CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Cayetano: 4 social media groups behind SEA Games ‘sabotage’ QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Magsayo keeps int’l feather crown View comments Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “You can see we came here to do what we had to do, so credit to the players who never gave up,” said Global Cebu coach Akbar Nawas.Former National U star Paolo Salenga sent the game to extra time by heading home a free kick from Pika Minegishi in the 109th minute, after Kento Nagasaki put Albirex ahead, 2-1, in the 96th minute.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutGlobal defender Wesley Dos Santos also scored off a Minegishi free kick in the first half to cancel out Tsubasa Sano’s opener.But it was Albirex which held its nerve in the shootout with Global missing the first two attempts from Dos Santos and Daruy Roberts, while Albirex converted one out of two —with Sano missing after Nagasaki converted. Global Cebu’s historic run in the RHB Singapore Cup 2017 came to a heartbreaking end on Saturday after the Philippine club bowed to Albirex Niigata in a penalty shootout at Jalan Besar Stadium.The Filipinos equalized twice to send the game to a shootout only to falter, 1-3, as the Japanese-flavored side playing in the Singapore League wrested the crown for the second straight season.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Albirex scored two more from the spot, before Salenga’s effort was parried away for the final count.Global is the first Filipino team to reach the final of the event—CEDELF P. TUPAS Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City MOST READ
Month: November 2019
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “This should be the start because it would be a waste of effort if we don’t capitalize on it,” said Tiamzon. “And I think we finally had the confidence and it’s like this was the first time that we won since last conference.” LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend PVL: BanKo Perlas snaps skid, stops Adamson LATEST STORIES And Tiamzon paid instant dividends with a team-high 14 points in their four-set win over Adamson University, 25-18, 25-16, 21-25, 25-21, in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.“I guess I’ve been put into the game a little more frequent now and I’m exposed to the game more and to the situation itself,” said Tiamzon as they won their first match in three outings.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsTiamzon was absent in the Perlas Spikers’ first game in the conference and when she returned just in time for their second match she rode the bench the whole time.And now that BanKo Perlas was able to win its first game, Tiamzon hopes they can build off from their victory and improve for the rest of the eliminations. Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netNicole Tiamzon has had a diminished role as an attacker with BanKo Perlas with other spikers like Ella De Jesus, Amy Ahomiro, and Amanda Villanueva in the lineup.On Sunday, however, the former University of the Philippines stalwart had the opportunity to start the game.ADVERTISEMENT El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong View comments
LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR CJ Perez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netReturning to his old stomping grounds, CJ Perez didn’t look like he missed a beat as he dazzled in his first official NCAA game with Lyceum.The 23-year-old lived up to the hype and racked up 22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the Pirates’ NCAA Season 93-opening 96-75 victory over JRU on Tuesday.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ “If we can be consistent, we can go far this season,” he said.And Lyceum can test its mettle early as it gears up for defending champion San Beda on Friday. Venus Williams reaches Wimbledon semifinals for 10th time But Perez took it in stride, knowing that he has to be better in the coming games.The 6-foot-2 prodigy, however, doesn’t want the spotlight all for himself, saying that the secret for the huge acclaim the Pirates have been getting from their preseason showing should also be credited to his teammates.“I’m the same CJ Perez, but the team is what helps us win. It’s our camaraderie, we’re all close and we’re all focused, which bonds the team and makes us work, especially on the defensive end,” he said.Lyceum gave the fans a glimpse on how potent the team can be when locked in, shutting down the usually gritty Heavy Bombers.Perez noted that the performance was just the tip of the iceberg as he expects the Pirates to continue working hard in hopes of figuring in the Final Four race later in the season.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes View comments For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Perez is just glad to finally be on a competitive setting anew after three years of treading in the Team B circuit while serving his residency.“I’m really happy to play for LPU and I’m glad to play for NCAA again. I’m so excited,” he said in Filipino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsPerez’ giddiness, though, may have gotten the better of him as he also committed seven of Lyceum’s 21 turnovers, a part of his game that coach Topex Robinson playfully took a shot at.“He’s still the same, same with his turnovers,” said the youthful mentor to his prized possession in jest. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena
