Wright software to test the Aussies
Chile much too hot for Iceland
Akhmedov may go
Buoyant Jordan wary of �dangerous� Japan
Fazal-Tomashevic wins
BHA squad
Alokendu hits 104
Calcutta Races/ Starry Flag triumphs
Bangalore Races/ Allaire gets first call
Altenburg wins in close finish

Calcutta, Jan.20: 
John Wright, the national cricket coach, will soon head for Bangalore to provide inputs for a software being fine-tuned for the team.

According to Wright, who spoke to The Telegraph from Surat (where he is watching the West vs South Duleep game), the software should become �fully operational� during the up-coming home series against Australia.

The software, devised by a private company, was experimented with during the recent Zimbabwe series. Jawagal Srinath is associated with the project, which has the Board�s blessings.

�They�ve asked for inputs to improve what has already been worked out and, so, I�ll spend a few days with the people there � specially the analyst,� Wright revealed.

The software (where every ball/stroke is stored as a file with specific information), basically, is a high-quality �reference tool� for not just the coach, but the players themselves.

The flamboyant Bob Woolmer made the use of technology fashionable during his days as South Africa coach and, now, most teams are into that mode.

The Indians, of course, have reacted rather late. But, then, better late than never.

Incidentally, it�s going to be Wright�s first exposure to software of the kind devised.

�No, we didn�t have this in Kent (during his four years as coach)... Actually, the England and Wales Cricket Board has two systems which, by rotation, are given to two Counties each summer.

�If I�m not wrong, this was introduced two years ago and, till last summer, Kent didn�t get it... However, as there�s an analyst to make things simple, I�m quite excited � not daunted � by what is being fine-tuned,� Wright remarked.

Talking generally, Wright said watching some of the top players �in a domestic environment� had been a �good experience.� He was specially keen to see West captain Nayan Mongia, who appears set to make an India-comeback.

Wright, who left for Surat within days of returning (to Mumbai) after a three-week break in New Zealand, is also using the Duleep match to exchange notes with the selectors present there � chairman Chandu Borde, Madanlal and Ashok Malhotra.

That�s in keeping with Wright�s policy of listening to and interacting with different sections of the Establishment.

In any case, being the first overseas coach, Wright realises he may always have to make the initial move on all fronts. For some time, at least.

Asked whether he was happy that the pre-Australia series conditioning camp, in Chennai, was only of six days� duration, Wright laughed while answering: �What matters is intensity... So, at the end of six days itself, the players could say they�re pleased it�s over.�

Emphasis, predictably, will be on fitness and fielding. Shuttling between wickets, too.

Wright added: �Clearly, the camp won�t be an occasion for going through the motions... With Anil (Kumble) not available, it�s going to be an ever bigger challenge and the agenda will be spelt out at the camp.�

That Kumble won�t be around will also lead to a bigger debate on the nature of wickets to be prepared at the three Test venues (Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta).

All that Wright would say now was: �Well, we�ll have to go about it carefully... Briefly, I�ve already spoken to two members of the Board�s grounds and pitches committee. But, really, the decision will probably be taken during the camp.�

Wright, who needs no reminding his top priority is �to give the boys the best chance� to beat the world champions, iterated he had no reservations if the Board�s (general) consultant, Geoff Marsh, was deputed to the camp.

�I�m sure Geoff has information which can be to our benefit... I�m looking forward to interacting with him. At the same time, it�s going to be a sensitive issue with him (Marsh quit as Australian selector only last month),� was Wright�s signing-off observation.

The hue and cry (back Down Under) over Bobby Simpson�s tie-up with our Board, on the eve of Australia�s last trip to India (early 1998), forced him to formally take charge as the team�s consultant only later that year.

Three years on, the media Down Under may do a repeat, more so as Marsh was coach on that visit.


Calcutta, Jan. 20: 
It�s a pity that the once soccer crazy Calcuttans are staying away from the Sahara Cup. For, barely 12,000 � most of them free ticket-holders � could watch the Chileans dish out a delightful blend of cautious and one-touch soccer which took them to the semi-final ahead of Iceland at the Salt Lake Stadium this evening.

