At 28, many may believe that Robin Uthappa’s best days are well behind him. Uthappa differs; he strongly believes that he is just a few good knocks away from making it back to the Indian team. The swashbuckling batsman played his 38th one-day international in July 2008. A comeback six years on would beggar belief, but then, Uthappa’s conviction is unwavering.
While the thought of making it back to the pinnacle of cricket is constantly on Uthappa’s mind, he has for the time being put those thoughts on the backburner to focus on an equally worthy goal. Leaner and fitter, Uthappa is focused on ensuring Karnataka returns home with the Ranji Trophy. They take on Maharashtra in the final starting in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
In the 2009-10 season, an Uthappa-led side slumped to a heartbreaking six-run defeat against Mumbai and since then, Karnataka hasn’t come close to winning the Trophy, until now. Uthappa is convinced his team is ready for coronation.
“I’m looking forward to the final and it is going to be exciting,” Uthappa said. “A lot of us believe we are going to win this tournament. It is a huge belief that is going around in the team, simply because we are having so much of fun together. I can’t think of a guy who hasn’t performed when given the opportunity this season. The players are literally having dreams that we are going to win this tournament. That happens when it’s a happy group without any inhibitions. And that’s the unit we have today.”
The players, Uthappa said, are determined to get it right this time. “That defeat in the final still pinches,” he admitted. “In the last four years, what has happened is that we have progressed to the knockout stages and then one department fails to fire. That batch has stuck together and has gone through the rigour. When I look back I think the past years was a process when everybody went through their ups and downs and its culminated beautifully at this stage.”
source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Sports> Cricket> DC / by Manju Veerappa / January 28th, 2014
‘Rankings do not matter in the Davis Cup’
He may have reached world No. 3 in doubles and made a fabulous start to the season with a fine run at the Australian Open, but Rohan Bopanna was the first to reach Indore on Sunday for the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie.
“It is great to be back in the team. I always like to come on Sunday or Monday, in case I play a final. We play Davis Cup only two or three weeks in a year. It is unique and special. We need to prepare well the whole week.
“I don’t take my spot for granted. We have a lot of young boys and the camaraderie is great. It is nice to prepare early with them and I am happy to be here,” said the 33-year-old, who is the seniormost member of the Indian squad, after a training session on Monday.
Though Chinese Taipei would be without its two leading players — Yen-Hsun Lu and Jimmy Wang — Bopanna said it was important to stay focused and get the job done on court, despite being the favourite for the tie.
“We have proved it many times, and many other teams have done so. The rankings do not matter in the Davis Cup. We cannot afford to take anything for granted. It is great that we have seven players here and the youngsters will benefit from the experience.
“When I came into the team in 2002, I was raw. I have matured over the years and look forward to sharing my experience and motivating the others,” said Bopanna.
Having started as a singles specialist in the team, after waiting for his turn, Bopanna was soon given the responsibility to play both singles and doubles. Now, he may have to focus only on doubles against Taipei.
“I play only doubles on the professional circuit and it suits me to play only doubles here. But, I will be ready to play a singles rubber if the situation demands. Playing at a high level in doubles had helped my singles game.
“Though it is just one point out of five, doubles is very important in the Davis Cup and often proves decisive. I look forward to bringing my experience and helping my partner stay relaxed, confident and play at his best,” said Bopanna.
With Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri being strong candidates for the singles matches, Saketh Myneni may be the logical choice to play doubles with Bopanna.
Bopanna saw a bit of himself in Saketh, particularly after having a close look at his game during the quarterfinal doubles loss in a super tie-break against him at the Chennai Open.
“Saketh has all the tools. He has a huge serve and a big forehand. His backhand is solid. He has obviously benefited from the collegiate tennis in the US.
“He is easily capable of jumping another 150 spots in the rankings. It is just a matter of time before he starts stringing a few matches together at the higher level. He needs to have the belief.
“The three Challengers at home after this Davis Cup are a great opportunity for him and a lot of other players like Jeevan (Nedunchezhiyan) and R. Ramkumar,” observed Bopanna.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Tennis / by Special Correspondent / New Delhi – January 27th, 2014
Team Coorg Oman is all set to participate in the UTSC-organised 5th Gulf Cup Hockey Tournament in Dubai later this week, according to a press release issued by the team on 27 January, 2014.
