No realistic hope of Olympic medal in hockey: Viren Rasquinha

first_imgMumbai, Jun 16 (PTI) While praising the Indian men hockey teams progress under the guidance of coach Roelant Oltmans, former international Viren Rasquinha did not hold out a realistic chance for the country to climb the medals podium at the upcoming Rio Olympics. “We have to take one step at a time. In Beijing (2008 Olympics) India did not qualify and we were 12th (and last) in London (Olympics in 2012). From there to go and win a medal is unrealistic. Our first aim should be to qualify for the quarterfinals,” he said. Rasquinha was speaking at a panel discussion after being named by Star Sports network as one of its commentators during its coverage of the August 5-21 Games. The 35-year-old former player, who represented the country at the Athens Games in 2004, said Australia were the favourites for the gold, while India can nurture hopes of getting past all other teams on its current form. “The first priority for the Indian squad would be to make it to the quarter-finals (under the changed format for the tournament). Australia are undoubtedly the favourites. But take away Australia and we have a chance against all other teams. “All are within our range. If we meet any of those countries in the quarters I would have hopes (for India) but if we meet Australia I dont have hopes as our record is not good. The no 1 priority is to qualify (for quarters) and no 2 is to avoid Australia (in quarters),” said Rasquinha. The ex-international has been roped in as an expert commentator by the channel along with Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe, Indian shuttle ace Prakash Padukone, former shooting champion Anjali Bhagwat and Olympic swimmer Rehan Poncha. Rasquinha was all praise for Oeltmans and said he, for one, is not surprised at the improvement in the Indian team under the Dutchman.advertisement”Oeltmans is doing a fantastic job. He has built a fine team ethics. Everyone comes back to help the defence. There has been effective rolling substitution because of which India is playing at a very high intensity that has surprised many. But but I have not been surprised,” he said. (More) PTI SSR RSY AH AH RYSlast_img read more

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Venus rising: Williams back in Grand Slam semi 6 years later

first_imgLONDON (AP) — In some ways, making it to a Grand Slam semifinal is rather been-there, done-that for Venus Williams.She is, after all, already the owner of seven major titles, including five at Wimbledon.This one, though, is different.She’s 36 now, a half-dozen years removed from her last such run. And, in the interim, she has been through the daily struggles of dealing with a disease that can sap energy and cause joint pain.Williams made it to the final four at the All England Club for the first time since 2009, and at any Grand Slam tournament since the year after that, playing mistake-free to beat Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the quarterfinals Tuesday.“Semifinals feels good. But it doesn’t feel foreign at all, let’s put it that way,” said Williams, whose first Wimbledon title came in 2000 and whose most recent came in 2008.Asked to compare her current level of play to that of the past, Williams shook her head, shut her eyes and laughed.“I don’t remember. Six years ago is ages ago,” she responded. “I was most likely kicking butt six years ago, if I was in the semis or the finals. You have to be.”Just like in the old days, Williams will be joined in the semifinals by a familiar face — younger sister Serena, who moved closer to equaling Steffi Graf’s Open-era record of 22nd Grand Slam championships by defeating 21st-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-4, taking the last three games of each set. Serena hit 11 aces, including one at 123 mph to end it.This, then, is the latest chapter of the remarkable Williams sister tale: a pair of siblings from Compton, California, who rose to the top of tennis. It’s the 11th time they’ve reached the semis at the same major; in all previous 10, one took home the trophy. That includes four all-in-the-family finals at Wimbledon, with Venus winning in 2008, and Serena in 2002, 2003 and 2009.On Thursday, they will try to set up another title match when No. 1 Serena faces unseeded Elena Vesnina, while No. 8 Venus meets No. 4 Angelique Kerber.“It just means that she has a lot of perseverance. She’s a real fighter,” Serena said about Venus, the oldest woman in a major semifinal since 1994, when Martina Navratilova was 37 at Wimbledon. “Like I always say, it’s super inspiring for me.”Kerber, who surprised Serena in the Australian Open final in January for her first Grand Slam title, advanced by eliminating No. 5 Simona Halep 7-5, 7-6 (2). Vesnina, ranked 50th and never before a major quarterfinalist, moved on by overwhelming No. 19 Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2.The last men’s quarterfinal spot was earned by 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych, who completed his 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8), 6-7 (9), 6-3 victory over Jiri Vesely in a match suspended after the fourth set Monday night because of darkness. On Wednesday, the semifinalists will be determined by these matchups: Andy Murray vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Roger Federer vs. Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic vs. Sam Querrey and Berdych vs. Lucas Pouille.There wasn’t much drama in the quartet of women’s matches Tuesday, although Venus was perilously close to dropping her opening set against the 96th-ranked Shvedova, now 0-3 in major quarterfinals.Shvedova led 5-2 in the tiebreaker before collapsing this way: forehand long, backhand wide, forehand into the net, forehand long. Those unforced errors were part of her 24 in the match, 15 more than Venus. They also created a set point for Venus, who converted it with a 99 mph service winner.Playing with her left thigh taped, Venus moved quite well, covering the court with speed and perfect timing, offering up enough defense and waiting for Shvedova’s miscues. When Shvedova’s final shot nestled in the net, Venus let out a cry of “Come on!” and raised her arms.“Once you get to this part of a tournament, motivation is going to kick in after a few games of every match,” said Venus’ coach, David Witt, “and you’re going to stop thinking about being sore, if you’re sore.”In 2011, Venus revealed that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, and since then there have been repeated questions about when she might quit tennis — especially as early losses accumulated. She had six first-round exits at majors over the past six years, compared with three over her career’s first 14 years.“Retiring is the easy way out,” she said. “I don’t have time for easy.”About 1 1/2 hours later, Venus went back out to team with Serena and win a doubles match to get to that event’s quarterfinals.One more victory each in singles, and they’ll be sharing the court again — except on opposite sides of the net, reprising their one-of-a-kind rivalry. Just like in the old days. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Hazard FC: Can Kylian follow in Eden’s footsteps?

