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Monthly Archives: MARCH 2016


Gruesome Murder of National-level Kabaddi Player Sukhvinder Narwhal's On Camera
16.03.16 - pt team
Gruesome Murder of National-level Kabaddi Player Sukhvinder Narwhal's On Camera



National-level kabaddi player Sukhvinder Narwhal’s murder in broad daylight in Rohtak has been recorded by security cameras at a house near the killing scene. The athlete was shot dead yesterday by two men when he was walking back home from practice, in his village in Haryana.  
 
In the video, Narwhal appears to be talking on his cellphone as two men in a scooter approach him. Without warning, they start to shoot at him and he falls to the ground after taking a bullet. Both the killers were wearing black pants, one wearing neon pink sneakers.
 
According to a report in Sportskeeda, after Narwhal falls on the ground the killers get off the scooter, and proceed to shoot him over and over in the head. At one point, the kabaddi player, lying on the ground, turns over to his side before slowly falling back on the ground.
 
The murderers have yet to be identified by the Haryana police, who are searching for them.
 
This is not the first time that a kabaddi player has been attacked in broad daylight. Just three months ago, another player named Deepak Kumar was killed after two men on a motorcycle shot him in a deserted part of Rohtak.
He lay on the roadside for nearly half an hour after the incident before his brother arrived and helped him. 
 
(Courtesy : Sportskeeda)




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NBA’s Search For Basketball Superstars Finds Gold Ore In Punjabi Youth
14.03.16 - SHASHANK BENGALI*
NBA’s Search For Basketball Superstars Finds Gold Ore In Punjabi Youth



Loveneet Singh Atwal was just a scrawny fifth-grader, still learning his way around the basketball courts of his native Punjab, when he persuaded his father to let him get a tattoo.

The letters on his right biceps spell "N-B-A."

Loveneet, now 20, found himself tantalizingly close to his dream in February when he was one of 32 promising young players from the subcontinent invited to compete for a tryout with the NBA (National Basketball Association) Development League, the organization's minor league.

With his gray Nikes and Air Jordan socks stuffed into a suitcase, Loveneet arrived at a plush private sports complex outside New Delhi, a far cry from the derelict state-funded academy where he trained as a boy. After a four-day camp, coaches would select one hopeful to compete at the D-League trials, moving him a step closer to an almost unthinkable opportunity: to become the first one from the subcontinent to play in the NBA.

"It's my dream, it's my family's dream," Loveneet said. "I want to go to America."

The talent search was the latest piece of the NBA's full-court press into the world's second most populous nation.

More than other major U.S. sports leagues, the NBA has adopted a strategy to expand its global reach and now generates hundreds of millions of dollars a year from broadcasting and licensing deals in China, Brazil and other foreign markets. While NBA franchises earned $5.2 billion domestically last season, the league's international business is growing -- and could get a major boost from India's 1.25 billion people.

Setting out to create a basketball culture almost from scratch, the league has deployed dozens of coaches across India to teach the game on pockmarked courts and in stuffy public gyms. It has launched a traveling festival and three-on-three tournament that will reach 24 cities this year and made basketball part of the physical-education curriculum in more than 1,000 schools.

The NBA has also stepped up efforts to find a homegrown star to carry its banner in a country where less than half of 1% of the population plays basketball.

"The goal is to show that 11-year-old out there who loves the game that there is a pathway to success," said Yannick Colaco, the NBA's managing director in India. "But it's also about spreading the game and getting people in this country to appreciate basketball as a great sport."

As it stands, India's basketball infrastructure is weak. Scott Flemming, an American who coached the Indian men's national team until last year, said that at government-run gyms, holes in the hardwood courts were stuffed with cement or wads of paper. Hydraulics on baskets were often broken, so a regulation 10-foot-high rim would sink to 8 feet by the end of a two-hour practice.

In addition, most players come to the game too late.

"The best players in India don't start playing until they're 13 or 14 years old, whereas in other countries kids are playing a lot at age 7 or 8," said Flemming, now the head coach at Northwest Nazarene University, a Division-II school in Idaho.

