The Bangabandhu 12th Teer National Archery Championship 2021, organized by Bangladesh Archery Federation (BAF) and sponsored by City Group, begins Monday at the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium in Cox’s Bazar.
Some 148 archers from 40 teams will compete in the four-day meet for 10 gold medals up for grabs: five each - men’s team, men’s singles, women’s team, women’s singles and mixed team - in the Recurve and Compound Divisions.
The BAF president Lt Gen Mohammad Moinul Islam (Retd) disclosed the details for the competition at a press conference at the BOA auditorium here on Sunday.
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BAF general secretary Kazi Rajibuddin Ahmed Chapal and Executive Director of sponsors City Group Zafar Uddin Siddiqui also spoke on the occasion, while BAF Vice President M Mahfuzur Rahman Siddique and media convenor Rafiqul Islam Tipu were present at the press conference.
State Minister for Youth and Sports M Zahid Ahsan Russell MP will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony on March 4.
The federation officials informed that they are organizing the national meet for the first time outside capital Dhaka, and the reason for choosing Cox’s Bazar was not its reputation as a tourism hub, but rather to habituate the local archers in plying their craft in strong wind conditions.
The country’s premier archer Ruman Shana, who became only the second Bangladeshi athlete ever to qualify directly for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 (to be held this year due to pandemic), is expected to compete to get used to the windy conditions expected in the Japanese capital.
Athletes barred from entering Japan due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions may be permitted to do so after the current state of emergency is lifted, sources with knowledge of the matter said Saturday.
The emergency declaration, aimed at containing the spread of the virus, is scheduled to be lifted entirely on March 7. Japan has temporarily suspended exemptions allowing foreign athletes to train in the country ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Japanese government currently prohibits entry by all nonresident foreigners in principle but can make exceptions for humanitarian or other reasons.
With the Japanese men's national soccer team set to resume hosting World Cup qualifiers on March 30, and test events for this summer's games scheduled to take place from April, there are concerns about the impact of the travel ban.
Given the uncertainty, the government is likely to grant special entry to overseas-based athletes, while also easing the existing requirement that would force them to quarantine for two weeks upon arriving in Japan.
However, they will still be asked to refrain from venturing outside of their hotels and competition venues, and prohibited from taking public transport.
The Tokyo Olympics, postponed for a year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, are due to open on July 23.
A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them.
John Geddert faced 24 charges that could have carried years in prison had he been convicted. He was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing, but his body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, according to state police.
“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Nessel earlier announced that Geddert was charged with a bushel of crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison.
Geddert, 63, wasn’t arrested and transported to court. Rather, Nessel’s office allowed him to show up on his own.
“We had no indication that Geddert intended to flee or hurt himself or others. We had been in contact with his attorney and were assured of his cooperation,” Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said.
Calls seeking comment from attorney Chris Bergstrom weren’t immediately returned.
Geddert was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was long associated with Nassar, who was the Olympic team’s doctor and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym.
Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar. But the bulk of the case against him involved his gym in Dimondale and how he treated the young athletes whose families paid to have them train under him.
The charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar, said Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark.
Geddert was charged with using his strong reputation in gymnastics to commit a form of human trafficking by making money through the forced labor of young athletes.
“The victims suffer from disordered eating,” Nessel said, “including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault.
“Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behavior to this day,” the attorney general said.
Nessel acknowledged that the case might not fit the common understanding of human trafficking.
“We think of it predominantly as affecting people of color or those without means to protect themselves ... but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” she said. “Young impressionable women may at times be vulnerable and open to trafficking crimes, regardless of their stature in the community or the financial well-being of their families.”
Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. He told families in 2018 that he was retiring.
On his LinkedIn page, Geddert described himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.” He said his Twistars teams won 130 club championships.
But Geddert was often portrayed in unflattering ways when Nassar’s victims spoke during court hearings in 2018. Some insisted he was aware of the doctor’s abuse.
Sarah Klein, a gymnast who trained under Geddert for more than 10 years and was assaulted by Nassar, said the coach’s death was an “escape from justice” and “traumatizing beyond words.”
“His suicide is an admission of guilt that the entire world can now see,” said Klein, a lawyer.
Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse in 2016, said she was proud of the women who stepped forward against Geddert.
“So much pain and grief for everyone,” she said on Twitter after his death. “To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you.”
Maybe, just maybe, the thinking went, Novak Djokovic would be just a tad more susceptible to trouble this time around at the Australian Open.
After all, he tore an abdominal muscle in the third round and wasn't sure he could continue to compete. Entering Sunday, Djokovic ceded five sets in the tournament, the most he ever dropped en route to a major final. And to top it all off, he was facing Daniil Medvedev, owner of a 20-match winning streak.
Yeah, right. We’re talking about Djokovic at Melbourne Park, where his dominance is most certainly intact — nine finals, nine championships. Plus, he's still gaining on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam standings, now up to 18 overall, two shy of the men’s record those rivals share.
Djokovic used improved serving, along with his usual relentless returning and baseline excellence to grab 11 of 13 games in one stretch and beat Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 for a third consecutive Australian Open trophy.
“Definitely, emotionally, the most challenging Grand Slam that I ever had, with everything that was happening — injury, off-the-court stuff, quarantines,” Djokovic said. “A roller-coaster ride.”
When the match ended after less than two hours, Djokovic went to the sideline, lifted his white shirt and peeled pieces of beige athletic tape from his stomach.
“I was quite worried," Djokovic said about the injury. “I did not (think) realistically that I could actually play. I didn’t know until two hours before the fourth-round match."
