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Neeraj Chopra Headlines 28-Member Indian Team For Olympics, Long Jumper Jeswin Aldrin Set To Be Included Later

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India on Thursday named a 28-member athletics team for the upcoming Paris Olympics, headlined by superstar javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, but one more athlete — long jumper Jeswin Aldrin — is expected to be included by the national federation later. The 26-year-old Tokyo Games gold medallist and reigning world champion in javelin throw has decided to skip the last Diamond League this weekend in Paris in order to prepare for the quadrennial extravaganza as almost all the selected names are on expected lines.

The squad comprises 17 men and 11 women athletes with some of the other prominent names being Asian Games champions Avinash Sable, Tajinderpal Singh Toor along with sprint hurdler Jyothi Yarraji, to name a few.

Top Indian long jumper Jeswin Aldrin is expected to be added to the team later after the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) formally notifies the world governing body about the pulling out of M Sreeshankar, who had breached the automatic qualifying mark but later ruled out of the Olympics due to an injury.

Aldrin is just one spot outside the qualification bracket as he is at 33rd place in the World Athletics (WA) ranking quota list. There will be 32 athletes competing in the men’s long jump event in the Paris Olympics.

All the countries must inform WA by Thursday (July 4) midnight regarding any pullout of their athletes. During the period from July 4-6, WA will reallocate the declined quota places to the next best-ranked athlete in the same event. It will then publish the final list on July 7.

“It was decided in the selection committee meeting today that whoever gets quota place (through world ranking) later on will be added in the team,” Indian athletics chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair told PTI.

“So, once we inform WA that Sreeshankar is not participating, Aldrin will get the quota place and he should be added in the team,” he added.

Jyothi Yarraji will become the first Indian 100m hurdler to compete in the Olympics while shot putter Abha Khatua also made a surprise cut through world rankings.

High jumper Sarvesh Anil Kushare, who won gold at the National Inter-State Championships with an effort of 2.25m, also made it to the team.

Javelin thrower DP Manu, who made the cut, was expectedly not named in the team after his dope flunk last week. Olympic champion Chopra and Kishore Jena had made direct qualification.

Four Indian male 20km race walkers had breached the qualifying mark of 1 hour 20 minute and 10 seconds but Ram Baboo has been dropped for “lack of consistency” as a country can name only three athletes in an event.

Baboo was not also considered for the marathon race walk mixed relay and Suraj Panwar, who also made the grade through world ranking, was named instead to pair with Priyanka Goswami, the lone Indian in the women’s 20km event.

He was sixth at the National Race Walk Championships in January and did not finish at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Antalya in April.

The 4x400m men’s relay team, featuring Muhammed Anas, Muhammed Ajmal, Amoj Jacob and Rajesh Ramesh, which had created quite a stir by leaving behind the USA team in one of the heats at the last World Championships, will also be followed with keen interest.

Ramesh has not run any individual 400m race this season and he pulled out of the race injured during the men’s 4x400m relay event at the World Relays Championships in Bahamas in May.

But, the AFI had said ahead of the National Inter-State Championships that his recovery has been satisfactory and he should be alright before the Olympics.

In the women’s 4x400m relay, Vithya Ramraj, MR Poovamma and Prachi got the nod on the basis of the trial held on the final day of the National Inter-State Championships. Ramraj, Poovamma and Prachi had finished first, second and third in the trial. Kiran Pahal, Jyothika Sri Dandi and Subha Venkatesan had more or less picked themselves in the team.

The track and field competition will be conducted at the Stade de France between August 1 to August 11.

The Team: Men: Avinash Sable (3,000m steeplechase), Neeraj Chopra, Kishore Kumar Jena (javelin throw), Tajinderpal Singh Toor (shot put), Praveen Chithravel, Abulla Aboobacker (triple jump), Akshdeep Singh, Vikash Singh, Paramjeet Singh Bisht (20km race walk), Muhammed Anas, Muhammed Ajmal, Amoj Jacob, Santhosh Tamilarasan, Rajesh Ramesh (4x400m relay), Mijo Chacko Kurian (4x400m relay), Suraj Panwar (race walk mixed marathon), Sarvesh Anil Kushare (High Jump).

Women: Kiran Pahal (400m), Parul Chaudhary (3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m), Jyothi Yarraji (100m hurdles), Annu Rani (javelin throw), Abha Khatua (shot put), Jyothika Sri Dandi, Subha Venkatesan, Vithya Ramraj, Poovamma MR (4x400m relay), Prachi (4x400m), Priyanka Goswami (20km race walk/race walk mixed marathon).

