Sports Diary ( May 16-31, 2017 Issue)

Sports Diary

Administrators Hope Revamp of BCCI Will Be Complete By October

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), responsible for overseeing the running of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), hopes that the board will change from a ‘personality oriented’ body into a ‘structured’ institution by October, CoA head Vinod Rai said on Thursday. October is the deadline Rai has set for the CoA to complete their assignment of implementing the RM Lodha Committee reforms.

“It is still a long haul, but that ends in October,” Rai told ESPNcricinfo, after the committee completed 100 days on the job. These days have seen many points of discontent and disagreement between the CoA and the BCCI office-bearers, the latest being the issue of the team for the ICC Champions Trophy, where the committee had to use all its authority to get BCCI to toe the line and announce the side.

FIFA Overturns Four Match Ban on Lionel Messi

Argentina’s hopes of reaching next year’s World Cup were given a huge boost after FIFA overturned Lionel Messi’s four-game ban for swearing at an assistant referee. FIFA said there was not enough evidence to support the stiff punishment meted out in March to the Barcelona striker, who is central to Argentina’s faltering bid to get to Russia 2018. Football’s governing body said its appeal committee sided with a challenge filed on Messi’s behalf by the Argentine Football Association (AFA) and lifted “the sanctions imposed on him as a result”.

“Despite the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee considered Lionel Messi’s behavior as reproachable” it concluded “the evidence available was not sufficient” to justify a four-game international ban. The ruling also means Messi will be spared the 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000, 9,200 euros) fine.

Petra Kvitova Returns to Tennis Court Four Months After Knife Attack

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova returned to the tennis court on May 2, more than four months after her left hand was badly injured in a knife attack. The 27-year-old Czech posted a picture of herself hitting a ball on a practice court in Monaco on her Facebook account. “Hello guys, I hope this picture makes you as happy as it makes me!” wrote the bronze medalist from the Rio Olympics. “I am in Monaco and guess what? I’m back on the tennis court, hitting with some proper balls.”

Kvitova suffered career-threatening injuries to her playing hand as she fought off a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov in December. Doctors said the Czech star, ranked 15 in the world, would not be able to return to competition before second half of 2017.

India Wins Bronze Medal in Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament

India defeated New Zealand 4-0 to clinch the bronze medal in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia. Rupinderpal Singh was the hero as he converted two penalty corners in the match that set up the win. Rupinderpal sent identical ground drag-flicks into the corner past New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce’s outstretched right hand in the 17th and 27th minutes. SV Sunil then scored his first goal of the tournament in the 48th minute as he captitalised on a cross from Mandeep Singh into the goalmouth, while Talwinder Singh rounded off India’s scoring in the last minute.

Having failed to earn a place in the final after a listless show in the last preliminary league encounter against Malaysia, India gave an improved display to clinch a shade below their silver medal behind Australia in the tournament last year.

Coach Gopichand Opens Up on PV Sindhu-Saina Nehwal Rivalry

National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand does not mind the fierce on-court rivalry between two Olympic medalists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu as long as it works as a tool of improvement for both the shuttlers. “If it helps the performance get better, I am happy,” Gopichand said. Saina and Sindhu were in action when they teamed up for their employers Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in a doubles rubber at the 38th PSPB inter-unit badminton championship in Bangalore.

Although the PV Sindhu-Saina Nehwal pair went down fighting against doubles specialist pair of N Sikki Reddy and Aparna Balan, the handful of spectators present witnessed a rare partnership between the arch-rivals. Sindhu-Saina has earlier teamed up to play doubles in Uber Cup. Having tasted bronze in London and silver in Rio, Gopichand hoped Tokyo has better results in store for India.

Shiva Thapa, Sumit Sangwan Books Berth in World Boxing Championship

Shiva Thapa along with Sumit Sangwan and Amit Phangal booked their berths for the World Championships and assured themselves of medals (Thapa won Silver Medal) by advancing into the semi-finals of the Asian Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fourth seeded Thapa (60kg) cruised past Chinese Taipei’s Chu-En Lai in his quarter-final bout. A 2013 gold-winner here, Thapa advanced to the semi-final with his counter-attacking approach that allowed him to secure a victory. Thapa will next face top seed Chinzorig Baatarsukh in his semi-final clash on Friday.

Sumit Sangwan (91kg) stunned 3rd seeded Chinese Fengkai Yu 4-1 and will meet second seeded Jakhon Qurbonov of Tajikistan on Friday. Phangal (49kg), who beat South-East Asian Games gold-medallist and fourth seeded Cornelis Kwangu Langu of Indonesia 4-1 to advance to the semis, will go head-to-head with Uzbekistan’s Olympic gold-medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov.