Pakistan’s karate champion seeks government support

Saadi Abbas – File Photo 

Saadi Abbas – a prominent karate athlete in Pakistan has sought the government’s help in providing funds so he can take part in the qualifying round of the Olympics.

“In 2018 Olympic qualification rounds begin which include World Premiere League, Asian Championships, Asian Games and World Championships,” Abbas said in a video appeal. He emphasised the need to take part in these events to get the ranking required for Olympic qualifying.

The athlete did say funds were being provided for basic facilities such as housing and food, however, this was not enough. “Professional facilities which are required by an Olympian of an international standard are not being provided. We are also not sent to every tournament which leads to Pakistani players being left behind.”

In September, Saadi placed fifth in the World Karate 1 Series A Karate Championship organized by the World Karate Federation in Istanbul. He is a two-time Commonwealth Champion, US Open Champion, Asian Gold Medalist (only gold medalist of South-Asian region), South-Asian champion and a silver medalist in fourth Islamic Solidarity Games 2017.

Saadi is the second athlete this week who has made an appeal for support. On Monday, boxer Mohammad Waseem expressed he might not fight for Pakistan in the future as he had not received any sponsorship offers.

“I have an upcoming world title fight and before that, I have a fight in Colombia, it is quite worrying for me as I do not have any sponsors,” Waseem said in his video appeal)

Spurs secure top spot with comeback win at Dortmund

DORTMUND: Already-qualified Tottenham Hotspur came from a goal down to beat hosts Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday and secure top spot in Group H with a game to spare.

Spurs’ top scorer Harry Kane cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first-half strike in the 49th minute with his sixth goal of the campaign and Heung-min Son curled home the winner in the 76th.

The result put the Londoners on 13 points, three ahead of holders Real Madrid, who crushed APOEL Nicosia 6-0 away and next welcome the Germans. Tottenham, with a superior head-to-head over the Spaniards, host the Cypriots in their last group game.

Dortmund, finalists in 2013, have two points along with APOEL and have missed out on the knockout stage. They will have to sweat it out on the last matchday to see if they can finish third and claim a spot in the Europa League.

Tottenham, who had already secured a spot in the knockout stage on the previous matchday, were caught napping when Aubameyang beat the offside trap in the 19th minute but with only goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to beat he fired wide.

But Aubameyang, forced to sit out Dortmund’s Bundesliga loss at VfB Stuttgart on Friday after he was suspended by his club over disciplinary issues, did put the hosts ahead in the 31st.

The Gabon international ended the goal drought he has endured since October when Andriy Yarmolenko cleverly sent him through with a flick and Aubameyang did not miss again.

Tottenham had spurned several golden chances, with Christian Eriksen and Eric Dier failing to score in the first half as Dortmund keeper Roman Buerki, criticised for a string of mistakes in recent weeks, denied them with two superb saves.

The Swiss could do nothing, however, when Kane was set up by Dele Alli and the England striker fired home from the edge of the penalty area. Alli then did even better, shaking off two markers to feed South Korean Son for the winner}

Sterling strike earns top spot for Man City

Manchester City secured top spot in Group F with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, making it five wins out of five for Pep Guardiola’s side.

City, who were already assured of a place in the last 16, fielded a surprisingly strong line-up but struggled to find the kind of fluency that has characterised their performances this season.

But two minutes from the end, Raheem Sterling grabbed the winner, slotting home after a smart exchange of passes with Ilkay Gundogan.

Sam Larsson had earlier twice gone close for Feyenoord while Guardiola gave debuts to teenagers Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz from the bench.}

Zlatan dethroned after a decade as Sweden’s best player

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s unbroken ten-year run as Sweden’s best player came to an end on Monday when FC Krasnodar defender Andreas Granqvist won the country’s Golden Ball for 2017.

Ibrahimovic, who retired from international football after a disappointing Swedish showing at Euro 2016, dominated the award from 2007 to 2016 and took it 11 times overall. No other player has won it more than twice.

Granqvist, Ibrahimovic’s successor as captain, last week led Sweden to a 1-0 aggregate playoff victory over Italy to reach next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.

Sweden’s 36-year-old record goal-scorer, who returned from serious knee injury for Manchester United against Newcastle United on Saturday, wasn’t left completely empty-handed at the Fotbollsgalan awards, however.

His club performances won him the best attacker prize.

The Diamond Ball for best female player went to Linkoping FC’s attacking midfielder Kosovare Asllani, who returned home this season after five years abroad with Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City.}

Hafeez to work in NCA for re-modification of bowling action
Mohammad Hafeez – File Photo 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has chalked out a plan to re-modify the bowling action of all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, announcing that the 37-year-old will work at National Cricket Academy (NCA) with PCB’s bowling action review committee.

Hafeez was, last week, suspended by the International Cricket Council after assessments found his bowling action to be illegal.

The PCB on Tuesday said that the board is lending all its support to Hafeez to rectify his bowling action.

“The PCB will like to state that already a bowling action review committee has been setup with Ahsan Raza, Ali Zia, Saleem Jaffar, and Sajjad Akbar as its members. The committee has been tasked to provide all possible training and assistance to rectify his bowling action at par with ICC standard,” said PCB in a statement.

The PCB statement further added that Mohammad Hafeez will work on his action at the National Cricket Academy, and after every 10 days will undergo a test at the bio-mechanics lab setup at LUMS.

“The committee will, therefore, analyze the reports of the tests, and will further guide Mohammad Hafeez before he proceeds with the official test to ICC,” the PCB concluded.

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