Author: India Footy

I-League 2018/19: Mohun Bagan steam past Shillong Lajong

Kolkata, December 23, 2018 :  Kolkata giants and former champions Mohun Bagan, displayed a thoroughly professional performance at home to notch up a victory against bottom placed Shillong Lajong, at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on Sunday. Japanese midfielder Yuta Kinowaki opened the scoring for the home-team just two minutes into the second half and Ugandan front man Henry Kisekka added a second in the 60th minute to seal three points for the ‘Green and Maroon’ brigade.

With this first home win of the 12th Hero I-League season, Bagan move up to fifth on the table, level on points with third and fourth placed Quess East Bengal and Neroca FC respectively, two behind second placed Real Kashmir and three behind league leaders Chennai City FC.

Shillong remain in last position after suffering their seventh loss in nine games.

Mohun Bagan made one change in their lineup as Eze Kingsley came back in defence after serving his suspension, in place of Gurjinder Kumar. While Alison Kharsyntiew, the Shillong gaffer, made three changes to his previous starting eleven. Key among them being Purbha Lachempa back under the Shillong bar in place of Neithovilie Chalieu.

Mohun Bagan dominated the first half and had around nine shots at goal to two for the visitors but could not get the breakthrough.

Cameroonian striker Dipanda Dicka got the first clear cut chance of the half in the 16th minute, when he chested down a cross from the left and shot for goal but Purbha Lachempa in the Shillong goal brought about a brilliant save.

Apart from Dicka, Kiseeka and Egyptian midfielder Omar El Husseiny were also guilty of missing gilt-edged opportunities in the half.

Bagan took the lead immediately on commencement of the second half.

Two minutes into the half, Kisekka it was who started the build up from the left, passing to an overlapping Abhishek Ambekar further wide.

The diminutive left wing-back’s cross was cleared by the Shillong defence but only till the path of a lurking Yuta Kinowaki outside the box.  The Japanese curled in a right-footer first time and it crashed into the back of the Lajong net, beating Lachempa all ends up this time.

It was a classy strike and Yuta’s first of the campaign.

Sankar Roy, the Bagan keeper, then brought about the save of the game six minutes late when a Samuel Lyngdoh effort from inside the box with the goalkeeper out of position and an empty net in front of him, was miraculously kept out by the Bagan keeper.

Bagan doubled their lead in the 60th minute through Henry Kisekka’s third of the campaign.

It was veteran midfielder Mehtab Hussain, who had come on in the first half for an injured Sourav Das, with the long ball into the box this time which was cleared by Lachempa.

Faiaz was first to the second ball and chested it down towards the path of Dicka on the left. Dicka took a goal bound strike but it deflected multiple times of the Shillong defence and eventually Kisekka muscled it into the Lajong net with his boot.

I-League 2018/19: East Bengal claim Kolkata Derby bragging rights

Kolkata, December 16, 2018: A brace by Hero of the Match Laldanmawia Ralte and striker Jobby Justin’s fifth goal in the 12th Hero I-League campaign helped Quess East Bengal (QEB) halt Mohun Bagan’s seven-game unbeaten run in the famous ‘Kolkata Derby played between the two Kolkata giants at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on Sunday.

Mohun Bagan scored twice through Azharuddin Mallick and Dipanda Dicka, but it was not enough in an exhilarating Derby which lived up to its high standards in front of 64,867 fans.

The win takes QEB up to fifth on the table with 12 points from seven games, while Mohun Bagan remain on eighth with nine points from as many games.

Red and Golds coach Alejandro Garcia made two changes to his starting line-up from the last game, one of them forced. Mexican Enrique Esqueda missed out due to injury and was replaced by Colombian recruit Jaime Santos Colado, while Costa Rican Jhonny Acosta regained his place in the eleven in place of Salam Ranjan Singh.

Coach Sankarlal Chakraborty made the exact same number of changes and ironically also was forced into replacing an injured Sony Norde with youngster Azharduddin Mallick, while Cameroonian striker Dipanda Dicka was back to lead the attack with Pintu Mahata also out injured.

QEB tried to dominate proceedings from the get-go with Jaimie Colado and Jobby Justin pleasing with their movements.

However, Mohun Bagan struck first on the 13th minute, when Egyptian midfielder Omar El Husseiny took out QEB right back Lalram Chullova with a neat body fient and cut inside the box from the left to unleash a pinpoint cross for Azhar to slot home.

