Category: Sports

Indian players successfully got 2 points for a “Super Tackle'' against Iran during the final match of Kabaddi World Cup 2016 in Ahmedabad on Saturday.Ajay Thakur masterminded a memorable triumph against a spirited Iran with a terrific exhibition of raiding in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup final at the Arena by TransStadia here on Saturday.
Outwitted in the first half by rival skipper Meraj Sheykh’s versatile display — he fetched points by kicking with his right leg and stretching his right hand at the opponent — and down 13-18 at half time, India took charge of the final in the second half with Thakur’s sleek raiding skills earning super raid points. Once Thakur won a hand-touch point against Sheykh, India look the lead for the second time in the match and then proceeded to dominate and win 38-29.
Pardeep Narwal, who was India’s second most successful raider in the league stage, was off colour, but substitute Nitin Tomar rose to the occasion, winning super raid points that sent out Sheykh and Fazel Atrachali at a critical juncture.
Eventually, Surjeet’s leg-lock on Sheykh reflected India’s control of the match against an opponent that depended largely on Sheykh and Atrachali, both ProKabaddi League professionals.
It was the third clash between India and Iran in a World Cup final — the previous two were held in 2004 and 2007 in Mumbai, and on both occasions, India triumphed.
With the third World Cup being staged after four editions of the ProKabaddi League, there was a lot of hype and hoopla around the event and there was immense pressure on Anup Kumar’s team to win the title a third time.
His team lost the opening league match to the Republic of Korea, but hit back strongly in the remaining league matches and showed remarkable composure to turn the tide against Iran in the title match.
Earlier Sheykh did the star turn demonstrating his cunning manoeuvres as a raider. Thanks to the five raid points Sheykh won in the first half, including a super raid execution, Iran led 18-13 at half time.
India took the field with Anup Kumar, Manjit Chillar, Thakur, Pradeep Narwal, Sandeep Narwal, Surjeet and Surender Nada. After two empty raids from either side, Sandeep Narwal won the home side the first point with a hand touch.
Thakur made it 2-0, but very soon Iran showed its class by cleverly playing lobby to earn two bonus points and also a raid point when Meraj won a team review for a hand touch on Sandeep Narwal.
Returning to action Sandeep Narwal won the first tackle point for India, but soon the Iranian skipper’s electrifying display took centre-stage as he put his side ahead by six points at the interval. Fazel Atrachali excelled in defence and four other players earned tackle points.
But eventually India showed its wherewithal in a sport it has dominated since the 1990 Asian Games.

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S2With each Olympics and India’s miserable performance in them, one hears enough talk about the lack of a sporting culture and the absence of world-class infrastructure as the main reasons for India’s debacle. While the sporting culture part is witnessing a real transformation with a large number of sports gaining importance and health and fitness issues taking center stage in the country, high-quality infrastructure still remains a concern.
Though one might point at the large stadiums and other sports-related infrastructure in each city facing huge problems of underutilisation, the fact remains that sportspersons have to look beyond India’s shores for accessing training facilities that are expected to make the difference between stepping on the winners’ podium or returning home empty-handed. And who better than the country’s first individual gold medallist to not just talk about moving in the right direction on infrastructure but actually getting down to acting on it. True to his promise post-Rio, Abhinav Bindra has launched a high-performance center in Chandigarh, where athletes can access facilities that are on par with any center in the world.
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With equipment that Bindra himself used for training for the Rio Olympics, the center has opened its doors for any athlete who wants to raise standards to compete with the best and more important is free for any Indian elite athlete. “For the longest time, we’ve lamented about the lack of facilities in our country. This is an attempt to redress the problem and this will not only get us on par with the West but will actually get us ahead of the curve. For 22 years of my life, I’ve been searching for a thing like this. Had I found it earlier I’d have won another Olympic medal”, says Bindra with a laugh. From Ahmedabad comes another interesting development called The Arena from TransStadia, the venue for the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, which India just won. A spanking new sports infrastructure project, this multi-purpose venue can house 14 sporting disciplines, making it India’s first and largest integrated convertible multi-sports facility. “The indoor stadium features the patented T-box technology which enables us to set up seating within minutes.
This model will ensure that we’re not dependent only on renting the facility for sporting activities,” says Udit Sheth, the person behind setting up the country’s first private-public-partnership (PPP) multiuse urban sports infrastructure facility. In fact, if the grapevine is to be believed the third edition of the IPTL may well be held there a month and a half down the line. “China has 1000 of these high-performance centers. The USA too have them in abundance. It’s only fair our athletes have access to the best facilities to be able to compete with the best”, says Bindra. While the focus for TransStadia is in developing entertainment spaces revolving around sports, what could be of interest to India’s athletes is the sports rehabilitation center housed in Rs 536-crore complex. Couple this with Bindra’s facility for assessment and training under one roof and India does seem to be making giant strides in the sports infrastructure realm.
“The various sports associations will now have a high-quality sports science, rehabilitation, and elite athlete training center, along with other sporting facilities under one roof,” adds Sheth. Bindra too is aiming to do the same. With the SAI top management already having visited Chandigarh last week, it’s expected come Tokyo we will not have to send our athletes to foreign shores for training. While saving money, on the one hand, it will also allow proper mentoring of these athletes unlike what happened in Rio and is being looked upon as one of the main causes of India’s underwhelming show.

