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'Junior Malik' is coming soon, Inshallah: Shoaib Malik

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 15 April 2015 | 22.58

After Shoaib Malik openly declared that he is Sania Mirza's No. 1 fan, as soon as she was ranked World No. 1 in doubles, all eyes were on Sania's microblogging page. Will she respond, will she not - that was the question.

Sania, who was all set to return home to Hyderabad after clinching the numero uno spot, eventually did reply to Shoaib Malilk's post, as she did to all others who congratulated her on social media.

But her response to Shoaib was indeed a special one; she returned the compliment, by saying, "@realshoaibmalik thank youuu..from one fan to the other... see u soon..."

Now that one post from the wifey called for a celebration, online at least. After retweeting Sania's post, Shoaib invited people to ask him questions using the hashtag #AskMalik and soon, he was bombarded with questions on 'Sania bhabhi'.

Shoaib answered them all of them without any hesitation. From saying he would have been 'Sania's manager' if not a cricketer, to declaring that 'junior Malik' is 'coming soon' to suggesting names if they have a daughter and confessing that he was in love before he met Sania, Shoaib scored high in this Q&A. Here are a few quirky ones.

What would you like to say on @MirzaSania recent success? Proud hubby?

Proud of her and happy for her achievements because i know first hand how hard she trains...

Sania is back to number one again... how do you feel?

Very happy, the first time

How did you guys celebrate Sania's recent success?

By phone calls, as I was not with her, and a lot of dancing.

When is junior Malik coming?

Inshallah soon

If you have a son, will you make him a cricketer or a tennis player?

Tough one really! Probably both, what do you think?

If you had a daughter, what will you name her?

Didn't think of that yet! Probably Mirialla or Reem.

How's Sania bhabhi and your mother?

They are great! With my mom right now, but missing Sania.

Would you like Sania Mirza to represent Pakistan and play tennis some day?

Not at all, that would be unfair. I should not ask her change who she is, what she is made of, where she belongs to...

Which is your favourite city in India?

Hyderabad

Is Sania bhabhi willing to play singles as well?

Yes, she does

What's the lamest question you have ever had to answer?

Lol there are so many - do I love Sania; do I shower everyday; do I want to play for Pak...

One thing you like about India?

The love I get. Hyderabad. I really enjoy my time there. I was there for a month during #CWC15

After marriage, your performance has gone down while Sania is on top of the world...
I don't agree on either, sorry.

What have you learnt from Sania?

Many things like to achieve the best, you have to work hard the most, and believe that it's possible.

If you had not become a cricketer, what would have you done?

Sania's manager

Your wife is more famous than you, does it affect your relationship?

Of course not. I pray for her to be the best and I'm proud of her.

When will Sania be seen with you in Pakistan?

It looks like after Eid, due to her Opens and my Leagues.

How difficult is it to manage married life when you both live in different parts of the world?

Very very very difficult. It's like a phone life with your best friend from different hotels and cities.

If Sania wants to act in films in future, will you allow her?

After I approve the her, yes, not before. (sic)

What comes next to your heart after cricket and of course Sania Mirza?

No sequence like that, but you missed my mom.

Have you ever player tennis or cricket with Sania Bhabhi?

Yes, we coach each other.

When are you coming to Hyderabad?

Very soon, but it's a personal trip, so not announcing here, but you will see pics.

Do you and Sania have couple fights sometimes?

Yes, but she starts all of them and I end all of them. not really, but yes, we do sometimes.

Who would you support if there was a match between Pakistani tennis star and your wife?

My wife, of course, as the player, and Pakistan as the nation.

Who holds the TV remote? Of course, bhabhi, hai na?

Always Sania, always.

Ever loved a girl as a teenager?

Yes, and it wasn't Sania.

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Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez found guilty of 2013 murder

FALL RIVER: Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez murdered an acquaintance in an industrial park near his Massachusetts home, a jury determined on Wednesday, at the end of the first of two murder trials the former player faces this year.

The jury found Hernandez, 25, guilty of first-degree murder in the June 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd, who had been dating Hernandez's fiancee's sister at the time. During the trial, the men were described as having been in the early stages of friendship, but Hernandez soured on his victim after Lloyd hung out with people the former New England Patriots tight end disliked.

