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15 Jun

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, the final pay-per-view of 2018 just might go down as WWE’s best overall main roster show of the year after a star-studded card delivered beyond expectations from the SAP Center in San Jose, California. There were many performances that threatened to steal the show but undoubtedly, it was a trio of women in the triple threat TLC match for the SmackDown championship that was a perfect teaser for epic things to come at WrestleMania 35 in April. Two titles changed hands on the show, but WWE had saved the best for last. All in all, WWE ended 2018 with a bang. The Road to WrestleMania begins in January 2019 and ahead of the showdown, TLC was all about classic matches and settled rivalries. Now, without further ado, let’s see what went down Sunday at WWE TLC.

Braun Strowman beat Baron Corbin via pinfall (TLC Match)

Braun Strowman returned from his elbow surgery, with his left arm in a sling, to beat Baron Corbin at the TLC pay-per-view on Sunday. Strowman was technically not cleared to compete and Corbin, who had made plenty of enemies in recent weeks, lost all general manager powers on RAW because of the defeat.

RAW superstars like Finn Balor, Apollo Crews, Chad Gable, Bobby Roode and Kurt Angle, arrived to do Strowman’s dirty work as the Monster Among Men merely needed to put his foot on Corbin’s chest for the three-count.

The win means Strowman will face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble on January 27.

SmackDown Women’s Championship – Asuka beat Becky Lynch (c) and Charlotte Flair to win the title (TLC Match)

WWE’s first-ever women’s Tables, Ladders & Chairs match between Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Asuka ended in a destructive fashion with the SmackDown women’s title on the line.

Japanese star Asuka emerged as the new champion after RAW’s title-holder Ronda Rousey, who defeated Nia Jax earlier in the day, knocked both Flair and Lynch, whose 91-day reign is now over, off a ladder in the final moments.

The match featured levels of extremity unprecedented in the women’s division and is a genuine contender for the best match WWE has produced in 2018.

In other matches:

Cruiserweight Championship – Buddy Murphy (c) beat Cedric Alexander via pinfall to retain the title (Kickoff Show)

Elias beat Bobby Lashley (Kickoff Show Ladder Match)

R-Truth & Carmella beat Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox via submission to win the Mixed Match Challenge

SmackDown Tag Team Championship – The Bar (c) beat New Day (via pinfall) and The Usos to retain the titles

Natalya beat Ruby Riott (Tables Match)

Finn Balor beat Drew McIntyre via pinfall

Rey Mysterio beat Randy Orton via pinfall (Chairs Match)

WWE Championship – Daniel Bryan (c) beat AJ Styles via pinfall to retain the title

Intercontinental Championship – Dean Ambrose beat Seth Rollins (c) via pinfall to win the title

RAW Women’s Championship – Ronda Rousey (c) beat Nia Jax via submission to retain the title.

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15 Jun

Mikaela Shiffrin finished 0.29sec ahead of Petra Vlhova to claim the victory. © AFP

American Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest woman to win 50 World Cup ski races with victory in the slalom in the French Alps on Saturday. The 2014 Olympic champion, who led after the first run, finished 0.29sec ahead of Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova and 0.37sec ahead of Sweden Frida Hansdotter in third place to win in Courchevel. Hansdotter predicts further success for Shiffrin. “She can beat all the records possible. To have won everything she has won at 23 is so impressive,” she said.

The Olympic champion becomes the first woman to secure a half century of race victories before her 24th birthday, which she will celebrate in March next year.

Shiffrin won Friday’s giant slalom by overcoming a 0.08sec deficit and blizzard-like conditions. Victory on Saturday was her fourth consecutive win in the French resort.

Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark leads the record for both men and women with 86 career successes.

Shiffrin’s fellow US racer Lindsey Vonn has the most female wins with 82 victories across all five alpine disciplines. Vonn is expected to return to the circuit early in 2019 after recovering from injury.

The Colorado native joins retired Austrian Marlies Schild with a record 35 slalom World Cup titles.

Shiffrin leads the overall standings on 889 points after 13 out of the 38 events, twice as many as both Slovakian Vlhova in second place and Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel in third combined.

She can continue her already illustrious career by adding a fourth World Championship to her name in Are, Sweden in February.

