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Thursday,09-July-2020

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Mary Kom’s absence an opportunity for others: Mohammed Ali Qamar

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Mary-Kom

The Indian women boxing squad will be leaving for Bangkok early next week to participate in the Asian championship without star pugilist M.C. Mary Kom. However, it does not perturb chief coach Mohammed Ali Qamar, who is confident of a good show.

“In the 2017 Asian meet, we won one gold, one silver and four bronze medals. This time we should do equally well, if not better,” Qamar told IANS on Saturday.

The only gold medal in 2017 meet was won by Mary Kom in the 48kg. “Mary’s absence is definitely a blow. We are going without her since she has decided to skip the meet to prepare for the World championship in the new 51-kg category. But there are young boxers, who are capable of shining for India,” Qamar said.

“Mind it, the Asian championship (April 16 to 27) is going to be extremely tough…..there will be top boxers involved. If we do well here, our confidence will be high for the World meet,” warned the Indian chief coach.

Qamar was a celebrated light flyweight boxer during his career – his name got etched in Indian sporting history in 2002 when he became the first Indian to win a boxing gold medal in Commonwealth Games. Presently holding the charge of Indian women’s team, Qamar is amazed by the depth of women’s boxing in India.

“I shall not be surprised if India win gold medal in 48-kg or 64-kg categories,” Qamar said without naming any particular boxer. While Nitu would be India’s representative in 48-kg, Simranjit Kaur would spearhead India’s challenge in 64-kg. In the World championship in Delhi last November, Simranjit won the bronze medal.

Apart from Simranjit, two other Indian medal winners in the World meet, Sonia Chahal (silver in 57-kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (bronze in 69-kg) are also there in the squad.

“There is a huge depth in Indian women boxing now. During our time, only a handful of girls played the sport. Since women’s boxing has been introduced in Olympics, lots of nations, including Europeans have come up. Cuba did not do much, but now that there are five weight categories in Olympics, they may also try it out,” said Qamar.

“The change in India is big. Previously, there were women boxers, who won titles at the national level many years at a stretch. Now things are completely different with the new generation. Even in national camp, you will find 50-odd women boxers. Beside this, there are many girls, who are capable of representing India..may be they lack in experience. The competition has become tough,” added Qamar.

National

Mohammed Kaif takes hilarious dig at Yuvraj on workout video

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Former India batsman Mohammed Kaif recently took a hilarious dig at his former team mate Yuvraj Singh on the latter’s workout video. Yuvraj could be seen performing various workout routines in the gym in the video that he uploaded on Wednesday.

“Bhai ab tum fitness challenge bhejo mere liye (Brother, now you send me a fitness challenge),” said Kaif in reply to the Instagram post of the video.

The pair, who are both retired, are known to be good friends off the field. Kaif and Yuvraj were known for their athleticism while fielding apart from their ability with the bat. They had famously stitched a 121-run partnership in the 2002 NatWest series final against England at Lord’s. India were reeling at 146/5, chasing a target of 326 with captain Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar all back in the hut.

Yuvraj scored 69 off 63 balls as he and Kaif went about rebuilding the chase. Yuvraj was finally dismissed by Paul Collingwood but Kaif stuck around and saw India through to an incredible series-win with two wickets and three balls to spare. He was unbeaten on 87 off 75 balls.

While Kaif’s international career only lasted till 2006, Yuvraj however went on to be recognised as one of India’s greatest ever limited-overs batsmen. He played talismanic roles in India’s wins at the 2007 T20 World Cup win and 2011 World Cup. The left-handed batsman finally retired from international cricket last year.

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Yuvraj Singh pays tribute to ‘eternal captain’ Ganguly on 48th Birthday

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Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh referred to former captain and current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly as his eternal captain after the latter turned 48 on Wednesday.

The cricket fraternity took to social media to wish Ganguly on his special day and Yuvraj went a step further as he uploaded a video of them spending time together with the Indian team.

Yuvraj’s tweet read: “Happy Birthday to the undisputed Dada of Indian cricket. You have always led from the front, showing us what it means to be a true leader. I have learnt a lot from you and hope to become to others what you are to me. You are our eternal captain. @SGanguly99 #HappyBirthdayDada.”

In the short clip, Yuvraj also revealed a funny anecdote when a prank caused Ganguly to chase him and his former teammate Harbjahan Singh around the dressing room.

“I think when we got very familiar with you — me, Viru (Virender Sehwag), Bhajji (Harbjahan Singh), Zak (Zaheer Khan), (Ashish) Nehra — I think we played a lot of pranks on you,” Yuvraj said in the video uploaded on his Twitter handle.

“When we were playing against Pakistan, me and Harbjahan created a fake newspaper on April Fool’s Day and we wrote quotes for every player and attributed them to you.

“I remember you saying ‘I will resign the next day if I have said these things about you guys’. I remember your face going red till Rahul Dravid told you the truth.

“I think you knew who could have done such a thing and that is why you chased me and Bhajji around. Sorry for that but love you for that,” Yuvraj said.

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Asia Cup has been cancelled: BCCI President Sourav Ganguly

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BCCI President Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday confirmed that this year’s Asia Cup has been cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Asia Cup has been cancelled,” Ganguly said during an Instagram chat with Vikrant Gupta.

“It’s difficult to say which will be India’s first international series. We’ve done our preparations but we can’t do much till we know the government rules. We are not in a hurry because the health of players is of utmost importance. We are monitoring things monthly,” the former India captain, who turned 48 on Wednesday, added.

IANS had earlier reported that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had made it clear that the window which suits the PCB doesn’t suit the Indian board.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Wasim Khan had said that the Asia Cup will be held either in September or October.

A BCCI functionary in the know of developments had told IANS that the PCB could also look at postponing the Pakistan Super League (PSL) next season and host the multi-nation event in that window. The BCCI can then look at adjusting the calendar accordingly and playing in the Asia Cup.

The Asia Cup was set to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in September this year before the PCB agreed to let the Sri Lankan cricket board host the tournament.

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