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Roger Federer wins 2017 BBC Overseas Sports Personality award for record fourth time

Tennis star Roger Federer has won the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year for a record fourth time after a public vote.

The 36-year-old Swiss topped the poll ahead of five other shortlisted nominees.
Federer became the first man to win Wimbledon eight times and extended his record to 19 Grand Slam titles in 2017.

Boxer Muhammad Ali and athlete Usain Bolt are the only other people to have won the BBC award three times.

He was shortlisted by an expert panel this year alongside Tom Brady (American football), Katie Ledecky (swimming), Tatyana McFadden (Para-athletics), Sally Pearson (athletics) and Michael van Gerwen (darts).

At 35, victory over Croatia's Marin Cilic made Federer the oldest man in the Open era to claim the Wimbledon singles title.

Earlier in the year, he returned from six months off to recover from a knee injury and won the Australian Open with a five-set victory in the Melbourne final over old rival Rafael Nadal.

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Lucian takes Sri Lankan Bodybuilding to new heights

Sri Lankan bodybuilder Lucian Pushparaj, fondly known as ‘Asia’s Black Lion’, was placed fourth on a highly competitive world bodybuilding event held in Texas, USA. Pushparaj represented Sri Lanka at the recently concluded ‘Mr. & Ms. Atlas’ event which was organised by the Global Bodybuilding Organisation.

This is a significant moment for Sri Lanka since this is the first time a local bodybuilder has been placed highly at a world event. Competing with 34 participants, Lucian Pushparaj was able to secure fourth place bringing Sri Lankan bodybuilding to levels hitherto unseen, analysts in Colombo stated.

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Sharma’s record double ton helps India level series 1-1

Mohali, India (AP) Rohit Sharma hit his third double hundred in ODI cricket Wednesday as India beat Sri Lanka by 141 runs and leveled the three-match series at 1-1.

Riding Sharma’s 208 not out, India scored 392-4 and later restricted Sri Lanka to 251-8. Angelo Mathews’ knock of 111 not out went in vain.

Chasing an improbable 393, Sri Lanka made a poor start and lost openers Danushka Gunathilaka (16) and Upul Tharanga (7) early.

The visitors were reduced to 62-3 when Washington Sundar (1-65) bowled Upul Tharanga (7) in the 16th over.

Mathews found support in Niroshan Dickwella (22) and put on 53 runs with him for the fourth wicket. Later, he added 44 runs with Asela Gunaratne (34) for the fifth wicket.

Yuzvendra Chahal (3-60) accounted for both Dickwella and Gunaratne, extinguishing any hopes of an unlikely chase.

Mathews reached his second ODI hundred off 122 balls, but didn’t get much support from the lower order to even have a go at the target.

That was after Sharma hit 13 fours and 12 sixes off 153 balls. His 208 runs was the highest individual ODI score in Mohali, beating Virat Kohli’s 154 not out against New Zealand in 2016.

Sharma’s two earlier double hundreds were 209 against Australia in Bengaluru in 2013 and 264 against Sri Lanka in Kolkata in 2014.

Put into bat, Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan (68) put on 115 runs for the first wicket. Dhawan fell to Sachith Pathirana (1-63) in the 22nd over after scoring his 23rd ODI half-century off 47 balls.

Thereafter, Sharma and Shreyas Iyer (88) put on 213 runs. It was the highest second wicket stand at the ground in Mohali, improving on 173 runs by Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir against Pakistan in 2007.

Sharma reached his half-century off 65 balls. Iyer then scored his maiden ODI half-century off 50 balls. Together, they pushed India past 300 in the 44th over.

The stand-in skipper then scored his 16th ODI century off 115 balls. He is now fourth in the list of all-time Indian batsmen in terms of hundreds, after Tendulkar (49), Kohli (32) and Sourav Ganguly (22).

Iyer fell in the 46th over, caught in the deep off Thisara Perera (3-80). The latter also accounted for MS Dhoni (7), trapping him lbw two overs later.

Sharma, at the other end, unleashed a plethora of sixes as he scored the next hundred runs off only 36 balls. He got to the milestone off 151 balls.

Eighty-one runs came in the last five overs. That was the highest ODI total at the ground in Mohali after South Africa’s 351-5 in 2011. India’s previous highest total was 321-9 against Pakistan in 2007.

