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Delhi half marathon: Only elite athletes will run on original course this year, says Procam’s Vivek Singh

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The annual Delhi half marathon wouldn’t be the same this year. That’s not surprising though, considering the damage the Covid-19 pandemic has caused to sports all around the world. However, the organisers are trying their best to keep the show running even if in a restricted manner despite a steep rise in the Covid cases in Delhi over the last couple of weeks.

On account of the risks posed by Covid-19, Procam International, the organisers of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM), have made a slew of adjustments in the usual arrangements. The biggest attraction of most of the marathons is the participation of amateur runners, who get the opportunity to run on the same course where elite international athletes run. But this year that arrangement has been withdrawn. Instead, the organisers are encouraging amateur runners to log in on the ADHM app to register themselves, select a course of their own choosing between November 25 and 29 and post their race timings on the app.

“It’s not the same thing as running on the original course with the elite athletes,” admitted Vivek Singh, Procam International joint managing director.

“What we have tried to do is to make the app very creative. World’s best commentators Tim Hutchings and Rob Walker have recorded their voices to encourage people. We are coming up with new innovations which will be announced in due course. We are doing as much as we can so that if someone wants to run, whether they are in Gurgaon or whichever part of India, they have a sense of feeling of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.”

Keeping amateur runners away from the course will help the organisers maintain the bio-secure zone they have created for the elite athletes. Some of the world’s top long-distance runners will participate in the half marathon in the national capital on November 29.

Ethiopian pair Tsehay Gemechu and Andamlak Belihu, the defending champions, will both be aiming for a third successive victory in Delhi’s half marathon. Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who won a bronze last month at the women’s World Athletics half marathon championships in Poland, is among those who will run the ADHM 2020.

“We’re only going to have the elite athletes running on the original course of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. We are not having any amateur registrations at this venue. It’s only the professionals who will run and they will be running in a bio-secure zone,” Vivek told ET Sport.

All the athletes will be tested twice before being allowed to run in race.

“No athlete will be allowed to board a flight without having taken an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of departure from his port of embarkation. When they come here, they will be tested again. Only those testing negative will be allowed to run on Sunday, whether they are Indian athletes or international,” Vivek said.

An entire floor of a posh city hotel, which according to the organisers is fully equipped to ensure that all the Covid-related protocols are followed, has been reserved for the elite athletes. Global Sports Communication, a Netherlands-based sports management agency, is handling the operations related to elite international athletes.

The number of elite international athletes who are going to participate this year has also come down in comparison to previous years. In normal years, around 40 elite international athletes used to participate in the ADHM but this year the number, according to Vivek, will be around 30.

Similar arrangements have also been made for the elite Indian athletes, who will be gathering in the city from across the country. “All the top athletes will be under the same bio-secure zone. That’s something the AFI (Athletics Federation of India) is helping us with,” Vivek said.



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Barca should have sold Messi, says interim president | Football News

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MADRID: Barcelona‘s interim president Carlos Tusquets feels the club should have cashed-in on Lionel Messi during the summer transfer window.
Messi was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City and sent a recorded delivery (Burofax) letter stating his intention to leave. He later said the decision was due to being disillusioned with the direction the now former board had taken the club.
Ex-Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned in October rather than face a vote of no confidence, with Tusquets taking temporary charge until January’s elections.
“Economically speaking, I would’ve sold Messi in the summer window,” Tusquets told RAC1 radio station.
“Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill as well as the money you make, it would’ve been desirable. But this is something the coaching staff have to consent to and that’s not my place.
“La Liga are setting salary limits at the moment and this would’ve helped on that front.”
Messi’s current contract expires in June, when he is expected to leave for free and on Wednesday former Barca team mate Neymar spoke of his desire to link up with the Argentine again.
“What I want most of all is to play with Messi again, to be able to enjoy him once again on the pitch,” he said after his club PSG’s 3-1 Champions League win against Manchester United.
“I want to play with him next year, for sure. We have to do it next season.”
Tusquets conceded that scenario was unlikely to transpire at the Nou Camp, where the purse strings have been tightened following the COVID-19 crisis.
“If he (Neymar) became available on a free transfer then maybe we could think about signing him,” he said.
“Without making sales, there’s no money for new signings unless the new president has incredibly deep pockets.”


