Noida, 9th June 2017: Knockout stages commenced on Day 6 at the 68th Junior National Basketball Championship with the pre-quarterfinal matchups featuring the home teams. Uttar Pradesh girls, buoyed by home support, came out firing against Rajasthan. Led by star performer, Vaishnavi Yadav’s 33 points, UP had a strong first quarter, outscoring Rajasthan 22 to 12. Despite a rocky middle period, UP managed to get back on track in the fourth to pull away for a 86-66 win. They will now have their quarterfinal game today evening against Chhattisgarh.
The UP boys, however, fell to Haryana 84-60. Haryana got off to a slow start, but dominated the rest of the three quarters. Rinku poured in 40 points for Haryana, facilitating the blowout win. Haryana will now face the Kerala boys in the quarters later today evening. In other pre-quarterfinal games, MP girls won an overtime thriller against Gujarat (79-70), dominating the overtime period 11 to 2. MP have now set up a quarterfinal clash against the undefeated Tamil Nadu girls. The Delhi boys have also made it to the quarters, beating MP boys 82-73.
Later in the morning, the quarterfinal games began with the Kerala girls knocking out Maharashtra with a 86-71 win. Kerala’s Sreekala, who is an up-and-coming star, scorched Maharashtra for 42 points, single-handedly carrying her team’s offense. It was cruise control for Kerala after the first quarter, leading the rest of the way and cementing a spot in the semi-finals tomorrow.
Defending champions Tamil Nadu boys have also booked a semi-final berth, with a 83-66 win over Maharashtra. Sheldin’s 25 points for Tamil Nadu coupled with Arvind’s 16 points pushed Tamil Nadu past an undersized Maharashtra squad. The defending champs will be hoping to find their form in the final four stages after a tumultuous league stage in the tournament.
The girls’ defending champions Karnataka knocked out Punjab from the tournament in their quarterfinal clash. Despite the Karnataka bigs playing at 70%, their guards stepped up to provide the scoring punch. Both teams remained within single digits for the first three quarters. But Karnataka switch to a higher gear in the fourth, led by Rajvi Jain who put up 16 points. They outscored Punjab 16 to 6 in the final period to clinch a 61-49 win and a place in the semifinals tomorrow.
In what is probably the upset of the tournament, the upstart Uttar Pradesh girls team, who fought tooth and nail to reach the quarters, knocked out favourites Chhattisgarh. UP girls played a near perfect game of basketball, with efficient offense and minimal turnovers. Their transition defense helped to quell the Chhattisgarh fast break, which is their main source of offense. Vaishnavi Yadav once again had a huge game for UP with 43 points as UP dominated the first half scoring a massive 60 points! Yadav’s ball handling and shooting ability made her a tough matchup for the Chhattisgarh defenders. The UP girls made it to the semi-finals after a gap of three years with a 94-67 win.
Tamil Nadu girls and Punjab boys had easy quarterfinal outings with comfortable wins over the Madhya Pradesh girls and Delhi boys respectively. TN led from start to finish with S. Pushpa scoring a game-high 23 points. The Punjab boys were dominant in their game exploiting their size advantage over Delhi to the fullest. Swapnil and Kanwar Gurbaz built a double-digit lead for Punjab in the first half and their bench held the fort the rest of the way for an 88-43 win.
Kerala and Haryana boys faced off in the final quarterfinal of the day. It was Haryana’s second match of the day, but there were no signs of fatigue as they matched Kerala punch for punch. Kerala’s Amal Reghu (28 points) was effective with his drives, while Muhammad Shiras (27 points) got his points in the paint. Haryana, led by Rinku’s 21 points, never let the lead get beyond 8 points in the first three quarters. In the fourth, Haryana began to cut down the lead even further, fighting to steal a win. A couple of late triples from Haryana’s Rinku threatened Kerala down the stretch, but Kerala kept their poise, working the clock on each possession. Amal Reghu’s clutch bucket in the final minute gave Kerala an slim 3-point lead, which they held on to to close on a 85-82 win.
The teams are grouped into two levels –Level 1 features the top 10 teams from the previous championship divided into two groups of five teams each (Group A and B), while Level 2 features the remaining teams divided into four groups (Group C, D, E, F).
In the league stages, all the teams play each of the other teams in their group once. The top three teams from each of the groups in Level 1 advance directly to the quarterfinals, while the fourth placed teams play pre-quarterfinal games against the top two teams from Level 2.
