Gopichand in Round II
Indian duo in semis
Smooth sailing for top seeds
Arun Lal’s new assignment
Mysore Racing/ Golden Throne best on form

Seville, June 5: 
Pullela Gopichand cruised into the second round of the world badminton championships here when he sailed past Jens Roch of Germany 15-3, 15-8 in 32 minutes.

Gopichand was in his elements from the start today. He was comfortable right through the first game and hardly faced any problems. In the second too he raced to a 8-1 and 12-4 lead before the lefthanded German offerred some resistance.

The tall German tried pushing Gopichand into defence, but with the Indian playing to perfect length and moving to the net very fast, the German had no chance.

Gopichand, who has already played four matches in this hall during the Sudirman Cup last week, feels fit and fine. Said Prasad Ganguly after the morning practice session: “I think Gopichand is doing well in practice. He has got his touch back and will be a threat to everyone now.”

Gopichand, too, appeared pleased with his showing after the match. “I moved alright and smashed well. Jens is no a mean player. I am nonetheless happy with the way I am shaping up now.”

Gopichand had further good news when the dangerous Indonesian Johan Hadikusuma lost to Kevin Han in three games.This means that Gopichand will play Kevin Han, the tall Chinese descendant from US tomorrow.

The Indian duo of V. Diju and Sanave Thomas won their first-round match in men’s doubles against the Czech pair of Petr Martinez and Jan Frohlic 15-2,15-0.


Calcutta, June 5: 
Tomas Cibulec and Leos Friedl weren’t expected to derail the smooth-running Indian Express. They didn’t, despite putting up a decent fight at Roland Garros today. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, far too strong for the Czech upstarts, quite expectedly moving into the French Open men’s doubles semi-finals.

According to information received here, the unseeded Indians eked out a 7-5, 6-4 win over Cibulec and Friedl. The Czech pair, which finished No. 43 in team rankings last year, had upset sixth seeds Max Mirnyi and David Prinosil Sunday.

Paes-Bhupathi’s prospects of a third men’s doubles Grand Slam title brightened considerably as Michael Hill and Jeff Tarango knocked out top seeds Todd Woodbridge and Jonas Bjorkman later today.

The 11th-seeded American pair, which won 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, will be less of a threat for the Indians than the awesome Aussie-Swede combine which has won three big titles this year including the Australian Open. The second semis will pit Frenchmen Arnaud Clement-Nicolas Escude against 13th-seeded Czechs Petr Pala and Pavel Vizner.

Cibulec dropped serve in the third game but the young Czechs broke back, capturing Paes’ serve in Game 6. At 5-5, the Indians earned the vital service break and Bhupathi served out the set without problems. The Indians broke Cibulec again, early in the second set, to lead 2-1. That was enough for Paes and Bhupathi to pocket the second set and the match.

Paes-Raymond out

Paes’ great French run ended today when he and Lisa Raymond lost 5-7, 1-6 to Paula Suarez and Jaime Oncins in the mixed doubles quarter finals.    

Bhubaneswar, June 5: 
The Telegraph Schools Chess Championship’s first leg of this year’s rounds, which got underway at the gymnasium-cum-indoor hall here today, has so far seen no major upsets with two rounds having been completed.

One minor upset was the stumbling of 14th seed Lipsa Mahasuara, the Orissa under-14 girls’ runner-up, beaten by unseeded Nirod Kumar Rath.

Fifty six players are now on two points each after Round II completed today mostly managed to separate the boys from the ‘men’. Also, the tournament will not see from the third round which starts at 8.30 am tomorrow, 32 players who have been statutorily disqualified through two consecutive rounds of absence.

Top seed Byomkesh Naik continued his march with his second consecutive victory, winning easily over Amlan Jyoti Patnaik. Second seed Piyush Roy also had no problems in earning his second point, beating Alok Kumar Sahu, while third seed Nishikanta Mishra beat Anubhava Samant.

Fourth seed Avinash Das also earned his second point when he beat Bibekananda Patra. The fifth seed wonder girl of Orissa, Kiran Manisha Mohanty, also was up to two points, beating Amnit Kumar Giri.

In the first round held this morning, there were expectedly no upsets. Byomkesh had little problem in beating Sandip Kumar Mishra, but Piyush was given a run for his money by unseeded Satyakam Dash. Avinash beat Sudesh Ranjan Naik and Kiran beat D. Gautam.

The championship, being held in association with Horlicks, started with a record 234 participants (an increase of six over yesterday’s figure) including 35 girls. That was after the organisers had to refuse several late applications.

The closing ceremony of the championship will be held on June 9 where former Test star and current East Zone selector Ashok Malhotra will give away the prizes.

The championship was inaugurated this morning. Present at the inauguration ceremony were Orissa State Chess Association president S. Srinivasan, A.B. Mohanty, working president of the organisation and G.B. Dash, the secretary.

The Orissa State Chess Association is organising the meet in co-operation with the Alekhine Chess Club of Calcutta.


Calcutta, June 5: 
Arun Lal, chief coach of the BCCI’s East Zone Academy today left the city for Singapore for a commentary assignment during the forthcoming India-Zimbabwe Test series.

Lal took necessary permission from NCA director Brijesh Patel for leaving the Academy before completion of its six-week stint. The Academy had started functioning from May 1.

Assistant coaches Barun Burman, Jeemut Mohanty and Randhir Singh will run the show in Lal’s absence. The chief coach has drawn up a detailed schedule for the remaining two weeks before his departure.

Soccer transfers

Nigerian recruit Christian Okolanko withdrew in favour of Bhratri Sangha at the inter-club transfers today.    

Mysore, June 5: 
On her sheer consistency here during the last season and also on her current trials, Golden Throne appears to be best on form to win the 1,100m Bol Publication Cup, tomorrow. Afsar partners the Samar Singh-trainee.


1.45 pm: Portalino 1. Formal Gold 2. Cliff Side 3.
2.15 pm: Fast Vision 1. Aethion 2. Selected Princess 3.
2.45 pm: Deion 1. St Chris 2. Grey Bull 3.
3.15 pm: Kass 1. Golden Fisher 2. Devonlock 3.
3.45 pm: Owen 1. Aznu 2. Royal Castle 3.
4.15 pm: Golden Throne 1. School For Scandal 2. Chandana 3.
4.45 pm: Surge Of Power 1. Medwin 2. Turn My Luck 3.
5.15 pm: Greek Lady 1. Tattoo 2. Savage Heart 3.
Day’s Best: Golden Throne
Double: Kass & Surge Of Power.

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