Paes cleared in nick of time
Pullouts hit Asia Cup
Ban on Basak imminent
Mukesh takes lead on Day I
2 home matches for Tollygunge
CAB umpires call off strike
Calcutta Racing/ Form horses to the fore
Mumbai Racing/ Cymbidium may cash in on fitness

Calcutta, Dec. 6: 
The Bangalore World Doubles Championship has had a close shave. The eight-team field will, after all, be featuring its top draw Leander Paes.

Till last morning, Paes wasn�t sure whether he would be teaming up with Mahesh Bhupathi in the $ 750,000 event. A visit to his doctor in Orlando later in the day cleared his trip to the Garden City.

�He (Dr Robert Palumbo) saw me yesterday and said I could play the world championship,� Paes told The Telegraph from his Orlando apartment today. �I was waiting for the green signal, couldn�t have gone to Bangalore without getting his nod.�

Paes has been on the sidelines since early last month after injuring his knee at the $ 100,000 Charleroi Challenger in Belgium. He had planned to play at least one tournament � the $ 100,000 Challenger in Costa Rica this week � to get match-fit for the world meet. His name had figured in the draw, too, being seeded No. 6 in singles. But he ultimately withdrew.

�I had to pull out of the Costa Rica Challenger on my doctor�s advice,� Paes informed. Dr Palumbo, a specialist surgeon, has worked with the NBA team Orlando Magic and the US women�s soccer team.

Paes, who started hitting tennis balls last weekend, will be landing in Bangalore Sunday. �I�ll have three days to practise with Mahesh (Bhupathi). That�s not much but we have to make the best of whatever time we get.� Paes and Bhupathi didn�t qualify for the season-ending meet automatically but got in on a special wild card introduced this year.

�One good thing is we are playing on familiar territory... we have to maximise the home-court advantage,� Paes remarked.

The Indians, who have played just five meets together this year, have no chance of retaining their year-end No. 1 ranking. But this being the world championship, both will be keyed up to give it their best shot � especially since they haven�t won this crown despite being in the final twice.

The field isn�t as strong as it could have been with No. 1 pair Woodies, Olympic gold-medallist Sebastien Lareau-Daniel Nestor, Yevgeny Kafelnikov-Wayne Ferreira and Swedes Mikael Tillstrom-Nicklas Kulti staying away. But that doesn�t enthuse Paes too much.

�They are all good teams out there. We�ll obviously try our best but our task is cut out,� Paes said.


New Delhi, Dec. 6: 
The fourth Asia Cup tennis meet, scheduled to be held here from December 19 to 23, has been hit by withdrawals.

Holders Uzbekistan are not coming as Oleg Ogorodov and Vadim Kutsenko are unavailable.

Leander Paes, who has just recovered from knee tendinitis, is almost certain to pull out of this insignificant meet. The team will then consist of Mahesh Bhupathi, Nitin Kirtane, Harsh Mankad and Syed Fazaluddin.

Only four men�s teams have confirmed thus far.

The women�s event, being introduced this time, may miss Nirupama Vaidyanthan who has a leg injury.


Calcutta, Dec. 6: 
The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has decided to ban former national champion Arup Basak for various incidents of misbehaviour at the SAI, Eastern Centre, camp if a satisfactory answer is not received to the national body�s show-cause notice served on the player.

TTFI vice-president Prabir Mitra said the show-cause notice has already been sent, asking him to explain certain incidents at the TTFI-SAI camp conducted by a North Korean coach.

The duration of the ban will depend on Basak�s reply, but he is certain to miss a few tournaments in the near future. �We have to punish him (Basak), otherwise we�ll be setting a bad precedent,� Mitra said today. �Not only did he leave the camp without permission, he even instigated others to follow him. Charges against him also include abusing the coaches and disobeying them,� Mitra said.

The official said Basak has to reply within seven days and the TTFI executive committee will then decide on the course of action. �There will be a ban and he has already been ousted from the SAI camp,� Mitra said.

Basak, however, said the show-cause notice, which he received today, was issued without listening to what he had to say when Mitra met him on Saturday.

�I had a few things to say about mismanagement at the camp but he paid no heed to that,� Basak said. The 27-year-old also said that certain charges made against him in the show-cause notice were baseless.

�Cases of discrimination are not rare at the camp and I wanted to bring this to Mitra�s notice but he never gave me a chance. Also, a TTFI coach used to smuggle out rubbers and ply kept for the players but no action was taken against him,� Basak said.

Basak, perhaps in the home stretch of an illustrious career, said he is yet to decide what his reply would be but gave hints that he is not going to take it all lying down.


