India Obtains Best FIFA Ranking In Over A Decade
The Indian national football team obtained its best ranking in world football in over a decade in the rankings released by FIFA on January 11. The ranking of 129 — an improvement of 42 places — is the best ever since August 2006. The Indian football team had an encouraging 2016, winning nine of their last 11 international matches.
“The national team gaining its best ranking since December 2005 shows that we are on the upsurge. The ranking enables us to be placed in pot two when the draw for the Asian Cup Qualifiers UAE 2019 is to be conducted later this month. We had last qualified for the Asian Cup in 2011 and hope to be there again in UAE in 2019,” All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das said.
Ashish Shelar Replaces Sharad Pawar, Appointed Interim President of MCA
Mumbai Cricket Association on January 12 named its vice president Ashish Shelar as interim chief to replace NCP leader Sharad Pawar, who had cited his ineligibility to continue as president as he had crossed the age cap of 70 laid down by the Supreme Court in its order based on the Lodha Committee recommendations. Pawar had stepped down from his post on December 17.
“We have today filled up the posts which have become vacant. Ashish Shelar has been made the interim president of the Mumbai Cricket Association as Sharad Pawar has resigned,” said MCA’s joint secretary, Umesh Khanvilkar. Following the elevation of Mumbai BJP chief Shelar to the helm and the other vice president’s post lying vacant after the resignation of Dilip Vengsarkar, two new vice presidents have been nominated, said Khanvilkar.
Rohan Bopanna-Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan Win Chennai Open Doubles Title
Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, playing only the second time together, notched up a memorable victory in a historic all-Indian doubles final, as they outplayed compatriots Divij Sharan and Purav Raja in the Chennai Open. World number 28 Bopanna and Jeevan beat the most-consistent and impressive team 6-3 6-4 in just 65 minutes to win their first title together.
It is the first time that an Indian team has clinched the Chennai Open trophy since the legendary Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi took the title in 2011.The Lee-Hesh pair, also known as the Indian Express, won five titles at the Nugumbakkam Stadium during their glorious careers. It was Bopanna’s 15th career title and first since June 2015 when he won the Stuttgart trophy with Florin Mergea. He lost two final last season in Sydney and Madrid.
PR Sreejesh Becomes Member of FIH Athletes’ Committee
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) Executive Board has confirmed the nomination of Indian men’s hockey team captain PR Sreejesh to the FIH Athletes’ Committee. The FIH Athletes’ Committee comprises a total of eight current and former hockey players who have the responsibility to act as a liaison between the FIH and the athletes and make sure the athletes have voice in the FIH decision making process.
“It’s a great honour to be part of the FIH Athletes’ Committee which comprises of legendary players like Moritz Fuerste and other international greats,” said Sreejesh, who led India to historic silver at the 2016 Champions Trophy in London. Sreejesh’ role will also cover seeking and providing feedback to the FIH on behalf of all athletes, the committee also gets to interact with the current athletes’ in various ways.
Sarita Devi to Fight Maiden Pro Bout In Imphal
A new chapter will commence in the history of Indian boxing on January 29 at Imphal, Manipur, when the nation will get its first women professional pugilist as Arjuna Awardee and former world champion L Sarita Devi will create history as she will become the first ever female boxer from India to step into the world of professional boxing at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex Indoor Arena.
Sarita is training hard at the Sports Authority India’s (SAI) National Boxing Academy in Rohtak for her new avatar. She will make her pro debut against seasoned pro Zsofia Bedo of Hungary, who is a veteran of 59 bouts. The 29-year-old is better known for knocking out her opponents. The World No.29, to her credit, has 19 wins with a seven percent knock out record.
After The Great Khali, Olympian Sushil Kumar Likely to Join WWE
Indian wrestling legend Sushil Kumar appears set for next challenge of his career after being offered a contract by the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The Haryana wrestler, who had detailed discussions with WWE’s Canyon Ceman at the Chhatrasal Stadium in October, could make his debut as early as November 2017. The 33-year-old could become India’s second major export to the WWE after The Great Khali.
“Ever since getting the offer in October, Sushil didn’t really pay attention to it, but after repeated calls from the WWE representatives, a negotiation has been settled, in terms of finances. But the major issue, in this case, is Sushil’s willingness to continue an amateur wrestling career,” a source close to the Sushil told Sportskeeda. Considering Sushil’s wrestling credentials, the WWE are hoping he will emulate American Olympian Kurt Angle’s success in the business.