The South Americans took some time to fathom how the opponents were but showed more than just glimpses of their continent�s most exquisite item of export after that. They ripped apart the Iceland defence in an amazing display of sublime touch, lightning speed and clinical finishing during a 20-mimute spell on either side of half time which produced the goals. The final score was 2-0.

However, the sweet flavour of the kind of football on show was soured by some ugly fisticuffs and Chile were lucky that none of their players were ejected for off-the-ball pushing and retaliation. Five of their players and two Icelanders were booked.

Striker Sebastian Gonzalez got both and the second was a peach of a goal which came just minutes after the break. A swirling ball from midfield found Fernando Martel on the right and in came a floater without a second being wasted. Before Iceland could realise what was happening, Gonzalez volleyed the chest-high ball which roared into the net from 15 yards out.

The first, scored in the 37th minute, came after another first-time finish. This time, Gonzalez evaded the off-side trap and cracked a low volley on the bounce after Rodrigo Melendez had found him with a lob.

Gonzalez, starting alongside Hector Tapia for the first time in this tournament, had come close just seconds before the first goal. This time, Marco Villaseca released Tapia on the right, who shrugged off the final challenge of his marker and sent in a cross from near the corner flag. Gonzalez emerged from nowhere to unleash a delicate right-footer which hit the bar.

Iceland, who looked compact in the beginning, came close at least twice in the dying minutes but G. Jonsson and H. Bjarnsson were the ones to miss the chance to reduce the margin. Their mode of attack was simple, floaters from the flanks and the deep but it made things predictable for the Chileans.

In the beginning, Chile did face the kind of resistance expected from European teams as Tapia and Gonzalez were closely marked. The Iceland defenders also used the off-side trap to good effect and Tapia was the one caught napping on most occasions. However, things changed once the strikers fell back a bit to allow themselves more room in the attacking third. But like thoroughbred professionals, Chile withdrew into a shell after getting the second goal.

Suspensions infuriate Chile

The Chile camp was furious after beiing told that Marco Villaseca and Cristian Uribe will have to sit out Monday�s semi-final against Bosnia for picking up their second yellow card.

Apparently, they were under the impression that cards shown in the first round will not be carried forward to the knock-out stage as was done in the last World Cup. Team officials insisted that they will field those players in Monday�s match. Tournament rules, however, do not specify any such clause. Two Bosnian players � Azmer Ikanovic and Omer Joldic � have been similarly penalised and will miss the semi-final.


CHILE: Marcelo Ramirez; David Henriquez, Alex von Schwedler, Rafael Olarra, Moises Villarroel; Marco Villaseca, Rodrigo Melendez (Cristian Alvarez, 85th), Cristian Uribe (Francisco Arrue, 81st), Fernando Martel (Mauricio Rojas, 62nd); Sebastian Gonzalez, Hector Tapia.

ICELAND: Gunnieifur Gunnleifsson, Indridi Sigurdsson (V. Gunnarsson, 80th), Bjarni Thorsteinsson, Sverrir Sverrisson, Gunnanlaugur Jonsson, Clafur Orn Bjarnasson, Sigurvin Olafsson (H. Bjarnason, 57th), Thorhallur Orn Hinriksson, Tryggvi Gudmundsson, Gudmundur Benediktsson (S. Gislason, 80th), Gylfi Einarsson.

Referee: Hassan Marshoud (Jordan).


Calcutta, Jan. 20: 
AIFF president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi today said the future of national coach Islam Akhmedov will be decided at the federation�s executive committee meeting in Bangalore on February 22.

While the president is not unhappy with the way the Indian team played in their group matches (�we played well, especially versus Uruguay,� he said today), it is sure that Akhmedov will no more take care of any Indian senior side. Das Munshi did not say whether Akhmedov�s contract with the juniors (which expires in March) will be renewed, but there seems to be a bit of pressure on the president on this.

On the Sahara Cup finances, he said that no team is left without its dues. �Cameroon had already been paid a substantial amount of money (he did not specify the amount), and that will now not be recovered,� he said. �I have taken this issue up with the Fifa, along with the issue of Colombia, and this will come up at Fifa�s next meeting of executives. The executives sit every two months, and there is over a month now left for that.


