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With less than 150 days to go for the Olympics, the focus is on areas that need improvement: Harmanpreet and Savita

HSB/ New Delhi

With less than 150 days to go for the commencement of Tokyo Olympics the Indian Men’s and Women’s Hockey Teams expressed the need to improve every day without being too complacent about their recent results.

The Men’s Team who got off to a dream start in their maiden FIH Pro League campaign with 5-1 and 3-3 (3-1) win against the Netherlands, 2-1 win and 2-3 loss against the World Champions Belgium, and most recently 3-4 loss and 2-2 (3-1) win against Defending Champions Australia, the hunt to be a better unit will continue pointed out drag-flicker and Vice-Captain Harmanpreet Singh.
“Good results against world’s top 3 teams is no doubt a big morale boost for the entire team but there are a lot of areas that still concerns us and when the team met after the double-header against Australia, it was decided that we will go back to basics when we meet for a four-week long National Camp in SAI Bengaluru,” stated Harmanpreet , who was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’ against Australia.

The defender-dragflicker feels the team needs to work on being consistent in all four quarters and focus on tackling outside the circle and also improve the conversion rate in goal scoring. “We have paid a price in these matches for slowing down or dropping the tempo in between quarters. This is an area of concern in the lead up to the Olympic Games. Also Coach believes we can do better in terms of circle penetration, tackling outside the circle and not conceded too many PCs,” said Harmanpreet Singh. “A long camp will definitely help focus on these critical points,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Women’s team Vice-Captain Savita said the team’s recent tour to New Zealand was a big learning curve in their preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The team registered 4-0, 3-0 win and 1-2, 0-1 loss against hosts New Zealand while they beat Great Britain 1-0 in their five-match tour.

“We all have reminders set on our phones that show the countdown to our first match in Tokyo. As we are getting closer, there is a lot of excitement as well as anxiousness to tick off all the boxes to ensure we are best prepared and our recent Tour in New Zealand was quite a learning experience,” expressed the ace goalkeeper.

“While our on-going camp has been about improving our fitness, speed, goal-shooting, tapping the ball and tackling, we have also tried to play with different combinations that are effective in the attacking midfield and forward-line. There is a great sense of competition within the team to prove ourselves and this is helping in building competitiveness and improving as a unit,” she said.

“Having Janneke Schopman (Analytical Coach) as part of the support staff is also helping a lot because she brings different insights into our game and how we need to cope during tense matches. We feel the Asian Champions Trophy will be a good yardstick to measure where we stand ahead of the Olympic Games,” Savita concluded.

Sadhvi Dhuri powers Pune University to the top of the charts

HSB/ Bhubaneswar

Swimmer Sadhvi Dhuri landed a double gold while Mihir Ambre won his second title in the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) here on Tuesday to steer Savitribai Phule Pune University to the top of the charts with 7 gold and 14 medals.

Panjab University, Chandigarh, picked up a gold late in the afternoon through their opening day’s star Siddhanth Sejwal, to be in the second spot with 6 gold and 18 medals. Jain University, Bengaluru and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar are next, also with six gold each but fewer silver and bronze. Punjabi University, Patiala, jumped to the fifth place with three gold from their archers.

On a rain-hit day in which the archery schedule was completed thanks to the herculean efforts of officials and volunteers at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Punjabi University suffered a big blow, with top-ranked Sangampreet Singh Bisla losing to University of Rajasthan’s Mukul Sharma in the boys’ Compound final.

Sangampreet Bisla held a two-point lead after each of the first two sets but Mukul Sharma clawed his way back in the third set with three 10s to close the gap. He repeated that feat under pressure in the fifth set to overcome the one-point advantage that his rival had opened up in the fourth. Mukul Sharma landed an X in the shoot-off while Sangampreet Bisla managed an 8 to score the upset win.

“I told myself not to be over-awed by the presence of a renowned archer and yet when I stepped up, I was quite nervous. But once I overcame the initial hesitation and calmed my nerves, I was able to shoot better,” Mukul Sharma said.

Just as Mukul Sharma beat World Youth Championship medalist Sangampreet Bisla, the unheralded Kritika Sharma did the star turn for University of Rajasthan in the women’s final by defeating favourite Raginee Markoo (Rani Dugrawati Vishwavidyalaya), also a World Youth Championship medalist.