The six-a-side hockey tournament will have teams from various clubs in and around the UAE. Team Coorg Oman, having been the winners in 2012 and runners-up in the 2011 and 2013, will be looking forward to bring back the Gulf Cup.
Keen to be part of the growing popularity of this tournament, many local Omani players have come forward to be part of the team for Dubai.
The recently organised tournament, the Republic Day Cup in Muscat, has given the players the much needed match practice and they are looking forward to the fast six-a-side format of the game.
The UTSC which too has been hosting this tournament in Oman as well as in Dubai are keen that teams from Oman continue to participate and help make this tournament more popular.
Along with Team Coorg Oman, UTSC too has been in the forefront of promoting hockey in Oman.
With more schools introducing hockey as part of their team sports curriculum, it is heartening to see the gradual progress the game is making.
Corporate bodies too are now stepping in to promote the game in Oman. This year’s team sponsors are Al Qurum Complex (CCC), Al Rawahi International Co.LLC and Services & Trade Company LLC.
The above companies have been sponsoring the game continuously for the last few years and continue to extend their support to the teams.
The hockey fraternity in Oman wishes the team the very best in this tournament. All supporters of Team Coorg in Dubai are keenly awaiting the teams’ arrival to extend their warm welcome and support during the matches.
source: http://www.timesofoman.com / Times of Oman / Home / by Times News Service / January 27th, 2014
The lists of teams participating in the Republic Day of India hockey events, to be organised by Team Coorg and Friends of Naqvi Group, were announced on 22 January, 2014.
The annual event, being organised under the patronage of Indian Embassy and the Oman Hockey Associaiton (OHA), will take place at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Friday.
And this year’s event includes two matches, one between Team Coorg and Oman Veterans Combined XI and the other between Ambassador’s XI and Indian School Al Seeb.
Team Coorg Muscat will be respresented by Achaiah, Muddappa, Kavan, Kuttappa, Dinal, Nanaiah, Dumnic, Thamaiah, Jacob, Subash, Pacha and Lavin.
The Combined XI will comprise Devaiah, Chenav, Ganpathy, Bopanna, Kushalappa, Hiten, Thimmaiah, Jalal, L. Erappa, Shakeel, Venkatesh and Rag Popiah. Ambassador’s XI will be represented by Indian Ambassador J.S. Mukul, Head of Chancery A.P.S. Chauhan, Ramesh Chander, S.K. Bhattacharya, Neej Kumar Saini, Daram Pal, R.K. Joshi, C.S. Chaubey, Saifuddin, Sardar Alam and Nipun Dangwal.
The Indian School Al Seeb XI will have Sarath P, Abdul Salam, Amir Suhail, Mohammed Talib, Adil Abbas Ali, Sheikh Mohammed Zahid, Mussar H., Sohail M. Qureshi, Hari S., Mohammed Shakir, Ambaresh C., Balraj Singh and A Bose.
Indian Ambassador J.S. Mukul will preside over the proceedings while OHA chairman Sheikh Mahfoodh Ali Juma and Al Omaniya Financial Services CEO Aftab Patel, who is also supporting the event, will be the guests of honour. British General and Pocari Sweat (Muscat Pharmacy) are the sponsors. The proceedings will begin at 3.50 p.m.
source: http://www.timesofoman.com / Times of Oman / Home> Muscat / by Times News Service / January 22nd, 2014
Former international shuttle badminton player Pullera G. Chengappa (67), a resident of Mysore, passed away in Bangalore this morning after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife Vanitha and a son.
Last rites will be held at his native village Kedakal in Suntikoppa, Kodagu, later this evening, according to family sources.
source:http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> General News / January 29th, 2014
It was their first international exposure, for the three differently-abled persons from Kodagu, but they brought laurels to the country at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games held at New Castle, Australia, last month in which 29 countries participated.
M.P. Mandanna, a 27-year-old, won gold medal in 100 mt, bronze in 200 mt and silver in 4 X 400 mt relay, while 16-year-old C.R. Gowtham won silver in singles and bronze in doubles in Bocce. H.M. Arun, a 20 year-old, was placed 4th in singles and 6th in doubles in Bocce.
The trio from Swastha, a rehabilitation centre for differently abled children located in Suntikoppa in Kodagu district, were part of the Indian contingent of 381 athletes that returned with a rich haul of 387 medals, including 111 gold medals and 136 silver medals.
