Indian tennis ace Leander Paes on Wednesday said if he partners Rohan Bopanna in the men’s doubles event in the Rio Olympics next year, they will have the best chance of grabbing a medal. “Pretty obvious in the men’s doubles that Rohan and myself have the best chance of going out there and winning the medal. Rohan has been playing some wonderful tennis, he has been playing with (Florin) Mergea and has done well. With Rohan and myself playing doubles for India, I think we have a great chance of grabbing a medal,” Paes told reporters here where he had come as IDBI’s Kolkata Marathon’s ‘Face of the Event’. “I had wanted to play with him in London. In the grass courts it was a great platform for us to do well.” Four years back in London, Paes had to partner Vishnu Vardhan and they lost in the second round. He then combined with Sania Mirza but bowed out to the eventual mixed doubles champions Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi of Belarus.
The 42-year-old believes based on current performance he and Mirza should be sent to represent the country in the mixed doubles event. “With Sania Mirza, I played at London, we lost to the eventual champions, Azarenka, Mirnyi. We had a great chance in that game too. We have both had good seasons, so on merit it is an obvious choice to let me and Sania go. But after what happened in London I don’t think anything can be taken for granted,” he said pointing to the fact that he was paired with Vardhan who during the London Olympics was ranked 209. Both Mahesh Bhupathi and Bopanna refused to play doubles with Paes, after which the national tennis federation persuaded Sania Mirza to play with the veteran Kolkatan. And Paes paired up with lowly ranked Vardhan.
The nine-time mixed doubles Grand Slam winner said he is focussing on the event more as he has been successful in it in the last few years. “For Rio I have focussed a lot on mixed doubles, I have been focussed on the Grand Slams as mixed doubles is only played in four Grand Slams. And having a wonderful partner in Martina Hingis has allowed me to do that. Winning three of the four Grand Slams leading into the Olympics, it’s pretty obvious where my focus is,” he said. “Having got the medal in singles already in the Olympics to do it in the doubles and mixed doubles is something I am focussing on.” The tennis star added that he is looking forward to playing alongside Bopanna and Sania if he gets the opportunity and that representing the country and getting a medal is the foremost thing on his mind.
“Let’s see how the next six months turn up. I hope another London does not happen. But representing the country is the foremost thing in mind. And I think the best team should go and represent the country and it should be done on merit. I am looking forward to playing with Sania and Rohan if I get the opportunity.”
source: http://www.freepressjournal.in / The Free Press Journal / Home> Sports / by FPJ Bureau / December 24th, 2015
New Delhi :
Joshna Chinappa overtook Dipika Pallikal to become India’s highest-ranked player while off the court N Ramachandran’s role as the boss of the world governing body was questioned in what turned out to be a memorable year for Indian and world squash.
Ramachandran faced a lot of heat, both as president of the World Squash Federation (WSF) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), coinciding with his brother N Srinivasan’s ouster from the International Cricket Council.
(PSA) went to the extent of calling Ramachandran an “embarrassment” to the sport for leading WSF to another failed Olympic bid. Back home in India, selected member federations wanted him removed as the IOA chief but he managed to weather the storm.
• The start of the year saw the merger of male professional body PSA and its women’s counterpart WSA.
• Joshna had the most fruitful time among country’s three torch-bearers including Dipika and Saurav Ghosal.
• Ramachandran faced a lot of heat, both as president of the WSF and IOA.
The start of the year also saw the merger of male professional body PSA and its women’s counterpart WSA.
On the court, Joshna had the most fruitful time among country’s three torch-bearers including Dipika and Saurav Ghosal.
The highlight of her season undoubtedly was getting the better of world number one Raneem El Welily in the opening round of Qatar Classic. A couple of USD 15,000 titles in Melbourne and Mumbai along with a semifinal finish at the USD 50,000 Carol Weymuller Open in New York eventually helped her reach a career-high rank of 13, a jump of nine places since December 2014.
It is the first time in five years that the 29-year-old finished the season ahead of Pallikal, who held on to the 16th spot of December last year despite playing less events owing to a month’s break she took for her wedding in August.
Joshna wants to capitalise on her form as she aims to do better in the upcoming season.
“It has been a good year but I don’t want to stop here. I believe I can push myself. Obviously the aim is to get better, break into the top 10 and then top five. I don’t want to think that I am at the peak of my game. I am 29 and as squash history points out, a lot of players peak post 30. So I am going to keep doing what I am doing, work hard and train hard for the upcoming season,” Joshna told PTI.
For her longtime teammate Dipika, it was an unforgettable year off the court as she tied the knot with cricketer Dinesh Karthik. On the squash court, she did not have a great time by her standards.