The 19-year-old Sadhvi Dhuri was the toast of the swimming competitions on Tuesday, winning the 200m Freestyle comfortably in 2:14.99 and the 100m Butterfly after a close battle with Damini Gowda (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences). In one of the most exciting races, Sadhvi Dhuri won by a 0.60-second margin. The two wins increased her tally of gold here to three.

Siddhant Sejwal picked up Panjab University’s lone gold of the day by winning the 200m Freestyle gold in 2:01.28 to add to the 50m Backstroke and 4x100m Freestyle Relay crowns that he won earlier. He has three events lined up on Wednesday and is hoping to edge out Mihir Ambre (Savitribai Phule Pune University) and the others as the most successful swimmer here.

The results (all finals):


Men’s Compound: Mukul Sharma (University of Rajasthan) beat Sangampreet Bisla (Punjabi University, Patiala) 144 (X)-144 (8). Bronze medal play-off: Sukhminder Singh (Punjabi University, Patiala) beat Prajwal Kaluse (Savitribai Phule Pune University) 141-137.

Men’s Compound Team: Punjabi University beat University of Rajasthan 229-227. Bronze medal play-off: Delhi University beat Savitribai Phule Pune University 227-223.

Women’s Compound: Kritika Sharma (University of Rajasthan) beat Raginee Markoo (Rani Durgawati Vishwavidyalaya) 141-137. Bronze medal play-off: Babita Kumari (Ranchi University) beat Preetinder Kaur (Punjabi University) 139-130.

Women’s Compound Team: Punjabi University beat University of Rajasthan 226-215. Bronze medal play-off: Guru Nanak Dev University beat Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University 217-216.

Mixed team Compound: Punjabi University beat University of Rajasthan 151-149. Bronze medal play-off: Rani Durgawati Vishwavidyalaya beat Guru Nanak Dev University 151-149.


Men’s bronze medal play-off: Jamia Millia Islamia beat Jain University, Bengaluru.

Women’s final: University of Madras 81 (Monica 29, Sruthy 18, J Ishwarya 13) beat Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science, Chennai 75 (S Rajeshwari 22, B Neeta 20, P Priyanka 19). Bronze medal play-off: Guru Nanak Dev University beat Kurukshetra University.



200m Freestyle: 1. Siddhant Sejwal (Panjab University) 2:01.28; 2. Harshal Sarang (Veer Narmad South Gujarat University) 2:03.25; 3. M Vasuram (University of Kerala) 2:04.97.

100m Butterfly: 1. Mihir Ambre (Savitribai Phule Pune University) 56.76 seconds; 2. Sameer Sejwal (Delhi University) 57.76; 3. Bhargav Sailor (Veer Narmad South Gujarat University) 59.12.

400m Individual Medley: 1. Siva Sridhar (Jain University) 4:47.13; 2. T Sethumanickavel (Manonmianiam Sundaranar University) 4:52.63; 3. Prasad Kandul (Savitribai Phule Pune University) 4:58.73.

4x100m Medley Relay: 1. Delhi University (Samit Sejwal, Ansh Arora, Vinayak Parihar and Sameer Sejwal) 4:06.53; 2. Panjab University 4:10.45; 3. Savitribai Phule University 4:12.15.


200m Freestyle: 1. Sadhvi Dhuri (Savitribai Phule Pune University) 2:14.99; 2. Rutuja Talegaonknar (RTM Nagpur University) 2:16.95; 3. SV Nikitha (Jain University) 2:17.39.

800m Freestyle: 1. SV Nikitha (Jain University) 9:52.67; 2. Dhruti Muralidhar (Jain University) 10:04.52; 3. Rutuja Talengaokar (RTM Nagpur University) 10:13.54.

100m Butterfly: 1. Sadhvi Dhuri (Savitribai Phule Pune University) 1:07.36; 2, Damini Gowda (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences) 1:07.96; 3. Aarya Rajguru (Savitribai Phule Pune University) 1:08.56.

