7-year-old Kashmiri boy wins gold in Asian Karate Championships

first_imgSeven-year-old Hashim Mansoor from Kashmir’s Bandipora district has won a gold medal at the Asian Youth Karate Championships, being held at New Delhi. He clinched the gold in the sub-junior category (below 25kg) after defeating his Sri Lankan opponent in the final. “I am very happy to win this medal. I had been practising for this since last one year, It was difficult, but I still won the fight,” a delighted Hashim told news agency ANI after his achievement. His coach also expressed his happiness after the win. “It is a huge thing to win this Championship as there are not much resources for sports in Kashmir; Hashim faced a lot of hurdles to reach here,” he said. Earlier, eight-year-old Tajamul Islam had become India’s first player to clinch a gold in the sub-junior category at the World Kick-boxing Championships. Mansoor, after this win has now qualified for the World Championship, to be held next year in September.last_img read more



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Sergio Ramos’ last-minute header helps Real Madrid draw vs Barcelona in El Clasico



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Pak committee on sports wants collective against India

first_imgKarachi, May 4 (PTI) The National Assemblys Standing Committee on Sports has advised Pakistans top sports authorities and federations to collectively launch a campaign to stop India from being given hosting rights for international events. The powerful committee observed that in recent months, India had been trying to isolate Pakistani sportspersons by depriving them a chance to compete in international events. Pakistans Wrestling Federation and Squash Federation had recently claimed that their national teams were denied visa by the Indian High Commission for continental events. A top lawmaker of the government, Mushadullah Khan, who heads the committee, noted at a hearing today in Islamabad that by refusing visas to Pakistani sports teams for international events in India, the Indian authorities have exposed themselves. “We need to collectively launch a campaign to make the world aware that international sporting events should not be given to India because they are mixing sports with politics,” Mushadullah said. He was addressing the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board Shaharyar Khan, who appeared before the committee for a hearing on cricket affairs. Khan informed the committee members that the PCB had finally decided to stop accepting the Indian Cricket Boards tactics to damage Pakistan cricket. “We have sent the BCCI a Notice of Dispute under the Dispute Resolution Committee Terms of Reference of the ICC as they have repeatedly breached the agreement executed between PCB and BCCI in respect of the Future Tour Programme for the period 2015-2023,” Khan said. He said that the PCB had in its notice made it clear that it had suffered losses of around USD 60 million for every series that India had refused to play with it under the FTP and MOU signed between the two boards in 20-14. “We have demanded compensation for our losses and we have asked them to respond in a weeks time. If they dont accept our demand we will file a case before the ICC dispute resolution committee for hearing. Which will be the start of our legal process against them.” “Under ICC laws, both the Boards have to accept the decision of the committee after our lawyers make their cases before them,” Khan said. Khan informed the committee that between 2015 and 2017, Pakistan twice tried to hold series at neutral venues but the Indians refused to play the bilateral series. He said Pakistan had gone to India in 2012/13 for a short limited over series as a goodwill gesture. “We did not get a penny from the series and the Indian Board earned from it. Yet after that they series they made no attempt to reciprocate our goodwill gesture.” The PCB chief also informed the committee that in the notice sent to the BCCI, Pakistan had made it clear that between 2008 and 2017 it had twice sold its broadcasting rights. “And in both contracts, we lost revenues because in each contract around USD 40 million were to be paid to us for any bilateral series with India by the Broadcasters,” said Khan. PTI Corr PDS PDSadvertisementlast_img read more



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Roger Federer smart to target quicker surfaces, says Novak Djokovic

first_imgRoger Federer made a smart decision by pulling out of this month’s French Open, where he has less chance of adding to his 18 grand slam titles than on the sport’s quicker surfaces, world number two Novak Djokovic said on Thursday.Federer, who announced his withdrawal from the May 28-June 11 claycourt major on Monday, said he felt he needed to avoid playing on clay this season to help prolong his career.”You know, he’s very smart in his decision-making… He knows what he’s doing,” 12-times major winner Djokovic told reporters.”Of course he’s aware he has much better chance to win big trophies on quicker surfaces.”Federer defied age and logic to win the Australian Open in January after a knee injury kept him out of tennis for six months, and followed that up with two more high-profile titles at Indian Wells and Miami.The 35-year-old, fifth-ranked Swiss is now focused on being in top form for Wimbledon, which begins on July 3 and where he is a seven-time champion.”Grass obviously is where he feels the most comfortable,” Djokovic said.”I’m not too surprised with this (French Open) decision. I mean, he had a lot of matches played at the beginning of the year, and he did amazingly well.”Djokovic faces Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the last-16 of the Italian Open on Thursday.last_img read more



