Just 18, and Gurjinder Singh is already a crorepati

He’s just turned 18, and he’s already a crorepati. Gurjinder Singh, of Chandigarh Comets, played a big role in his team’s entry into the semifinals of the Bridgestone World Series Hockey, which concluded in Mumbai on Monday.

The baby-faced drag-flicker scored 19 goals to become the joint top-scorer of the WSH with Pakistan’s Imran Warsi, who played for Chennai Cheetahs. Comets, though, lost to Pune Strykers in the semifinals on Sunday, which, incidentally, was Gurjinder’s 18th birthday.

The Chandigarh boy, who was the junior India captain before joining the WSH, admits he never thought he would make it to the top-scorer’s list. “Credit goes to my teammates for setting up the penalty-corners,” said Gurjinder, who, coincidentally, sports No. 19 on his Comets jersey.

Gurjinder practices about 150-200 drag-flicks about three times a week at the academy in Chandigarh. “I have wonderful role models in Jugraj Singh and Sandeep Singh. I often pester them to part with some trade secrets. They have always been very helping.”

Gurjinder was sad that Comets lost to Strykers in the semifinals. “I would have preferred a victory as my birthday gift. But Pune fought back really well,” he said.

Pune, trailing 1-4 till the final quarter in that game, staged a spirited fightback to force a penalty shootout which they won to make the final.


2012 Indian Grand Prix F1 race to be held on October

After the stupendous success of this year’s inaugural edition, next season’s Indian Grand Prix Formula One race will be held on October 28 at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.

The 2012 Indian GP will be the 17th of the 20-leg championship, this was decided at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on Wednesday under the presidency of Jean Todt, the FIA president.

The meeting confirmed the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar.

The inaugural Indian Grand Prix was held on October 30 this year and the event turned out to be a huge success at the state-of-the-art Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.

Until Wednesday’s meeting, the 20-race calendar had been in doubt but the United States Grand Prix at a new circuit to be built in Austin, Texas, has been confirmed as well as Kingdom of Bahrain’s race, cancelled this year due to civil unrest.

Bahrain’s Sheikh Abdulla Bin Isa Khalifa is a WMSC member after Jean Todt gave him the presidency of the CIK, the karting commission, a statement from the world motorsport body said.

A number of other Technical Regulations and Sporting Regulations decisions were also taken in the meeting, which is a part of the ongoing FIA Annual General Assembly being held from the first time in India.

An eight-leg rally event for 2012 was also confirmed as well as 12-event FIA World Touring Car Championship calendar.

Among other important decisions, Austrian F1 champion Gerhard Berger has been appointed as the new president of the FIA Single-Seater Commission as current president Barry Bland is stepping down.

FIA president, Todt, opened the meeting by thanking Force India Formula One team owner Vijay Mallya and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) president, Vicky Chandhok for their hospitality and for hosting the week of FIA meetings in India, which will conclude with the prize distribution ceremony and gala dinner on Friday.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg storms to first GP

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg storms to first GP
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg claimed his first Formula One race victory in 111 attempts as he led from pole position to take the Chinese Grand Prix in style on Sunday.

The German’s faultless drive in Shanghai saw him comfortably home ahead of the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. The Red Bull of Mark Webber was fourth and reigning two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel fifth.

Rosberg showed no early nerves from pole position and made the perfect start to stay ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher going into the crucial first corner at an overcast but dry Shanghai International Circuit.

The big loser at the start was Vettel, whose nightmare weekend got slightly worse when he slipped from 11th on the grid to 15th.

With the seven-time champion Schumacher using all his experience to act as a buffer from the chasing pack, Rosberg was able to stretch his lead with 10 of the 56 laps under his belt in relative comfort.

But in lap 14 that strategy — intentional or not — came undone in amateurish fashion when Schumacher appeared to have been given the all-clear from a pit stop before one of the wheels was properly fastened.

A Mercedes mechanic frantically waved his arms but the 43-year-old was gone, only to slow up and stop shortly afterwards as he was forced to meekly bow out, his chance of a first race win since coming out of retirement over.

Minutes later Mercedes confirmed on Twitter: “Michael’s right front wheel was not fitted properly at the stop leading to his retirement.”

At about the same time, Rosberg was in the pit lane so he could switch to intermediate tyres, allowing Sergio Perez to briefly head the field, before he too pitted, allowing Ferrari’s Felipe Massa to briefly take the lead.

But the flying Rosberg was back in front once more when he easily passed Massa’s cumbersome Ferrari, with Button and Hamilton now hot on Rosberg’s heels. They were soon joined by Romain Grosjean, who was to finish sixth.

Rosberg surrendered his lead to Button when he pitted on lap 35, then Webber had a hairy moment when he ran wide on the kerb, launching the front of his Red Bull into the air, drawing gasps from a packed crowd.

Rosberg was out in front again when Button stopped for a final time and appeared to linger, allowing the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen to jump into second, with Vettel’s assault taking him up to third with 42 of the 56 laps gone.

Button’s challenge appeared over, with Rosberg enjoying a more than 22-second lead over second-place Raikkonen with 10 laps to go and on a fresh set of tyres. Vettel meanwhile used all his ability to pass Button and move into third.

With eight laps to go, a mistake by Raikkonen saw him plummet down to midfield, while Vettel, Button and Hamilton duelled over second and third.


Anand Pawar finishes runner-up at Dutch International badminton tournament

The giant-killing run of Anand Pawar in the Dutch International badminton tournament was halted in the final, not by the opponent but by the unfortunate injury.

A severe pain in the abdomen forced unseeded Pawar to give walkover to fifth seed Andre Kurniawan Tedjono of Indonesia in the title clash in Netherlands on Sunday.

After performing so well to reach the final, it was a sort of anti-climax for the Mumbai shuttler. On way to the summit clash, Pawar, world No. 63, had upset three seeded players including the top seed and local hero Eric Pang in the quarterfinals.

“I woke up with some pain in my abdomen muscle which I also felt yesterday (Saturday) after the match (semifinal) but didn’t think it was anything serious. I got it checked by the physio, who said it might be a slight tear which could be aggravated if I play and become a big tear. I would have to take 5-6 weeks off if that happened so he advised me not to play today.”

The in-form shuttler, who had claimed the French International title last Sunday, was tempted to play the final but dropped the idea after physio’s advice.

“It was a big risk (playing the final). I had the chance to win two titles in as many weeks but considering the fact that I have to play India Open in another eight days’ time, it was not worth taking risk. Obviously, I didn’t want to be out of the circuit for two months particularly when I am in good form,” reasoned Pawar.

The 25-year-old is optimistic about his chances of playing in the India Open Super Series which will be held in New Delhi from April 24-29.

“Yes, I think so. Atleast I hope so. I’m leaving from here on Monday so will know more about the injury when I’m back home in India. I think I will be ready by then. Since, I haven’t let it get bad today I can be ready for next week. I’m disappointed but satisfied with my effort. It’s good to get to the finals,” added an Air India employee.

It has been a very fruitful last couple of months for Pawar. After making the Finnish Open semifinals last month, Pawar followed it with a title in France which came after a gap of nearly two years. He made his form count by storming into the final in Netherlands.

“I want to do well in India Open Super Series and Malaysia Grand Prix Gold. I am hoping to break into the top-40 in next few months,” said Pawar, son of former badminton great Uday Pawar.