View comments National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games LATEST STORIES MOST READ Wangs hoping for the best in hot playoff race Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next It was 22 years after Simpson’s trial for the 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, became a television soap opera.Commentators harshly criticized Simpson and his lawyer for their performance at the parole hearing. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin called it “an absolute disgrace.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars FILE – In this June 15, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson, left, grimaces as he tries on one of the leather gloves prosecutors say he wore the night his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered in a Los Angeles courtroom. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada prison inmate, will have a lot going for him when he appears before state parole board members Thursday, July 20, 2017, seeking his release after more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to retrieve sports memorabilia. (AP Photo/Sam Mircovich, Pool, file)NEW YORK — Television networks returned to the scene of an old obsession Thursday with blanket coverage of O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing Nevada.The biggest broadcast networks, news networks and even ESPN and CNBC set aside regular programming for the odd spectacle that NBC’s Savannah Guthrie dubbed “the parole hearing of the century.”ADVERTISEMENT
Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “Filipinos are slowly climbing up at par with the foreigners. We have to understand that foreign countries, they’ve been doing triathlons 10-20 years ahead, so they’re already advanced,” Guidicelli said during the Ford Forza Triathlon Team press conference at Ascott Makati on Friday.Currently, the top three elite men triathletes in the world are all from Spain while two Americans and one Australian compose the top three in the elite women.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsFord Forza team will be bannered by Joseph Miller and Elmo Clarabal in the elite men of Ironman 70.3 Cebu on August 6.The event is one of the biggest in Asia with 2,500 athletes set to participate from 51 countries. FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Last year, Miller, who hails from Cebu, finished fifth.“I’m still aiming for a top three finish,” Miller said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View comments Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Ford Forza’s Matteo Guidicelli. Photo by Mark GiongcoMatteo Guidicelli, actor and triathlete, believes Filipinos still have a lot of catching up to do and be on the class of foreign competitors in triathlon.But at the same time, Guidicelli thinks Filipinos are constantly improving and will eventually close in on the gap over time.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Irving trade demand surprises former Cavs teammate Dellavedova Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’
In anticipation of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, the Tokyo Organizing Committee recently unveiled the official dance and theme song of the biggest sporting competition in the world.ADVERTISEMENT According to a report on Japan Times, a meeting attended by Mori was held later in the day, where he urged organizers to speed up preparations for the games and meet the tight schedule.Meanwhile, the preparations for the 2020 Olympics has not gone smoothly as hoped and has encountered several delays. This includes a scandal caused by a construction worker who committed suicide while working on the National Stadium, the report said.The opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympic Games kicks off on July 24, 2020. KI/rgaRELATED STORIES:Olympics: Kids to choose Tokyo 2020 mascotsFaster, higher, rustier: Medals from Rio Olympics damagedEvaluating LA bid for 2024 Olympics requires imaginationADVERTISEMENT Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant LATEST STORIES View comments El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Revolving around the concept of “HAPPY＆PEACE,” the theme song of the spirited event is dubbed as “Tokyo Olympic Ondo-Ondo 2020,” a remake of the original song from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics titled “Tokyo Gorinto Ondo.”The dance, which was first shown at an event held at the Toranomon Hills complex in Minato ward, was first introduced by Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori on stage.