holder Mike Powell of the US and Olympic record-holder Bob Beamon, also of the US, would remain intact. There was simply no jumper in that class in Sydney, neither was anybody of the class of a Carl Lewis.

Hence, the fight narrowed to Australia’s Jai Taurima and Cuba’s current world champion Ivan Pedroso. They matched each other till 8.34m and then till 8.49m, but when Pedroso made an 8.55 in his sixth attempt, Jai simply could not match it anymore, settling or silver at his fifth attempt 8.49. Ukrainian Roman Schurenko won bronze at 8.31m.

The best athlete of any Games is supposedly the decathlon champion, despite this event having been dipping in the esteem of people. Erki Nool of Estonia gained gold today with 8641 points, followed by Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic with 8606 and Chris Huffins of the US with 8595.    


 
 
LOSS DRAGS INDIA DEEPER DOWN 
 
 
FROM SUJIT BHAR
 
Sydney, Sept. 28: 
SOUTH KOREA 1
PAKISTAN 0
HOlland 5 (0)
AUSTRALIA4 (0)
BRITAIN 2
INDIA 1
GERMANY 6
ARGENTINA 2

The hockey final in the Games of the XXVII Olympiad on Saturday will be between South Korea and champions the Netherlands. The Koreans earned their first-ever place in an Olympic gold-medal match with a 1-0 win over Pakistan this afternoon, while the Netherlands prevailed 5-4 on penalty strokes over hosts Australia after regulation time and extra-time ended goalless.

Meanwhile, India humiliated themselves further, losing 1-2 in their match for fifth and sixth place to Britain, the tournament whipping boys despite that shock win over Germany. That means India can now at best hope for only the seventh place, ruling them out of November’s Champions Trophy in Lahore. The top six in the Olympic championship qualify for the meet.

In the seventh-eighth placings match tomorrow, the Indians take on Argentina, who lost 2-6 to Germany today. Germany will fight for fifth place, in tomorrow’s match versus Britain.

The Korean magic

The Koreans are a fit, fighting lot with a great deal of homework and meticulous planning behind them. This is what makes up for their natural lack of talent in the sport. Their hockey is anything but pleasing to eye, but that they are effective is no more in doubt.

The match started off cautiously, the pace belying an accent on defence. The attacks picked up in the second quarter with the teams raiding rival territory alternately. A number of chances were squandered.

The second half started with a Kamran Ashraf miss. Ashraf was hardly in his element today, and neither was Pakistan’s penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas. He missed in the 38th minute and then in the 43rd minute (saved by goalkeeper), before a penalty corner by Mohammed Shafqat was aborted.

By then the Koreans, and Jong-Hyun and Seung-Tae Song in particular, were becoming dangerous in the Pakistani defence area. They were diving at every ball as if their life depended on it. In the 56th minute, the Koreans forced a penalty corner and, off the stop, Seung-Tae Sing waited just a fraction of a second as the defenders charged out and then quickly scooped in what turned out to be the winner.

The Koreans were at the Pakistani goalmouth for some more time before Pakistan came back in full force, forcing a penalty corner, but Abbas’ shot was saved.

The huge show of sheer joy in the Korean camp was understandable. For quite some time, they have had to carry the tag of the ‘upcoming team’. Now they had graduated to the gold match.

For the Netherlands it was victory hard earned. Neither team gave away any space to the other, and though the match was not as pacy as it is should have been, there were hordes of attacks at both ends, though Australia did do most of the work early on.

Following an early second-half Australian attack in which Davis missed, the Netherlands launched themselves into the Aussie zone and Teun de Nooijer, Remco van Wijk and Jaap Derk Buma failed to reach the target from close.

Barren even in extra-time, penalty strokes were ordered. They were all converted before Australia’s Brent Livermore was a trifle hesitant and Jansen dived to save, giving the Netherlands a tough final entry.

Broken morale

What India showed today was broken team morale. There was little by way of understanding, and even less by way of fighting spirit against a team that had been virtually mauled in pool A matches. The sky was overcast, the rains having just stopped, and the temperature was around 17 degrees centigrade. It all seemed to add to the gloom in the Indian camp.

The Indians did go ahead first, in the ninth minute, when Dilip Tirkey converted a penalty corner. But Britain hit back almost immediately.

Following a tenth minute Danny Hall miss from close, Craig Parnham was into the D and struck home the equaliser. The Indian defence was in a sort of disarray and failed to intercept.

Deepak Thakur, off decent prompts, did try a couple of items to get back at the British goal, while Britain hit back with a couple of quick penalty corners. Calum Giles and Parnham in particular were terrorising the Indian defence.