Calcutta, Dec. 6: 
Mukesh Kumar moved a step closer to becoming the first ever golfer to record a hattrick of victories on the Wills Sport Golf Tour, when he carded a four-under 68, to take the lead on Day I of the Rs 8.5 lakh Servo Masters Golf meet, being played at the Digboi Club Golf Links today.

According to information reaching here Rohtas Singh, Shiv Prakash, Rafiq Ali, Harmeet Kahlon, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia and Mohd Khokhan were in second sport, all at one-under.

Mukesh played his front-nine to three-under with birdies on the 14th, 16th and 17th. However, all the good work was undone by a double bogey-bogey start to his return journey.

Defending champion Rohtas Singh had a bad start with dropped shots on the first and second. He recovered somewhat with back-to-back birdies on the third and fourth.

Shiv Prakash also had a bogey-bogey start and then undid his birdie on the third with a bogey the 10th before carding three more birdies.

Harmeet Kahlon an had four birdies with three bogeys, just like Chowrasia of Calcutta had.

Rafiq Ali carded three bogeys and two birdies out and three birdies and one bogey back.

Irina moves ahead

Irina Brar shot a fine three- under-67 second round to move into the lead, pushing overnight leader Parnita Grewal two strokes behind to second spot in the East India Ladies golf championship at the Tollygunge Club today.

Shalini Malik, five strokes adrift of Irina, is in third spot.

Tara Halwasiya leads in the Open Scratch Trophy, Manavi Halwasiya leads in the Rasoi Cup (nett event), and Tara also leads in the Burdwan Cup (nett event).


New Delhi, Dec. 6: 
The chairman of the National Football League (NFL) committee, Alberto Colaco, today released the draw for the first two rounds.

First-round ties will be on December 14 and 15. The second-round ties are spread over three days, December 18 to 20. The League will then be suspended till January 21 for the national camp and the Millennium Cup.

Calcutta will host two matches in the first two rounds. Both will be at Rabindra Sarobar � Tollygunge Agragami�s home ground. On December 15, Tollygunge will meet East Bengal and will face Mohun Bagan after three days.

Mohun Bagan and East Bengal play one away match each. As per tradition, holders Mohun Bagan will kick off against JCT at the Ambedkar Stadium here on December 14.

East Bengal will travel to Bangalore to play Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) on December 19. ITI, who finished tenth in the last edition, are now coached by Mohammed Habib.

To stimulate local interest, three local Derbies will be held in the opening round. Runners-up Churchill Brothers will meet newly-promoted Vasco Sports in Fatorda on December 14. The next day, Tollygunge meet East Bengal and Mahindra United take on Air India in Mumbai. In the second round, there is only one local clash, Tollygunge against Mohun Bagan.

The draw for the remaining rounds will be decided after a meeting of the NFL committee, after the December 16 AIFF elections .

THE SCHEDULE (2 rounds): Dec. 14: JCT vs Mohun Bagan (Delhi); Churchill Brothers vs Vasco (Goa); ITI vs State Bank of Travancore (Bangalore). Dec. 15: Tollygunge Agragami vs East Bengal (Calcutta); Mahindra United vs Air India (Mumbai); Salgaocar vs FC Kochin (Goa). Dec. 18: Vasco vs FC Kochin (Goa); Tollygunge Agragami vs Mohun Bagan (Calcutta); Mahindra United vs JCT (Mumbai). Dec. 19: ITI vs East Bengal (Bangalore); Churchill Brothers vs SBT (Goa); Salgaocar vs Air India (Goa).

Mallya sponsorship plan

The Indian Premier Football Association (IPFA) is likely to sponsor the NFL from next year, its president Vijay Mallya said in Mumbai today, according to UNI.

Mallya said the AIFF made this offer and IPFA members would contribute to the total budget of Rs 10 crore.

Mallya also said the IPFA was ready to take charge of the Federation Cup, not held after 1998.

Mallya said he had no plans of contesting the AIFF elections in the near future.


Calcutta, Dec. 6: 
The umpires of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) withdrew their five-day agitation and work stoppage following a meeting with CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya last evening.

A media release by the Umpires of CAB, the association which took up the cause, said the meeting was �very fruitful�. It also stated that Dalmiya �expressed his regret� regarding the alleged insult to the body�s president, Arya Kishor Chatterjee, by one of the joint secretaries of the CAB.

The body�s release also claims that the CAB president promised all help in meeting the demands of the umpires, the burning iss-ues which precipitated the impasse.


Calcutta, Dec. 6: 
The victory of three clear favourites in today�s race-card of six-events was a welcome change after what racegoers had gone through last Friday. On the whole form held true, barring in the concluding event, the Flaming Orb Handicap, which was claimed by Daniel David�s lesser fancied-trainee Sadaf.

