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Indian para-athletes dazzle, teenagers oust stars at the US Open, and more!9 min read

September 8, 2021 6 min read

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Indian para-athletes dazzle, teenagers oust stars at the US Open, and more!9 min read

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Adithya G

All eyes on India’s
super para-athletes

Indian para-athletes stars shone bright at the Tokyo Paralympics. Here’s a lowdown on the action out there:

Avani Lekhara. Photo: Twitter

Avani Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win gold at a Paralympic event after she equalled the world record with a score of 249.6 in the women’s 10m air rifle standing final. Avani also won the bronze, to become the first Indian woman to win two medals at the Paralympics!

Pramod Bhagat won the first-ever badminton gold for India after beating Daniel Bethell (21-14, 21-17) in the men’s singles SL3 event. This was also India’s first-ever medal in Badminton at the Paralympics Games. Bhagat’s countryman Manoj Sarkar beat Daisuke Fujihara of Japan and clinched the bronze medal in the same category.

Sumit Antil won the gold in the men’s javelin F64/44 final with a world record throw of 68.55m. The 23-year-old athlete beat his own world record not once, but five times during the event.

It was a prolific event for India’s contingent of 54 para-athletes as they finished in 24th position with 19 medals (5 gold, 8 silver & 6 bronze medals).

Tardiness costs a medal

Malaysian shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli was awarded a gold medal in the F20 class event before he was disqualified for arriving late to the event. He was late by three minutes.

World Para Athletics, the governing body for track and field Paralympics events, revealed that a referee determined “there was no justifiable reason for the athletes’ failure to report” on time to the event.

Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli. Photo: Twitter

Zolkefli appealed the decision, but it was denied.

Ukraine’s Maksym Koval won the gold medal his countryman Oleksandr Yarovyi earned the silver medal. Greece’s Efstratios Nikolaidis took home the bronze medal.

The close race

The men’s 100m T64 final at the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo was one of the closest and most exciting races in the history of the games.

Germany’s Felix Streng (10.76) became the new Paralympic champion after winning the event in a closely fought blade runners’ battle to the finish line. The first four athletes crossed the finish line within 0.04 of a second. Costa Rican Sherman Isidro Guity Guity claimed silver.

Football

Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to play for Manchester United this season, but the Portuguese captain is in great form. He scored a brace for Portugal in their 2-1 win against Ireland and took his international goal tally past Iran’s Ali Daei to 111.

Photo: Instagram

Ronaldo drew level with Daei’s mark of 109 goals at Euro 2020 in a match against France when he scored two penalties.

During the game against Ireland, Ronaldo missed a penalty in the first half and saw his team concede a goal in the final minutes of the first half. The attacker’s record-breaking goal, a header from close range, proved to be the equaliser. His second goal in injury time gave his team a hard-fought victory.

The career international scoring record is held by Canada’s Christine Sinclair, who has 186 goals.

Spain loses at last

A total of 66 matches and 28 years later, Spain finally faced defeat in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match. Sweden recovered from a goal to earn a shock 2-1 victory. After debutant Carlos Soler had given Spain the lead, goals from Alexander Isak and Viktor Claesson ensured Sweden’s perfect start to their qualifying campaign.

Tennis

Carlos Alcaraz. Photo: Wikipedia

Teenagers star at Flushing Meadows

Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz become the youngest player in the Open era to reach the US Open men’s quarter-finals. He beat German Peter Gojowczyk in the fourth round to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

18-year-old Alcaraz recovered from two-sets-to-one down to win 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 6-0. He will face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime next.

Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez beat 2016 champion Angelique Kerber to advance to the quarter-finals. On the eve of her 19th birthday, Fernandez claimed a 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory over Germany’s Kerber. In her previous round, she beat third seed Naomi Osaka 5-7, 7-6, 6-4

Fernandez will face fifth seed Elina Svitolina for a semi-final spot.

Cricket

India take 2-1 series lead against England

1st Innings:
India 191 (Thakur 57, Kohli 50, Woakes 4-55)
England 290 (Pope 81, Woakes 50, Umesh 3-76)

2nd Innings:
IND 466 (Rohit 127, Pujara 61, Thakur 60, Pant 50, Woakes 3-83)
ENG 210 (Hameed 63, Burns 50, Umesh 3-60)

A fantastic bowling performance by India saw them clinch victory on the final day of the fourth Test to take an unassailable lead in the five-match series. England began the final day at 77/0, needing 291 runs to win the game.

Team India celebrates after taking a wicket. Photo: Reuters

They lost two wickets in the first session before the Indian quicks and Ravindra Jadeja made major inroads in the second session, picking up four wickets for just six runs in a span of six overs. Victory seemed a mere formality in the final session as the visitors closed out the game with 157 runs to spare.

Rohit Sharma was awarded the Player of the Match award for his century in India’s second innings.

The final Test between the two teams will be played at Old Trafford on September 10.

Dale Steyn announces retirement

One of South Africa’s greatest fast bowlers, Dale Steyn announced his retirement from cricket.

Photo: AFP

“Today I officially retire from the game I love most. Bittersweet but graceful,” Steyn wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone, from family to teammates, journalists to fans, it’s been an incredible journey together,” he added.

Steyn appeared in 93 Tests for South Africa, taking 439 wickets, and played his last Test against Sri Lanka in 2019 before announcing his retirement from Test cricket in August that year to focus on limited-overs cricket. He was named ICC 2008 Test Cricketer of the Year and was ranked the No.1 bowler in the ICC Test rankings for a record 263 weeks.

F1

Belgian Grand Prix cancelled

Photo: Giphy

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix without racing even a single lap. Half-points were awarded for only the sixth time in Formula One history.

The race was delayed by three hours due to rain. It finally started from the pitlane and behind the safety car and was then stopped after completing the two laps required to award half points.

George Russell finished second for Williams and seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes. Hamilton’s overall lead over Verstappen was cut from eight points to three.

Kimi Raikkonen to retire at end of Formula One season

The Finn, who won the world title in 2007 and will be 42 at the end of the season, announced that the ongoing F1 season would be his last. “This is it. This will be my last season in Formula 1,” Raikkonen wrote.

Photo: Giphy

“This is a decision I did during last winter. It was not an easy decision but after this season it is time for new things. Formula 1 might come to an end for me but there is a lot more in life that I want to experience and enjoy. See you around after all of this! Sincerely Kimi.”

During his 344 Grand Prix weekends to date, he has taken 21 wins, 103 podiums and 18 pole positions. He has 10 more races to potentially add to that tally.

Well, that’s all for this week, folks. Let the games continue, until next week!


Author’s Note: Adithya G is a freelance writer who is passionate about sports.

(Out Actioned is a weekly sports bulletin)

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