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Manchester attack: ICC responds to BCCI’s concerns over Champions Trophy security

first_imgThe Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday wrote to the International Cricket Council (ICC) expressing its concerns over the safety of its team which will travel to England soon to defend the ICC Champions TrophyBCCI sent the letter to the ICC after at least 19 people were killed and 59 wounded in an explosion at the end of a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in the English city of Manchester on Monday.India Today had learnt earlier that the ICC assessed security measures for the Champions Trophy and decided to get call all stakeholders to assure them that it would look into the safety and security of all participating teams.”The ICC is concerned with what has happened in Manchester and will have a conference call later in the day with stakeholders joining from various places. How and what happens will be conveyed to all the participating teams,” a top ICC official told India Today.Meanwhile, CK Khanna, acting president of BCCI said  the Indian board was in constant touch with the ICC. “We are in touch with the ICC and are keeping a close eye on the security aspect. Neeraj Kumar, ACSU chief, is going to the UK tonight. And he is in regular touch with us.”Amitabh Choudhary, acting BCCI Secretary said the ICC responded quickly and stressed there was no change in India’s plans.”When I woke up, the first thing I learnt was the UK attacks. BCCI sent out a message raising concerns about travel, accommodation and security. Thankfully, ICC responded in two hours and they have been sensitised about our concerns,” he saidadvertisement”Obviously these attacks being terrorist attacks, can affect any individual on the planet and therefore security concerns are that much more intense.”Amitabh insisted that there was no change in schedule but the board was concerned nonetheless.The blast took place on Monday night during a pop concert performed by American singer Ariana Grande, in which 22 people were killed and about 50 injured.The Manchester Police confirmed that a lone male suicide bomber was behind the explosion.The attack is being touted as the worst in Britain in a decade.Last England saw such a deadly terror attack was in 2005 when on July 7, which killed 52 people after terrorists carried out a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks in central London targeting civilians using the public transport system during the rush hour.Also, in 2009, the Manchester police had thwarted a major terror bid to attack Manchester ‘s Arndale shopping centre on the busy Easter bank holiday weekend.With up to 90,000 shoppers in or near the shopping centre at the time, police believe an attack would have killed hundreds and maimed thousands.A student identified as Abid Naseer, 29, who plotted the mass suicide bomb attack was jailed for 40 years in 2015.(With inputs from ANI and Reuters)last_img read more



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Indian fencer strikes gold in tournament in Iceland

first_imgChennai, May 28 (PTI) Indias C A Bhavani Devi has won the gold medal in the sabre event of the Turnoi Satellite Fencing Championship held at Reykjavik in Iceland. In the final yesterday, she beat Sarah Jane Hampson of Great Britain 15-13 on points, said a press note here. The Chennai woman had beaten another British fencer Jessica Corby 15-11 in the semifinal. The release said Bhavani Devi became the first Indian to win a gold medal in an international fencing event. She had previously won a silver medal in a satellite event. She now trains at the Sports Authority of India centre at Thalassery. “This is my third time in this competition. I have lost in quarter finals in previous years. Now I have won my first medal. It is also the first medal in world level competition as I have won medals in Asian and Commonwealth championships,” a delighted Bhavani told PTI from Reykajvik. The competition was tough from the quarterfinals onwards, she said and added that in the semifinal and final, the British fencers made her work very hard for victory. PTI SS VSlast_img read more



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French Open: Rafael Nadal begins pursuit of 10th title against Benoit Paire

first_imgClaycourt phenomenon Rafael Nadal returns to his favourite tournament, albeit not his preferred court, to begin pursuit of a record-extending 10th French Open title on Monday against Frenchman Benoit Paire.The Spaniard, seeded fourth, will play his opening match in Paris on Court Suzanne Lenglen, and not the main Philippe Chatrier showcourt where he lifted the Musketeers Cup for the ninth time in 2014.Paire has his fans, including 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka, who describes the Frenchman as a “very talented” player who “does a lot of things very well”.Nadal, however, has been in imperious form this season, losing only one match on clay.Defending champion Novak Djokovic is second on Chatrier in what could be a taxing outing against claycourt specialist Marcel Granollers.Opening proceedings on the main court is defending champion Garbine Muguruza. The out-of-form Spaniard faces a tricky encounter against 2010 winner Francesca Schiavone of Italy.If she loses, Muguruza will become only the second female defending champion to exit the tournament in the first round after Russian Anastasia Myskina in 2005.Rising talent Alexander Zverev, the ninth seed from Germany, takes on Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, while home favourite Kristina Mladenovic, a finalist in Stuttgart and Madrid this year, faces American Jennifer Brady.last_img read more



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Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent unsure about forward’s Manchester United F.C. return

first_imgZlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent has admitted that he doesn’t know whether the striker will be back at Manchester United next season.Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, did, however, insist that Ibrahimovic will continue playing in Europe as he looks to resume his career once he recovers from a serious knee injury.Ibrahimovic earlier this month had undergone a successful knee surgery and began the rehabilitation process.He sustained the injury when he landed awkwardly after jumping for a header during the final seconds of United’s 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the first leg of their Europa League clash at Old Trafford last month.United have been expected to trigger an option to extend Ibrahimovic’s contract at Old Trafford, yet that was before the 35-year-old sustained the injury.”Will he continue at United? I don’t know, we will talk soon to sort out the future,” Raiola was quoted as saying by the Independent.”He will play for one more year, maybe two.””There have been offers from clubs from many leagues, but he will remain in Europe 100 per cent,” he added.Ibrahimovic, who joined United last summer from Paris Saint-Germain, has scored 28 goals in 46 appearances in his debut season.last_img read more



