Mumbai Marathon 2018 | ‘No water, too many people’: Elite runners slam organisers

The elite women runners of the Tata Mumbai Marathon on Sunday slammed the event organisers, saying there were too many casual runners on the course and that the Metro construction work was also a hindrance.

“It was a quite difficult race as there were a lot of people (casual participants in other non-competitive events) on the road. It was difficult to concentrate,” said women’s race winner Amane Gobena of Ethiopia at the post-event media conference.

Gobena finished first in 2:25:49 and was well ahead of defending champion Bornes Kitur of Kenya who clocked 2:28:48 to finish second. She said she missed receiving water thrice the 5, 15 and 30 km marks.

 

“It was difficult to get water also and there were too many corners (due to construction work for Mumbai Metro-3 line),” she said, about the chaotic manner in which the race was held.

Gobena said she knew that despite the hazards she will win the race just past the halfway mark after taking a clear lead. “I had prepared very well for the race. We (She and Kitur) were together for the first 25 kms, and after 25 kms I knew I was going to win,” she said.

“At one point I thought I will break the course record, but as I said there were a lot of people (on the road) and temperatures were also rising, So I had to slow down. (Metro) construction work was a problem. The last km was difficult as there were a lot of corners,” added the Kenyan runner.

Joshua Kipkorir of Kenya, who finished third in the men’s race, criticised the pacemakers for dropping out earlier than expected. “One pacemaker dropped out at 15km and another at 25km,” he said.

Meanwhile, India’s Asian champion Gopi Thonakal said he was satisfied with his timing (2:16:51) because of the weather conditions. “It was hot. I am happy with my timing,” said Gopi, who finished 11th overall just ahead of his arch-rival Nitendra Singh Rawat (2:16:54).

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Sun, 21 Jan 2018-01:28pm
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Sunday, 21 January 2018 – 1:28pm
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Amane Gobena speaks to the media after her win on Sunday (Photo credit: Twitter @TataMumMarathon)
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Maruti Suzuki to launch four new products in the 18 months

The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India plans to introduce around four new products in the next 12 to 18 months to build further on five years of successive double digit sales growth.

The company expects to close the ongoing fiscal with double digit sales growth. Its sales in the domestic market during the April-December period grew by 15.5 per cent at 12,26,418 units as against 10,61,873 units in the year-ago period.

It will launch the all-new version of its popular hatchback Swift at the upcoming Auto Expo to be held from February 9-14.

According to sources, besides the new Swift, the company plans to introduce a new refreshed version of its mid-sized sedan, Ciaz and multiple purpose vehicle Ertiga in the coming months.

“An all new version of compact car Wagon R is also in the pipeline but its launch timeline hasn’t been fixed,” a source said.

Maruti Suzuki India Senior Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) R S Kalsi, however, declined to comment on the company’s launch programme for the next fiscal.

“That’s a continuous process and we cannot comment on which one will come when,” he told PTI when asked about the upcoming new product introductions in the market.

Commenting on the company’s performance in the ongoing fiscal, he said in the April-December period the company’s sales have grown by 15.3 per cent but the growth rate will be lesser in the fourth quarter due to high base effect of the year-ago period.

“We will end the year on healthy double digit growth…

Last six years we have been growing more than the industry.

The best part is that this will be the fifth year of double digit growth in a row, which is quite an achievement,” Kalsi said.

He said the company has been able to sustain its growth momentum in the last few years despite challenges of two consecutive droughts in many parts of India that had an impact on rural markets and policy disruption such as demonetisation and impact of GST implementation.

Currently the industry growth is at 8.13 per cent and MSI is confident that it would be ahead of the industry again, he added.

When asked about the outlook for 2018-19, Kalsi said, “We expect the similar momentum to continue for the industry… We do not foresee any disruption”.

However, for Maruti Suzuki, he said, “We are yet to present our budget to the top management, we are yet to work out our budget for next year. So, commenting on a number for next year will not be possible”.

The company is confident that new products like the upcoming Swift will help in adding more volumes.

“On the first year of its launch Swift did one lakh units. Subsequent to that, the outgoing Swift has been selling on an average of 15,000 units a month. This (the new one) being many steps above that, we expect the market demand will be more than that,” Kalsi added.

The company’s parent Suzuki has spent around Rs 800 crore on the development of the new Swift. The new vehicle will so be produced at Suzuki’s Gujarat plant along with Baleno, besides MSI’s Manesar plant.  

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Sun, 21 Jan 2018-01:02pm
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Sunday, 21 January 2018 – 1:04pm
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Australian Open: Free and single-handed, Carla Suarez Navarro makes last eight

Carla Suarez Navarro struck a blow for one of the endangered shots of women’s tennis as she used her single-handed backhand to great effect to beat Estonian Anett Kontaveit and reach the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday.

The diminutive Spaniard dug herself out of a deep hole, hitting back from a set and two breaks of serve down to win 4-6 6-4 8-6 on a muggy Rod Laver Arena and secure a clash with second seed Caroline Wozniacki.