Pic: Hindustan Times


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Sri Lanka decimate India to end 12-game losing streak

Sri Lanka bounced back in style with the change of format as they bundled India out for a paltry 112 in 38.2 overs in the opening game of the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series at Dharamshala on Sunday. Pace bowler Suranga Lakmal, who bowled his allotted 10 overs on the trot, was the pick of the bowlers returning with figures of 4-13.

Sri Lanka wasted no time in chasing the target with opening bastman Upul Tharanga leading the way with 49 runs. Angelo Mathews and Niroshan Dickwella chipped in with 25 and 26 runs respectively to end India's misery.

The second One Day match will take place in Mohali on Wednesday (13).

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Australian Open: Former champion Victoria Azarenka awarded wildcard

Former world number one and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has been given an Australian Open wildcard.

The 28-year-old pulled out of the US Open and Belarus' Davis Cup final earlier this year because of a custody dispute over her young son. "Vika's current situation is obviously very difficult for her. We have reached out to offer any support we can," said tournament director Craig Tiley.

Azarenka is ranked 201 in the world and has not played since Wimbledon.

The champion in 2012 and 2013 at Melbourne Park, Azarenka has claimed that a judge in California has not allowed her to travel outside of California with 11-month old Leo while a legal case is ongoing.

"I'm so excited about coming back to Melbourne for the Australian Open, it's my favourite tournament," Azarenka said.

"I've won there twice and always feel so comfortable on the court and the city is great." Azarenka has already received a wildcard to the WTA event in Auckland where she will begin her 2018 season.

The Australian Open begins on 15 January.

Source : BBC
Pic Source : NY Times

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Hathurusingha appointed Sri Lanka head coach

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has confirmed Chandika Hathurusingha as their new head coach. The 49-year-old former Sri Lankan all-rounder will take over the reigns of Sri Lanka Cricket from December 20, SLC announced. Interestingly, Hathurusinghe’s maiden assignment as head coach will be against his former team, Bangladesh.

Hathurusinghe was expected to take over as head coach of the Sri Lankan team from Trevor Bayliss after the 2011 World Cup, but was rejected due to differences with then SLC President D.S. de Silva.

Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that Hathurusingha will be the highest-paid Sri Lanka coach in history.

Hathurusingha had earlier coached Sri Lanka A and was also named as an assistant coach with the national team.

The right-handed all-rounder, who bowled medium-fast, had played 26 Tests and 35 One Day Internationals for the Sri Lankan national cricket team.

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If we play like we did in Dharamsala, we'll win series: Perera

Mohali, Dec 12 (PTI) Sri Lanka produced a near flawless performance in Dharamsala and captain Thisara Perera is expecting an encore from his team in the second ODI to win a maiden series in India.

"It is a good opportunity to win the series. Not many teams have won series in India. We want to do something special, like we did in Dharamsala," Perera said on the eve of the second match of the three-ODI series.

Adverse weather conditions in Dharamsala meant Sri Lanka had to spend an extra night in the hills and only arrived here in today morning. They arrived at the PCA Stadium late afternoon and practiced amid cold and overcast conditions.

Asked if there is an added pressure on the Sri Lankan team, Perera replied in the negative.

"It is not pressure. It is another game for us. Everyone knows if we win tomorrow we will win the series. We will give our 200 per cent," the all-rounder said before hinting that they would go with the same XI that beat India by seven wickets in the series opener.

The visitors are a confident lot, having ended their 12- match losing run in Dharamsala but they expect India to come back harder, just like they did against New Zealand last month after losing the opening game of the three-match series.

"Yes they can but we are focused on our job. It was good to win after 12 losses and we know if we can repeat that performance, we will win tomorrow," said Perera.

The Sri Lankan captain has the experience of playing at this ground, having represented Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.

"It looks like a good batting track," he said referring to the surface, which was covered for major part of the day due to overnight rain.

Talking about the squad, Perera said only Dhananjaya de Silva has fitness issues.

"Only he is not fit out of the 15," said the skipper.

Asked about India not playing Ajinkya Rahane in Dharamsala on a pacer-friendly track, he said: "I am not an Indian selector, so I can't say why he did not play. Obviously he is a good batsman. I can't say anything more than that."

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Maria Sharapova gets marriage proposal from fan in Turkey, says ‘maybe’

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova received a surprise marriage proposal from a fan at an exhibition game in Istanbul, Turkey, on Sunday.
The five-time Grand Slam holder, who is on tour as part of her preparations for next season, made a stop in Istanbul on Sunday to face local player Cagla Buyukakcay.

