Kuantan (Malaysia): Favourites India prevailed 3-2 over arch-rivals Pakistan to reclaim the Asian Champions Trophy hockey, presenting a perfect Diwali gift to the nation on Sunday. Goals from Rupinder Pal Singh (18th minute), Yousuf Affan (23rd) and Nikkin Thimmaiah (51st) helped India surmount the challenge from Pakistan, who rallied from two goals behind through strikes by Muhammad Aleem Bilal (26th) and Ali Shaan (38th) in the title clash of the fourth edition of tournament. This was the first time the teams were meeting in the final of a continental tournament since India dethroned Pakistan as the Asian Games champions in Incheon, South Korea in 2014. India had won the inaugural edition of the Asian Champions Trophy by defeating Pakistan in the final in 2011. Pakistan reversed the result in the title contest the next year and went on to retain it in 2013 by defeating Japan in the final. World No. 6 India went into the title contest at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium without ace custodian PR Sreejesh, who was rested due to pulled hamstring and Akash Chikte took the position under the bar. India scored the first goal in the 18th minute on their second penalty corner as Rupinder sent a rasping drag-flick into the left side of the net. This was the 11 penalty corner conversion in the tournament by Rupinder, the highest goal-scorer in the tournament by a big margin. In the 23rd minute, Ramandeep Singh’s cross was deflected in by Yousuf Affan into the boards to put India 2-0 up. Under pressure, Pakistan responded by forcing their first penalty corner, which was converted by Muhammad Aleem Bilal in the 26th minute. Bilal sounded the boards with a low drag-flick that beat the goalkeeper. Pakistan defence had no trouble in warding away India's attempts to send long diagonal balls into the circle and capitalised on a lapse by the Indian defence to draw 2-2 parity in the 38th minute. Ali Shan wasted no time in slapping the ball that had got deflected to him inside the scoring zone. India wrested the lead back in the 51st minute as seasoned Indian midfielder Sardar Singh gave a through pass to Thimmaiah, who beat Pakistan custodian Fareed Ahmed with a diagonal flick that ended inside the right goal-post.
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Mumbai: Sri Sri Ayurveda, promoted by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation, has brought on board badminton player PV Sindhu as a brand ambassador for its Ojasvita range, kicking off the association with a new malt flavour in the marketplace. Sindhu’s engagement with Ojasvita will be for two years and Sindhu is expected to do everything that a regular brand endorser does, says Tej Katpitia, chief marketing officer of Sri Sri Ayurveda. This will include not only appearing in advertisements for the brand, but also promoting the product on the ground during special events and occasions. While Katpitia did not indicate the size of the deal, brand experts peg it at Rs 1.5-2 crore for two years. Sindhu’s asking price is estimated to be Rs 75 lakh-1 crore per endorsement per year, putting the Ojastivita endorsement in that bracket, experts said. This may, however, not be the end of the road for Sri Sri as far as celebrity endorsements go. In fact, it may only be the start. “We are not ruling out the possibility of more endorsements in the future depending on our marketing and product plans. At this stage, however, this is the association that we have with Sindhu. Ojasvita is a line of health food drinks from us and we wanted a face that could convey this effectively. Sindhu is an upcoming sportsperson and the fit we felt was perfect. She will able to communicate how effective this product is to the masses,” says Katpitia.
Hyderabad: Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of Vizag Steel has roped in badminton champion and Rio silver medalist PV Sindhu as its brand ambassador. R Ramakrishnan, Director and Co-founder Baseline Ventures, said the deal will see Vizag Steel become the major partner of the athlete. The company will have its brand logo on Sindhu's playing jersey in international and domestic tournaments under the aegis of Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton Association of India. Sindhu, currently amongst the top 10 ranked players in the world is the first Indian female athlete to win an Olympic silver medal at Rio. She is also the first athlete to win back-to-back medals at the World Badminton Championships. The endorsement is one of the many for Sindhu post her Olympics exploits. Speaking on the association, Sindhu said this is one of the many major brand associations that she had signed post Olympics. "Badminton calendar has expanded with at least three major international events happening every month and it is important to choose the right events to improve rankings and also avoid fatigue. An association from a trusted brand certainly helps me concentrate on my game and relieves me of all the off-court concerns," she said. P Madhusudan, CMD, RINL said, both Sindhu and Vizag Steel are priceless assets of India and this bond will make them famous far and wide and do the country proud.