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsWith the event being streamed live on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Facebook account, the dance that accompanied the theme song was later demonstrated on stage. The performers were joined by several Olympians, including 2012 London Games gold medalist Homare Sawa.The esteemed athlete donned the “yukata”, or summer kimono, printed with the Olympic logo. Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics03:03Rescue efforts underway as Typhoon Hagibis kills 11 in Japan02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Cavaliers name Koby Altman full-time general manager FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’
Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters “I told the father (and coach Emerson Obiena) we’re thinking of the long term here. We have the Asian Games, the Olympics and World Championships. SEA Games gold is good but if he aggravates his injury we don’t want it,” said Juico.READ: PH gold medal bet Obiena injures ACL, out of SEA GamesFEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe 22-year-old, 6-foot-2 Obiena hurt his ACL and was even reported by Juico as needing surgery last Friday, one day before the team departed for this city.But Juico said EJ and his father insisted that the young pole vaulter is healthy enough to hunt for a gold in the event where he bagged a silver two years ago in Singapore. NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul SEA Games: PH stays unscathed at 2-0 in ice hockey Obiena, who has been training in Formia, Italy, has a personal best of 5.61 meters, which is deemed good for the SEA Games gold medal.The standing SEA Games record is only 5.30 meters.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim EJ Obiena has broken the national record 14 times and, at 21, looks very capable of raising the bar well beyond the 5.55 meters he achieved in a recent athletics meet in Singapore (photo).KUALA LUMPUR—Ernest John Obiena is set to compete in pole vault on Thursday despite fears that he injured his left ACL last week during training in Manila.This was confirmed by athletics chief Philip Ella Juico, who said Obiena will fly here in the morning just in time for the event in the afternoon at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ MOST READ Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR LATEST STORIES Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’
Even as an emotional Sachin Tendulkar gets set to play his last World Cup match in front of his home crowd at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that expectations are nothing new to the batting maestro and the champion batsman won’t get overawed by the situation.Speaking on the eve of the match, Dhoni said that handling the pressure of expectations is what Tendulkar has been doing successfully over the last 21 years and playing the final of the showpiece event at his home ground wouldn’t be something out of the blues for the little master.”When god made Tendulkar, he made him just to play cricket. From the very first ball he ever faced on the international scene, he has looked at giving his 100 per cent. Players have come and players have gone, but Tendulkar has just grown from strength to strength.”It might be a big occasion for every player out in the middle, but if anything, Tendulkar will use the pressure to his advantage. Irrespective of whether he gets the coveted 100 international centuries or not, he has achieved what not many cricketers can dream of. He doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone,” he said.Talking of what sets apart the little genius from the other stars to have played the game, Dhoni said: “It definitely has to be his level of dedication towards the game and the intensity with which he has played for the last 21 years. While cricketers have come and gone, he has held fort.advertisement”Even today, he is takes every training session seriously. He would much rather not turn up for training rather than joking around once on the ground. He is not a player to turn up for training just for the sake of it. He has an intent every single time he is on the ground.”Dhoni also feels that it is the master blaster’s knack to get every minute detail in place ahead of a match that sets him apart from the rest.”He comes into the ground and if there is any area which he feels needs to be worked upon, he will work on it and unless he is satisfied with the result, he won’t leave the ground. He doesn’t leave anything for tomorrow.”(On a lighter note) We are blessed that he is a genius and the two or three hour training sessions that we have are enough for him to correct his mistakes, else we might have been stranded on the ground forever,” Dhoni said.