200m Butterfly: 1. Kalyani Saxena (Veer Narmad South Gujarat University) 2:31.21; 2. SV Nikitha (Jain University) 2:34.23; 3. Damini Gowda (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences) 2:35.48.

4x100m Medley Relay: 1. University of Mumbai (Sanskriti Srinivasan, Jyoti Patil, Rutuja Udeshi and Aarti Patil) 4:54.91; 2. Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences 4:59.37; 3. Jadavpur University 5:02.19.

Khelo India initiatives will make the country a powerhouse in sport: Deepak Thakur

HSB/ Bhubaneswar

Former hockey player Deepak Thakur believes the Khelo India initiatives will propel sports to the next level, even transform the country into a global powerhouse in the not too distant future.

Deepak, who is at the Khelo India University Games 2020 as a talent scout, said, “It is a great initiative by the Ministry of Sports and the Sports Authority of India. It is very important to create a sporting culture for people of all age groups.

“It should have begun a long time ago but I’m happy it is happening now. I have been here for the past few days as a talent scout, and the atmosphere and the facilities are very similar to what we get at the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games.

This will spur a number of youngsters to set greater targets. If this continues, India will become a huge sporting nation soon.”

Talking about the standards at the Khelo India University Games 2020, and how sport has evolved over the years, the 39-year-old said, “I got to watch most of the disciplines here, and the standards that the athletes are displaying are really high. It has improved a lot over the years and it makes you feel jealous because when I was playing, we did not have these opportunities. Times have changed for the good.”

“We were in a meeting with the Sports Ministry on Sunday and I can say that the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju is very positive. The vision that he has for sports in our country will take Indian sport to the higher level. When you know that your Government is supporting you, as an athlete, you obviously want to push yourself and give more. The reason that cricket has developed so much is because they have improved the grassroots structure,” added the former India player.

Deepak also added that any youngster who is deserving at the Games will get help from the Government. “I’m also a coach at the Khelo India Hockey Academy in Chandigarh. Some of the youngsters who are selected over here will go for screening in the national camps, and whoever is deserving will make it to the next level and hopefully represent India some day. In a recent meeting with the Sports Ministry, we have also discussed about the prospect of getting in touch with former Olympians, and avail their services to help develop the grassroots program,” he revealed.

Asked if the Khelo India University Games 2020 would help find more Olympians from the country, Deepak said,

“It is not about finding Olympians in our country anymore, that era is over. It is about finding medallists. I’m very sure the hockey team will win a medal at the next Olympics. I’m confident about this because so much development has happened over the years.”

Tennis; Top seed Dev Java to face Chirag Duhan in final of the Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series

HSB/ New Delhi

Top-seed Dev V Javia registered yet another clinical win as he defeated Nitin Singh 6-2, 6-1, to set up a final showdown with Chirag Duhan. 3rd-seed Duhan also cruised to the final after winning 6-1, 6-0 against Mohit the Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series by OPPO, held at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) here today.

In the Girls’ Semi-Finals, the unseeded players put on spirited performances to knock out the two top seeds. Vaishnavi Adkar played out of her skin to make a memorable comeback and defeat 2nd-seed Akanksha Nitture 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, while Sanjana Sirimalla defeated top seed Reshma Maruri in straight sets 6-4, 7-5.

The second day of the tournament witnessed some nail-biting games as the players fought hard to reach the finals and grab the coveted spots at the Junior Roland-Garros Qualifiers in Paris.

The finals will take place tomorrow and the two winners will then travel to Paris to play against their counterparts from Mexico, Brazil, and China, in a bid to qualify for the main draw of the Junior Roland-Garros Championships.

The tournament’s brand ambassador,4-time Grand Slam Champion Mary Pierce was on the side-lines watching the day’s events unfold.was left impressed by the plucky display of the 16 Junior players battling it out at the tournament

“I am delighted to be back in India, watching the junior stars of Indian tennis in action”, said Pierce.

“I know from personal experience the crucial role Junior tennis plays in improving the game of budding players and laying a solid foundation for their careers. I am quite impressed by the standard of the game I have seen so far. This reaffirms my belief that India has real potential to be a tennis power-house in the future.”

The Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series by OPPO, is jointly organized by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and the French Tennis Federation (FFT) organizers of Roland-Garros, the world’s premier clay-court tournament. It is a testament to the collaborative efforts by both organizations to promote the game, particularly clay-court tennis, at the grassroots level in India.

Speaking on the occasion, Lucas Dubourg, the head of international development of the FFT says, “Exposure of playing on clay is vital for the well-rounded development of budding players. Hence, we are proud to bring this competition to India for its 6th edition and give these talented players a chance to hone their skills. This tournament has also played an important role in growing the popularity of the Roland-Garros Championships across India over the past few years.”

Echoing this sentiment, AITA President Praveen Mahajan says, “This is arguably the most important tournament on the Junior tennis calendar in India. Our association with Roland Garros has been instrumental in producing many talented Junior players who have gone to do the country proud at the international level. We are confident that this edition will also unearth some promising talent for the future.”

India and US finalise defence deals worth $3bn and sign 3 agreements in health and oil sectors


India and the United States today finalized defence deals worth three billion dollars and signed three agreements, including in health and oil sectors.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on mental health between the health departments of the two countries.

Another MoU on the safety of medical products was signed between the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization with the US Food and Drug Administration.

A Letter of Cooperation was signed between Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Exxon Mobil India LNG Limited and Chart Industries Inc, US.

Indonesia: Floods in Jakarta worsen; inundates thousands of homes & buildings


Floods that have crippled much of Indonesia’s capital worsened today, inundating thousands of homes and buildings, including the Presidential Palace, and paralysing transport networks, said officials.

Overnight rains caused more rivers to burst their banks in greater Jakarta starting Sunday, sending muddy water up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) deep into more residential and commercial areas, said Agus Wibowo, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesman.
Severe flooding and landslides that hit greater Jakarta early last month killed more than 60 people, displaced hundreds of thousands and forced an airport to close.

Seasonal downpours cause dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile plains.

Delhi violence: Shoot-at-sight order issued in North East district


A shoot-at-sight order has been issued in some areas of North East Delhi as violence continued in the area.

The orders to shoot the rioters on sight have been issued in North East Delhi district where violence cut a swathe through several localities, including Chand Bagh and Bhajanpura, with stones and other missiles hurled and shops set ablaze.

At least 11 people, according to agency report, have been killed and over 180 injured as fresh violence tore through North East Delhi over the amended citizenship law. In view of the continued violence in the city, curfew has been imposed in four violence-hit areas — Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chand Bagh, and Karawal Nagar — of Delhi.

Meanwhile, in view of the violence, the district administration in Ghaziabad has sealed three borders adjoining North East Delhi and shut down bars and pubs in Ghaziabad. Traffic movement from Shahdara towards Apsara border has been closed after barricading by UP police. Traffic has been diverted towards Surya Nagar.

Delhi Violence: Death Toll Rises to 11 as Violence Continues in effected areas



The death toll on Tuesday evening has gone up to 11 as violence in areas of Northeast Delhi continued, confirmed authorities at the GTB Hospital where several injured were being brought in throughout the day.

Delhi Police fired tear gas at agitating mobs in Chand Bagh in Northeast Delhi, which has been on boil for the last two days. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia on Tuesday afternoon visited the injured admitted to the Hospital.

Meanwhile, Maujpur area of north-east Delhi continues to be tense with rioters destroying private properties and indulging in arson. Journalists have also been attacked, with rioters forcing them to delete videos and photos of the violence.

Adequate forces deployed in affected areas: Home Minister

Union Home Minister Amit Shah today said that adequate forces have been deployed in the affected areas of the national capital and the situation is under control. Mr Shah chaired a meeting to discuss the current situation in the national capital after violence erupted in the North-East Delhi over the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act. Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, senior officials and representatives of different political parties attended the meeting.

During the meeting, Mr Shah urged the political parties to exercise restraint and rise above party lines to tackle the situation. He appealed to all to desist from spreading rumours and said, political parties should cooperate with police to quell these rumours and dispel fear among public. He also appealed to the people and media to communicate responsibly and avoid spreading rumours. He asked Delhi Police Commissioner to have senior police officers present in Police Control Rooms so that rumours can be dispelled as quickly as possible.