first_imgTransfers Hazard FC: Can Kylian Hazard follow his brother Eden at Chelsea? Nizaar Kinsella Click here to see more stories from this author Chelsea correspondent Last updated 2 years ago 19:00 19/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Eden and Kylian Hazard Getty Images Transfers Chelsea Premier League Eden Hazard Chelsea v Nottingham Forest Nottingham Forest League Cup Opinion The Blues brought in the brother of one of their superstars during the transfer window but is he good enough to play for the English champions? Eden Hazard’s brother Kylian joined Chelsea along with six other players this summer but he has yet to feature in a match-day squad. Kylian is training with Chelsea’s Under-23 side but, to date, he has not even made an appearance at that level.  However, he was used in first-team training sessions over the international break to bulk up the numbers while players were away representing their respective countries.Chelsea 5/1 to win PL with dabblebet Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing However, even after working closely with coach Antonio Conte, it is unlikely we will see the new signing appear against Nottinham Forest in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash at Stamford Bridge, with so much competition for places at the club. The 22-year-old Kylian is the second youngest in a family four children. Eden is the eldest and considered one of the finest footballers in the world, while his brother Thorgan is a Belgium international who had a short spell at Chelsea before joining Borussia Monchengladbach.The youngest of the Hazard boys, Ethan, is still only 14 and he is attending school in Belgium. He also plays football, though, and is in the academy at Tubize, the club where it all started for Eden and his brothers. Their parents, Carine and Thierry, are both former players making the Hazards a true football family. Kylian is now the third brother to join Chelsea but does he really have a chance of making the grade in west London? Even Thorgan Hazard wasn’t deemed good enough and he has since earned his fifth cap for Belgium. Kylian has been the least successful of the Hazard brothers so far, having started out with White Star Brussels before then moving to Zulte-Waregem. He arrives at Chelsea from Ujpest, though, having played 42 times for the Budapest outfit. Goal journalist Zoltan Sebok is the brother of former Ujpest player Vilmos Sebok and is a regular at the capital club’s matches. He says that Kylian has a similar style of play to Eden and that he impressed people with his performances in the Hungarian First Division. “He was a popular player, but I think it came from his name and family relationship with Eden,” said Sebok. “He is skilful, quick too, but only by Hungarian football standards, as the Premier League is on another level.”He played 34 matches in NB I [the Hungarian First Division] and eight matches in Hungarian Cup between 2015 and 2017. His first season was successful, but in the 2016-17 campaign, he got a serious knee injury, so he played only a few times. Kylian Hazard at Ujpest“His free-kicks were dangerous and he was also a threat in wide areas, but he scored only three goals, so he needs to improve his finishing. He had also problem with his physical condition as he was injured a lot; he needs more muscle.”He is not good enough for Chelsea now. He is below the current first-team players at Stamford Bridge. He has good skills, though, and he is still only 22, so he may can become a good Premier League player in the future.”Thorgan Hazard echoed this assessment on his brother’s style of play in an interview with Goal last February. “We try to play good football – I like to play central,” he explained. “Eden can play more on the left or right side. Kylian can also play a bit more left or right.”We like to play in attack. This is the Hazard way! We try to score and we try to assist and be exciting.” Eden, meanwhile, spoke about his brother’s arrival at Chelsea while away with the Belgium national team. He revealed that is was at his request that Antonio Conte brought him to the Bridge.”He wanted a new challenge,” Eden said at a press conference in Belgium. “I asked if maybe the manager could do something for him and they did. Not with first team because it’s too early and he’s not good enough yet [smiles] but I hope one day I get to play with him.”There is no doubt that keeping Eden happy is one of Chelsea’s primary goals right now, with contract talks approaching and Real Madrid waiting for any opportunity to sign the Blues’ superstar.Kylian’s signing obviously ties into persuading Eden to stay at Stamford Bridge but the younger sibling has ambitions of his own. “I want to play for Belgium just like my brothers,” Kylian told Goal while a player at Ujpest.Kylian is a long way from realising that dream but the influence of ‘Hazard FC’ at Chelsea might just help him to take that next step.last_img read more

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