Skipper Ramandeep Singh did not take the field today, probably feeling a pinch of guilt that it was because off a mistake by him that Poland could equalise in India’s last pool match and put them out of the way for a medal round.

Changing over 1-1, India could hold on for just about ten minutes before Giles converted a penalty corner and that proved to be the winner. India tried some open attacks that were repulsed by the then eager-to-win Britons. India also wasted a couple of late penalty corners.    


 
 
DEMANDING THE OLYMPIC GLORY 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Sydney, Sept. 28 : 
If athletics is about courage, about the indomitable spirit, they were the true champions today. They are not the ones who demand and get millions of dollars in sponsorship, they are not the ones who show off their swagger or supplement their athletic skills with fancy hairdo. They can’t walk, wheelchair-bound that they are, but they too demand, deserve and get Olympic glory.

As part of a recent tradition of Olympic exhibition races, the women’s 800m and the men’s 1500m wheelchair races came into the focus of a million strobe lamps and a billion television viewers around the world. They too were cheered, they too did their laps of honour with their national flags, and they too were on the podium, no less than International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch honouring them.

The thoughtful Aussies had provided discreet ramps for their wheelchairs to move onto the victory podium. But they were anyway on top of the world, in their own world of the undaunted spirit.

Australia’s Jai Taurima, nicknamed ‘Jumping Jai’, was going through his late attempts, trying to match Cuban champion Ivan Pedroso in the long jump, and the crowd was going wild with this long-haired flamboyant jumper’s acts. Quietly, eight wheelchair-bound ladies took positions at the starting ‘blocks’. Their names were announced, they were on television, and, as each waved, the tears of joy welled over.

The arena was so big, and so athletic, it was surely a great honour that the IOC has bestowed upon them. Surely there was the paralympic Games to follow, but this is the Olympics, and there is something very rare about it.

But the important race was at hand, and as the pistol went off the athletes got going. Jai had just hit a purple patch, and flashbulbs were popping and the cheers were deafening. Suddenly the crowd noticed this happy Aussie girl, in her wheelchair, but leading the race nevertheless. The 27-year-old Louise Sauvage, winner at the 1997 IAAF exhibition race and champion at the Atlanta Games exhibition race, was spinning the wheels away vigorously.

Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida was at her ‘heels’, so to say, but Sauvage’s determination was great. She won gold at 1:56.07, followed by Wakako and Mexican Ariande Hernandez.

The men came to the fore immediately, stronger and definitely looking more professional. Heinz Frei of Switzerland wears a flashy outfit and looks every inch a star. Saul Mendoza of Mexico was more determined to win gold, though. He raced around and there wasn’t even the time to get his hands off the wheels. Australian John MacLean was going round a bend when he went off-balance. His wheelchair overturned.

Any regular athlete would have clambered back and run again. MacLean was looking around, for some help. A few officials rushed in to help, but by then it was too late to catch up with the field.    


 
 
INDIA PREPARE FOR LAST HURRAH 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Sydney, Sept. 28: 
India prepare for their last hurrah tomorrow. There is a bit of athletics pretension left in India yet. Gurmeet Kaur will take part in the women’s javelin qualifying, while all four relay teams are also entered.

The Indian men’s 400m relay team will take part in a race where at least five teams have set seson-best marks that are way under what the Indians have set. Not the Indians are expected to beat their own mark. Precedent has had it the other way. The women’s 400m relay squad will be in great company too (including top stars from the Bahamas, the Ukraine, Finland). Four of the other teams in the qualifiers have better timings.

The men’s 1600m relay team, though looks good on paper in their qualifying group. Theirs is the second-best time recorded prior to the Games, the field being led by Sri Lanka. The others are the Qataris, the Kenyans, the Algerians and the Irish.

The women’s 1600m relay squad shows good on paper too. However, whatever the pre-Games records may be, the others in fray are Jamaica, Britain and Italy. There doesn’t seem to be much to look back to tomorrow.    


 
 
KAFELNIKOV’S GOLDEN RETURN TO FORM 
 
 
LEANDER PAES
 
 
The Russians are coming. What a tennis year it has been for them. First, Marat Safin wins the US Open. Then Elena Dementieva gatecrashes the Olympic women’s singles final. And now Yevgeny Kafelnikov has won the men’s singles gold. Russia have produced gifted players before, but not of such quality and in such quantity I’m sure.

In a topsy-turvy tournament the last people you expected in the finals were Tommy Haas and Kafelnikov. Haas has a problem with his back, a bulging disc. Kafelonikov was in even greater trouble. This entire year, by his exalted standards, — remember he was world No.1 for a while last year — his form was terrible. In tennis parlance he was in a slump. In fact, he was playing so poorly that he contemplated not showing up for the Olympics. What’s the point, he must have thought.

