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first_imgBy Abhishek Hore New Delhi, Mar 19 (PTI) Indias vast size and diversity posed as obstacles in the initial preparatory stage, but having crossed the hurdles, FIFAs head of events Jaime Yarza has promised to deliver a “magnificent” U-17 World Cup football. India is bracing up to host its biggest-ever football tournament, and the worlds third biggest, from October 6 to 28 in six cities. “India is massive and has so many diverse regions that coordination with the various authorities can be challenging. In addition to this the distances to cover when we do inspections can be quite big. The infrastructure needed huge improvements but in general I am confident that it will be a magnificent FIFA World Cup,” Yarza told PTI. Better football education, stadia and training facilities could be some of the lasting legacies of India hosting the tournament, he said. “In the years to come I really hope to see Indias footballers rise to the top in Asia and this would be the true legacy of the FIFA U17 World Cup,” he said. “From an organisational point of view, we want to leave the right legacy in the football structures of the country — better sport managers, better stadia and better training sites. All of this should and will benefit football in India in the years to come.” Yarza lauded the government support ahead of his final inspection of the six venues this week. Yarza and his team will land here on Tuesday for the inspection visit and will be in the country till March 27. “The whole of India and its government are supporting the tournament, which really shows the strong and increasing level of interest in football. I am convinced that the FIFA U-17 World Cup, together with the project Mission XI Million, will leave a strong and lasting legacy in India and we will see an increasing interest in football and many more boys and girls playing the beautiful game.” Post the U-17 tournament, Yarza hoped to see stronger Indian national and clubs teams in the future. “If the AIFF maintains the level of activity we expect, supported by FIFAs Forward Development Programme, we will see great achievements in the various national and club teams from India. “Both Asia and the rest of the world can assume that there will be strong Indian teams in the future — Indias next qualification for a FIFA World Cup will happen sooner than initially expected. I am looking forward to this and of course to seeing the next generations of players in India.” More PTI AH PDS PDSadvertisementlast_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi, Mar 27 (PTI) Olympic medallists Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu will be the cynosure of all eyes when the seventh India Super Series badminton tournament gets underway with the qualifiers here tomorrow. London bronze-medallist Saina will be one of the favourites at the Indian Super Series, an event she won two years ago to achieve the world No.1 ranking. “Delhi has always been special to me. I won the Commonwealth Games gold here and then won the Indian Open in 2015 and became the world No.1. So everything has been special for me. It is great to play in front of home crowd,” said the current world No.8, who has been on a comeback trail after recovering from a knee injury. “The competition has become tougher. But I have been playing well, even at All England, the match that I lost was 50-50. So all I can say is I will give my best and hope to do well,” she added. Rio Olympics silver-medallist Sindhu, who has been in rampaging form ever since her Olympic high, will also look to continue her good run at the Sri Fort Sports complex. “I am looking forward to the event. It will be an exciting week, the competition is tough and I will give my best,” the world No.5 said. Saina and Sindhu had crashed out of the All England Championship after losing in the quarterfinals and the duo would be eyeing better results this week. They are likely to bump into each other in the quarterfinals on Friday if they manage to topple their opponents in the first two rounds. Sindhu will open her campaign against a qualifier after her opponent — Singapores Xiaoyu Liang — withdrew, while Saina will take on Chinese Taipeis Chia Hsin Lee in the opening round. Sindhu, seeded third, is likely to face Japans Saena Kawakami in the second round, while Saina will probably take on Thailands Pornpawee Chochuwong, an opponent she had beaten in the finals of the Malaysia Masters in January. The two have met just once in an international competition — at the 2014 Syed Modi International — where Saina had won in straight games. Saina and Sindhu were on collision course for a place in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open last year before the senior pro suffered a loss. They had played against each other in the Premier Badminton League with Sindhu having an upper-hand this year. PTI ATK PM PMadvertisementlast_img read more