Danang (Vietnam): Japan's Aichi prefecture and its capital city Nagoya were confirmed as co-hosts of the 2026 Asian Games today, adding yet another major event to the country's bulging international sports calendar. The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) formally endorsed the bid after Aichi Prefecture governor Hideaki Ohumra and Nagoya city mayor Takashi Kawamura presented their joint offering to the OCA General Assembly in Danang, which is currently hosting the fifth Asian Beach Games. The OCA had originally planned to choose the 2026 Asian Games host in 2018 but brought the vote forward to provide some stability to the region's crammed sporting calendar which includes three Olympic events over the next eight years. South Korea is already hosting the Winter Olympics at Pyeonchang in 2018, while Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics before the winter games go to Beijing in 2022. Held every four years, the 2018 Asian Games have already been awarded to the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang while the 2022 edition will be held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. Tokyo is also hosting the next Olympic games in 2020 while Japan will stage the Rugby World Cup in 2019, the Asian Winter Games in 2017 and the world swimming championships in 2021. Japan has hosted the Asian Games twice before, at Tokyo in 1958 and Hiroshima in 1994, and the awarding of the 20th edition in 2026 is the latest in a series of major sporting events heading to the country over the next decade.
New York: World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka managed to wear down No. 1 ranked Serb Novak Djokovic and beat the defending champion 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday for his first US Open title and third Grand Slam trophy overall. The 31-year-old Wawrinka from Switzerland is the oldest US Open men’s champion since Ken Rosewall was 35 in 1970, and entered Sunday having spent almost exactly twice as much time on court as Djokovic during the course of the tournament- about 18 hours vs. about 9 hours. By breaking in the final game of the second and third sets, and by saving 14 of 17 break points he faced, Wawrinka already had gained the upper hand by the time Djokovic clutched at his left leg and grimaced after missing a forehand while getting broken early in the fourth. Djokovic was granted the unusual chance to have a medical timeout at a time other than a changeover. He removed both shoes and socks so a trainer could help with toe blisters. Wawrinka complained about the 6—minute break, and Djokovic looked over and apologized. Later, Djokovic started limping and received more treatment. Wawrinka has won only five of his 24 career meetings against Djokovic, but has now beaten the 12—time major champion on the way to each of his own Grand Slam titles, including in the 2014 Australian Open quarterfinals and 2015 French Open final. And he did it Sunday by coming back against Djokovic, whose French Open title in June completed a career Grand Slam and made him only the third man and first in nearly a half-century to win four consecutive major tournaments. Think about this- Wawrinka nearly was gone before the end of the US Open’s first week. He was one point from losing in the third round against 64-ranked Dan Evans, but eventually won in five sets. So Sunday’s victory made Wawrinka the first man to win the US Open after saving a match point since yes, that’s right Djokovic in 2011.
Rio de Janeiro: India's P V Sindhu fought valiantly but failed in her attempt to win the gold medal, as she lost to World No. 1 Carolina Marin in the women’s singles final on Friday. She, however, became the first Indian to win a silver medal in badminton at the Olympics. In a match that lasted one hour and three minutes, Marin defeated Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15. Marin became the first European to win the Women's Olympic badminton gold. Marin started the final strongly with a 11-6 lead but Sindhu retrieved every smash and drop shot and kept it close. Trailing 16-19, Sindhu scored five straight points to take the first game 21-19. The Spaniard started with a vengeance in the second game, smashing her way to an 11-2 lead. Sindhu staged a brief comeback, but Marin overpowered the Indian with offensive play. The World No. 1 closed out the second game 21-12 to take the match to a decider. The third game started in the same way, the Spaniard running away with a 6-1 lead but Sindhu showed tremendous grit to pull things back and equalise 10-10. From then on, every point was fought tooth to nail, but Marin managed to hold on to her lead and kept her date with history. On Thursday, Sindhu became the first Indian to reach a final in badminton at the Olympic Games after she defeated Japan's Nozomi Okuhara. Earlier, she defeated World No. 2 Wang Yihan in the quarterfinals.
