Cricket

Weekly Digest (May 24-30): From Chelsea’s Champions League triumph to UAE hosting the remainder of IPL 2021


From Chelsea’s thrilling Champions League title victory to the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) being moved to the UAE, here are the top sporting headlines from the week gone by.

FOOTBALL

Kai Havertz’s first half goal was enough for Chelsea to beat Manchester City 1-0 and secure its second Champions League trophy. (REPORT)

Chelsea players celebrate their Champions League victory.   –  GETTY IMAGES

 

Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli scored the decisive penalty and saved his counterpart David de Gea’s attempt as the Spanish team claimed its first European title. (REPORT)

Villarreal players celebrate with the UEFA Europa League trophy after defeating Manchester United via a penalty shootout during the final in Gdansk.   –  Getty Images

 

London club Brentford sealed its place amongst the top flight for the first time in 74 years thanks to a dominant 2-0 win over Swansea City in the Championship playoff final. (REPORT)

David Alaba has signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid. He is the club’s first signing ahead of the next campaign. (REPORT)

Luciano Spalletti has been named the new coach of Napoli, succeeding Gennaro Gattuso, the Serie A club confirmed. (REPORT)

Neymar hit back at sportswear maker Nike Inc, saying the company’s statement that it terminated an endorsement deal because he refused to cooperate with an investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a Nike employee was “an absurd lie”. (REPORT)

Massimiliano Allegri has been appointed as the new Juventus coach, succeeding Andrea Pirlo, who was sacked after his maiden season, returning to the club for a second spell in charge. (REPORT)

Massimiliano Allegri won five Serie A titles in a row in his first spell in Turin between 2014 and 2019.   –  Getty Images

 

A pandemic-era rule giving competition organisers the option to let teams use five substitutes in a match was extended through 2022. (REPORT)

The All India Football Federation has decided to extend Indian football team coach Igor Stimac’s contract until September. (REPORT)

Simone Inzaghi has confirmed that he is leaving his role as Lazio coach as he prepares to take over from Antonio Conte at Serie A champion Inter Milan. (REPORT)

Antonio Conte has left Inter after he had been left unhappy with plans to reduce investment and cut costs due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

Zinedine Zidane is stepping down as Real Madrid coach, again, four days after a season in which Madrid failed to win a title for the first time in 11 seasons. (REPORT)

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane always resisted talk of a long career as Real Madrid coach, saying in December: “I’m never going to be the Alex Ferguson of Madrid. I want to enjoy myself.”   –  AP

 

Former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick signed a two-year contract on Tuesday to take over Germany after the end the European Championship this summer. (REPORT

CRICKET

The remainder of the Indian Premier League  season (IPL 2021) will be held in the United Arab Emirates during the September-October window. In a Special General Meeting chaired by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Saturday, the BCCI confirmed to the State units that the tournament will have to be shifted out of India on account of ‘monsoon.’ (REPORT)

The BCCI is looking for an alternate window to resume the IPL-14 season this year.   –  SPORTZPICS

 

The ICC on Friday announced the playing conditions for the final of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship. The Test will have an extra day (June 23) set aside to make up for any lost time during the regular days of the final. (REPORT)

India batter Jemimah Rodrigues will play for Northern Superchargers in the inaugural edition of The Hundred. The 20-year-old joins her T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, opener Shafali Verma and all-rounder Deepti Sharma in the 100-ball tournament involving eight men’s and women’s teams. (REPORT)

The England and Wales Cricket Board is unlikely to release its players for the remainder of the IPL 2021 – set to be held in the UAE in September. England’s cricket director Ashley Giles on Thursday said that the ECB will not tweak its home schedule for any reason. (REPORT)

Chris Gayle, ace Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan and senior South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis will feature in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League to be played in St Kitts & Nevis from August 28 to September 19. (REPORT)

Mithali Raj is looking forward to working with Ramesh Powar, keeping aside the issues they had during the latter’s previous stint as head coach of the women’s team. (REPORT)

India ODI and Test captain Mithali Raj with fast bowler Jhulan Goswami at a training session.   –  FILE PHOTO/ VIJAY SONEJI

 

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal has paid a fine of PKR 4.5 million to the Pakistan Cricket Board, which now entitles him to join its anti-corruption rehabilitation programme. The fine was imposed on him by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for breaching PCB’s anti-corruption code. (REPORT)

The compensation promised to India’s first-class players after the 2020 Ranji Trophy season stood cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be disbursed as State units have still not sent in the requisite details, according to BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal. (REPORT)

TENNIS

World number two Naomi Osaka had to dig deep to defeat Romanian Patricia Maria Tig 6-4, 7-6(4) as the four-time Grand Slam winner began her French Open campaign on the opening day on Sunday hoping to improve on her record at the clay-court major. (REPORT)

Naomi Osaka

Japan’s Naomi Osaka during her first round match of the French Open tennis tournament on Sunday.   –  AP

 

Osaka, however, could be expelled from the French Open if she continues to boycott post-match news conferences at the tournament, the board of Grand Slam tennis tournaments said on Sunday. Osaka had earlier said on Twitter that she would not be attending press conferences at the clay court Grand Slam. (REPORT)

Two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem was knocked out in the first round of the French Open by Spanish journeyman Pablo Andujar 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the first major upset of the claycourt Grand Slam on Sunday. (REPORT)

Dominic Thiem of Austria and Pablo Andujar of Spain shake hands at the net after their First Round match during Day One of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros.   –  Getty Images

