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Indian sports news and discussion
Chess Olympiad Round 4:

The men's team faced the US, which fielded an imported Russian-expat team. Sasikiran was rested.

Opponent: USA (seed 10)
1 GM Onischuk Alexander 2653 - GM Anand Viswanathan 2781 ½ - ½
2 GM Shabalov Alexander 2608 - GM Harikrishna Pentala 2612 0 - 1
3 GM Goldin Alexander 2620 - GM Kunte Abhijit 2550 0 - 1
4 GM Novikov Igor A 2588 - GM Sandipan Chanda 2543 1 - 0
Result: India wins 2.5-1.5

Opponent: Netherlands (seed 15)
1 IM Peng Zhaoqin 2420 - GM Koneru Humpy 2503 0 - 1
2 WGM Bosboom-Lanchava Tea 2352 - IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman 2411 ½ - ½
3 FM Schuurman Petra 2333 - WGM Harika Dronavalli 2391 ½ - ½
Result: India wins 2-1

1. Ukraine: 14.5
2. Israel: 14
3. Russia 12
4. Azerbaijan 12
5. Slovakia: 12
6. Armenia 11.5
7. France 11.5
8. Spain 11.5
9. Cuba 11.5
<b>10. India: 11.5</b>

1. China 11
2. Russia 9.5
3. Ukraine 9.5
4. England 9.5
5. Germany 9
<b>6. India 9</b>
7. France 9
8. Poland 8.5
9. USA 8.5
10. Vietnam 8.5

Round 5 Pairings:
Men: India (11.5 pts, 5th seed) vs Armenia (11.5 pts, 4th seed)
Women: India (9pts, 6th seed) vs Poland (7pts, 7th seed)
We should win both again, with a full-strength team (Sasikiran in for Chanda)
Indian women are doing much better.
Chess Olympiad Round 5

1 Ukraine 16.5
2 Israel 16.0
3 Azerbaijan 15.0
4 Russia 14.5
5 Bulgaria 14.5
6 Spain A 14.0
<b>7 India 14.0</b>
8 Netherlands 14.0
9 France 14.0
10 Poland 14.0

1 China 14.0
2 Russia 11.0
3 Ukraine 11.0
4 France 11.0
<b>5 India 10.5</b>
6 Germany 10.0
7 Poland 10.0
8 United States 10.0
9 Hungary 10.0
10 Georgia 10.0

Mens (vs 4th seeds Armenia)
1 GM Aronian Levon 2675 - GM Anand Viswanathan 2781 ½ - ½
2 GM Vaganian Rafael A 2640 - GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2668 ½ - ½
3 GM Lputian Smbat G 2634 - GM Harikrishna Pentala 2612 ½ - ½
4 GM Sargissian Gabriel 2611 - GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2559 0 - 1
Result: India won 2.5-1.5

Women (vs 7th seeds Poland)
1 GM Koneru Humpy 2503 - IM Radziewicz Iweta 2449 ½ - ½
2 IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman 2411 - IM Dworakowska Joanna 2393 ½ - ½
3 WGM Harika Dronavalli 2391 - WGM Zielinska Marta 2395 ½ - ½
Result: Drawn 1.5-1.5

Round 6 opponents:
Men: Netherlands (8th seeds)
Women: Hungary (10th seeds)

Again the opponents are beatable. Netherlands has Timman and Ven Wely, but they're not big shots. Hungary would have been scary if the Polgar sisters were present, but they're not. Judit Polgar is out of the event due to the birth of her kid, while Zsuzsa is playing for USA.
Chess Olympiad Round 6:

1 GM Anand Viswanathan 2781 - GM Van Wely Loek 2681 1 - 0
2 GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2668 - GM Tiviakov Sergei 2617 ½ - ½
3 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2559 - GM Van Den Doel Erik 2560 1 - 0
4 GM Kunte Abhijit 2550 - GM Nijboer Friso 2567 ½ - ½
Result: India won 3-1

1 IM Vajda Szidonia 2369 - GM Koneru Humpy 2503 1 - 0
2 WGM Gara Anita 2390 - IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman 2411 0 - 1
3 WGM Lakos Nikoletta 2359 - WGM Mohota Nisha 2286 ½ - ½
Drawn 1.5-1.5