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ICC Champions Trophy 2017, India vs South Africa: Highlights



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Women’s World Cup: India women make it Perfect 10 vs Pakistan

first_imgIndia women registered their 10th ODI victory over Pakistan as Ekta Bisht’s 5/18 enabled them to crush Pakistan by 95 runs in the Women’s World Cup in Derby on Sunday.Indian women have emerged victorious in each of the 10 ODIs they played against Pakistan to stamp their authority over their arch-rivals.India have not only defeated Pakistan in all  the ODIs played between the two sides but seven of those wins have been 95+ runs or 10 wickets, a record that speaks highly of the domination India women have had over the neighbours.In the Women’s World Cup in Derby, India beat Pakistan to register their third consecutive win in the tournament and continued with their rich form.India began their World Cup campaign defeating England by 35 runs and then went on to register a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over West Indies in the second match.India, having won the toss and opting to bat first, posted a lowly 169 with Punam Raut being the highest scorer at 47 runs.In the second innings, Ekta Bisht spun a web around the Pakistani batting line-up, picking three wickets – Ayesha Zafar, Sidra Nawaz and Iram Javed – in the beginning itself leaving Pakistan reeling at 14/4 from 7.1 overs.Bisht completed her second five-wicket haul while Mansi Joshi chipped in with 2 wickets, Jhulan Goswami, Deepti Sharma and Harmanpreet Kaur picked a wicket each to bowl out Pakistan at a mere 74 runs.Bisht’s first 5-wicket haul also came against Pakistan.In the list of dominating head-to-head record in women ODIs, Australia tops the table with a 15-0 record against Ireland while India, England and New Zealand share the 10-0 statistic against Pakistan, Netherlands and Sri Lanka respectively.advertisementThis win against Pakistan was India women’s 20th ODI win in the last 21 games since February 7, 2016 and out of the 20 wins, they have won 16 in a row.India’s only loss has come against South Africa on May 17, 2017.Mithali Raj’s women will next play Sri Lanka on July 5 in Derby.last_img read more



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Screaming Bethanie Mattek-Sands hospitalised after Wimbledon fall

first_imgAmerican Bethanie Mattek-Sands was stretchered off court screaming in pain after suffering an horrific knee injury during her women’s singles match at Wimbledon on Thursday, while her opponent criticised the time taken to deal with the incident.Mattek-Sands was playing Romania’s Sorana Cirstea on outside Court 17 when she appeared to slip as she approached the net at the beginning of the third set, then collapsed awkwardly to the grass.After a moment’s silence, she suddenly screamed out in pain, then repeatedly shouted “help me,” clutching her right leg.Cirstea approached her, then looked shocked as Mattek-Sands continued to cry out in pain as everybody around the court initially seemed stunned.Medical personnel then arrived and Mattek-Sands was treated by doctors on the court for more than 20 minutes, during which time she was given oxygen and an injection.Still clearly in pain, the 32-year-old continued to scream out: “It hurts, it hurts so much,” as she was taken away on a stretcher.Cirstea said she knew immediately it was a serious injury. “I’m not a doctor but you could see that her kneecap was in a very weird position,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this, probably except in the movies. And, yeah, I panicked a little bit, as well.”It was shocking as she is a good friend of mine. She was shouting ‘Sorana, help me’ and all I could say was ‘I’m here, be strong’.”Cirstea said she was surprised that it seemed to take so long for anyone to react to the injury.advertisement”I think everyone froze. No one was having any reaction,” she said. “I called for help, but no one was coming.”I think for a long time it was me, her husband and my physio. My physio jumped and he was there. I was trying but, of course, I felt useless. When she was screaming so loud, it was a very uncomfortable moment. I felt a little bit useless. I wish I could have done more.”It felt, like, so long. I don’t know, there are sports where you see something’s happening, you see straightaway the help. Like I know football, boxing, all the others, it’s straightaway.”It took a while. So, of course, you wonder what would have happened if it was a heart issue or something like this.””I think someone has to take the video and actually time and see how long it took for people to get there. Because for me, I think she was too long on the ground. I mean, I was there for 10, 15 minutes, then I left and the stretcher was not there yet.”The All England Club responded by tweeting: “The first response to Court 17 was within 1 minute, by a qualified ambulance technician.”The player was kept on court while pain relief was given. She was then transferred directly to an ambulance and taken under emergency conditions to a hospital.”Mattek-Sands, who suffered a serious ligament injury to the same knee four years ago, has won five grand slam doubles titles with Czech Lucie Safarova, who was crying courtside during the incident, and if she had won at Wimbledon would have held all four at the same time.last_img read more