 

Venus Williams will team up with teenager Coco Gauff – less than half her age – for a tilt at the French Open doubles title. (REPORT)

Coco and Venus

Coco Gauff, 17, burst onto the scene in 2019 when she knocked out her idol Venus Williams in the opening round at Wimbledon before claiming another upset win over the 40-year-old, seven-time Grand Slam champion at last year’s Australian Open.   –  Getty Images

 

Novak Djokovic enjoyed success at his own tennis centre when he won the Belgrade Open with a 6-4 6-3 win over Slovakian Alex Molcan in Saturday’s final but his performance left a lot to be desired ahead of the French Open. (REPORT)

World number one Novak Djokovic said on Thursday that he would reconsider taking part in the Tokyo Olympics if spectators were banned from attending. (REPORT)

India’s Sumit Nagal was defeated in straight sets in the second round of the French Open Qualifying in Paris on Wednesday, meaning he will not be able to make his third appearance in a row in Grand Slams. (REPORT)

Expanding the Davis Cup Finals to more venues will help attract more fans and avoid some of the late finishes that hurt the revamped event’s first edition, organisers said Thursday. (REPORT)

BADMINTON

Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal’s slim hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Games ended after the governing body (BWF) announced that there would be no further tournaments inside the qualification period. (REPORT)

Saina Nehwal

BWF was forced to cancel or postpone the last three qualifiers — India Open, Malaysia Open and Singapore Open, leaving players, including Srikanth and Saina, with no chance to earn a qualification.   –  AP

 

Reigning Olympic champion shuttler Carolina Marin suffered a freak knee injury during training, leaving her doubtful for the Tokyo Games (REPORT)

Pullela Gopi Chand says a good mix of foreign and Indian coaches is important for the development of the badminton system. (REPORT)

ATHLETICS

Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has been granted a visa to travel to France to get a few competitions under his belt in the build up to the Tokyo Olympics. (REPORT)

Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra: “I really needed to take part in competitions before the Olympics. I had approached TOPS (Target Olympic Podium scheme) to help me get the visa and I feel lucky that so much effort has been taken to make this happen.”   –  AP

 

Legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh was on Sunday, discharged from a private hospital where he was getting treatment for COVID-19 infection even as he continues to be on oxygen support. (REPORT)

Star South African athlete Caster Semenya failed again on Friday in Durban to qualify for the 5,000 metres at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (REPORT)

American Kenneth Bednarek edged out Canadian Andre De Grasse by one-hundredth of a second in a scintillating 200 metres race at Friday’s Doha Diamond League meeting on a night when Kenyans dominated the middle-distance competitions. (REPORT)

Nigeria has agreed to host next month’s African Athletics Championship as a replacement for Algeria, keeping alive an opportunity for many athletes to achieve Olympic qualification. (REPORT)

BOXING

Pooja Rani Bohra collected her second continental title to bring cheers to the Indian camp after Mary Kom and Lalbuatsaihi won silver medals at the Asian boxing championships on Sunday. (REPORT)

The AIBA has repaid a $10 million debt to Azeri company Benkons LLC, with the governing body trying to restore its status after years of financial irregularities and governance issues. (REPORT)

SHOOTING

The reigning World No.1 Elavenil Valarivan gave a glimpse of her readiness to shoot the big scores in women’s air rifle, as she put up a score of 630.4 in the MQS section of the European championship in Osijek, Croatia, on Monday. (REPORT) Find more results from the tournament here.

Elavenil Valarivan   –  THE HINDU

 

Rifle coach Oleg Mikhailov and pistol coach Pavel Smirnov will be the only instructors staying with Indian shooters for the entire duration of the Tokyo Olympics, with the others serving the team in turns as per a ruling necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

The Indian Olympic Association is yet to ratify the hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships for the lack of an “in-person” meeting amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

WRESTLING

Bajrang Punia is confident that his decision to skip the Ranking Series tournament in Poland in order to train in Russia will give him some much-needed sparring with world class wrestlers. (REPORT)

MOTORSPORT

Fabio Quartararo dedicated his Italian Grand Prix win to 19-year-old racer Jason Dupasquier, who died following a crash in qualifying at the Mugello Circuit. (REPORT)

Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo waved the Swiss flag at the podium in honour of Jason Dupasquier.   –  AP

 

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez said he had considered a break in racing after the Spanish GP, as he struggles with his comeback from injury, but decided to continue after encouraging discussions with his doctors. (REPORT)

Australian Jack Miller will continue with the Ducati Moto GP team next season. (REPORT)

HOCKEY

Indian women’s hockey team defender Reena Khokhar said she is focussed on staying at the top of her game and remain fit to secure a place in the Tokyo Games-bound squad. (REPORT)

Indian men’s hockey team defender Jarmanpreet Singh has stressed the importance of mental fitness ahead of the Tokyo Olympics amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

Hockey India has inducted 126 new umpires and technical officials into its panel, making them eligible to officiate in domestic tournaments in the sub-junior and junior categories. (REPORT)

The Mohali International Hockey Stadium was officially renamed after the legendary Balbir Singh Sr on the occasion of his first death anniversary. (REPORT)

TABLE TENNIS

With the Embassy of Slovenia closed due to the prevailing lockdown in the Capital, an Indian table tennis team scheduled to leave for Paralympic Games trials in Slovenia is staring at the possibility of missing the event due to non-issuance of visas. (REPORT)



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