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Indian Powerlifting world champion seriously injured in high-speed accident

Four powerlifting players from Delhi were killed when the car they were in hit a road divider and crashed into a pole on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway today morning. Two other players who were in the car, including a world champion who bagged the title for India in Moscow last year, were injured.

The six athletes were going from Delhi to Panipat in a Swift Dezire compact sedan, carrying their powerlifting kits, when they met with the accident at 4 am near Alipur village, close to the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana.

The force of the impact was so high that the car rolled over several times and its roof got completely blown off before the car hit the pole, police said.

A senior police officer said the speed of the car was very high, adding there were some bottles around and the possibility of drink driving cannot be ruled out.

Powerlifting world champion Saksham Yadav and another player identified as Bali have been admitted to Max Hospital in north-west Delhi Shalimar Bagh.

Police said the players who died in the accident have been identified by their first names as Harish, Tikam Chand and Suraj, while the fourth person's identity is not known yet.

 Source: NDTV

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Top sports stars who turned to a career in politics

Football legend George Weah has fulfilled what has been known to be an ambition of his since calling time on his football career by winning the Liberian elections held on Tuesday.

Many a sports star have found themselves in a tough position of struggling with the next move after what is a relatively short career at the top has come to an end.

While some would prefer not to completely leave the sport they love by taking up a role in administration and in media, some have decided to lend their leadership abilities to more serious matters, turning to politics instead.

We have compiled a list of some of the more notable pro sportsmen who decided to move from inspiring in the sports arena to leading from the political office.

Manny Pacquiao – Boxer
Manny Pacquiao

Boxer and congressman, Manny Pacquiao gives President Benigno Aquino III a shirt and memorabilia following his win of the WBC super welterweight crown against Mexican Antonio Margarito on November 20, 2010 in Manila, Philippine

Short in stature but arguably the Philippines’ most recognisable figure, Pacquiao is mostly known for his incredible achievements in the boxing ring but has dabbled in pretty much everything, including music, basketball, film and even politics.

His career in politics has run concurrently with his boxing career as he currently serves as a Senator in the Philippines.

Arjuna Ranatunga – Cricketer

The legendary Sri Lankan captain lead his side their historic triumph in the 1996 Cricket World Cup – a victory that came at a time where the islanders were considered rank underdogs.

Arjuna Ranatunga

He called time on his playing days in 1999 and decided to lend his sharp leadership skills to cricket administration before moving to politics where he has occupied several seats as a member of parliament.

Ranatunga currently serves as Sri Lanka’s Minister of Petroleum Resources Development.

Arnold Schwazzeneger – Bodybuilder
Arnold SchwazennegerMore famous for his numerous movie roles, the “Terminator” first cut his teeth as a young bodybuilder who dominated the sport before he got recognition from Hollywood and was the go-to muscle bound action guy throughout the 80s and the early 90s.

Imran Khan – Cricketer
The legendary all rounder led from the front as he captained Pakistan to World Cup glory in 1992.

Imran Kahn

He turned his attention to politics, founding his own party in 1996 and assumed office as a member of the national assembly in 2013.

Vitali Klitschko – Boxer

One half of the terrifying Klitschko brothers, the Ukranian’s boxing career spanned over 20 years before he hung up his gloves in 2005 after pummeling 45 of his 47 opponents in the process with 41 of his wins ending in a triumph.

Shortly after he called time on his career, he immediately branched out into politics, running for the position of the Mayor of Kiev – albeit unsuccessfully – but would realise his dream nine years later when he was elected to the seat in which he still serves as the incumbent.

Seb Coe – track and field athlete

The British middle distance runner has, since retirement, occupied several seats in politics but returned to sport and is currently the president of the IAAF.

Jessie “The Body” Ventura – Wrestler
Jesse Ventura

Can wrestling even be considered a sport? Well, Jessie Ventura went from the world of spandex tights, long hair (without much of his own), and unathletic looking physiques to one of suits, ties and more kempt haircuts.

Ventura served as governor of Minnesota during George W. Bush’s first term in the oval office.

George Weah – footballer

Had a long illustrious career as a footballer with notable stints in France and Italy where he established himself as one of Africa’s greatest of all time, before short stints in England towards his retirement.

George WeahOn Wednesday he was confirmed as president-elect of Liberia after a resounding victory on the polls which saw him win the majority vote in 12 of the West African nation’s 15 counties.

