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Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari executed despite global outcry | Iran

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Iran has executed a champion wrestler convicted of murdering a security guard during anti-regime protests in 2018, state media said on Saturday, despite an international campaign to spare his life.

Navid Afkari, 27, was executed “this morning after legal procedures were carried out at the insistence of the parents and the family of the victim”, the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted the head of the justice department in the southern Fars province as saying.

His case had created a global outcry, including from the US president, Donald Trump, and from the World Players Association (WPA), a major athletes’ union representing 85,000 people, which had called for Iran’s expulsion from world sport if the execution went ahead.

“The horrific act of executing an athlete can only be regarded as a repudiation of the humanitarian values that underpin sport,” the WPA director, Brendan Schwab, had said in a statement.

Afkari, a Greco-Roman wrestler, was arrested along with his brother Vahid Afkari in September 2018 and accused of stabbing to death a security guard the previous month during protests in the city of Shiraz.

They were charged with murder along with offences such as “waging war against the state” for participating in the demonstrations. Navid Afkari was sentenced to death while Vahid Afkari and another brother, Habib Afkari, were sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison respectively.

Navid Afkari filed a complaint with the Iranian judiciary in September 2019, claiming he had confessed to the killing under torture. “The evidence is there if the court wants to investigate [the acts of torture],” Afkari said in a tape obtained by an Iranian human rights group.

“There is not one shred of evidence in this damned case that shows I’m guilty. But they don’t want to listen to us. I realised they are looking for a neck for their rope.”

Iranian state media broadcast Afkari’s recorded confession last week after Trump tweeted about his case. Iran’s judiciary has denied the torture claims.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the British minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth, also asked the Iranian government to show mercy.

The International Olympic Committee as well as the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White, had also urged that Afkari be spared.

Rights groups had warned in recent days that his execution was feared to be imminent after he was moved from a general ward to an undisclosed location by prison authorities.

Iran executed at least 251 people last year, according to Amnesty International, the second highest in the world after China.

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IPL 2020: Shami is the best yorker bowler in the competition right now, says Maxwell | Cricket News

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DUBAI: After registering a comfortable five-wicket win over Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said teammate Mohammed Shami is currently the best yorker bowler in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).
Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell played knocks of 53 and 32 respectively as Kings XI Punjab defeated Delhi Capitals by five wickets on Tuesday here at the Dubai International Stadium. Punjab chased down the total of 165 with six balls to spare.
IPL 2020 League Stage Schedule| Points Table
With this win, KXIP has gone to the fifth position in the points table with 8 points from 10 matches while Delhi Capitals is still at the top of the table with 14 points from 10 matches.
“It was good that we did not take the match till the last over and got it done with six balls to spare. It’s a great thing for the entire team, we have got three wins in a row at the moment, feeling is great amongst the group. We are getting some momentum at the right time and hopefully we can stay into that kind of form,” said Maxwell in a video posted on the official Twitter handle of KXIP.

KXIP has now defeated Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians in their last three matches. KXIP had defeated Mumbai Indians in a double Super Over on Sunday.
“Shami, he is probably the best yorker bowler in the competition at the moment, the way he’s executing under pressure, we all saw the way he defended that Super Over last game against Mumbai,” said Maxwell.
“He has been exceptional for us, he kept it to a score that we all thought was maybe 10 or 15 below par so hats off to him. He has been outstanding for us,” he added.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan‘s unbeaten knock of 106 runs guided Delhi Capitals to 164/5 in the allotted 20 overs against KXIP. The left-handed Dhawan also became the first cricketer to score back to back centuries in IPL.
For Punjab, Mohammed Shami returned with the best figures as got conceded just 28 runs and took the wickets of Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will next take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on October 24 at the Dubai International Stadium.



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Running faster, feeling fresher and not afraid to get out: Shikhar Dhawan on his purple patch | Cricket News

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DUBAI: In rampaging form, Delhi Capitals opener Shikhar Dawan says he is running faster, feeling fresher and has no fear of being dismissed this IPL season.
Dhawan has scored two consecutive IPL hundreds, the first to achieve the feat, and slammed two fifties as well, making it a season to remember for him so far. He struck a 61-ball 106 against Kings XI Punjab on Tuesday but the team lost the match by five wickets.
“I keep my mindset quite positive. Just look to score runs, and not think pitch is doing this or that. I play with courage. I am not afraid to get out,” he said dissecting his approach to batting after an unbeaten 101 against Chennai Super Kings in a match on October 17.
Check full IPL league stage schedule
“We were lucky we got so much time off so it allowed me to refresh myself both mentally and physically. I am running faster, feeling fresher.”
The start of the tournament wasn’t all that great for him but Dhawan said even when he wasn’t getting a big score, he was hitting the ball as well as one can.

IPL 2020: Dhawan's ton in vain as Punjab beat Delhi

IPL 2020: Dhawan’s ton in vain as Punjab beat Delhi

“I was hitting the ball well but I wasn’t converting those 20s into 50s. Once you do that, you take that confidence into the next game,” he said.
A third loss in the tournament didn’t really make a dent to the Shreyas Iyer-led side’s fortunes as it is still leading the eight-team standings with 14 points from 10 games.
“The boys have been playing well in other games. Today I had to take the responsibility on myself. It is good that I am scoring consistently so you carry it into the next games,” said Dhawan.
The senior India opener said the defeat to KXIP is a learning experience for the table-toppers going into the business end of the tournament.

“We are going to have a discussion and see where we can improve. Of course it is going to be a learning. This is not going to put us down. Just take our lessons, and come back stronger,” Dhawan said.
DC will next play Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.


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Sydney could be Indian cricket team’s port of entry for quarantine and training: Report | Cricket News

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SYDNEY: Sydney and Canberra are emerging as potential venues to host India’s limited-over series against Australia during the upcoming tour starting next month.
The Indian team was initially supposed to land in Brisbane but apparently Queensland state health authorities won’t allow the visitors to train during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, Sydney could emerge as Indian contingent’s port of entry and the city may allow them to train during their quarantine.
It is learnt that the SCG could be hosting four of the six white ball games (three T20 Internationals and three ODIs) while Canberra’s Manuka Oval hosting two games.
New South Wales state’s sports minister Stuart Ayres confirmed that they have received a request from Cricket Australia to allow the Indian as well as the Australian team to undergo its mandatory quarantine as well as training.
“Cricket Australia has approached the New South Wales government about quarantining the Indian cricket team and returning Australian cricketers in Sydney,” Ayres was quoted as saying by the cricket website.
“That proposal is currently being assessed by NSW authorities including health and police. Fixtures for the Indian tour will be determined by Cricket Australia and won’t impact our assessment of the quarantine proposal.”
If CA and the NSW state government are able to reach an agreement, a revised plan would then be submitted by Cricket Australia to the BCCI for approval.


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