QEB struck back within four minutes as left-back Manoj Mohammad sent a perfectly engineered cross towards Jobby, who beautifully played it through to Danmawia, who beat the offside trap and goalkeeper Shankar Roy in the Bagan goal.

Just before half-time, QEB took the lead, this time through a clinical back-volley finish by Jobby himself, with the same two teammates involved, only this time, Manoj’s cross from the left flank was laid off to Jobby’s path by Ralte.

Sankarlal had brought on Faiaz in place of Azhar, just before the break and Mohun Bagan began on the offensive in the second half looking for an equaliser, mainly through his runs down the right.

Then, around the 60-minute mark, Eze Kingsley, the Bagan centre-back, was sent off due to a second yellow card offence. From the resultant Lalrindika Ralte free-kick, Laldanmawia connected with his head and the ball came back to him off the Bagan defence. He made no mistake in the second attempt, this time his foot exactly in the right place to bulge the roof of the Bagan net. The Red and Golds were 3-1 up and Bagan a man down.

Credit needs to be given to Bagan for the way they mounted a fightback with 10 men after that, with most of the attacks being initiated by Arijit Bagui and Faiaz from the right flank.

In between, Jobby missed a sitter on a counter attack, but Bagan did manage a consolation goal for their efforts, when a Bagui cross in the 75th minute was cleared by Borja, but it only found its way till Dika on top of the box.

The Cameroonian striker unleashed a powerful half-volley which thundered into the QEB net, beating Rakshit Dagar all ends up.

Mohun Bagan continued to step up efforts to draw level, but East Bengal managed to hold on to their lead to pull off the victory.

Ethiopians Legese, Kuma sweep TSK 25Ks fifth edition; Sable, Surya defend titles in Indian elites

Kolkata, Dec 16: In what emerged as a double for Ethiopia, Birhanu Legese and Dibaba Kuma braced glory in the Elite 25K men’s and women’s categories respectively, even as Avinash Sable and L Surya kept the Indian flag fluttering in the fifth edition of Tata Steel Kolkata 25K. The race also witnessed 14,734 people run on a nippy winter morning as TSK 25K celebrated Vijay Diwas today.

It was a riot of sight, sound and colours at the TSK 25K with people across the board came to the starting line to make the celebration of Vijay Diwas truly meaningful. In each step there was pride, in each leap a faith of beaching a distance and every spring a promise of a healthy tomorrow.

And in their mix the elite athletes were playing an intriguing move on the chess board spread across the iconic locales of the city, as they ran a game of check and balance. Legese, Bayelign, Kiptanui and Kipruto kept a tight pack till the last hair pin at 20 Km mark.

Without pacemakers, a large group that included several of the Indian elite runners went through 5km in a relatively sedate 15:37 with Uganda’s Robert Chemonges and Tanzania’s Augustino Sulle doing most of the work at the front in the early stages of the race. The pace increased slightly over the next five kms but a group of nine were still together as 10Km was reached in 30:35; and then slowed again as 15km was passed 45:57, allowing the leading group to increase to 11.

The next five kms saw just three men shaken off with the 20km split reading 1:01:04. However, if the winning time was now never going to match Kenenisa Bekele’s course record of 1:13:48 from 12 months ago, it did ensure a thrilling finish and that’s what the thousands lining the route of the world’s only IAAF Label Road Race over 25km were able to witness.

With two km remaining, the two-time Airtel Delhi Half Marathon winner Legese put in a surge which splintered the leading group. His teenage compatriot Bayelign Yegsaw was the only man to follow closely as the rest struggled to stay with the leading pair.

One-by-one the remaining runners dropped away before Legese found another gear over the final 400 metres to fend off Yegsaw, who doesn’t turn 19 until next February and will possibly start as the favourite for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships U20 title next March.

Legese finished first with a timing of 1:15:48, while fellow countrymen Bayelign Yegsaw finished with a timing of 1:15:49. In the third position was Kenyian Amos Kipruto clocking 1:15:52.    

Of course the run fell way short of the world’s best set by Dennis Kimetto (1:11:18) in 2012 and course record set here last year by Keninisa Bekele of 1:13:48.

Legese Birhanu said: “The race was very good. I am very happy as the weather was good and place to run was also good. I decided to change gears in the last one kilometer, in the last 500 mts I increased my pace and sealed the affair.”