Rio de Janeiro: P V Sindhu scripted history by becoming the first Indian shuttler to reach the finals of the women’s singles competition at the Rio Olympics as she stunned Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in straight games to assure India of at least a silver medal here on Thursday. The two-time bronze medallist at World Championship notched up a sensational 21-19 21-10 victory over the All England Champion from Japan in a pulsating semi-final that lasted 49 minutes. The World No. 10 from Hyderabad will next take on two-time World Champion and top seed Carolina Marin of Spain in the summit clash on Friday. Sindhu had a 1-3 head-to-head record against Okuhara but all that went for a toss as the Indian came out with a well-thought strategy as she engaged the Japanese in long-rallies with her angled returns and deft drops. In the opening game which lasted 29 minutes, Sindhu opened up a 4-1 lead early on and rode on Okuhara’s unforced errors to extend the advantage to 8-4. The Indian engaged her rival in long rallies and tried to vary the pace and finish them with well-executed drops. A cross court forehand return after a long rally which consisted of 32 strokes helped Sindhu reach 9-6 before the Indian reached the interval with an 11-6 advantage after Okuhara hit long. The Hyderabadi pushed the Japanese to the corners by playing half smashes and drops, while Okuhara continued to find the net while trying to play the cross court drops from the baseline. Leading 14-10, Sindhu hit wide and long before coming up with a superb drop even as Okuhara forehand returns. At 16-18, Sindhu failed to negotiate a body return but she again caught hold of the shuttle early using her height and sent it sailing out of the Japanese reach. A missed net shot by Okuhara saw Sindhu reach the game point. What ensued next was a long rally with Okuhara hitting across as the Indian grabbed the opening game after the Japanese found the net. Sindhu once again opened up a 3-0 lead but the Japanese soon clawed back and grabbed a slender 5-3 lead with the Indian finding it difficult to keep the shuttle inside the court. The duo moved neck-and-neck from 5-5 to 8-8. A forecourt deception gave a point to Sindhu but she hit wide again. Sindhu retrieved everything that was thrown at her but she rushed on to a stroke to hit the net. At the interval, Sindhu managed a slender 11-10 lead after her return landed at the corner of the court. Sindhu came out all cylinders blazing after the change of sides and reeled off 11 straight points with the help of her array of strokes, which included some brilliant backhand flick and drops, to completely demolish the third seeded Japanese. It was a deceptive return which helped Sindhu reach a massive 10-point match point and then eked her name into the history books with a smash that caught Okuhara at the forecourt. For the record, Marin also entered her maiden Olympic final beating London Olympic champion Li Xuerui 21-14 21-16.
Rio de Janeiro: Gritty woman wrestler Sakshi Malik ended India's painful wait for a medal at the Rio Olympic Games by clinching the bronze in the 58kg category, pulling off a sensational 8-5 victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova in the Play-off bout, here. The 23-year-old from Rohtak became only the fourth woman athlete from India to win an Olympic medal as she earned the dramatic win after falling behind 0-5 in the do-or-die bout on day 12. Weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari (2000, Sydney), boxer MC Mary Kom (2012, London) and shuttler Saina Nehwal (2012, London) were the only other women players from India to have won a medal in Olympics. Like in three of the four other bouts earlier in the day, Sakshi won the crucial bout after coming from behind. Sakshi's victory brought cheers to the Indian contingent that had endured agonising 11 days without a medal. Sakshi turned the tables on the Kyrgyzstan wrestler in the dying seconds of the bout as Tynybekova was in complete command in most part of the clash. Tynybekova grabbed Sakshi's leg and quickly earned two points before adding one more for the Indian's passivity. She repeated her move and successfully bagged two more points to lead 5-0 at the break. Sakshi could open the scoring only in the second period and got two points after throwing her rival down and out of the mat. She then managed to earn two points again with a similar move to bring down the margin to 4-5. Thereafter, it was no looking back for the Indian girl and she took the opponent down to level the scores 5-5. But she did not stop there and gained three more points by pinning down the Kyrgyzstan wrestler in the dying moments of the match.