“It was not a great year for me to be honest. I did not play as well as I could have. The positive is that I have not lost a lot of ground in the rankings and hopefully I can get back into the top-10 with consistent performances next year,” Dipika said.
The 29-year-old, who ended the year as world number 18 after beginning at 24, reached four finals with the high point being his runner-up effort in Colombia. He was expected to win the summit clash against local qualifier Alfredo Avila after surprising fifth-ranked Miguel Rodriguez in the last four.
His other two wins against a top-10 player came against Tarkek Momen.
“It was a decent year for me. I reached four finals and won one though I should have done more than that. Next season will be about climbing up the rankings ladder, getting more wins against top-10 players,” said Ghosal, who injured his foot in Hong Kong earlier in the month.
He is undergoing recovery at home and therefore will be missing the Tournament of Champions to be held in New York from January 7.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> Sports> More Sports / PTI / December 16th, 2015
December 15th, 2015Sports
Rs. 3 crore has been sanctioned for the purpose: Bopaiah
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly K.G. Bopaiah said on Saturday that a committee comprising senior sportspersons in the district would be constituted to monitor laying of synthetic hockey playing turf at Ponnampet in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu soon.
He was speaking at the finals of the Kodava Invitation Cup Hockey Tournament at Ammathi.
The proposed ground where the synthetic surface would be laid was in the name of the Government Junior College. The name had to be changed.
The State Government had sanctioned Rs. 3 crore for the purpose. The estimation to renovate the defunct swimming pool in Madikeri too had been increased from Rs. 80 lakh to Rs. 1 crore, he said.
He lauded the sports tradition of Kodagu which was being followed steadfastly by the younger generations. Organising events such as this would immensely benefit the rural talent.
The support received from sportspersons and sports enthusiasts who had settled outside the district was also laudable, said Mr. Bopaiah. The State Government had been paying more attention to sports in Kodagu. It had assisted the two previous Kodava family hockey festivals and would continue to do so in future, Mr. Bopaiah said.
Bollanda Pramila Aiyappa, bronze medal winner in heptathlon in the recent Asian Games, was honoured. Lullu Aiyappa, grandmother of badminton star Machimanda Ashwini Ponnappa, and Kuttanda Chinappa, father of squash player Joshna Chinappa, received the honour in their absentia.
Malettira Muthanna was adjudged the best forward of the tournament, Mundottira Pavan Chengappa the best goalkeeper, Appanderanda Cariappa best full-back, Bollachettira Poovanna best half-back. Bollachettira Moni Muthanna was adjudged the best upcoming player.
Kootanda Ganesh was honoured with the ‘Titan of Players’ award. Karineravanda Somanna was adjudged the best player of the tournament.
The president of the Ammathi Sports Club, which organised the tournament, Naru Nachappa, presided over the function. Ichanda Vinod, Mukkatira Pemmaiah, Mandepanda Jimmy Subbaiah, Puggera Devaiah, Kanjitanda Sunil Muddaiah, Machimanda M. Mohan, L.N. Ajay Singh, Nellamakkada Mohan Aiyappa and B.J. Bopanna were among those present.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Karnataka / by Staff Correspondent / Madikeri – December 26th, 2010
‘Managed to find the right partner’: Rohan Bopanna on his ‘terrific’ year, plans for 2016, IPTL and Olympics0
“It has been a terrific year,” says Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna, summing up his performance in 2015.
With four doubles titles, reaching the finals of the ATP World Tour Finals and finishing the year in the top 10, 2015 was Bopanna’s most successful year on the circuit so far. Doubles record-holder Mike Bryan had high praise for him as well. “Rohan is probably the hottest player of the tournament. He’s doing everything well. He’s got big weapons,” he said at the O2 in London. And the 35-year old Indian credits it in a large way to his Romanian men’s doubles partner Florin Mergea.
“I’m glad I have managed to find the right partner with Florin. Even though we started in April, we managed to qualify for London (ATP Finals). It’s great, the way we have played together as a team and doing well in major tournaments ,” Bopanna told Firstpost in an exclusive telephonic chat.
Bopanna and Mergea first teamed up at Casablanca in April and ended the year with a 31-16 record, including two titles from four finals.
Keeping up this successful momentum, is comes as no surprise that the Indo-Romanian pair intends to continue their partnership in 2016, and Bopanna is very optimistic about extending their record. “We are sticking together as a team and this time we will start in January itself. As a team, we have a lot to grow as we work together and that is a good sign.”
“The way we are playing together, we have a good chance at winning every tournament we enter. As a player, it is a great feeling to go into a tournament knowing that you can beat everyone out there, knowing that you can win the tournament and not just go there to perform,” says Bopanna.
