Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal fears that mass pull out by top athletes from the Commonwealth Games will rob spectators of a chance to witness some great contests.Reports of tourist-attack and foot-bridge collapse, coupled with fears of dengue epidemic and doubts over hygiene of Games Village have let to the withdrawal of many top stars and Saina said she is disappointed.”I’m disappointed with the pull-out of some top athletes from the Delhi Games. If competition is not there it does not feel good as people come to see good contests,” Saina said on the sidelines of a promotional event on Thursday.Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal. Photo: Bhaskar PaulA number of participating countries have criticised the living conditions of the rooms in the towers that have been installed for the athletes and Saina said she was pained to read and hear about these negative publicity.”I am sad and it feels bad to hear these on television.But I cannot comment about the Games village as I am yet to see it. Without seeing it’s not proper for me to comment,” Saina said.In what should bring cheers to the ears of the under-fire Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, Saina also gave a big thumbs up to the badminton venue.”I have played there and it’s a top class arena. The stadium is excellent,” she said.Talking about India’s chances at the Commonwealth Games, Saina said the hosts are well poised to win a medal in each of the six events in badminton in Delhi.advertisement”We have all trained very hard in Hyderabad for the Commonwealth Games and I’m confident we have a chance to win a medal in every event we participate in,” said the world No.3.Six gold medals and an equal number of silver and bronze are on offer in badminton which is to be held at the Siri Fort Complex along with squash.Saina said the challenge for India would come from Malaysia, Singapore and Scotland.”We can expect tough challenge from Malaysia, Singapore and Scotland,” said the Hisar-born shuttler who is the brightest medal hope in badminton for the country in the CWG as well as the November Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.Talking about her own chances, especially in the light of the comments from her predecessor Aparna Popat that the country expected nothing less than a gold from her, Saina promised she would do her best.”I cannot promise a medal though I will be aiming for the gold. But I will give it my best shot,” she said.Saina said she had put the World Championship, where she lost in the quarter finals despite being ranked second, well behind her and was looking forward to the Delhi Games followed by the Asiad.”I am happy I tried my best and am now looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. I feel my fitness levels have increased by over 60 per cent since the world championship. But we have to wait and see how things pan out,” she said.Saina said it was totally wrong to compare the sports infrastructure that exists in India to that of China because only in the last couple of years that the country has started to do well at the top most level like the Olympics.
Somdev Devvarman and Karan Rastogi steered India to a 3-0 whitewash against a lowly Qatar in the Asian Games men’s tennis competition, but got crashed out of the women’s team event after being drubbed 0-3 by Indonesia in the first round, in Guangzhou on today.Rastogi gave India a blistering start with a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Al Mutawa Jabor Mohammed in 46 minutes, before Somdev showed equally ruthless approach in brushing aside Zayed Mousa Shanon in 38 minutes in the centre court of the Aoti Tennis centre.Somdev later combined forces with Sanam Singh and outclassed Zayid Mubarak Shannan and Al Haretth Abdulrahman Ali 6-0 6-1 to complete the rout.Rastogi, who served two second-set aces and hit 15 service winners in all, broke his Qatar rival Al Mutawa in the second game of the first set but was broken back immediately.However, he picked up his pace soon after to go 3-1 up with his second service break and then did not drop a single game to win the opening set 6-1 in 22 minutes.The Indian player grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second set before he dropped his serve, but then surged to take the next three games for the set and match.Thereafter, 25-year-old Indian No 1 singles player Somdev, ranked 106 in the world, fired an ace each in the two sets and hit 16 service winners.After clinching the opening set in only 16 minutes, Somdev allowed his rival to hold his serve once before closing out the second in 22 minutes.advertisement”I played very well. It is a good start and it is also a good experience for me. I think I can do a good job in the next matches,” Somdev said after his easy victory.With inputs from PTI