 

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Dr. Jauncey conducts first session with Sri Lanka Cricket

Australian based performance psychologist, Dr. Phil Jauncey who was invited by Sri Lanka Cricket to help raise the performance levels of the national cricket team, started his stint with the Lankan team on Wednesday, 03rd January, 2018 at the SLC headquarters.

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Dr. Phil Jauncey conducting his first session with the players, while Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha looks on.

President of SLC Thilanga Sumathipala said that Dr. Phil Juancey was "invited to work with us at the request of our New Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who wanted us to bring him here to work with our players.”

Accordingly, the performance psychologist is currently working with the Sri Lankan national side, where he will focus on identifying the personality traits of each player, the best communication and learning method suited for each player and also of the coaching staff.
Jauncey, who holds a Masters and Doctorate in Counselling and Educational Psychology, has lectured at Mt Gravatt CAE (now Griffith University), QUT and the University of Queensland in areas such as educational psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, counselling, marketing and multicultural psychology.

He currently works as the psychologist of the Australian Baseball team among many of his other engagements. Jauncey has also worked with the Queensland Bulls Cricket team. He has been the mental skills coach with the Brisbane Lions AFL team from 1994 until 2008 and sports psychologist with the Brisbane Broncos NRL team.

Jauncy has authored a series of books such as ‘Understanding Ourselves and Others’, ‘Management Education’, and ‘The Power of Positive Doing’ among several other works.

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Serena Williams to make comeback in Abu Dhabi after giving birth

Serena Williams will return to tennis in Abu Dhabi next week, almost four months after giving birth.

The American, 36, will play world number seven Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match on 30 December during the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Williams, who has won an Open-era record 23 Grand Slams, said she was "delighted to be returning to the court".

She gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September.

Former world number one Williams has not played since winning the Australian Open in January.

Coach Patrick Mouratoglou said in November that no decision had been made over whether Williams would play in the season's first Grand Slam.

Australian Open director Craig Tilley has said Williams is "very likely" to defend her title at the 2018 tournament, which starts on 15 January.

Ranked 22nd in the world, she would not need a wildcard.

Source : BBC

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Next SL Captain: Mathews or Chandimal

ESPN Cricinfo reports that Sri Lanka's ODI captaincy may pass back to Angelo Mathews, barely six months after he resigned from the position, or it may go to Dinesh Chandimal, who has not consistently held a place in the XI.

sl cricket

SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said that the Chairman of selectors has informed him that they are considering appointing either Angelo Mathews or Dinesh Chandimal to be appointed as captain of the national side.

The final decision is set to be announced on January 9 - before the team departs for the ODI tri-series in Bangladesh.

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'I am ready to stand for my principles': Double world chess champion says she won't defend titles in Saudi Arabia because of kingdom's inequality

It takes years of work, days of staring at a board and hours of agonising over individuals moves en route to becoming a world champion in chess. 

And it takes only a short-sighted decision from its governing body to ensure you lose that crown.

"In a few days I am going to lose two World Champion titles - one by one," Anna Muzychuk says. 

"Just because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia."

Muyzchuk is the defending world champion in two disciplines of speed chess - rapid and blitz. In rapid, each players gets 15 minutes to complete all of their moves and in blitz it is just 10. 

muzychuk 2

Muzychuk shows off her two titles - Rapid and Blitz World Championship medals (Getty)

The 27-year-old Ukrainian had been looking forward to defending her championships won in Doha, Qatar in 2016 but this year's competition, hosted by a political rival, has already faced far more opposition than any chess competition ever should. 

For Muzychuk and her sister Mariya, another chess pro, their refusal is on the grounds that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not treat women with anything even approaching equality - a country where the sisters would not be allowed outside unless escorted by a man.

"[I decided] not to play by someone's rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside, and altogether not to feel myself a secondary creature," she said in an emotional statement.

"Exactly one year ago I won these two titles and was about the happiest person in the chess world but this time I feel really bad. I am ready to stand for my principles and skip the event, where in five days I was expected to earn more than I do in a dozen of events combined."

muzychuk 3

Muzychuk will not get to re-live the high points (or low points) of last year's wins (Getty)

And therein lies the problem. Saudi Arabia are understood to have paid in the region of US$1.5m to host the tournament, which will be called the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships. That fee is four times what the host usually forks out and the prize money at this week's event is many multiples of what players would usually expect to receive - particularly championship contenders like Anna. 