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15 Jun

The year 2018 is coming to an end and it undoubtedly is the perfect time to turn the clock back to recall India’s achievements in the field of athletics this year. Keeping in mind the two mega events that ensured glory for Indian athletes was Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. At CWG 2018, India won a total of 66 medals – 26 gold, 20 silver and 20 bronze. At the Asian Games, India’s total tally was 69 – 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze.

Here are some memorable moments from the two events that ensured a happy 2018

Commonwealth Games:

1. Anish Bhanwala, a 15-year-old Haryana boy, won gold in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol. Bhanwala became the country’s youngest-ever gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games. Bhanwala had overshadowed Australia’s Sergei Evglevski (silver) and England’s Sam Gowin (bronze).

2. The year 2018 saw the legend of Mary Kom grow by leaps and bounds. First, she won her a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, beating Northern Ireland’s Kristina O’Hara with a unanimous 5-0 verdict, and then became the first woman boxer to win six World Championship gold medals later this year.

3. Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian javelin thrower to claim a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. With the feat, Chopra also became India’s fourth individual track-and-field gold medal winner in CWG history.

Asian Games:

4. Sixteen-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary shot to fame as he clinched a gold medal in the men’s 10m Air Pistol event. Chaudhary was only the fifth Indian shooter to take home a gold in the history of the Asian Games.

5. Ankita Raina, 25, managed to win a bronze medal at the Asian Games, which made her the second Indian female tennis player to win a medal in a singles event. The first Indian to pull the feat off was Sania Mirza, back in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

6. Swapna Barman became the first Indian heptathlete to clinch a gold medal at the Asian Games. Barman, who has six toes on each foot, won the heptathlon in spite of nursing a nasty toothache. Barely 21 years old, Barman scored over 6,000 points, putting together seven events in a span of two days.

7. Arpinder Singh ensured the Indian contingent takes back home a triple jump gold medal for the first time since 1970. Singh was extraordinary in his performance – registering a jump of 16.77m in his third attempt.

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15 Jun

The year 2018 saw a lot of Indian sports stars make a huge impact on the international stage but it was also the year when many of them achieved certain milestones in their personal lives.

The wedding fervour for the year 2018 kick-started with Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma getting hitched in the last month of 2017 but there were other life events too that made the headlines this year. Let’s have a look at some of them.

The birth of Izhaan Mirza Malik

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik were blessed with their son Izhaan Mirza Malik on October 30. “Excited to announce: It’s a boy, and my girl is doing great and keeping strong as usual #Alhumdulilah. Thank you for the wishes and Duas, we are humbled. #BabyMirzaMalik,” Shoaib Malik wrote on Twitter.

Sania, who took a break after undergoing surgery has not played this year and later confirmed a lengthier time out after confirming the news of her pregnancy. Sania clarified that she is aiming to be back on the court for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Sunil Chhetri and Sonam Bhattacherjee rang in marriage anniversary with ‘keepy-uppies’

India football captain Sunil Chhetri and Sonam Bhattacherjee celebrated their first wedding anniversary on December 4. The couple played a game of “keepy-uppies” to ring in their marriage anniversary.

Chhetri posted a fun video with his wife on social media and wrote: “Brought in the anniversary with a few keepy-uppies. We should be able to celebrate the second one with a football instead of a balloon.”

Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma celebrated first wedding anniversary in Australia

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma celebrated their first wedding anniversary with mushy posts on Twitter and Instagram on December 11.

Virat and Anushka shared the never-seen-before pictures from their dreamy destination wedding and unseen footage from the wedding ceremony at the Borgo Finocchieto.

The couple also sent out adorable messages to each other with their posts. “It’s heaven, when you don’t sense time passing by… It’s heaven, when you marry a good ‘man’,” wrote Anushka while Virat added: “Can’t believe it’s been a year already because it feels like it happened just yesterday. Time has truly flown by. Happy anniversary to my best friend and my soulmate. Mine forever.”

Vinesh Phogat tied the knot with Somvir Rathee

Star wrestler Vinesh Phogat tied the knot with national level wrestler Somvir Rathee in Haryana on December 13. Vinesh got engaged to Rathee in August after she returned from a successful campaign at the Asian Games in Jakarta. Interestingly, the engagement took place upon her return from Jakarta at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. The rings were exchanged outside the arrival gates of the airport.

