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India’s semis hopes dashed

Beijing: India’s bid to qualify for the semi-finals of the 12th Asian men’s volleyball championship ended when they lost to Iran 2-3 in a thrilling second-round encounter in Tianjin, China.

The Indian team blew a one set advantage to lose 25-23, 20-25, 22-25, 25-23, 13-15 late on Tuesday night. This was India’s second successive loss after their 1-3 defeat to Japan on Monday.

India can, however, still make it to the qualifying tournaments for the Athens Olympics. They need to win their 5-8 classification matches against Pakistan, Japan and Kazakhstan to stay in the race for a place.

China, South Korea, Iran and Australia moved into the semi-finals.

Indian pair finishes fourth

Mumbai: The Indian team of Laxminarayan Adhikari and P. Kalishekhar finished a creditable fourth in the junior world chess championship for the visually impaired which concluded at Pontivedra, Spain, on Tuesday.

According to information received here on Wednesday, the pair garnered 9.5 points to finish fourth behind Russia (14), Spain (13) and Poland (12).

However, in the individual event, which was won by San Jose of Spain, Andhra Pradesh-based Kalishekhar finished tenth (on the basis of progressive scores) with five points, while Bengal-based Adhikari was 11th with 4.5.

Border may visit India

Mumbai: Allan Border, the former Australian skipper and highest run-getter in Test cricket, is likely to visit India and Sri Lanka in March next year.

According to information received here on Wednesday, Border will visit the two countries with the Queensland Universities team to play a few matches. The team will consist of some state players and young cricketers, knocking on the door of first-class cricket.

Play suspended in Argentina

Buenos Aires: The Argentine soccer championship was suspended on Tuesday, ten days after 70 people were injured in crowd violence which forced a first division match to be abandoned.

The Argentina Football Association (AFA) decided to stop the whole championship after a judge on Monday slapped a 15-day ban on matches in the capital Buenos Aires, an AFA spokesman said.

”The Executive Committee (of the AFA) has decided that, until the judge lifts the ban on playing in Buenos Aires, there will not be football in the rest of the country, in any division.

“The idea is to avoid injustices and that teams in one area play while teams in another do not. When everyone can play, they’ll play.”

England fans banned

Istanbul: English fans will be barred from the potentially explosive Euro 2004 qualifier in Istanbul on October 11 even if they get tickets, Turkish soccer officials said Wednesday.

“Their fans will in no way be allowed into the stadium, even if they happen to have tickets. This is the agreement we have reached,” Turkish team manager Can Cobanoglu said. The FA has not taken up any tickets and has urged supporters to stay away fearing a repeat of violent encounters.

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