Sports Diary (July 16-31, 2017)

Asian Athletics Championship

India Registers Historic Top Medal Tally in Asian Athletics Championships

India ended the Asian Athletics Championships 2017 on a high at the Kalinga Stadium on July 9. In a stunning show of dominance, the hosts clinched five gold medals on the final day to top the medal tally for first time in the history of the Asian Athletics Championships, pushing China to second spot. This was India’s most-successful campaign in the event ever. The hosts ended with 29 medals (12 gold, 5 silver and 12 bronze), their highest-ever haul.

Govindan Lakshmanan, heptathlete Swapna Barman, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams continued India’s gold rush. While Swapna emerged victorious in the heptathlon, Lakshmanan won his second gold medal in the Championships. After winning the men’s 5000m gold on the opening day, he finished the Championships on a high winning the 10000m. Lakshmanan’s countryman Gopi Thonakal won silver in the event.

Mithali Raj Becomes Highest Run-Getter In Women’s ODIs

India captain Mithali Raj created history when she became the leading run-scorer in women’s One Day International (ODI) cricket. She achieved the feat against Australia in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 match at Bristol. Mithali was 33 runs short of England cricketer Charlotte Edwards’ 5992 runs in 191 matches. Not only did Mithali go past the Englishwoman’s world record but she also became the first ever woman cricketer to touch the 6,000 ODI runs mark.

Earlier, she achieved the feat of scoring seven consecutive fifties in ODIs after she played a terrific knock against England in the World Cup last Saturday. Apart from this, Mithali has also notched the maximum number of ODI half-centuries (49) by any woman cricketer. The 34-year-old, who made her debut at the age of 16, has often been called the Sachin Tendulkar of Indian women’s cricket.

Jeff Horn Stuns Manny Pacquiao To Win WBO Welterweight Crown

Former schoolteacher Jeff Horn stunned world champion Manny Pacquiao to win the World Boxing Organisation welterweight crown with a unanimous points decision in Brisbane on Sunday. Given no chance by most observers, the 29-year-old Horn’s ultra-aggressive style proved too much for Pacquiao, with the three judges scoring the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 to the Australian after 12 rounds. Pacquiao, 38, is an eight-weight world champion considered one of the greatest fighters of his generation.

But Horn showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion, taking the fight to the Filipino great from the opening bell. He moved forward relentlessly, not allowing Pacquiao time to find any rhythm. Pacquiao did manage to land some left jabs in the opening rounds to take the early points, but Horn refused to back away and his brawling tactics paid dividends through the middle stages.

Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat Book Berths For World Wrestling Championship

Ace women wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat have made the cut in the Indian squad for the World Wrestling Championship, to be held in Paris in August. The squad for the tournament was announced after the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) conducted selection trials across weight categories at the STC Lucknow. Although Vinesh had won the Asian Championship silver in category, she fought in her preferred 48kg category and comfortably qualified for the mega-event.

Rio Olympics bronze-medallist in 58kg, Sakshi, who bagged a silver medal at the Asian Championship in May after climbing up a division to 60kg category, has qualified in the same category for the upcoming Championship. Vinesh, another silver medallist at Asian Championship, earned a place in the women’s 48kg. Among others who made the cut for the World Championship were Sheetal (53kg), Lalita (55kg), Pooja Dhanda (58kg), Shilpi (63kg), Navjot Kaur (69kg) and Pooja (75kg).

Chess Legend Garry Kasparov Back from Retirement For US Tournament

Former chess world champion Garry Kasparov is coming out of retirement to play in a US tournament next month, organizers announced on July 6th. Kasparov, who dominated the game for more than 15 years, will compete against nine top players at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri. The former champion, who retired from professional chess in 2005, was given a wild card entry for the event’s Rapid and Blitz competition.

“Ready to see if I remember how to move the pieces! Will I be able to announce my re-retirement afterward if not?!,” Kasparov himself tweeted sardonically. At 54, Kasparov is the oldest player in the field, followed by another legend, India’s Viswanathan Anand, 47, now ranked 12th in the world. Current world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway will also play at the tournament, as will Hikaru Nakamura, ranked second in the world.

Wayne Rooney Makes Stunning Return to Everton from ManU

England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney completed a move back to his first club Everton last fortnight, the player told the Press Association in a statement. The 31-year-old — who had become a peripheral figure under Jose Mourinho last season — signed a two year contract with Everton bringing the curtain down on 13 trophy-laden years at Manchester United.

Rooney — whose move comes the day after United announced they had agreed terms with Everton over buying their leading scorer Romelu Lukaku — will hope the move also revives his international career which also stalled last season. “It is some time since I said that the only Premier League club I would play for other than Manchester United was Everton, so I am delighted that the move has happened,” he said in a statement to The Press Association.