Sports Diary

Saina eyes comeback, Sindhu aims for maiden title in China

South Africa Reclaims Number One ODI Ranking

The 5-0 white wash of the visiting Sri Lanka cricket team, allowed the Proteas to move above Australia and into top spot in the ICC ODI Rankings for teams, an important boost ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy which takes place in England in June. South Africa had entered the series against Sri Lanka, trailing number-one ranked Australia by four points. However, Australia’s 0-2 defeat against New Zealand and South Africa’s own 5-0 win over Sri Lanka means the Proteas have now moved ahead of the world champions.

“We follow the small processes and if you do that the rewards come your way,” said South Africa captain AB de Villiers. “I’m very proud of the way we performed. It’s an important year for us with the Champions Trophy and regaining the No.1 position is a step in the right direction,” he added.

Germany’s World Cup Winning Captain Philipp Lahm Set To Retire

Germany’s World Cup winning captain Philipp Lahm has revealed that he will hang up his boots at the end of the season and leave Bayern Munich. The veteran made his 500th appearance for Bayern recently and will hang up his boots in June.

“I have decided to stop playing football at the end of the season,” Lahm said after Bayern’s 1-0 win over Wolfsburg in the third round of the German Cup adding, “I am sure I can keep putting in the performances until the end of the season, but not after that. I first thought about the decision over a year ago and have been constantly checking it. I love football and it has given me a lot, but everything has to eventually come to an end and I wanted to decide that myself,” added the Bayern captain, confirming an earlier press report.

India Beats New Zealand 4-1, Enters Asia-Oceania Round 2 of Davis Cup

Ramkumar Ramanathan came out with his best game to defeat Finn Tearney 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 to help India clinch the Davis Cup Group 1 Asia/Oceania first round at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune. India will next take on Uzbekistan in the second round from April 7 to 9 to qualify for the World Group playoffs. Ramkumar routed Tearney with clinical precision as the lanky Indian cruised to a win in two hours in windy conditions to give India an unassailable 3-1 lead. Later in the fifth and final dead rubber, Yuki Bhambri defeated Jose Statham 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 to make it 4-1 in favour of the hosts.

The resounding victory for India also signaled the end of Anand Amritraj’s three-year reign as the team captain as he will be replaced by Mahesh Bhupathi for the second round tie against Uzbekistan at home.

PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal To Lead India At Asia Championships

The country’s leading two shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal have been included in India’s squad for the inaugural Asia Mixed Team Championships that will be held in Vietnam in February. Sindhu, who clinched the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold at Lucknow last week and Saina, who begun the new season with a win at Malaysia Masters, will be sharing the responsibility in the women’s singles. Besides, there is also Tanvi Lad and Rituparna Das but they are unlikely to get a chance considering that the event will have only one women’s singles match, one men’s singles, one men’s doubles, one women’s doubles and one mixed doubles.

Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold winner Sameer Verma, who has been in rampaging form with a final finish at Hong Kong Super Series last year, will spearhead the Indian challenge in men’s singles.

Russia’s Mariya Savinova Stripped Off London Olympics Gold for Doping

In a stunning move to give an exemplary example in its move against doping, the international sports tribunal has stripped Russian runner Mariya Savinova-Farnosova of the London Olympics 800 metres gold medal and handed her a four-year ban for doping. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said there was “clear evidence” that Savinova was involved in doping from the eve of the European Championship in Barcelona in 2010 until the 2013 world championships in Moscow — including for the 2012 London Games.

The ban was back-dated to start on August 24, 2015. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said all prizes won between July 26, 2010 and August 19, 2013, are forfeited. The CAS acted as the main tribunal in the case as the Russian athletics federation is suspended by the world body, the International Association of Athletics Federations because of its doping controversy.

Italy Knock Defending Champions Argentina Out Of Davis Cup

Italy handed defending Davis Cup champions Argentina a first-round knockout Monday, moving to the quarter-finals as Fabio Fognini came back from two sets down to defeat Guido Pella. With the two teams tied at 2-2 heading into the decisive fifth match, Fognini, the world number 45, was beaten in the two sets on the clay at Parque Sarmiento in Buenos Aires.

But he fought back to beat the 80th-ranked Pella, 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Italy will now face Belgium from April 7-9. Fognini had some heated exchanges with Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, who was in the front row cheering on Pella. But the Italian downplayed the friction after the match. “Diego is Diego. There was no problem. If he comes to the locker room, I’ll give him my jersey,” he said.