Second spot winner Amos said: “Thank you for welcoming me in Tata Steel Kolkata 25K and I am so happy. The weather was good, the race was good. I had a feeling I will have a podium finish. I have used myself well to be on top three. This race success is giving me moral for Tokyo Marathon 2019. This race was my training before going to Tokyo.”

The women’s race was pretty even Stevens till the last lap with the Indian elites running toe to toe with their International competitors. In fact at the 10K mark Surya led the pack while in the 15K mark she was just behind the eventual winner Kuma. However, in the last five kilometers the African runners showed their pedigree as distance runners switching gears and taking the pole position with relative ease.  

In the elite women it was a shock surprise with defending champion Degitu Azimeraw coming a distant fourth. The race was won by Ethiopean Dibaba Kuma with a timing of 1:27:34, followed by her country mate Ftaw Zeray 1:27:38 and Failuna Matanga of Tanzania clocking 1:27:45.  Actually Degitu clocked a timing of 1:26:01 last year to set a course record, but was 1:50 min slower this time round.

Dibaba said: “I am very happy with this win. After running a marathon in October I took rest for one week and then I practiced, came here and won this race.”

The Elite International athletes go home richer by USD 7,500 each, while the elite Indian winners pocket a purse of Rs 2,75,000 each.   

In the Indian segment the top three spots were taken by Avinash Sable (1:17:11), steeplechaser Srinu Bugatha (1;17:18) and Abhishek Pal (1:18:26), with Sable easily defending his title without breaking much sweat. In the women’s segment L Suryia defended her title with a timing of 1:28:29, followed by Sudha Singh 1:29:11 and Parul Chaudhury 1:30:18. The three Indian women also hogged the top 10 positions.  

Sable later said: “I am feeling very happy. I won the race last year and was determined to do good this year also. This year I practiced well and the organisation was very good. The international runners are very good. Their technique, the way they change their pace is very good. If we get more chance like this to run with international runners, our standard will go up.”

“I practiced well and ran the first 19 km with the international runners. They were running slow and my pace was fast. I decided not to follow them. I wanted to clock time and come overall third,” Surya said after defending her title.

Event Brand Ambassador Sourav Ganguly said; “I am associated with TSK 25K for four years. I absolutely  loved to see around 15000 people run. It has grown every year and now in its international avatar it’s one of the best run at this distance. I am a big advocate for running. It has been a way of my life. I am really proud to see the city embrace running to this extent.”

Talking about his experience, International Brand Ambassador Greg Louganis said: “My experience in Kolkata has been so incredible. There are so much incredible dishes eat, such a milieu of colours sight and sound. I don’t want to miss anything. If I can stay here for few more days that would have been great. The people here are very generous and kind. To be here in the TSK 25K, my focus is to help others. Its wonderful to see whole community coming together and it does not matter race, gender anything.”

TSK 25K only in its second year in international avatar has already become a destination for the distance runners from world over. But the icing on the cake is the way the city has opened up its arms to the race and become a brand ambassador for running in the East.

Following are the final results:

Overall Athlete Men

Birhanu Legese (ETH) 1:15:48; Bayelign Yegsaw (ETH) 1:15:49; Amos Kipruto (KEN) 1:15:52; Eric Kiptanui (KEN) 1:15:52; Robert Chemonges (UGANDA) 1:16:01.

Overall Athlete Women

Dibaba Kuma (ETH) 1:27:34; Ftaw Zeray (ETH) 1:27:38; Failuna Matanga (TAN) 1:27:45; Degitu Azimeraw (ETH) 1:27:51; Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 1:27:57.

Overall Indian Athlete Men

Avinash Sable (IND) 1:17:11; Srinu Bugatha (IND) 1:17:18; Abhishek Pal (IND) 1:18:26; Durga Bahadur (IND) 1:18:28; Shankar Man Thapa (IND) 1:19:34.

Overall Indian Athlete Women

L. Suriya L (IND) 1:28:29; Sudha Singh (IND) 1:29:11; Parul Chaudhary (IND) 1:30:18; Manju Yadav (IND) 1:39:26; Kiran Sahdev (IND) 1:39:29.

Run in Costume

Group Winners:

Little Big Help India Trust (Safe Drive Save Life); Srimad Rajchandra Mission (Transforming the world through Love & Care).

Individual Winners:

Zeenat Khatoon (Beti Bachao); Moumita Mali (Save Earth).