Calcutta, Jan. 20: 
Having topped Group III, complete with a win over Romania, Jordan will carry their confident glow from Goa into the Sahara Cup quarter final, against Japan at the Salt Lake Stadium tomorrow. They cannot, however, help but be rather wary.

Wary of the unknown.

A new venue, a new pitch and a new team to face. Head coach Ricardo Carugati has had some catching up to do in a hurry � especially, when the team he is up against has done enough in the first phase of the tournament to earn the �dangerous� tag. �Of course, I�m concerned that the Japanese are a young lot and their game involves a lot of hard running. We can�t afford to let our guard down for even five minutes,� said Carugati, who managed a glimpse of their opponents on television, during the Bahrain match.

Carugati addressed another �unknown� today when he got about half-an-hour on the main stadium pitch. With Japan having already played three matches on it, Carugati will have realised it was crucial to give his players a feel of the turf. But it came only with some accompanying protests from the ground staff, who had already prepared the playing arena for this evening�s Chile-Iceland match.

Carugati, an Argentine who took charge of the team in May last year, said he was worried over his team�s inability to create enough scoring chances in matches so far. Jordan will, of course, be happy that their defence has looked solid so far, for the speedy Japanese forwards and medios are sure to test it.

Japan will depend heavily on the pace and skill of Masaki Fukai, who has been a livewire on the flanks. The problem for such players in the latter stages of any tournament is that they become the �marked men� and coaches in the opposing camp come prepared with little plans � even if it is within �zonal marking� as the Jordan coach plans to employ. Fukai is already feeling the pinch.

The diminutive forward had to stay back in the hotel room as his teammates went out for a two-hour practice session at the SAI, Eastern Centre today, and there is a question mark on his starting tomorrow.

�He is very exhausted,� informed Miyazaki Junichi, groping for the right word to describe the youngster�s condition. �We�ll have to wait till tomorrow to see if he is fit enough to play.� Miyazaki, one of the coaches with the team, went on to issue an �appeal� to Japan�s opponents. �Fukai plays fair, and we�d be happy if players who tackle him do so too,� he said, suggesting that the youngster was done in by �big men in the opposing teams�.

If Fukai plays, and is singled out for �special treatment�, those in supporting roles in the Japan ranks will have to make sure they �utilise� the situation to change the script. Fukai�s strike partner Keisuke Ota and Yamane Nobumitsu, who has operated from just behind the two, have looked just that sort of players. As have some of the others.

Both teams are using the tournament as preparation for the more important engagements � Jordan are looking to the World Cup qualifiers in April (they are clubbed with Uzbekistan, Chinese Taipei and Turkmenistan), and Japan to the world university tournament in August. So, in a way, the match also pits experience against youth. The dice would have been loaded heavily in favour of Jordan but for the fact that their opponents come from a soccer system which is the best in the continent. A system which ensures debilitating danger lurks even in junior outfits.

Japan, on their part, realise where they stand. �The team has shown improvement with every match, but we know that from here it is going to be one big fight for us. Tactics will play a big part, and players will have to go in with very clear ideas on what we want to do� said Miyazaki, who too is concerned that they have seen very little of the Jordanians. �We saw the Hong Kong match but, then, that was an easy match (for Jordan),� he said.

Japan�s strength on the field is an ability to play the pressing game for almost the entire match, and Jordan will have to, like Chile did in the group match, slow things down in midfield with some square passing. Their counter-attacking game could fit this scheme to a T.


JORDAN: Ahmad Al-Khazaleh; Haitham Ahmed As-Shboul, Adnan A. Alshuaibat, Haytham Semrin, Faizal Ibrahim; Hassouneh Y.H. Sh. Qasem, Hatem Mohammad Y. Aqel, Muhannad M. Mahadeen, Ra�ahffat Ali Jaber; Jamal Ahmed Abu Abed, Ghanem Yousef A. Aldayeh, Badran Al-Shaqran.

JAPAN (from): Takahara; Kobayashi, Chiyotanda, Horinouchi, Hirakawa, Mikami, Hanyu, Fujita, Yamane, Fukai, Ota, Sugiyama, Fujikura, Iwamasa, Sakai, Yoshimura, Sekine, Saito, Suzuki, Sakamoto.