The Home Minister said, borders of Delhi with the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have been under surveillance for the last three days and Delhi Police has been taking adequate steps in view of the upcoming Supreme Court hearing relating to issues pertaining to Citizenship Amendment Act. Mr Shah also urged the political parties to avoid provocative speeches and statements which could flare up the situation.

He also spoke of the need to re-activate local peace committees and said that those committees should include representatives of all sections of society, religions and eminent local persons. He said, feedback on the issue has been taken from local representatives and incorporated for further course of action after discussions with Lieutenant Governor and Delhi Police Commissioner. Mr Shah noted that the professional assessment is that the violence in the capital has been spontaneous. He expressed confidence in Delhi Police and said that the force has shown maximum restraint to get the situation under control.Those present in the meeting expressed grief on the death of Head Constable Ratan Lal, who was killed yesterday.

Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal termed the meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah positive, saying it was decided that all parties will take necessary steps to restore peace in Delhi. He said, police is doing their part and Home Minister has assured that whatever force is needed will be provided.

Meanwhile, the Lt. Governor and Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik paid tribute to Delhi Police Head Constable who lost his life during violence yesterday. The tribute was paid during wreath laying ceremony. Mr Baijal also instructed all concerned to extend all possible assistance to his family .

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia met the injured at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in the city. Mr Kejriwal also visited Rajghat, the memorial of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi to pray for peace and normalcy in the city.

The Supreme Court will hear former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah’s petition seeking lodging of FIRs over the violence tomorrow, while the Delhi High Court will hear petitions seeking an SIT probe and a direction to the Centre to bring in the Army. The apex court is also slated to hear tomorrow two separate petitions seeking removal of Anti-citizenship law protestors from Shaheen Bagh.

India and US to take ties to comprehensive global strategic partnership:PM Modi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that both India and the United States have decided to take bilateral ties to a comprehensive global partnership level.

He said, people to people connect is the foundation of this special relationship. Addressing a joint press conference after extensive discussion with US President Donald Trump in New Delhi today, Prime Minister Modi said, defence cooperation is reflective of rising strategic partnership between the two countries.

Mr Modi said, both the countries have agreed on new mechanism to contain drug trafficking and Narco terrorism. He said that both the countries have decided to enhance efforts to hold supporters of terrorism accountable.

Mr Modi asserted that strategic energy partnership between the two countries is becoming stronger and America has become major source of oil and gas for India. He said, double digit growth has been registered in bilateral trade and it has become more balanced during the last three years. The Prime Minister thanked President Trump for the visit.

Trump Again Offers to Mediate on Kashmir, Says It’s a Big Problem Between India and Pakistan

AMN / New Delhi

US President Donald Trump today said the issue of Kashmir is a big problem between India and Pakistan and reiterated his offer for mediation to ease tensions. He said Kashmir is like “a thorn in a lot of people’s sides” for a long time and there are two sides to every story.

Trump, who held comprehensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the second and the last day of his visit to India, said he shared good terms with Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

“If anything I can do to mediate, I will do. Kashmir has been a thorn in lots of people’s sides for a long time. There are two sides to every story,” he said, adding that Pakistan figured in his talks with Modi.

“I have good equations with Pakistan PM Imran Khan. They are working to control cross-border terrorism,” he said.

The US president said he discussed the issue of religious freedom at length with Modi during his comprehensive talks and that the Indian leader wants people to have this freedom.

To a question about India’s new citizenship law, he said, “I don’t want to say anything on CAA. It is up to India. I hope it will take the right decision for its people.”

In January, Trump had repeated his offer to “help” resolve the Kashmir issue between the two nations during his meeting with the Pakistan PM on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“We will discuss the situation in Kashmir. We can mediate on the issue. We are working with Pakistan on some borders and we were talking about Kashmir in relation to what is going on between Pakistan and India. If we can help, we certainly will be helping. We have been watching that and following it very very closely,” he had said.

On earlier occasions too, Trump had made similar offers to resolve the crisis. He had said this for the first time in July 2019 when Khan was visiting Washington DC. “If I can help, I would love to be a mediator,” Trump had said, in response to Khan’s appeal to use his good offices. He had repeated the same on August 1 that year.