1 Ukraine 19.0
2 Russia 18.0
3 Bulgaria 17.0
<b>4 India 17.0</b> (only team in mens event with no draws/losses so far)
5 Israel 16.5
6 Azerbaijan 16.5
7 Spain A 16.5
8 Armenia 16.5
9 Georgia 15.5
10 Slovakia 15.5

1 China 16.0
2 France 13.0
3 Russia 12.0
4 Ukraine 12.0
5 United States 12.0
<b>6 India 12.0</b>
7 Bulgaria 12.0
8 Armenia 12.0
9 Germany 11.5
10 Poland 11.5

Both men's and women's teams are on their way to their best ever Olympiad performances if they keep up. The men really ought to be #3 based on their spotless 6-0-0 record (Bulgaria are 5-0-1) but the latter are seeded #20 to our #5, so they are placed #3 according to rules. Anand's stratospheric ranking (World #2, 2781 ELO) increases our average rating and therefore seeding. On the women's side, Humpy lost. Had she won, we'd have been in an incredible position #3, above Russia, Ukraine and USA.

Round 7 opponents:
Men: #2 seeds Ukraine
Women: #10 seeds USA

Round 7 will be tough. Ukraine are on fire, especially Ivanchuk on board #1. USA will be hard too, with Zsuzsa Polgar on the top board. Anand has a good record against Ivanchuk, but I don't know about Ponomariov vs Sasikiran, since the former is much higher rated (2710 vs 2668). A draw would be creditable. A win would be awesome.
Updates on Chess Olympiad:
Men (5th seed)
Round 7: Lost to #2 seed Ukraine 1.5-2.5
Round 8: Beat #7 seed Spain 2.5-1.5
Round 9: Lost to #1 seed Russia 1.5-2.5

1. Ukraine 27
2. Russia 24.5
3. USA 24
4. Armenia 23
5. Israel 23
<b>6. India 22.5</b>
7. Bulgaria 22.5
8. Azerbaijan 22.5
9. Cuba 22.5
10. France 22.5

Women (6th seed)
Round 7: Drew #3 seed USA 1.5-1.5
Round 8: Beat 8th seed France 2-1
Round 9: Beat 5th seed Ukraine 2-1

1. China 23.5
2. Russia 17.5
3. USA 17.5
<b>4. India 17.5</b>
5. Hungary 17.5
6. Latvia 17
7. Sweden 17
8. Poland 16.5
9. Ukraine 16.5
10. Georgia 16.5

Our men faced their hardest two opponents in round 7 and 9, in Ukraine and Russia. Though we lost, it was by the narrowest possible margin, so positionally we are still very strong. The next few rounds should hopefully herald weaker opponents and the chance to push up our points tally enough to get into the medal position. Five rounds remain.

Round 10 pairings:
Men: vs 18th seed Cuba
Women: vs 2nd seed Russia

I hope the men win big in this round. All the three teams ranked above them now are facing harder opponents (Ukraine vs USA, Russia vs France). Women will have it tough. If they can hang on for a draw, they'll probably face the marauding Chinese next. Interestingly, the Indian women are the only team besides China to be undefeated in 9 rounds, though they have 3 draws - the Chinese have a 9-0-0 record. Five more rounds to go - 14 in all.
India's top woman Rower Sobhini found dead

Agencies/ Thiruvananthapuram

India's top woman rower and national champion since 1997 Sobhini was found dead under mysterious circumstances at her residence at Kuttanad in Alappuzha district, police said.

The player had allegedly consumed poison, police said.

Belonging to a farmers' family of poor means, the 21-year-old rower was believed to have been facing financial burden caused by the treatment of a back-bone ailment.
India to launch professional hockey league

Will they succeed ? Why dont people do something about a cricket league first ? The concept of sports-as-a-viable-profession needs to get plenty of mindshare first, methinks..
IHF has taken this step and hopefully the BCCI can rise from their pettiness and absolute lack of accountability as well.

Floodlights, miniskirts, 71 lakhs

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The National Premier League will make hockey the latest glam game with a whopping prize money purse of Rs 71 lakhs.

Taking a cue from the baseball league in the US, ice hockey in Canada or the football league in the UK, the Indian Hockey Federation has devised this whole new concept of hockey, which will kick off on January 13 next year at Hyderabad.