Women are, according to local reports, being allowed to wear dark blue or black formal trousers and high-necked blouses, avoiding Saudi rules of dress that require female residents and most visitors to wear loose-fitting, long robes known as abayas. Most Saudi women also cover their hair and face with veils though the tournament organisers insisted on Tuesday that they are not requiring competitors to wear abaya.

But it is not just women who have had problems with the Saudi-hosted event. 

The very fact that this country is hosting a world chess tournament for the first time is controversial domestically as it comes two years after the country's top cleric issued a religious edict against playing the board game. Saudi Arabia's top cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, said in early 2016 that chess is "forbidden" in Islam because it wastes time and can lead to rivalry among players. Similarly, top Iranian clerics have also decried the game, saying it can lead to gambling, which is banned in Islam. 

king salman

 Saudi Arabia's King Salman has had this year's championship named after him (Reuters)

Then there are the political issues, with countries that are currently geo-political rivals of the Kingdom complaining they have not received visas to enter the country and compete.

Israelis say Saudi Arabia ignored requests by Israeli players to obtain visas to participate in the tournament, perhaps unsurprising given that Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations. But Qatar and Iran have reported similar grievances. While the top three male players are all travelling for the tournament, many will be missing and the women's competition is still reeling from Muzychuk's withdrawal on Tuesday.

"All that other stuff is annoying, but the most upsetting thing is that almost nobody really cares," Muzychuk added in her Facebook post.

"That is a really bitter feeling, still not the one to change my opinion and my principles. The same goes for my sister Mariya - and I am really happy that we share this point of view. And yes, for those few who care - we'll be back!"

(The Independent)

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Sri Lankan cricketers will benefit with Dr. Jauncey’s appointment

On a recommendation by Sri Lanka’s new coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, Sri Lanka Cricket hired the services of Brisbane-based sports psychologist Dr. Phil Jauncey, who is due to arrive in Colombo today.

Australia’s most successful coach John Buchanan who himself hired Dr. Jauncy for Cricket Australia said that the Sri Lankan players will benefit greatly when they interact with their new psychologist.

“Dr Phil Jauncey or “Mozz” as he is affectionately kanown by many was very helpful for me as a coach as well as our support staff to have someone listening to what we were discussing about players and whether we were on the right track or could approach it differently”.

“As a head coach, it is very important to find one or two people whom you can trust and confide in away for the team as there will be issues, either personal, or that cannot be aired with others, that need resolution. When these circumstances arose, Dr. Jauncey was one of those persons to whom I could turn”, added Buchanan.

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Hathurasingha's First Sri Lanka Test Against Bangladesh

New Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurasingha will take his side to Bangladesh for two Tests and two T20 clashes, Sri Lanka Cricket announced on Wednesday.

The series will be preceded by a triangular one-day international tournament involving the hosts and Zimbabwe. The first game in the contest will be in Dhaka on January 17 between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and the final on January 27.

Sri Lanka's first Test against Bangladesh will start on January 31 in Chittagong and the second in Dhaka on February 8. The 20 over matches will be on February 15 and 18 in Dhaka and Sylhet.

Sri Lanka secured Hathurasingha's release as Bangladesh coach last month in a desperate bid to revive the national team. Out of 57 internationals across three formats in 2017, Sri Lanka lost 40 and won just 14.

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Head Coach Hathurusinghe bans music at training sessions

New Sri Lanka cricket coach Chandika Hathurusingha pledged to get tough with the under-performing national team — including banning music in training — while demanding “full control” over selection.

With the 1996 World Cup winners coming to the end of their worst year in international cricket, Hathurusingha said he would impose strict discipline to make sure they are ready for the 2019 World Cup.

Asked about reports that players were admonished for listening to music in practice, Hathurusingha said after his first training session with the team on Thursday: “If they are interested in music they will have to go home.”

Sri Lanka, who tour Bangladesh next month, have been severely criticised over whitewash defeats by India at home and in India in the past six months.

Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said in June that many players were “too fat” and that none chosen to play a series against Zimbabwe had passed international fitness standards. A special diet was later imposed.

Hathurusingha, a former Sri Lanka batsman who quit as Bangladesh coach to help his home country, also signalled a tougher line with the government, which gets the final say in team affairs.