Vijay Diwas Trophy

Indian Army Team 1 (Mohit Rathore, Mukesh Bandhari, Deepak Singh Rawat) 4:06:35; Indian Army Team 3 (Jagdish Mahar, Sandeep Singh Chouhan, Vikash Kumar) 4:15:37; Indian Army Team 2 (K H Roshan Singh, Bhupendra Singh Rawat, Neeraj Singh Kunwar) 4:16:53.

Police Cup

Team 1(Manas Das, Laxman Chandra Roy, Bachhu Durlav) 1:54:49; Team 12 (Joydev Dey; Panchanan Datta; Panchananda Ghosh) 1:56:14); Team 11 (Wazed Ali, Sandip Dutta, Achong Abel Rongong Lepcha) 2:02:00.

Open 10k-Age Categories Winners:


15 to 24 years: Santosh Yadav (0:32:19), Manish Yadav (0:33:11), Vijay Prakash (0:33:38)

25 to 34 years: Murali M (0:34:04), Gaurav Singh (0:36:06), Naresh Kumar (0:36:14)

35 to 44 years: Uday Das (0:39:07), Dipak Sinha (0:43:46), Sagar Mukhia (0:44:45)

45 to 54 years: Samrat Gupta (0:40:51), Surajit Biswas (0:41:23), Sukram Laguri (0:44:45)

55 to 64 years: Anil Mahata (0:43:19), Aswini Kumar Panja (0:47:15), Manikumar Sarkar (0:48:12)

65 years and above: Bir Bahadur Limbu (0:52:44), Arun Singh (0:56:47), Dulal Ahiri (0:57:19)


15 to 24 years: Puja Mandal (0:37:15), Tashi Ladol (0:40:45), Devika Srikanth (0:43:45)

25 to 34 years: Rakhi Majumdar (0:54:05), Lalita Kumari (0:54:37), Sujata Palit (0:57:32)

35 to 44 years female: Sonal Paul (0:51:37), Vani Acharya (0:53:38), Debdatta Chowdhury (0:55:12)

45 to 54 years: Vaishali Kasture (0:46:41), Sunmbul Rahman (0:49: 48), Shruti Kothari Vadera (1:00:47)

55 to 64 years: Kajal Rai (1:06:33), Rebecca Burkholder (1:10:54), Vandana Roy (1:19:46)

65 years and above: Jonaki Mitra (1:33:20)

Fast times in prospect at the TSK25Kon Sunday

14 December 2018: Tata Steel Kolkata 25Kpromises some stiff competition on race day on December 16 as defending champions Degitu Azimeraw and Avinash Sable look determined to retain their crowns while their compatriots promise a fight to the finish line.

The race that has a unique place on the international athletics calendar as the only 25km race in the world that is an IAAF Label Road Race over the distanceis all set to keep the people guessing on who will breast the winning tape this year.

Ethiopia’s defending women’s champion DegituAzimeraw, who surprised everyone by taking the honours in a TSK25K course record of 1:26.01 in her first international race, sounded confident that she can go even faster in this year’s race.

“I have ambitions to win this race again and I am in very good shape,” said the 19-year-old runner.“Last year’s race changed my life and I am happy to return here.”

Meanwhile India’ s Avinash Sable said “This year I am prepared better than the previous year.I have come here to break my own record. Now I am training in the national camp Bangalore.Last here I ran 25k for the first time and I did well so this year I have come here to win.My next target is to succeed in the  steeplechase in 2020.”

Women’s  L.Suriyasaid:” I am happy with my training.Our coach is good,Sudha(Singh)di and other seniors help so much in my training.I will give my best for betterment of my timing this year. I like coming back here and living up to the expectations.”

Sudha Singhwants to improve on her record here and give Surya a healthy competition. She is training with Surya under Olympian coach Surinder Singh.She is also taking it as a preparation for the Mumbai Marathon.”

Meanwhile,Kenya’s two-time world champion Florence Kiplagat on the start line in Kolkata.Kiplagat, agold medallist at the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and the 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and alsoa former half marathon world record holder, admitted that that last two years have been difficult as she has battled injuries.

“My training has been interrupted with injuries and also I had a bad spider bite on my left calf earlier in the year and it swelled up. But I killed the spider,” joked Kiplagat, who now juggles being a top-class runner with being a mother and businesswoman in Kenya.