Rio de Janeiro: Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar scripted history as she became the first Indian to make the cut for the individual vault finals in her debut Olympic Games after finishing 8th in the qualifying round here. The Tripura-girl, who is the country's first woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, managed to perform her much-appreciated 'Produnova' vault cleanly to secure 14.850 points after two attempts. It was a nervous wait for the Indian after that. She had ended sixth after the third of five sub-divisions. She dropped to 8th eventually when Canadian Shallon Olsen's terrific effort of 14.950 rejigged the overall standings. But that was just about enough to secure her a place in the finals scheduled for August 14 as the top-8 made the cut for the medal round. Dipa secured 7.000 on difficulty and 8.1 on execution in her first attempt. Her score for difficulty was a tad lower at 6.000 in the second attempt. She landed low on her Produnova vault in the first attempt, while her second vault was a 'Tsuk double full twist' with step to the side. Three-time world all-round champion Simone Biles topped the charts with a sensational score of 16.050. The American scored a brilliant 9.700 on execution in both her attempts. North Korea's Jong Un Hong was a distant second after securing 15.683 followed by Switzerland's Giulia Steingruber (15.266). In the other routines, Dipa secured 11.666 for her effort on the uneven bars, scoring low on difficulty but decent on execution. Later, Dipa scored 12.866 for her performance on the balance beam. The floor exercise fetched Dipa a score of 12.033, which also included a 0.300 penalty. Dipa, the first Indian woman gymnast to win a Commonwealth Games medal, stood a poor 47th in the all-round standings with a combined score of 51.665. The eight gymnasts with the highest individual scores in each apparatus move on to compete for an individual event title in that apparatus. The 24 men and 24 women with the highest combined individual totals move on to the all-around finals.
Rio de Janeiro: Brazil showcased its rich history and cultural heritage, combined with Rio’s famous ’Samba’ dance, as the 31st Olympic Games was officially launched with a subtle yet powerful message of global warming plaguing the world in a glittering opening ceremony here. Brazil organisers put their passion for football aside and made climate change and depletion of natural resources as the central theme in a thought—provoking nearly four—hour long ceremony to signal the opening of the 17—day extravaganza which will be competed by more than 11,000 athletes from 209 countries, including India, and a refugee Olympic team. Brazil’s Acting President Michel Temer declared open the Games, the first to be held in South America, in the presence of International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach, who gave a lengthy speech, and United Nations head, Ban—Ki Moon. “I declare the Rio Olympics open, and celebrate the 31st Olympic Games of the modern era,” Temer said to formally signal the commencement of competitions as the Rio night sky was lit with fireworks emanating from Maracana Stadium. After the formal declaration of the Games, Brazilian 2004 Athens Olympics marathon bronze winner Vanderlei de Lima lit the Olympic cauldron after former tennis world number one and three—time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten brought the torch into the arena to the thunderous applause of spectators. Having witnessed many memorable clashes on its pitch, the 78,000—capacity Maracana Stadium today bore testimony to Brazil’s effort to make the world a better place, and how! It was, in a way, putting aside the trouble-torn build up that the host city faced from a Zika virus threat, to slumping economy and cost over-runs. “It is not enough to stop harming the planet, it’s time to begin healing it. This will be our Olympic message: Earthlings, let’s replant, let’s save the planet,” said the creators of the opening ceremony. Following the tradition, Greece, the birthplace of ancient Olympics, led the athletes’ parade with the hosts country Brazil coming last. The countries marched in alphabetical order based on the spelling of their names in Portuguese. Led by its only individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, who is in his swansong Olympics, as the flag bearer, the Indian contingent entered the stadium as 95th country. Indian contingent Around 70 Indian athletes (out of 118) and 24 officials took part in the march past with the male athletes wearing navy blue colour blazer and trousers and their female counterparts donning blue blazer and traditional Saree. In his record seventh Olympic appearance, tennis ace Leander Paes was seen waving at the crowd, while the spotlight among the female members fell on the likes of shuttlers Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponappa and gymnast Dipa Karmakar. Among the officials who were part of the march past were chef-de-mission Rakesh Gupta and his deputy Anandeswar Pandey. The men’s hockey players skipped the parade as they have a match against Ireland. The archery, table tennis and weightlifting teams also skipped the opening ceremony.