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Tuesday,19-January-2021

National

IPL 13: Looking forward to new beginnings for me, says Ajinkya Rahane

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India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane took to social media on Wednesday to share his excitement at the prospect of playing for Delhi Capitals this season in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Rahane was traded by Rajasthan Royals to Delhi Capitals in November last year.

The BCCI will be organising the 13th edition of the IPL at three venues — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah — from September 19 to November 10 after it was postponed from March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“New beginnings for me in the @ipl this year. Looking forward to the season,” Rahane said in an Instagram post along with a photo of him batting.

Rahane has been with the Royals since 2011 and was the franchise’s most capped player having played 106 matches, six of which were Champions League games.

He even captained the Royals in 24 games, winning nine and losing 24.

Recently, Rahane said players will get used to the Covid-19 protocols in 2-3 days once they touchdown in the UAE for the IPL.

“We will definitely miss our fans. Fans are everything to us. When they come out and support us in the stadiums, it feels really good, inspires us to do well,” Rahane said during a TV show.

“Again, you got to think about their health and safety as well. We will miss them in the stadium. We are going to play for them, for our fans. I am sure they will enjoy watching us on TV,” he added.

National

Pro League perfect test for us ahead of Olympics, says PR Sreejesh

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PR-Sreejesh

India’s veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh feels the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League matches will be a perfect test for the team ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“We are hopeful the FIH Hockey Pro League matches are held as per schedule this year, that way we get good matches against strong teams ahead of Tokyo Olympics in July. These matches will be a perfect test for us as players as well as a team and I am sure the final team selection for the Olympics will depend on how well we do in these matches,” said Sreejesh.

On January 18 last year, the Indian team had made a sensational debut at the FIH Hockey Pro League with a 5-2 win against the Netherlands. Though in the next game, the Dutch bounced back to hold India 3-3 in regulation time, Sreejesh’s heroics in the shootout ensured India began the coveted League with back-to-back wins. The final score was 3-1 in India’s favour.

“It was one of the most memorable matches. I feel all of 2019, our true potential was not tested and we longed to play top teams like Netherlands, Australia and Belgium. FIH Hockey Pro League gave us that opportunity and we wanted to make it count,” said Sreejesh.

India came up with impressive performances against the World Champions Belgium and Australia too, winning a match each and losing a game by a close margin.

“It was a great learning experience and each of us worked on bringing out our individual best and execute our roles to perfection. The FIH Hockey Pro League was the perfect stepping stone for the Olympics,” he added.

In the next leg of Pro League matches, India are scheduled to play against Argentina in April, Great Britain, Spain and Germany in May. The team will also compete against New Zealand at home in May.

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National

Shooters Bhavesh Shekhawat and Aakanksha win on final day of trials

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Bhavesh-Shekhawat

Rajasthan’s Bhavesh Shekhawat and Aakanksha Bansal of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) won the men’s and women’s 25 metres rapid fire pistol (RFP) T2 competitions as the National Shooting trials concluded at Dr Karni Singh Shooting range here on Monday.

Bhavesh shot 32 in the finals to leave Delhi’s Arpit Goel behind in second on a score of 27. Haryana’s Adarsh Singh came in third with 23.

Army marksman and T1 men’s RFP winner, Gurpreet Singh, won the qualifying round yet again with a score of 580. Bhavesh qualified sixth with 576.

In the women’s event, Aakanksha shot 548 to emerge the winner after the precision and rapid fire rounds. Uttar Pradesh’s Arunima Gaur was second with 544. Haryana’s Tejaswi was third with 542.

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Pune Khelo India centre to focus on shooting, athletics, and cycling

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The ninth Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE), opened at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Mhalunge-Balewadi here on Monday in the presence of four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist rifle shooter Anjali Bhagwat, will focus on three priority Olympic disciplines — shooting, athletics, and cycling.

The KISCE will get financial support for renovation to operationalise the 25 metres electronic target shooting range besides support in providing of road and track cycles. They will also be provided financial support for sports science backup, engagement of coaches, support staff, sports equipment and more.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in a statement that it would provide technical expertise and assistance.

The Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex has played a dominant role in Indian sports history. Some of the major events hosted here include the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, the under-16 Asia Basketball Championship for women in 2009, the Khelo India Youth Games 2019, and more. The stadium was also the home venue for erstwhile I-League team, Pune FC, and Indian Super League side, FC Pune City.

KISCE will ensure that athletes, proficient in certain sports can be given world-class specialised training and these centres, become the best facilities in the country to train athletes in the priority sport for which they have been earmarked.

“We are happy to extend all kinds of support for the development of all the athletes and even in future we will continue doing so,” said Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju

Maharashtra’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Sunil Kedar, reaffirmed that the government was dedicated to strengthen the sports ecosystem.

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