But tennis is a funny business. Sometimes you never quite know when your form is going to return. Right through the tournament Kalashinkov, as he was known when he first came on the tour, didn’t lose a set. Except in the finals, when Haas stretched him to five sets. And now he’s going home with the ultimate prize.

People say that Grand Slam tournaments are more important. Maybe, but you get a chance at four Grand Slam tournaments every year; you get a chance at Olympic gold only once in four years.

Russia, in that sense, are much like India, for Kafelnikov has himself said: “In my country, people appreciate the gold medallist much better than winners of the Grand Slams”.

Kafelnikov’s victory is interesting also because it’s happened in Australia. I’m sure that like us tennis players, other sportsmen too, whether they be cricketers or golfers or whatever, have a favourite ground or course they like to play on.

Maybe it’s the conditions, the courts, the ambience, the environment, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason. But you can go back to the same tournament every year and suddenly feel more comfortable and produce better tennis than you have all year.

For Kafelnikov it’s not just a favourite tournament, it’s a favourite country. He first drew attention to himself at the Australian Open many years ago. Later he won it. Then, this year when he hasn’t won a single tournament and lost to rank outsiders, his best performance came at the Australian Open when he reached the finals. Now he’s done it again. Maybe he should take up residence here. Of course, he did lose a hotly contested Davis Cup tie to Lleyton Hewitt in Australia last year but maybe that was an aberration.

What’s different for the tennis players though in comparison to some of the other sports is that there’s no time to take a rest now. Tournaments begin next week, and Kafelnikov is at ninth position in the 2000 ATP champions race and still has time to make a move up the ladder.

What such wins also do is invest a player with confidence that may have been lacking from their game through the year. And a confident Kafelnikov is up there with Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as one of the most dangerous and experienced players in world tennis.

But there’s one thing I’m pretty sure Kafelnikov is going to do before he plays his next tennis match. He’s going to go and have a round of golf. For some reason, perhaps because it relaxes them, tennis players are very enthusiastic golfers.

Actually so am I. During tennis tournaments often golf tournaments are organised and needless to say the competition is almost as fierce as it is on the tennis court.

Kafelinkov’s passion is well known, and someone told me he once said that when he finishes with tennis he might pursue the PGA Tour. It was probably a joke but who knows. Whatever Kafelnikov touches turns to gold. At least these days.    


 
 
JAGDALE SET TO BE SELECTOR 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, Sept.28: 
The national selectors may themselves have effected multiple changes, only recently, but the committee itself is set to see one only (for 2000-2001).

According to The Telegraph’s sources, MP’s Sanjay Jagdale should replace Vidarbha’s Anil Deshpande as the Central representative. The decision will be taken at the two-day Board AGM, in Chennai from tomorrow.

Deshpande, who stays in Mumbai, has chosen not to continue for “personal reasons.” He could have remained for a maximum of two more years. The selectors’ innings, it may be recalled, is limited to four years.

There was a move within the ruling group to ‘retire’ chief selector Chandu Borde, after just one year, but that has been shelved.

“It’s true that many of us aren’t pleased with Borde but, when we talk of giving the players a fair run, it’s only reasonable to give the chief selector more than one year,” explained a senior Board official.

That argument does have merit, yet stepping up the ‘retire’-Borde move could have opened the proverbial “Pandora’s Box,” as another official put it. Specifically, Ajit Wadekar may have launched his own comeback-move.

Going by existing equations, that would have been totally unacceptable to the ruling group. Therefore, continuity isn’t the sole reason for Borde staying on.

Also, not everybody was enthused by the possibility of stand-in coach Aunshuman Gaekwad (the ruling group’s preferred choice, if Borde was to go) being made to wear two hats.

Now, despite all talk of a coach from overseas, Gaekwad could well get a longer second innings if India make an excellent impression in both the mini-World Cup and the Sharjah triangular.

Gaekwad’s current appointment is till Sharjah.    


 
 
ITA MEETS FOR COLTS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 28: 
The Indian Tennis Academy (ITA) will organise a couple of meets for juniors under the aegis of Bengal Tennis Association at the SAI complex from October 10 to 15.

Announcing this today, Tejbir Singh Bhandari, tournament director, said that apart from awards, the winners and runners-up in all events will be given scholarships.

Winners in the singles events for boys (U-12 and U-14) and girls (U-14) will also gain 16 state ranking points. The runners-up will get 10 ranking points. Apart from this, the winners will get Rs 1000 each with the runners-ups bagging half the amount.

