Cristiano Ronaldo Wins FIFA's Player Of The Year Award
- ZURICH : Cristiano Ronaldo claimed FIFA's inaugural best player of the year award on Monday, the latest prize for the Real Madrid and Portugal star after a glittering 2016 for club and country. Leicester City''s Claudio Ranieri received the best men's coach award following his side's fairytale Premier League triumph. But the night again belonged to the 31-year-old Ronaldo, who edged out long-time nemesis Lionel Messi for the trophy as well as France's Antoine Griezmann, the top player at this summer's European championship. Ronaldo had already won the Ballon d'Or after his third Champions League title, thanks in major part to his 16 goals in 12 games, as well as triumphing with Portugal at Euro 2016 -- the country's first major prize. "2016 was the best year of my career," Ronaldo said after being handed the prize from FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
- "It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sports level," he added on the stage in Zurich. Ranieri, 65, who saw off Real boss Zinedine Zidane and Portugal manager Fernando Santos, said the best coach honour was "incredible" after receiving the prize from Argentine football legend Diego Maradona. Under Ranieri's leadership, Leicester pulled off one of the greatest shocks in English football history by defying title odds of 5,000-1 to lift the Premier League trophy last season. Having miraculously avoided relegation the previous season, the Foxes rode that wave of momentum all the way to the title. US midfielder Carli Lloyd scooped the best women's player of 2016, the two-time Olympic gold medallist adding to her 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year accolade.
- The American finished ahead of Brazilian star Marta and Germany's Melanie Behringer. Spain's La Liga accounted for nine of the 11 players in the FIFPro team of the year with Ronaldo and Messi headlining a star-studded line-up. Ronaldo was joined by Real team-mates Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric while the side comprised four Barcelona players with Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez joining Messi. Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer -- named to the FIFPro World 11 for the fourth year running -- was the only player selected without links to Spain's top two clubs. Juventus defender Dani Alves was included for a sixth time having help Barca to a league and cup double before leaving the Camp Nou for Italy last June. World football's governing body has launched the new award series after ending its six-year collaboration with France Football magazine for the Ballon d'Or.
WICB Appoint Jimmy Adams As Director Of Cricket
- Jimmy Adams, the former West Indies captain, has been appointed by the West Indies Cricket Board as its new director of cricket on Tuesday (January 10). Adams, who has signed a three-year contract, will be replacing Richard Pybus, who had also served for three years. "Jimmy will oversee and manage all cricket matters to include development of all teams, all coaching and cricket education and other technical programmes," the WICB said in a statement.
- "He will have the support of an Operations department." The 49-year-old Adams played 54 Tests for West Indies, scoring over 3000 runs at an average of 41, in addition to playing 127 One-Day Internationals, in which he scored over 2200 runs. He was appointed as the head coach of English county side Kent in 2012 and was credited with nurturing local homegrown talent during his spell. Adams then stepped down last year from his role following the WICB's decision to sack Phil Simmons as West Indies coach. But he was advised to take over the role of the director of cricket despite applying for the vacant head coach role. "I am very excited to be directly involved in Caribbean cricket once again," Adams said following the appointment.
- "And I look forward to working with all those committed to moving the game forward in the West Indies." The outgoing director Pybus was confident that Adams' experience would help in making West Indies a top force in international cricket again. "I look forward to Jimmy bringing the breadth of his international experience and knowledge of cricket in the Caribbean to continue the work of rebuilding West Indies Cricket," Pybus said. "It is an exciting time for cricket in the region, with the momentum of the World Cup's success and the professional cricket structures beginning to produce players capable of competing and excelling at international level."
Chennai Smashers Storm Into PBL Semifinals
- BENGALURU : The mixed doubles pair of Chris and Gabriella Adock together with Tommy Sugiarto led Chennai Smashers into the semifinals of the Premier Badminton League, pulling off crucial matches against Mumbai Rockets in a 4-1 win on Tuesday. Chennai are placed third with 14 points and still have a chance to end second at the end of the league stage. The Adock couple trounced their counterpart Chirag Shetty and Nadiezda Zieba of Mumbai 9-11 11-2 11-7 and then Tommy Sugioarto defeated Ajay Jayaram 8-11 11-2 11-5. After losing the first game, Chennai pair came back strongly, taking the second game in a hurry and pocketed the decider rather convincingly. After H S Pranoy of Mumbai gave a perfect start, Mumbai mixed doubles started the game brightly, taking a 6-3 lead going into the break in the trump match.
