Game was losing stars: Gopichand
Heat takes its toll on players
In The City
Bangalore Racing/ Easy win for Ansbach

Calcutta, May 19: 
The International Badminton Federation�s decision to abort the experiment in the points format is great relief to the players, feels Pullela Gopichand. The former All England champion thinks the idea behind the introduction of the seven-points per game, best of five (5x7), system was good but it was not implemented properly.

�Badminton was losing stars and it was not good for the image of the game,� Gopichand told The Telegraph from his Hyderabad residence Sunday. He was afraid the world body would conduct yet another experiment instead of shuttling back to the traditional 15 points, best of three (3x15), system. �There was discussion about a 5x9 format but it didn�t materialise. It�s good they have gone back to the old version. It should have come earlier.�

The new format was introduced in June last year, after Gopichand won All England in March, and created more unrest than good as seedings went haywire with every meet throwing up a new winner. �It didn�t reflect the real capability of players. Those ranked 50-60 were winning the tournaments and there was no consistency. Such a scheme should have been tried out at the junior level.�

According to Gopichand, the biggest loss was the vanishing stars, which he thinks, was a deadly blow to the popularity of the sport. �Every game needs a star. The star goes above the game and the game follows. There has to be consistent winners. That was not happening. If you take Tiger Woods or Michael Schumacher out of golf and Formula One the games will never be what they are.�

Gopichand, one of the few true achievers in the history of Indian sport, said the shift also means the 28-year-old will once again have to change gear. �I did well in Japan Open (he beat world No. 1 Hendrawan before losing in the semis) and things were moving in the right direction. For me, it�s going to be a new format again,� he quipped.

The principal modification now, in a player�s preparation scheme, will be a radical change in the training schedule. While agreeing that the new format demanded a change in tactics rather than technique, Gopichand said the focus will shift back to endurance. �We were concentrating on faster bursts. Now, the endurance aspect will have to be revised.�

Gopichand is training with other team members at Hyderabad at the moment as part of the Indian camp for the Commonwealth Games. On the personal front, however, he is getting ready for next month�s Malaysian Open. He is satisfied with his recent performance but not overjoyed. �I did reasonably in Japan but it was long overdue. �

The Malaysian Open may not be played under the revised format. Gopichand said the change will be implemented in August.


Calcutta, May 19: 
Eight players suffered from dehydration on Sunday at the Eden Gardens, the hottest day of the season so far with the mercury touching 38�C.

The under-13 boys playing in the CAB Ambar Roy sub-junior matches were affected mostly in the afternoon session. It was learnt that one player had to be put on the drip.



Sanjeeb for Bagan

Sheikh Sanjeeb of ITI will play for Mohun Bagan next season. Mohun Bagan authorities also claimed that Debjit Ghosh, who had signed for Mahindra United, will stay on with his old club. East Bengal ensured the services of medio Dipankar Roy.

College tennis

Anjan Viplav of CBIT Hyderabad won the fourth Bijoli Grill inter-college meet beating Jagjit Gandhi of St Xavier�s 6-0, 6-4. St Xavier�s won the team title.

Hyatt win

Hyatt Regency trounced Eveready 6-0 while The Taj thrashed Indal by an identical margin in The Telegraph Merchants� Cup five-a-side football tournament Sunday.

Other results: Carritt Moran 2 Sanjeevani Projects 0; Berger Paints 2 Sony India 0; McNally Bharat 0 Tata Consultancy Services 0; VGP Portfolios 1 HongKong Bank 0; Telegraph Metro 3 CA-TCG Software 0; Norinco 1 PriceWaterhouseCoopers 0; Bata 3 Blue Star 0; Jet 0 Bharat Petroleum 0; Usha Martin 4 Confreight Shipping 0; KQ School Advantage 3 Citicorp 0; Infar 3 Madhya Bharat 2; ITC Infotech 1 HTA 1; ICICI Bank 2 Volga (IFB Agro) 0; Britannia 3 BDA 1; Hyatt 6 Eveready 0; The Park 2 Skytech 1; Selvel A 1 Apeejay 0, Tata B 0 J. Thomas 0, Bayview 3 Digital Think B 1; Magors 2 Tata Tea 1; Assam Co 6 Marine Container Services 0; Airtel 1 Seagrams 0; ABN AMRO 4 ITC A 2; Transways 1 O&M 1; Tata A 4 Selvel B 1; The Taj 6 Indal 0; Telegraph Sports 2 ITC B 0; IISCO 4 Magma Leasing 0; ACCEL ICIM 1 Tata Power 0; Digital Think A 1 HDFC Bank 0; India Foil 3 Transworld 0.

