Rijiju not to interfere in Zareen's demand for trial

New Delhi: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju steered clear of the controversy triggered by boxer Nikhat Zareen's demand for a trial bout against MC Mary Kom, saying he “should not” get involved beyond advising the federation to make the best choice. “I'll surely convey to the boxing federation to take the best decision keeping in mind the best interest of the nation, sports and athletes. Although, a minister should not be involved in the selection of the players by the sports federations which are autonomous as per Olympics charter,” Rijiju tweeted.

Ahmedabad

Dabang Delhi to face Bengal for PKL title 

Dabang Delhi will take on Bengal Warriors in the final of the Pro Kabaddi League Season-7 to be played here tomorrow. PKL will have a new winner as both the teams are playing their first final. Delhi's coach Krishna Kumar Hooda expressed confidence that the tournament would give a few players the chance to secure their place in the national team. Delhi made it to the final by defeating defending champions Bengaluru Bulls 44-38 in the semifinal, while in the second semifinal Bengal Warriors edged past U Mumba 37-35 to book a place in the summit clash. 

Kochi

ISL set to start with grand opening ceremony

Two-time champions ATK will take on old rivals Kerala Blasters FC in the opening game of the sixth edition of the Indian Super league at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here tomorrow. The ATK duo of Anas Edathodika and Jobby Justin will miss the opening match as they will serve out their respective carried forward suspensions. Anas, who was with the Kerala Blasters last season, was handed a red card in their Super Cup game against Indian Arrows, which means he will only remain suspended for the first game. ATK coach Antonio Lopez Habas will miss the services of Jobby for the first three games. — Agencies

London

Bulgaria coach resigns following racism fallout

Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov stepped down from his role today, four days after home fans subjected England’s black players with racist abuse during a Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia. The 53-year-old was in charge of the team in the 6-0 defeat by England on Monday when some of the supporters taunted the visitors with Nazi salutes and monkey chants, prompting match officials to halt the game twice. “My decision to step down has nothing to do with the Prime Minister asking for my resignation,” Balakov said. Bulgarian football association’s president has also resigned and police in the country have made 12 arrests so far.  

London

UEFA bans Ajax fans for CL trip to Chelsea   

Ajax Amsterdam have been banned from selling tickets to their fans for next month’s Champions League game at Chelsea following crowd trouble in their match at Valencia. UEFA fined Ajax ^50,000 due to the behaviour of their fans during a 3-0 win at Valencia earlier this month and an additional ^18,000 for “improper conduct of the team”.

SEOUL

S Korea wants action against North over closed-door game

South Korea’s national soccer federation has asked the sport’s continental body to consider action against North Korea for staging their World Cup qualifier behind closed doors. 

Seoul

Thomas cards 63 to take halfway lead  

Justin Thomas made the most of benign conditions to shoot a 9-under 63 today and take a two-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the CJ Cup at Jeju. Thomas’s blemish-free round also put him in contention to win the PGA Tour event for the second time in three years, having also won the inaugural edition in 2017. Thomas reached 13-under to lead An Byeong-hun (69) and Danny Lee (66) by two shots. Brooks Koepka’s title defence appeared to be wilting with the world No. 1 recording a 3-over and falling 13 strokes behind the leader. Agencies

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