At their wedding, the couple took an additional vow “beti bachao, beti padhao, beti khilao (save daughters, teach daughters and let them play)” during the wedding ceremony in Vinesh’s hometown Charkhi Dadri.

Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap made a perfect match

Ace badminton star Saina Nehwal tied the knot with Parupalli Kashyap in a minimalistic wedding ceremony on December 14 in Hyderabad.

Both Saina and Kashyap could not qualify for the BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China and ahead of the new PBL season, the two decided to tie the knot in the little window they got out from their professional commitments.

The couple’s close friends and family members graced the occasion, the wedding reception took place on December 16.

Saina posted a photograph with Kashyap announcing her marriage. “Best match of my life…#justmarried,” she wrote on Twitter.

In other noteworthy events, banned former Australian captain Steve Smith married his long-time girlfriend Dani Willis in a quiet affair on September 15. England’s ODI captain Eoin Morgan tied the knot with his girlfriend Tara Ridgway on November 3. Yuvraj Singh and Hazel Keech celebrated their second marriage anniversary on December 1. Rajasthan Royals’ wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson tied the knot with his long-time friend, Charulatha in a low-key ceremony in Thiruvananthapuram on December 23.

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14 Jun

The spectator was enthralled to see the eagle perch on his shoulder. © YouTube/screengrab

We’ve seen cats and dogs invade pitches during several popular football or cricket matches. But here’s one unique incident where an eagle ended up grabbing the spotlight during a college football fixture. The huge bald eagle is now breaking the Internet for perching on top of two spectators at the AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, during a match between Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Clemson Tigers. Albert Armas, a spectator at the venue, was enthralled when the eagle had perched on his shoulder out of nowhere, eventually making the camerapersons pan their devices from the exciting game to the stands.

Another spectator stretched out his arm for the eagle to perch on because according to reports online, he had thought that the bird was tired of hovering over the stadium.

The rest of the audience members obviously found this amusing enough to pull out their mobile phones and click selfies to upload on social media.

The bald eagle, which is mostly found in North American countries, can spread its wings up to three to four metres, and weighs somewhere between four to six kilograms.

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14 Jun

An aspiring, sporting and young India will find complete representation in the Khelo India Youth Games, scheduled to take place here from January 9. The prestigious event brings many arms of Indian sport like Indian Olympic Association (IOC), Sports Authority of India (SAI), National Sports Federations, Association of Indian Universities and School Games Federation of India together under one platform. The 6000-plus athletes will reflect the diversity of the nation’s youth and showcase their dreams, hopes and desire to make India shine on global platforms. They will not only come from urban and rural areas but also span a wide range of 10-21 years.

Athletes like Jisna Mathew, who was part of the Indian campaign in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, backstroke swimming specialist Srihari Nataraj, who has already been to the Commonwealth and Asian Games, will come with experience. 

On the contrary, three 10-year-old athletes including footballer Pratima Kumar from Jharkhand, hockey player Laltlanchhungi from Mizoram and West Bengal’s 10m air rifle shooter Abhinav Shaw, who became India’s youngest National shooting gold medalist in November last year will pick up their first experience of competing in a large-scale multi-discipline event. 

The athletes will compete in 18 different disciplines, including a variety of individual and team sport, disciplines in which India has a tradition of excellence and traditional games like Kabaddi and Kho-Kho. 

Like Khelo India School Games (KISG2018), Khelo India Youth Games will be the beacon that will proclaim India’s unity in diversity, by bringing together diverse stakeholders.

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14 Jun

Wrestler Anshu at Khelo India School Games last year. © Khelo India

With international players like world cadet champions Anshu and Sonam in the fray, wrestling powerhouse Haryana will be looking to continue their domination at the second edition of the Khelo India Youth Games, which officially begins here from Wednesday. Last year, Haryana had won 11 gold medals, out of which eight came from the girl’s category. Maharashtra managed just one gold but finished second overall with seven medals. Anshu (U-21) became world cadet champion at Athens in 2017 and continued her medal spree by winning the Asian Cadet championship in Uzbekistan in May and a bronze at the Junior World in Slovakia in September 2018.

She will be participating in the 62kg category, while Sonam, a 16-year-old from Madina village in Sonepat, will be another attraction in the Under-17 65kg category, a media release issued here said Tuesday. Sonam has won the 56kg world cadet championship and continued to win medals at the National School Games and Khelo India.

