India may miss Davis Cup tennis match hosted by rival Pakistan

India may miss Davis Cup tennis match hosted by rival Pakistan
In this file photo, taken on March 5, 2022, India's Rohan Bopanna hits a return against Denmark's Mikael Torpegaard and Frederik Nielsen during their men's doubles tennis match in the Davis Cup in New Delhi. (AFP/File)
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Updated 28 December 2023
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India may miss Davis Cup tennis match hosted by rival Pakistan

India may miss Davis Cup tennis match hosted by rival Pakistan
  • Pakistan says all arrangements are in place, promises to provide ‘best security’ to Indian squad
  • India last hosted Pakistan’s tennis team in 2006 and sent its Davis Cup team to Islamabad in 1964

NEW DELHI: India may be forced to forfeit a Davis Cup play-off hosted by rival Pakistan, with the local tennis association saying Thursday the team was waiting on New Delhi’s approval to travel.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought several wars since winning independence from British rule in 1947, and sporting contests between the two have long been the victim of their enduring animosity.

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) asked the sports ministry for approval to travel to Pakistan after a request to shift the fixture to a third country was rejected by the International Tennis Federation tribunal.

“The proposal is still pending with the ministry and we are awaiting a decision,” AITA secretary-general Anil Dhupar told AFP.

Pakistan Tennis Federation president Salim Saifullah Khan said 18 members of the Indian squad had requested visas for the World Group 1 clash scheduled for February 3-4.

“We have all the arrangements put in place. They will be given the best security and accommodation,” he told AFP. “Let politics be kept away from sports and better sense prevail.”

New Delhi last hosted the Pakistani tennis team in 2006 and the Indian Davis Cup team last travelled to Islamabad in 1964, according to news outlet India Today.

Local media reports said a 2019 match was moved to Kazakhstan, with the AITA citing political tensions as the reason for the request.

Sports matches between India and Pakistan are rare owing to decades of hostility between the two nations.

They share one of the world’s great sporting rivalries in cricket, by far the most popular sport in both countries.

But their teams have not played a bilateral series in more than a decade, and typically only face each other in larger tournaments.

India refused to travel to Pakistan for the 50-over Asia Cup in September, a move that forced its neighbor to partially relinquish hosting duties to Sri Lanka.

Pakistan travelled to India the following month for the Cricket World Cup after its request to stage some matches in a third country was rejected.


New report warns of heat danger at Paris Olympics

New report warns of heat danger at Paris Olympics
Updated 18 June 2024
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New report warns of heat danger at Paris Olympics

New report warns of heat danger at Paris Olympics
  • It warned that “intense heat at the Paris Olympics in July-August 2024 could lead to competitors collapsing and in worst case scenarios dying during the Games”

PARIS: A new report backed by climate scientists and athletes warned Tuesday about the dangers posed by extreme high temperatures at this year’s Paris Olympics.
The “Rings of Fire” report — a collaboration between non-profit Climate Central, academics at Britain’s University of Portsmouth and 11 Olympians — said conditions in Paris could be worse than the last Games in Tokyo in 2021.
It warned that “intense heat at the Paris Olympics in July-August 2024 could lead to competitors collapsing and in worst case scenarios dying during the Games.”
The study adds to a growing number of calls from sports people to adjust schedules and the timing of events to take into account the physical strain of competing in higher temperatures caused by global warming.
“Rings of Fire” urges organizers of competitions typically held at the height of the northern hemisphere summer — such as the Olympics or the football World Cup — to re-think their scheduling.
They should also provide improved rehydration and cooling plans for athletes and fans to avoid the risk of heat stroke, the study argued.
The Paris Olympics, which run from July 26-August 11, are set to take place in what are usually the warmest months in the French capital which has been struck by a series of record heatwaves in recent years.
More than 5,000 people died in France as a result of searing summer heat last year when new local highs above 40 degrees Centigrade (104 Fahrenheit) were recorded around the country, according to public health data.
A study in the Lancet Planet Health journal last May found that Paris had the highest heat-related death rates of 854 European towns and cities, partly due to its lack of green space and dense population.
Rather than high temperatures, incessant rain is currently the bigger weather-related concern for Paris 2024 organizers, with regular downpours in May and June leading to unusually strong currents in the river Seine and poor water quality.
The Seine is set to host a boat parade during the unprecedented opening ceremony being planned for July 26, as well as the triathlon swimming and marathon swimming events — pollution permitting.
Organizers of Paris 2024 say they have built flexibility into their schedules, enabling them to shift around some events such as the marathon or triathlon to avoid the peaks of midday heat.
But much of the Games is set to take place in temporary stands that lack shade, while the athletes’ village has been built without air conditioning to reduce the Games’ carbon footprint.
“Sleep disruption due to heat has been cited in the build-up to the 2024 Games as a major concern by athletes, especially given the lack of air conditioning in the Olympic Village,” the report said.
Olympic teams have been offered the possibility of installing portable air-conditioning units in their accommodation, however, which many have opted to include.
One of the athletes who backed the “Rings of Fire” report, Indian triathlete Pragnya Mohan, said she had left her home country because of high temperatures, with India recently reporting its longest ever heatwave.
“With climate change, the kind of heat that we experience has increased so much,” Mohan told reporters. “I am not able to train in my country. That is one of the reasons that I moved to the UK.”
Other athletes behind the report explained how athletes have adjusted their training to take into account global warming, either waking before dawn to preserve themselves or exercising in high-tech heat chambers to acclimatize to summer temperatures.
“I’ve found myself in conditions where you’re literally trying to get through the next phase of play,” Jamie Farndale, a rugby Sevens player for Britain, told reporters.
“I’ve had teamates who had heatstroke and have spent several days back in the hotel,” he added.
The last Summer Olympics in Tokyo were widely thought to have been the hottest on record, with temperatures regularly above 30C coupled with 80 percent humidity.
Tokyo organizers moved the race walk events and two marathons 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Tokyo in the hope of cooler weather that did not really materialize.
Despite a range of anti-heat measures including misting stations, many athletes struggled while performing, including Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev who wondered aloud on court if he might die.
Speaking after Tokyo, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, who wrote a foreword for “Rings of Fire,” warned that the “new norm” was competing in “really harsh climatic conditions.”


