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J&K boy qualifies for winter olympics, granted Rs 17.46 lakh for training

Winter Olympics-bound Arif Khan has been granted financial support of Rs 17.46 lakhs for his training in Europe after his inclusion in the TOPS Core group, the Sports Ministry said on Friday.

The 31-year-old Khan is the first Indian athlete to qualify for two events at the Winter Olympic Games, scheduled to be held in Beijing from February 4. Khan will compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events.

“The Sports Ministry’s Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) has approved the inclusion of Alpine Skiing athlete Md Arif Khan in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Core group, until the Winter Olympics, scheduled this February in Beijing, China,” the Ministry said in a statement. “He has also been approved an amount of Rs 17.46 Lakh under TOPS towards training in Europe and procurement of equipment, ahead of the grand event in China.”

Khan’s current training base is in Austria, where he is accompanied by his coach and physio.

“The MOC approved the European training camp for Khan for a total of 35 days, which started since his qualification for the Winter Olympics.”

A month after securing his quota in the alpine skiing slalom category in an Olympic qualifier in Dubai, Khan won the quota in the giant slalom in a competition in Montenegro in December last year.

The feat earned Jammu and Kashmir based Khan the unique distinction of becoming the first Indian to win direct quota spots in two different Winter Olympics events.

The Gulmarg-based athlete had won two gold medals, in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events, at the 2011 South Asian Winter Games, held in Uttarakhand.

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Ranjji Trophy to be held in two phases: BCCI

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said that the postponed Ranji Trophy would be held in two phases starting next month, clearing the decks for India’s premier domestic competition to resume after being cancelled last season.

It is expected that the 33-team tournament will begin in the second week of February, and the first phase will continue for about a month.

The tournament was not held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was scheduled to begin on January 13 but was postponed due to the third wave of infections across the country.

The Board has decided to conduct the Ranji Trophy this season in two phases. In the first phase, we plan to complete all-league stage matches while the knockouts will be held in June,” Shah said in a statement.  My team is working closely to mitigate any health risk caused by the pandemic while at the same time ensuring a highly competitive red-ball cricket contest.”

Also Read: J&K: Massive CASO launched in two villages

Shah said that the BCCI understands the significance of the Ranji Trophy. Ranji Trophy is our most prestigious domestic competition, providing Indian Cricket with an enviable talent pool every year. Therefore, it is essential that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event,” he said.

The BCCI announcement has come a day after its treasurer Arun Dhumal had said that the Board intends to host the event.

The two phases are required since the BCCI also plans to host the IPL from March 27, and hosting two big tournaments would not be possible practically as the players’ availability would also be an issue.

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Para champions, Neeraj Chopra, Hockey star Vandana Katariya among Padma awardees

Four Paralympic medalists, including multiple medalist javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, Tokyo Paralympics double medallist shooter Avani Lekhara, gold medallist javelin thrower Sumit Antil and gold-winning para-shuttler Pramod Bhagat, were among the nine sportspersons who were conferred with the Padma awards on Tuesday.

While Jhajharia was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, the second-highest of the Padma awards, eight sportspersons, including Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra apart from Antil, Lekhara and Bhagat, were conferred with Padma Shri.

“I cannot express my gratitude in words to be conferred with Padma Bhushan, the second-highest Padma award. It is a recognition for the para-athlete community and me, and such awards bridge the gap between para-athletes and athletes.

I think there will be more responsibility after this award in terms of portraying the role in society and the country’s progress. It will also motivate me to help more and more players to achieve the same as me,” shared Jhajharia, who was conferred with Padma Shri in 2012 and won his third Paralympic medal in Tokyo.

23-year-old Haryana javelin thrower Sumit Antil, who won the gold medal in the F-64 category with a throw of 68.55 m in the Tokyo Paralympics, was earlier bestowed with the Khel Ratna last year. Antil, who had lost his leg in a bike accident, and watched his father Ram Kumar pass away to cancer in 2004, supported his mother Nirmala until he dedicated the award to his mother.

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Indian Cricketer Named as ICC women’s ODI cricketer of the year

India women cricket team opener Smriti Mandhana has been declared as the ICC women’s ODI cricketer for the year 2021. Mandhana tallied 855 runs in 22 internationals at an impressive average of 38.86 with one century and five half-centuries.

Despite India enduring a difficult 2021, Mandhana’s stock continued to rise this year. In the limited-overs series against South Africa where India won just two of the eight matches at home, Mandhana played a major role in both of the wins. She made 80 not out as India chased down 158 in the second ODI that helped them level the series and scored 48 not out in the win in the final T20I.

one-off Test against England that ended in a draw. She played an important knock of 49 in India’s only win in the ODI series. Her 15-ball 29 and fifty in the T20I series went in vain though as India fell short in both the matches and lost the series 2-1.

Mandhana was in good touch in the series against Australia, starting with the ODI series where she scored 86 in the second ODI. She compiled a brilliant century in the only Test (the first of her career) and was awarded the Player of the Match. She scored her second T20I fifty of the year in the final T20I, though India fell short and lost the series 2-0.

Mandhana made India’s first-ever pink-ball Test even more memorable by smashing her maiden century in the longest format. The left-hander played her natural game, to begin with, and scored a run-a-ball half-century, playing with caution under the lights.

Mandhana was caught on 80 but was given a reprieve after Ellyse Perry overstepped. She made the most of the lifeline, reaching her first Test century in style with a boundary. Her innings finally came to an end at 127, after putting India in a strong position. The match ended in a draw, and Mandhana was declared the Player of the Match.

 

Read more: Ahead of Republic Day, security heightened across J&K

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29 Jan 2022, 11:04 AM (GMT)

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