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There is no good reason to separate girls and boys in junior sport, Australia's top pediatric exercise physiologist says.This is a story about children’s sport. It’s about rugby. It’s about football. And it’s also about tennis and why one darling little girl didn’t get to play her tennis match last Saturday.
The huge success of the women’s rugby sevens team in Rio is forcing the sport to rethink the way it’s played here in Australia. From this year, boys and girls can play together in rugby teams and, after puberty, girls can continue to play with boys in exceptional circumstances. I mean, who wouldn’t want Charlotte (Charlie) Caslick on their team?
There is no good reason to separate girls and boys in junior sport, Australia’s top pediatric exercise physiologist says.
There is no good reason to separate girls and boys in junior sport, Australia’s top pediatric exercise physiologist says. Photo: Angela Milne
Children’s sport is changing and must change. The participation rate in some children’s sport has gone down so dramatically that if we want children to play, it needs to be inclusive, fun and develop fitness.
Tennis coach Roger Rasheed with daughter India.Even netball is now mixed, and primary schools in the ACT are welcoming boys to their teams
And that’s all fine in theory. You’d think that everyone would be on board. But sometimes it’s hard for people to accept change and that’s when the kids get hurt.
Saturday morning, thousands and thousands of kids are out playing sport and one of them is India Rasheed. She’s nine years old and her dad Roger is one of the best tennis coaches Australia has ever seen. Remember when Lleyton Hewitt was the world No 1? That was Roger Rasheed’s handiwork.
India was meant to play a match on Saturday but the parent of her opponent had other views. That parent’s child is a boy. In this particular association – South Australia’s Eastern Districts Tennis Association – boys don’t play girls past the beginner level. That’s an Association decision. But India’s own club, the Burnside Tennis Club, selected her to play anyway. The families at Burnside think the rule about boys playing separately to girls is archaic.
I’ve only got Rasheed’s word for it – and his own very passionate post on his Facebook page. But he says that his daughter was excited to be playing on Saturday. She and her friend, a boy playing his second match ever, partner to win their doubles match. Then, he says, trouble began. His daughter, very good for her age, was meant to play a boy in a singles match. The parent of that boy was not happy.
“She [the parent] decided to take action herself because there was a girl playing against the boys, she made phone calls to her club’s officials and aggressively took action in wanting the girl not to be a part of the fixture.
“Through my discussion with her it was very clear to me that she had an agenda, she had zero interest in participation and kids just going out and playing a game of tennis on a Saturday.
“When I explained to her that this would be a great time to educate your son in why playing a girl is no different and to treat it the same it continually fell on deaf ears which were a shame.
His view? “She didn’t want her son to potentially suffer a loss to a female.”
Now bear with me. I had a long conversation with Rasheed on Sunday night because I’d read about this and thought, hey, maybe here’s a stage dad. But the fact is that Rasheed had been trying to bring the Eastern Districts Tennis Association up to speed with what’s been happening in sport all over the world.
He got nowhere with the president despite the fact that Rasheed was volunteering to help the association make the change – not to benefit his daughter but to benefit all the kids. He was planning to assist with changes in junior pathways.
“They just refused to engage in any real dialogue,” he says.
I interviewed a spokeswoman for the club on Sunday and, to be honest, I felt a bit sorry for her. Here she was, dealing with a legend of Australian sport. In all her years of working as a volunteer, she has never had to deal with an inquiry like this before. She says that at the beginning of each year the club votes on bylaws and perhaps these bylaws could be changed for their area.
It’s hard to change but change they must – all sports must.
Here’s why. There is no good reason to separate girls and boys in junior sport.
None.
Australia’s top pediatric exercise physiologist Geraldine Naughton, a professor at the Australian Catholic University, has been researching this for years and she tells us boys aren’t bigger or stronger until they hit puberty. And that’s about 13.
Even then, one in 20 girls will still be able to compete alongside boys and win.
Until then, it’s completely ridiculous to separate the genders when they compete.
But there are sporting associations all over Australia which don’t separate kids from the beginning.
This sounds like good sense. After all, we want kids to participate and there are plenty of sports making headway in this area. The Australian Rugby Union is now following World Rugby’s rules which say the sport must now be mixed until 13 and girls can play with boys after that in exceptional circumstances (did I already mention Charlie Click?).
Even better news is that the sport is now on offer in many versions across many states. The more the merrier. And next year, rugby is trialing an “egg” version of grades. If you are in a particular age group, you will play against kids who are the same weight. Schools will be playing against other schools of similar caliber. This is awesome! Having watched teams get spanked 80 to nil, it’s no fun for the players or for the spectators.
Naughton, the pediatric exercise professor, is firm: “As a pediatric exercise scientist, I can say there is no difference in speed, power, strength, even upper body power between boys and girls up unto the age of 13 … we cannot find differences between boys and girls on the basis of physical quality. Even after that, there is still 5 per cent of girls who can match boys in strength and power.”
Boys are fitter at this stage – although video games may be closing the gap – but that may be because we expect boys to play a sport. The time we expected girls to play sport too.
So no evidence so therefore no excuse. And she says most sports in Australia are pulling their weight.
“I am so proud of sporting organizations, they are doing their best to be inclusive. I am just so pleased.”
Heather Reid, ambassador for the Australian Womensport and Recreation Association and with decades of experience in football, says “Commonsense should prevail … it has to go to the heart of the person’s ability, not their gender. In a normal world, not all men are the same size or the same speed, nor all women.”
Reid has watched the female participation in football soar over decades and she is thrilled.
As Rasheed says: “My No. 1 priority wasn’t my daughter, I’ve got to look at the big picture.”