Calcutta, Jan. 20: 
Top seeds Syed Fazaluddin of India and Dmitri Tomashevic of Uzbekistan beat Joraslav Levinsky and Michal Navrati of the Czech Republic 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 in the ITF Futures doubles final at the South Club today. The duo also won the doubles crown in Jorhat last week.

Levinsky thus missed out on a �double� after prevailing over an error-prone Martin Spottl to lift the singles title earlier.

In the doubles, the first set went with serve resulting in the tie-break. The Indo-Uzbek duo broke the Czechs in the very first game of the second set and then held serve to go up 2-0. But Levinsky and Navrati levelled things 2-2 by breaking back in the fourth game.

Fazal and Tomashevic, however, broke the Czechs again in the fifth and seventh games to clinch the title.

Levinsky, seeded sixth and ranked 435th in the world, failed to cash in on two breaks in the second set but hung on to win two tie-breakers 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3) and bag the winner�s purse of $1,300.

Spottl, the hot-tempered Austrian third seed with a world ranking of 418, fired seven aces but had to be satisfied with $900. He was warned for racket abuse in the second set and damaged one during the second tie-break.

The match never rose to any great height and most of the points won came through errors. Some deft drops, often from the deep, and crisp volleys by Levinsky were the rare bright moments.

The first set went with serve and Spottl, a baseliner, did well to fight back from 0-40 in the second game. There was just one break point for him in the opener but the tall Czech played some fine drop shots and volleys to wriggle out of tight situations.

Spottl was erratic in the tie-break and conceded a 0-3 lead as the first set ended in 38 minutes.

There was more action in the second set which lasted 54 minutes and Spottl recovered with immediate break-backs after dropping serve in the third and ninth games.

Levinsky, who was broken while serving for the match at 5-4, faced some tense moments in the 12th game but won eventually to force the shoot-out. Spottl once again paid for some unforced errors in the tie-break and never stood a chance after trailing 1-4.


Calcutta, Jan. 20: 
The BHA today named a 16-member squad for the K.D. Singh �Babu� memorial hockey meet in Lucknow.

THE SQUAD: Suraj Shaw, Zakaib Anwar, Avtar Singh, Subhankar Bhuiya, Adesh Balmiki, Rupinder Singh Gill, Suman Sarkar, Somnath Mazumder, Rashid Sajjad, Jojo Sardar, Avijit Biswas, Avijit Das, Kishore Bahadur Thapa, Suraj Sundas, Raj Kishore Gupta, Swarup Dutta.


Calcutta, Jan. 20: 
Alokendu Lahiri hit 104, while Gautam Shome (83) and Shib Sagar Singh (63) chipped in with valuable contributions as East Bengal hit up 431 for seven in their CAB league match against Aikya Sammilani today.


East Bengal 431/7 (Alokendu Lahiri 104,Goutam Shome 83, Shib Sagar Singh 63) vs Aikya Sammilani. Match to continue.

Kalighat Club 362/7. Young Bengal 273/8 (Kishore Chowdhury 61, Shantanu Banerjee 64; Murtaza Lodhgar 3/85). Match drawn.

Calcutta Rangers 315 (Prashant Kamdar 72, Kenneth Sinha 58; Rajat Chaturvedi 3/44). Rajasthan 13/0. Match to continue.

Calcutta Port Trust 328/6 (Uday Srivastava 90, S.Chakravorty 70, S.Pandey 60, S.Saha 53) vs Mohanlal Club. Match to continue.

George Telegraph 376 (Amitava Roy 76, Subhranil Som 71, Abhijit Pal 55, Kunal Bajpai 50; Prabir Acharya 5/115) vs Barisha Sporting. Match to continue.

Aryan Club 288 (Hansmukh Patel 54, Soutam Mitra 46; Amit Tewari 5/106; Jyotish Das 3/69) vs Calcutta Customs. Match to continue.

YMCA 208 (Sandip Mitra 58, Sourav Basu 72; Irfan Bari 5/50). Paikpara Sporting 33/1. Match to continue.

Sourav felicitation

The Umpires of CAB will felicitate India skipper Ganguly at the YMCA Chowringhee on January 30, according to a Press release. The body�s official journal �Stump Vision� will also be lunched at the function.