The afternoon�s chief event, the Time Machine Cup, was an easy picking for the 8-10 favourite, Stately Don, who came with a late run to have the measure of Annella and Aznavour. Brahm Prakash, who partnered the Daniel-trainee, had also guided Splendid Star to victory earlier in the day.

The 2,000m Bengal Area Cup was won by Lockers Park � his fourth straight victory and not third as mentioned in these columns. The Batzushka-Fusion three-year-old, however, faced a strong challenge from the topweight Harry The Hose before winning by three parts of a length.


1. Paddy�s Darling Handicap 1,100m: (2-1-6-5) Tequila Shot (Shanker) 1; Flying Power (Rutherford) 2; Relative Shade (Prakash) 3; Sixteensixtyfour (Surender) 4. Won by: 2-1/4; 1/2; 4-1/4; (1-7.9). Tote: Win Rs 62; Place: 22; 19; Quinella: 121; Tanala: 535. Fav: Relative Shade (6). Winner trained by Bath.

2. Red Chieftan Handicap 1,100m: (6-2-9-8) Splendid Star (Prakash) 1; Constantine (M. Reuben) 2; Heaven�s Blessing (Shanker) 3; Floral Path (Islam) 4. Not run: Come True (2). Won by: 1-1/4; 2-1/4; 1-1/2; (1-6.8). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 11; 17; 20; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 77. Fav: Splendid Star (6). Winner trained by Daniel D.

3. Time Machine Cup 1,100m: (5-7-4-1) Stately Don (Prakash) 1; Annella (C. Alford) 2; Aznavour (Connorton) 3; No Surrender (M. Reuben) 4. Won by: 2; 3/4; 7-1/2; (1-5.1). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 11; 13; 13; Quienlla: 34; Tanala: 76. Fav: Stately Don (5). Winner trained by Daniel D.

4. Bengal Area Cup 2,000m: (4-1-5-2) Lockers Park (Rabani) 1; Harry The Horse (Connorton) 2; Black Mane (M. Reuben) 3; Beau Bruno (Prakash) 4. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/2; 3/4; (2-12.2). Tote: Win Rs 127; Place: 43; 17; Quinella: 145; Tanala: 6,387. Fav: Alkido (6). Winner trained by Bharath S.

5. Viscol Handicap 1,400m: (3-5-10-8) Alygator (C. Alford) 1; Eau Savage (Shanker) 2; Adeline (Amil) 3; Crest Star (Yasin) 4. Not run: Bhuthnath (2) & Ballard Lady (9). Won by: 1-1/4; 1-3/4; 2-3/4; (1-27.9). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 11; 14; 17; Quinella: 20; Tanala: 84. Fav: Alygator (3). Winner trained by Vijay S.

6. Flaming ORB Handicap 1,200m: (8-2-5-15) Sadaf (A. Imran) 1; Ispahan (Connorton) 2; Wandering Warrior (C. Alford) 3; Global Harmony (Yacoob) 4. Not run: Abashed (12). Won by: 1-1/4; 6-1/2; 3/4; (1-13.3).Tote: Win Rs 69; Place: 18; 14; 13; Quinella: 81; Tanala: 510. Fav: Wandering Warrior (5). Winner trained by Daniel D.

Jackpot: Rs 3,065; (C) Rs 119.

Treble: (i) Rs 187; (ii) Rs 1,310.

Mumbai, Dec. 6: 
A good second to Stavros � a brilliant sprinter � the Narendra Lagad-trained Cymbidium is expected to land the lower division of the Seth Ramnath Daga Trophy in Mumbai on Thursday. Bezan Chenoy�s Merry Lea may claim the upper division of the race.


1 pm: Golden Glitter 1. Kibriya 2. Hollywoos Wildcat 3.
1.30 pm: Jonty�s Pal 1. Simply Delightful 2. Princess Jo 3.
2 pm: Memories Of Gold 1. Tamure 2. Star Trader 3.
2.30 pm: Equity 1. Bonjour Tristesse 2. Altazano 3.
3 pm: Cymbidium 1. Columbus 2. Cafe Noire 3.
3.30 pm: Authentic 1. Sabara 2. Dalsinghar 3.
4 pm: Merry Lea 1. Specialist 2. Thunder Struck 3.
4.30 pm: Seychelles 1. Reflecting 2. Sunny Sez 3.
5 pm: I�m Honoured 1. Minneapolis 2. Nothern Supreme 3.

Day�s Best: Seychelles

Double: Jonty�s Pal & Cymbidium

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