Suarez Navarro is the only single-hander to reach the last 16 here this year and is the only member of the world’s top 40 not to strike a double-fisted backhand. Not since Francesca Schiavone won the 2010 French Open with her single-handed backhand has the stroke brought grand slam success for a woman, although before that Justine Henin used it to devastating effect to win four French Opens in five years between 2003 and 2007.

 

Amelie Mauresmo was the last woman to win the Australian Open with a one-handed backhand, in 2006 when it also fired her to glory on the Wimbledon grasscourts. Roger Federer’s 19 grand slam titles are living proof that single-handed backhands can still reign in the men’s side with his fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka winning three slams with his.

Men’s third seed Grigor Dimitrov and number five Dominic Thiem also own stylish single-handers. So the odds are stacked against Suarez Navarro although the purists may hope she can stick around a little longer as the way she executes her topspin stroke is a thing of beauty. Suarez Navarro hit only two clean winners with it on Sunday but it was the foundation on which she built victory.

 

“Maybe we can open a little bit more the court with the angle. Maybe we slice a little bit better,” the 29-year-old, who was inspired by Henin’s backhand, told reporters. “But tennis is going to more power, faster, and when you hit the ball with one hand, is not the same as if you hit with two. I think it’s because of this. Years ago all the players play with one-handed. Now we are losing this backhand.”

Kontaveit was bidding to reach the last eight of a grand slam for the first time and the 22-year-old had victory in her grasp when she took the first set and led 4-1. Unseeded Suarez Navarro was given heart when Kontaveit double-faulted to hand one break of serve back and the Spaniard stormed back, winning six games in a row.

 

The deciding set was a real battle and Kontaveit again looked like closing it out when she broke at 4-4 but she faltered and was broken as she served for the match. Suarez Navarro enjoyed an outrageous slice of luck when Kontaveit served to stay in the match at 6-7, striking a forehand that hit the net tape twice before wobbling over to give her a second match point. She missed that one but on her third opportunity Kontaveit smacked a forehand long to send Suarez Navarro into the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the third time.

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Sun, 21 Jan 2018-01:10pm
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Sunday, 21 January 2018 – 1:10pm
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Carla Suarez Navarro in action at the Australian Open on Sunday
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Australian Open: Marin Cilic reaches quarters, celebrates 100th Grand Slam win

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic became the first man into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open when he ground down Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(0) 7-6(3) on Sunday.

In an entertaining baseline duel at the Margaret Court Arena, sixth seed Cilic blew away Carreno Busta in the tiebreaks to celebrate his 100th Grand Slam win. A former semi-finalist at Melbourne Park, Cilic also equalled Goran Ivanisevic’s Croatian record of 11 Grand Slam quarter-final appearances.

 

Carreno Busta showed heart to rally from a break down in the fourth set and push the match into a third tiebreak but was quickly overwhelmed by Cilic’s firepower as the Croatian brought up four match points in a hurry.

Cilic blew one of them by spraying a crosscourt shot wide but made no mistake on the second, hammering a huge first serve down the ‘T’ and picking off the return with a straightforward forehand winner, bringing raucous cheers from the large Croatian contingent in the terraces.

 

The 2014 US Open champion Cilic will meet either last year’s finalist Rafa Nadal or Argentine Diego Schwartzman for a place in the semi-finals.

“It was an unbelievable match, a lot of ups and downs,” Cilic said in his on-court interview. “Pablo came back and really gave me a lot of trouble … We had a lot of tough rallies so I was really glad how I stayed in there mentally.”

 

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Sun, 21 Jan 2018-01:16pm
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Sunday, 21 January 2018 – 1:16pm
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Marin Cilic celebrates his win on Sunday
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WATCH | Australian Open: Leander Paes-Purav Raja lose to Juan Cabal-Robert Farah in pre-quarters

Veteran Leander Paes and Purav Raja on Sunday suffered a straight-set defeat at the hands of the Colombian pair of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the pre-quarterfinals to bow out of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The unseeded Indians were beaten 1-6 2-6 by their 11th seeded opponents in a contest that lasted one hour and nine minutes at the Melbourne Park.

 

Watch highlights HERE

Paes and Raja failed to capitalise on any one of the five break points — two in the first set and three in the second — they got in the match while the Cabal-Farah duo converted four out the 10 they had.

The Colombian duo broke the Indians twice in both the sets to easily grab the match and make it to the quarterfinals. The Indian pair had shocked the formidable fifth seeds Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray in the second round but their game were not up to the mark on Sunday.

 

Paes and Raja, who won two Challenger level titles to close the 2017 season, were playing in their second Grand Slam together. At the 2017 US Open, they fell in the second round.

Paes has not featured in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event for more than a year. The last time 44-year-old Paes played a quarterfinal at a Grand Slam was in 2016 at French Open where he and Marcin Matkowski had lost to Mike and Bob Bryan.

 

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Sun, 21 Jan 2018-12:43pm
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Sunday, 21 January 2018 – 12:51pm
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Leander Paes (L) and Purav Raja in action at the 2018 Australian Open in Melbourne
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