The Patriots cut Hernandez, a rising star with a $41 million contract, hours after his arrest on June 26, 2013, nine days after a teenage jogger found Lloyd's body.

The highly publicized case was another black eye for the NFL. The United States' most profitable sports league was already facing a lawsuit by former players who contend it ignored the concussion risks they faced on the gridiron and criticism for its handling of cases involving domestic violence by players.

During the four months of testimony, the jury heard from more than 130 witnesses who testified that Hernandez, a native of Bristol, Connecticut, was a regular user of marijuana and sometimes of the stimulant PCP, that he owned guns and at times acted paranoid and said he felt his friends did not appreciate the things he did for them.

The witnesses included Alexander Bradley, a former friend of Hernandez's who charged in a civil lawsuit that the former NFL player shot him in the face in February 2013, costing him an eye. Bradley, who never pursued criminal charges over the incident, testified that he saw Hernandez handle a gun similar to the one used to kill Lloyd, but was not allowed to tell the jury about the shooting.

Investigators never recovered the .45-caliber Glock pistol that was used to pump six bullets into Lloyd, who had been a semiprofessional football player.

Robert Kraft, the Patriots' billionaire owner, was also called to the stand. Kraft testified that Hernandez said he was innocent and claimed to have been at a nightclub at the time of the killing.

The first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Prosecutors contended that two friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, were with Hernandez at the time of the killing. Those two men will be tried separately.

Defense lawyers closed their case by saying Hernandez had been present at the time of Lloyd's slaying, but had been a witness not a participant.

"He was a 23-year-old kid who witnessed ... a shocking killing committed by somebody he knew," said defense attorney James Sultan. "He really didn't know what to do. So he just put one foot in front of the other."

Prosecutors countered that Hernandez had plotted and controlled every detail of the slaying.

"He believed he could kill Odin Lloyd and nobody would ever believe that he was involved," said Assistant District Attorney William McCauley.

Hernandez was also found guilty of two firearms charges for illegally possessing the handgun used in the crime and illegally possessing .22-caliber ammunition found at his North Attleborough, Massachusetts, home.

Hernandez faces another trial beginning later this year in Boston, where he is charged with fatally shooting Cape Verdean nationals Daniel Abreu and Safirdo Furtado outside a nightclub after one of them spilled a drink. The jury that rendered the Lloyd verdict was not told about that case.

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Former cricketer, commentator Richie Benaud has private funeral

SYDNEY: A private funeral and commemoration service attended by ex-players Shane Warne and Ian Chappell was held Wednesday for former Australia cricket captain and commentator Richie Benaud.

Benaud died last Friday at the age of 84 of complications from skin cancer. His wife, Daphne, declined a government offer for a state funeral in favor of a smaller service at the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park attended only by family and close friends.

Benaud's former teammate, Brian Booth, led the service.

In the memorial booklet, his family described Benaud as "a special person who means so much to each of us in many different ways."

Later at a commemoration service, Warne and Chappell were joined by former Australia captain Mark Taylor and current test skipper Michael Clarke.

Benaud, considered one of the most influential cricket identities of the past century, played 63 tests for Australia but was more well-known for his career in the commentating booth.

Taylor said following Benaud's death that the celebrated television personality covered all the bases.

"I think that's what set him apart from a lot of people who came before him and probably after him, "Taylor said, "That he loved playing, he loved competing and he loved commentating and being involved in the game."

In the hours after Benaud's death, Warne took to Instagram to post a photo of an introspective Benaud, along with the words: "I've known you & Daphne for close to 30 years & to everyone you were a legend on all levels & rightly so too. As a cricketer, commentator & as a person, you were the best there's ever been."

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Sayantan Das best Indian in Dubai Open chess

DUBAI: International Master Sayantan Das finished on a high defeating Daniele Vocaturo of Italy in the ninth and final round and earned the distinction of being the best placed Indian in the Dubai International Open chess tournament.

Despite his heroic performance that found him in the main prize list, Das, could not get a Grandmaster norm in his kitty as he fell short in the average rating by a mere 2.5 points. Any opponent rated 25 points more than the current rating would have sufficed for the Indian to make the coveted GM norm.

That however did not deter the Kolkata-based player to display his best chess as he outplayed Vocaturo in all departments of the game. The Italian was up against the Ruy Lopez and after a dubious plan never got in the game as Das cruised home after 76 moves to finish on six points in all.