But would 2016 begin with India’s only ATP tournament, the Chennai Open in January? “We are still deciding on our 2016 calendar since we have had such a long year.We finished only a few days ago and we are still deciding whether to play in the first week of the year or not. It is great to have a home tournament but we are not sure if we want to give ourselves another week off and start the season in Sydney,” Bopanna said.
Speaking of a long year, the tennis season may be over but the second season of the popular International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) is coming up. Bopanna is part of Indian Aces, who won the inaugural season and is looking forward to defend the title.
“It’s great that the IPTL is having a second season and since we won it last year, all the teams are looking forward to taking us down and I am looking forward to the challenge. I have spoken to my team mates and we are all ready, it’s going to be a lot of fun like last year,” he adds.
The Indian Aces will boast of the services of Rafael Nadal this year, after having had Roger Federer on the team last year. Soon, Bopanna might be in a unique position to tell us who is the better team mate, maybe? “If I do get to play with Rafa, then let’s see, in a few weeks we can take that call,” he laughs.
Bopanna is also all praise for IPTL and Mahesh Bhupati.
“They (Federer and Nadal) are exceptional players and you learn a lot especially when you are playing with them. I’m really looking forward to have Rafa in our team and it is going to be fantastic not only for us as players but also for the fans. It’s great for tennis that Mahesh (Bhupathi) has got all the top players playing in the league. I think tennis in Asia is definitely going to grow and this is the right way forward,” he says.
The popularity of tennis in Asia, and especially in India, has been on the rise in the past few years as was evident from the turnout in Delhi during IPTL 2015. “Fans are excited to see their favorite players play in their country and that makes a big a difference. We have many youngsters come out and support their favorite players. As players it is great to see so many people come out and support tennis. The growth of tennis will improve if we have these leagues like these,” he adds.
But it’s not just the fans that have benefited greatly from the tournament, it gives a boost to aspiring tennis players as well. Bopanna’s advice to these youngsters is simple — commitment and discipline.
“It is nice to see that lot of youngsters want to pick up the sport and become professional players and I think that having IPTL, especially with all these top players coming in, it is going to boost the confidence of a young player coming up. When I meet youngsters today, they want to get into the professional circuit and aim to break into the top. So whenever I can, I try to advise them that tennis is a full time commitment with a lot of discipline involved.”
And which young, Indian player is Bopanna’s pick to watch out for? “Yuki Bhambri is playing great tennis right now and has cracked into the top 100. The way he has been playing, he has every chance of reaching the top 50 and he is definitely a player to watch out for in 2016.”
Speaking of 2016, it is also the year of the Olympics. But Bopanna, who partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi at the 2012 London Olympics, is not thinking about that just yet. “It is a great feeling to represent India at the Olympics again, but we have three Grand Slams before it even comes into play. So I have to take it one step at a time cannot think of too far ahead.”
source: http://www.firstpost.com / FirstPost / Home> F.Sports> Latest News> Sports News / by Zenia D’Cunha / December 02nd, 2015
Most of us think of ways to reconnect with the world — go on adventure trips, explore the offbeat locations of the City and more — but ever considered going barefoot for all your expeditions? As part of the ‘Coorg Reconnect Festival’, the Coorg Wellness Foundation, the Coorg Wildlife Society and the United Sisters Foundation are jointly organising the first barefoot marathon.
Milind Soman and Nikki Ponappa are the face of the event and are hoping to meet barefoot runners from across the country to share their stories.
“This is going to be the first barefoot marathon in the world, so you can image how excited we are about it. Barefoot running in general is becoming popular around the world and to be able to do it in a beautiful place like Coorg is a plus point,” says Milind.
Much has been spoken and lots has been heard and read. But this time, one can take the time to reconnect with the earth and be their innermost being. With the initiative called ‘Reconnect’, the organisers are inviting people from around the country to participate in the marathon.
“We have been getting a lot of entries from around the country. People from North East, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu and even Delhi have registered. We didn’t think it would generate such a huge response, but we’re thrilled to start the first of many in a grand way,” shares Nikki.
But it’s not just the barefoot running marathon that’s the primary focus. The focus is also on supporting rehabilitation of elephants in Coorg and on afforestation. Milind says, “The whole idea of running barefoot was to feel connected with the world. When we go to holy places, we take off our shoes and that makes sense because we’re trying to be one with the world. There are also many rural communities who walk around without shoes and live in harmony with the environment. So this marathon is symbolic to the that kind of emotion.”