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Yuvraj Singh has been in roaring form in domestic cricket of late. ReutersThe series against New Zealand at home and earlier one away against the West Indies were both a cakewalk. Neither really offered the sort of resistance that could put the Indian team under the cosh.
England, though, is expected to be a far tougher opposition. They got the better of India in its own backyard in 2012, winning that set of encounters 2-1. Thus India surely has a few scores to settle in the forthcoming five-Test series.
The selectors, and the BCCI, conscious of the need of the hour, seem to have got the Indian team better prepared and rested, than the visitors, who went through a tough series in Bangladesh. They succumbed to the 19-year-old off-spinner Mehedi Hasan who ran circles around them and picked up 19 wickets from two Tests, in the process inflicting on the Englishmen their first Test defeat in Bangladesh.
Mindful that the England batsmen would continue to struggle against spin, the selection committee headed by MSK Prasad have opted to field an experienced spin attack, with Ravichandran Ashwin, who seems to be in the form of his life, as the undoubted leader of the pack.
He should be as lethal as Mehedi, if not more, particularly as he has a bagful of tricks and experience. Skipper Virat Kohli who used his spinners wonderfully in the Caribbean and in the home series against New Zealand would surely be eager to let Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja loose on the visitors.
Jadeja, in Indian conditions, can be a handful. He bowls his brisk left-arm spin at the right pace and has the variations to probe and torment batsmen. In fact, he would be the ideal foil for Ashwin on Indian pitches. Both are very handy lower middle order batsmen, which makes them even more useful to the side.
For good measure, Kohli also has the services of leg-spinner Amit Mishra to call upon. Mishra has not played too many Tests but is an experienced and wily bowler who could revel in home conditions.
The key to Kohli having three spinners in the playing eleven would probably hinge on the surprise inclusion of Hardik Pandya, whose exploits are almost exclusively confined to limited overs cricket. It is possible that he could be used as the fifth bowler who could take the shine off the ball and then belt the rival bowlers for some quick runs.
In such a scenario, the pitch would obviously have to be heavily loaded in favor of spinners and thus just one frontline fast bowler would suffice in the playing eleven. Kohli has a choice between Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav for that role. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar’s injury ruled him out of contention.
The selectors could probably have gone for Yuvraj Singh. The hard-hitting left-hander could have come in handy at number six against the likes of left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari and leg-spinner Adil Rashid. He could have slammed them with the spin or even gone after the off-spinners Moen Ali and Gareth Batty on the relatively small Indian grounds. Yuvraj has been in roaring form in domestic cricket, scoring nearly 600 runs in his last four Ranji Trophy matches, including a mammoth 260 against Baroda.
With his powerful hitting and recent form, Yuvraj would have kept the pressure on the bowlers. Besides, in right conditions, he could be called pon to roll his arm over. But alas that was not to be.
India vs England: Few fitness concerns for hosts, but selectors has routine task for Test series
India vs England: Few fitness concerns for hosts, but selectors has routine task for Test series
India vs England: Hardik Pandya gets maiden call-up, Gautam Gambhir retained for first two Tests
India vs England: Hardik Pandya gets maiden call-up, Gautam Gambhir retained for first two Tests
injuries have opened places in the team and the selectors have rightly gone for young Karnataka batsman Karun Nair. Karun is an outstanding player of spin bowling and if conditions are conducive, he could force himself into the playing eleven.
The opening slots have been retained by Murali Vijay and Gautam Gambhir, owing to the continued absence of Rahul. The first two Tests present a great opportunity for them to consolidate their position.
It is interesting that the team has been announced only for the first two Tests, at Rajkot (9-13 November) and Vishakapatnam (17-21 November). The selectors probably expect those injured to be in the mix by the start of the third Test in Mohali (26-30 November) and hence the onus would be on the chosen players to ensure than they deliver the goods right away. The Indian team is spoilt for choice and that, any day, is better than a paucity of it.
The team: Virat Kohli (C), Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Gautam Gambhir, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jayant Yadav.