- The pair leading 8-5, allowed Chennai pair to bounce back with the score at 9-10, with some delectable and intelligent movements in the court. The Chennai pair, did not give up, and started the second game with elan, pushing Mumbai on the backfoot, with the scorecard reading 6-1 into the break. The pair eventually won the game rather easily. It was upto Tommy Sugiarto to write the semifinal script, and he did it in great style, by winning the contest 8-11, 11-2 and 11-5. After losing the first game 8-11 to Ajay Jayaram, Sugiarto smashed his way through to take 6-1 lead going into the break, and then trouncing his rival 11-2, making a strong comeback to push the game into the decider.
- Going into the decider with tremendous pressure to carry his team into the semifinals, Sugiarto came through strongly with 6-2 lead in the break, and then bagging the match 11-5 to take Chennai into the semis. In contrast, Pranoy, who remained unbeaten so far in the league, gave a rollicking start to Mumbai, who have already booked a semifinal berth, by trouncing Kashyap 11-9 13-11. Both the games were neck-and-neck affair with Pranoy prevailing over his rival, who committed errors at crucial stages of the match.
- Kashyap was leading 6-3 going into the break in the second game, but lost the plot after he allowed his rival to race past him, with the scorecard reading 9-7. He leveled the scores at 9-9, 10-10 and 11-11, but failed to prevail and lost the match. The first game also was a very hard-fought battle for Pranoy, who clinched the sea-saw battle at the end. In the inconsequential fifth match, Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu won 11-8 12-10 against Sung Ji Hyun.
Ukraine's Grandmaster Tukhaev Wins IIFL Wealth Open
- MUMBAI : Ukrainian Grandmaster Adam Tukhaev, rated 2516, won the title of 2nd IIFL Wealth Mumbai International Open chess tournament which concluded on Tuesday. The Ukrainian defeated country-mate GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy in a winner-takes-all game as the first and the third board games ended in draws. Tukhaev finished clear first by scoring 7.5/9. He bagged Rs 3 lakhs for winning the tournament, a media release issued here said. Seven players tied for first place by scoring 7.0/9. On the top table, 18-year-old Indian hope GM Diptayan Ghosh settled for a relatively quick draw with the white pieces against IM Rahul Sangma, it said.
- The third table game between Ukrainian GM Valeriy Neverov and Belgian GM Vadim Malakhatko ended in a hard-fought draw. Neverov had a poor position but he cleverly traded into a rook ending where he held the draw without sweating too much. While GM Neverov finished second on the tie break with six other players, Ghosh was third, said the release. The biggest surprise of the tournament was untitled Sidhant Mohapatra of Odisha. Sidhant, rated only 2267, scored his second International Master norm and defeated GM Andrei Deviatkin in the final game after the latter blundered an exchange.
- Srija was the most successful female player in the tournament. Debarshi Mukherjee of West Bengal scored an International Norm as well. Vantika Agarwal, a talented Delhi girl, scored a Women's International Master norm. In the juniors section, Tamil Nadu's Pranav V was leading going into the final round but at the sole second place was the National Under-11 champion Manish Anto Cristiano, also of Tamil Nadu. In the top table encounter between these two, Manish had a clearly better position with the white pieces but he blundered allowing Pranav to find a saving combination and draw the game.
- Had Manish won, he would have become the champion outright. But this draw meant that Pranav V was the clear winner with 8.0/9, winning the first prize of Rs 1.50 lakh while Manish tied with four others at 7.5/9. When the tiebreaks were resolved, Sankarsha Shelke of Maharashtra, who had been leading for the most part of the tournament earlier was second while Tamil Nadu's Gukesh D. was third. Bangladeshi Mohd. Fahad Rahman was fourth and Manish had to settle for the fifth place, it added.