In all, 20 athletes and nine coaches through Special Olympics Bharat Karnataka represented the State, bagging nine gold, nine silver and nine bronze medals.
“It was a nice experience and a great pleasure to participate in the games,” Mr. Mandanna told presspersons here on Friday.
“I want to improve on my performance,” he added. Mr. Arun and Mr. Gowtham too concurred with Mr. Mandanna on their experience.
According to Biju Thayathvalapil, a special educator at Swastha, Asia Pacific games was the first international exposure for the three, who had earlier participated in the national games.
They have already started training for the World Special Olympics scheduled to be held in Los Angeles, US in 2015, Mr. Biju said.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bangalore / by Special Correspondent / Bangalore – January 20th, 2014
Once branded as a limited-overs specialist, Robin Uthappa, nick-named the ‘Walking Assassin’, for that gumptious stroll down the pitch, has changed tracks, picking solid instead of swashbuckling. He now flaunts a controlled approach, improved technique, tailor-made for the longer version of the game.
Uthappa, who after missing six of the nine Ranji Trophy matches this season due to a ruptured hamstring tendon, cracked a crucial 100 in Karnataka’s Ranji Trophy quarterfinal win over Uttar Pradesh last week.
His four-hour stand and a century-run partnership with Karun Nair propelled Karnataka from a humiliating 15 for three to a position of dominance.
After scoring oodles of runs including a triple hundred in the Shafi Darashah, he struck a century for India ‘A’ against New Zealand ‘A’ in Vizag in September last year.
Uthappa then battled crippling cramps to score 86 against Vidharbha in his first Ranji Trophy match of the season. He followed that up with a 33, batting for two hours, against Orissa.
The 29-year-old took tough decisions, changing his attitude and lifestyle in a bid to give fresh life to his career. The Kodava moved out of his parents’ home – father Venu Uthappa, a hockey referee, and mother Roselyn – to live on his own and focus on his game. He also hired a personal coach Praveen Amre, a former India Test cricketer, to help him tighten his technique.
“I isolated myself from the people I knew, I worked on my fitness and lost 20 kilos. With Amre I went through an unlearning and learning process, to me, that is quite an achievement,” Uthappa said.
The 28-year-old Air India employee made Mumbai his training base. He has even rented out a flat in the suburbs to aide his training regimen.
He pays Rs 15,000-a day to train at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s indoor academy in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).
His stroll to stardom was however full of hurdles. As a kid, Uthappa had to overcome epilepsy, the medications for which made him overweight. Despite the baggage he was a prolific scorer at the inter-school level, playing for St Joseph’s Boys High School.
Uthappa made a memorable ODI debut with a stroke-full 86 against England in Indore. The following year, he played a stellar role in India’s World T20 triumph, becoming India’s first half-centurion in T20 when he made 39-ball 50 against Pakistan at Durban.
Thereafter, the Bangalorean, the forgotten man of Indian cricket, continued to state his case in the shorter versions of the game. He was then bought for a whopping $2.1 million by the now-defunct IPL team Pune Warriors. His last international appearance was in the rain-affected T20 game in South Africa in March 2012.
The stylish Bangalorean is looking to return to the national team. “I believe I’m close to getting a national call-up,” said Uthappa, who has also started a food and garments business, “I think everyone has seen the change in me, attitude and approach.”
source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> Sports> Interviews> Air India / by Sunil Subbaiah, TNN / January 20th, 2014
January 30th, 2014Sports
The Kodava Samaja Cultural and Sports Club, Vijayanagar, will be conducting annual sports meet for various Kodava Sanghas located in the city and the schedule is as follows:
Adenganda Seethamma Memorial Throwball Tournament for ladies will be held on Feb. 2 at Sree Cauvery Educational Institution, Adichunchanagiri Road, Kuvempunagar.
On the same day, tug-of-war and shot put events will also be held. The shot put event will be held both for men and women in the following categories: For women- below 20 years and above 20 years and for men- below 20 years, between 20 & 50 years and above 50 years. Interested may send in their entries to the Club before Jan. 30.
For details, contact Club Secretary Kuttimada D. Muthappa on Mob: 94498-15155, according to a press release.
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> Sports News / January 24th, 2014
Former India sprinter Ashwini Nachappa today expressed happiness over ace long jumper Anju Bobby George’s upgraded gold medal in an event that she took part in eight years ago and said the nation is proud of her feat though it has come after so long.
