PV Sindhu wins China Open
FUZHOU, Nov 20: PV Sindhu won the China Open after beating China’s Sun Yu 21-11, 17-21, 21-11 in 69 minutes. This is her maiden Super Series title. The world No 11 will now move back into the top 10 while Saina Nehwal, who crashed out in the first round, will slide to 11th from 6th.
Despite going into the match with a 2-3 head to head record, it was the Rio Olympic silver-medallist who raced off to a great start. Sindhu used fine feints and drop shots to hassle her opponent. The latter was the key. Against the 6’0” Sun, Sindhu used a tactic her shorter opponents have often used against her; making the Chinese go low. The ploy, along with numerous line errors from her opponent, paid dividends as Sindhu wrapped up the first game in 18 minutes.
That Sun Yu’s first lost game of the tournament came in the final, spoke volumes of the pressure the local favourite was under. The 22-year-old had already contested and lost five finals this year, including the Australian Super Series title to Saina Nehwal.
Playing at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center in Fuzhou packed with home fans further put her under the pump.
Looking to put the contest to bed, Sindhu earned a 6-3 lead but Sun drew level with a couple of bodyline smashes and a precise drop which prompted coach Madhumita Bisht to say, “Aap bhi neeche jaao. (You too go low.”) Sindhu established a four-point lead at 14-10 before Sun roared back again with a crisp return. The fans started chanting “one more point.” Sun obliged them with six. A crisp return, two well-disguised drops, and errors from Sindhu pushed Sun to 16-14 and she took the game 21-17.
Back on her winning side of the court, Sindhu looked more comfortable despite the deciding game going to 6-6. Sindhu pulled out quick returns, cleared well with the forehand and went into the change over leading 11-8. Sun Yu then imploded. She hit it long, she hit it wide and struggled with the lift as Sindhu opened up an eight-point advantage at 19-11. She caught the backline to earn nine match points and converted the first with a forehand clear.
With the win, Sindhu checked off another box. A Super Series trophy finally in her cabinet, Sindhu’s next target is climbing to the top of the rankings. After that? Well, the next Olympics are only four years away.
Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team to Serve as Grand Marshals for TCS New York City Marathon on Nov 6
By Deepak Arora
NEW YORK, Oct 18: The Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team – Amy Cragg, Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Linden, Meb Keflezighi, Galen Rupp, and Jared Ward – has been named Grand Marshals for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6, it was announced by New York Road Runners today.
At the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, these internationally renowned runners will participate in race-week festivities, including the TCS New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony Presented by United Airlines and contribute to the live race broadcast on WABC-TV, Channel 7 and ESPN2.
On race day all of the team members with the exception of Rupp – who will be unable to attend due to family commitments – will ride in the official Grand Marshal vehicle through the 26.2-mile marathon route with Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.
Cragg, a two-time Olympian, was ninth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon after finishing first at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials. A former college teammate of Linden at Arizona State, Cragg also won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials, and she was 20th at the 2013 New York City Marathon.
Flanagan, a four-time Olympian, was the top American women’s finisher in the Rio Olympic Marathon, placing sixth. She also holds a bronze medal from the Beijing 2008 Olympic 10,000 meters – becoming only the second American woman to medal in the distance – and is a two-time USATF Marathon champion, taking the titles in 2010 and 2012. Flanagan took second place at the 2010 New York City Marathon.
Linden finished just behind Flanagan in Rio, taking seventh in her second Olympic marathon. She was the fastest American woman at both the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon and 2015 Boston Marathon, finishing fifth and fourth in those races, respectively. A regular participant in the NYRR New York Mini 10K, Linden has finished as high as second place at both the Boston and Chicago marathons.
Keflezighi, an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador, finished 33rd at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon and starred in the Big Apple in 2009 when he became the first American in 27 years to win the New York City Marathon. The four-time Olympian has finished in the top 10 in New York eight times and has appeared in the race 10 times.
Rupp sizzled in his Olympic marathon debut in Rio, taking the bronze medal to become just the fourth American man to medal in the distance in the last 100 years and 10th in the modern Olympic era after finishing first in the event at February’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. He is a seven-time national champion over 10,000 meters and finished fifth in the distance in Rio. Rupp made his New York City road racing debut at the 2011 NYC Half, finishing third.
Ward made his Olympic debut in Rio, finishing sixth with a personal-best after taking third at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. A statistics professor at BYU off the roads, Ward was the top finisher at the 2015 USATF Marathon Championships, 25km Championships and 20km Championships.
“With a fantastic showing in Rio, the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team proved to the world the future is bright for American distance running. We’re honored to have Shalane, Des, Amy, Meb, Galen and Jared celebrate their amazing accomplishments, and represent the many talented Team USA Olympians, Paralympians, and all other U.S. athletes competing in the TCS New York City Marathon, as this year’s Grand Marshals,” said Peter Ciaccia, NYRR President, Events, and Race Director, TCS New York City Marathon
“Our mission at New York Road Runners is to help and inspire people through running, and that’s exactly what the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team did with their performances in Rio. We’re excited to have the group who inspired a nation of runners, particularly so many young people, as our TCS New York City Marathon Grand Marshals,” according to Michael Capiraso, NYRR President and CEO.
This honor for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team represents the fourth time in the history of the New York City Marathon that the race has featured a Grand Marshal.
The marathon’s first Grand Marshal was in 1979, when Czech running legend Emil Zatopek was given the honor. Zatopek still stands today as one of the greatest distance runners of all time, having won three gold medals at the Helsinki 1952 Olympics in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and marathon.
In 2003, Grete Waitz of Norway became the marathon’s second Grand Marshal. One of the most celebrated marathoners ever, Waitz, a New York Road Runners Hall of Famer, won a record nine New York City Marathon titles.
Last year, Brooklyn-raised filmmaker and quintessential New York sports fan Spike Lee served as the Grand Marshal, and has since become a member of the NYRR Advisory Council.
The U.S. Olympic Marathon Team’s role as Grand Marshals will highlight a star-studded American professional athlete field, which will include 12 men and 11 women who competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, and nine U.S. athletes who competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon total prize purse of $803,000 will include a USA Division for both men’s and women’s professional runners for the first time in a decade. The USA Division will total $116,000, with the top male and female American finisher each taking home $25,000.