Summer’s legends tied up in bright jewels and tall tales. Bidder-sweet crowning glory”A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. And if it takes the form of pirouetting Colombian emeralds dangling delicately from a string of diamonds, it’s probably worth a king’s ransom too. Which is precisely what Sotheby’s is,Summer’s legends tied up in bright jewels and tall tales.Bidder-sweet crowning glory”A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. And if it takes the form of pirouetting Colombian emeralds dangling delicately from a string of diamonds, it’s probably worth a king’s ransom too. Which is precisely what Sotheby’s is expecting from this whopper of a show stopper-the most valuable emerald and diamond tiara to have appeared in over 30 years-at its sale of Magnificent and Noble Jewels in Geneva on May 17, 2011. The emeralds are believed to have been in the personal collection of Empress Eugenie. Estimated to sell for between $5 and 10 million (Rs 22.4 crore-44.8 crore), the emerald and diamond tiara is crafted from 11 exceptionally rare Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops which weigh over 500 carats. The unique tiara was commissioned at the turn of the 20th century by Guido Count von Henckel, First Prince von Donnersmarck, for his second wife Princess Katharina.The jewellery collection of the Donnersmarcks was said to have rivalled, even surpassed, that of the crowned heads of Europe. For one triumphant bidder, this will be the opportunity to own a glittering piece of royal history and to walk out a couple of inches taller.Spirit: Intoxicating online lessonsThe Balvenie Speyside distillery has launched ‘The Whisky Academy’ that gives you access to a series of 34 short films, covering every aspect of whisky, from its history and production to tasting and investing. The e-academy introduces you to the hallowed world of single malts. It’s nothing short of a Scotch encyclopedia. View it exclusively from the members’ section of the Balvenie website. Time to renew that highland fling.Tableware: History on a plateExactly a century ago, the iconic vessel, Titanic, was gearing up for its maiden voyage. The ill-fated ship sank with 1,309 passengers on board its inaugural expedition in 1912. Now, a century later, a British porcelain company Royal Crown Derby is reproducing the china that was created in 1911 for the liner, to commemorate its centennial. Each piece will be handcrafted at the factory that originally produced the collection. On display at the Derby Visitor Centre’s History on a Plate exhibition until July 2, 2011.Olfactory: BeehiveGuerlain’s fascination with bees dates back to 1853 when its perfumer, Pierre-Franois Pascal, created a fragrance for Empress Eugenie Montijo, wife of Napoleon III, and confined it in a decanter decorated with 69 gilded bees. The beehive remains a symbol of the brand and makes its mark once again with the launch of L’Abeille de Guerlain, a new fragrance sold in a jewelled bottle created by Baccarat. The limited edition of the fragrance is priced at Euro 12,500 (Rs 8 lakh).Wheels: Spin magicFrom shifting gears to changing tracks; McLaren has once again managed to keep pace with the times. The Formula1 car maker has teamed up with US bicycle manufacturer, Specialized, to create a killer aerodynamic road bike called the Venge. The racing bike features a carbon fibre frame that weighs only 930 gm. Mark Cavendish, 15-times stage winner of the Tour de France, rode the bike for the first time in the Milan-San Remo classic. Now it’s your turn.”Piece de resistance: On wheelsGodrej Interio launches a movable workstation labelled Out-of-the-Box. Designed by architect Kalhan Mattoo of Planet 3 studios, the workstation is inspired by a swiss knife that literally comes out-ofthe-box to reveal two ‘functioning’ workstations. The essence of the concept is plug and play. Each module is pre-wired, making it ideal for those looking for just-in-time workspace solutions.Hotel: Suite dreamsMove over designer hotels, enter sculptural hotels. The first of its kind is the Singapore Merlion. The mythical beast- frozen in time in the shape of an eight-mt tall statue- was up until now supposed to keep watch over the city’s waters and bring wealth and good fortune to its residents. But since March, the Merlion has been playing host to guests looking for a novel experience. The legendary structure has been transformed into a temporary hotel which will accommodate guests till May 15.CalendaradvertisementDates that mean something.Celebrate May in Germany: Drawn to drama? Head to Wiesbaden this month as it celebrates the International May Theatre Festival. Some of the most important global theatre ensembles, ballet companies, orchestras and singers will perform. www.maifestspiele.de. May 1-31.For wheel fanatics: Vienna is the place to be as the Vienna Harley Days