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New Zealand vs West Indies: Kane Williamson’s gesture towards Kemar Roach wins over internet | Cricket News

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HAMILTON (New Zealand): New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has become the flag-bearer for ‘Spirit of Cricket‘, and his latest gesture towards Windies pacer Kemar Roach has taken the internet by storm.
New Zealand and West Indies are currently squaring off in the first Test of the two-match series. However, before the start of play on the opening day, Williamson embraced Roach as the latter lost his father Andrew Smith recently.
Windies Cricket posted a photo on their Twitter handle in which Williamson can be seen hugging Roach. As soon as the photo was posted, many users commented as to how Williamson needs to be appreciated for how he approaches the ‘Gentleman’s Game‘.

Both New Zealand and West Indies players also wore black armbands on the opening day in honour of Roach’s father.
“On behalf of CWI and the West Indies cricket team, I offer condolences to Kemar and his family back home. Losing a loved one is never easy and we want to offer our full support to Kemar during this very difficult time. We got the news as we prepared for the Test match here and the players and team support staff all got together and offered tremendous support,” Windies team manager Rawl Lewis said in an official release.
Half-centuries from Tom Latham and skipper Kane Williamson proved crucial for New Zealand as they kept the West Indies bowlers at bay on the opening day of the first Test here at Seddon Park on Thursday. At stumps, New Zealand’s score read 243/2 with Williamson and Ross Taylor at the crease. While the skipper was unbeaten on 97, giving him company was senior campaigner Taylor on 31.
Skipper Williamson also completed 1,000 Test runs at Seddon Park. He joined Taylor as the only cricketers with 1,000 or more runs at the venue.



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Surreal experience to represent the country: Natarajan on making ODI debut | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: Pacer T Natarajan on Thursday said it was a ‘surreal experience to represent the country’ after making his ODI debut in the third game against Australia at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.
The speedster from Tamil Nadu gained popularity in the latest edition of Indian Premier League where he was labelled as the ‘yorker machine’. Natarajan played for Kings XI Punjab and bagged 16 wickets in as many games in the 13th edition of the cash-rich league.
His performance in the IPL handed him an India call-up. He was first included in the shortest format squad and later on added as back-up in the ODI side by the BCCI. This decision was taken as pacer Navdeep Saini complained of back spasm.
“It was a surreal experience to represent the country. Thanks to everyone for your wishes. Looking forward for more challenges,” Natarajan tweeted.
India skipper Virat Kohli handed the cap to the 29-year-old bowler before the match. In his debut game, he returned figures of 2-70 in his ten overs including a maiden. He bagged two crucial wickets of Marcus Labuschagne and Ashton Agar and derailed Australia’s run-chase.
The debutant got support from Shardul Thakur as he clinched three wickets.
India registered a 13-run win in the final ODI and opened their account in the ODI Super League while Australia took the series 2-1.
Both the sides will now lock horns in the three-match T20I series, beginning Friday.Luck was on India’s side to begin with as Kohli won the toss for the first time in the series and decided to bat. While the top-order failed to fire in unison, the middle-order rose to the challenge and both Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja played match-winning knocks of 92 and 66 respectively to guide India to 302/5.
Kohli himself played a knock of 63 runs. The addition of Shardul Thakur, Natarajan, and Kuldeep Yadav also rejuvenated the bowling in the third ODI as the side was finally able to take wickets at regular intervals. For the first time in the last six ODIs, the Men in Blue also managed to take a wicket in the powerplay overs. Aaron Finch played a knock of 75 runs, while Glenn Maxwell and Aston Agar tried their best to take Australia over the line. But in the end, Kohli and the boys managed to hang on to register a win.


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