I-League 2018/19: Big Game at the Tilak Maidan as Churchill Take on Neroca FC

New Delhi, January 18, 2019: By the time Churchill Brothers and Neroca FC take the field at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco Da Gama, Goa, on Saturday, January 19, 2019, both teams will know whether it is only Chennai ahead of them or even Real Kashmir.

Be that as it may, arguably the biggest game of the day, scheduled for a 7.30 PM IST start, promises to be one, not for the faint-hearted with two in-form attack-minded teams battling it out with realistic title aspirations foremost in their minds.

Churchill Brothers have been the more impressive of the two sides, however of their two losses so far, one was to their Saturday opponents in the first-leg fixture.

Neroca, in that game, rode on a Katsumi Yusa brace to stun the high-flying Goans in that instance. Churchill have regrouped since then and now lie second in the table with a five-point gap separating them from league leaders Chennai.

With the form that their striker Willis Deon Plaza has demonstrated so far, a joint highest scorer with Chennai’s Pedro Manzi with 11 goals each, the hosts will be backing themselves to take three points at home.

Churchill’s Romanian coach Petra Gigiu said in the pre-game presser, “It is a difficult game. Neroca is a strong stone and they have many good players. They play well and have an organised team. Defence and attack both are good. We will try our best and try and not make the mistakes we have made earlier. The three points are very important for us and we will be playing to win.”

Neroca go into Saturday’s game on the back of a narrow defeat, their third of the 12th Hero I-League season, in their previous game against Mohun Bagan and will be desperate to get back to winning backs to remain hot contenders for a shot at the title.

Their Spanish coach Manuel Fraile had this to say on match day eve, “We will be fighting for three points but the pressure is on Churchill. Rest we should give our best and win the game. It will be a difficult game tomorrow. We will try to be the Champions. We will stick to our game plan and my team is ready.”

The fluent style of both teams and the quality in attack with the likes of Singham Subash Singh, Felix Chidi for Neroca and Dawda Cessay, Anthony Wolfe for Churchill, the game promises to be a cracker under the lights in Goa.

Indian Boy’s and Girl’s in semi-finals of Asian junior Squash Championship

Pattaya (Thailand): India moved into the semi-final in both the boys’ and girls’ sections in the Asian junior team squash championship here on Friday.

The last set of Pool matches brought about contrasting results with the boys’ winning 3-0 over Korea and thereby finishing second in Pool A behind Pakistan while the girls lost 0-3 to Hong Kong and placed the number two team in its Pool. Hong Kong took the top place.

Of the two, the boys’ tie had added interest because India needed a win to ensure its passage into the knock out round. As it turned out, the trio of Utkarsh Baheti, Yash Fadte and Tushar Shahani made sure there were no hiccups enroute. Only Fadte had a longer stay on court with his opponent Lee Minwoo pushing the contest to four games. Tushar did face tough resistance but managed to keep Yu Jeongmin down in straight games. In the girls section, Amira put up a brave front, even led 2-1 in game scores against Lim Sum Yuet but could not sustain the tempo.

In the semi-finals on Saturday, India plays Malaysia in both sections.

The results:

Boys: Pool A: India bt Korea 3-0 (Utkarsh Baheti bt Kim Seokjin 11-8, 11-3, 11-5; Yash Fadte bt Lee Minwoo11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10; Tushar Shahani bt Yu Jeongmin 12-10, 11-8, 13-11)

Girls: Pool B: Hong Kong bt India 3-0 (Chan Sin Yuk bt Sanya Vats 11-6, 11-6, 11-9; Cheng Nga Ching bt Yoshna Singh 12-10, 11-9, 11-5; Lim SumYuet bt Amira Singh 11-2, 13-15, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8)

India lost to Pakistan in Asian junior squash championship

Pattaya (Thailand): Spurning close to five match points, Veer Chotrani lost a crucial match and helped Pakistan to clinch a 2-1 win over India in a Pool A boys’ encounter in the Asian junior team squash championship on Thursday. A win would have helped India book a knockout berth straightaway but now the boys will have to wait until the outcome of their match against the Koreans tomorrow.

But this was an opportunity that the boys’ almost seized with the great fight they put in. But things turned awry when the moment of joy was just a few points away. It was Utkarsh who set the ball rolling with a rollicking show in the opener against higher ranked Abbas Zeb. The Indian surprised his opponent with a 2-1 lead in game-score and was sitting pretty with 10-6 score in the fourth game. But their he got stuck and Zeb was too clever to let the chance go. Tushar Shahani came next and from 0-2 down in game score fought back splendidly to put it across Mohammad Farhan Hashmi in what a contest of consistency.