Today in Sport

CRICKET: Ambar Roy sub-junior meet: Matches at Eden Gardens.

SOCCER: Women�s league: WB Income Tax vs Jubak Sangha (East Bengal); Nabajanma Sangha vs Bidyut Sporting (Md Sporting); Bally Gramanchal vs Itika Memorial (Mohun Bagan). Matches at 4 pm.    

Bangalore, May 19: 
The Vijay Singh-trained Ansbach won the Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Cup at the Bangalore races Sunday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Mount Everest Plate 1,400m: (5-2-9) Strombolix (Mr Storai) 1; Royal Carnival 2; Deepam 3. Won by: SH; 3-1/4; (1-31.7). Tote: Win Rs 73; Place: 18; 14; 44; Quinella: 101; Shp: 37; Tanala: 2,743. Fav: Mythical Star (4).

2. Littleover Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (2-1-3) Indigenous (Guruprasad) 1; Anchor 2; Mehvish 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 3; (1-31.3). Tote: Win Rs 272; Place: 57; 17; 26; Quinella: 587; Shp: 34; Tanala: 21,880. Fav: I Aint Gentle (7).

3. Aureole Time Plate 1,100m: (3-9-2) Sherie Rose (Appu) 1; Francophone 2; I Am Beautiful 3. Won by: 3/4; Nk; (1-10.8). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 15; 99; 14; Quinella:1,059; Shp: 342; Tanala: 2,801. Fav: I Am Beautiful (2).

4. Heir Apprent Salver 1,200m: (5-6-7) Cape Martin (J. Chinoy) 1; Almonar 2; Network 3. Not run: Cold Fire (2) & Adventurous World (12). Won by: 2-1/2; 2-1/4; (1-17.9). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 11; 40; 18; Quinella: 115; Shp: 104; Tanala: 609. Fav; Cape Martin (5).

5. Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Cup 1,400m: (3-2-5) Ansbach (C. Alford) 1; Bold Chieftan 2; Snow Dew 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 1-1/4; (1-28.4). Tote: Win Rs 62; Place: 20; 187; 13; Quinella: 1,939; Shp: 1,010; Tanala: 12,516. Fav: Snow Dew (5).

6. R. Khodayar Memorial Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (2-11-6) Ride With Pride (K. Raja Rao) 1; Shara 2; Memorable Occasion 3. Won by: 2; 3-1/2; (1-16.6). Tote: Win Rs 51; Place: 18; 24; 46; Quinella: 231; Shp: 79; Tanala: 2,374. Fav: Belief (4).

7. Kunigal Stud Plate 1,200m: (3-7-10) Soviet Bay (Mr Storai) 1; Golden Collection 2; Noble Executive 3. Won by: 3; 3/4; (1-16.3). Tote: Win Rs 213; Place: 26; 31; 12; Quinella: 5,485; Shp: 154; Tanala: 71,710 (C.o). Fav: Noble Executive (10).

8. Littleover Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (6-5-8) Kimera (J. Chinoy) 1; Rio 2; Caape City 3. Won by: 4; Dist; (1-29.8). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 14; 14; 45; Quinella: 33; Shp: 39; Tanala: 549. Fav: Rio (5).

9. R. Khodayar Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (1-4-2) Arzillo (C. Alford) 1; Arroganto 2; Native Red 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 1-1/4; (1-17.1). Tote: Win Rs 77; Place: 23; 15; 18; Quinella: 170; Shp: 58; Tanala: 2,471. Fav: Arroganto (4).

Jackpot: Rs 1,35,760 (Carried over on May 26).

Treble: (i) Rs 21,330 (C.o); (ii) Rs 1,082; (iii) Rs 14,795.


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