Kiplagat is also a two-time former winner of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and mentioned how much she enjoys Indian races – and the hospitality of race promoters Procam International – and despite her far-from-perfect preparations, she anticipates not letting down Indian athletics fans.

“25km is a good distance for me. To be honest, despite my results, I don’t enjoy marathons as much as half marathons.”

Her compatriot Eric Kiptanui boldly predicted he would beat the Indian all-comers best and course record of 1:13:48 set by Ethiopian distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele last year and might even be in shape to challenge the world best of 1:11:18 set by another Kenyan, Dennis Kimetto, in Berlin in 2012.

“After Berlin (where he ran a half marathon in 58:42, the third fastest time of the year) I had some injury problems but I’m over them now and feel ready to run very well. Seeing Eliud Kipchoge run a world marathon record in September has inspired me, he’s my neighbour and lives just 800m away from my house. I think that next year I can break the world half marathon record (58:18 by Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum, set last month in Valencia),” commented Kiptanui.

Ethiopia’s BirhanuLegese who,like Florence Kiplagat, is also a two-time former Airtel Delhi Half Marathon champion and most recently ran in India in May this year when he was second in the TCSW10K in Bengaluru, will try to maintain his country’s winning streak.

“I like racing in India a lot as it’s often warm races and I seem to do well in them,” said Legese, who has ambitions of not only beating Bekele’s course record but, perhaps, challenging the Ethiopian national best of 1:11:37, set by another Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie.


Birhanu Legese (ETH)
Eric Kiptanui (KEN)
Augustino Sulle (TAN)
Amos Kipruto (KEN)
Robert Chemonges (UGA) *

Shumi Dechasa (BRN) *
Samson Gebreyohannes (ERI) 
Nathan Ayeko (UGA)
Fentahun Hunegnaw (ETH)
Bayelign Yegsaw (ETH) *


Degitu Azimeraw (ETH)

Florence Kiplagat (KEN)                     

FailunaMatanga (TAN)                       

Loganathan Suriya (IND) *
Dibaba Kuma (ETH) *
Sudha Singh (IND) *

Sutume Asefa (ETH)

Ftaw Zeray (ETH) *

Linet Toroitich (UGA) *

HawiMegersa (ETH) *

World’s greatest diver Greg Louganis the International event ambassador of Tata Steel Kolkata 25K graces the city of joy

13th December 2018, Kolkata: Four-time Olympic Games gold medallist and diving legend Greg Louganis, International Event Ambassador of Tata Steel Kolkata 25K this year has graced the City of Joy today.

“It’s very exciting. I admire the people who are here and going to be a part of the 25K race. Fitness is a part of life. Whether it’s diet or exercising you need to take up,” Greg said about the spirit of Tata Steel Kolkata 25K.

Greg will flag off India’s only international 25K on 16 December which also celebrates Vijay Diwas as well.

Greg can boast a total of 17 global gold medals to his name; including four from the Olympics, five world championships, six Pan American titles and two from the World University Games.

The 1988, Seoul Olympic is famous for Greg’s commitment to the game and fighting spirit. During the qualifying, he hit the back of his head on the diving board requiring several stitches, an accident that should have been competition ending. However, he came back to sweep gold in the 10m platform and also in the 3m springboard, leaving global audiences dumbstruck.

About the Seoul Olympic incident and what motivated him to for the next dive Greg said: “My inspirations were Ryan White and my coach who just been there and been supportive. When I hit my head on the springboard there was so much going on. I was diagnosed with HIV positive, my coach’s mother was in coma and he didn’t know whether to stay or go home. He decided to stay with us. Both of us were rather distracted and I was the favourite but in split second after hitting the board I suddenly became underdog. I was focused and tried to do my absolute best.”

With gold medals at the 1984 (Los Angeles) and 1988 (Seoul) Summer Olympics, on the springboard and platform, he is also the only male diver to sweep both diving events in successive Olympics.

Being a diver how Greg feels about distance running which is an event based on timing he said: “In a road race where you have the camaraderie of the people around you, you have the similar goals and aspirations, so that can be inspiring. But if you are way ahead then that shouldn’t limit you as to how successful can you be. Rather than looking at the clock feel within your body, your heart, your soul so I think that there are many elements of competition, a performance however you want to look at it. Because maybe a competitor that’s right next to you that you will never beat in your life but you are there as companions to help each other through. So it really does become a community effort and it can be such an incredibly special moment to share that with someone because not everybody can run like that.”