Hot-shooting San Antonio Spurs rout Orlando Magic PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’ Joe Ingles scored 20 points, Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 15 rebounds, and matched his season-high with four blocked shots to lead the Jazz to a 108-103 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.Utah held Golden State to 40 percent shooting from the field and 32 percent from the perimeter. The biggest stops came in the final two minutes when the Warriors missed three out of four shot attempts – including a pair of 3-pointers that could have forced overtime.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chief“We defended for a full game,” Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell said. “We were locked into the game plan. When you play defense like that, and we shoot the way we did, the outcome is going to be the way it was.”Jae Crowder added 18 points and 11 rebounds while Donovan Mitchell had 15 points on 5-of-26 shooting as Utah won its fourth straight home game. HOT CURRYSince returning from an 11-game absence due to a groin injury, Curry has shot at a blistering pace. Wednesday night marked his fifth game in the last nine with 30 or more points. He has shot 47 percent or better from the floor in six of those contests and has missed just one free throw on 47 attempts so far in December.TIP-INSWarriors: Durant passed Gary Payton (21,813 points) for 32nd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He now has 21,836 points. … Golden State held the Jazz to 39.8 percent shooting. It is the first time the Warriors lost this season after holding an opponent to under 40 percent from the field.Jazz: Gobert grabbed eight of his 15 rebounds in the first quarter. … Utah tallied at least 39 points off the bench for the fifth straight home game. … The Jazz finished with 30 assists, the seventh time they have had at least 30 this season. Ricky Rubio led the way with 10 assists. Utah is 27-0 dating back to Nov. 26, 2008, when getting 30 or more assists at home.UP NEXTWarriors: Host Dallas on Saturday.Jazz: At Portland on Friday night. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LATEST STORIES MOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Stephen Curry scored 32 points and Kevin Durant added 30 in just the Warriors’ second loss in eight games.“We let them off the hook a little bit,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “They weren’t playing that well but we made a lot of mistakes. We couldn’t find the necessary energy and execution you need to win in this building.”After taking a three-point lead at halftime, the Jazz stayed in front through much of the third quarter as Ingles, Korver and Crowder combined for seven 3-pointers over the last half of the quarter.Utah outscored Golden State 9-2 to open the fourth. Ingles finished off the run with another outside basket, giving the Jazz a 93-82 lead.Durant cut Utah’s lead to 106-103 on a 3 with 1:12 remaining. He missed a potential tying basket from the corner with 39 seconds left. Andre Iguodala had a shot at another outside basket in the final seconds, but also missed. The offensive rebound went off Curry’s hands and out of bounds with 2.4 seconds left.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “They created a little bit of separation, but we fought hard and I liked that energy and effort on the defensive end,” Curry said. “We gave ourselves a chance to get over the hump down the stretch, but it just didn’t happen.”Utah used a 10-0 run to take a 19-11 lead in the first quarter. Gobert scored on a pair of dunks and Korver made two 3-pointers to fuel the spurt.The Warriors rallied when Curry took over in the second quarter.He totaled 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the quarter. Curry scored his last three baskets — a pair of layups and a 3 — to help fuel a 11-5 spurt that gave the Warriors a 48-42 lead.He didn’t have same impact in the second half, scoring just 11 points on a total of five baskets.“We just gave him different looks,” Crowder said. “I feel like the way we played him wore on him a little bit. We just gave him a lot of bodies to see in front of him.”Utah edged back in front 56-53 just before halftime when Ingles knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer in the corner and then stole the ball from Durant to set up a pair of free throws from Ricky Rubio.SHOOTING STRUGGLESMitchell was a season-worst 19.2 percent from the field. His previous low was 21.4 percent when he went 3 for 14 for 12 points in a 96-88 win over Memphis on Nov. 12th.It marked the third straight game where he took at least 20 field goal attempts and shot under 40 percent from the field. Mitchell found other ways to make an impact. He totaled six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio, left, fouls Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) as he drives up court in the first half during an NBA basketball game Wednesday Dec. 19, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)SALT LAKE CITY — Playing strong defense has typically proven to be a winning formula for Utah. Getting to that point has taken more turns and detours than the Jazz anticipated this season.Beating the defending NBA champions offers evidence that Utah is finally finding the defensive form the team and its fans took for granted at the end of last season.ADVERTISEMENT