NBA officials said they are confident basketball will catch on with an expanding Indian middle class that has shown a taste for fast-paced international games like soccer. Even staid cricket, long India's most popular sport, has updated its appeal with a condensed, flashier version that packs the languorous game into three-hour matches -- with pompom-wielding cheerleaders gyrating on the sidelines.
The NBA's TV audience in India tripled in 2015 from the previous year, but the average game still draws just 300,000 viewers -- half the population of Memphis, the smallest market with an NBA team.

"NBA basketball has the largest opportunity of any sport in this country," Colaco said. "Consumers want what the NBA has."

What the league doesn't have yet is India's answer to Yao Ming, the towering Chinese star who helped basketball explode in his native country after he entered the league with the Houston Rockets in 2002. A Chinese Internet company, Tencent, recently agreed to pay an estimated $500 million over five years for the rights to stream NBA games and highlights.

At the start of this season, league rosters included players from 37 countries and territories. Vivek Ranadive, an Indian-born businessman who is majority owner of the Sacramento Kings, said that "as more [Indian] children learn and play the game, they'll look for superstars to call their own."

Ranadive has injected a subcontinental flair into his franchise with annual Bollywood-themed home games. Last year the Kings signed Sikh-Canadian Sim Singh Bhullar — whose parents emigrated from Punjab — to a 10-day contract, making the 7-foot-5 Canadian the first person of Indian descent to play in the NBA. He was then sent back to the D-League.

A few months later, the Dallas Mavericks made another big man, Sikh-American Satnam Singh Bhamara, the first born on the subcontinent to be selected in the NBA draft when the team chose him as the 52nd overall pick.

Satnam, who is currently in the D-League and stands a good chance of being promoted to the NBA in a few years, also hails from Punjab, a sports-crazed northern state. At the Ludhiana Basketball Academy, a dilapidated facility that has often lacked running water and air-conditioning, he played alongside Loveneet, who stands more than a foot shorter at 5-foot-11.

Loveneet learned the game from his father, a former player who began teaching him and his twin brother, Khushmeet Singh, at age 7. Both boys became standout guards, but the sinewy Loveneet became known for his breakneck speed, no-look passes and swagger worthy of his idol, the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose.

He played in junior tournaments across Asia and chronicled his rise on Facebook and Instagram: splitting a pair of Syrian defenders during a game in Mongolia, being guarded by former NBA all-defensive player Raja Bell at an NBA event in India, flashing his six-pack in the weight room.

When the NBA launched its talent search last fall, Laoveneet had already started a career at Indian Railways, a government agency that recruited him to play for its basketball team, which competes nationally. He makes $400 a month as a ticket collector -- an above-average salary in India -- but gets little time on court.

"They don't play that many games," said Carlos Barroca, a former Portuguese national coach who now runs the NBA's training programs in India. "Players have the talent and the desire, but the way the system is set up here they can spend months without competition."

In December, the NBA held a daylong event in Mumbai to select players for the national tryout. Loveneet showed up slightly out of shape -- having spent the previous month at a railways training center several hours away, with no basketball court. But he still dominated most of the other 18-to-22-year-olds and easily advanced.

For the national tryout last month, the NBA and its partner, pharmaceutical conglomerate ACG, reserved a palatial gym with four indoor courts in Greater Noida, a New Delhi exurb. In addition to the player selected for the D-League trials, four others would be chosen to represent India in an international three-on-three tournament this year.

On the last morning of the camp, Loveneet started at point guard in front of several international NBA coaches and brimmed with intensity. He drained a three-point shot at one end of the floor, then was called for a foul on defense. He screamed, drawing stares from the coaches.

A teammate came over and put a hand on his head. Loveneet walked over to the referee and shook his hand in a gesture of apology.

Moments later, on a fast break, Loveneet tried a no-look pass to his center, who fumbled the ball out of bounds. He glared at the rafters in frustration.

When the final whistle blew, his team had lost. He walked off the court rubbing his knees, which were bruised from two hard falls.