Dragan Solak of Turkey was adjudged the champion on best tiebreak after a five-way tie at the top was resolved. David Howell of England, Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia, Ivan Ivanisevic of Serbia, Andrei Istratescu of France and Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan took the lion's share of $50000 prize purse after all scored seven points each and tied for the top spot alongside Solak.

For once, the Indian challenge never took off in the tournament and the main reason was a terribly out-of-form former winner of this event Abhijeet Gupta, who lost yet another game against Russain International Master Eduard Kanter to end on just 4.5 points out of a possible nine.

S Vijayalakshmi had the consolation of finishing as the top woman player in the tournament after she drew with Ezat Mohamed of Egypt. The other Indian girl, Eesha Karvade missed out on the top spot when she lost her last round game against Alexander Kovchan of Ukraine.

Among other Indians in the fray, Aniruddha Deshpande had something to cheer about as he made his International Master norm following a hard-earned victory against Pascal Haridas of Philippines in his final round game. Deshpande ended on 5.5 points apiece and was in a must win situation in the final round for his norm.

Grandmaster Sahaj Grover ended his tournament on a positive note by winning his last game against Iranian youngster Alireza Firouzja. Grover ended his stint on 5.5 points but still loses some important rating points.

Important and Indian results final round (Indians unless stated): Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 7) drew with David Howell (Eng, 7); Dragan Solak (Tur, 7) drew with Eltaj Safarli (Aze, 7); Ivan Ivanisevic (Srb, 7) beat Alexander Shabalov (Usa, 6.5); Andrei Istratescu (Fra, 7) beat Alexander Ipatov (Tur, 6); Nils Grandelius (Tur, 6.5) beat Murali Karthikeyan (5.5); Tigran Petrosian (Arm, 6) beat R R Laxman (5.5); K Rathnakaran (5) lost to Peter Prohaszka (Hun, 6); Sayantan Das (6) beat Daniele Vocaturo (Ita, 5); Eesha Karavade (5) lost to Alexander Kovchan (Ukr, 6); Ezat Mohamed (Egy, 5.5) drew with S Vijayalakshmi (5.5); Mehar Chinna Reddy (5.5) drew with Hovik Hayrapetyan (Arm, 5.5); Abhijeet Gupta (4.5) lost to Eduard Kanter (Rus, 5.5); Alireza Firouzja (Iri, 4.5) lost to Sahaj Grover (5.5); Nico Georgiadis (Sui, 5.5) beat Nr Visakh (4.5); Sagar Shah (4.5) lost to Gunay Mammadzada (Aze, 5.5); Pascua Haridas (Phi, 4.5) lost to Anuruddha Deshpande (5.5); Abhishek Kelkar (5) drew with Abdelnabbi Imed (Egy, 5); Abdulla Khayala (Aze, 4.5) lost to Sundararajan Kidambi (5.5); Nr Vignesh (5) drew with Rakesh Kulkarni (5); Siva Mahadevan (5) drew with Tissir Mohamed (Mar, 5); Yildiz Betul Cemre (Tur, 5) beat L N Ram Aravind (4); Rajarishi Karthi (5) beat Sameer Kathmale (4); Saeed Ishaq (Uae, 4) lost to Vinayak Kulkarni (5); Tabada Jobannie (Phi, 4.5) beat Amruta Mokal (3.5); Al Hamed Saif Idrees (Uae, 3) lost to Inacia Rodrigues (4); Amna Nouman (Uae, 4) beat Rajesh Vasanthakumar (3); Hamdan Marshool (Uae, 4) beat Aswin Sreekumar (3); Bashaer Khalil (Uae, 3) lost to Akshay V Halagannavar (4).

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'Junior malik' is coming soon, Inshallah: Shoaib Malik

After Shoaib Malik openly declared that he is Sania Mirza's No. 1 fan, as soon as she was ranked World No. 1 in doubles, all eyes were on Sania's microblogging page. Will she respond, will she not - that was the question.

Sania, who was all set to return home to Hyderabad after clinching the numero uno spot, eventually did reply to Shoaib Malilk's post, as she did to all others who congratulated her on social media.

But her response to Shoaib was indeed a special one; she returned the compliment, by saying, "@realshoaibmalik thank youuu..from one fan to the other... see u soon..."

