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India beat Kuwait to kick off World Cup qualifying campaign in style
India won their first away World Cup qualifier in 22 years, as they beat Kuwait 1-0 thanks to an excellent goal from Manvir Singh. India were the better side for the bulk of the game, which was a rather dull affair in itself, with not much goalmouth action. But Igor Stimac will not care, as his team comes back home with the three points.
Next up? Qatar at Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium on November 21. They only beat Afghanistan 8-1 today...
Mumbai City FC part ways with coach Des Buckingham
Indian football club Mumbai City FC have announced the departure of their head coach Des Buckingham. The 38-year-old is likely to join Oxford United in the EFL League One.
Here are some of the highlights from Des' time at Mumbai:
He leaves Mumbai City FC as the team's longest serving head coach - 72 games
He is the youngest coach to win the ISL League Shield
He has the ISL's all-time highest win percentage (57.8%) and highest points per league game average (1.96) among coaches with a minimum 20 games
He is the fastest coach to reach 100+ goals in ISL history.
Des also led Mumbai City to AFC Champions League history in 2022 when they became the first Indian club to win a game in Asia's premier club football competition
Mumbai City bid farewell to Des Buckingham as he leaves #TheIslanders for an opportunity in the EFL League One back home in England.
Thank you for everything you've done for us and good luck, Des! ��
- Mumbai City FC (@MumbaiCityFC) November 16, 2023
Big change in Indian shooting's Olympic selection policy
India's shooting federation, the National Rifle Association of India, has made an amendment to its selection policy for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Now, the NRAI will award just two bonus points to Olympic quota winners in fire-arm category and one to air weapons shooters. Earlier, an Olympic quota winner could earn as many as 10 to 5 bonus points for various international medals such as the World Cups, World Championships and Asian events. This gave them a major advantage over the other shooters.
The NRAI selection policy states that the shooter with the highest points makes the Indian squad and a bigger chunk of bonus points could skew the form guide heading into the Games.
The change has been mandated due to Indian shooting's failure at the last two Olympics, with no medals at 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo despite regular success in other events.
As per the amended policy, only one or two bonus points will be added to the average of three scores for quota winners in Olympic trials, which the federation will conduct in May. The final average score (FAS) will be the average of the three best Olympic selection trial scores out of four trials to which the bonus point will be added.
The Paris Games are in July next year. An Olympic quota in shooting is won by the country and not by an individual. The bonus points ensure that quota winners get some advantage but this change ensures that the gap between them and the next in line is not too much in a sport where scores in decimals can make a difference between victory and defeat.
Saurav Ghosal, Ramit Tandon go down
Indian squash veteran Saurav Ghosal went down in the second round of the Vitagen Singapore Squash Open. Facing world no.3 Mostafa Asal of Egypt, he lost 11-3, 11-7, 12-10 in 46 minutes.
Later in the day, Ramit Tandon lost to former world no. 1 Diego Elias of Peru and the second seed, 11-3, 11-2, 11-4 in 30 minutes.
That ends India's campaign in Singapore.
HS Prannoy loses out in second-round thriller at Japan Masters
India's interest at the Japan Masters ended in the second round itself, as HS Prannoy lost out narrowly to Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei by a 21-19, 16-21, 19-21 scoreline. Relive the action from the match below:
2:36 pm: Prannoy vs Chou 21-19, 16-21, 19-21
That was close! That might hurt as Prannoy (and India's) campaign comes to an end in the second round of the Japan Masters.
Good fightback from Prannoy as he made a late push to reduce the gap to 14-10. But Chou had enough of a buffer to recover and pull ahead at 17-12.
Still, Prannoy kept at it, attacking and loudly celebrating his points, keeping himself in the contest. The Indian finally drew level at 19-19, making full use of Chou's closing stage nerves and some smart shots but it was Chou who had the match point first after a quick exchange at the net and he converted it with a winner.
2:20 pm: Prannoy vs Chou 21-19, 16-21, 11-4
This is going off-track very quickly for Prannoy.
Chou started the third game like the second, building an early lead at 5-1. Prannoy was looking to attack his way out but made one too many errors in the beginning and was not able to keep serve for consecutive points. Chou, bouncing all over the court, cheering all his points with fist pumps, kept his momentum going, surging to a handy 9-3 lead.
Prannoy looked a bit winded as the game approached the interval and it was Chou who has the clear advantage at 11-4.
2:09 pm: Prannoy vs Chou 21-19, 16-21
We have a decider in an HS Prannoy match (of course we do)
In the second half of the second game, Chou built a handy lead again at 14-10, pushing Prannoy around the court and forcing errors. The Indian stopped the consecutive points with an on-the-edge winner but Chou wrested back serve with a smash and surged ahead to a very comfortable 17-11 lead as Prannoy struggled with his lines.
