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Friday,27-November-2020

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Judo is a priority sport, will enhance capacity: Kiren Rijiju

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Indian Judo team will be participating in the Budapest Grand Slam — which contributes to the Olympic qualification — between October 23 and October 25. This will be the first tournament that the Indian judokas will be playing since the nationwide lockdown was imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the departure for Hungary, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday met the contingent which comprises five judokas — Tulika Mann, Avtar Singh, Vijay Yadav, Jasleen Singh Saini and Sushila Devi — and coach Jiwan Sharma.

The Sports Minister wished the contingent luck for the tournament and said preparations are in place to ensure that a strong talent pool emerges for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.

“The team is leaving for Hungary today and I am hopeful that some of the athletes will qualify. Judo is a priority sport for us and we will enhance capacity both in terms of training facilities and coaches,” said Rijiju.

“The idea is to extend full support to the elite athletes while building up a talent pool of young athletes who can compete in the Olympics of 2024 and 2028. We will discuss a more exhaustive roadmap with the federation and plan ahead,” he added.

Jasleen, world number 56 and a good prospect to qualify for next year’s Olympics, said, “This will be the first tournament we will be played after the Covid-19 lockdown.”

“We used to play every month earlier, so it is really good to be playing again. From the entire Judo fraternity, would like to thank the Sports Ministry, Sports Authority of India and the Judo Federation of India for organising this for us,” he added.

Around 645 competitors from around 81 countries will be participating in this tournament and the contingent is enthusiastic to be back in action in competitive sport after such a long break.

Sushila, the highest ranked women’s judoka in the contingent — ranked 41 in the world and an Olympic hopeful — said, “This is the first time we have met the Sports Minister and he is really doing a lot for sports in India so with his encouragement, we are feeling very motivated. It is good to play once again after the lockdown and would like to thank SAI for the support in getting this international exposure organised for us. We will try to give our best.”

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Kiren Rijiju to deliver inaugural address at FICCI TURF 2020

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Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju will deliver the inaugural address at the 10th Global Sports Summit – TURF 2020, to be organised by FICCI on December 8 and 9. The summit will comprise of India’s first virtual global sports and fitness exhibition, along with the international conference on business of sports, and the India Sports Awards.

The summit will feature the India Sports Awards, the International Conference on Business of Sports and a virtual Global Sports and Fitness Exhibition.

“Along with an insightful conference and the India Sports Awards, TURF 2020 will host India’s 1st virtual Global Sports and Fitness Exhibition. FICCI is committed to finding innovative and effective ways to promote the development of sports and sports business in the country. We hope this platform will facilitate further industry participation in developing grassroots sports and finding solutions to convert current challenges into opportunities,” said FICCI secretary general Dilip Chenoy.

“Turf will bring together multi-disciplinary experts from the world of sports with innovative ideas and exclusive insights into issues and growth opportunities of sports and fitness in India. In addition to the conference, this year we are also organizing India’s 1st Virtual – Global Sports & Fitness Exhibition,” said Shabnam Panjwani, Co-chairperson, Sports & Youth Affairs Committee, FICCI.

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Working hard to get into senior Indian hockey team, says Manpreet Kaur

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Defender Manpreet Kaur, who is currently a part of the senior core probables group of the Indian women’s hockey team, is focussing on doing the basic rights in order to find a place in the national side.

Over the past few years, there has been no dearth of talent when it comes to the Indian eves. The world number nine side has a huge pool of players who are yet to play for the senior team, but have already gained useful experience and exposure representing the junior team around the world.

“I am so happy and proud to be a part of the senior core probables group, and to have this opportunity to play and work with the best players from India. My ambition has always been to represent my country at the highest level, and having done so at the junior level, my next milestone is to represent the senior team soon,” said Kaur.

“It is obviously something that is not in my hands, but I want to focus on everything that is in my hands. I want to put my 100 per cent effort and hard work into getting myself ready for the time when I get the chance. I am really happy that we’ve had such great support and planning from Hockey India and SAI with regards to the exposure that I’ve been able to get at the junior level, even without having played for the senior team yet,” the talented defender from Haryana added.

Winner of the bronze medal at the 4th Girls U18 Asia Cup 2016 held in Bangkok, Thailand, the 22-year-old recalled it as her most memorable tournament.

“I was really young back then, only 17 and it was such a big occasion for us to be representing the country at the continent’s most important tournament at the junior level. I remember how amazingly everyone in the team performed and I thought we were unfortunate to not make it to the final, but the 3-0 victory in the bronze medal match against Republic of Korea made it worth it,” said Kaur.

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Varney Kallon looks forward to a ‘fresh’ start in I-League 2020-21

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Neroca FC captain Varney Kallon is looking forward to a fresh start in I-League 2020-21 leaving the hiccups from the last season behind.

“It’s true that we had a tough season in I-League (2018-19). Some results went against us although we tried to give everything on the field. But, this is going to be a fresh start and we’ll leave no stone unturned to put Neroca where they used to be,” Kallon told www.i-league.org.

Neroca caught everyone’s imagination in their debut season (2017-18) itself when they had a shot at the silverware till the final day of the league until Minerva Punjab clinched it at Ludhiana.

The Orange outfit, thanks to their nine wins and five draws, finished the campaign with 32 points, 3 shy of the champions.

But, I-League 2019-20 turned to be a roller-coaster ride for the Manipuri team as they had to swallow a hard-fought loss to cross-city debutants TRAU FC in the first-ever Imphal Derby in I-League. They were tottering in the eleventh spot with 18 points from 16 outings before the league got suspended owing to Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s (Neroca) like my second home away from home. That’s the reason I wanted to stay here for a longer period and take Neroca to greater heights,” the Liberian central defender continued. “I love the people and their passion for football. They chant for you, and they sing for you when you perform. They will even cry with you when the team is going through a tough phase.”

The 27-year-old mentioned another strong connection of himself which makes him stay closer to Neroca – head coach Gift Raikhan, who is nothing short of an “elder brother” to the seasoned defender.

“Working with Gift (Raikhan) is indeed a gift for me. He is that sort of a coach who knows how to bring out the best in a player. He’s one of the prime reasons why I love to play in India. He’s nothing less than my elder brother to me. I owe him everything,” Kallon said.

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