Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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AIFF Futsal Club C’ship to kick-off in Gujarat today
New Delhi, June 21: The third edition of the AIFF Futsal Club Championship is set to kick off at the Swarnim Gujarat Sports University in the Vadodara district of Gujarat on Saturday. The tournament will be streamed live on the Indian Football YouTube Channel. Nineteen teams will battle for 16 days to make it to the final and lift the trophy on July 7. They have been divided into four groups – Group A, B and C with five teams each, and Group D with four teams. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the quarterfinals. The first two editions of the AIFF Futsal Club Championship were held in Delhi, marking this as the first time the tournament will be played outside the capital. For hosts Gujarat, Baroda Football Academy will hope to do better than their group stage exit in the inaugural edition in 2021-22. The group stage will last from June 22 to July 1. The quarter-finals will be played on July 3, followed by the semi-finals on July 5 and the final on July 7. (PTI)

Odisha govt extends sponsorship deal with Hockey India till 2036
Bhubaneswar, June 21: The newly-elected BJP government in Odisha has extended the sponsorship deal with Hockey India until 2036, affirming the state’s commitment to the sport, which brought the country a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics after more than four decades. Odisha has been sponsoring Indian hockey since 2018 with former chief minister of the state Naveen Patnaik taking keen interest in the development of sport over the years. The sponsorship deal was renewed by Patnaik last year and was to run until 2033, but it has now been extended by three years until 2036. The year 2036 holds a special significance for Odisha as it marks the centenary of its establishment as an independent state. Odisha has become the home of Indian hockey in the last decade, having hosted two consecutive men’s World Cups, in 2018 (Bhubaneswar) and 2023 (Bhubaneswar and Rourkela). The state also hosted the India leg of the FIH Pro League earlier this year. The decision to extend the sponsorship deal was taken at a high-level meeting on Thursday, which was attended by Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey, secretary-general Bhola Nath Singh and Chief Minister of Odisha Mohan Charan Majhi, among others. (PTI)

Alexander Zverev outlasts Arthur Fils to reach Halle Open semifinals
Halle (Germany), June 21: Alexander Zverev was hoping for shorter matches on grass. Think again. The No. 4-ranked Zverev had to battle back to beat 20-year-old Arthur Fils 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 in 2 1/2 hours on Friday for a spot in the semifinals of the Halle Open. Zverev, still in search of his first grass-court title, wanted to make quick work of opponents after some marathon sessions at the French Open, where he lost in five sets to Carlos Alcaraz in the final. “After the French Open, I was hoping on grass I would play a bit quicker and not play for two-and-a-half, three hours every single match, but I’m continuing what I always do,” Zverev joked. The second-seeded Zverev needed three sets to get past qualifier Oscar Otte in the first round then eliminated Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets. Zverev, who has won 22 tour titles, next faces Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Marcos Giron 7-6 (5), 6-4. In the other quarterfinals later Friday, No. 1 Jannik Sinner faced Jan-Lennard Struff before Zhang Zhizhen played Christopher Eubanks. (AP)

Rybakina retires from quarterfinal against Azarenka in Berlin
Berlin, June 21: Elena Rybakina retired from her quarterfinal in Berlin on Friday, seemingly because of illness. The 2022 Wimbledon champion was trailing Victoria Azarenka 3-1 in the first set at the grass-court Ladies Open and stopped playing after her double fault made it 15-15 in the fifth game. Rybakina sat on her bench, put her hands to her face but didn’t wait for a medical evaluation. After 40 seconds, she got up and quickly jogged to the locker room. On Thursday, Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova retired from her match in Berlin because of a leg injury. First-round play begins at Wimbledon on July 1. Former No. 1 Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, will face second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka or Anna Kalinskaya in the semifinals. (AP)

Jayesh Rane signs one-year contract with Mumbai City FC
Mumbai, June 21: Midfielder Jayesh Rane on Friday signed a one-year contract with Indian Super League Cup winners Mumbai City FC for the upcoming season on free transfer after his contract ended with the Bengaluru FC. Rane is the only player in ISL history to have won the trophy with three different teams. He was a member of Chennaiyin FC’s side which won the ISL in 2016 and lifted the trophy again with Atletico de Kolkata in 2019-20. Rane lifted the ISL trophy again with Mumbai City FC last year. The 31-year-old Rane has made 230 appearances in domestic competitions. “Jayesh is one of the most experienced footballers in Indian football. As a Mumbai native, he understands the club’s values and proudly wears the jersey. His performances last season convinced us of his abilities, and his versatility across the pitch will be invaluable in the coming season,” said MCFC coach Petr Kratky. (PTI)


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