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India's batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma wear t-shirts display their mother's names during the fifth ODI against New Zealand. AFPMumbai: In an attempt to promote gender equality, the Indian team on Saturday sported jerseys with their mothers’ names during the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand in Vizag.
The move is part of the Indian team’s sponsorship rights holder and broadcaster Star India’s ‘Nayi Soch’ campaign.
India’s batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma wear t-shirts display their mother’s names during the fifth ODI against New Zealand.
“To make a powerful statement, one that can inspire millions and propel change, our cricket team today sported jerseys with their mothers’ names at final ODI of the India-New Zealand series. Our cricket team will serve as ambassadors of new thinking and use the power and platform of sport to drive meaningful social change,” Star India said in a statement.
It expects the symbolic gesture to champion the cause of women in the country which is ranked 130th out of 155 nations in the world on gender equality, as per the UN Human Development Report 2015.
“This is the first time in the world that a team jersey is being used so disruptively to power social change. We compliment BCCI and the team for such a transformational collaboration. This time around both the BCCI as well as Star have put their strength together to highlight the cause of women in our country,” Star India chairman and chief executive Uday Shankar said.
“The World over sports is a tremendous platform for advocacy and social causes. Our cricketers sporting their mothers’ names make a powerful and emotive statement and we are thankful to BCCI and the cricket team for partnering with us on this idea. It will support the voice of the emerging women and inspire millions to acknowledge and celebrate the identity and role of women here,” he added.
BCCI president Anurag Thakur said, “With this initiative, our endeavor is to honor each and every woman. Our team has sported their mothers’ names on their jerseys for the fifth ODI against New Zealand with intent to thank all the mothers for their efforts and sacrifices.”