And what’s the one piece of advice the ironman wants to share with the runners? “Have fun. Don’t do anything that you don’t want to do. The most important thing about running a marathon is to train yourself. If you’re running too fast and you can’t talk, you’re doing it wrong. So just have fun and everything else will fall in place,” he says.
But when asked what he thinks will be some of the challenges he might face during this marathon, he laughs and says, “I won’t be running this marathon. But the challenges I have right now is being the organiser. It’s a lot of work getting everything in place and also to make sure that the runners are comfortable during the run.”
However, he runs on a regular basis and does not let anything stop him. “I make sure that I run whenever I can. I don’t set any goals for myself; I run till I have a meeting to attend. Running for me is a way to de-stress and get energised for the day, not exhausted. So I’m always up for a run!”
The marathon will take place on December 5 in Coorg and December 6 in Bengaluru. For more details, log on to www.thebarefootmarathon.com
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> MetroLife / DHNS – December 02nd, 2015
Mixing Kodagu’s rugged landscape with a triple-edged obstacle race, a unique first-of-its-kind endurance challenge has been thrown at adventure buffs.
Next weekend, on December 12 and 13, the race dubbed ‘Tropical Rush’ will unfold, beckoning contestants to run, trek, raft and cycle through some of Karnataka’s breathtaking yet daunting wilderness hotspots. The emphasis, clearly, is on finishing and not the best time. That settles it.
Participants needn’t be super-competitive gym junkies.
Designed for teamwork, most races could get friends gang up to surmount challenges. Conceptualised by Coorgexpress, the contest is multi-pronged.
The Obstacle Race is an intense 5-10 kilometre course in length, featuring 15 signature Indian Army inspired obstacles. In the Corporate Mud Battle (men and women), contestants could team up in fives. The Tropical Rush 5k Challenge, open for both genders, tests the skills of participants with a 15 obstacle course built on the paddy fields and remote woodlands of South Kodagu.
This event is open to athletes of all levels, without any formal entry requirements. The open wave will start every 15 minutes and the team with the best timing wins.
The Tropical Hike Challenge will beckon trekkers to the Brahmagiri hill range in the Western Ghats, a protected sanctuary.
The trek will traverse through tropical rainforest (Shola) forest, grasslands, small streams and rivers and the famous Irupu falls.
“We have created this Challenge to encourage individuals to step outside their comfort zone,” explained Ricky Monnappa, the brains behind Tropical Rush.
Forest guards will accompany participants at all times.
Designed for bikers, the Tropical 20-kilometre Off Road Cycling event will test their skills along the unexplored trails of South Kodagu.
The Votecad Nature Camp will be the kickoff point, before the ride traverses through coffee plantations, villages and streams to finally enter the green pastures of Brahmagiri foothills.
The ride back will be along the Barapole river.
For more on the competition, rules, venue and timings, check the portal www.tropicalrush.in or email: email@example.com or call Ph: 9632338111.
In Bengaluru, the contact site is 136, 2nd Cross, 8th B Main, Jakkasandra Block, Koramangala 3rd Block.
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> State / by Rasheed Kappan, Bengaluru / DHNS – December 04th, 2015
Milind Soman says there is no special regime to follow to run that extra mile
Model, actor and now an active runner, Milind Soman has come a long way. He has been in the news for his vigorous promotion of marathons. Off on a barefoot marathon in Coorg, he talks about the importance and benefits of running. Excerpts.
Can you describe your journey from being a model to a marathon runner?
It has been fun. The two worlds are as different as you want it to be. I like to be myself and have been running for years. It comes naturally to me. I can now run and run.
Which is a better way to connect to people — as a celebrity or a runner?
Both have different rapports. As a marathon runner it is more personal. The connection, sometimes, is superficial when it happens through the media.
When were you bitten by the fitness bug?
It all started when I was 10. I was keen on fitness as a model and actor.
Why did you choose marathons?
I was always into running. My work has been noticed because of social media. Running is easy and everyone can do it. I want people to explore themselves and their challenges.
Who can run a marathon?
Running is easy. It is a misconception that it is tough. We have been doing the Pinkathon. Today 62,000 women are running with us, which shows that given an opportunity, women will take part in it. The good thing is that they have realised they too need to exercise. In India, health is the last priority.
How does one train for a run?
You start with three km walk and then go on to running half a marathon. You should decide on your level depending on capability and fitness.
How does a success of a marathon make you feel?
It feels good that I am able to create an opportunity. It also depends on the people. We have people undergoing chemotherapy who run.
What is the secret to good health?
It starts in your mind. Remove negative thoughts. You do not have to start with push ups and biceps. You should eat the right kind of food. Once your mind and body is healthy, it creates a freedom that helps you enjoy life. Being fit does not mean restrictions. Your body and mind can deal with much more.