The whole tie now hinged on Veer for India and the young Mumbaite rose up to the occasion so it seemed as he won the first two games fighting all the way and then led 9-7 in the third. Haris Qasim looked all down when Veer presented him with some lose strokes. The Pakistani lad pounced on the offer and never looked back., Veer did have another match point in the fourth game but by now Qasim was on different plane, going for every ball and forcing mistakes on his opponent. The Indian fight virtually ended there and then. “A big disappointment”, said national coach Cyrus Poncha on the outcome when everything seemed going well for India.

Meanwhile the Indian girls had something to cheer later in the evening when they beat Singapore 2-1 and now is assured one of the top two places in Pool B and so a knock out berth.

The result:

Boys: Pool A: Pakistan bt India 2-1 ( Abbas Zeb bt Utkarsh Baheti 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9; Haris Qasim bt Veer Chotrani 10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-6; Mohammad Farhan Hashmi lost to Tushar Shahani 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 5-11) ; India bt Chinese Taipei 3-0 (Utkarsh Baheti bt Chen Wun-Lin 11-3, 11-5, 11-2; Veer Chotrani bt Chu Ching-Hsuan 11-1, 11-9, 11-3; Tushar Shahani bt Pan Shao-Yu 11-3, 11-2, 11-4)

Girls: India bt Singapore 2-1 (Sanya Vats lost to Sneha Sivakumar 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 10-12; Yoshna Singh bt Keertana Veerayah 11-5, 11-4, 11-9; Amira Singh bt Paige Hill 8-11, 11-2, 11-8,11-7)

Hockey India names 18-member Indian Women’s Hockey Team for Spain Tour

New Delhi, 18 January 2019: Hockey India on Friday named the 18-member Indian Women’s Hockey Team for the season opener in Spain starting 26 January where the team led by Rani and Vice-Captained by Savita will play four matches with Spain National Team and two matches against the 2018 Women’s World Cup runners-up Ireland.
The team includes goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu. The Indian team for Spain Tour will feature defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam who makes a comeback after missing out on the 2018 Women’s World Cup and the 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang last year due to injury. Defender Salima Tete, who led the India U-18 team to a Silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, has also been named in the team along with experienced Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Nikki Pradhan and drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur who will add strength to India’s defence.
While midfield features Lilima Minz, Karishma Yadav, Sonika and Neha Goyal, the forward-line will have the experience of Rani, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita and Navjot Kaur.
“The team has a different mix of players this time with some of the key players like Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo among few other experienced players being rested. The idea was to give more players a chance to experience playing at a top level so we can create more depth in our selection ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers,” stated Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne about the team selection.
The Indian team will leave on 24 January for the Spain Tour from Bengaluru where they have been based for the past two weeks for the National Camp.
Indian Team:
1.     Savita  (Vice Captain)
2.     Rajani Etimarpu
3.     Reena Khokhar
4.     Deep Grace Ekka
5.     Salima Tete
6.     Nikki Pradhan
7.     Gurjit Kaur
8.     Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam
9.     Lilima Minz
10.   Karishma Yadav
11.   Sonika
12.   Neha Goyal
13.   Rani   (Captain)
14.   Vandana Katariya
15.   Navneet Kaur
16.   Lalremsiami
17.   Udita
18.   Navjot Kaur

Jharkhand and Haryana advance to the Final of the Under-17 Women’s hockey competition

Pune (Maharashtra), 17 January 2019: The Semi-Finals in the Under-17 Women’s hockey competition of the 2nd Khelo India Youth Games 2019 took place here today which saw Jharkhand and Haryana advance to the Final to set up an exciting encounter for the Gold Medal. Jharkhand made their way to the Final with a 4-3 victory over Odisha in the first Semi-Final, while Haryana outplayed Punjab to defeat them 4-0 in the second Semi-Final.

It was a match of two halves in the first Semi-Final as it was Odisha who took a 3-0 lead after just 23 minutes. But Jharkhand made a stunning comeback in the third and fourth quarters to come from behind to secure a 4-3 win. Goals for Jharkhand were scored by Sanjana Horo (32′), Dipti Kullu (38′), Poonam Mundu (48′) and Beauty Dung Dung (60′) while it was Neha Lakra (6′), Mukta Jojo (15′) and Jyoti Chhatri (23′) who had given Odisha the lead in the crucial encounter.

