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Sunday,20-June-2021

National

We have opportunity to create history in Tokyo, says Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam

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Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, experienced midfielder in the Indian women’s hockey team, is no stranger to the Olympic Games, having captained the side that took part at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 28-year-old has remained a consistent performer with the team, and is hopeful she will have the opportunity to represent the tricolor in Tokyo next year.

“It has been a strange year for everyone. As a player of the national team, I have always been used to a fast-paced environment, where we play match after match, without getting much time to ponder over things,” said Sushila.

“However, now that we’ve had so much time on our hands, I’ve been able to look back on a lot of things, and also prepare for the next phase of my career. We have the opportunity to create history by not just playing in consecutive Olympics for the first time, but also by making it to the podium,” she added.

Having played more than 180 matches for the national side, Sushila is one of the most experienced players in the current Indian set-up, and she believes that sharing her insights with the youngsters is what keeps her going.

“Obviously when you get to this stage when you’ve played more minutes than most of your teammates, you tend to feel a sense of added responsibility. I have always enjoyed working with younger players who are eager to learn. With my knowledge and experience of the game, I feel I can contribute to the team’s success not just on the field, but also off it, by making sure I am there to guide the youth and helping them progress in their careers,” said the midfielder.

Having last played competitive hockey back in February 2020, when the team toured New Zealand, Sushila believes it is important for her team to keep their firm focus on next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“Like the rest of the sporting fraternity, we are also hopeful that the Tokyo Olympics will take place next year. It is the biggest tournament for all of us, and we have been working hard for the past four years to make sure we can achieve our goals when the tournament happens,” said Sushila.

“Certainly, there are challenges involved when it comes to keeping ourselves in top form, but our coaching staff has ensured that we are more focused than ever and are keeping ourselves in the best shape and rhythm to get back to competitive hockey whenever circumstances allow,” she added.

National

Andhra Pradesh CM condoles Milkha Singh’s demise

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on Saturday expressed his grief over the demise of Milkha Singh, former Indian track and field sprinter.

“Milkha Singh has been an inspiration to many young athletes and will continue to remain so,” said Reddy about Singh, who was popularly known as the ‘Flying Sikh’.

The Chief Minister recalled that Singh took India to Olympic glory with his achievements as a track and field star.

Reddy conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members.

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Bollywood

Farhan Akhtar mourns Milkha Singh’s death: You represented a dream

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Actor Farhan Akhtar, who played Milkha Singh in the film “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, has mourned the death of the legendary Indian athlete, who passed away aged 91 after a long battle with Covid-19.

Farhan posted a picture on Instagram posing with Milkha, who was popularly known as the ‘Flying Sikh’.

The actor penned a note saying that he refuses to accept that Milkha Singh is no more.

Farhan wrote: “Dearest Milkha ji, A part of me is still refusing to accept that you are no more. Maybe it’s the stubborn side I inherited from you.. the side that when it sets it’s mind on something, just never gives up.

“And the truth is that you will always be alive. Because you were more than a large hearted, loving, warm, down to earth man. You represented an idea. You represented a dream. You represented (to use your own words) how hard work, honesty and determination can lift a person off his knees and get him to touch the sky. “

Farhan said that the legendary athlete touched everyone’s lives.

“For those who knew you as a father and a friend, it was a blessing. For those who didn’t, your story was a constant source of inspiration and a reminder of humility in success. I love you with all my heart,” he concluded.

Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, biographical sports drama is based on the life of Milkha Singh.

Milkha Singh passed away in a local hospital in Chandigarh at 11.30 p.m. on Friday, read a statement from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), where he was being treated for Covid-related complications.

He is survived by a son, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, and three daughters.

Six days ago, on June 13, Milkha’s wife Nirmal passed away.

A former India volleyball captain, she was 85, and she, too, was affected by Covid and related complications.

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National

India should have had a fast-bowling all-rounder in playing XI: Amit Mishra

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Veteran leg-spinner and a member of the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Capitals, Amit Mishra feels that while the India playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand “looks great”, a fast-bowling all-rounder could have further strengthened the side.

The first day of the WTC final at Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Friday was washed out because of rain and players would be hoping to get back to action later on Saturday.

“The playing XI looks great. We have Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, two excellent spinners who can also contribute with the bat. Ashwin and Jadeja’s batting skills will help India a lot. I think India could have named a fast-bowling all-rounder in the playing XI, someone who could have bowled six-seven overs when the regular pacers are tired and the ball is swinging,” Mishra told JK 24×7 news.

Noting that the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand had an advantage in this department, Mishra, who has played 22 Tests and taken 76 wickets, said, “I think it would have been better if India included a fast-bowling all-rounder. New Zealand have a fast-bowling all-rounder in their squad, so this is the one advantage that the Blackcaps have.”

Indian are fielding two spinners — Ashwin and Jadeja — and the pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in the WTC final.

Mishra also said that India’s batting was stronger than its bowling.

“I think India’s batting line-up is stronger than the bowling unit. If you consider the all-rounders, we bat very deep. Only the three fast bowlers do not bat. So, I feel the batting is stronger.”

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