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Ace facility to revive tennis

A tennis complex inaugurated in Cuttack last week is expected to boost the game in the state. The complex, which boasts of two synthetic courts, will be used to groom budding talents. Local sportspersons’ success in various events also kept the sports calendar busy

New turf

A tennis complex was inaugurated by the Cuttack District Tennis Association (CDTA) on Monday. The complex, which boasts of two synthetic courts, is the first-of-its-kind in the state and is built with financial assistance from MPLAD funds.

The synthetic surface courts have been built with internationally reputed Rebound Ace technology of Australia. It is the same type of court on which the Australian Open is played.

The construction had begun with financial assistance from Lok Sabha MP Baijayanta Panda (Rajya Sabha MP then) in 2008. CDTA officials said that the game was at its zenith during the 70s with many players from Cuttack featuring in the national arena.

Though initially there were seven tennis courts within Barabati Stadium complex, the sports lost its glory because of lack of patronage, resources and construction of other infrastructure on the old venue.

“We are happy that our dream of having an international standard tennis complex has been fulfilled. We hope that the game flourishes in the state again,” said CDTA secretary Satyajit Mohanty.

The complex will be used for coaching young talents in the city.

“We plan to conduct a coaching camp for students, and Tata Steel has also evinced interest to extend support towards coaching facilities to aspirants at the tennis complex,” Mohanty said.

Hockey star Dilip Tirkey was seen trying a hand at the game during the launch ceremony.

In the AITA-OTA Talent Series Tennis tournament played at Kalinga stadium tennis complex, Bhubaneswar boy Avilash Mishra claimed a double by winning both the singles and doubles in the U-16 category. In singles, he beat Adarsh Sahoo (6-4, 6-3). Mishra and Nishant Mohanty won the doubles title. Mahesh Mahapatra and Koyal Mishra won the Under-12 boys and Under-16 girls singles titles, respectively.

Chess prowess

The first Bhubaneswar Open All-India Chess Tournament will begin next month. The tournament will be hosted at the Prabhujee English Medium School from March 19. The 10-round tournament will feature players below 1,800 Elo ratings (a method for calculating skill levels of players in two-player games). Organised by the Khurda District Chess Association under the aegis of All Odisha Chess Association, the total prize money in the championship is Rs 2 lakh.

Passes and kicks

Delhi Lions and Bangalore Rugby Football Club were declared joint champions of the Callaghan Cup All-India (Division-II) Rugby Tournament after a nail-biting final ended in a draw (5-5) at Kalinga Stadium on February 15.

Chennai Irish won the Plate final, beating local favourites Bhubaneswar Rugby Club (15-5) earlier in the day. Delhi Lions, Bangalore RFC and Mumbai Magicials, who earlier lost in the semi-finals, qualified for the Division-I Tournament to be held in Mumbai in September.

Though ranked No. 1 at the start of the tournament, Bhubaneswar RC only managed to finish sixth in the 14-team tournament. Bhubaneswar RC entered the Plate final crushing Bangalore Bombers (27-0) in the semi-final.

Earlier, the home team had defeated Jammu & Kashmir (80-7) in the quarter-final.

Pack a punch

A two-day All Odisha Boxing championship was hosted at the Berhampur Stadium. The championship saw participation of 189 amateur boxers from 14 districts. Organised by the Ganjam District Athletics Association under the aegis of the Odisha Amateur Boxing Association, the event was organised on Monday and Tuesday.

Goal rush

Odisha defeated Meghalaya (3-1) in their first match held last week in the Qualifying Round-1 match of Santosh Trophy national football league. In the 12th minute, D. Kharoti of Meghalaya scored the first goal. In the 26th minute Md. Ehssan Khan of Odisha netted in the equaliser and again in the 53rd minute Ehssan gave Odisha its second goal. In the 88th minute, Sankho Marandi scored again for Odisha. Odisha has qualified for the quarter-finals of the Santosh Trophy.

Pitched battle

In the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy East Zone Cricket Tournament, Odisha is being led by all-rounder Biplab Samantray.

Odisha was to play four league matches against Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Jharkhand of which the first three have been held. In its opening match against Bengal, Odisha lost by 11 runs despite a 51-run knock by Samantray. Both Nataraj Behera and Paresh Patel got out for a duck each.

Against Assam, vice-captain Govind Poddar scored 50 but still the state team lost by 8 wickets.

In their last match on Monday, the state team finally registered a win against Tripura by four wickets. Their final league match against Jharkhand is slated for Friday.

Meanwhile, Odisha hosted the 26th All India Postal Cricket Tournament of which the final was played at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Bengal circle defeated Gujarat circle by 9 wickets to emerge champions. Fifteen Postal Circles including Odisha Postal Circle participated in the tournament that was held on league cum knockout basis. In the league stage, the matches were of 20 overs per side. The semi-finals and final were 40-overs-a-side matches.