LISTEN: Full script of Episode 70 of Spodcast where we discuss Pooja Dhanda's bronze medal, Indian badminton news and more
Here's the full script of Episode 70 of Spodcast where we discuss BCCI state units demand the suspension of CEO Rahul Johri, wrestler Pooja Dhanda's bronze medal, India's day at the French Open – we discuss these stories and more
Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
We start with cricket news. Bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been included in the Indian squad for the remaining three matches of the ODI series with West Indies. Mohammed Shami, who had little success in the two previous ODIs, has been dropped. He picked up three wickets but had an economy rate of 7 runs per over. The remaining players from the squad have been retained for the series.
India lead the 5-match series 1-0, after West Indies tied the second ODI in Visakhapatnam. The third match will be played in Pune on Saturday, 27 October.
BCCI's CEO, Rahul Johri, who is facing serious allegations of sexual harassment, has come under more pressure. Yesterday, as many as seven state units of the BCCI demanded his suspension until an inquiry into the anonymous allegation of sexual harassment against Johri is completed. PTI quoted a former BCCI office-bearer, and a board veteran, as saying, "Seven affiliated state units...Saurashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Goa...wrote separately to the Committee of Administrators (COA) demanding CEO Rahul Johri's suspension pending inquiry. Now the ball is in Vinod Rai's court."
PTI reported that Johri submitted his explanation to the show cause notice served by the COA. Johri was instructed to explain himself following accusations that he had sexually harassed an ex-colleague, who has chosen to remain anonymous when he was working with Discovery Channel.
The report further quoted the BCCI source, who claims to have worked closely with Johri, as saying that the board is not helping by "hushing up" the matter. Things seem set to get murkier, as the official said, "How do you expect a fair probe in such circumstances? What answer can the state associations give to the parents of the girls who come to play the game? What about the girls working in the BCCI office across Johri's glass-door office?"
An update from the 2018 World Wrestling Championships in Hungary now. Pooja Dhanda won India's second medal at this year's Wrestling World Championships. She defeated Grace Bullen of Norway 10-7 to win the bronze medal in the 57kg category. She is the fourth Indian female wrestler to win a bronze at the World Championships.
Pooja took an early lead in the match, and led 6-1 in the first period. She made a four-point move, grabbing the Norwegian's leg and rolling her, which gave her a big advantage. She then saw off stiff competition from Bullen during the second period as the Norwegian attacked relentlessly. Dhanda managed to hold off Bullen despite conceding points for passivity.
Meanwhile, Ritu Phogat and Sakshi Malik, both of whom received repechage rounds, failed to make them count. Phogat lost to Oksana Livach of Ukraine 5-10, while Sakshi Malik lost her bronze play-off to Marianna Sastin of Hungary 2-3.
In tennis news, there were a few upsets at the WTA Finals tournament in Singapore. Caroline Wozniacki, who was struggling to find her feet in the tournament, crashed out after losing to Elina Svitolina 7-5, 5-7, 3-6.
The Ukrainian fought back from one set down to defeat world number 3 Wozniacki in two hours and 35 minutes. Svitolina won all her previous matches in the tournament, and needed just one set to qualify for the semi-finals. On the other hand, Wozniacki required a straight sets victory to make it to the next round. Svitolina said after the match, "We were both under pressure. I had to fight for every ball, and I think today I was really pushed mentally." Wozniacki went on to add, "I gave it my all out there. She just played better than me today."
Karolina Pliskova also made it to the semifinals after defeating fellow Czech player Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-4. Yesterday's win was Pliskova's first victory over Kvitova after three consecutive losses. She said, "It was a huge victory for me. It meant a lot to get into the semi-finals after beating her, it's just special."
A football update from the ISL now. NorthEast United took back the top spot in the points table of the Indian Super League after a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC.
The Highlanders looked threatening right from the start. Uruguayan player Federico Gallego shot down the right flank and passed the ball to Bartholomew Obgeche who only managed to send it wide. However, an error by Jamshedpur midfielder Mario Arques gave NorthEast a chance. Gallego tackled Arques and sent the ball to Obgeche. The Nigerian put the ball into Jamshedpur's net, giving NorthEast the lead.
Jamshedpur attacked NorthEast's goal repeatedly and found a way past the defence in the 49th minute. Mislav Komorski, the Croatian defender for NorhEast, was red carded at halftime for nearly elbowing Pablo Morgado in the face. Later, Morgado tacked Reagan Singh and sent a great cross from the left to Farukh Chaudhary, who slammed it past goalkeeper Pawan Kumar. The two teams saw off repeated challenges from the other to register a 1-1 draw.
In badminton news, India's Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and two men's doubles pairs Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty and Sumeeth Reddy-Manu Atri reached the quarter-finals of the French Open Super 750 tournament.
While Saina defeated Nozomi Okuhara in three games, Sindhu had a rather easy outing against Sayaka Sato. Saina is slated to square up against World No 1 Tai Tzu Ying in the quarters.
Srikanth survived a scare against Korea's Lee Dong Keun to enter the last-eight. The former world no 1 faces the in-form Kento Momota next.
The big surprise of the day was Manu Atri and Sumeeth Reddy's win over former world champions Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan of China. Manu and Sumeeth beat the world No 3 pair 21-14, 21-16 to continue with their impressive form. They will now take on Shetty and Rankireddy in an all-Indian quarter-final on Friday.
It was curtains for Sai Praneeth and women's doubles duo Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha Ram.
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