Now that one post from the wifey called for a celebration, online at least. After retweeting Sania's post, Shoaib invited people to ask him questions using the hashtag #AskMalik and soon, he was bombarded with questions on 'Sania bhabhi'.

Shoaib answered them all of them without any hesitation. From saying he would have been 'Sania's manager' if not a cricketer, to declaring that 'junior Malik' is 'coming soon' to suggesting names if they have a daughter and confessing that he was in love before he met Sania, Shoaib scored high in this Q&A. Here are a few quirky ones.

What would you like to say on @MirzaSania recent success? Proud hubby?

Proud of her and happy for her achievements because i know first hand how hard she trains...

Sania is back to number one again... how do you feel?

Very happy, the first time

How did you guys celebrate Sania's recent success?

By phone calls, as I was not with her, and a lot of dancing.

When is junior Malik coming?

Inshallah soon

If you have a son, will you make him a cricketer or a tennis player?

Tough one really! Probably both, what do you think?

If you had a daughter, what will you name her?

Didn't think of that yet! Probably Mirialla or Reem.

How's Sania bhabhi and your mother?

They are great! With my mom right now, but missing Sania.

Would you like Sania Mirza to represent Pakistan and play tennis some day?

Not at all, that would be unfair. I should not ask her change who she is, what she is made of, where she belongs to...

Which is your favourite city in India?

Hyderabad

Is Sania bhabhi willing to play singles as well?

Yes, she does

What's the lamest question you have ever had to answer?

Lol there are so many - do I love Sania; do I shower everyday; do I want to play for Pak...

One thing you like about India?

The love I get. Hyderabad. I really enjoy my time there. I was there for a month during #CWC15

After marriage, your performance has gone down while Sania is on top of the world...
I don't agree on either, sorry.

What have you learnt from Sania?

Many things like to achieve the best, you have to work hard the most, and believe that it's possible.

If you had not become a cricketer, what would have you done?

Sania's manager

Your wife is more famous than you, does it affect your relationship?

Of course not. I pray for her to be the best and I'm proud of her.

When will Sania be seen with you in Pakistan?

It looks like after Eid, due to her Opens and my Leagues.

How difficult is it to manage married life when you both live in different parts of the world?

Very very very difficult. It's like a phone life with your best friend from different hotels and cities.

If Sania wants to act in films in future, will you allow her?

After I approve the her, yes, not before. (sic)

What comes next to your heart after cricket and of course Sania Mirza?

No sequence like that, but you missed my mom.

Have you ever player tennis or cricket with Sania Bhabhi?

Yes, we coach each other.

When are you coming to Hyderabad?

Very soon, but it's a personal trip, so not announcing here, but you will see pics.

Do you and Sania have couple fights sometimes?

Yes, but she starts all of them and I end all of them. not really, but yes, we do sometimes.

Who would you support if there was a match between Pakistani tennis star and your wife?

My wife, of course, as the player, and Pakistan as the nation.

Who holds the TV remote? Of course, bhabhi, hai na?

Always Sania, always.

Ever loved a girl as a teenager?

Yes, and it wasn't Sania.

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Sayantan Das beats Stojanovic; in sight of GM norm

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 13 April 2015 | 22.58

DUBAI: International Master Sayantan Das closed in on his Grandmaster norm, defeating Serbian Mihajlo Stojanovic in the seventh round of Dubai International Open chess tournament here at the Dubai Chess and Culture club.

Das has now taken his tally to a very respectable five points out of a possible seven, and given the strong opposition he has faced here either one or 1.5 points in the last two rounds should fetch him the Grandmaster norm.

K Rathnakaran also continued with his fine run in the tournament and played out a draw with GM Alexander Rakhmanov of Russia with ease.

Rathnakaran also moved to five points in all but his chances of a GM norm are not good as he did not faced higher ranked opposition in the first few rounds.

Meanwhile, the highest rated Indian, Abhijeet Gupta finally found his form and played an excellent game with white pieces to beat compatriot Nr Visakh.

It was a reverse Benoni wherein Visakh gave up a good fight but Gupta gained a small advantage and nurtured it well to win a piece by force. Gupta moved to 4.5 points and will need to win the last two games to figure among prizes.