Guler enhances burgeoning reputation with goal for Turkiye in win over debutant Georgia at Euro 2024

Guler enhances burgeoning reputation with goal for Turkiye in win over debutant Georgia at Euro 2024
Updated 18 June 2024
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Guler enhances burgeoning reputation with goal for Turkiye in win over debutant Georgia at Euro 2024

Guler enhances burgeoning reputation with goal for Turkiye in win over debutant Georgia at Euro 2024
  • Substitute Kerem Aktürkoğlu scored a breakaway goal in the final seconds of stoppage time for Türkiye’s third
  • Georgia’s players dealt well with an intimidating atmosphere created by Türkiye’s fans

DORTMUND: Arda Guler enhanced his reputation as one of Europe’s brightest young stars by curling home a brilliant second-half goal to help Türkiye to a 3-1 win over tournament debutant Georgia at the European Championship on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old forward brought a strong end to his first season at Real Madrid to the Euros by cutting in from the right and bending a fierce shot into the top corner in the 65th minute, regaining the lead for Turkiye at 2-1 in a Group F match played in a febrile and intense atmosphere in Dortmund.
Substitute Kerem Aktürkoğlu scored a breakaway goal in the final seconds of stoppage time for Turkiye’s third.
This was a nation-stopping moment for Georgia, a South Caucasus country of 3.7 million people that are making their debut in an international soccer tournament since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, amid protests and political turmoil back home.
Georgia’s players dealt well with an intimidating atmosphere created by Turkiye’s fans and responded to Mert Muldur’s volleyed finish for the Turks in the 25th with an equalizer by Georges Mikautadze in the 32nd.
Guler’s intervention was crucial, though, and it was the latest in a string of outside-of-the-area strikes at these Euros. It also was another demonstration of his talent that was on display when he scored five goals in five games to finish a Spanish league season that he mostly missed because of injury. He was an unused substitute in the Champions League final that Madrid won.
He’ll likely find game time even harder to come by next season following the arrival of Kylian Mbappé and Endrick, even if Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is aware he has a gem on his hands in Guler.
Georgia, at No. 75 the lowest-ranked nation at Euro 2024, could easily have snatched a point from a game played at a frenetic pace.
In stoppage time and with their goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili upfield in search of a goal, Georgia whipped in a free kick that struck the post before a shot from the rebound was cleared off the line.
The resulting corner — sent in with Mamardashvili still up in the box — was cleared and Aktürkoğlu had the freedom of Westfalenstadion to run through unchallenged to sidefoot the ball into an empty net.


Germany’s Turks give ‘host nation’ welcome to Turkiye

Germany’s Turks give ‘host nation’ welcome to Turkiye
Updated 18 June 2024
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Germany’s Turks give ‘host nation’ welcome to Turkiye

Germany’s Turks give ‘host nation’ welcome to Turkiye
  • Ozcan has said the team needs to capitalize on the large Turkish population and passionate support in Germany
  • “Our hearts beat for Turkiye, for home. Of course, Germany is also home for us, but we are Turks,” said fan Cengiz Catalpinar

