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Mirabai Chanu bags Silver as India open account in Tokyo Games

TOKYO, July 24: If there was one sportsperson which the Indians could believe, would return with a medal for sure was weightlifter Mirabai Chanu.

And the young Manipuri did not disappoint as she clinched the silver in women’s 49 kg category. While the whole nation is chuffed with her silver-winning effort in Tokyo, Chanu was hoping for gold.

After her win, Chanu sounded ecstatic but also said that she went for gold, but in the end could not go the distance. “I’m very happy that I’ve won the medal. The entire country was watching me & they had their expectations. I was a little nervous but I was determined to give my best…I worked really hard for this. I tried my best to win gold medal but I wasn’t able to win gold; but I really tried. When I did 2nd lift, I understood I’ll bring a medal along with me,” Chanu said from Tokyo.

Later Chanu also took to Twitter to thank all the countrymen and fans.

Earlier in the day a video had surfaced online, where her family was shown rejoicing the moment where Chanu made history.

Chanu’s brother too responded to her victory and said, “We are very proud of her…we were very confident of her winning gold but silver is also great. This is the first silver from Manipur and first for India in this Olympics.”

Emperor Naruhito Declares Tokyo Olympics Games Open

TOKYO, July 23: After IOC President Thomas Bach's speech, the Summer Games were declared open by Japan's Emperor Naruhito.

The Olympic flag was brought in after that with Japanese badminton star Kento Momota being one of the athletes bringing it into the stadium.

"Welcome to Tokyo 2020. Today is a moment of hope, let us cherish this moment, finally we are all here. Athletes from 205 are living under the same roof in the Olympic Village.

"There were unprecedented challenges. First reconstructing after earthquake and then the pandemic, which is why is respect is even more huge. Our gratitude to doctors and volunteers for doing all they did. For the volunteers, you are the best ambassadors for Japan.

"For my athletes, you had to face unprecedented challenges on your journey to the Olympics. There was great uncertainty, you didn't know when you could train, see your coach, or when you will have your teammates, you didn't know if the competition will be held at all. You never gave up and today, you are making your Olympic dream come true. You are true Olympic athletes! You inspire us to fight like you and for you to make this moment possible.”

"Dear refugee athletes, with your talent and human spirit, you are demonstrating what enrichment refugees are. You ran from home because of hunger or just being different. We welcome you with open arms, welcome to our Olympic community. Here, we are all equal and respect the same rules. This experience makes all of us humble because we feel we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We are part of an event that unites the world. We are always stronger together. This is why we are grateful to your athletes for showing all of that in your new Olympic oath. We can only go faster, higher and stronger in solidarity. This feeling of togetherness is the light at the end of the tunnel. The pandemic forced us to keep distance and stay away even from our loved ones. The separation makes the tunnel so dark but today, wherever you may be, we are united in sharing this moment together. The Olympic flame makes this light shine brighter for all of us. I invite the Emperor of Japan to declare the Games open," Thomas Bach said after the glittering opening ceremony.

The fantastic ceremony in Tokyo which was muted in terms of the celebrations given the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of fans, marks the start of yet another glorious spectacle in the world of sport. For the next 17 days, all eyes will be on the Land of the Rising Sun!

The march past was completed after the 204th contingent to walk out was France, the hosts of the next Olympics in Paris in 2024. The last was hosts Japan. The loudest roar was reserved for them.

Unlike previous times, the nations will walk out for the parade in the order of the Japanese alphabet - a move that was approved to help push the country's culture. In 1964, Tokyo became the first Asian city to host the Olympic Games.

Interestingly, in the Olympic Games in 1964 when the games were also held in Tokyo, they were moved to October to avoid the dangerous summer heat.

At the Opening Ceremony, there were close to 10,400 attendees. There were about 6,000 in terms of team delegations and about 900 Games stakeholders and guests of honor. The Media present would total close to 3,500, as per reports.

Italy lifts Euro Cup in Dramatic Penalty Shootout

LONDON, July 12: Italy won their second European title on Sunday after Gianluigi Donnarumma saved three penalties in a dramatic penalty shootout against England. The contest was locked at 1-1 at the end of extra-time at Wembley, paving the way for Italy to become the first team to win two penalty shootouts in the same tournament.

It was also the second time a European Championship final was decided on penalties.

England’s Jordan Pickford made two saves but missed penalties from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka proved decisive. Andrea Belotti was the first to miss for Italy but the shootout turned on its head when Rashford’s spot-kick hit the post.