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Real Madrid C.F. to appeal Cristiano Ronaldo red card: Zinedine Zidane

first_imgReal Madrid will appeal Cristiano Ronaldo’s second yellow card for diving in the Spanish Super Cup first leg at Barcelona, coach Zinedine Zidane said after the Portuguese showed the best and worst side of his game in Real’s 3-1 win.Ronaldo spent 24 minutes on the pitch after not starting the game at the Nou Camp but still had the biggest impact.The 32-year-old, who was given a hostile reception by Barca fans as he warmed up before replacing Karim Benzema, hit back moments after Lionel Messi’s equaliser with a brilliant strike into the top corner to put Real 2-1 up in the 80th minute.The Portuguese threw off his shirt after scoring and provocatively held it up to the crowd and was booked.Two minutes later he was sent off for trying to win a penalty in a challenge from Samuel Umtiti, angrily pushing referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea before leaving the pitch.Reuters Photo”We played a great game but I am annoyed by Cristiano’s sending off,” Zidane told a news conference.”Perhaps it wasn’t a penalty but the red card is a little harsh. We can’t change it, but we’ll try and make sure he plays on Wednesday.”Madrid captain Sergio Ramos also leapt to Ronaldo’s defence.”I think he was caught off balance and he didn’t dive,” said the defender. “We should try and appeal it. It should be analysed a little more.”Marco Asensio scored Real’s third with a stunning long range goal in the 90th minute, giving Madrid a healthy advantage as they seek to win a fourth trophy in four months and earn their first Super Cup since 2012.advertisement”We fought with 10 players, we believed until the end but it’s only one game, we have the second leg up next,” added Zidane.Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said his side had not deserved to lose 3-1.”I don’t have the sensation we were as far away from them as the scoreline suggests,” he said. “They scored three times, but we played well and had our chances.”They caught us on the counterattack when it was 1-1 and scored a great goal, and then another one. But it’s not just about getting into the danger zone, it’s about putting your chances away.”last_img read more



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IAAF to introduce world rankings in 2018 in effort to shape up athletics calendar

first_imgAthletics is to introduce a world rankings system in 2018 as part of a widespread effort to bring some sense and shape to its currently nebulous calendar, and continue to move away from the sport’s scandal-hit past.The introduction of the rankings in partnership with All Athletics, announced on Friday, is part of a sweeping reform package that was voted in by the IAAF last December to change the way the sport’s governing body operates.The rankings will be a point-based system in which athletes collect points across different levels of meet throughout the season to determine qualification for premier competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships.It is also hoped that the introduction of the rankings will bring some focus to the Diamond League, where currently leading athletes often do not compete against each other, leaving fans feeling short-changed and often confused.International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Seb Coe has made no secret of his frustration with many aspects of the Diamond League’s current format and is desperate to reform it.When it comes to major championships, athletes are currently selected by their national associations, if they achieve a qualification time or mark.”The IAAF World Rankings will drive and shape the global competition system including entry into the World Championships and Olympic Games,” Coe said in a statement.”For the first time in the sport’s history, athletes, media and fans will have a clear understanding of the hierarchy of competitions… allowing them to follow a logical season-long path to the pinnacle of Athletics’ top two competitions.”advertisementThe athletes’ position in the rankings will be determined by various performance aspects along with the level of competition they are participating in.The points system for each event along with other details related to the rankings will be finalised in the first quarter of 2018, meaning the new system can be applied for qualification into the 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.The sport’s governing body will also establish a new department named IAAF Heritage to use athletics’ history, drive understanding of the sport and promote it around the world.”The Rankings will bring much needed clarity to what is today a confusing competition picture even for those from within the sport, while Heritage will be an important tool to help inform, inspire and engage interest through the extraordinarily story of Athletics,” IAAF CEO Olivier Gers said.last_img read more



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Tigers Give Cabrera $292M Deal

first_imgDETROIT — The Detroit Tigers have agreed to pay Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera a Major League Baseball-record $292 million over the next 10 years, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.The person, who said the contract is subject to a physical, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced.Cabrera is due $44 million over the final two years of his $152.3 million, eight-year contract that runs through 2015, and the person says the slugger will make $248 million over eight seasons in the new deal.Depending on whether Cabrera’s deal is structured as one 10-year contract or an eight-year deal starting in 2016, it will either surpass Alex Rodriguez’s $275 million, 10-year agreement with the New York Yankees for the richest contract, or Clayton Kershaw’s record for average annual value of $30,714,286 in the $215 million, seven-year deal he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in January.The Tigers and their owner Mike Ilitch, who desperately wants to win a World Series, will close spring training showing their fans they are willing to pay what it takes to keep great players.The franchise offered pitcher Max Scherzer $144 million over six years recently, but the Cy Young Award winner turned it down, likely setting himself up to become a free agent after the season.Detroit dealt Prince Fielder and his $214 million contract in November to Texas — less than two years after giving it to him — for second baseman Ian Kinsler, sending $30 million to the Rangers as part of the swap.Clearly, the Tigers want Cabrera to end his career in the Motor City. Cabrera, who turns 31 next month, has been voted MVP in each of the last two seasons. He is the first player to win the award in consecutive seasons since Frank Thomas two decades ago.The Venezuelan slugger won the Triple Crown in 2012 — becoming the first player to lead either league in batting average, homers and RBIs since 1967, when Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski pulled off the rare feat.Cabrera followed up that startling accomplishment with another strong season at the plate despite struggling to stay healthy. He led MLB with a .348 batting average last year, and his 44 homers and 137 RBIs were both second to Baltimore’s Chris Davis.Cabrera was limited to 148 games last season — after playing 161 in each of the previous two years — because of a sore back and left hip flexor, a strained lower abdomen, shin trouble and a groin tear that led to an off-season surgery. The eight-time All-Star has appeared to be healthy during spring training.Injuries seem to be the only thing that can stop Cabrera.He has a .321 career batting average with 365 homers and 1,260 RBIs, numbers that rank him with the greatest sluggers in the history of the game. He has played six seasons in Detroit after spending his first five with the Marlins, where he won the World Series in 2003.(LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more