Apart from the name of the game, almost everything is different, even the team names. If the US circuit has basketball biggie Lakers and baseball team Red Sox, the India’s inaugural hockey Premier League will have teams like Sher-e-Jallandhar, Maratha Warriors, Chennai Veterans, Hyderabad Sultans, Bangalore High-Flyers, Delhi Dazzlers, Lucknow Nawabs, Imphal Rangers, Bengal Tigers and Chandigarh Dynamos.

If that’s not enough glamour, the soccer policy of having star foreign players like Cheema Okeries and Majid Baksars in club teams is also being allowed for the premier league.

Just like the ice hockey format, the Rs 71-lakh premier league would have two tiers with five teams each. The league will follow a round robin format with all teams playing each other twice.

To increase viewer interest in the sport, each game will have four quarters of 17 minutes and 30 seconds each, instead of two halves. "That would increase the speed of the game tremendously," said KPS Gill, Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) president.

The winner of Tier I will take home Rs 30 lakh while the runners up will get Rs 10 lakh. The winner of Tier II will get Rs 4 lakh and the runners up Rs 2.5 lakh.
The tournament, which would be held under flood lights at Hyderabad’s Gachchibawli stadium, would even have mini-skirt clad cheerleaders cheering for each team. Ask them why under flood lights and you’ll know they’ve covered each and every angle in their preparation. "So that people can come back from office, have a bath and watch the premier league. So that kids can come back from school and college, finish their homework and watch the premier league," answered Venkateish.

In fact, even Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar has shot for a premier league commercial, which would be on air in a few days, Venkatiesh informed.

Everythings cool except the cheerleaders. thats just overkill!

I hope so too.. If cricket cheerleaders are anything to go by, dont worry they will be sideshow - besides those cheerleaders are more for local audiences, not TV - lets see how it works out.

I still think the league system will work best if started with cricket. People need to go see the game in person even if tendlya is not playing. Package it with filmi stars, food, fireworks etc. I am from Ahmedabad and I tell you it is bound to succeed atleast in Ahmedabad. Us desis are veery social and if something gives us a chance to go where there are lots of people we will do it willingly. Every saturday and sunday you have a mad rush to go eat at the restaurants - reasons are simple - so they can talk about how they ate alu-mutter at xyz restaurant - we have to wait 3 hours at the restaurants but thats cool we just sit on our scooters and just talk about everything under the sun.

Now if there were cricket matches in floodlights with Aishwarya Rai visiting or a hasya kavi sammelan in the 'lunch' break - add some kind of betting to this and gujjus will rush to watch these games..
<!--QuoteBegin-vasu+Nov 18 2004, 04:37 AM-->QUOTE(vasu @ Nov 18 2004, 04:37 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->IHF has taken this step and hopefully the BCCI can rise from their pettiness and absolute lack of accountability as well.

Floodlights, miniskirts, 71 lakhs
Cant see my team here.Go Lucknow Nawabs.
Packing a punch

<img src='http://www.the-week.com/25jan09/IMGBOX/Stker.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
For hockey’s sake, field wears NBA look
<img src='http://www.indianexpress.com/ieimages/specials/anch1401.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
Check out the official website of premier hockey league


Taming the bull

It's seen as a part of the culture of rural Tamil Nadu and any talk of banning it meets with stiff resistance. SURESH NAMBATH on the sport of jallikattu.

A LONE bull against several hundred young men. But the contest is fairly even. When the animal is not running away from the men, the men are running away from the animal. In the end, however, the bull, though badly bruised, would have accounted for three or four youths: all gored to death.

Every year, about the time of Pongal, the harvest festival, the southern districts of Tamil Nadu play host to jallikattu, a rural sport that involves the taming of a bull by a crowd of unarmed youths in an open arena. Young men try to prove their valour by holding on to the hump of the bull for as long as they can. In the process, many are pierced by the horns, many more injured in the stampede caused by those fleeing from the scene of action, and the animal is put through great suffering. But the sport endures.

The origins of jallikattu date back several centuries. However, what was once a test of strength that pitted one man against a raging bull is now a free-for-all in a large open space. In the past, contenders for salli or coins in a kattu or bundle tied between the horns of the bull could also hope to win a bride from among the women who watched the game. Now, however, the rewards are household articles and some cash: young women are not so easily enamoured by bull-tamers. Fame too does not last for more than a few weeks and rarely travels beyond the hero's native village.