DORTMUND/MUNICH: Tens of thousands of Turkiye fans draped in the country’s red flag celebrated ahead of the country’s first match of Euro 2024 against neighbor Georgia in Dortmund on Tuesday, creating a festival atmosphere akin to a host nation to welcome the team.
Almost 3 million people with Turkish roots live in Germany, following a wave of official migration that began in the 1960s. The close ties are reflected in both the German and Turkish football teams. Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan has Turkish roots, while Turkiye’s midfielder Salih Ozcan, was born in Cologne and plays for Borussia Dortmund.
Ozcan has said the team needs to capitalize on the large Turkish population and passionate support in Germany.
Heavy rain and forecasts of thunderstorms closed Dortmund’s 25,000 capacity fan zone and other giant viewing spots in the cities of North Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, but fans en route to the stadium made good on their promise to make some noise. Berlin’s two fan zones were also closed due to bad weather.
“Our hearts beat for Turkiye, for home. Of course, Germany is also home for us, but we are Turks,” said fan Cengiz Catalpinar.
Mehmet Guelcicek had driven for two days from Zurich in Switzerland to reach Dortmund and watch the match.
“We are Turks and always there with the team.”
Many Turks were also celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, when typically, animals such as sheep are sacrificed.
Ugur Aydin walked with an inflatable sheep.
“We saved him from the Eid sacrifice festival and are celebrating our own festival today with a 3 point win over Georgia. And hopefully the same again for the next two games, against Portugal and the Czech Republic,” he said.
Turkiye begin their Euro 2024 campaign against newcomers Georgia knowing a winning start in one of the tournament’s weaker groups would give them a great chance of making the knockout stages after disappointing last time around.
In hot sunshine in Munich in southern Germany fans began to stream into the city’s fan zone.
“This is a big deal for us and it is great to be in Germany for the tournament, to join with the Turkish community here. We are the second hosts,” said Erdem Sakinc, a 21-year-old student from Ankara studying in Germany.
Georgia, meanwhile, are playing in their first ever major tournament and are the clear underdogs
Georgia fan Veronika Gogokhia said, “This is a historical moment for our country and our team. This is a debut and the whole of Georgia, all Georgians all over the world are really excited,” she said.
Later on Tuesday at the stadium around 40 fans from each set of supporters were involved in brief scuffles and police moved in between them, a Reuters reporter inside the stadium said.


Mainoo happy to build with Ten Hag at Man Utd

Mainoo happy to build with Ten Hag at Man Utd
Updated 18 June 2024
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Mainoo happy to build with Ten Hag at Man Utd

Mainoo happy to build with Ten Hag at Man Utd
  • Mainoo’s breakthrough season with the Red Devils earned him a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2024
  • “Happy to be building with him, he’s already got two trophies and hopefully there is more to come,” he said

BLANKENHAIN, Germany: England midfielder Kobbie Mainoo is happy speculation about Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag’s future is over after he was given his first-team chance by the Dutchman.
Mainoo’s breakthrough season with the Red Devils, which included scoring the winning goal in a FA Cup final win over English champions Manchester City, earned him a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2024.
Despite winning a second trophy in two seasons at Old Trafford, Ten Hag’s future remained in doubt after United finished eighth in the Premier League.
However, Ten Hag confirmed on Sunday he has been told by the club he will remain in charge next season.
“Happy to be building with him, he’s already got two trophies and hopefully there is more to come,” Mainoo told reporters at England’s training camp on Tuesday.
“It’s nice to have that piece of mind. We know what manager we are going back to.
“He put so much trust in me and belief in me. I can’t thank him enough.”
Mainoo came off the bench late on in England’s 1-0 win over Serbia on Sunday to make his competitive debut for Southgate’s team.
England next face Denmark in Frankfurt on Thursday and Mainoo is looking forward to facing two of his Manchester United team-mates, Rasmus Hojlund and Christian Eriksen.
Eriksen scored in the Danes’ 1-1 draw with Slovenia in their opening game, three years on from suffering a cardiac arrest on the field during Euro 2020.
“Me and Ramsus are both young and we are quite close,” added Mainoo.
“Christian, I’ve learned a lot from him. The journey he’s been on since the last Euros has been amazing.
“If I am to play on Thursday I’ll need to put all that aside.”


FIFA offers tools to fight social media abuse to all 211 member countries

FIFA offers tools to fight social media abuse to all 211 member countries
Updated 18 June 2024
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FIFA offers tools to fight social media abuse to all 211 member countries

FIFA offers tools to fight social media abuse to all 211 member countries
  • FIFA said a number of teams competing at the ongoing European Championship and the upcoming Copa America have joined the SMPS
  • “We have already seen how effective the service has been in FIFA tournaments and it is only logical that we make it available to all 211 FIFA Member Associations,” Infantino said

GENEVA: FIFA’s social media tools designed to protect players from online abuse will now be available to all 211 member associations and their teams, world soccer’s governing body said on Tuesday, coinciding with the International Day for Countering Hate Speech.
The Social Media Protection Service (SMPS), which was developed by FIFA and the players’ union FIFPRO, was first offered to all teams at the 2023 women’s World Cup to help moderate hate speech on social media and hide harmful content.
FIFA said a number of teams competing at the ongoing European Championship and the upcoming Copa America have joined the SMPS.
“We have already seen how effective the service has been in FIFA tournaments and it is only logical that we make it available to all 211 FIFA Member Associations, wherever and whenever they play,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.
“We need to protect all players, coaches, officials and teams from abuse, as well as their followers.”
The tool was launched at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and since then FIFA said the service had hidden 2.6 million abusive comments from public view.
Nearly 31,000 cases of “abusive content” were reported to social media platforms — such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube — which led to consequences such as account suspensions.
Meanwhile, one in five players were the target of online abuse during the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
FIFA said the SMPS will also be used at upcoming events such as the Olympic Games in Paris, the Under-20 women’s World Cup in Colombia, the Futsal World Cup in Uzbekistan and the Under-17 women’s World Cup in the Dominican Republic.