The Indian chipped off some of the lead, engaging in longer points and defending for 19-16. But it was not enough as Chou took the second 21-16.
1:57 pm: Prannoy vs Chou 21-19, 10-11
This time, it's Chou who goes into the mid-game interval with a lead. But it's a slender one. Prannoy has caught up every time Chou edged ahead in the first half so far and he will hope he can seal this without needing a decider
1:53 pm: Prannoy vs Chou 21-19, 6-6
And Prannoy has drawn level! Good comeback from the Indian to erase Chou's early advantage
1:50 pm: Prannoy vs Chou 21-19, 3-5
Prannoy stems the tide and points get a bit longer as the Indian looks to reduce the early deficit.
1:48 pm: Prannoy vs Chou 21-19, 0-5
Chou races to a quick 5-0 lead to start the second game. The change of ends and the narrow miss in the first seems to have invigorated him.
1:45 pm: Prannoy 21-19 Chou
3 game points with another swift, attacking point. Chou saves the first one with an attack of his own and the second via a net error from Prannoy. But the third one is converted, as Chou sprays his shot into the net and the Indian lets out a cheer. First game to Prannoy 21-19, with the Indian looking good in both movement and attack.
1:41 pm: Prannoy 19-17 Chou
Chou catches up at 16-17 and then 17-18 but Prannoy pulls ahead with a well-placed smash, right on the line.
1:38 pm: Prannoy 16-13 Chou
Prannoy is maintaining his lead, nosing ahead every time Chou comes close.
1:30 pm: Prannoy 11-8 Chou
The India No 1 is engaged in a close contest with Chou Tien Chou in the first game, level at 8-8. The Chinese Taipei player leads their head-to-head 6-4 but the Indian won their last encounter.
And.... Prannoy has surged ahead, winning 3 straight points to head into the mid-game interval with a 3-point lead at 11-8.
There's plenty of time to catch up with your reading backlog today, and what better way to begin than with Shyam Vasudevan's interview of Kishore Kumar Jena - India's best javelin star after Neeraj Chopra. His new-found stardom however, very nearly didn't exist, if not for a tear-filled phone call at 3 AM with his father. The Asian Games silver medallist also detailed a lovely gesture from Mr. Chopra that inspired him to earn his Paris Olympics spot.
Now that's a heartwarming tale to begin your day with.
Happy Birthday, President Chaubey
- Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) November 16, 2023
What's in store today?
Recovery from that semifinal, eh? Australia and South Africa face off in the other semifinal today to decide who will challenge India in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup on November 19. And if you want to celebrate and bask in Virat Kohli's historic achievement, here's Anirudh Menon with a piece that is aptly titled "Unapologetically yours, Virat Kohli". Trust us, you want to set aside some time to peruse this must-read tribute to the King.
One Indian team aiming to win a World Cup, another aiming to qualify for one - India's men's national football team is in action at 10 PM today, when they take on Kuwait in a crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Kuwait City. Given the group also contains Qatar and Afghanistan, Igor Stimac's men will have no room for error as they aim to finish in the top-two of the group. Aaditya Narayan has a detailed preview here, and he will also take you through the live coverage of the game.
It's a day for racquet sports as Saurav Ghosal and Ramit Tandon are in action in the pre-quarterfinals of the Vitagen Singapore Squash Open, although the Indians face some tough contests. Ghosal takes on world no.3 Mostafa Asal of Egypt (2:30 PM) and Tandon faces former world no. 1 Diego Elias of Peru (5:45 PM).
Rohan Bopanna also became the oldest-ever player with a win at the ATP Tour Finals yesterday, continuing his run of breaking age records this year after becoming the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion (winning the Indian Wells doubles). Bopanna and his partner, Matthew Ebden are in action tomorrow,
Elsewhere, Anirban Lahiri is in action at the Indonesia Masters golf tournament, aiming to end his long-title drought, stretching back to 2015. Rashid Khan, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Veer Ahlawat, Karandeep Kochhar, SSP Chawrasia, Shiv Kapur, S Chikkarangappa, Honey Baisoya and Yashas Chandra are the other Indians in the fray.
What happened yesterday?
The detailed version of yesterday's events can be accessed here. Here are the cliff notes, however:
India rode on brilliant performances from Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami to ease into the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final.
HS Prannoy remains the only Indian in the Japan Masters, after Lakshya Sen and Priyanshu Rajawat suffered first-round losses.
Rohan Bopanna and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden got back to winning ways at the ATP World Tour Finals.
The legendary Arsene Wenger will launch the AIFF-FIFA Academy on November 21.