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PUNE: In 2012, Pune had got its first-ever sports policy. Apart from promoting sports activities in the city, the policy had also promised to protect land earmarked for playgrounds, and also to promote sports development for children.
Four years later, much of that remains only on paper, mostly as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has yet to appoint a deputy commissioner for sports. Other initiatives under the policy , such as scholarships for national-level players, too have failed to take wing.
The policy , which lays out guidelines to construct sports complexes and develop grounds, was drafted in consultation with the city’s sportspersons, coaches, and sports organizations.Since then, it only gathered dust.
And this, when corporators are pressing for a new scheme to recruit sportspersons into the PMC. Elected members insist that the administration implements the policy.
“We have been demanding it for long, but high-ranking officers such as deputy commissioner for sports have not been appointed,” said Vishal Tambe, PMC corporation.
“Politics is affecting sports development in the city. The policy was amended many times to accommodate various leaders. The administration should have taken steps to follow the suggestions,” said Avinash Bagwe, former chairman of the committee which drafted the policy.
Promoting sports activities at the school, college, and professional levels was key to the policy, said Bagwell, adding these duties can be executed only by an officer with adequate powers. The lack of such an officer has pushed sports onto the backfoot.
As per the policy , sports activity centers will be set up in different parts of the city .The 1987 development plan had reserved 70 hectares of land in various parts of the city for playgrounds. However, the PMC has so far acquired only about 10 hectares of it.Moreover, several plots of land reserved for sports grounds are lying unused. Some of them have even been encroached upon.
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Hyderabad, Nov 2 (PTI) In a novel way to promote sports culture in the city and put its vast sports infrastructure to optimum use, the Hyderabad civic body has come up with a mobile app through which educational institutions and individuals can book sports facilities in advance. “A user-friendly Application is prepared, whereby any school can book sports facility of GHMC online for benefit of their students on a nominal cost basis ? the emphasis being on making use of the sports facility for the benefit of students, rather than to generate income out of the facility,” a Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) official said. The GHMC has 12 sports complexes, seven swimming pools, 521 playgrounds and numerous other facilities. Though many school managements are not averse to encourage sporting activities among their children, the real concern is the unavailability of open spaces in the city, the official said. Additionally, many fitness-conscious citizens are keen on taking up sports or some form of physical activity, the shortage of playgrounds and lung spaces in urban areas is a serious cause for concern and prime constraint in the promotion of sports and physical activity among the citizens, he said.
This gave rise to “some out-of-box thinking” by GHMC to make use of its sports infrastructure, the official said.
According to the new policy, general citizens, including IT employees and businessmen, can make use of the facilities at “staggered timings”.
Educational institutions can book the sports facilities on weekdays and government schools can avail the facilities free of cost on every Friday, the official said.
On weekends, the sports grounds, especially indoor stadiums, would be given to individuals or organizations on a nominal pay and play basis, he added. PTI SJR RS GK KHS KHS