hit the stage with live rock, country and blues music this May. The highlight is a large motorcycle parade through the city. May 13-15.The dunya festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands: For an entire day, the Euromast Park plays home to prominent artists and young talent from across the globe. May 29.TalkadvertisementTramp around Rome from the comfort of your home.Virtual tourism: Back in 2009, when Google introduced the ‘Street View’, it became an instant hit with viewers worldwide. Since then Google has been studiously pedalling its way around some of the most historical sites in Europe, including palaces, monuments and castles via Google Maps and Street View. While previously most views were restricted to exteriors, now users can explore historic and architectural marvels across Italy and France in detail. The Street View team that has been working with tourist agencies, tourism boards and partners from across the world has been focusing on putting tourist spots and iconic cultural landmarks on the virtual. Currently,19 European cities are available to virtual tourists and there are plans to get landmarks from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the US on the map as well. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Sainte Chapelle are architectural masterpieces while Haussmann’s wide squares and boulevards influenced late 19thand 20th-century town planning the world over. Fancy a little tour of your own? Why not start with a walk alongside the Seine. From the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, from the Place de la Concorde to the Grand and Petit Palais, and witness the evolution of Paris and its history can be seen from its banks-while sitting right in your living room. Simply log on to maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/ and get crackin’.Moving ahead of timeA unique time machine by Sydney born, product and industrial designer Marc Newson was unveiled at the prestigious Basel watch fair. Newson, known to be a step ahead of his peers, has created an iconic piece called the Ikepod Hourglass. The hourglass time-telling device- originally invented by a French monk, Luitprand-has for centuries been one of the most accurate time contraptions. The Marc Newson Ikepod Hourglass is hand blown from one single piece of borosilicate glass. Filling each piece are 8 million tiny nanoballs coated in black stainless steel, stainless steel, copper or yellow gold. No surprise then that this sculptural hourglass is priced at $28,500 (Rs 12 lakh). Time is money, we say.Gucci girlAfter Hermes, it’s Gucci extending its relationship with the equestrian world. The brand has signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Australian-born Edwina Alexander, the world’s current number one female professional show jumper. Her first show in Gucci colours was at the Global Championship Tour in Doha. She was see sporting an exclusive Gucci equestrian wardrobe, including clothing and accessories, especially designed for her by Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini.Tour de force”Finally everything that has been part of my life, whether I wanted it to or not, has expressed itself in my dresses,” said Christian Dior. And now an exhibit, Inspiration Dior will display all that was created by the genius designer who revered the French way of life. The exhibition takes you through the journey of the fashion house. Walk through Dior’s artistic creative sources of fashion and its links to history, nature, painting, sculpture, drawing, photography and film. On till July 24, 2011at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.MusicadvertisementFendi feverFendi, known to be a creative fashion powerhouse, recently launched a collector’s item at the FENDI O’ party in Milan. The music compilation is inspired by the new Spring Summer 2011 advertising campaign, shot by Karl Lagerfeld. Plug in.1. Quentin Harris & Inaya Day: Do the Right Thing2. Art Bleek and Charles Chemery: Simple Glances3. Linda Goddard: You Got to Believe4. In-Grid: Vive Le SwingThe spice cellarFresh off the grapevine Not too long ago I was invited for a wine dinner in another town. A town so congested that even the mice are thinking of shifting to the countryside. In this city, many a great hotel stands tall and mighty and I was here at the Four Seasons, Mumbai to attend a very special dinner.A couple that has set up a family owned winery in California, called Staglin, hosted the evening and presented a bouquet of their finest wines. Our hosts, Garen and Shari, met during college on a blind date. After graduating, they settled down near the winemaking regions of California. Living in the vicinity of vineyards, the two were drawn to the wine-making process. Their love and passion for all things fine led to the purchase of a vineyard. Complete novices, with nothing