Among other Indians in the fray, Rakesh Kulkarni lived up to his reputation of a giant killer and put it across Grandmaster Sahaj Grover. It was a bad day in office for young Grover when nothing went right for him.

The French defense as black led to problems that could not be solved and Kulkarni won a piece early to score a facile victory.

Murali Karthikeyan, R Lazman, Sagar Shah and Eesha Karavade also moved up to 4.5 points and have a chance to figure in the list of USD 50000 prize money tournament.

Karthikeyan hit form and scored over Abhishek Kelkar, Laxman had a good draw against higher ranked Brazilian Alexander Fier, Sagar Shah had it easy against Sameer Kathmale, while Karavade accounted for Fawzy Adham of Egypt.

Alexander Shabalov of United States outplayed Andrei Istratescu of France to jointly lead the tables with Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia. With just two rounds to go, both leaders have six points apiece.

In a bizarre incident, Grandmaster Gaioz Nigaladze of Georgia forfeited his previous round game when he was found cheating on a mobile device. Nigaladze's frequent visits to the toilet made his opponent Tigran Petrosian suspicious and he asked for a checking of his opponent.

When nothing was found on Nigaladze, Petrosian still insisted something was not right and followed him to the toilet again where he found that the Georgian wanted to use one particular toilet instead of available ones.

The arbiters checked the toilet when it was vacated and found a mobile device hidden with headphones. Once it was established that it belonged to Nigaladze, the Georgian was declared lost and did not figure in the next round pairings.

Nigaldze has been twice Georgian champion and won the AL-Ain Classic earlier this year.

Important and Indian results round 7 (Indians unless stated): Solak Dragan (Tur, 5.5) drew with David Howell (Eng, 5.5); Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 6) beat Daniele Vocaturo (Ita, 5); Alexander Shabalov (Usa, 6) beat Andrei Istratescu (Fra, 5); Nils Grandelius (Swe, 5.5) drew with Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 5.5); Gadir Guseinov (Aze, 5.5) beat Igor Kovalenko (Lat, 4.5); K Rathnakaran (5) drew with Aleksandr Rakhmanov (5); Sayantan Das (5) beat Mihajlo Stojanovic (Srb, 4); Jaan Ehlvest (Usa, 5) beat S Vijayalakshmi (5); Alexander Fier (Bra, 4.5) drew with R Laxman (4.5) Abhijeet Gupta 4.5) beat Nr Visakh (4.5); Nr Vignesh (3.5) lost to Alexander Kovchan (Ukr, 3.5); Rakesh Kulkarni (4.5) beat Sahaj Grover (3.5); S Arun Prasad (4) drew with Eduard Kanter (Rus, 4); Abhishek Kelkar (3.5) lost to Murali Karthikeyan (4.5); Sagar Shah (4.5) beat Sameer Kathmale (3.5); Rajarishi Karthi (3.5) lost to S Kidambi (4.5); Eesha Karavade (4.5) beat Fawzy Adham (Egy, 3.5); Iva Videnova (Bul, 3) lost to Aniruddha Deshpande (4.5); Mehar Chinna Reddy (4) beat Mohammed Tarig Elther (Sud, 3); Nabil Saleh (Uae, 3) lost to L N Ram Aravind (4); Siva Mahadevan (4) beat Mohannad Farhan (Jor, 3); A M Soozankar (Iri, 3) lost to Vinayak Kulkarni (4); Mona Khaled (Egy, 4) beat Rajesh Vasanthakumar(3); Nail Bashirli (Aze, 3.5) beat Amruta Mokal (2.5); Jijo Joy (2) lost to Akshay V Halagannavar (3); Elmejbri Ali (Lba, 2) lost to Aswin Sreekumar (3).

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Rathnakaran beats Kovchan to jump to joint ninth

DUBAI: International Master K Rathnakaran continued with his fine form as he defeated Grandmaster Alexander Kovchan of Ukraine to jump to joint ninth spot after the end of the sixth round of Dubai International Open chess tournament on Sunday.

After winning the important game today with black pieces, Rathnakaran emerged as the best performing Indian in the fray thus far and moved to 4.5 points out of a possible six games.

Rathnakaran played his pet French defense with black pieces and caught Kovchan napping in a better position. The Indian had sacrificed a piece for two pawns in the middle game and was rewarded for his brave move when Kovchan lost track and lost two pieces in tandem.