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Despaigne Gem, Padres Beat Mets, 2-1

first_imgSAN DIEGO — Bobby Abreu was annoyed by lack of speed in Odrisamer Despaigne’s curveball and playfully decided to complain to plate umpire Chris Guccione.“It was the highlight of the day,” Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “He looked back at the umpire and said we were cheating, and the umpire started laughing.”Despaigne came within four outs of the first no-hitter in San Diego’s 46-year major league history on July 20y, and the Padres beat the New York Mets 2-1 on Seth Smith’s run-scoring infield single in the ninth.Making his fifth major league start, Despaigne didn’t allow a hit until Daniel Murphy doubled to left-center with two outs in the eighth.“I thought I threw him a pretty good pitch,” Despaigne said through Grandal, who served as his translator. “I did great with all my pitches, attacking after getting the first strike.”San Diego, the only active major league franchise without a no-hitter, was playing its 7,264th regular-season game and has played 34 more in the postseason.The Mets were the only other active big league team without a no-hitter before Johan Santana pitched one against St. Louis in June 2012 during New York’s 8,020th regular-season game.Despaigne, a 27-year-old Cuban right-hander signed as a minor league free agent on May 2, allowed one run and two hits in 7 2-3 innings with five strikeouts and three walks. He threw 123 pitches and lowered his ERA to 1.31.“I thought he was throwing well enough to think, ‘Hey, it could happen,” Padres Manager Bud Black said. “He had all four pitches working from different angles. His stuff was good enough to keep them off-balance.”His was the longest no-hit bid by a single Padres pitcher since Sept. 7, 2008, when Chris Young allowed a two-out home run in the eighth to Milwaukee’s Gabe Kapler.“I think we saw in the fourth time through the lineup we started having better at-bats,” Murphy said. “I got the base hit, David got the base hit. So the next time we’ll have a better idea.”Despaigne threw a fastball above 90 mph, a slider in the 80s, a change-up in the 70s and a curveball in the 60s. “When you vary your speeds from 65-to-93, that’s tough to get a good pitch to hit,” Mets Manager Terry Collins said.Murphy scored on David Wright’s single to tie the score 1-1.Vic Black (2-3) walked Carlos Quentin on four pitches leading off the ninth, and Alexi Amarista bunted, with pinch-runner Cameron Maybin advancing to second and Amarista reaching when the ball went through Black’s legs for an error.Chase Headley grounded into a 4-3-6 double play as Maybin reached third. Josh Edgin relieved, and the pitcher tumbled to the ground when he came off the mound to field Smith’s bouncer between the mound and first.Edgin dropped the ball, picked it up and then shoveled it to first too late to catch Smith as Maybin came across the plate.“When it went off the bat I didn’t know if it had a chance to bounce over him or not,” Smith said. “Once it leaves your bat, all you can do is run and that is what I did.”Joaquin Benoit (4-2), San Diego’s fourth pitcher, threw a perfect ninth for the win. New York scored one run in the last 18 innings of the series and has lost two in a row following a 9-2 spurt.Grandal homered in the fourth off Zack Wheeler, who allowed one run and eight hits in six innings with seven strikeouts and a walk.(JAY PARIS)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more



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Sharapova Hangs On at US Open