Cruelty to the animal

But the charm of jallikattu is its nature as a true participant-sport — indeed in some places the participants outnumber the spectators who are separated only by barricades that get no respect from the bull. There is a mob frenzy that overwhelms the rational faculties of the participants. The dashes of courage and the spasms of fear in alternately chasing the bull and running away from it are infectious. This also sets the stage for a rivalry among the men that is quite independent of the attempts to conquer the bull.

Jallikattu is then an adventure sport. Flirting with danger is intrinsic to it. Without the fear and the danger, there is no thrill. The young men get a kick out of overcoming their fear, and not in being oblivious to the danger. Thus the most ferocious and specially trained bulls are chosen; the horns are sharpened. Sometimes, the animals have lime squeezed into their eyes to make them wild; at other times, they are fed with liquor or their tail is twisted or bitten to achieve the same purpose.

In the international calendar

However, the adventure elements make it a spectator event for outsiders. While locals might think it no thrill to watch the event from a safe distance, jallikattu is featured in the international tourist calendar. The bull taming in Alanganallur, near Madurai, is the most famous of all jallikattus drawing comparisons with Pamplona in Spain. Although not yet a television sport, many tourists find the large crowds chasing a lone animal a great attraction. From a vantage point, the charging bull creating space by dispersing the crowd ahead of it, and the chasers closing the gap behind it, is a spectacle.

Jallikattu (above) is often compared with the bull-run in Pamplona, Spain.

Alanganallur attracts bulls and tamers from neighbouring districts too. Not that the surrounding areas lack their own jallikattus: the events are spread over two months from the time of Pongal in mid-January. Unlike in bull fighting, the animal is not killed in jallikattu. But the bull, beaten and battered into submission, often ends up maimed. The death toll of bull tamers, however, is at least four or five every year.

Reactions to a ban

Although there have been protests at the conduct of such violent sports, the authorities have not made efforts beyond attempts at regulating crowds. Safety of the participants cannot be ensured without banning jallikattu. But youths in Madurai, Sivaganga, Pudukottai and Tiruchi, where jallikattu is very popular, see the sport as a part of their culture and identity. Any talk of a ban evokes stiff resistance. Opponents of jallikattu are seen as urbane outsiders who have no idea of a rural sport.

Jallikattu is steeped in the agrarian economy of cattle rearing and farm labour. It is also an integral part of the rural belief systems. Village elders consider failure to hold the event as a bad omen.

Moreover, youths in rural areas value participant sports, and not spectator sports popularised by television. After all, there is no sport that does not carry the risk of injury. If the participants of jallikattu do not have protective gear, it speaks of their poverty levels and the rural and unorganised nature of the sport. But then again, without the risk of injury and death, without the chance to prove valour, jallikattu would not be jallikattu.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Advani claims world billiards crown</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->
NEW DELHI: National champion Pankaj Advani outplayed compatriot Devendra Joshi 6-2 to lift his maiden World Billiards (Points Format) crown at Qawra, Malta.

The 19-year-old cueist who also holds the Asian title once again proved that he was much more matured as a player than his age suggests. He comfortably defeated his senior player 151-107 150-57, 150-93, 151-65, 44-151, 151-62, 30-150, 151-68 last night in only the second all-Indian summit clash in the history of the championship.

The first time that two Indians clashed in the final for the World Amateur Billiards crown was in 1990 when Manoj Kothari defeated Ashok Shandilya to claim the title at Bangalore. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Arjun Atwal is Clubhouse leader after third round at Bell South Classic.</b>

Shot an amazing 64, became leader after starting the day at 37th. Lefty lurking on 208 too. Final day's play should be exciting. But 64 is incredible! Lowest so far for a single round score.

<!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo--> A<b>zhar accepts taking Rs 10 lakh: Report</b>
Sania enters fourth round, creates history in New York
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sania Mirza became the <b>first Indian woman to enter the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament</b> when she defeated Marion Bartoli of France at the US Open tennis championships here on Friday.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The unseeded mixed doubles team of Daniela Hantuchova and <b>Mahesh Bhuphati </b>defeated Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic, 6-4, 6-2, on Thursday in the final round of the US Open mixed doubles championships.
Hantuchova-Bhupathi win US Open mixed doubles championships

Not sure if this is the right way to do things but the man has atleast put out some money.

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