more than an idea of what they wanted, the two set out to create marketable wine by exploiting the best of practices.The dinner was impeccably paired and the wines went down easy. Before I lost myself to hedonism I marked one wine repeatedly for its complexity and richness. This was their Staglin Family Vineyard Estate Chardonnay. The wine, like the philosophy section in a library, was utterly complex. It had a hint of spice and oak, a texture at once fruity, floral and elegant. No two people who drank this wine had the same experience, but everyone present agreed unanimously-the wine was superlative.The thing about Chardonnays is that they are often perceived as a very versatile grape: they can adapt to soils, climates, styles, and winemakers. This means that no matter how much of it is planted, you can always find something new about it. Burgundy has one expression, Australia, another and it’s largely unfair to compare the two. California then is another variant and there too, different producers will employ a different approach.Staglin, for me, was special because it was elegant and charming without being overtly flamboyant. There was a humility in its construct which made it appear a tad reserved and shy and as a taster (or imbiber) one would be attracted to find out more. This is what made this wine truly stand out and shimmer. Staglin was worthy of ageing but it was approachable even when young. This complex mix of characters is what make it a great wine. For the collectors, it is also rare so yet another reason to go hunting for it.This wine set the bar for the rest of the evening. White wine aside, there were some reds that were up for tasting. An obvious comparison was made between them and the Chardonnay but it was quite clear that they needed to mature before they could compete with the top choice. By the end of yet another heady, inspiring evening, there was consensus that the night clearly belonged to the Estate Chardonnay.-Magandeep Singh
The CBI on Friday opposed in the Supreme Court the bail pleas of DMK MP M.K. Kanimozhi and co-accused Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar in the 2G case on the ground that if released, they could tamper with evidence and influence witnesses. In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the investigating agency contended that Kanimozhi and Kumar were key conspirators and Rs 200 crore transferred to the Kalaignar TV was part of the “bribe” amount and not a loan as claimed by the accused. The agency said that since investigation in the 2G case is at an advanced stage, it will not be proper for the apex court to grant bail to the accused. The CBI submitted that the special CBI court and later the Delhi High Court had carefully evaluated various material evidence and other factors to decline bail to them. The apex court had on June 13 asked the CBI to explain where the Rs 200 crore, allegedly diverted to DMK-owned Kalaignar TV in 2G scam, has gone and also to file a response on their bail pleas in a week’s time A bench of justices B.S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar, while terming “corruption as the worst form of human rights violation,” had asked CBI to come out with a status report on the loss to the state exchequer due to the award of 13 licences to one of the telecom operators and trial proceedings in the CBI special court. Kanimozhi and Kumar had moved the apex court seeking bail on June 10 challenging the Delhi High Court verdict rejecting their bail on the ground that they have strong political connections and the possibility of them influencing witnesses cannot be ruled out. Named as accused in the second charge-sheet for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 200 crore, the two were arrested on May 20 after the special court dismissed their bail pleas in the case. Both Kanimozhi and Kumar have 20 per cent stake each in Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd which allegedly received Rs 200 crore through a “circuitous” route from Shahid Balwa promoted DB Realty. For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.advertisement
Rafael Nadal opened his Wimbledon title defence in convincing style today, shaking off an early service break and cruising to a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Michael Russell.In keeping with tradition, the defending men’s champion played the first match on Centre Court at the All England Club and the top-ranked Spaniard put on a worthy performance to kick off proceedings on the 125th edition of the championships.Five-time women’s champion Venus Williams, back on her favorite grass surface, also swept into the second round with a straight-set win over 97th-ranked Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.Nadal, coming off his sixth straight French Open title and 10th overall Grand Slam championship, double-faulted