Zhuhai (China): Andy Murray said Sunday it would be “naive” and “silly” to think he will ever return to being the player that surged to number one in the world. The 32-year-old Briton, a three-time Grand Slam champion, is on a long comeback trail after undergoing career-saving hip resurfacing surgery in January. He is now free of pain, and this week will compete at the Zhuhai Championships — the first of three tournaments he is scheduled to play in China in the next three weeks. Murray believes this crucial period in his rehabilitation will provide some answers as to how good he can be again — but is under no illusions about the longer term. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju”Honestly, I’m not expecting to get back to my very best,” Murray, now ranked 413 in the world, told AFP in Zhuhai. “I think it would be probably a bit naive and silly to think that would be the case. “I do feel like tennis-wise I can still compete at the highest level in terms of my skill, it’s just whether physically I can get to a high enough level to be competitive right at the top. “I’ve still got quite a ways to go in that respect, I don’t know exactly where the end point is. “Probably until I stop improving, I’ll then have to make a call (about his future). “If my improvement stopped today, I probably wouldn’t be happy playing at the level I’m at just now.” Murray, who surged to the top of the world rankings in 2016, plays Tennys Sandgren, ranked 69, at the inaugural event in Zhuhai, southern China this week.
New Delhi: The athletes reacted with anger but the officialdom chose to weigh its words before responding to Indian Olympic Association chief Narinder Batra’s assertion that the Commonwealth Games is a waste of time and the country should consider a permanent pullout. Batra, while speaking at an event in Bengaluru on Tuesday, said the level of competition at the CWG is not particularly high and that India should consider a pullout to improve its own standards. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuThe statement has context as Batra had earlier called for an Indian boycott of the 2022 CWG in Birmingham over the axing of shooting from the Games program due to logistical issues. Shooting has been a major contributor to India’s CWG tally and the nation stands second, with 134 medals, in the overall count won from the sport. “It is not acceptable,” said one of India’s currently most successful table tennis players G Sathiyan, who claimed two silvers and a bronze in the 2018 edition in Gold Coast. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersThe shooting fraternity chose to sidestep queries on Batra’s comment but others were upfront. Boxing star Vijender Singh, who is the first and only male pugilist with an Olympic medal to his credit, said Batra’s statement is heartbreaking as it undermines athletes’ hard work. “It is heartbreaking. By this logic, India should not send teams to invitational tournaments either because the level of competition is not like the Olympics or the world championship even there,” said the boxer who has two silver and a bronze from the three CWGs he competed in. “Why belittle the athletes’ achievements? And in any case, CWG has strong boxing nations such as England and Ireland in fray,” he added. The 2014 Glasgow CWG gold-medallist shuttler Parupalli Kashyap also differed with Batra, who also heads the International Hockey Federation (FIH). “It is ridiculous to think of boycotting the Commonwealth Games. I don’t think the standard is low. I didn’t have it easy when I beat all these players during the 2010 edition (when he won bronze) and the 2014 Games,” he recalled. “It is not like we are winning all the gold medals. Even in badminton, there are teams like Malaysia, England who are tough,” he added. In fact, 2010 CWG gold-medallist discus thrower Krishna Poonia said the Commonwealth competition in athletics is stiffer than the Asian Games, which is generally perceived to be tougher by the sporting fraternity. “For athletics, CWG is world-class, the competition is of higher level than the Asian Games,” she said. A top official from the national federation of a prominent Olympic sport asked if Batra would deem the competition good enough if shooting is brought back. “Someone should ask him will the CWG regain significance if shooting is accepted back on the roster. May be he will have a different view to offer,” the official said. “Why deride the athletes who have worked hard for their medals at CWG because you are unhappy about the exclusion of one sport? CWG won’t die if India pulls out,” he added. Two-time CWG gold-medallist weightlifter Sathish Sivalingam said a medal at the Games provides job security to a lot of athletes and that shouldn’t be taken away. “I am completely against the pullout. The Commonwealth Games are a big event for us. Medal-winning performances in the CWG bring a lot of incentives like jobs and money etc. So for us, this competition is important,” he said. Former India hockey captain Zafar Iqbal, who was part of the 1980 Olympic gold medal-winning team, was surprised by Batra’s comment. “That’s a ridiculous statement coming from a man who is holding numerous important positions in national as well as international sports federations,” he said. “Commonwealth Games is the biggest competition after Olympics in terms of participation of countries. 72 countries took part in the last Commonwealth Games. And if you talk about hockey, all top nations like Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain are there,” he added. A more guarded response came from the Wrestling federation. The sport contributes massively to India’s medal tally at CWGs and its President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said the grapplers are eager to continue at the quadrennial showpiece. “The general view of the wrestling fraternity is that the athletes want to compete, whatever the tournament is,” he said.
Panaji: An IndiGo flight to Delhi had to return to the Goa airport and make an emergency landing after its engine developed “some technical issues” mid-air, the airline said on Monday. Goa Power Minister Nilesh Cabral, who was among the passengers on the flight which took off from the coastal state on Sunday, told PTI that the aircraft’s engine caught fire following which the plane had to return to the airport. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has launched a probe into the incident. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh IndiGo flight 6E336, operating from Goa to Delhi on September 29 returned to Goa due to “technical issues in engine”, the airline said in statement. “As per the laid down Standard Operating Procedures, our pilot landed the aircraft in Goa for inspection. All the passengers were accommodated on other flights to Delhi,” a spokesperson of the airline said. Cabral, however, said the flight had to return after the aircraft’s engine caught fire. He later flew to Delhi in another plane. “The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has started an investigation into the IndiGo Goa-Delhi flight incident,” a senior DGCA official said.