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NEW DELHI: The unavailability of KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan has extended Gautam Gambhir’s lease on life as an international cricketer, but the BCCI selectors sprung a surprise by including the uncapped Hardik Pandya in India’s 15-man squad for the first two Tests of the five-match series against England staring November 9 in Rajkot.
A thigh strain to Rohit Sharma, which reportedly will keep him out of action for six to eight weeks, has apparently forced the selectors to include Pandya as an all-round option.
MSK Prasad, the chief selector, said of Pandya’s inclusion: “Pandya’s pace has increased, he is moving the ball, his batsmanship has improved. He is one allrounder we thought is an equally competent bowler and batsman. And a good fielder too, much quicker and better bowler than Stuart. With form and fitness, Hardik is a better option.”
Pandya, 23, made his ODI and T20I debuts this year and has been included for the first time in India’s Test squad. The Baroda allrounder has played 16 first-class matches, scoring 727 runs at 27.96 with a best of 90 and 22 wickets at 33.72, with a solitary five-wicket haul. The uncapped pair of Haryana allrounder Jayant Yadav and Karnataka batsman Karun Nair – who came in as replacements for Ishant Sharma and Dhawan against New Zealand – have been retained. This means that Virat Kohli has four spinners to choose from, with Jayant Yadav’s offspring following R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Amit Mishra.
Ishant has returned after missing the New Zealand series while recovering from the mosquito-borne viral infection chikungunya, but there is no Bhuvneshwar Kumar as he has not proved his full recovery from a back strain picked up during the last series. Ishant’s most recent matches have been for Delhi in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, where he has bowled 62 overs for five wickets.
The selection committee took into consideration the fitness report of the Indian team’s physiotherapist Patrick Earhart, in which it was confirmed that Rahul (hamstring) and Dhawan (minor thumb fracture) have yet to fully recover from injuries sustained during the recent Test series against New Zealand. This confirms Gambhir as one-half of the Indian team’s opening pair, with no other opener picked.
Gambhir, 35, made a return to international cricket after more than two years when he was drafted into the Test squad for the second match against New Zealand in Kolkata last month, as the replacement for the injured Rahul. He played in the final Test of that series after Dhawan picked up a hand injury in Kolkata, scoring 29 and 50 as India won 3-0 to reclaim the top spot in the ICC Test Championship. Gambhir’s retention comes after he impressed in Indore, and his most recent innings was 147 for Delhi in the ongoing Ranji Trophy.
The England team’s stunning capitulation to Bangladesh in what proved the final session of the second Test in Mirpur on Sunday – they lost ten wickets, all to spin, in 22.3 overs – to level the series 1-1 has brought further into focus their ability to play quality spin in tough conditions. India offspinner R Ashwin spun the web around New Zealand’s batsmen, taking 27 wickets at 17.77 apiece, and was backed by Ravindra Jadeja’s 14 at 24.07. Amit Mishra’s leg spin was not called on during the Tests but following his Man-of-the-Series performance in the subsequent ODIs, which culminated with 5/18 in the decider, he could slot in with a three-man spin attack a very realistic tactic.
Kohli’s team is ranked No 1 in Tests, while England is at fourth. England last toured India in late 2012, famously winning the Test series 2-1 after being beaten in the series opener in Ahmedabad. Skipper Alastair Cook was at the forefront of England’s revival, scoring a marathon 176 in the second innings in Ahmedabad to show his team how to tame India’s rampaging spinners. In Mumbai, he laid the foundations for victory with a steely 122 while Kevin Pietersen made merry and then in Kolkata went a step further and recorded a historic 23rd century to put his team in a commanding position as India were beaten in back-to-back home Tests for the first time since 1999-00.