Sharapova was getting ready to serve when a fan unexpectedly shouted “Maria, will you marry me?” causing laughter from those in attendance at Sinan Erdem Hall. The former world number one didn’t hesitate, answering “maybe” to the stranger who interrupted her serve with the sudden proposal.

Buyukakcay, ranked 161st in the World Tennis Association (WTA) standings, showed fierce resistance in taking the first set to a tie break, before Sharapova eventually prevailed 7-6.

The more experienced Russian went on to seal victory by dismantling her Turkish opponent in the second set, 6-0.

READ MORE: Sharapova named in Indian luxury property fraud probe – report

Sharapova returned to action in April after serving a 15-month disqualification for the use of the banned drug meldonium.

This year she was granted a wildcard entry into the US Open where she knocked out the second seed Simona Halep of Romania in the first round and added two more wins before losing to Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the fourth round.

In October, Sharapova claimed her first trophy after returning to the WTA tour by taking a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 victory over her 19-year-old Belarusian opponent Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the Tianjin Open.

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Raelene Castle: Rugby Australia appoints first woman chief

Australia's rugby union governing body has chosen Raelene Castle as its new chief executive, the first time a woman has been given the job.

Rugby Australia said Castle was "extremely impressive" with an "outstanding track record".

The appointment of the experienced sports administrator makes her the first female leader across all major national unions in world rugby.

She reportedly beat more than 200 candidates for the job.

At a press conference Castle told reporters that "it's interesting the media have an enormous fascination" with the fact that she is the sport's first female boss.

But she added: "The reality is sport has gender equity in it. There's people from both really delivering, particularly at grassroots level... so I don't think it's an enormous step to have a female chief executive, I'm excited about the opportunity."

Castle, an Australian-born New Zealander, had previously headed New Zealand's national netball body, as well as a team in Australia's National Rugby League.

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India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 239 runs

India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 239 runs in the second test in Nagpur after the touring side were bundled out for 166 shortly after lunch on the fourth day.

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White and Arum shoot down potential Pacquiao-McGregor boxing match

Rumors of a potential boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor were squashed by both Dana White and Bob Arum over the weekend. This comes on the heels of reports from international news agency AFP where Manny Pacquiao appeared to confirm that preliminary talks with McGregor have begun.

“If we can negotiate it, I have no problem. It is OK with both of us,” Pacquiao said. He also mentioned that it was his team (sans Bob Arum) that initially reached out to McGregor.

McGregor has been a target for many boxers after his 10th round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather back in August. Despite McGregor having no previous professional boxing experience, the fight drew huge PPV numbers and was a financial success for both Mayweather and McGregor. Although McGregor lost, he remains a huge crossover star with massive earning potential against just about any boxer. Pacquiao is among the latest to take aim at the UFC lightweight champion but any ideas for a fight in 2018 have seemingly gone nowhere.

White addressed the rumors during the “UFC Fight Night: Fresno” post-fight presser and the idea that McGregor could compete in a boxing ring again before stepping back into the Octagon.

“That would be weird because he’s under contract with us,” White said. “If that’s true, I will be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever’s representing him, so I’m assuming that’s not true. Yes, [McGregor’s next fight will be in the UFC].”

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum also addressed the potential fight.

“Is it true that Pacquiao reached out to McGregor? Yes, but it’s old news,” Arum said shortly after the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux fight in New York. “I would do it for Manny but for me, if I promoted that fight, I would tell everybody up front, ‘Guess what, it’s not a [expletive] fight. If you want a spectacle, you can watch it.’”

Not exactly encouraging words from either side. Also worth noting is the vitriol between White and Arum. The two have had unkind words about one another in the media over the years and the Top Rank Promoter took another shot at the UFC president over the weekend.

“[Dana White] is a piece of crap,” Arum said when asked about White’s interest in being a boxing promoter. “It’s an acknowledgment how strong boxing is that he has a UFC that’s cratering and he needs boxing to save himself.”

Although at odds, White did manage to give Arum credit for his tactics.

“At the end of the day, we’ll see who stands where when the smoke clears and the dust settles. I’ll give it to him though, for a [expletive] 95-year-old dude, this guy’s still pretty feisty. I’ll give him that. I’m impressed.”

By Andreas Hale

12 December 2017

Photo Credit: Getty


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India declare innings at 610/6, lead by 405 runs

India declared their innings on day three of second Test match against Sri Lanka for 610 for six wickets on Sunday.

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