Harika Finishes Fifth In World Chess Blitz Championships
- QATAR : Indian Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli blitzed her way to a top-five finish in the 2016 FIDE Women World Blitz Championships, here. After finishing in a decent position in the Women World Rapid Championships, Harika took her game a notch higher and displayed a brilliant performance over the two days of the Blitz event to finish in the fifth position on the leaderboard. Harika, seeded 10th in the tournament, started the tournament in a blistering form and won seven games, while drawing two and losing three to rise to the fourth position after the end of day one's play.
- She started the second day with a draw against International Master Inna Gaponenko of Ukraine. In her second game of the day, she lost to International Master Elisabeth Paehtz of Germany. She then played out two draws against Nana Dzagnidge of Georgia and Woman Grandmaster Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia, before winning the last game of the day against International Grandmaster Nino Batsiashvili to end her campaign on a good note.
Kenya's Jemima Sumgong Sets Record In Brazilian Road Race
- SAO PAULO : Kenya's Jemima Sumgong won another title in Brazil this year, setting a record for the St. Silvester road race following her gold in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. Sumgong, who also won the 2016 London marathon, clocked 48 minutes, 35 seconds in the 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) New Year's Eve event, finishing 40 seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan, Flomena Cheyech Daniel. The previous record was 48:48, set in 2011.
- The men's race was tighter, with three runners finishing within seven seconds of one another. Ethiopian Leul Aleme won with a time of 44:53. The race, named after the Roman Catholic saint whose feast day is celebrated December 31, winds through the historic centre of Sao Paulo, Latin America's largest city, and is among the region's top road races.
Retirement Time : Somdev Quits, Leander Hints
- CHENNAI : It was the Chennai Open of 2009 that saw the sudden rise of Somdev Devvarman. Som, then, 23, beat Carlos Moya and Ivo Karlovic in back-to-back rounds and went on to play the final, where he lost to Marin Cilic. It marked the beginning of a journey that got over here on New Year's Day as Somdev pulled the shutter down on his playing career. He hadn't played for a while and when the former India No. 1 took over the mentoring duties of Prajnesh Gunneswaran, one could see the end was near. "Starting 2017 on a new note, retiring from pro tennis. Thanks to everyone for the love and support over the years. #newyearnewbeginnings", Somdev tweeted on Sunday morning to make things official.
- Somdev was with Prajnesh on Sunday at the SDAT Nungambakkam centre, where his ward lost in the final round of the qualifiers. "It's not a sudden decision, this was well thought out," Somdev told TOI. Later he told PTI that the passion to play was dying down and that's why he decided to call it quits. "I last played a match in Indian Wells in March (2015) and after that I had a chat with my people. I pretty much decided at that time that it was time to stop. I have read people saying I was injury plagued but it was not about that. I wanted to play for right reasons. Playing for me was always super fun and passion, that was dying or slowing down," Somdev said.
- The gutsy back-court slugger added that he decided to stop when he understood that it would be difficult for him to get back into top-100. "The enjoyment in training, travelling were not the same. I was not tired I have done it for so long. It was not fresh. Playing and going for tournaments in Asia was not exciting for me," Somdev, who touched a career-high of 62 in 2011, said. Som also took a dig at AITA about the way they are running the sport in the country.
- "Professional sport is not a joke...I have not come from Indian system but from college system in US. I don't see what AITA has done to churn out players. We don't have training centres and don't have expertise," he said. There was a players revolt led by Somdev in 2013 when AITA was forced to bring in a few changes about how Davis Cup team was run. Changes were also made in support staff and players' share in Davis Cup prize money was increased.
EPL : Chelsea Equal Winning Record With 4-2 Victory Over Stoke
- Chelsea equalled Arsenal's Premier League record of 13 consecutive wins in the same season on Saturday, goals from Gary Cahill, Diego Costa and two from Willian bringing the leaders a 4-2 win over Stoke City. Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant had made a series of fine saves from a rampant home side before Cesc Fabregas's pinpoint flighted corner found Cahill's head at the near post and the captain nodded home.
- But barely a minute into the second half Bruno Martins Indi poked in an equaliser after Peter Crouch headed down a free kick by Charlie Adam. Willian restored the lead twice in a frantic seven minutes either side of a 64th-minute strike from Crouch before top scorer Costa capped new year celebrations for Antonio Conte's side with Chelsea's fourth goal.