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Maybe deep heartache takes the nearly impossible to cure because, having lost hope, the only remedy is for it to be replenished by what feels too much like a miracle to ignore.
Maybe these kinds of baseball demons — those that have lasted 108 years in Chicago, that have taken form in the Never Say Die Mets and the San Diego Padres and poor Steve Bartman — get exorcised only in the most grueling and unlikely of trials.
Because suddenly, after the Cubs’ 9-3 shellacking of a Cleveland Indians team that seemed to have this World Series matchup in hand, the Cubs could end up doing the impossible in the most improbable of ways: winning the World Series by mounting a comeback from a 3-1 series hole to take the crown, change the very meaning of the Chicago Cubs and deliver one of the greatest and most riveting sports stories of all time.
Make no mistake. That is what’s at stake Wednesday in a Game 7 that, regardless of the outcome or how it comes about, will be one of the most captivating sports stories any of us have had the pleasure to watch.
Sometimes we lose track that sports, for all the headiness and brainpower that now go into managing and making sense of them, are at their best emotional catalysts. When they move us to tears, to joy, to ebullience, to uncertainty and captivation and heartache and, most importantly, to awe — that is when they rise above some silly game and become something deeper and richer. Something truly lasting.
Whatever happens here at Progressive Field on Wednesday, it will be one gut-wrenching, awe-inspiring, visceral thing to behold. It should be baseball at its best.
The Cleveland Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948, and their fans have a deep and emotional claim to why winning that game would mean so much. Think of the utter joy — the shock and dancing and tears and awe — that would descend on this city if it goes from winning the NBA championship in June to clinching a World Series in November right here in Cleveland. After all those years of being a sports punchline.
And then there’s the Cubs and the days that stretch back generations since they last won this thing. That’s a long time, 108 years, and it’s a story that has the power and potential to be one of the most incredible sports stories ever.
The Cubs winning this series in, say, five games would have been captivating for most sports fans, a thing to see, an I-was-here-when-it-happened moment. But trying to come back after being down 3-1? With one of the best postseason pitchers of all-time still waiting to close the door on this crazy run? A Game 7 for it all between the two-longest suffering fan bases out there? That is the stuff of greatness, of sports at its best, whatever happens.
If the Cubs pull that off, I’m not sure anything in sports I ever witness in person could possibly top it.
Let’s put it in perspective. As my colleague Dayn Perry pointed out in his excellent piece, only six teams in MLB history have managed to turn a 3-1 postseason series deficit into victory when having to win the final two games on the road, as the Cubs are trying to do. That’s a very optimism-damping 13.6 percent of those who faced that situation.
Only three teams in the World Series itself — most recently the 1979 Pirates — have mounted such a reversal of fortunes when having to win the final two games on the road.
Hard to do? Yes. Unlikely? Of course.
And that’s before we even begin to discuss Corey Kluber.
Indians in Game 7. USATSI
In 30 1/3 innings pitched in this, his only postseason experience, Kluber has surrendered a meager three earned runs. His 0.89 ERA, 35 strikeouts over that time and growing presence as an unbeatable figure with a series or game on the line is the ultimate challenge for a Cubs team trying to overcome the ultimate, and ingrained, history of failure and heartbreak.
But maybe the biggest curses must be broken in the most grueling and challenging of ways. Maybe, for teams like the Cubs, there are two opponents — the Cleveland Indians, of course, but also all that time and history and angst and pressure weighing on every pressing moment. Maybe curses — really, truly — are out there to be beaten as much as the opponents themselves.
Scoff. Laugh. Throw your smarter-than-you condescension about the fact sports teams and the cities that love them can’t live under curses. That such talk is superstitious stupidity.
But tell that to the Boston Red Sox, and that 3-0 ALCS deficit sparked by Dave Roberts’ stolen base and all that followed — against the Yankees. That’s what they had to do to move past the curse of the Bambino.
Tell that to, yes, the city of Cleveland after its own generations-long championship drought ended in June when the Cavaliers romped out of a 3-1 series hole against a Warriors team that had won 73 regular-season games. LeBron James and his Cavs teammates had to literally mount the greatest comeback in NBA history, against the team that otherwise would have gone down as the greatest NBA team of all time, in order to deliver Cleveland the championship it had for very long believed would never come.
Tell that, if they find a way to win Wednesday in Game 7 of the World Series, to the Chicago Cubs.
They’re the Cubs.
The 1969 Mets happened.
The 1984 collapse against the Padres happened.
Steve Bartman happened, and having been there in person for that, I’ve learned not to scoff at curses.
If the Cubs somehow turn this 3-1 series deficit into a win over Kluber in Game 7, and therefore win the World Series that has eluded them for the lifetime of almost every person on Earth, we may all have just watched the most incredible sports story of all time.

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Laura Kenny, Joanna Rowsell-Shand, Katie Archibald, Elinor BarkerSporting governing bodies must bring in more women or lose public funding, UK Sport, and Sports England have warned.