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Smriti Mandhana Gifts Wheelchair-Bound Girl Mobile Phone After India Match In Asia Cup

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Smriti Mandhana (right) with a differently-abled girl.© X/@OfficialSLC




In a heartwarming gesture, star India batter Smriti Mandhana gifted a wheelchair-bound girl a mobile phone after the team’s match at the ongoing women’s T20 Asia Cup tournament in Dambulla. Adeesha Herath, who came to the stadium escorted by her mother in a wheelchair, experienced a pleasant surprise as Mandhana came to meet her and presented her a phone. “Adeesha Herath’s love for cricket brought her to the stadium, despite all the challenges. The highlight of her day? A surprise encounter with her favourite cricketer, Smriti Mandhana, who handed her a mobile phone as a token of appreciation,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a tweet.

In the video posted along with the tweet, Mandhana was heard asking the girl her name.

“You like cricket, that is nice. You enjoyed today’s match. I have brought a gift for you from all of us,” Mandhana told the girl, before having a high-five with her and posing for a photograph.

The girl’s mother said it was an unexpected gift.

“We came to watch the match unexpectedly, as my daughter wanted to go for the match. We met Mandhana madam from Indian team and my daughter received a phone from her. It was unexpected and my daughter is so lucky to receive this gift from her,” she said.

India beat arch rivals Pakistan by seven wickets on Friday in their opening match. They are up against United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Sri Lanka Beat Bangladesh By 7 Wickets In Women’s T20 Asia Cup

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Hosts Sri Lanka started their campaign in the Women’s T20 Asia Cup on a positive note, beating Bangladesh by seven wickets in Dambulla on Saturday. After restricting Bangladesh to a modest 111 for eight, Sri Lanka completed the task with 17 balls to spare, reaching 114/3 in 17.1 overs. Opting to bat first, Bangladesh were off to a disastrous start and lost three wickets with just six runs on the board. It soon became 17/4, and then 48/5, before skipper Nigar Sultana steadied the sinking ship with a 48-run knock that came off 59 balls and included six boundaries.

Down the order, Shorna Akter contributed a brisk 14-ball 25 as Bangladesh crossed 100.

Udeshika Prabodhani (2/20) and Inoshi Priyadharshani (2/17) grabbed two wickets each for Sri Lanka, while there was one apiece for Sugandika Kumari, Kavisha Dilhari and Chamari Athapaththu.

As far as Sri Lanka batting was concerned, opener Vishmi Gunaratne was the highest scorer with 51 off 48 balls, hitting seven fours and a six in her knock.

Harshitha Samarawickrama chipped in with 33 in 31 balls and got out with her team on the doorstep of victory.

Nahida Akter was the best bowler for Bangladesh, finishing with fine figures of 3/12 in her quota of four overs.

Thailand defeat Malaysia

In the day’s first match, Thailand got the better of Malaysia by 22 runs.

Batting first, Thailand posted 133 for six after wicketkeeper Nannapat Koncharoenkai top-scored with a 35-ball 40, while Phannita Maya chipped in with 29 in 28 deliveries.

Mahirah Izzati Ismail was the most successful bowler for Malaysia, returning excellent figures of 3/16 in four overs.

Mahirah’s effort, however, went in vain as Thailand restricted their opponents to 111 for eight in the allotted 20 overs, despite a half century from opener Wan Julia (52 off 53 balls).

Captain Winifred Duraisingam made 22 in 28 balls at the top of the order while being associated in a 68-run first-wicket partnership with Julia.

The Malaysian batting, however, collapsed after that as Thailand produced a disciplined show with the ball to emerge victorious.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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“Very Slim Chances”: Ex-Pakistan Board Chief’s Blunt Admission On India Travelling For Champions Trophy

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File photo of an India vs Pakistan match© AFP




Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Khalid Mahmood believes India will not travel to Pakistan for the ICC Champions Trophy early next year. “They are very very slim chances they will agree to play in Pakistan,” Mahmood, who is a retired senior bureaucrat, said. He, however, said that if India doesn’t visit Pakistan, it would be a non-profitable deal for PCB and the ICC.

“India is the richest cricket board and carries a lot of clout. If they don’t send their team to Pakistan I foresee even countries like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh following their path,” Mahmood said.

“This would basically reduce the Champions Trophy into a venture where revenues will take a hit, expenses will grow and profits would fall,” Mahmood, who twice went to India in 1989 and 1999 as Pakistan’s junior and senior team manager, said.

Mahmood said that PCB should just follow their policy of not mixing sports and politics.

“Look the thing is at this level you can only lobby and try to convince other boards to be on your side. India has too much clout in the ICC it would do no good for Pakistan to adopt a tit for tat strategy.” “Thing is when the BCCI says it can’t send its team and will play its matches outside Pakistan, it does reduce the purpose for Pakistan of hosting an ICC event,” he added.

The Champions Trophy is scheduled to be held from February 19 to March 9 next year.

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