to go down a break 4-2 in the first set against the 91st-ranked Russell. But Nadal buckled down, ran off six straight games to take the set and go up a break in the second. He was in total command the rest of the way against the 33-year-old American.”I started so-so in the first set, but after that I start to hit very well the forehand and I think I finished playing a very good level,” Nadal said.The two players shared a laugh after Russell successfully challenged what had been ruled an ace by Nadal on match point.Nadal won the next point, though, to finish the match in just under two hours.It was the first time Nadal has walked onto Centre Court as defending champion. After winning the title for the first time in 2008, he missed the tournament the following year with a knee injury.advertisement”Fantastic,” he said. “Seriously, I never played in a court like this. (It) was a big emotion to be the first player to play in this fabulous court. It was a very, very exciting feeling.”Watching it all from the Royal Box were Nadal’s parents, Sebastian and Ana Maria.”Too many beautiful things to see my mom and my dad in the Royal Box,'” Nadal said. “I think for them (it) was a great experience. So, everything in general was very, very nice today.”Also due on Centre Court were Francesca Schiavone and Andy Murray, with Tomas Berdych and Andy Roddick scheduled on Court 1.Williams, who returned to action at Eastbourne last week after an injury layoff of nearly five months, looked right at home at the All England Club as she beat Amanmuradov a 6-3 6-1.Williams kept her opponent waiting for several minutes on Court 2, with Amanmuradova sitting patiently on her courtside chair for the 31-year-old American to arrive.Once play started, Willliams took Amanmuradova apart in 59 minutes with her hard-hitting all-court game. She served seven aces, broke four times and had 23 winners to only five unforced errors, none in the second set.”It’s always great to be back,” Williams said. “To play a few matches at Eastbourne helped me feel pretty comfortable here. All in all, I’m pretty pleased. I only see pluses for today. I missed being out here playing,” Williams said.Amanmuradova, who has now lost in the first round at Wimbledon in all four appearances, is taller than Williams at 1.90 meters and can hit the ball hard. But once Williams found her rhythm, she couldn’t be stopped, winning six games in a row and the last 12 points to close out the match.Williams made a statement not only with her tennis but with her fashion sense – wearing a one-piece playsuit which exposed some of her back. The outfit featured cutout sleeves, a deep V neckline and a gold belt wrapped around the waist.”It’s a jumper,” Williams said. “Jumpers are very ‘now,’ as is lace. The shoulders have a lot of draping. It’s a kind of trendy dress. It’s fun. The back is a like a cutout or peekaboo. I’m always trying to do something different and fun.”Williams, who had been sidelined after injuring her hip at the Australian Open, returned last week and won two matches at the Wimbledon tuneup at Eastbourne.Williams has fallen to No. 30 in the rankings, but is seeded No. 23 – the same position she held when she won the tournament in 2007. Playing in her 15th Wimbledon, she extended her record to 69-9.Williams’ second-round opponent will be Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm, who became the second oldest women to win a match at Wimbledon, beating Katie O’Brien 6-0 7-5 today.The 40-year-old Date-Krumm, the third oldest women to compete at Wimbledon in the Open era and the oldest in this year’s draw, came out of retirement in 2008 but lost in the first round the last two years at the All England Club.advertisementIn another featured women’s match, 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva overcame 115th-ranked American Alison Riske 6-0 3-6 6-3. The second-seeded Russian looked in trouble after the second set against the 20-year-old Riske, whose best career results have been on grass. But Zvonareva raised her game when she needed to and closed out the match with an ace.The first seeded man to lose was No 30 Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil, who fell 7-6 (3) 6-4 6-2 to Rainer Schuettler of Germany. The 35-year-old Schuettler is the oldest player in the men’s draw.Tenth-seeded American Mardy Fish beat Spain’s Marcel Granollers 7-6 (3) 7-6 (5) 6-4, while big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, playing his first Wimbledon, was a 6-3 7-6 (3) 6-3 winner over Marc Gicquel of France. No 14 Stanislas Wawrinka beat Potito Starace, Italy, 6-3 6-4 6-4.Other men’s winners included No 9 Gael Monfils, who beat Matthias Bachinger 6-4 7-6 (3) 6-3, and fellow Frenchman and No. 17 Richard Gasquet, who defeated Santiago Giraldo 7-5 6-3 7-6 (3). – With PTI inputsFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.
