Unheralded Akshdeep Singh clinched the men’s 20km event gold with a national record time to qualify for this year’s World Championships as well as 2024 Paris Olympics on the opening day of the National Open Race Walking Championships. The 22-year-old from Punjab clocked 1 hour 19 minutes and 55 seconds to obliterate the earlier national record of 1:20:16 which was in the name of veteran Sandeep Kumar. The men’s 20km race walk qualifying time for both the World Championships to be held in Budapest in August and 2024 Olympics is 1:20:10. Akshdeep’s personal best was 1:26:10 which he had clocked at the Inter-University Championships in Karnataka early last year. Women’s 20km event national record holder Priyanka Goswami expectedly won gold with a time of 1:28:50 to also qualify for both the World Championships and 2024 Olympics. Her national record stands at 1:28:45 which she had set in 2021. The women’s 20km race walk qualifying time for both the Budapest Worlds and 2024 Olympics is 1:29:20.
Shuttlers settle for bronze after loss
Despite a gallant performance by two doubles teams, India went down to China 2-3 in the semifinals and settled for bronze in the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship in Dubai. On a day when singles shuttlers HS Prannoy and PV Sindhu flattered to deceive, Chirag Shetty-Dhruv Kapila and the young pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand ensured India forced the decider. However, the mixed doubles pair of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto lost to Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin 17-21, 13-21. Chirag and Dhruv defeated He Ji Ting and Zhou Hao Dong 21-19, 21-19 after Prannoy and Sindhu suffered shock losses to unfancied Chinese opponents in the first two matches. Treesa-Gayatri survived anxious moments to beat Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning 21-18, 13-21, 21-19 to make it 2-2 for India.
IPL inks deal with Saudi Tourism
The BCCI has just raked in a new sponsor for the IPL in Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), making it the first time that the T20 league will be sponsored by a government body of a foreign country. The partnership was announced in Mumbai, with BCCI secretary Jay Shah, vice-president Rajeev Shukla, and treasurer Ashish Shelar, along with representatives fr om the Saudi Tourism Authority, including Alhasan Aldabbagh, President of APAC, present on the occasion. “I would like to welcome Saudi Tourism as an official partner of the IPL. It is the second Saudi company after Aramco to become an IPL partner,” Shah said.
SC ends Azhar’s stint as HCA president
Former India Test captain Mohammad Azharuddin’s ‘controversial’ tenure as president of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) finally concluded with Supreme Court appointing retired SC judge, Justice L Nageswara Rao, as a single-member committee to look after the cricket body and oversee conducting of elections. The apex court’s directive also meant the Justice Kakru-led 4-member panel tasked to resolve issues in HCA has been eased out. The SC bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Manoj Misra and Aravind Kumar, hearing the Hyderabad Cricket Association vs Charminar Cricket Club case, said the impasse surrounding elections to the cricket association must come to an end.
Ashwin jumps to 2nd spot
India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin jumped to the second spot in the ICC Men's Test Bowlers Rankings following his eight-wicket show against Australia in the opening Test in Nagpur. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who made a successful comeback after almost five months due to a knee injury, has moved up to the 16th position, courtesy his player-of-the-match winning effort in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series-opener. The spin duo haunted Australia in the first Test between by sharing 15 wickets between them as India won by an innings 132 runs inside three days.
Sulakshan is TN’s new head coach
Former Mumbai cricketer and coach Sulakshan Kulkarni was appointed as the head coach of the Tamil Nadu senior men's team for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons. The 56-year-old, a wicket-keeper-batter, will take over from former India cricketer M Venkataramana. Kulkarni, who coached Mumbai to the Ranji title in the 2012-13 season, played 65 first-class matches.
Goalie dies after saving penalty
Belgian goalkeeper Arne Espeel died aged 25 after he collapsed on the pitch moments after saving a penalty for an amateur team. Winkel Sport B, who play in the second provincial division of West Brabant in Belgium, were 2-1 up against Westrozebeke when their opponents were awarded a penalty in the second half. According to reports in Belgian media, Espeel saved the spot kick but dropped to the ground immediately afterwards. Emergency services rushed to help Espeel and tried to revive him with a defibrillator but he was pronounced dead shortly after he was taken to a hospital.