Marin goes for landmark badminton gold

MADRID - Inspired by a love of flamenco dancing and sporting hero Rafael Nadal, Spain's Carolina Marin dreams of becoming the first European woman to win a badminton Olympic gold in Rio. Marin's ambitions are lofty but realistic. Two-time world champion Marin is ranked number one in the world and has blazed the trail for badminton in Spain where minority sports struggle for funding and attention in the shadows of the nation's star-studded football teams. "It is an obsession and an ambitious objective," said Marin. "It will be more difficult than the world championships because there is more pressure, the expectations from the press and the people are very different to a world or European championship. But I am desperate for it to come and, above all, enjoy the Olympic games."–AFP



Pakistan tennis players to train in Delhi

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has selected five junior players from K-21 Sports Club and Model Town Club for training purposes at the Khanna Tennis Academy in New Delhi. Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) president Anil Khanna has extended invitation to the PTF patron Senator Dilawar Abbas, who is also ATF senior vice president, and Tariq Mehmood Murtaza, who Islamabad Tennis Association (ITF) president. The Delhi Tennis Association (DTA) arranged the training and lodging of the players at the Khanna Tennis Academy to extend the cooperation between the tennis federations of the two South Asian countries and to ensure their representation at the global stage. Hasan Said-led five-member squad consists of Maha Said, M Said, Bilal Asim, Adil Ali Khan, Abdul Sami and Sobia Asim.–Staff Reporter



PbOA to hold sports events to mark I-Day

LAHORE – The Punjab Olympic Association (PbOA) will hold a number of sports events next month to mark the Independence Day celebrations. "We have given special direction to our district and divisional bodies to organise sports event in various disciplines to celebrate the Independence Day,” said PbOA secretary Idrees Haider Khawaja here on Thursday. The athletics, basketball, boxing, bodybuilding, baseball, cycling road race, canoeing competition, gymnastics, judo competition, ju jitsu, kabaddi, karate, kick boxing, muay thai, rowing, rugby, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, tug of war, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu competitions will be held at various venues. The associations will also be organising different events at Gujranwala, Multan and Faisalabad.–Staff Reporter




Russia's depleted Olympic squad leave for Rio

MOSCOW - Some 70 Russian competitors from the country's depleted Olympics team flew out from Moscow for Rio on Thursday as sports federations whittled down the number of athletes allowed to take part. Dressed in red and white sports uniforms the Olympic hopefuls -- including Russia's volleyball, handball and synchronised swimming squads -- received a warm send-off despite the scandal over state-run doping that has seen over 100 competitors banned. "They have got us fired up -- but in a good way. We are going to fight more to prove that it is difficult to break Russia," handball player Polina Kuznetsova told AFP. We will fight for those who were not able to go." The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sparked fierce criticism from outside Russia on Sunday when it resisted a blanket ban on the country in favour of allowing individual sports federations to make the call on which Russians can go to Rio. International sports federations are now scrambling to vet Russian athletes as time ticks down to the start of the Games on August 5. "We anxiously waited for this day, we worried. You know yourselves what the situation is," Alexander Zhukov, the head of Russia's Olympic Committee was quoted as saying by TASS news agency. It is now time to put all doubts aside: the Russian team is going to the Olympics."–AFP