Viswanathan Anand got off to a good start in the Tal memorial chess tournament by finishing second in its blitz segment. Remaining undefeated, Anand scored 6.5 points in the 10-player round-robin event. Hikaru Nakamura of the USA won the championship comprehensively, scoring seven points, and the American was the only player other than Anand to remain undefeated in the 15000-euro prize money event. The Indian will meet Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the next round.
At Bridgeport, in New Jersey, NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died after an accident on Wednesday night at a dirt car event. The 37-year-old Leffler, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Series, was pronounced dead shortly after 9 pm local time, New Jersey state police said. “We extend our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler, who passed away earlier this evening,” NASCAR said in a statement, adding: “For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he would be missed.”
Easy for Nehwal
In Jakarta, defending champion Saina Nehwal on Thursday entered the quarter-finals of the Indonesian Super Series Premier badminton event, defeating Sayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-13, 21-19. RMV Gurusaidutt advanced to the quarter-finals of the men’s singles championship, edging 21-12, 9-21, 21-19 past Kazumasa Sakai of Japan. Nehwal will now take on Carolina Marin of Spain.
Santhi Soundarajan, the middle-distance runner who was stripped of her Asian Games medal after failing a gender test, will soon be able to fulfil her dream of becoming a qualified athletics coach. The Sports Authority of India was on Thursday said to have given her a chance to enrol in a diploma course at the National Institute of Sports, Bangalore.
Indian athletes are to take part in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games from 29 June to 6 July in Incheon, South Korea, using the flag of the Olympic Council of Asia as the country is banned by the International Olympic Committee. Thirty-five athletes and 11 officials from four sports are okayed by the government, though most of them pay for themselves.
In Varna, Bulgaria, Vidit Gujrathi defeated Zoran Arsovic of Serbia to remain in joint lead with three points after the end of the third round of the Grand Europe Golden Sands International Chess Tournament. Shardul Gagare and Anurag Mahamal went down to compatriots M R Venkatesh and M Shyam Sundar, respectively.
India move up
India’s Saurav Ghosal and Ramit Tandon defeated Hong Kong 3-1 to enter the quarter-finals of the Men’s World Teams Squash Championship in Mulhouse, France.