first_imgNEW YORK — A year ago at this time, Maria Sharapova was sitting out the U.S. Open, getting checked by doctors and having tests on the surgically repaired right shoulder that has troubled her off and on.On Aug. 27, Sharapova found herself down by a set and facing a break point early in the second at Flushing Meadows, bothered by the whipping wind, her own off-target strokes and an opponent who wasn’t backing down.As dusk fell and the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights came on, Sharapova came through the way she so often does in the crucible of a third set, beating 95th-ranked Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the Grand Slam tournament she won in 2006 but has missed twice in the past six years.Sharapova won in part because of her big shots, yes, but also because she had more in the tank when it mattered.“Overall I felt like in the end I was in much better shape than she was, and I could have played another few sets,” Sharapova said. “Mentally that helped me a lot.”It helped that Dulgheru had played one set over the past five weeks because of inflammation in her right wrist, which was operated on in May 2013 and flared up recently.Dulgheru, though, pointed to Sharapova’s grit as a key factor, too. “The thing is that she’s smacking the ball and she’s a fighter. … It can seem that she’s down, that she’s tired, but she’s there,” Dulgheru said. “She can get mentally really tough. She hangs in there with you until the end.”Sharapova improved to 17-6 in three-setters this season, including four wins in a row that went the distance en route to the title at the French Open in June, her fifth Grand Slam trophy.“It’s really good to get through,” said Sharapova, who faces 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki next. “Put yourself in a really tough position, but then you’re able to find a way to get back and finish really strong.”She managed to do that on a day that was not easy for some other seeded women in the second round, although No. 19 Venus Williams, the 2000-01 champion in New York, advanced with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over 78th-ranked Timea Bacsinszky at night.That match was followed by Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka’s 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1) victory over 91st-ranked Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil.As the match stretched past midnight, the third-seeded Wawrinka got into a tiff with a spectator, saying: “Shut up, man! Seriously, shut up.” He’s into the third round in New York for the fourth time in five years. He was a semifinalist a year ago.Williams got to the third round at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2010. “As the tournament goes on it will get tougher,” Williams said.No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, a finalist at Wimbledon two years ago, became the first man or woman seeded in the top 10 to lose, defeated 6-3, 6-4 by 39th-ranked Peng Shuai of China. And No. 21 Sloane Stephens of the United States had her earliest exit at the U.S. Open, eliminated 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 by 96th-ranked Johanna Larsson of Sweden.Stephens was largely her own undoing, compiling a whopping 63 unforced errors. She was in such a hurry to get out of there that she briskly walked around the net to Larsson’s side of the court for a handshake.Stephens has failed to get past the second round at 11 tournaments in 2014, including the past two Grand Slam events. That follows a streak in which the 21-year-old American made it to the fourth round or better at six consecutive majors.“I haven’t had that great of a season,” Stephens said. “But … I’m not going to dwell on it.”The U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam tournament at which Radwanska never has made it to the quarterfinals. That includes another second-round loss to Peng, four years ago.“I really want to know the answer,” Radwanska said. “Then maybe I will find a way to play better here and just try another way to be in the second week.”After three days of action, the men’s tournament has yet to have a significant surprise, and the only seeded players to lose were No. 27 Santiago Giraldo of Colombia and No. 30 Jeremy Chardy of France.The man who beat Chardy, 92nd-ranked Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, now faces Wawrinka. Otherwise, No. 6 Tomas Berdych, No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 14 Marin Cilic were among those advancing.(HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more



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Three Aces, Biggio Make Hall

first_imgNEW YORK — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, a trio of star pitchers who dominated in an era of offense, were elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Jan. 6 along with Craig Biggio, the first time since 1955 writers selected four players in one year.The Big Unit, Martinez and Smoltz easily earned induction on their first tries, and Biggio made it on the third attempt after falling two votes shy last year. Steroids-tainted stars Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa remained far from election.Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner with 303 victories and 4,875 strikeouts, was selected on 534 of 549 ballots by veteran members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.“The Hall of Fame was never something that I surely ever thought about,” said Johnson, who has been pursuing a photography career since his retirement.The 97.3 percentage for the left-hander was the eighth-highest in the history of voting.“I don’t think people quite understand how difficult it is to be 6-foot-10 and be throwing a ball 60 feet, 6 inches away,” Johnson said.“In order to do that, you have to consistent with your release point and where you’re landing and your arm slot and all that. For someone 6-1, 6-2, there’s less body to keep under control, so it’s a lot easier.”Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner with flamboyance to go along with his fastball, appeared on 500 ballots (91.1 percent). Martinez was 219-100, struck out 3,154, led the major leagues in ERA five times and in 2004 helped the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.Smoltz was picked on 455 ballots (82.9 percent) and will join former Atlanta teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted last summer along with Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Smoltz, the 1996 NL Cy Young winner, was 213-155 with 154 saves, the only pitcher with 200 wins and 150 saves. He went 15-4 in the postseason.Biggio appeared on 454 ballots, 42 more than the 75 percent needed and up from 68.2 percent in his first appearance and 74.8 percent last year. He had 3,060 hits in 20 big league seasons, all with the Houston Astros.The quartet will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 26. The BBWAA had not voted in four players in a single year since selecting Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance 60 years earlier.Mike Piazza fell 28 votes short but increased his percentage to 69.9 from 57.8 in 2013 and 62.2 last year.Clemens received 37.5 percent and Bonds 36.8 percent. Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young winner, started at 37.6 percent in 2013 and dropped to 35.4 last year; Bonds, the only seven-time MVP, began at 36.2 and fell to 34.7.McGwire, in his ninth and next-to-last year of eligibility, received 10 percent, down from 11 last year and less than half his peak of 23.6 percent in 2008. Sosa was on 6.6 percent of the ballot, down from 12.5 in 2013 and 7.2 last year but above the 5 percent threshold for remaining on next year’s list.Jeff Bagwell was at 55.7 percent, followed by Tim Raines at 55 percent and Curt Schilling at 39.2 percent. Other players included Lee Smith (30.2), Edgar Martinez (27), Alan Trammell (25.1) and Mike Mussina (24.6).Don Mattingly received 9.1 percent in his 15th and final appearance on the ballot. Under a change made by the Hall’s board last summer, players’ eligibility was cut from 15 years to 10 but the 11-15 group was grandfathered.Gary Sheffield (11.7 percent) and Nomar Garciaparra (5.5) will remain on the ballot. Among the 17 first-time eligibles who will be dropped are Carlos Delgado (3.8 percent) and players’ association head Tony Clark, who did not get any votes.Ken Griffey Jr., Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner are among the players eligible for the first time in next year’s ballot.(RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more



