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Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games postponed due to Covid-19

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The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games organising committee (HAPGOC) and the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) on Tuesday announced the postponement of the 2022 Asian Para Games, originally scheduled to take place from October 9-15 this year.

The announcement follows the decision taken by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the HAGOC, the games organising committee, to postpone the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games due to the size of the Games and the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A taskforce comprising of the APC, the Chinese Paralympic Committee and HAPGOC will now work on rescheduling the Games to take place in 2023. A further announcement on this is expected in the near future,” said a statement from the Asian Paralympic Committee.

The emblem, slogan and year of the Games will remain unchanged.

“The Games preparations have been going very well and HAPGOC was ready to deliver an outstanding games. This was not an easy decision to make but we have taken it now to give a level of certainty to the IFs (international federations), NPCs (national paralympic committees) and athletes who were planning to attend the Games. We will now work with the organising committee on securing a new date that works for the para-sport calendar,” said APC president Majid Rashed.

Sports

ENG v IND, 5th Test: Edgbaston to turn ‘Blue For Bob’ in fight against prostate cancer

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 The Edgbaston Stadium on Saturday will be turning ‘Blue for Bob’ to raise funds and support the Bob Willis Fund in its fight against prostate cancer on day two of the rescheduled fifth Test between England and India.

The initiative will be the second time since it first happened in 2021 during an ODI between England and Pakistan, in memory of former England fast bowler Bob Willis, who died in December 2019 due to prostate cancer at the age of 70, three years after he was diagnosed with the disease.

The Bob Willis Fund was then co-founded by his wife Lauren Clark and brother David in Bob’s name to help fund studies into prostrate cancer, raise awareness about the illness and find earlier and better diagnoses. Spectators attending the day’s play on Saturday have been encouraged to wear blue to support the cause. The fund has raised more than 500,000 pounds since it was launched in 2021.

“Today we’re turning Edgbaston #BlueForBob supporting the @BobWillisFund. If you’re attending, please wear blue and show your support,” tweeted Edgbaston from their official Twitter account.

Edgbaston was Willis’ home ground during his time with county side Warwickshire between 1972 and 1984, including winning the County Championship in his very first season with the club.

Willis took 325 wickets in 90 Tests for England, at an average of 25.20, with his most memorable spell coming in the Ashes Test at Headingley in July 1981 when he bagged 8/43 to win the game for England.

Coming to the match, wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant played one of the best knocks by an Indian Test batter in overseas conditions, a marvellous 146, as he and Ravindra Jadeja (83 not out) combined for a magnificent counterattack to propel India to 338/7 in 73 overs on day one of the match.

At 98/5, India were in all sorts of trouble, staring at a total that would have been way less than what they expected. But Pant and Jadeja shared a counter-attacking stand of 222 runs off 239 balls, with Pant producing a knock that will be remembered for long while Jadeja played the second foil to perfection.

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National

Chennaiyin FC sign Ghanaian footballer Kwame Karikari for upcoming ISL season

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 Indian Super League (ISL) side Chennaiyin FC have bolstered their attack by signing forward Kwame Karikari ahead of the upcoming season.

The Ghanaian footballer will be joining the club following an impressive outing in the Thai League for Nakhonratchasima Mazda. He scored 13 goals in 29 league matches for the Thai club last season.

Karikari was also the joint second-highest goal scorer for Mazda in the Thai FA cup with four strikes in six games.

Karikari brings in valuable experience to Chennaiyin’s attack, having played 261 games in his 11-year long professional career with 84 goals and 13 assists to his name.

The striker has plied his trade for 12 clubs in eight top-tier leagues across the world.

He also has two Europa League goals to his name, which came against CSKA Moscow and PSV Eindhoven in 2012.

Talking about the club’s third foreign signing this summer, Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani said, “I would like to welcome Kwame Karikari to the Chennaiyin family. I think he’s got the technical ability and the physicality to succeed in India. We have had many great forwards at this club and I believe Kwame should be able to match those standards.”

Karikari has spent most of his time in the Swedish league, featuring for AIK Solna, with whom he made his professional debut at 19 in 2011. He played 58 matches, including seven Europa League games, for them and scored 10 goals across competitions in five seasons.

Halmstads and Degerfors were the other Swedish clubs Karikari turned out for.

“I am very happy to join Chennaiyin FC. I cannot wait to get started with the new team and I am really looking forward to this new and exciting challenge,” said Karikari, who also represented Ghana at the U-20 Africa Cup.

It was in 2015 when Karikari made a permanent move out of Sweden and joined Turkish side, Balikesirspor. He played 40 matches for them in two seasons, registering 12 goals and five assists. Later he turned out for clubs in countries like Norway, Qatar, Georgia and Uzbekistan.

He was part of Dinamo Tabilisi’s title-winning campaign in the 2018-19 Georgian league.

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International

Focused on white-ball cricket; Test return not on mind: Jos Buttler

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England’s new limited-overs skipper Jos Buttler has said he is currently focused on white-ball cricket, adding that returning to the Test setup was not on his mind.

Buttler was recently made captain of the England white-ball side after long-serving skipper Eoin Morgan quit international cricket. Several former cricketers have been rally for Buttler to be included as Test opener in the Ben Stokes-led side even as he continues to lead in limited-overs cricket.

But Buttler, whose performance in the IPL 2022 season for Rajasthan Royals and the ODI series against the Netherlands has been simply outstanding, has told Daily Mail that “Stokes’ men don’t need him as they are playing fantastically well”.

“I’m very focused on the white-ball stuff and really excited for the challenge that lies ahead. I think it’s going to be a really big challenge and one that needs my full-time,” Buttler was quoted as saying in the report.

England’s two big limited-overs assignments will come in the form of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia this year and the 50-over World Cup in India next year. England, under Eoin Morgan, had defeated New Zealand in 2019 to lift the 50-over trophy at home.

Buttler also spoke about his axing following the Ashes debacle where he was not considered for the three-Test away series in the Caribbean under then Test captain Joe Root.

“Rightfully so. I had a poor Ashes series, I’m not part of the team at the moment, and the team is playing fantastically well, so it doesn’t look like a team that needs people from outside,” said Buttler, adding he had made white-ball cricket his top priority right now.

“Certainly, being captain of the white-ball team is my number one priority. Talking about the Test stuff might be a question that never has to be answered unless someone wants to pick me for the team — which hasn’t been the case.”

Buttler also said it was a huge honour to be leading the side which had set new benchmarks under Morgan.

“They’re (Morgan) big shoes to fill, aren’t they? But the team is in a great place isn’t it, and I see the game in a very similar way to Eoin. I want us to play in exactly the same way. One big thing that we always talk about as a group is not setting boundaries, not having limitations, always being keen to improve, always pushing the bar higher and that’s the thing to try and work on. Where are those areas that we can improve? What can we keep doing? But I hope that the style of play remains exactly the same.”

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