The second Semi-Final saw Haryana dominate the match from the opening quarter itself and produce a stunning display to defeat Punjab 4-0. A successful Penalty Corner from Neelam in the 28th minute saw Haryana take an important lead in the match, which was then doubled in the 47th minute through a Penalty Stroke by Deepika. Haryana’s Neelam scored off a Penalty Corner again in the 50th minute to extend her team’s lead to three goals, and it was Manju Chorsiya who scored from a Penalty Corner in the 53rd minute to secure the victory which ensures Haryana’s berth in the Final.

Jharkhand and Haryana will contest in the Final of the Under-17 Women’s hockey competition in the 2nd Khelo India Youth Games 2019 will take place here on Saturday. 19th January 2019 at 1100hrs IST. While, Odisha and Punjab will be competing for the Bronze Medal at 0900hrs IST.

SAI, Tamil Nadu into semis of 9th Hockey India Senior Men National Hockey Championship 2019 (B Division)

Chennai, 17 January 2019: The Quarter Finals at the 9th Hockey India Senior National Hockey Championship 2019 (Men) B Division in Chennai, Tamil Nadu witnessed Sports Authority of India, Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu, Central Secretariat and Bengaluru Hockey Association qualify for the Semi Finals to be played on 19th January.
In the first Quarter Final of the day, Sports Authority of India comfortably beat Hockey Maharashtra 2-0. It was Boby Singh Dhami who scored a fantastic double in the 22nd and 59th minute to ensure his team emerged victorious.
In another Quarter Final, Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu defeated Sashastra Seema Bal 3-0 to advance to the next round. V Vinod Rayer shone for the team with brilliant goals in the 20th and 42nd minute while his compatriot D Muthuselvan scored in the 24th minute that helped the team notch up a convincing victory.
In a closely contested third Quarter Final, Central Secretariat got the better of Food Corporation of India with a fine 2-1 win. Umar Mohd put Central Secretariat in lead with his 8th minute goal while Govind Singh Rawat scored the winning goal in the 56th minute. It was Munish Rana who scored the equaliser for Food Corporation of India in the 15th minute.
The last Quarter Final saw a high-voltage tussle between Hockey Patiala and Bengaluru Hockey Association. Though it was Bengaluru Hockey Association who made a strong start with a 2nd minute goal by Harish Mutagar, Hockey Patiala fought back with back-to-back goals by Robindeep Singh Rana (19′), Sandeep Singh (25′) and Rahul Sharma (26′). Though Bengaluru Hockey Association narrowed the lead to 2-3 in the 35th minute through Veerannagouda’s goal. Hockey Patiala extended the lead to 4-2 when Baljeet Singh scored in the 51st minute while Veerannagouda scored his second goal in the 52nd minute to take Bengaluru Hockey Association’s score to 3-4. They upped the ante with formidable attack in the final quarter as Bengaluru Hockey Association scored two more goals through KR Umesh in the 55th minute and Veerannagouda in the 59th minute to win the match.

PARA Badminton Player Girish Sharma to take on Srikanth Kidambi in Vodafone PBL

January, 2018: Girish Sharma, a champion para athlete, lived a dream this Premier Badminton League (PBL) when he faced champion badminton player Srikanth Kidambi at the center court in Bangalore.  Vodafone PBL enabled Girish, who has taken para Olympic by storm, to showcase his racket skills to the lovers of shuttle play.

Last year, Vodafone had enabled child prodigy Vamsi Krishna to test his mettle against super star Carolina Marin.

Speaking about the initiative, Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer, Vodafone Idea Ltd. said, “Vodafone has always been associated with sporting platforms and believes that there is great talent in our country to give us exciting sporting moments. We have been using PBL as a platform to give chance to a promising talent to showcase their skills to the nation. We are extremely delighted to take para badminton player Girish Sharma to the center stage and arrange a face-off with world ranker Srikanth Kidambi. Vodafone salutes his courage and hard work that has brought him to this stage today.”

Sharing his excitement of participation in the league, Girish Sharma said, “I am honored and excited to be a part of Vodafone Premiere Badminton League. I am thankful to Vodafone for giving this tremendous opportunity and a great stage to perform. Para athletes across India need platform like these to showcase their talent. This further encourages us to prove that we are no less than any other player.

Born in Nandwai village of Rajasthan, India, Girish Sharma is an embodiment of courage and grit. Despite losing one leg as a child, he has been playing badminton professionally and has never failed to shine at international events. He represents India both nationally and internationally in countries like, Israel, Dubai, Peru and Thailand. He has also participated in a world championship that was held in Korea in May 2009. Additionally, this sensational athlete has earned two gold medals at the national championship for the physically-challenged and two in Asia Champions 2008 (singles and doubles). He holds the world ranking of 27 in PBWF WH 2 Category.

