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Need time to get back to full fitness: Nehwal

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Mumbai : Recovering from an ankle injury, star shuttler Saina Nehwal said she will look to get back to full fitness during the three weeks break after the India Open next month.

“I had this ankle injury before this tournament, so I am playing a match after three weeks, there was this ankle inflammation. In the morning when I was practising there was some pain. Ankle injury is tough because the lunges depend on the ankles,” Saina said.

“I will get more time, two-three weeks after the India Ppen. After the World Championship there was not enough time when I joined Gopi sir, there were too many tournaments and after that I had this injury. It is still not up to the mark. There is a lot of speed still required, I need to be in best shape to play against the best,” she added.

 

The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist shuttler said she was doing the training part but would need to strengthen herself while playing.

“You need to play with this, you can’t rest and heal it. So, I’ll need more time to get full training and play against top players,” she said after defeating Michelle Li in a Premier Badminton League match at Siri Fort Sports Complex in the capital on Sunday night.

Asked about the injury, Saina said, “I got it in September end or October start. It is an overuse injury, I was close to qualifying for Dubai Supers Series.

“It was not that I couldn’t play. But there comes a time when the muscle stops taking the load and it goes to the joint and I was feeling the pain. I felt a lot of pain in November end. I was not able to give rest, so I need time.” She said she would want to be fully fit before setting targets.

“Fitness and stamina are important and game comes only after that. I don’t want to keep any targets, keep body fit and rest will follow.”

Saina feels the new Badminton World Federation calendar will end the domination of one player and there will be more new champions in this crammed schedule.

“You will not have one player dominating in this new schedule. It will be like every tournament a new player winning, there won’t be one champion like we saw in the past like Lin Dan,” Saina said.

“More tournaments also means more injuries. After the World Championship, there is just two weeks gap for the Asian Games, so you’ll be mentally and physically tired. So it’s too much back to back tournament, may be they could have opened it more.”

While Saina and Carolina Marin have hit out at the 2018 BWF calendar, Sindhu chose not to dwell too much on the issue and said she will pick and choose her tournaments in order to be in the best possible shape.


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East Bengal, FC Barcelona explore possibility of tie-up

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Mumbai: East Bengal and Barcelona are exploring to establish and association between India’s premier football club and the LaLiga giants. Senior officials from the two clubs have met at the Quess House in Bengaluru to explore the possibilities of the proposed tie-up. The meeting was facilitated by Rakuten.

Bengaluru-based Quess controls the East Bengal football team,

FC Barcelona’s principal sponsor and global innovation partner, Rakuten is reportedly advising the LaLiga defending champions to expand their market worldwide. India can be one of the priority destinations for the club as LaLiga is already exploring the possibilities in the huge Indian sports market.

 

East Bengal has a Spanish connection. Coach Alejandro Menendez has been a former Real Madrid youth academy coach and East Bengal has extended his contract for two years. The club is reportedly willing to recruit a few more players from Spain next season.

Association with top international clubs is not unprecedented for Indian football clubs. East Bengal in the past has had a tie-up with Premier League side Leicester City, whereas another I-League team Minerva Punjab have recently signed an MoU with Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach. Chennai City FC had also partnered with Swiss club FC Basel.

Quess had announced on Wednesday that they are exploring the possibility of a tie-up FC Barcelona.

East Bengal FC chairman Ajit Isaac said that the city-based team is keen on being part of the Japanese company’s expansion plans via Lionel Messi’s club, adds national daily .

“Senior officials of the Spanish giants, FC Barcelona and Quess East Bengal Football Club team, met to explore the possibility of an association between the two clubs. The meeting facilitated by Rakuten, the global innovation partner and sponsor of FC Barcelona, was held at Quess House in Bengaluru. Rakuten is incidentally advising FCB on expanding its footprint worldwide,” Isaac has stated on East Bengal’s social media platform.


A likely deal between the two clubs will also boost the growth of Indian football.

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‘Pogba doesn’t want to be at Man Utd’

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London: Paul Pogba does not want to be at Manchester United, claims Gary Neville, with transfer talk and the influence of his agent, Mino Raiola, leading the Real Madrid-linked midfielder to have his head turned.

Questions have been asked of the Frenchman’s future throughout the 2018-19 campaign.

Struggles under Jose Mourinho sparked the exit rumours, with there seemingly no way that both men could continue working together at Old Trafford.

 

A change in the dugout delivered an initial reversal in fortune for United and Pogba, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reigniting the spark in a talismanic figure.

The 26-year-old has, however, endured another dip and Neville believes his days in England could now be numbered, with his focus shifting amid reports of interest being shown from afar.

“I think he is world class,” former Red Devils defender Neville told Sky Sports.

“I don’t think he wants to be here, that’s his problem.

“I think his agent’s into him.

“I said two, three months ago when he was brilliant, he’s done brilliantly for Ole, by the way, he’s scored I think 11 goals, seven assists, but I honestly thought a couple of months ago we sat in this studio at the Liverpool game and everything was brilliant about Paul Pogba and I said ‘I believe that it will resurface, the issues will resurface’.

“We know his agent, we know the influence he has on him, we know that Pogba has got his head turned by other clubs and he’s playing like somebody who’s had his head turned.

“He’s playing like somebody who doesn’t quite want to be here.

“The problem is if a player doesn’t want to be at a club and he has the influence that I think he has in the dressing room, I think the likes of [Jesse] Lingard, [Marcus] Rashford, [Anthony] Martial, I think they do come off him.

“And I think if he’s not quite at it and not raring to go, then it is a problem, it is a massive problem.”

Pogba is tied to a contract with United through to 2021, with that agreement including a 12-month extension option.

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What I am learning from Ponting, Ganguly will use during WC: Dhawan

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Mumbai: India opener Shikhar Dhawan has said he is learning a lot from legends like Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly and would appropriately use that knowledge during the 50-over World Cup, starting May 30 in the UK.

Dhawan is currently playing in the IPL for Delhi Capitals, coached by former Australia skipper Ponting while former India captain Ganguly is associated with the franchise as advisor.

“Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly…I am very fortunate that I am working with them now. They both have been great leaders. It is very good to be close to them because I can get their insight, know what was their mindset, what was their approach when they used to play or captain their sides,” explained Dhawan, who has scored 5,355 runs in 128 ODIs.

 

“I am already learning so many things from them (and) it is helping me. I am grateful (for) that. I am sure those things are helping me in the IPL and I am going to take it to the World Cup,” he added.

Dhawan, meanwhile, also heaped praises on his Delhi Capitals teammate Prithvi Shaw, saying he is the next big thing in Indian cricket. “So Prithvi, I would say it is a very big achievement to play for India at the age of 19, especially India is a dominating country for batsmen (and there are) lots of batsmen, so someone coming in at 19 is a big achievement and he has done very well for the Indian team.

“He is a very talented boy and I am sure he is going to do wonders for our country,” the dashing left-handed batsman said after being roped in as the brand ambassador of lubricants firm–GS Caltex India–at a function here on Wednesday night.

Shaw had shone on his Test debut against the West Indies at Rajkot last year.

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