Italy not only remain unbeaten against England in major tournaments but also took their unbeaten streak to 34 games, winning the second of their fourth finals in the competition. Italy, remember, were at one of their lowest points when they failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018.

For the England men’s team, this was their second major final after 1966 when they won the World Cup at Wembley.

Before the second minute rolled over, Luke Shaw found the best possible stage to score his first goal for England as he smashed it home off a Kieran Trippier assist from the right. The right back found the left back on the other end of the penalty box with an inch perfect cross and Shaw hammered it home past a stunned Donnarumma.

England were off to the best possible start at Wembley, and even though Italy clawed their way back in the first half, Jordan Pickford’s clean sheet stayed intact.

After the water break, Italy continued to keep the pressure on England, pegging them back into their own half.

Midway through the second period, the Azzurri found the back of the net as Leornado Bonucci bundled it home from close range from a corner.

Italy had more than two-thirds of the possession as the match progressed but could not find a way past Golden Glove winner Jordan Pickford in regulation time. Italy was dealt a body blow when an in-form Federico Chiesa, a thorn in England’s flesh, had to come off close to the end of the second half due to injury.

England struggled to find their composure throughout the second period but managed to hold on after the equaliser to take the game to extra time and, after another edgy half-hour, a penalty shootout beckoned.

England missed three of five penalties, Rashford hit the post and Donnarumma denied Sancho before a 19-year-old Saka saw his spot-kick saved too.

Harry Kane and Harry Maguire were on target for England while Pickford kept hopes alive with saves from Belotti and Jorginho while Domenico Berardi, Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi.

England were playing in a first major final in 55 years since winning the 1966 World Cup. This was their latest defeat in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012.

Italy on the other hand won their second title after 53 years.

Argentiana lifts Copa America cup

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 11: Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta says a weight has been lifted from Lionel Messi’s shoulders after winning the Copa America on Saturday.

The 34-year-old finally ended his long wait for a trophy with the national team by beating Brazil 1-0 in the final of the Copa America at the Maracana Stadium.

Iniesta praised Messi for the way he played throughout the tournament and thinks the win could be a big release for the captain.

“I think for him, on a personal level, it’s a weight off his shoulders. He has finally won something with his national team after being close so many times,” he said.

“He was impeccable at the Copa America, beyond the goals and the assists. For me, Messi is still the No.1.”

There’s been no hiding Messi’s delight at the victory. The captain certainly enjoyed the celebrations after the final whistle and posted a sweary message on Instagram as he posed with the trophy. The bit that doesn’t need asterisks reads, “What a beautiful madness!!! This is amazing, thank God!!! WE ARE CHAMPIONS.”

Messi is no stranger to losing finals with Argentina but also admitted he can go on holiday a happy man after Saturday’s win. He told reporters, “We always had to spend the first few days of the holidays sad, having not won anything, but this time it’s different.”

Djokovic defeats Berrettini to win 20th Grand Slam

LONDON, July 11: World No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic has retained his Wimbledon title by defeating Matteo Berrettini of Italy in an epic clash at Centre Court. The development means Djokovic has now equalled record 20th Grand Slam title with Swiss Tennis Maestro Roger Federer and Spain legend Rafael Nadal.

This was Djokovic’s third straight Grand Slam victory in 2021 after winning the Australian Open 2021 and French Open at Roland Garros. He is now set up for a calendar grand slam record ahead of the US Open. He can go on to win the 21st Grand Slam later this year to go past Federer and Nadal.

It was the sixth Wimbledon title for Novak Djokovic in his 7th Final appearance at Centre Court.

Djokovic won the match 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

In the match, Djokovic lost the opening set but fought back strongly to clinch the next sets. World No.9, Berrettini gave a tough fight to Novak Djokovic but it was just not his day. He made the Serbian fight hard to earn the sets throughout the course of the match that lasted for over 3 hours.

Earlier on Saturday, World No.1 Ash Barty has won the Wimbledon Final among women’s singles by defeating Karolina Pliskova.

“I was a seven-year-old boy in Serbia, constructing Wimbledon trophies from improvised materials that I could find in my room. To be standing with a sixth Wimbledon [title] is incredible,” Novak Djokovic said post-match.