“You have to train for it, you work and all of a sudden your work pays off and you gotta feel good about what you are doing. That’s why when I mentor USA diving, swimming and many different sports it’s not so much about the end result. It’s about am I better today than I was yesterday? And if you can honestly say that then everyday is different. We all have bad days. Those bad days are the days where you learn a lesson. Don’t be so close that you don’t use that lesson. Not my every competition was stellar but what happened was there’s always something I could take away from that whether successful or not. That enables me to do better and move forward to the next time,” he added.

After his retirement from competition in 1989, the 58-year-old American has donned many hats and always continued his commitment to excellence. He has become a mentor and coach to many top divers including members of the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic teams, a motivational speaker, author, actor, LGBT rights activist, humanitarian and an HIV/AIDS awareness advocate and designer.

Amateur World Chess-Boxing Championship begins in Kolkata tomorrow

KOLKATA: The second edition of Amateur World Chess Boxing Championship will take place in Kolkata from 26th July to 29th July, 2018.

This is the second time in the history of the young  sport a three days tournament will be held open to everyone with both good chess and boxing skills.

Fighters from all over the world are expected, hailing from the member countries of the World Chess Boxing Organisation (such as Russia, Germany, India, USA and Italy) to fighters from countries where there is not yet a chessboxing organization in place (such as France and South Africa). The experience of the fighters varies from 3 to more than 80 amateur boxing bouts as well as chess ELO ratings between 1200 and 2200.

A chessboxing fight consists of up to 11 alternating rounds of chess and boxing. A bout begins with a three-minute chess round, followed by three minutes of boxing. Competitors each have a maximum total of nine minutes to complete all their chess moves.

A fight can be won in one of four ways: by knocking an opponent out in the ring, via a checkmate in chess, by a judge’s decision, or if a competitor exceeds their chess time limit.

“By combining the number one fighting sport with the number one thinking sport, there is no other sport that challenges the full scale of human capacity as radically as chessboxing does!” says lepe Rubingh, inventor of chessboxing.

After creating and founding the sport in 2003, Rubingh started the first Chess Boxing Club in Berlin in 2004 from which all other organisations worldwide emerged. In 2013 The World Chess Boxing Organisation was founded as a non profit to foster the sport of chessboxing on a global amateur level.

Today there are 11 national organizations with more than 3500 fighters and over 1,500 fights take place annually.

The Chess Boxing Organisation of India (CBOI) is the organiser of the second amateur world championships. Under guidance of it’s founding father Montu Das, the CBOI has established itself as one of the leading organizations in the chessboxing community as it is by far the biggest with more than a 1,000 members.

General Facts:
What: Chessboxing Amateur World Championships
Date: 26th-29th of July, 2018.
City, Country: Kolkata, India
Stadium: Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra and Boxing Hall
Governing body: World Chess Boxing Organisation
Organising body: Chess Boxing Organisation of India

Bekele, Degitu win first international edition of TSK 25K

Kolkata: Multiple times world champion Kenenisa Bekele kept his reputation intact cantering past the finish line in the maiden appearance of TSK 25K in its international avatar with a timing of 1.13.48 , even as over 13700 participants took to the streets on a nippy winter morning.

In the Elite national section winner Avinash Sable set a course record of 1.15.17 breaking the previous course record set by G Lakshmanan who came third with a timing of 1.17.13 which is also better than his mark set last year. Kalidas Hirave came second with 1.16.18. Thus all three bettered last year’s record of 1.17.23.

The Ethiopian world champion earlier paced his race brilliantly staying in the mix till the 21st kilometer when he broke loose and by the time he was across the finish line his closest competitor was nowhere in sight.

The leading group went through the 7.5km checkpoint in a sluggish 24:24. Just before halfway, Bekele briefly went through a bad patch and drifted off the back of the leaders, with his compatriot Asefa Diro leading at 12km in 39:09 and Bekele seven seconds adrift in fifth place.

However, the multiple world champion and world record holder soon got back up with the group containing Diro, Eritrea’s Tsegay Tuemay, Tanzania’s Augustino Sulle and India’s Avinash Sable before surging away with just under seven kilometres to go. His move almost immediately splintered the leading group with nobody able to stay with him once he moved into a higher gear. Tuemay eventually crossed the finish line on Kolkata’s historic Red Road in second place in 1:14:21 with Sulle third in 1:14:41.