Calcutta, Jan. 20: 
Calcutta, Jan. 20: Displaying his past sparkles, Starry Flag � the oldest horse in the field of seven � gave a galloping lesson to his young rivals as he walked away with the 1,200m HSBC Cup today. The six-year-old trained by Harvinder Singh Bath was inspired by jockey Manohar Singh to come up with a brilliant run from the wrong-end of the field. The Darius Byramji-trio of Soviet Song, So Royal and Artwork brought about a big disappointment. While the odds-on favourite was third behind Bountiful Gesture, the other two failed miserably. The three horses had consumed most of the betting.


1. Ramkirpal Plate 1,200m: (4-3-1-5) Andrada (C. Alford) 1; Aherlow (A. P. Singh) 2; Automatic (Amil) 3; Victoria Rose (Rabani) 4. Won by: 2-1/4; Dist; 2-1/4; (1-14.9). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 11; 15; Quinella: 20; Tanala: 33. Fav: Andrada (4). Winner trained by Vijay S.
2. Nautical Pride Handicap 1,200m: (5-6-8-3) Bird�s Empire (A. Imran) 1; Queen�s Logic (C. Alford) 2; Russian Czar (Rutherford) 3; Constantine (Kujur) 4. Won by: Nk; SH; 2-3/4; (1-14.2). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 14; 14; 33; Quinella: 24; Tanala: 598. Fav: Queen�s Logic (6). Winner trained by Daniel D.
3. Azhar Cup 1,600m: (9-3-5-6) American (Kujur) 1; Cool Quest (Ruzaan) 2; Master Bold (C. Alford) 3; Persuasion (Rabani) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; 3/4; Hd; (1-40.8). Tote: Win Rs 478; Place: 67; 15; 18; Quinella: 522; Tanala: 11,782. Fav: Cool Quest (3). Winner trained by D. Karki.
4. King�s Counsel Handicap 1,400m: (4-5-6-1) Consul�s Secret (M. Reuben) 1; Crest Star (Nasruddin) 2; Go With The Wind (Rutherford) 3; Avionic (Dalpat) 4. Won by: 2-3/4; Hd; 2-1/4; (1-28.6). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 13; 58; 27; Quinella: 287; Tanala: 2,190. Fav: Consul�s Secret (4). Winner trained by Jaiswal.
5. Pearson Surita Memorial Cup 1,200m: (8-5-4-2) Annalee (C. Alford) 1; Gold Buck (Shanker) 2; Best In Show (A. Imran) 3; Quickdraw McGraw (Kujur) 4. Won by: 2; 1-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-13.1). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 11; 15; 20; Quinella: 24; Tanala: 127. Fav: Annalee (8). Winner trained by Vijay S.
6. HSBC Cup 1,200m: (3-7-6-4) Starry Flag (Manohar) 1; Bountiful Gesture (Amil) 2; Soviet Song (Ruzaan) 3; Joe The Pro (Connorton) 4. Won by: 3/4; Nk; 2-3/4; (1-12.7). Tote: Win Rs 165; Place: 29; 21; 11; Quinella: 894; Tanala: 5,313. Fav: Soviet Song (6). Winner trained by Bath.
7. Right Ahead Handicap 1,100m: (10-3-5-9) Staffordshire (Gowli) 1; Added Asset (A. Imran) 2; Analyzer (Amil) 3; Sovereign Bullet (Tamang) 4. Won by: 5-3/4; 1-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-6.6). Tote: Win Rs 62; Place: 16; 13; 58; Quinella: 30; Tanala: 2,436. Fav: Added Asset (3). Winner trained by Javed K.
Jackpot: Rs 2,17,679 (Carried over to January 27); (C) Rs 9,329.
Treble: (i) Rs 2,678; (ii) Rs 1,560.

Bangalore, Jan. 20: 
Fillies being a major force in Mumbai this season, the 2,400m Kingfisher Indian Oaks, on Sunday, is going to be a stage-rehearsal for the Derby early next month. However, it is Allaire who gets first call in a 15-horse strong line-up to win the prized event. The Bangalore Derby-winner (summer) from trainer Darius Byramji�s yard will be ridden by Aslam Kader.