Barroca called the players to the center of the floor, congratulated everyone and began reading the names of the top 10 players. At No. 6, Barroca said, "This breaks my heart," and announced Loveneet's name.
Loveneet's English is spotty, and it took him a few minutes to realize he had come up one place short. He stood in a corner of the floor, clutching the black high-tops he was given as consolation.

"Hard luck, man," another player said.

The winner of the D-League tryout, Palpreet Singh, 21, had a prototypical NBA body: 6-foot-8 with big, soft hands. He had only been playing since 2010, but coaches loved his footwork and planned to tailor a training program to get him ready for the trials in June.

Barroca said that Loveneet was a little too small and not yet skilled enough at cutting to the basket.

Loveneet said that he would like another shot at the NBA. "I know I only have eight or nine more years that I can play, and then my body won't be as strong," he said. "But I will keep trying."

Two weeks after the tryout, he was back at the railways training center, jogging and lifting weights, but taking a short break from basketball while he studied for a civil service exam.

[Courtesy: *The Los Angeles Times. ]




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For last 60 years, It's been Indian batting vs Pakistani bowling : Shahid Afridi
13.03.16 -
For last 60 years, It's been Indian batting vs Pakistani bowling : Shahid Afridi



It has traditionally been a battle between India's batting and Pakistan's bowling whenever the arch-rivals have met on a cricket field and Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi reckons the trend will continue in their World Twenty20 contest on Saturday.

Pakistan were the last team to land in India, putting aside safety concerns that led to the switching of their match against India from Dharamsala to Kolkata's Eden Gardens.

With the uncertainty around their participation finally over, Afridi had no doubts that the onus, as always, will be on the Pakistani bowlers to trump an Indian lineup teeming with match-winners.

"I think this has been the case over the last 60 years,” the all-rounder told reporters in Kolkata.

Pakistan, who begin their Super 10 campaign on Wednesday against the winner of Sunday's qualifier between Bangladesh and Oman, have never beaten India in a World Cup.

Afridi was confident that his bowling unit, bolstered by paceman Mohammad Amir's return from a fixing ban, can help break the jinx with a slightly improved performance from their inconsistent batting colleagues.

"Our bowling attack is pretty good. You have Mohammad Amir and (Mohammad) Irfan. (Mohammad) Sami is also back and then there is Wahab Riaz. The fast bowling attack overall is very strong.

"If our batsmen, according to team plans, can give us a defendable total, I'm confident (the bowlers can clinch it).

"We also have two quality spinners in Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz. If you look at the entire bowling unit, I'm very confident (of doing well),” said Afridi, who tops the wicket-takers' list in the shortest format with 93 scalps.

The leg-spinner was also enthused by Pakistan's record at Eden Gardens, where they have prevailed in all four matches against India.

"We have good memories of the ground,” Afridi said.

"We have played well at this ground, we know the conditions and the pitch suits us as well.” Afridi denied the uncertainty over their participation was a distraction for his team and said he always enjoyed playing in India.

"In very few countries I enjoyed cricket more than I did in India,” the 36-year-old said.

"I would always remember the love my team and I got from the fans here.

"We got a lot of love here, we did not get this much love even in Pakistan, I can tell you. We always enjoyed playing here.”




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Vijender clinches fourth successive professional win, Beats Horvath
12.03.16 -
Vijender clinches fourth successive professional win, Beats Horvath



There was no stopping Indian boxing star Vijender Singh as he notched up his fourth successive knockout professional win by pummelling Hungary’s Alexander Horvath in less than three rounds on Saturday.

Vijender had little trouble outpunching his opponent, who failed to get up after being thrown off balance by his body blows in the third round.

"I don’t know what happened to him, I think he was looking to get out by making an excuse. It’s a good start to the year for me. I am happy to register another knockout win. I think this is a great start for me looking ahead to my WBO Asia title bout in India (on June 11) this year,” Vijender said after the bout.

"My target is to win the Asia title in front of my home crowd and looking forward to register two more knockout wins in April before I play in India,” he added.