Over the years, this Championship has provided a platform for the country’s best players in the U18 category to showcase their talents. This allows selectors to identify and shortlist the most promising players and coaches to parachute into national team training camps with an eye towards participation in international events.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has laid the foundation stone yesterday for various tourist facilities at a cost of 100 crore rupees at Ranjit Sagar Lake in Basohli in Jammu region. Speaking on the occasion, she said the amount would be spent on developing various facilities in the catchment areas of the Dam.
The maiden project aims at developing high-end logistic and recreational facilities and different adventure and water sports for tourists at the scenic spot.
The chief minister said the state government has given a boost to tourist activities in Jammu region and developmental projects to the tune of 350 crore rupees are underway in Jammu division to improve tourism facilities.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is holding an emergency administrative meeting with state Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee, the Home Secretary, the DGP and other senior civil and police officials.
The meeting is expected to review the latest law and order situation in the Hills and arrangements for the stranded tourists in Darjeeling and Siliguri. Situation in Darjeeling is gradually returning to normal with Army continuing patrolling all sensitive pockets today.
The Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will hold its central committee meeting today to chalk out the party’s future course of action. He said, they are not in favour of bandh or violence, but the government is impelling them to adopt desperate measures. He, however, added that there will be no bandh further.
Meanwhile, the Aviation Ministry has allotted two special flights of Air India and Spice Jet from Bagdogra to Kolkata today for stranded tourists. Bagdogra Airport Director said, on-line bookings for those two flights have started. The Air India flight will depart Kolkata at 2 pm to arrive Bagdogra at 3 pm. It will fly from Bagdogra at 3.40 pm, and will arrive Kolkata at 4.40 pm.
Uttarakhand, a private helicopter crash landed at Badrinath helipad during take off this morning, killing chief engineer of the heli-company. The accident took place due to low pressure.
The chief engineer was hurt by one of the blades of the helicopter. Five pilgrims and the pilot on board the helicopter are safe. The helicopter was scheduled to carry pilgrims from Badrinath to Haridwar.
India has said it is closely following the situation in the Gulf region in the wake of the decision by Saudi Arabia and some other countries to break diplomatic relations with Qatar.
External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that government is closely monitoring the situation and is also in regular contact with the regional countries. Their authorities have assured New Delhi of continued support for welfare and well-being of the resident Indian communities.
The Ministry said, India is of the view that all parties should resolve their differences through dialogue and peaceful negotiations based on mutual respect, and non interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It said India believes that peace and security in the Gulf are of paramount importance for the continued progress and prosperity of the region.
International terrorism, violent extremism and religious intolerance pose grave threat not only to regional stability but also to the global peace and order and must be confronted by all countries in a coordinated and comprehensive manner. Indian expatriates in the region have been advised to contact the Indian Embassy or Consulate for any assistance in the matter.
US President Donald Trump has said that Qatar has historically been a funder of terrorism and asked the Gulf nation and other countries to stop funding terrorism immediately.
Addressing a joint news conference with the visiting Romanian President Klaus Johannis in the White House, Trump alleged that Qatar is funding terrorism at the highest level and asked other countries doing the same to stop with immediate effect.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have cut ties with Qatar, accusing their former Gulf Cooperation Council ally of supporting extremist groups.
UAE Central Bank has issued instructions for freezing accounts, deposits, investments of designated terrorists and terror organizations. As per the declared list by the government, Banks and other financial institutions operating in the UAE have been instructed to search for and freeze any accounts or deposits or investments held by individuals or entities designated as terrorists or terrorist organizations.
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain in a joint declaration released a list of 59 individuals and 12 entities as terrorists or terrorist organizations who are allegedly linked to Qatar.
These four countries earlier this week in a coordinated move had severed all diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing it of aligning with terrorist groups and creating instability in the region. These actions follow the decision by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, as part of their unified and ongoing commitment to combat terrorism in the region.
European Union (EU) has imposed new anti-dumping duties on steel products from China, as it broadens its campaign to protect struggling steel manufacturers in Europe.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said in Brussels that it imposed duties of up to 35.9 per cent on Chinese hot-rolled flat steel used in shipbuilding, gas containers, pressure vessels, tubes and energy pipelines. He said, the EU took the latest action against China for allegedly flooding global markets in violation of international trade agreements.
In January, the commission had slapped anti-dumping duties on stainless steel tube and pipe butt-welding fittings, which are used to join steel pipes and tubes.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said, she is ready for the upcoming talks with the United Kingdom on the European Union exit and expected London to stick to the agreed schedule.
Speaking at a news conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City, Ms. Merkel said, Britain is part of Europe regardless of Brexit, and that she wanted the country to remain a good partner.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called a general election in April to increase the Conservative majority in parliament in order to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks, due on June 19. The election led to a hung parliament after her party won only 318 seats, down from 330 they got in 2015.