Watch the rally between Girish and Srikant on Hotstar and on Vodafone Zoozoo page.

Indian Men’s Hockey team to get new coach, Harendra Singh to return as Coach Indian Junior Men Hockey Team

New Delhi, 09 January 2019: With a vision and emphasis on building a strong player base ahead of the 2021 Junior World Cup and the 2020, 2024 Olympic Games, Hockey India High Performance and Development Committee met on Monday, 7 January 2019. The meeting was attended by Chairman Dr. RP Singh and members including Olympians Harbinder Singh, B.P. Govinda and Syed Ali. Basis their discussions the Committee has recommended to reassign Dronacharya Awardee Harendra Singh as the Coach for the Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team. The offer has been made by Committee Chairman Dr. R.P Singh for the said position to Harendra Singh for taking charge of the Junior Men team commencing from the camp slated to start in March 2019.

The mercurial rise of some of India’s top junior hockey players under the tutelage of Harendra Singh between 2013 – 2016 when the India Colts lifted the historic Junior Men’s World Cup in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Harendra Singh’s abilities of grooming youngsters has been the key reasons for the think-tank at Hockey India to arrive at this recommendation.

Though the year 2018 was very disappointing for the Indian Men’s Hockey Team with results not going as expected, Hockey India believes investing in the junior program which will reap long-term benefits.

In the meanwhile, Hockey India will shortly be advertising and will invite applications for the position of the Chief Coach of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team which will be returning to training camp in February 2019 for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup scheduled to commence from 23 March 2019. In the interim the team will be overseen by Hockey India High Performance Director, David John and current Analytical Coach, Chris Ciriello.

India’s Anahat Singh wins the U-11 girls title in the British Junior Open

Birmingham: Every year there is an Indian who demands attention at the British Junior Open. This year it was the turn of Delhi’s Anahat Singh to earn honours as she rose to win the U-11 girls’ title in this prestigious Championship here today.

The Indian national champion who was seeded ¾ defeated the top seed Malaysian
Whitney Wilson 13-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 to clinch the title. Anahat is the sixth Indian to win a title in this annual event in the UK.

The impressive Indian had earlier accounted for the second seed Egyptian Sohayla Hazem Farouk 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 I the semi-final.

Bengaluru Bulls crowned champions, beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-33 in the final

Pawan Sehrawat produced a raiding masterclass to lead Bengaluru Bulls to their maiden title as they were crowned champions of Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season 6. Sehrawat scored 22 raid points as Bengaluru Bulls beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-33 in a thrilling final in front of a packed house in Mumbai. Sehrawat singlehandedly led Bulls to the title as he turned the match around in the second half with a  terrific performance. Gujarat Fortunegiants were in the match till the last five minutes and fought really hard but couldn’t contain Sehrawat. Sachin got a super 10 for Gujarat Fortunegiants but just fell short to lead his team to the title.

Bengaluru Bulls got off the mark with a tackle point as they sent Gujarat’s danger man Sachin to the bench. Prapanjan made a successful raid to give Gujarat Fortunegiants their first point. Pawan Sehrawat got his point as he secured a bonus as Bengaluru Bulls tied the match at 2-2 after four minutes. It took more than six minutes for Gujarat’s famed defence to get their first tackle point.

The first half was closely contested as after 10 minutes both teams were level at 6-6. Gujarat Fortunegiants burst into life in the last five minutes as they reduced Bengaluru Bulls to lead 10-7. In the 19th minute Prapanjan made a two-point raid to inflict an all out and give 15-9 lead. At the end of the first half, Gujarat Fortunegiants led 16-9.

Bengaluru Bulls’ defence started the second half strongly as they picked up a couple of tackle points. Gujarat though kept their noses in front till the 27th minute as they maintained a six-point lead. Pawan Sehrawat then turned the match on its head with a slew of successful raids. He picked up a couple of two-point raids including one in the 31st minute that led to Bengaluru Bulls inflicting an all out and taking 23-22 lead.

Rohit Gulua produced a super raid for Gujarat Fortunegiants in the 36th minute as they led 27-25. Pawan Sehrawat picked a couple of more points and Mahendra put in a strong tackle as Bengaluru Bulls leveled the match at 29-29 in the 37th minute. In the 39th minute Pawan Sehrawat made a two-point raid as Bengaluru Bulls inflicted a critical all out to lead 36-29.  Gujarat Fortunegiants picked up a few raid points as they trailed 32-37 in the last minute. Sehrawat produced another two-point raid as Bengaluru inflicted another all out in the 39th minute as they were crowned champions for the first time.


Match Awards –










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Rs.3 crore














Rs.1.8 crore