Meanwhile, draws were the order of the day at the top of the table as top seed David Howell of England signed peace with American counterpart Alexander Shabalov, French Andrei Istratescu drew with Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia while Igor Kovalenko (4.5) of Latvia achieved the same result against Nils Grandeloius of Sweden.

As a result, it's now an eight-way lead at the top with the five previous leaders are now joined by Solak Dragun of Turkey, Daniele Vocaturo of Italy and Yuri Solodovnichenko of Ukraine.

With three rounds still remaining in the $50000 prize money tournament, Rathnakaran is the only Indian sharing the ninth spot and a good finish from here can help the Indian reap high returns.

The highest ranked Indian, Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta could not find his rhythm yet again as he was held to a draw by compatriot Sameer Kathmale. Up against an Alapin opening, Gupta faced stiff resistance from Kathmale and even stood worse at one point in the game. However, exchanges at regular intervals restored the parity and the draw was another good result for Kathmale. Both Gupta and Kathmale have 3.5 points each.

Grandmaster Sahaj Grover also moved to 3.5 points after defeating talented Azerbaijani Nail Bashirli. It was a Sicilian defense wherein Grover won a pawn early in the opening and went on to score an easy victory after a shocking defeat at the hands of Abhishek Kelkar in the previous game.

Kelkar, however, ran out of steam as he went down fighting against Serbian Grandmaster Milos Perunovic in this round.

Among other Indians in the fray, Grandmaster R R Laxman and International Masters Sayantan Das and S Vijayalakshmi reached four points apiece and raised visions of an improved performance. Of the three, Das played a solid game to hold Hungarian Grandmaster Peter Prohaszka of Hungary, Laxman defeated A M Soozankar of Iran while Vijayalakshmi accounted for David Bit-Narva of Sweden.

Important and Indian Results Round 6 (Indians unless specified): David Howell (Eng, 5) drew with Alexander Shabalov (Usa, 5); Andrei Istratescu (Fra, 5) drew with Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 5); Igor Kovalenko (Lat, 4.5) drew with Nils Grandelius (Swe, 5); Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 4) lost to Solak Dragan (Tur, 5); Mateusz Bartel (Pol, 4) lost to Daniele Vocaturo (Ita, 5); Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 5) beat Alexander Ipatov (Tur, 4); Murali Karthikeyan (3.5) lost to Ivan Ivanisevic (Srb, 4.5); Peter Prohaszka (Hun, 4) drew with Sayantan Das (4); Alexander Kovchan (Ukr, 3.5) lost to K Rathnakaran (4.5); Milos Perunovic (Srb, 4) beat Abhishek Kelkar (3.5); Sameer Kathmale (3.5) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (3.5); Fawzy Adham (Egy, 3.5) drew with S Arun Prasad (3.5); Aniruddha Deshpande (3.5) drew with Sagar Shah (3.5); S Kidambi (3.5) drew with Firouzja Alireza (Iri, 3.5); R R Laxman (4) beat A M Soozankar (Iri, 3); Eduard Kanter (Rus, 3.5) drew with Rajarishi Karthi (3.5); S Vijayalakshmi (4) beat David Bit-Narva (Swe, 3); Sahaj Grover (3.5) beat Nail Bashirli (Aze, 2.5); Rowe Duane (Jam, 2.5) lost to Eesha Karavade (2.5): Ahmad Al Khatib (Jor, 2.5) lost to Nr Vignesh (3.5); Nr Visakh (3.5) beat Abdulla Khayala (Aze, 2.5); L N Ram Aravind (3) drew with Mehar Chinna Reddy (3); Myrat Babaliyev (Tkm, 2.5) lost to Rakesh Kulkarni (3.5); Essa Al-Zarouni Kholoud (Uae, 2) lost to Siva Mahadevan (3); Vinayak Kulkarni (3) beat Elmejbri Ali (Lba, 2); Amruta Mokal (2.5) beat Mayed Alrashedi (Uae, 1.5); Inacio Rodrigues (2.5) beat M Kloub (Jor, 1.5).

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Lee returns home from doping hearing hoping for mercy

KUALA LUMPUR: Former badminton number one Lee Chong Wei returned home to Malaysia on Monday and said he faced a three-week wait for the verdict from his doping hearing.

