Monday, May 20, 2024
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Manika Batra reaches career-high ranking of World No. 24
New Delhi, May 14: Ace women’s table tennis star Manika Batra rose to a career-best singles ranking of 24 following her success in the Saudi Smash, becoming the first Indian woman player to break into the top-25 in world rankings. The 28-year-old Khel Ratna awardee, who was in the 39th spot before the tournament, jumped 15 spots following her run in Jeddah, where she reached the quarterfinals. It was also the first time an Indian woman player advanced that deep in the tournament. Batra’s rise through the draw earned her 350 points, and she said the surge in her ranking would work as a confidence booster for her ahead of the all-important Paris Olympics in July. (PTI)

Chess: Arjun top seed in Sharjah Masters, 19 Indians in fray
Sharjah, May 14: Grandmaster and world number seven Erigaisi Arjun starts as the top seed as he spearheads a strong Indian challenge in the USD 52,000 Sharjah Masters Chess tournament here. One of the strongest open events in the world will see participation of as many as 19 Indian Grandmasters and S L Narayanan will be the second highest rated Indian ahead of Nihal Sarin. The nine-round Swiss tournament, which carries a total prize pool of USD 52,000 with USD 12,000 reserved for the winner, begins later in the day. Arjun flew straight from Warsaw where he just finished the Superbet Rapid and Blitz tournament ending fifth overall. This is a rare case of a top-10 player participating in open events and Arjun has played exceptionally well in the past few months. The reason top players avoid competing in open events is the huge risk to their rating but Arjun is setting new standards by actually gaining points from open events. While there are nine players above Elo 2700 in the fray, Arjun is 29 points ahead of second seed Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran. Participants from India: Erigaisi Arjun, S L Narayanan, Nihal Sarin, Aravindh Chithambaram, Raunak Sadhwani, Leon Luke Mendonca, Abhimanyu Puranik, Aditya Mittal, Abhijeet Gupta, S P Sethuraman, V Pranav, Bharath Subramaniyam, Sankalp Gupta, Pranav Anand, Raja Rithvik, B Adhiban, D Harika, Aditya Samant, P Iniyan. (PTI)

Manu, Vijayveer win final 25m pistol Olympic Selection Trials
Bhopal, May 14: Olympian Manu Bhaker and Paris quota winner Vijayveer Sidhu won the fourth and final Olympic Selection Trial (OST) in 25m pistol events here on Tuesday. At the MP State Shooting Academy, Manu, coached by the legendary pistol shooter Jaspal Rana, shot a world record-equalling 42 in the women’s 25m Pistol OST T4 final, while Vijayveer shot 34 in the decider of the men’s 25m rapid-fire pistol OST T4 to emerge triumphant.Manu displayed complete dominance in the trials, winning two and coming second in the other two. (PTI)

Varane to leave Man United at end of the season
Manchester, May 14: Former France centre-back Raphael Varane will leave Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of the season. The 31-year-old Varane joined United in 2021 but has struggled to reproduce the form he showed in a trophy-laden, decade-long spell at Real Madrid before that. Injuries have also played a part, restricting Varane to 93 appearances in his three seasons at United. “To you guys, supporters of Manchester United, it’s been an amazing few years to play for this special club and wear that shirt,” Varane said on Tuesday on social media. (AP)

French striker Olivier Giroud makes his MLS move, joins Los Angeles FC
Los Angeles, May 14: World Cup-winning French striker Olivier Giroud is signing with Los Angeles FC. LAFC formally announced the long-anticipated move Tuesday for the 37-year-old Giroud, who leaves Europe after 18 years in the top professional leagues in France, England and Italy. Giroud confirmed Monday that he would leave AC Milan for a Major League Soccer club. LAFC general manager John Thorrington said the club has been eager to add Giroud since last fall, and it attempted to land his services in the January transfer window. The 2022 MLS Cup champion and 2023 runner-up then decided to wait for Giroud to become available this summer, rather than signing another offensive star for the current season. (AP)

Maradona heirs want to stop his Golden Ball trophy auction
Paris, May 14: Diego Maradona’s heirs will launch a lawsuit to try and stop the auction of a trophy he was awarded after the 1986 World Cup won by Argentina, their lawyer said on Tuesday. The Golden Ball trophy rewarding the best player of the tournament had been missing for decades after it disappeared in unclear circumstances and only recently resurfaced. It is set to be auctioned in Paris next month, the Aguttes auction house said last week. Maradona, who died in 2020 at age 60, captained Argentina in its 3-2 win over West Germany in the 1986 final in Mexico City. Before that were the “Hand of God” goal and the “Goal of the Century” in a 2-1 win over England in the quarterfinals. Maradona’s heirs say the trophy was stolen and claim the current owner cannot be entitled to sell it. (AP)

Germany’s Euro 2024 squad is being leaked
Berlin, May 14: Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann was supposed to announce his European Championship squad on Thursday, but others have been doing it for him instead. Bakers, singers, entertainers, art venues, radio stations. The German football federation’s decision to “leak” some of Nagelsmann’s choices in a variety of manners has arguably generated more excitement than the confirmed choices themselves. Injured Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sané was announced on Tuesday by the Frankfurter Kunsthalle art exhibition venue, taking to nine altogether the number of players confirmed before Nagelsmann was to name his squad. Borussia Dortmund forward Niclas Füllkrug was announced in a radio program, Stuttgart winger Chris Führich by a Black Forest bakery, Eintracht Frankfurt defender Robin Koch by YouTube entertainers, as was Arsenal forward Kai Havertz, then Stuttgart defender Maximilian Mittelstädt was given the green light by singer Peter Schilling on Instagram. (AP)

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