“Of course, Haryana wrestlers are a tough nut to crack but our top wrestlers like Bhagyashri Fand and Supriya Mishra have a good chance for a podium finish,” said Maharashtra’s Under-17 girl’s team coach Shabnam Shaikh.    

Among the boys, Haryana will have an upper hand with cadet Asian gold medallist Akash Dahiya (61kg) and Praveen Malik in the 74kg category in the fray.

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13 Jun

PM Narendra Modi extended his wishes to the participants in the opening ceremony. © Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended wishes to participants of ‘Khelo India’, saying it will give the youth a platform to fulfil their sporting dreams. The Khelo India Youth Games 2019, which will see a host of athletes in action, began in Pune on Wednesday. Among those in action will be champion shooters Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary, world cadet champion wrestlers Anshu and Sonam, Olympian athlete Jisna Mathew, Youth Olympics gold medallist weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga, budding tennis player Mahak Jain and swimming star Srihari Nataraj.  

“My best wishes to all young friends taking part in the Khelo India Youth Games …May this tournament showcases the best sporting talent and give our youth a platform to fulfil their sporting dreams,” he wrote on Twitter.

Referring to the ‘5MinuteAur’ challenge as part of the Khelo India movement, the prime minister said more sports means better health and a fitter nation.    

“#5MinuteAur is a great effort that will further fitness levels across India. It’s also wonderful to see noted athletes talk about their own experiences vis-à-vis spending more time on the field,” he said.

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13 Jun

Kunwer Ajai Raj Singh Rana hogged all the limelight on the opening day of the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 in Pune on Thursday as he clinched a gold medal in the Under-17 javelin throw event. Meanwhile in gymnastics, Maharashtra claimed the lion’s share of medals in their own backyard. The home state clinched five gold medals, while Uttar Pradesh bagged four out of 14 in total on Day 1. UP dominated the men’s section with four gold, while West Bengal (3) and Jammu & Kashmir (2) shared five gold in the women’s events.

Rana, who will turn 17 on Saturday, made a strong impression with a noteworthy 75.40 metre throw. The Punjab-based athlete had finished sixth at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

Uttar Pradesh’s Suraj Kumar and Sudama Yadav from Bihar secured silver and bronze respectively in the javelin throw event.

Tamil Nadu’s Karuniya Muthuramalingam, who turns 19 on Friday, was another athlete who gifted herself an early present on Thursday. She clinched gold in girls’ Under-21 discus throw event, defeating Punjab’s Arpandeep Kaur Bajwa and Haryana’s Seema.

In all, Maharashtra have 17 medals, comprising five gold, five silver and seven bronze. UP claimed eight medals on Day 1 with four gold, one silver and three bronze.

West Bengals’ Protishtha Samanta and Bavleen Kaur of Jammu & Kashmir were the biggest gainers on the opening day of the youth multi-spots event. Samanta claimed three gold to take her tally to four, while Bavleen bagged two gold to take her tally to three.

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13 Jun

Maharashtra won 14 gold medals in gymnastics. © Khelo India

Gymnasts from Maharashtra scripted golden success at the Khelo India Youth Games. Under-17 and under-21 gymnasts from Maharashtra were big winners in the discipline, closely followed by West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh who won 7 golds each. Both teams from Maharashtra combined, won 14 gold medals (U-17 claiming five and U-19 nine). In the U-17 category, Uttar Pradesh dominated the proceedings on the first day with Mohd. Rafey and Raj Yadav securing the first two places in the men’s artistic gymnastics all-around competition. The home state bagged silver and bronze in the women’s event. Twins Siddhi and Riddhi Hattekar won silver and bronze respectively. West Bengal’s Protistha Samanta won gold.

In rhythmic gymnastics all-around competition, Jammu and Kashmir’s Bavleen Kaur hogged the limelight winning the gold medal. Maharashtra’s Shreya Bhangale won silver and Krisha Chheda won bronze.

In the U-21 category, Maharashtra won three medals on the very first day. However, the women’s artistic all-around competition was dominated by West Bengal’s Bidisha Gayen. Maharashtra’s Aditee Dandekar won the rhythmic gymnastics section.

Delhi swimmer Swadesh Mondal put in superlative performances in the swimming arena. The swimmer from Delhi has already won four gold medals including one in the relay.

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