“Whether it is eight years, a gold medal is a gold medal. She was at the peak of her performance at that point of time. We cherish those moments when she won the silver and we are happy that she got the gold, of course for other reasons,” Nachappa said during a promotional event here today.
“She is extremely happy and we are very proud that she got a clean chit and the one who cheated got caught,” the 46-year-old former athlete told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of a Puma running relay event for school children in three cities – Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.
Anju’s second place finish at the 2005 Monaco World Athletics final was upgraded to a gold medal yesterday, following a confirmed dope violation by Russian competitor Tatyana Kotova who had stood first but has now been stripped of her place after her sample was found to contain traces of a banned substance when it was tested again.
Nachappa, who is president of ‘Clean Sport India’, also warned that doping is rampant in India – even at the grassroot level.
“I believe that the performance enhancing drugs have become rampant even in our country. Among young children, it is such a dangerous trend. I am connected with athletics and when I see the junior meets that takes place, it is actually quite frightening. You go to any national championship, you see syringes on the ground, in the toilets.”
She wanted young athletes as well as the coaches to be educated about the dangers of dope.
“I think we need to have a broader education, not just within the classrooms but on the field also, not just with the children but also with our trainers, because after all kids will not know what they are taking till a certain age. They are not educated enough and believe in coaches. You have got to be sensitive on these issues.
source: http://www.business-standard.com / Business Standard / Home> PTI Stories> National> News / by Press Trust of India / Mumbai – January 15th, 2014
January 27th, 2014Sports
Circa 2002. India, still part of the World Group, were playing Australia in the first round of Davis Cup at Adelaide. Having lost the first three ties, captain Ramesh Krishnan decided to send a 22-year-old for the reverse singles match. A certain Bangalorean by the name of Rohan Bopanna, who was the youngest in the team, could not make his Davis Cup debut a memorable one as he lost to Scott Draper in straight sets and the Indians lost 0-5.
It’s been over a decade since Bopanna first played for the country, and this time, he is back in the squad as the senior-most player when India take on the Chinese Taipei in the Asia/Oceania Group I encounter starting in Indore on January 31.
Making a comeback after a two-year hiatus, the 33-year-old couldn’t have asked for a better start to the new year. “It’s obviously a great feeling to be selected again. I’m honoured to represent my country and this time, as the senior most player. I have been playing well and that has accounted for my selection. Looking forward to the year ahead,” he told TNIE.
In the absence of seasoned players Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, the onus is on Bopanna to lead the young brigade.
“I am happy to be part of this team with the youngsters and share all the experiences that I have learnt from Mahesh and Leander over the past decade. I shall do my best to motivate them and also use all my experience in the doubles event to help ease the pressures on Saketh (Myneni), who is making his debut,” he added.
What about the opponents? “Chinese Taipei have strong players. Lu (Yen-hsun), who is the number one player, has been in the top 100 for a few years now; (Jimmy) Wang just qualified to the main draw of the Australian Open. So it will definitely be interesting and hoping for some home support and great performance by us, which will aid us in pulling this through,” he further added.
The selection came as a blessing in disguise as it did wonders to Bopanna’s confidence ahead of the Australian Open. After finishing runners-up in Sydney, in only his second tournament with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi post their renewed partnership, Bopanna hopes to taste success at Melbourne Park too. “It’s great to go into a Grand Slam feeling confident. We had a great tournament in Sydney. Even though we lost in the final, neither of us had lost a serve in the entire tournament, which is a big confidence booster. In the final, we had numerous chances. It was just that (Daniel) Nestor and (Nenad) Zimonjic played the crucial points better than us and we were slightly unlucky,” he said.
Of their blooming partnership, Bopanna said, “Me and Aisam have always had a great understanding and have had a reasonable amount of success. Since then, we have gained a lot of experience on the circuit, which should help us this year. We are enjoying playing with each other and are confident of our abilities as a team,” he added.
The Indo-Pak Express, seeded seventh, will play the Australian-French pair of Rameez Junaid and Adrian Mannarino in their opening round on Thursday.
Bopanna has joined hands with Slovenia’s Katrina Srebotnik and the second seeds will take on Raquel Kops-Jones and Treat Huey in the first round of the mixed doubles.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Sport / by Kristhika Gopalkrishnan / Express News Service – Chennai / January 16th, 2014
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