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Since 1st March, 1999
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Indian men bow out in 1st round

New Delhi: Indian shuttlers put up a disappointing show as all five men bowed out in the first round of the Denmark Open badminton meet in Aarhus on Wednesday. Pullela Gopichand, Abhinn Shyam Gupta, Nikhil Kanetkar and qualifiers Chetan Anand and Arvind Bhat lost to higher ranked opponents.

Gupta went down fighting against seventh seed Soni Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia 4-15, 15-12, 7-15 while Bhat was defeated by 72-ranked Sairul Amar Ayob of Malaysia 8-15, 15-8, 15-9, according to information received here.

In other matches, Anand lost to Jens Roch of Germany 13-15, 9-15, Gopichand was thrashed by Chen Yu of China 15-3, 15-2 and Kanetkar went down against Przemyslaw Wacha 2-15, 13-15. Indian hope now rests on Aparna Popat, who was promoted to the main draw after the withdrawal of some players.

Brazil extend lead

Zurich: World Cup holders Brazil have extended their lead over France at the top of the Fifa rankings list, soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday. Brazil’s wins this month over Ecuador and Colombia have enabled them to stretch the lead over their closest European rivals to 26 points, with Spain maintaining third place.

France now lead Spain by 62 points after the European champions beat Slovenia and Cyprus to record seven successive wins in their Euro 2004 qualifying group.

Argentina have moved up two places after beating Venezuela and drawing with Chile and now sit in fourth ahead of Mexico. The biggest movers of the month were Bolivia, who rose 20 places to 94th, and Bosnia, who rose 19 places to 58th after Euro 2004 qualifying wins over Norway and Luxembourg.

Serena, Annika best

New York: Serena Williams and Annika Sorenstam are the most marketable female athletes in a daily’s survey of top marketing and advertising executives.

The athletes were given five points for a first-place vote through one point for a fifth-place vote.

Serena received 34 out of 55 first-place votes and finished with 219 points, while Annika got 12 first-place votes and received 156 points. Mia Hamm, who finished first when the weekly magazine last conducted this survey in 1998, had four first-place votes in her 124 points.

Anderson may miss Bangla tour

London: Fast bowler James Anderson could miss England’s tour of Bangladesh next month after it was revealed that he had sustained a knee injury.

Lancashire’s Anderson, 21, who in the past 12 months has gone from a virtual unknown to an England regular, saw the problem discovered at a pre-tour medical assessment last week. England are due to play two Tests in Bangladesh followed by a three Test tour of Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile a report from Dhaka quotes coach Dav Whatmore as hoping to beat England.

Committee reshuffle

Athens: The Athens 2004 Games organiser Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki overhauled her team, in what she described as the last reshuffle ahead of next summer’s Olympics.

“Contrary to media expectations no heads rolled, there was no bloodletting,” said an Athens Organising Committee (ATHOC) source on Tuesday, who declined to be named.

The reshuffle follows August’s batch of test events which passed off smoothly except the rowing competition, marred by the German team’s salmonella infection and high winds which cast doubt on the brand-new rowing centre outside Athens as a games venue.

Indians record win

New Delhi: India recorded their second straight win in the Asian Basketball Confederation championship at Harbin, China when they thrashed Malaysia on Wednesday.

India defeated Malaysia 81-62 in their second group B league match. In another group match, South Korea trounced Kuwait 95-71.

n Cricket, UK Domestic season — Essex vs Yorkshire, from 8 am on ESPN n Badminton, Indonesian Open from 3.30 pm on STAR Sports n Soccer, IFA Shield semi-finals — Mohun Bagan vs Tollygunge Agragami from 5.45 pm on ESPN

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