This meet will be followed by another for under-8 and under-10 age groups, from October 20 and 23, at the same venue. Entry for the meets closes on October 1 and 11, respectively.

EB donation for floods

To help the flood-affected people in the state, the East Bengal club will donate Rs 40,000 to the Chief Minister’s relief fund tomorrow., the club’s assistant secretary Dipak Das said.    

 
 
ADDED ASSET SPRINGS A SURPRISE 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 28: 
The victory of two friendless winners from trainer Daniel David’s yard — in the final legs the jackpot event — left the popular pool unsolved today. The biggest damage was done by Added Asset in the 1,400m Balam Cup. Hitting the front soon after the start, jockey Kishor Kumar kept the four-year-old gelding going and added one more to the list of few winners he has had in his long riding career. With the course-favourite Iron Warrior withdrawn at the start, owing to injury sustained on his left hind hock, Daniel’s other ward Acadameus landed the prize in the Goldliner Handicap.

RESULTS

1. Salvage Cup 1,400m: (1-4-2-3) Airs Image (Gowli) 1; Armila (Yasin) 2; Jayaashva (Som S.) 3; Adeline (Amil) 4. Won by: 3; Dist; 2-1/2; (1-32). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 10; 21; Quinella: 28; Tanala: 131. Fav: Airs Image (1). Winner trained by R. Alford.

2. Mercury Handicap 1,100m: (2-6-3-7) Silver Raising (Manohar) 1; Floral Path (A. P. Singh) 2; Ace Of Spades (Upadhya) 3; Time Of Times (Amjad) 4. Won by: 3-3/4; 1-3/4; 2-1/2; (1-12.2). Tote: Win Rs 58; Place: 18; 36; 70; Quinella: 383; Tanala: 10,358. Fav: Run Ahead (8). Winner trained by Javed K.

3. Camlin Handicap 1,100m: (3-4-1-5) Software (Islam) 1; Alastar (C. Alford) 2; Magic Ring (Amjad) 3; Ring Dacner (Gowli) 4. Won by: 5-1/4; SH; 1-1/2; (1-12.8). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 13; 18; Quinella: 24; Tanala: 148. Fav: Software (3). Winner trained by Bath.

4. Blacktoi Handicap 1,100m: (1-2-5-4) Alsheim (C. Alford) 1; Orbital Star (Gowli) 2; Santillana (Salim) 3; Alterezza (Surender) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; 2-1/2; SH; (1-12.2). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 12; 16; Quinella: 16; Tanala: 38. Fav: Alsheim (1). Winner trained by Vijay S.

5. Balam Cup 1,400m: (4-2-6-7) Added Asset (K. Kumar) 1; Ballet Master (Gowli) 2; Friendly Knight (Samad) 3; Acaress (C. Alford) 4. Not run: Gul (5). Won by: 1-3/4; 1/2; 1/2; (1-33.2). Tote: Win Rs 500; Place: 47; 13; 11; Quinella: 764; Tanala: 4,681. Fav: Acaress (7). Winner trained by D. David.

6. Goldliner Handicap 1,200m: (4-3-8-2)Acadameus (A. P. Singh) 1; Staffordshire (Rabani) 2; Artifact (Amil) 3; Remember The Day (P. Alford) 4. Not run: Iron Warrior (6). Won by: 3/4; 2; 3-3/4; (1-19.4). Tote: Win Rs 160; Place: 29; 14; 11; Quinella: 302; Tanala: 3,168. Fav: Mountain Memory (5). Winner trained by D. David.

Jackpot: Rs 1,59,796 (Carried over) (C) Rs 3,161.

Treble: (i) Rs 141; (ii) Rs 15,915.    


 
 
MYSORE TIPS 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Mysore, Sept. 28: 
Astronautics may lift tomorrow’s Governor’s Gold Cup.

SELECTIONS

1.45 pm: Formal Gold 1. Zeke 2. Pinsharp 3.

2.15 pm: Catch Word 1. Hilary 2. Golden Days 3.

2.45 pm: Augill Castle 1. Soldier Of Fortune 2. Paddock Princess 3.

3.15 pm: Breaking News 1. Surf Rider 2. Kool Kruiser 3.

3.45 pm:Volcano 1. Mehvish 2. Frontier Hero 3.

4.15 pm: Astronautics 1. Sun Reality 2. Carnival Flair 3.

4.45 pm: One So Wonderful 1. Annatto 2. Ronson 3.

5.15 pm: Placid Ark 1.Oser 2. Cyclades 3.

Day’s Best: Breaking News

Double: Augil Castle & One So Wonderful    

 

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