The 30-year-old Indian, who went into contest on the back of three successive knockout triumphs, continued to be a cut above his rivals, who talk big but deliver little inside the ring reports PTI.

The 20-year-old Horvath, with an experience of seven pro fights before Saturday, had been dining on snake blood to prepare himself but it seemed the bizarre routine helped little in countering the ferocity of India’s first Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist.

Vijender walked into the arena to the trademark beats of popular Bollywood song ‘Singh is King’ and was cheered vociferously by the sizeable Indian community present inside.

The Indian took barely a few seconds to get a measure of his rival and once that was done, Vijender landed some telling jabs to unsettle Horvath, who spat out his gum shield twice in the opening round itself.

Vijender did exceptionally well in commanding the pace of the bout and managed to drain the Hungarian in the second round itself.

Horvath’s body language was sluggish while Vijender executed his counter-attacks with the right mix of confidence and power.

Horvath’s agony ended barely a minute into the third round when Vijender’s body blows brought him to his knees, giving the Indian his fourth knockout triumph.

Vijender will next be seen in action on April 2, the opponent and venue for which would be decided later. PTI




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Wasn't warned five times: Maria Sharapova slams critcs, media on Facebook
12.03.16 - ekjot singh
Wasn't warned five times: Maria Sharapova slams critcs, media on Facebook



On late Friday night Maria Sharapova hit back at reports that said  that she was warned five times that the drug she was taking, meldonium, had been added to the banned list.
 
The former world No1, who faces a lengthy suspension after testing positive at Australian Open in January, admits she failed to open one email received on 22 December. But in a statement on her Facebook page posted on late Friday night, the former world No1 defended herself and said the reports were inaccurate. She also clarified how often she took the drug. The Russian also said that she was not willing to pretend to have an injury to keep the news quiet.
 
"A report said that I had been warned five times about the upcoming ban on the medicine I was taking. That is not true and it never happened,” she said. "That’s a distortion of the actual ‘communications’ which were provided or simply posted on to a webpage”.
 
"I make no excuses for not knowing about the ban. I already told you about the December 22, 2015 email I received. Its subject line was "Main Changes to the Tennis  Anti-Doping Programme for 2016.” I should have paid more attention to it. But the other "communications”? They were buried in newsletters, websites or handouts.”
 
In her post Sharapova said she received another email on 18 December, entitled "Player News”, inside which was a warning buried deep down. "In order to be aware of this ‘warning’, you had to open an email with a subject line having nothing to do with anti-doping, click on a webpage, enter a password, enter a username, hunt, click, hunt, click, hunt, click, scroll and read. I guess some in the media can call that a warning. I think most people would call it too hard to find.”
 
Sharapova also said the warning contained a different name for the medication she was taking. Her lawyer told the media earlier this week that she had been prescribed mildronate but she tested positive for meldonium. The ITF also told the media that she had been sent five email notifications. The Russian posted a photo of a "wallet card” which was handed out at tournaments after the ban began. "This document had thousands of words on it, many of them technical, in small print,” she said. "Should I have studied it? Yes. But if you saw this document, you would know what I mean. Again, no excuses, but it’s wrong to say I was warned five times.”
 
On Monday the former world No1 Sharapova said she had been taking the drug for 10 years. The manufacturers recommend a four- to six-week course of treatment, two to three times per year, with only a doctor able to recommend a longer course of treatment. "I didn’t take the medicine every day,” she said. "I took it the way my doctor recommended I take it and I took it in the low doses recommended.” And Sharapova said she had refused to fake an injury just to keep the news quiet. "I’m proud of how I have played the game. I have been honest and upfront. I won’t pretend to be injured so I can hide the truth about my testing,” she said.
 
Sharapova said that she is eager to have her hearing with ITF officials so she can give her side of the story.
 
 "I look forward to the ITF hearing at which time they will receive my detailed medical records.
 
"I hope I will be allowed to play again. But no matter what, I want you, my fans, to know the truth and have the facts.”




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