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Aditi Ashok puts women’s golf on map in India Aditi Ashok puts women’s golf on map in India

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Aditi Ashok puts women’s golf on map in India

SynopsisAditi Ashok was the youngest player at the 2016 Olympics when she made women’s golf into headline news in India by shooting back-to-back 68s to be tied eighth on six-under par after 36 holes.AFPAditi Ashok was the youngest player at the 2016 Olympics when she made women’s golf into headline news in India by shooting…

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Aditi Ashok was the youngest player at the 2016 Olympics when she made women’s golf into headline news in India by shooting back-to-back 68s to be tied eighth on six-under par after 36 holes.

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Aditi Ashok was the youngest player at the 2016 Olympics when she made women’s golf into headline news in India by shooting back-to-back 68s to be tied eighth on six-under par after 36 holes.

Five years later, the world number 200 is near the top of another star-studded leaderboard at the Tokyo Games, tied second with world number one Nelly Korda after Wednesday’s first round.

Women’s golf was virtually unknown in India before Ashok’s Olympic exploits.

“A lot of people were trying to figure out what golf was, so that they could understand how I was playing and if I had a chance to win a medal,” she told reporters at Kasumigaseki Country Club Wednesday after her opening four-under par 67.

Ashok faded in Rio during the final two rounds to finish 41st, but her days of being anonymous in a country of 1.3 billion people were over.

“For the next six months to a year everybody remembered and recognised me from the Olympics,” she said.

“Even though I won like three European Tour events after that, people still remember me as the girl who did well at the Olympics.”

This time around she says she is more prepared for Olympic competition, and the attention it brings from back home.

“Last time I was a rookie basically. I just finished my high school exams and then I was at the Olympics,” Ashok said after a round containing five birdies and just one blemish at the 18th.

“Playing on the LPGA Tour the last five years makes you way better as a player than I was at Rio.

“I didn’t finish as well as I wanted to last time, but just seeing the effect that it had on golf in India was inspiring and that’s kind of what motivated me for this one as well.”

Ashok recalled how she started playing golf, not a common pursuit for girls growing up in Bangalore like her.

“Me and my parents started playing golf at the same time,” recalled Ashok.

“We used to have breakfast at this restaurant that overlooked a golf driving range and so we wanted to walk in and try it out. So that’s what got me started.”

Ashok had her dad as caddie in Rio, and this time round it is her mum, Mash.

“Last time I had my dad on the bag, so the experience was just so incredible I was like ‘I want to have my mum next time’ and I made good on that promise,” said Ashok.

The impact of her first two rounds at the Rio Olympics were, she admitted, “quite big”.

“My social media following just blew up, basically. I think I had like 400-500 followers Twitter and Facebook and jumped to like 14,000, I think overnight.”

So what does she think would happen were she to win a medal this time?

“Women’s golf is not really on the radar of sports or people in India,” she said. “The Impact would be huge.”

“I think it would go to like hundreds of thousands for sure,” said Ashok. “Yeah, it would be really big.”

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Black Stars Head Coach CK Akonnor sacked

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The Executive Council of the Ghana Football Association has taken a decision to terminate the appointment of Black Stars Coach Charles Akonnor and his two Assistants with immediate effect.

This follows the receipt of the Technical Report from the Head Coach of the Senior National Team and the report from the Black Stars Management Committee following Ghana’s Group G World Cup qualifying matches against Ethiopia and South Africa.

The Executive Council after considering the two reports have decided to terminate its relationship with the Head Coach C. K Akonnor and the two Assistants.

The Executive Council has formed a three (3) Member Committee made up of Vice President Mark Addo, Upper East Regional Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Salifu Zida and Dr. Randy Abbey to find a Head Coach and Assistant Coaches for the Black Stars within the next 72 hours.

The Association wishes C.K Akonnor and his Assistants the very best in their future endeavours.

Ghana currently have three (3) points after the two opening matches.

The Black Stars will take on Zimbabwe in the next round of games in October 2021.

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Andy Murray: Emma Raducanu win provides ‘huge opportunity’ for British tennis

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Kent teenager Emma Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown; fellow Briton Andy Murray was asked about the 18-year-old after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden

Andy Murray has hailed Emma Raducanu’s “incredible” US Open win and spoken of a “huge opportunity” for British tennis.

Kent teenager Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown.

Fellow Briton Murray was asked about the 18-year-old at a press conference on Monday after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden.

The three-time grand slam winner said: “It was incredible what she did there. I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good.

“She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon (where Raducanu reached the fourth round) everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be.

“I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good.

“But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives hopefully the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport.

“It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now.”

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Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid re-sign French forward on loan from Barcelona

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Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in £103m deal two years ago; forward returns to Atletico on a season-long loan; Sky Italy and Barcelona say Atletico have obligation to make deal permanent next summer, but Atletico say they instead have the option to extend the loan

Antoine Griezmann has completed his shock Deadline Day return to Atletico Madrid on loan from Barcelona.

Atletico and Barcelona said there was an option to extend the loan for a further season, with the Catalan club adding the Madrid side also had an obligation to make the deal permanent. Sky in Italy reports this permanent deal would cost £34.4m (€40m).

Atletico were able to move for the 30-year-old after sanctioning Saul Niguez’s departure to Chelsea on an initial loan with an option to buy worth £33.4m (€38.9m) overall.

Diego Simeone was keen to sign a new striker and Griezmann will have no difficulty settling back at Atletico, having worked under the Argentine between 2014 and 2019.

Barcelona stated that Atletico have agreed to pay Griezmann’s wages in full.

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Image:Saul Niguez joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid on Deadline Day

The 2018 World Cup-winner joined Barcelona from Atletico on a £103m deal two years ago and scored 35 goals in 102 appearances for the club.

However, he has only won the Copa del Rey during his time at the Nou Camp, and the Catalan giants have been trying to lighten their wage bill this summer due to debts amounting to £1.15billion, as confirmed by club president Joan Laporta earlier in August.

The club’s reported financial struggles meant they were unable to offer Lionel Messi a new contract, prompting his shock exit to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

On Tuesday, the club announced stalwarts Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba have accepted to take a pay cut in order to aid the club’s Financial Fair Play parameters and ensure new signing Sergio Aguero could be formally registered with the Spanish Football League (LFP).

Earlier in the summer, Gerard Pique took a similar decision to allow Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to be ratified as Barcelona players.

Griezmann originally left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019 at the end of a protracted transfer saga after his £103m (€120m) release clause was paid in full.

A year earlier, he featured in a documentary with Spanish TV station Movistar called “The Decision” which followed him as he opted to stay at Atletico despite interest from Barcelona.

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