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Lekhara, Narwal to spearhead India’s challenge in Para WC
NEW DELHI, March 7: Star Indian para shooters Avani Lekhara and Manish Narwal will spearhead a 31-strong Indian contingent in the Para Shooting World Cup, the first-ever in the country, which gets underway on Friday.Lekhara made history at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first female athlete from India to top the podium at the Paralympic Games, while Narwal clinched the mixed 50m pistol (SH1) gold at the quadrennial showpiece.With the 2024 Games round the corner, this would be another opportunity for the two ace shooters, who have qualified for Paris, to gauge their preparations ahead of the mega event.With 44 countries and 267 shooters competing, the event, to be held at the Karni Singh Ranges here, is the last event in the current Olympic cycle to bag a Paris quota. A total of 20 Paris berths will be on offer.Renowned para shooters from across the world, including the 2008 Beijing Paralympic gold medallist in 10m air rifle (SH1), Slovakia’s Veronika Vadovicova, will be seen alongside India’s Lekhera, Rudransh Khandelwal, Narwal and Singhraj Adhana.With teams from UAE, Russia and China also fielding strong squads, the competition will be fierce, though Russia will participate under the banner of Neutral Participating Athletes (NPA). (PTI)

Italian football boss under scanner for alleged embezzlement
ROME, March 7: Italian football federation president Gabriele Gravina is being investigated by Rome prosecutors for alleged embezzlement and money laundering linked to an auction of TV rights.Gravina, who volunteered to meet with the prosecutors and denies any wrongdoing, is accused of illegally using money from the TV rights auction in 2018 when he led the third division, for the sale of a collection of medieval books and the purchase of a home in Milan.“We asked for a hearing and we provided documentation to show that our client is innocent,” Gravina’s lawyers said in a statement.“We cleared everything up and we’re sure that the truth will quickly come out.” Gravina was elected federation president in 2018. From 2005-18, he led the Lega Pro, which governs Serie C. He was elected to UEFA’s executive committee in April 2021 and is a vice president.The Gravina probe emerged as part of a wider investigation by Perugia prosecutors into information leaks about top politicians to journalists by authorities assigned to an anti-Mafia task force. (PTI)

Teen shooter accidentally fires at physio in Chennai
CHENNAI, March 7: Accidental firing by a teenaged shooter left a physiotherapist with a broken jaw that required an emergency surgery to dislodge the pellet during an tournament in Chennai, making it the third serious breach of safety norms in Indian shooting this year.After a shooter lost his thumb while filling the cylinder of his pistol in Faridabad recently and a rifle exponent pointed her gun towards the spectators gallery during the Nationals here, a shooter from Bengal accidentally shot a physiotherapist in her hotel room in Chennai early this year.The pellet got lodged in physio’s jaw and was removed after an emergency surgery at a private hospital.“It was accidental. The shooter was cleaning her gun and the physio suddenly appeared there. Definitely, it is the fault of the shooter, I would say. She should have been more careful. But it was totally an accidental case and happened at night,” Bengal coach Koeli Mitter, who was with the team, told PTI.“I guess she (physio) is doing fine and we had taken her to the hospital at that moment only and a surgery was performed on the jaw. She was in day care for 24 hours,” she added. The shooter, it is learnt, did not remove the pellet from her rifle while cleaning it and accidentally pressed the trigger just when the physio was entering her hotel room. It amounts to a violation of the safety norms for weapon handling. (PTI)

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