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India win 7 medals at World Youth Chess Championship

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chess

Mumbai: R Praggnanandhaa emerged as unconquered king in the World Youth Chess Championship here, claiming the gold in the Under-18 Open category.

The 14-year-old Grand Master from Chennai settled for a cautious draw in the 11th and final round against Valentin Buckels (Germany) to top the charts with nine points.

He, however, will also have to thank compatriot, International Master Arjun Kalyan for achieving a crucial draw against top seeded Shant Sargsyan (Armenia).

Praggnanandhaa would have been under pressure if Grand Master Shant had won. But Shant could not unravel a determined Arjun, allowing Praggnanandhaa to annex the title.

The Championship ended on a high note for India, with six other medals, including three silver, coming their way.

Only the Under-16 Girls category proved tough for India, although B M Akshaya gave a good account of herself.

Akshaya lost the medal to Anousha Mahdian, suffering an unexpected defeat to her in the final round.

But Indian girls in the Under-14 segment compensated for it, with Divya Deshmukh and Rakshitta Ravi winning two medals.

Top seed Womens International Master Divya, who seemed to be out of contention midway through the event, pulled off a well thought-out victory in the last round to clinch silver.

Rakshitta too beat overnight leader Bat-Erdene Mungunzul on the top board to earn the bronze.

Kazakhstan’s Meruert Kamalidenova, however, was the star of this category, registering five straight wins to clinch the gold.

Fide Master L R Srihari (Under-14 Open) and Vantika Agrawal (Under-16 Girls) collected other two silver medals for India, playing out draws in their respective matches.

Vantika had an outside chance of pocketing the gold, especially after top seed Polina Shuvalova (8.5) settled for a draw.

Vantika, with eight points, however, couldn’t beat Alexandra Obolentseva of Russia, and finished half a point behind Shuvalova.

Srihari (8), who was in contention for the gold at the start of the penultimate day, endured draws in the last two rounds to slip to the second position.

S Maralakshikari won the bronze, after beating the surprise package of the championship, R Abinandhan.

CM Aronyak Ghosh (8) claimed the other bronze for the country in the Under-16 Open category after drawing with Iran’s Arash Daghli.

He will, however, look back at the WYCC as a missed opportunity, after accepting a quick draw in the penultimate round.

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Shooting News

SAI cancels ‘pay and play’ membership of fighting shooters

Press Trust of India

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NRAI

New Delhi: The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has cancelled the membership of the two marksmen involved in a scuffle inside the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range here while the national federation has asked its Athletes Commission to launch an inquiry into the incident.

Ugly scenes were witnessed at the range on Sunday when the two errant shooters — Babar Khan and Yoginder Pal Singh, a former member of the Indian double trap team, got into a fight after an argument regarding the scheduling of rounds.

The breach of discipline forced the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to act against the shooters.

“The NRAI has referred the matter to the Athletes Commission and asked them to look into it, send them a notice and launch an inquiry. Meanwhile, their ‘pay and play’ scheme membership has been cancelled by SAI,” an official of the federation said.

Fellow shooters and coaches present there at the time of the incident had to physically restrain the two and bring the situation under control.

A video clip of the incident was also circulated.

The Karni Singh Range is a property of Sports Authority of India and shooters are are allowed to use the facility under SAI’s ‘pay and play’ scheme.

The NRAI’s Athletes Commission is headed by former international shooters Morad Ali Khan and also comprises Ashok Mittal, Vikram Batnagar, Anuja Jung and Sonia Rai.

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Athletics

Two much fun for Belihu, Gemechu at Airtel Delhi Half Marathon

Sayan Mukherjee

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ADHM 2019
Andamlak Belihu bettered his timing by eight seconds this year.

New Delhi: Ethiopians trumped Kenyans in a long-standing rivalry between the two East African middle and long distance running powerhouses as Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu defended their Airtel Delhi Half Marathon titles on Sunday.

Belihu clocked 59:10 to retain the men’s title at the 15th edition of the event while Gemechu (66:00) reset the event record, producing her personal best timing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Belihu improved by eight seconds on last year’s timing at the IAAF Gold Label Race, finishing ahead of compatriot Solomon Berihu (59:17) and Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie (59:33).

Ethiopia’s Guye Adola (59.06) set the course record in 2014, Belihu came up short by only 4 seconds.

In the women’s section, Ethiopians swept the podium as Gemechu was followed by Yelamzerf Yehualaw (1:06:01) and Zeineba Yimer (1:06:57).

Last year, Gemechu had produced a personal best of 66:50 to set a course record. The 21-year-old shaved off 50 seconds off her 2018 timing.

The winners got richer by $27,000 first prize. Gemechu pocketed an additional $10,000, for setting the course record.

“I am happy to have broken the course record. I was tired after participating at the World Championships in Doha. But I wanted to win in Delhi. I am very happy to have achieved my personal best as well,” said Gemechu.

Belihu said he was disappointed o have missed the course record by such a small margin.

“I am a bit disappointed to have missed the course record but overall it was a good race. I plan to run a few marathons and half marathons. But it depends on my training. I need to discuss with my coach before taking a call,” he said.

Among Indians, Srinu Bugatha topped in the men’s section with a timing of 1:4:33. Three- time ADHM champ Suresh Patel (1:04:57) was second, ahead of Harshad Mhatre (1:05:12).

In women’s section for Indians, Loganathan Suriya, the course record holder, triumphed with a timing of 1:12:49, followed by Parul Chaudhary (1:13:55) and Chinta Yadav (1:15:28).

Sports minister Kiren Rijiju, event ambassador Carmelita Jeter were present at the event to encourage the athletes.

Find more articles from the author at Sayan Mukherjee.

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Boxing

Mary Kom ready to fight Zareen in trials, says it would be a “formality”

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Nikhat Zareen & Mary Kom

New Delhi: “I am not scared to face Nikhat Zareen,” avowed celebrated boxer MC Mary Kom, saying it would just be a “formality” to beat her in the trials for the Olympic qualifiers.

Mary Kom (51kg) found herself embroiled in a controversy with Zareen demanding a trial bout against her before the Indian squad for next year’s Olympic qualifiers is decided.

This was after the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) stated that it intends to pick six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) for the event in China on the back of her recent bronze medal-winning performance at the World Championships in Russia.

“The decision has been taken by BFI. I can’t change the rule. I can just perform. Whatever they decide, I will go with that. I’m not scared to face her, I am fine with the trials,” said Mary Kom on the sidelines of a felicitation program here.

“I have defeated her many times since SAF Games but she keeps challenging me. I mean, what is the point? It is just a formality. BFI also knows who can win a medal at Olympics.”

Mary Kom said “people are jealous of me”.

“It has happened with me in the past also. Perform on the ring, that is the real thing. BFI sends us for exposure trips so comeback with a gold, prove yourself,” she said.

“I am not against her. She might be good in future, let her have the experience and focus on preparation for the highest level. I have been fighting for last 20 years. To challenge is easy but to perform is difficult.”

For selection of men’s team, BFI had decided that the medallists of the World Championships will be sent directly to the first Olympic qualifiers to be held in China.

In women’s competition, BFI had said in August that only the gold and silver winners at the World Championships in Russia would be selected directly for the Olympic qualifiers in February.

However, BFI now has decided to call a selection committee meeting next week to discuss Zareen’s plea.

Mary Kom said there should be gender quality in the selection criteria.

“I don’t care about all this. Let BFI take the decision. There should be gender equality, can’t have separate rules for men and women.”

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