Later Kenenisa said: “The race was very nice. The course is nice and flat all through. I have been training hard and the results showed. This was my first 25 K and it feels good to have won it. It was a tactical race and I paced myself depending on the kind of competition I faced.”

“The weather was good, though a little smokey in certain parts. But it was not difficult to manage. I had a great race and would like to come back here next year. Kolkata has been very warm and hospitable and I would like to laud Procam for organizing such a well managed race,” he continued.

The Ethiopian however wished he had a pacemaker to push down his time. “In a race like this you need a pacemaker, who sets you up for a fast finish. I was pushing myself, but that was not enough. I would have pushed my timing by 90 seconds at least had I a pacemaker,” Bekele rued.

Avinash Sable said: “I am concentrating for steeplechase. That is my event. The only reason I am running in the 25K is to increase my endurance. The fact that I have come first here goes to say that I am on the right track. My aim is the Commonwealth Games and a podium finish there in my pet event.”

In the elite women group the first place was taken by Ethiopian Degitu  Azimeraw with a timing of 1.26.01, followed by Kenyan Helah Kiprop with a timing of 1.26.04 and Tanzanian Failuna Matanga with 1.26.11.

In the Indian women’s L Surya won with 1.26.53 timing beating Sudha Singh’s course record of 1.27.31 . Manju Yadav came second at 1.32.51, while Jhuma Khatun came third with 1.32.58. All three ladies were from Railways.

The race was flagged off by Hon’ble Gobvernor of West Bengal Kesari Nath Tripathi, H H Shri Shri Ravishankar, General Abhay Krishna, GOC&C Eastern Command, Arup Biswas, Minister PWD and Sports, T V Narendran, MD Tata Steel.

Event Ambassador Sourav Ganguly and International Ambassador Mike Powell were at the starting line to encourage the runners. Later Ganguly said: “This is amazing to see the number of people come out and run in the morning. The world Champion running here and a world record holder long jumper watching the race makes TSK 25K really special.”

He exchanged a few words with Bekele once he crossed the finishing line breasting the tape held by the Prince of Calcutta and the man with a record that stands over quarter century Mike Powell.

Powell said: “I am thrilled to see so many people come out and run. And the standard of the elite field is also great. The race is competitive and fun to watch.”

Photos: Ajay/SportsIndiaLive

Suthirta-Pooja pair wins bronze in Seamaster 2017 Australian Open

New Delhi, July 5: Indian paddlers, continuing their good run and form, created a flutter when Sutirtha Mukherjee and Pooja Sahasrabudhe defeated crowd favourites Miao Miao and Jian Fang Lay from Australia 3-1 (11-9, 12-14, 8-11, 9-11) to enter the semifinals women doubles in the Seamaster 2017 Australian Open at Gold Coast this morning.

The Australian pairing was the more experienced on the court, yet the Suthirtha and Pooja didn’t back down. They had answers for the unique style of play by Lay. “Jian Fang Lay is very tricky and has an odd game. We discussed a strategy with our coach Massimo Costantani before the match. We were prepared and the strategy worked,” added Pooja

“We were very excited. I feel beating Australia in Australia was something special,” said Pooja Sahasrabudhe. But the pair did admit that the clash with the top-seeded Chinese was more than a formidable test.

Before the semifinals this afternoon, the Indians said that they would try their best. But that was not good enough as it was another match for the experienced Chinese pair which went about its job methodically.

The pair’s luck ran out and the Indians had to satisfy themselves with the bronze medal when they lost to the Chinese duo of Chen Meng and Zhu Ling, who are also the top seed. The Chinese disposed of the Indians quickly with an easy 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 victory. Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling were imperious in their match against Sutirtha and Pooja as the no.1 seeds were in complete control on the court, booking a place in the final.

Earlier,  in men singles Harmeet Desai lost to Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura, the No.12 seed (11-7, 11-6, 16-14, 11-8), but Sanil Shetty upset Korea’s Jang Woojin, the No.13 seed, (11-9, 3-11, 12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 11-8) and G. Sathiyan accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An, the No.14 seed (11-6, 4-11, 1-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9), two biggest achievements for the Indians in the round of 32.

In the pre-quarterfinals to be played later this evening, Sathiyan will take on Frenchman Simon Gauzy while Sanil will clash with Cho Seungmin of South Korea in tough outings.

The City Of Joy hosts the 1st leg of The Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros

 Kolkata, March 23rd, 2017: The ‘Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros in partnership with Longines’ returns to India for its third edition which will be played across three cities. The tournament gets underway with the first qualifier in Kolkata followed by the second in Pune. The final culmination of the tournament will take place in New Delhi. Kolkata is hosting a Roland Garros event for the first time, and the selected players from the city shall get a chance to try their luck in the finals to be hosted in Delhi on the 18th and 19thof April, 2017.

The tournament confirms Roland Garros’ and AITA’S collaborative effort to organize grassroots championships of international repute in India and foster the development of clay court tennis to find future stars. Kolkata’s historic Dakshin Kalikata Sansad shall witness the qualifiers under the supervision of experienced French coach Bernard Pestre who is the Deputy Technical Director of FFT and heads their “Formation and Enseignement” (Training and Education) Department. Kolkata have been instrumental in producing many young talents who have represented the nation in the junior levels. The qualifiers will give an opportunity to U 18 players to have a MasterClass under the guidance of Pestre, who has been associated with the French Tennis Federation (FFT) since 1984.

A clinic was conducted for the media with the aim of promoting clay court tennis. ‘Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros in partnership with Longines’ has served as a perfect platform for budding tennis talents from India as they get the opportunity to compete against the best  from USA, Japan, China, Brazil and South Korea. Further, the winners of the competition will get a chance to participate in the Junior French Open as wild-card entrants.

“Over the years, India has consistently produced good talent. The ‘Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros in partnership with Longines’ aims to propel the upcoming talent in a way which would put the country on the world map. It also gives the youngsters a great chance of learning about clay courts, and potentially going on to excel at the French Open in future,” said President of FFT Bernard Giudicelli.

“We are extremely proud to be hosting the 1st qualifiers of the Rendez-Vous a Roland Garros in partnership with Longines, An event of such stature and global presence shall do wonders for growth of tennis in the city. It has been our aim to have a strong grass-root development program for the city kids and with initiatives like these, I think we are on the right track towards escalating the popularity of the sport in the city.” said Mr. Hironmoy Chatterjee, Secy Gen AITA & President BTA.

Unwavering support from AITA and The Bengal Tennis has successfully ensued the commencement of Rendez-vous a Roland Garros in partnership with Longines becomes an event to remember.

The city qualifiers will see top talent vying for a spot in the Masters’ event which will be played in New Delhi on 18th and 19th April 2017.

Two Golds for Aryan at South African Junior Nationals

Durban, South Africa: Swimmer Aryan Makhija claimed his third medal at the South African Junior Nationals with a win in the 1500 m freestyle event at the King’s Park Swimming Pool, in Durban, South Africa, on Monday. Makhija’s time of 16:05.64 beats the qualification standard set by the Swimming Federation of India for the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, to be held in Bahamas, in July.

“Aryan has been working really hard as it was his main aim to beat the qualification time since it was announced by the Swimming Federation of India. I’m very proud of what he’s achieved and I’m sure he will continue to improve and go on to even higher levels of performance,” said JSW Sports’ Swimming Head Coach, Graham Hill, who also serves as coach for Swimming South Africa.

South Africa’s James Freeman (16:05.85) finished second while Andrew Ritchie (16:25.73) claimed third in a race that was tightly contested right from the start between the 17-year-old Makhija and Freeman, who represented the University of Pretoria.

A two-horse race for most parts, at the 500 meter mark, Freeman clocked in at 5:22.22 while Makhija was close behind at 5:22.44. Mumbai-born Aryan made his move in the second 500 meter stretch, clocking in at 1000 meters with a 1.72 second lead over Freeman. The final stretch saw Freeman move within 1.36 seconds of Makhija with 50 meters to cover, but it wasn’t to be for the South African.

Aryan’s finish beats the Swimming Federation of India’s qualification time of 16:06.06 (based on the third place finish at the previous Commonwealth Youth Games) by 0.42 seconds and the youngster expressed his happiness at having recorded the feat.

“I’m really happy to have claimed three medals, but more so to have beaten the qualification time for the Commonwealth Youth Games. Graham sir has been pushing me to work harder every day and I have to thank him and the JSW Sports family for all their support,” Makhija said.

Earlier, Aryan had claimed Silver in the 200 metre freestyle event with a time of 1:56.51 and Gold in the 400m freestyle clocking in at 4:05.15.