Welcome to Spodcast, where we take a look at the main sports headlines of the day.
In cricket news, India’s list of injured players has just gotten longer. In addition to Hardik Pandya’s back injury, Indian bowlers Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur also sustained injuries, and have been ruled out of the Asia Cup as well.
Deepak Chahar replaced Hardik Pandya in the Indian squad. Ravindra Jadeja will now take Axar Patel’s place. The BCCI also said bowler Siddarth Kaul will be flown in to replace Shardul Thakur. Axar injured his left index finger while fielding against Pakistan, and scans revealed he had a tear in a tendon. Thakur experienced soreness in his right hip and groin after the match against Hong Kong.
This growing list of injured players is said to have raised some questions in the BCCI regarding injury management. R Ashwin’s injury during the Test series in England is also fresh in people’s minds.
PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth overcame stiff challenges in their singles matches to qualify for the quarter-finals of the $1 million China Open.
In her second round match against Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan, Sindhu lost a closely-contested first game but bounced back to win the match 21-23, 21-13, 21-18.
In the men’s singles draw, the seventh-seeded Srikanth fought off a challenge from Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand to win his second round match 21-12, 15-21, 24-22. Srikanth won the first game fairly comfortably, but the Thai player drew level in the second game. The deciding game went down to the wire, with Srikanth prevailing 24-22.
However, it was not a good day for India in the doubles competition. Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lost to China’s Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong 14-21, 11-21 in mixed doubles. Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra lost to Christinna Pedersen and Mathias Christiansen of Denmark 16-21, 10-21. In men’s doubles, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy lost to Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi-Lin 9-21 10-21.
Some more drama around the sports awards this year. Wrestler Bajrang Punia, who won a gold at the 2018 Asian Games in the 65kg category, has expressed disappointment at being ignored by the government for the Khel Ratna award. The wrestler threatened legal action against the government for not considering him for India’s highest sporting honour.
Bajrang was nominated for the award by the Wrestling Federation of India following his gold medals at this year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. But the government named cricketer Virat Kohli and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu as recipients of the highest award this year.
The wrestler said, “I'm really disappointed and shocked. I'm meeting (the) Sports Minister tomorrow...I just want to know why I was being ignored...I want to know whether I am deserving or not. If I deserve it, then only give me the award.”
When asked if was considering taking the legal route, he said, “It would be the last option. I feel I deserve the award this year and that's why I have applied for it.”
Speaking about the award, Punia said, “It doesn't feel good to beg for an award, but it is the biggest honour for any sportsperson, and a wrestler's career is very uncertain…I had never imagined I won't get it this year. Look at my performance in the last four years. There was no point system earlier but with the point system in place now I feel I have the numbers behind me.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency has reinstated Russia after almost three-years, following a suspension due to state-sponsored doping. The body said its 12-member executive committee voted to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency "subject to strict conditions."
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency was suspended in November 2015 after revelations about a government-backed doping scheme and cover-ups that helped Russian athletes win Olympic medals.
This decision was taken despite opposition from anti-doping figures and athletes around the world. The dissenters are against reinstating Russia who, they say, have not taken full responsibility for alleged systematic doping. Russia has not admitted to state involvement or provided access to evidence at its discredited Moscow laboratory. Incidentally, these were two key conditions set by WADA for reinstatement.
Football news now. UEFA announced that its disciplinary panel will judge the case of Cristiano Ronaldo's first Champions League red card on 27 September. The panel studies all red-card cases, and has the power to extend the mandatory one-game ban.
Ronaldo was red carded after he tangled with Valencia's Jeison Murillo. Ronaldo appeared to tug at the defender's hair and was sent off in the 29th minute. He will have to sit out Juventus’ home game against Swiss team Young Boys on 2 October.
The game after that will see Ronaldo play against his old team Manchester United on 23 October.
Updated Date: Sep 21, 2018 12:24 PM