Under the new ‘Code for Sports Governance’, organizations must adhere to “gold standards” of transparency, accountability, and financial integrity.

The code sets out a target of at least 30% gender diversity on boards.

“If the sport wants to be publicly funded, it must reflect the public it serves,” said the chief executive of Women in Sport, Ruth Holdaway.

She said the code sent that message “loud and clear”.

The code calls for:

Increased skills and diversity in decision-making, with a target of at least 30% gender diversity on boards
Greater transparency, for example, publishing more information on the structure, strategy and financial position of the organization
Constitutional arrangements that give boards the prime role in decision-making
The new code applies to governing bodies who ask for UK government and National Lottery funding from April 2017.

UK Sport predicts changes in practice should be in evidence by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“It is vital that our domestic sports bodies and organizations uphold the very highest standards of governance and lead the world in this area,” sports minister Tracey Crouch said.

It is not only funding which could be hit if authorities do not comply with the code.

The government could also take other punitive measures – including the withdrawal of the support sporting bodies need when bidding to host major events.

Who benefits from the funding at present?

Both UK Sport and Sports England allocate money from the government and National Lottery to grassroots initiatives, clubs, charities, local authorities and national governing bodies.

Sports England is investing £493m into 46 sports between 2013 and 2017 while UK Sport has invested about £350m in the same period.

The Football Association is among the many recipients and will receive £30m from Sports England during the period 2013-2017.

However, the sports minister warned the FA earlier this year that it would be stripped of further funding unless it made changes to its governance.

The FA has just one woman on its board, independent non-executive director Dame Heather Rabbatts, who has been left “frustrated” and “disappointed” at its failure to implement reform.

However, FA chairman Greg Clarke welcomed the new code, saying: “It will rightly protect public investment in sport by ensuring that transparency, controls, and financial probity are a prerequisite for all organizations in receipt of government money.”

British Cycling, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Lawn Tennis Association, UK Athletics and UK Gymnastics are other recipients of funding, along with many Olympic and Paralympic sports.

What will governing bodies have to do now?

UK Sport’s chief operating officer Simon Morton told BBC Sport: “This code includes over 50 requirements that sporting organizations in receipt of public funding will now have to implement.

“It will take different times for every single organization. They all have different constitutions in place, so we’ll agree on bespoke timescales.

“But certainly as we move into the next funding cycle, which will start from 2017 onwards, they’ll need to be compliant with these standards.

“Sports bodies have already done well in governance terms, but there’s a huge amount of public funding going into sport and the key message is [for them] to justify the funding, give the public confidence that the governance of sport is right.”

GB Funding to medals
The importance of UK Sport and Sports England funding has been demonstrated by GB’s success at recent Olympic Games
How has the new code come about?

The government announced a new code would be developed in its Sporting Future strategy, published in December 2015.

In response, UK Sport and Sports England embarked on a consultation period with governing bodies and found strong support for higher standards of governance.

Of the more than 200 organizations consulted, 98% backed a drive for greater transparency and 78% agreed on the need for increased diversity.

“There have been significant improvements in standards of governance, which is to be welcomed, but there is still much to do,” Sports England chair Nick Bitel said.

“Diversity in sports sector boardrooms is still an issue and requires a mandatory code to achieve sustainable change.”

UK Sports chairman Rod Carr added: “We are confident that despite the recent historic successes at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we can be even stronger as a high-performance system with better representation and more openness.

“This is also about encouraging more diversity into leadership positions in sport, and I fully expect to see a broad range of talent coming in to key roles during the Tokyo cycle.”

Analysis

Dan Roan, BBC sports editor

This could be very serious for governing bodies like the FA. As well as cutting investment through its funding agencies for sports who fail to reform, the government is prepared to withdraw essential support and guarantees required for bids to host major international events.

That could mean the FA’s plans to bid for the 2030 World Cup are blocked if it refuses to modernize.

Very few British governing bodies currently meet the new governance criteria, so this code represents a significant change in the way sports are run. UK Sport is also considering the establishment of a compliance unit to conduct investigations into governing bodies.

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