Ashleigh Barty Beats Karolina Pliskova To Win Maiden Wimbledon

LONDON, July 10: Ashleigh Barty won her first Wimbledon title on the 50th anniversary of fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley's maiden crown, beating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 in the final on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Australian -- who wore a specially-designed dress in tribute to Cawley's iconic scallop one she sported in 1971 -- adds the Wimbledon crown to her 2019 French Open title. "It took me a long time to verbalise, to dare to dream it and say it," said Barty, who was also fulfilling a childhood dream.

"I didn't sleep a lot last night, I was thinking of all the what-ifs. I hope I made Evonne proud."

It was the first women's Wimbledon final to go to three sets since 2012 when Serena Williams beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.

Barty is also the first top seed to win the women's title since Williams in 2016.

Barty had looked like cruising to victory after soaring into a 4-0 lead over her opponent -- the Australian's start so blistering that she won the first 14 points.

However, 29-year-old Pliskova steadied herself while Barty faltered when she served for the match at 6-5 in the second set.

The Czech broke and then swept the tiebreaker to take the final into a decider.

Barty got the break for 2-0 in the final set and despite one or two wobbles she got herself over the line sinking to her knees, her hands over her face in disbelief.

She wiped a couple of tears away before climbing up to the player's box, just like her compatriot Pat Cash did when he won the Wimbledon men's title in 1987.

Victory would taste sweeter too as only last month she retired from the French Open in the second round due to a left hip injury.

"This is incredible," said Barty, the third Australian woman to be crowned Wimbledon singles champion in the Open era (Cawley and Margaret Court (1970) the others).

Tiger Woods ‘fortunate to be alive’ following serious crash: police

LOS ANGELES, Feb 23: Tiger Woods is “fortunate to be alive” following a serious car crash in California, police said on Tuesday. The golfer was conscious and had serious injuries to both legs when found at the crash scene.

Authorities said the 45-year-old was in a “serious” condition but was able to communicate with them when they arrived on the scene in Rancho Palo Verdes, California.

His car was going downhill on a steep and winding road when it crossed the centre, crashed into the curb and rolled over several times into brush and a tree.

A neighbour who lives about 15 metres (50 ft) from the accident spot, a notoriously dangerous stretch of road in the area, called 911 at 0712 local time [1512 GMT].

Authorities say that the airbags deployed inside the Genesis GV80 SUV, which was loaned to Woods for the week, and that he had been wearing a seatbelt.

Fire chief Daryl Osby said that firefighters used pry tools and an axe to remove Woods from the car through the windscreen.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a press conference that deputies had found “no evidence of impairment” from drugs or alcohol at the crash site. “No impairment was found at this time but it will be the subject of the investigation,” he said.

The sheriff said that “it would have been a fatal crash” if the interior of the Genesis GV80 SUV had not remained intact in the crash.

“The interior of the car was intact which kind of gave him the cushion to survive,” said Villanueva.

Villanueva added that there were no signs of braking or skid marks on the road and that it appeared Woods had been “going at a relatively greater speed than normal”.

“At the time it crossed the centre divider, to the point that it rested, was several hundred feet away, so obviously that indicates they were going at a relatively greater speed than normal,” Villanueva said.

“Because it is downhill, it slopes, and also it curves. That area has a high frequency of accidents. It’s not uncommon.”

Deputy Carlos Gonzalez was the first officer on the scene and described Woods as “calm and lucid” when he spoke to him.

“Unfortunately, Woods was not able to stand up under his own power. Woods was seated in the driver’s seat, I made contact with them and made sure he was able to speak to me,” he said.

“He seemed calm and lucid at that time. I kept him calm until LA County Fire arrived on the scene.

“I spoke to him, I asked him what his name was and he said his name was ‘Tiger’. And at that moment I immediately recognised him. I asked him if he knew where he was, what time of day, to make sure he was oriented.

“He seemed as though he was lucid and calm. He did not seem concerned about his injuries at the time, which is common in traffic accidents when people are in shock.

“It’s a traumatic experience. It’s not uncommon for people to be focused on unimportant things or even if they are in pain, they may not feel it until much later.”

The deputy added that Woods was wearing a seatbelt may have contributed to saving his life.

“It is very fortunate that Woods was able to come out of this alive,” said the deputy.

He was then transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center because it is also a trauma centre.

Woods was due to tape two “teaching lessons” at the Rolling Hills Country Club with NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Justin Herbert when the accident happened.

Officials said there was also a second vehicle accident caused by people slowing to see what had happened, but no one was hurt.


Team India secures comprehensive victory at Melbourne
Qatar unveils 4th stadium for FIFA World Cup

Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona dies at 60



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