1 pm: Mohican 1. Scandalous 2. Val Rouge 3.
1.30 pm: Ciel Fleuri 1. Battle Star 2. Amaron 3.
2 pm: Blazing Flame 1. Authentic 2. Piabo 3.
2.30 pm: Aerodynamic 1. Hollywood Wildcat 2. Demedici 3.
3 pm: Abbeydoran 1. Overtures 2. Terrestrial 3.
3.30 pm: Feel The Force 1. Absolute Hit . Dreadnought 3.
4 pm: Allaire 1. Perceived Value 2. Piccolina 3.
4.30 pm: Communicator 1. Tap On Power 2. Power Surge 3.
5 pm: Persian Lord 1. Flying Home 2. Gironde 3.
5.30 pm: Asprilla 1. Shooting Mercury 2. Millennium King 3.
Day�s Best: Feel The Force
Double: Aerodynamic & Persian Lord

Bangalore, Jan. 20: 
In a close finish, the R. Byramji-trained Altenburg won the Herbertsons Bagpiper Gold Bangalore Derby today.


1. N. R. C. E. Cup, Div-II 1,100m: (7-1-4) Nairn (Appu) 1; Rich Crown 2; Tasman 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 6; (1-9.2). Tote: Win Rs 56; Place: 13; 11; 83; Forecast: 75; Quinella: 19; Tanala: 764 & 624. Fav: Rich Crown (1). 2. Narasimharaja Cup 1,400m: (5-3-6) Dust On The Bottle (Appu) 1; Great Occasion 2; Arristo 3. Won by: 1; Nk; (1-28.8). Tote: Win Rs 80; Place: 31; 35; Forecast: 406; Quinella: 151; Tanala: 519 & 177. Fav: Arristo (6). 3. N. R. C. E. Cup, Div-I 1,100m: (10-3-2) Go Honey Go (Appu) 1; Magic Stride 2; Flaming Tower 3. Won by: 3/4; 7; (1-9.4). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 13; 12; 84; Forecast: 32; Quinella: 16; Tanala: 406 & 422. Fav: Magic Stride (3). 4. Mysore Race Club Trophy 1,400m: (6-10-1) Little Pleasure (Harish) Sensational News 2; Royal Satin 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 2-1/2; (1-27.1). Tote: Win Rs 421; Place: 64; 116; 41; Forecast: 12,696 (C.o); Quinella: 3,120; Tanala: 24,082 & 7,741. Fav: Royal Satin (1). 5. Herbertsons Bagpiper Gold Bangalore Derby 2,400m: (3-12-10-5) Altenburg (Kader) 1; Il Diablo (Gallagher) 2; Hello Brother (Rakesh) 3; Chevalier (Shroff) 4. Won by: Hd; Hd; 2; (2-35.5). Tote: Win Rs 125; Place: 34; 232; 27; Forecast: 21,474; Quinella: 2,126; Tanala: 1,33,121 & 57,052. Fav: Chevalier (5). 6. Kempegowda Cup 1,600m: (1-2-10) Concur (Dickie) 1; Priceless Ally 2; Gypsie�s Wish 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-40.5). Tote: Win Rs 49; Place: 20; 32; 31; Forecast: 502; Quinella: 250; Tanala: 3,902 & 1,584. Fav: Almost Heaven (5).7. Vidhana Soudha Cup 1,200m: (11-5-3) Finest Flare (Mrs Storai) 1; Alisa 2; Silver Hope 3. Won by: 4; 1-1/4; (1-15.8). Tote: Win Rs 221; Place: 42; 24; 20; Forecast: 915; Quinella: 257; Tanala: 1,774 & 777. Fav: Silver Hope (3) 8. Bandipur Cup 1,600m: (1-9-8) Alluring Bay (Guruprasad) 1; Forest Emperor 2; Squeeze 3. Not run: Storm Boy (15). Won by: 1-1/4; Nk; (1-43.6). Tote: Win Rs 66; Place: 23; 20; 40; Forecast: 138; Quinella: 89; Tanala: 1,509 & 752. Fav: Classic Liason (14). Jackpot: Rs 17,67,809 (Carried over); (C) Rs 2,52,544. Mini jackpot: Rs 1,61,580 (C.o).Treble: (i) Rs 7,587; (ii) Rs 3,175.    

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