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Gopi just a win away

Singapore: Former All England badminton champion Pullela Gopichand is on course for a place in the first round of the Singapore Open after an easy win in qualifying here on Tuesday.

Gopichand, who is on the comeback trail after overcoming a series of niggling foot injuries, downed Malaysia’s Wei Chung Pei 15-5, 15-2 to put himself one win away from the main draw.

He now meets Kennevic Asuncion of the Philippines or Bo Rafn of Denmark on Wednesday for a first round spot.

“It’s my big push to improve my world ranking. My aim right now is to qualify for Athens. Titles will come, I’m not really thinking about winning just yet,” said a smiling Gopichand after Tuesday’s match.

“It’s the points that really matter. The last two years have been a real disappointment but now all that is past. I’m looking forward to a second innings.”

Indian juniors crush France 10-0

New Delhi: India began their campaign in the Junior Challenge Open hockey tournament with an emphatic win, thrashing France 10-0 in the opening match in Gniezno, Poland.

India, who converted five of the six penalty corners forced in the match, led 4-0 at halftime, according to an Indian Hockey Federation press release here on Tuesday.

The big win will boost India’s prospects in this six-nation U-21 event being played in round-robin format.

Other nations in the fray are Pakistan, Germany, Malaysia and hosts Poland.

Joshna, Vaidehi win

Chennai: Joshna Chinappa and Vaidehi Reddy registered contrasting victories to advance to the pre-quarter finals of the world junior women’s squash championships in Cairo.

Vaidehi upset Emma Beddoes of England 9-7, 9-4, 2-9, 9-4, while Joshna defeated Cherelle Kelley of Australia 9-7, 9-6, 9-4. This is the first time in the history of Indian squash that two junior girls have reached the top 16 in the individual event of a world junior event, a release from the Squash Rackets Federation of India said.

In the plate events, Alisha Mashruwala beat Rachel Green of Wales 9-5, 5-9, 9-6, 8-10, 9-7, while Dipika Pallikal went down fighting to Sary Carmen (Mexico) 2-9, 3-9, 0-9. Sonali Philip lost to Deon Saffery (Eng) 4-9, 1-9, 0-9.

Makelele gets a Valdano warning

Madrid: Real Madrid’s French midfielder Claude Makelele has put his footballing future in jeopardy by defying the Spanish champions and joining his French teammates in Switzerland for an international friendly, Real sporting director Jorge Valdano said on Tuesday.

Makelele is refusing to train with Real Madrid due to a salary dispute, and the 30-year-old was warned by Valdano at the weekend that he was not authorised to travel for the match.

“The club will be uncompromising,” threatened Valdano.

SPORTS ON SCREEN

Golf, US Amateur Open golf championship — Live from 10.30 pm on ESPN
Cricket, UK domestic season — Leicestershire vs Surrey, live from 8.30 pm on STAR Sports


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