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Spurs’ Popovich Gets 1,000th Win

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS — Gregg Popovich’s grand plan has produced plenty of wins. The Spurs made it an even 1,000 for him on Feb. 9.San Antonio rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and got an 18-foot baseline jumper from Marco Belinelli with 2.1 seconds left to give Popovich a milestone 95-93 victory at Indiana.“I’ve been here a long time and I’ve had good players. That’s the formula,” Popovich said. “Getting the players is difficult, but I’ve been fortunate to have good ones. The time, that’s the most important element. You have to be around for a while I guess.”Popovich celebrated in his typical low-key way. He walked to mid-court, put an arm around Pacers coach Frank Vogel, hugged one of his former players and stoically strolled into the Spurs’ locker room though he later acknowledged he might drink some wine.While Popovich does have five NBA championships, few mid-season wins have come with this much fanfare.Only two coaches, Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, reached 1,000 wins faster than Popovich. Only one other coach, Jerry Sloan, achieved the feat with one team. Sloan won 1,127 games with Utah. Popovich is 1,000-462 in 19 NBA seasons, all with San Antonio.His regular-season winning percentage (.684) ranks fifth all time. His playoff winning percentage is seventh (.623) though only two men in front of him coached more than 100 postseason games, Jackson and Billy Cunningham.And it came on the most fitting stage of all for the Indiana native. Popovich was born in northwest Indiana and grew up playing high school basketball in Merrillville, Indiana.But it was Popovich’s players who wanted this win most — and it showed as they erased a nine-point deficit over the final 5 1/2 minutes.Belinelli finally tipped the game with his jumper just before the shot clock expired, and George Hill’s 3-pointer for the win bounced off the rim at the buzzer.“A thousand wins, that’s a lot of wins and I feel very lucky that I’ve been with him for a lot of them,” Tony Parker said after scoring 19 points. “We’ve experienced so much stuff together. I’m just very happy for him.”Popovich played this one with some caution.After a Feb. 8 loss in Toronto, he deactivated Manu Ginobili and carefully tracked the minutes of Parker and Tim Duncan. Parker and Duncan, who had 15 points and eight rebounds, each played 30 minutes, 23 seconds and didn’t enter the fourth quarter until just before the closing run began.“We just weren’t solid enough down the stretch and gave them too many extra possessions,” Pacers forward David West said. “We’re disappointed we let this game get away.”West finished with 10 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for Indiana. Rodney Stuckey had 19 points as the Pacers’ three-game winning streak came to an end.The most frustrating part was that Indiana led 79-65 after three and still led 91-82 with 5:35 to go.But Indiana managed only one more basket, a 20-foot pull-up jumper from Stuckey with 2:33 left.In between, the Spurs’ teamwork and ball movement, two of Popovich’s trademarks, put the Pacers on their heels.Danny Green’s layup and Kawhi Leonard’s three-point play got the final rally started. When Duncan put in another layup and Parker made two free throws, the score was tied at 91 with 2:59 left.After Stuckey’s basket and Aron Baynes’ tip-in with 56.7 seconds tied it again, Belinelli made his shot. Hill did not.“He probably downplayed it as much as I will,” Duncan said. “It’s another win. It’ll look great when we look back on it.”(MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more



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Cup Redux: Kings Beat Rangers, 4-2

