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Saturday,08-May-2021

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Team shaping up well for the Olympics, says Kothajit Singh Khadangbam

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Defender Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, who has played over 200 matches for the Indian men’s hockey team, believes that the side is shaping up well for the Tokyo Olympics since resuming sports activities in August amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kothajit said that the Indian team returned to the pitch at the right time and are moving forward with each sports activities session.

“It’s been great to be back on the pitch. We have seen a lot of improvement over the last two months and we are shaping up well for the Olympics. We have returned to the pitch at the right time and therefore we have enough months to get back to our full form and get even better as a side thereafter. We are really thankful to Hockey India and SAI for putting all the safety measures in place in quick time so that we can focus on the Olympics,” said Kothajit.

The defender, who returned to the national side in the Pro League 2020 after missing out on the Olympic Qualifiers, said he knows the aspects he needs to work on to cement a consistent spot in the Indian team.

“Being out of the side is never easy and therefore I am determined to work as hard as possible to cement my spot in the Indian team. I analysed my game thoroughly during the lockdown and I know the aspects of my game that I need to work on. The next few months are very crucial for all of us and with the Olympics being postponed, we have a great opportunity to strengthen our individual and team game even more,” said the 28-year-old.

Kothajit added that he feels very fortunate to be playing alongside players such as Harmanpreet Singh.

“I feel very lucky to be playing hockey in the current era. We have a great balance of youth and experienced players in the team, especially in the defence line. I am extremely fortunate to be playing alongside some brilliant players such as Harmanpreet,” he said.

“All of us try to inspire each other to get better and I think that’s a great environment to be in. Hopefully, we will make India proud at the Olympics next year,” added the defender.

Bollywood

Anushka Sharma and Virat start Covid fundraiser, contribute Rs 2cr

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Celebrity couple Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli have started a fundraiser campaign to help people deal with the Covid crises at hand.

The couple has collaborated with crowd-funding platform Ketto for the campaign #InThisTogether and has donated Rs 2 crore for this initiative. They aim to raise 7 crore for Covid relief in India

Talking about the same, Anushka said: “India is going through an extremely difficult time and the second wave of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic has pushed our country to a state of crisis. It is time for all of us to come together and do our bit for our fellow countrymen who are in serious need of support.

“Virat and I have been hugely pained looking at the inexplicable suffering that people are going through and we hope that this fund will aid in our fight against the virus that we are all helplessly witnessing. We are praying for everyone’s safety. We hope that you join us in our prayers to save as many lives as possible because we are all in this together.”

Virat said: “We are going through an unprecedented time in the history of our country and our nation needs all of us to unite and save as many people as possible. Anushka and I have been shocked to see humans suffering since last year. We have been working towards helping as many people as possible all through the pandemic and now, India wants our support more than ever.

“We are starting this fundraiser with the confidence that we will be able to raise substantial funds to aid those in dire need. We are confident that people will come forward to support fellow countrymen in crisis. We are in this together and we shall overcome this.”

#InThisTogether will run for seven days and the proceeds raised will be directed to ACT Grants, the implementation partner for this campaign.

“Having strong voices like Anushka and Virat help drive fundraising efforts will go a long way towards helping us realise this goal. On behalf of India’s startup ecosystem, ACT Grants is truly grateful to have them join this mission,” said Gayatri Yadav, spokesperson ACT Grants.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Virat Kholi and Anuskha Sharma for their philanthropic endeavour to support our Covid relief programme,” said Varun Sheth, CEO & co-founder, Ketto.org.

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National

Difficult to say how IPL 2021 bio-bubble was breached: Sourav Ganguly

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Indian cricket board president Sourav Ganguly said that it is difficult to say how the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) bio-bubble was breached and the report that the board got had shown that there was no breach.

The 2021 IPL was postponed this week after multiple Covid-19 cases emerged within the tournament’s bio-bubbles in Ahmedabad and New Delhi.

“The report we got is that there’s no breach of the bubble. How it happened is very difficult to say. How so many people are getting (infected) in the country is also very difficult to say,” Ganguly told Indian Express.

Ganguly said that “it is too early to say” whether there is a window available to resume the season. He also said that while there was a discussion to host the tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to hold it in India as there were hardly any Covid-19 cases in the country.

“It was discussed, but the (COVID-19 cases) in India in February was (virtually) nothing. It has just gone through the roof in the last three weeks. Before that it was nothing. We discussed about the UAE but then decided to do it in India,” he said.

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National

MS Dhoni to head home only after CSK teammates reach home: Report

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Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni will reportedly be the last person from the team to leave for home from Delhi after the indefinite postponement of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL).

Dhoni said that he will wait for the foreigners in the team to leave and then the other Indian players after which he will return home, according to the Indian Express. The former India captain told his teammates in a virtual meeting that foreign players and support staff should be given preference to travel first as the tournament was taking place in India.

The 2021 IPL, which was held as India grappled with a raging second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, was postponed this week after multiple cases of the virus emerged within the tournament’s bio-bubble.

The organisers of the tournament are now in the process of ensuring players and coaching staff reach their respective homes safely. Cricket Australia said on Wednesday that the BCCI is looking to move Australian players and coaching staff to Maldives and Sri Lanka before sending them home as Australia has imposed a ban on travellers from India until May 15.

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