The twice Olympic silver medallist faced a three-person Badminton World Federation (BWF) panel in Amsterdam on Saturday after testing positive for the banned anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone during the world championships in August.

"I have cooled down a bit since the hearing. I had waited six months for it and now all we have to do is wait another three weeks for the result," Lee told reporters at the airport on Monday.

"Obviously, I am hoping for a good result. I am quite happy with our lawyer as he gave a clear and detailed presentation.

"I cannot say more than that, we will just have to wait for the panel to decide."

Lee could face a two-year ban if found guilty, which is likely to lead to the 32-year-old's retirement.

Malaysian media speculated their favourite sporting son, who has been provisionally suspended by the BWF since November, could be handed a shorter, backdated penalty or even cleared.

Lee had originally hoped for an immediate verdict.

The world number 17 said the three-week delay meant he would likely miss the Sudirman Cup and the April 30 ranking cut off for the Aug. 10-16 world championships in Jakarta.

"If the panel takes three weeks to decide, my hopes of competing are over," the three-times world championship runner-up said.

"But it is alright if I do not make it to these two tournaments.

"I am more determined to make a comeback to qualify for next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro."

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No badminton tournament safe from fixing, says Vittinghus

SINGAPORE: A top Danish badminton player who was approached to fix matches said that "no tournament is safe" from corruption and said he was sure some events were being rigged.

World number 11 Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who was targeted last year by a Malaysian man, said it would be naive to think that all badminton matches were clean.

"Money is growing in badminton, which is a positive thing in many ways," Vittinghus said by telephone from Denmark during the Singapore Open, which finished on Sunday.

"But of course money also attracts other interest like match-fixing, for example... I am sure (match-fixing) is still going on, I think it will be naive to say that it's not."

Match-fixing is a problem in many sports, including football and cricket, and Vittinghus's complaint last year rang alarm bells for badminton.

He said he was approached via Facebook at the Japan Open by a man he had met at previous tournaments, who claimed to have fixed matches at last year's Singapore Open and Thomas Cup.

Vittinghus's fellow Dane and doubles specialist Kim Astrup was also offered 2,500 to 3,000 euros (US$2,648-3,177) to throw matches, as well as the chance to bet on the outcomes.

Both players declined and reported the incident to the Badminton World Federation (BWF), which handed it over to police for investigation.

The BWF had no further comment on the matter when approached by AFP.

"I think no tournament is safe because of the world we live in with the Internet and the implications it has, so it can happen anywhere and not only in Asia," Vittinghus said.

Doping has also emerged as a possible problem for badminton, one of Asia's most popular sports, after former world number one Lee Chong Wei failed a drugs test last year.

Denmark's Mads Conrad-Petersen said he hoped badminton would pour resources into combating match-fixing, or risk having its integrity compromised.

"It's just important to have some resources into this (match-fixing issue) so we can get it stopped," Conrad-Petersen told AFP in Singapore.

"It's in every sport, also in football and when there's betting and there's someone who wants to cheat it's important that people focus on (getting rid of) it."

No details have been released about which matches may have been targeted at last year's Singapore Open and Thomas Cup, which rank among badminton's biggest tournaments.

"I don't feel unsafe or anything because I went public with the story and I have never played in a match where I thought my opponent was fixing or anything," said Vittinghus.

In an earlier statement about the incident, BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer said the world body "takes all reports of match-fixing allegations absolutely seriously".

"It is especially important that players are aware of the adverse effects of match-fixing and that the only safe route is to reject any approaches from individuals soliciting their involvement in match-fixing," he added.

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Suresh Raina offers prayers at Navagraha temple

NAGAPATTINAM: Recently married Indian cricketer Suresh Raina on Monday offered players at the 'navagraha' temples located in the district.

In a whirlwind visit, Raina, who married his Priyanka on April 3, offered prayers at the temples dedicated to the 'navagraha' (celestial planets) in Thiruvenkadu, Keezhaperumpallam and Thirupambaram villages.

Sporting sacred ash and sandal paste on his forehead, Raina cheerfully went round the temples.

A large number of people vied with each other to have a glimpse of the Chennai Super Kings cricketer.

Tight security arrangements had been made at all the places, police said.

It is the belief of devotees that a visit to these temples would enable them overcome any malefic effect of the nine planets.

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