first_imgNEW YORK — Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings are still on the outside of the Western Conference playoff race. The way the veteran goalie sees it, that’s just a temporary situation.Quick shook off a goal in the first minute and allowed just one more the rest of the way in the Kings’ 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on March 24.When asked if his club — the defending Stanley Cup champion — is a playoff team, Quick provided an emphatic “Yes.”“I believe we are,” said Quick, who made 34 saves.The Kings, fighting for a chance to defend their title, have won the first two games of a five-game trip on successive nights. Marian Gaborik snapped a second-period tie, and Los Angeles cooled off the Rangers in a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Final.Robyn Regehr scored a rare goal in the first period, and Jeff Carter and Jake Muzzin extended the lead in the third. Anze Kopitar had two assists, giving him a goal and six assists in four games.“It was a good performance by everyone,” Gaborik said of the Kings, 7-2-2 in their past 11. “After that fourth goal, we slowed down a little bit. Other than that, we were better than (Monday) night. We just have to ramp things up.”The Kings won 3-1 at New Jersey on March 23 and still have stops at Long Island, Minnesota and Chicago before heading home. They had scored only eight goals in their previous five games.Los Angeles, which beat the Rangers in five games for the 2014 title, is tied in points with third-place Calgary in the Pacific Division, but the Flames hold the tiebreaker.“We need points. That’s the bottom line,” Gaborik said.Mats Zuccarello scored 51 seconds in, and Kevin Hayes made it 4-2 with 3:44 left, but that was the only offense for the Rangers two days after an impressive 7-2 victory over Anaheim. New York entered with an NHL-leading 99 points.Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots and allowed more than two goals for the first time in 10 appearances. The Rangers had held opponents under three for 10 straight games for the first time since 1971, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.“We knew that we were going to come out against a desperate team,” Talbot said. “They’re fighting for their playoff lives. We jumped on them quick, but after that they kind of turned the table on us.”New York leads the rival Islanders by six points in the Metropolitan Division.Talbot’s time as the Rangers’ starting goalie is running short, with Henrik Lundqvist practicing on March 24 and eyeing a weekend return to the lineup. New York is 17-4-3 since a neck injury sidelined Lundqvist in February.Gaborik gave the Kings a 2-1 lead 4:35 into the second with his 23rd goal. It came at the end of a fine passing play in which Justin Williams dug the puck out of the left corner and sent it to Kopitar at the left of the net. Kopitar quickly slid the puck to the right to Gaborik, who had an easy redirection inside the right post.Gaborik, who played parts of four seasons with the Rangers from 2009-13, is the last one to score at least 40 goals for the Broadway Blueshirts when he netted 41 during the 2011-12 season. New York’s Rick Nash is on the verge of the milestone, but he hasn’t scored in seven games.The Kings outshot the Rangers 14-9 in the second and held a 31-21 edge through 40 minutes. “They had some momentum and scored that first goal. Afterward we took over,” Gaborik said. “We were all over them.”Carter’s 26th goal at 1:05 of the third made it 3-1, and Muzzin pushed the lead to three at 5:28.For the second straight game, the Rangers scored quickly. They connected on their first shot when Zuccarello beat Quick from the slot for his 13th goal.In Sunday’s win, Chris Kreider put the Rangers in front at 1:24. Just like in that one, this lead was short-lived as Regehr tied it with his second of the season.The Kings put plenty of pressure on Talbot, firing 17 shots at him — the same amount he faced in the first period against Anaheim two days earlier. He made a brilliant left pad save on Trevor Lewis, who ended up alone in front after a Rangers turnover in the defensive zone.“Our execution wasn’t what it needed to be against such a strong opponent,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We paid the price for it.”(IRA PODELL, AP Hockey Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more



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Mets Extend Collins’ Contract

first_imgNEW YORK — Terry Collins has a new contract to keep managing the New York Mets. He can only hope for a second chance in the World Series.Two days after their rousing season ended with a stinging loss to Kansas City, the Mets rewarded Collins for piloting them to the National League pennant. He received a two-year deal through 2017, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Nov. 3.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. Collins and General Manager Sandy Alderson are set to appear at a Citi Field news conference Nov. 3.The Mets held a club option on Collins for 2016, but instead gave him a longer contract. The oldest manager in the majors at 66, he has a 394-416 regular-season record in five years with New York.The agreement came quickly in the wake of New York’s 12-inning loss to the Royals at home Nov. 1 in the World Series clincher.Collins was criticized for the way he handled his bullpen in Game 4 and second-guessed for letting Matt Harvey take the mound in the ninth inning of Game 5 with a 2-0 lead. Kansas City soon chased Harvey, tied the score against closer Jeurys Familia and won the crown three innings later.After the game, Collins admitted he planned to pull Harvey before the ninth but was talked out of it by his headstrong starter.“I let my heart get in the way of my gut,” Collins lamented. “It didn’t work. It was my fault.”“Sometimes you let your heart dictate your mind,” he added. “I’ve got one of the best closers in the game. I got him in the game, but it was a little late. And that’s inexcusable for me.”Before all that, the popular Collins was on a roll. Following his first winning season with the Mets and his first postseason berth as a big league skipper, he was selected National League Manager of the Year by Sporting News in voting by a panel of NL managers.The Mets went 90-72 and won the NL East by seven games over favored Washington, then went on to reach the World Series for the first time since 2000.“T.C. brings energy every day, there’s no doubt about that. I think if you talk to him for 30 seconds, you know how much passion he has for baseball,” Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy said before the World Series.“You’ve got to credit the skipper a great deal (for) keeping the fabric of this ballclub together when I think it so easily could have started falling apart.”New York ended a streak of six straight losing seasons with a big year, led by its young and talented rotation. The trade for slugger Yoenis Cespedes in late July and the return of injured captain David Wright helped boost the Mets toward their first playoff appearance since 2006.The Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deciding Game 5 of the Division Series and swept the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series.Collins was praised for a string of successful — and sometimes unconventional — moves during the playoffs and toasted by fans at a favorite restaurant when he took his wife to dinner a few days before the World Series.An infielder, Collins spent 10 years in the minors and made it to Triple-A without playing in the majors. He later managed the Astros and Angels in the 1990s.Collins is almost three weeks older than new Nationals skipper Dusty Baker.With the Mets, Collins has talked often about the influence of his managerial mentor. Longtime big league bench boss Jim Leyland hired Collins as bullpen coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992 and enjoyed watching New York’s unexpected run to the Fall Classic this year.“He’s ridden the wave, the crest of the wave and the bottom of the wave and all that. He’s done it all and he’s just stayed steady and I think it’s been very important to his players,” Leyland said before Game 4. “Like a lot of people say, well, do you think he’s changed? And I said, ‘No, I think he’s adjusted.’“He’s really handled it like a true professional. Very proud of him.”(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more



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