Dealing with what he called “bearable” pain, Djokovic improved to a combined 18-0 in semifinals and finals on Melbourne's hard courts.
“Probably, it’s not your last one,” Medvedev said. “I have no words to say.”
Djokovic, a 33-year-old from Serbia, has won six of the last 10 majors and will stay at No. 1 in the rankings at least through March 8. That will give him 311 weeks there, breaking another mark held by Federer.
His goals now are squarely on Grand Slams, even more than before.
Put Djokovic’s nine triumphs in Australia alongside five at Wimbledon, three at the U.S. Open and one at the French Open. The math looks good for him: He is about a year younger than Nadal and 6 1/2 younger than Federer.
“I do enjoy the success every single time even more,” Djokovic said, “because I know that the longer the time passes, the more difficult it’s going to become."
The No. 4-seeded Medvedev was appearing in his second Slam final; he was the runner-up to Nadal at the 2019 U.S. Open.
The 25-year-old from Russia had won 12 in a row against Top 10 opponents, but trying to solve Djokovic in Australia is a unique challenge.
“He’s really good (at) reading an opponent’s game,” Medvedev said, “knowing what you will do next, how to beat you.”
As things slipped away, Medvedev bounced his white racket off the blue court, then absolutely destroyed it with a full-on spike. He kept looking up at his coach with palms up as if to ask, “What can I possibly do here?”
It is a familiar sentiment in this stadium: Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem — all Grand Slam champions, all defeated by Djokovic in semifinals or finals in Melbourne.
On a cool, cloudy evening, an event delayed three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic closed with an announced attendance of 7,426 in Rod Laver Arena. Spectators were barred for five days earlier in the tournament because of a COVID-19 lockdown, but they eventually were let back in at 50% capacity.
“There are a lot of mixed feelings about what has happened in the last month or so with tennis players coming to Australia,” Djokovic said. “But I think when we draw a line at the end, it was a successful tournament for the organizers.”
And for him.
Medvedev’s flat, wrap-the-racket-around-his-neck forehand was iffy at first, missing wide, long and into the net in the initial 10 minutes. Djokovic grabbed 13 of the match’s initial 16 points and a quick 3-0 lead. Soon enough, though, it was 3-all, then 5-all.
But that's when Djokovic stepped up, and Medvedev stepped back. Djokovic held at love, then broke to claim the set when Medvedev slapped a forehand into the net just after someone in the crowd called out during the point.
Djokovic began the second set with a fault into the net, then shook his left arm and flexed his shoulders. That point ended with him missing a backhand into the net, and he glared at his guest box. Another netted backhand gifted Medvedev a break.
But the extreme experience gap showed there. Medvedev immediately relinquished his next two service games. In all, Djokovic broke seven times and made merely 17 unforced errors to Medvedev's 30.
“Masterpiece,” said Goran Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion who is one of Djokovic's coaches.
Medvedev appeared to have a tiny opening at 4-2 in the third, getting to 15-30 on Djokovic's serve with a forehand winner and waving to the crowd to make noise. As if viewing that as a personal affront, Djokovic took the next three points and the game, then pointed his right index finger to his temple and gritted his teeth.
Soon it was over.
“Coming to Australia, it always brings that extra dose of confidence to me,” Djokovic said, “because of my record here and because of how I play.”
Barbora Krajcikova and Rajeev Ram have made the perfect odd-year pairing at the Australian Open, adding the 2021 mixed doubles title to the one they shared in 2019.
For Krajcikova, it's three in a row.
She and Ram were in control from the start in a 6-1, 6-4 win Saturday over Australian wild cards Matt Ebden and Sam Stosur.
"It's an amazing feeling," Krajcikova said. "I'm so grateful that we were able to get back together."
Krajcikova won her first Australian title with Ram two years ago and with Croatia's Nikola Mektic last year.
"We had a year off as a team, but she didn't have a year off — she won this thing last year, so that's three years running for her," Ram said. "Amazing job. Pleasure to play with her, always."
It was a virus — not related to COVID-19 — that temporarily broke up the successful partnership a month prior to the 2020 Australian Open.
"I was sick here in December that year and I didn't think it was a good idea to try to play mixed doubles as well," said Ram, who won the men's doubles title last year with Joe Salisbury.
That puts him in contention for a doubles double at Melbourne Park. The 36-year-old American and Salisbury will be trying to defend the title in the doubles final Sunday against Croatia's Ivan Dodig and Slovakia's Filip Polasek.
Krajcikova missed her chance at a double when she and fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova lost the women's doubles final on Friday to second-seeded Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.
She said she put that out of her mind as soon as possible, aiming for another title.
Krejcikova and Ram faced only a single break point and needed less than an hour to beat Ebden and Stosur, who were each previous winners of the title but with different partners.
When Ebden held serve to finally get the Australian pair on the scoreboard in the fifth game, it was still a long way back into the opening set. It proved too much, with Krejcikova and Ram wrapping it up in just 22 minutes.
Fans, who had stayed after Naomi Osaka's win over Jennifer Brady in the women's singles final hoping to witness a home Slam triumph, vocally tried to lift Ebden and Stosur. But it was to no avail.
The Australian pair cut down their errors in the second set and seemed to be getting back into the match but when Ram held serve easily in the ninth game, it put the pressure immediately back on Ebden's serve.
Another couple of errors left Ebden and Stosur staring at a match point. And when Ebden pulled a forehand wide after a long baseline exchange, it was all over in just 59 minutes.
Krajcikova said the partnership with Ram works because of their approach to the game.
"I just feel we understand each other on and off the court," she said. "He's just really easygoing and it works out."