Jayasekera recently stopped the Sri Lankan T20 team from going to India because he did not agree with the selection.

The chief coach is not an automatic member of the selectors’ panel and Hathurusingha wants this changed — even if it means a new sports law.

“I need full control and responsibility to pick the playing eleven,” Hathurusingha said.

“According to the sports law the coach can’t get involved in selections. They are considering my request to be a selector while being the coach,” added the 49-year-old.

After giving up playing Hathurusingha has become a top coach, earning plaudits for pulling Bangladesh up the world rankings.

Hathurusingha has also been in charge of the New South Wales team in Australia, and he said he would bring in sports psychologist Phil Jauncey who worked with him in New South Wales and Bangladesh.

“I want to see him make visits from time to time to work with the players,” Hathurusingha said.

In 57 internationals across all three formats in 2017, Sri Lanka lost 40 and won just 14.

 

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Barca win leaves Madrid adrift

Barcelona produced a superb away performance to secure a victory over Real Madrid that all but eliminates their arch rivals from the Spanish title race.

A second-half Luis Suarez strike and Lionel Messi's penalty, after Dani Carvajal was sent off for handball, helped move Barca nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga, and increased their advantage over defending champions Real to 14 points.

Karim Benzema hit the post and Cristiano Ronaldo missed two good chances in the first half, but the home side was blown away after the restart in the first El Clasico meeting of the Spanish league season.

Los Blancos started with Gareth Bale on the bench, and although he forced a save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen having come on following Carvajal's dismissal, the Welsh forward was unable to spark a comeback.

Instead, late substitute Aleix Vidal added further insult in injury time with a third for Barca, as his shot from inside the box squeezed over the line after Messi's cut-back, despite the Argentine losing his boot in the build-up to his 200th assist for the club.

It is the first time Barca have won three consecutive league matches at the Bernabeu, and the result leaves Zinedine Zidane's side fourth in the table.

Source : BBC

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SLTA launches website

Sri Lanka Tennis Association launched its website on 27th December at its premises with the theme as ‘Digitization of National Sports Structure’ which is a concept initiated by President of SLTA Iqbal Bin Issack.

President Iqbal Bin Issack speaking to media said that this website will be of great importance to all tennis players and its fans to a greater level. The inauguration of this site also sets a new record for Sri Lanka Tennis as it will be of great value to all players all around the country. The website is also to help other countries and World governing bodies, Asian and South Asian countries to have a fair knowledge of the tennis in our country.

It will also give these bodies to rank our players according to their performances that will be forwarded to the site. The tournament organizers in other countries are sure to follow the website and get the opportunity to invite our players to tournaments organized by these organizations said the president.

In the local scene, it will help the players from outstations who had to face difficulties when forwarding their entries for tournaments as they are inconvenienced when travelling to SLTA. With the introduction of the site, all players can send in their entries sans any difficulties. The President also thanked the Vice President Suresh Subramaniam for taking steps to digitize every aspect of game and SLTA Administration.

Suresh Subramaniam the Vice President speaking said that all Tennis players irrespective of age categories are required to register themselves to gain access to the website. On getting registered their standards will be updated weekly which will be of great importance for them to find their skills from which they can clarify the standings.

Especially the young Players will get the opportunity of finding out their standings which will encourage them to raise their standards.

Subramaniam further added that Sri Lanka is the first South Asian country and the second Asian country to introduce the website specially meant for the improvement of Tennis in the region.

Source: Sunday Observer

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Rohit Sharma: India batsman equals fastest Twenty20 international century

India's Rohit Sharma scored the joint fastest Twenty20 international century, reaching the landmark from 35 balls in an 88-run victory over Sri Lanka.

The opening batsman hit 10 sixes and 12 fours before being dismissed for 118 from 43 deliveries in Indore on Friday.

 The 30-year-old matched the 35-ball record set by South Africa's David Miller against Bangladesh in October.

 India, who lead the three-match series 2-0, finished on 260-5, with Sri Lanka only managing 172-9 in reply.

Further woe for the tourists came as all-rounder Angelo Mathews pulled up with a hamstring injury after two balls of his third over, and was unable to bat, leaving them a man short.

 The home side's total was the equal second highest score in T20 internationals, three short of Australia's record of 263-3 against Sri Lanka last year.

 India won the first game by 93 runs on Wednesday, with the final match in Mumbai on Sunday.

 Source : BBC

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