Are there diet restrictions?
You can eat anything and everything. You don’t have to starve to look good. I am against refined white sugar. I can eat anything from an oily biriyani to sabudana khichdi. What makes you fat is sugar and sedentary lifestyle.
What are the benefits of barefoot running?
It is the best and keeps your body alive. Your efficiency improves, your technique improves. For me barefoot running, has minimised my injuries. It creates a nice balance, when you are connection with the earth. It makes me enjoy running.
Milind will be running with prominent runners from Coorg and Bengaluru for the Barefoot Marathon. The run is dedicated to the conservation and well-being of the environment and is organised in partnership with Coorg Wildlife Society. The venue will be the Main Gate, Tata Coffee Estate, Pollibetta, Coorg,on December 5. For details, log on to coorgwellnessfoundation .com.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Shilpa Sebastian R / Bengaluru – December 02nd, 2015
India’s national champion Joshna Chinappa has become the highest ranked Indian in the world professional squash circuit. As per the latest rankings released on Tuesday Chinappa has jumped from 17th to 13th in the latest rankings.
Dipika Pallikal, who till now held this honour, has slipped to 16th from 14th, while the best among the male players in India, national champion Saurav Ghosal has dropped a rung to 18.
Joshna’s phenomenal show in the Qatar Classic in Doha last month had stood her in good stead. More than the quarter final finish there her beating of world number one Raneem El Welily of Egypt in the first round had helped her to this happy tidings. The Indian star is now getting set to play her first round in the Hong Kong Open, a prestigious event prior to the World women championship scheduled in Malaysia.
As for the others, Mahesh Mangaonkar is on 62, Harinderpal Sandhu is placed on 66 and Kush Kumar on 97. In the women’s section Sachika Ingle is on 87.
source: http://www.sportskeeda.com / Sports Keeda / Home> Badminton> News / Press Release / December 01st, 2015
Following their loss in the title round of the year-ending $7 million ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena here, top Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna has said 2015 has been a fantastic year for him and his men’s doubles partner Florin Mergea of Romania.
Second seeds Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Rojer defeated eighth seeds Bopanna and Mergea 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday evening for their 11th team title, and third of the year that includes their maiden Grand Slam at Wimbledon.
“It was just a tough day today. But it’s been a great week, making it to the final, first-time outing for us as a team,” said the 35-year-old Bopanna after the loss.
“And for the season, starting out in April, playing just about a handful of tournaments and to qualify here, I think it’s been a fantastic year for us. We can take a lot of positives from this year, and we are looking forward to starting fresh in January.”
Bopanna and Mergea first teamed up at Casablanca in April and end the year with a 31-16 record, including two titles from four finals. Mergea added: “It’s a pleasure to play in the World Tour Finals title match. Obviously, this has been the first time two Romanians (Tecau being the other) played the doubles final here. I think it’s an historic day for us.”
Bopanna ends the year as World No.9, having won four titles — two with Mergea in Madrid and Stuttgart and two with Daniel Nestor in Dubai and Sydney, making 2015 the most successful season of his career.
source: http://www.punemirror.in / PuneMirror.in / Home> Sports> Others / Agencies / November 24th, 2015
Robin Uthappa slammed his third straight century of the season while Mayank Agarwal brought up his maiden n as Karnataka rev first-class ton as Karnataka revelled in a run feast against Delhi on the first day of the Ranji Trophy group ‘A’ match at the KSCA Rajnagar stadium, here on Monday.
Put in to bat after the visitors misread what appeared to be a seamer-friendly wicket, the second-wicket duo forged an imposing 236-run partnership to put the defending champions in a position of strength. At close, Karnataka were at a commanding 3583 with Manish Pandey (31) and Karun Nair (31) holding fort.
Uthappa, who scored 160 against Rajasthan and 148 against Odisha in the previous games, equalled Rahul Dravid’s record of 17 Ranji trophy centuries. Agarwal brought up his half-century just before lunch while Uthappa too cruised to 40 off just 51 deliveries as the hosts went into the break at 120 for 1.
Shortly after lunch, Uthappa targeted left-arm spinner Manan Sharma to bring up his fifty. Mayank too came up with a couple of cover drives to reach his maiden ton that was laced with 17 boundaries.
With the pacers finding it tough, Gambhir brought offspinner Dhruv Shorey but the move backfired as Uthappa smashed the tweaker for 32 runs in the over as he clobbered him for four sixes and two boundaries.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> Sports> TOI CRI / by Sunil Subbaiah, TNN / November 24th, 2015
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