The ICC on Monday announced its ODI Team of the Year, as chosen by a specially appointed selection panel chaired by West Indian batting legend and former captain Clive Lloyd.The announcement was made at a special function ahead of the LG ICC Awards ceremony which is being held this evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Presented in association with FICA, the LG ICC Awards recognise the best international players and officials of the past 12 months. Six countries have been represented in the 12-man line-up and just one player – Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India – four years in a row. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 winning captain keeps wicket and leads the side and is joined by fellow ICC ODI Team of the Year 2009 members AB de Villiers of South Africa and Shane Watson of Australia.There are four Indians in the side, all of whom were involved in India’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 victory over Sri Lanka in Mumbai in April of the year.Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga, who were all part of the side that lost out to Dhoni’s men in the final on 2 April 2011 at Wankhede Stadium, are selected for the team too. Chairman of the LG ICC Awards selection panel, Lloyd said: “This has been an outstanding year for 50-over cricket. I think everyone saw in the ICC Cricket World Cup how exciting this format can be. “The ICC Cricket World Cup was rightly applauded as one of the greatest in history and no one who was in Mumbai will forget that remarkable evening. “The ODI team of the year reflects the success of India with four players selected – Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, M S Dhoni and Zaheer Khan. Yuvraj was, of course, the player of the tournament and MS Dhoni, the man of the match in the final, whilst fellow finalists Sri Lanka has three players in the side.” Lloyd was joined on the panel by former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas, former England captain Mike Gatting, former New Zealand bowler Danny Morrison and former South African bowler Paul Adams. Statistics were available as a guide but were not necessarily the overwhelming factor in the choices made. The ICC ODI Team of the Year was one of two teams selected by the ICC selection panel along with the Test line-up which was announced last month.advertisementICC ODI Team of the Year (in batting order) Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL)Virender Sehwag (Ind)Kumar Sangakkara (SL)AB de Villiers (SA)Shane Watson (Aus)Yuvraj Singh (Ind)MS Dhoni (Ind, wicketkeeper/captain)Graeme Swann (Eng)Umar Gul (Pak)Dale Steyn (SA)Zaheer Khan (Ind)12th Man – Lasith Malinga (SL)
Anamika Acharya, the live-in partner of Asian Games gold medallist Pinki Pramanik, submitted her recorded conversation (audio tape) with Avtar Singh, husband of former CPM MP Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, to police on Monday.Anamika claimed that she was pressurised by former national level athlete Singh to file rape charges against Pinki following a rift between the two over monetary transactions.”Avtar Singh told me that he would support me to reach out to the authorities to prove that Pinki is a male as he had hidden her actual gender identity. Now he is supporting Pinki so that the athlete cannot be proved otherwise,” Acharya told Mail Today on Tuesday. Anamika further alleged that she was forced to do what Avtar wanted.She submitted a CD at the Baguihati police station that contains a audio clip – her telephonic conversation with Avtar.”Avtar Singh and his wife are now supporting Pinki so that the land is not taken back by the government. They are concerned about the land allotted to Pinki and that is why they are trying to prove Pinki is a female which she is not. I will continue to fight against them,” Anamika said.The excerpts of the recorded conversation (submitted to the police) follow as:ANAMIKA: You know that he (Pinki) bought a Bolero.AVTAR: Oh, when?ANAMIKA: When they went to the bank to collect the money that you deposited.AVTAR: No, no they did not say anything. I do not know anything. I did not meet him.advertisementANAMIKA: Out of the Rs 10 lakh you gave, he bought a car for Rs 7 lakh and has Rs 3 lakh in cash.ANAMIKA: He went to the lawyer whom Shankar had brought hereAVTAR: O ya, that one… Yes.ANAMIKA: He told Pinki to go to the police and that he will send a notice to us saying that we are blackmailing him with his photo.AVTAR: It’s not blackmail. Pinky lied. He has played with everybody, managed a job by lying. He should be charged under Section 420.ANAMIKA: Pinki called me in the morning asking whether I am going to ask Avtar Singh. I asked him why should I go? I do not have any relation with anybody. Then Pinky said: ‘Whatever you want to do, you can do.’AVTAR: Whatever you want to do, do.ANAMIKA: But it should not cause any problem to you, right? Regarding your land or anything…AVTAR: What problem?…What land?…I do not have any land.ANAMIKA: The land you have taken from Pinky?AVTAR: No, no there is no land of mine. I am not related to this matter.ANAMIKA: You supported me for so long. But what solution have you got?AVTAR: But I had told Shankar to pay you Rs 6 lakhANAMIKA: But I did not receive any call.AVTAR: You should have waited till Wednesday.Meanwhile, state PWD minister Firad Hakim on Monday directed the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) CEO Vivek Bharadwaj to look into the files of Pinki, who was given a piece of land by the erstwhile Left Front government after she won a gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games.”The KMDA will probe how much land was given to Pinki and whether it was leased out or given on an ownership basis. I have also asked the agency to find out whether Pinki can use the land for commercial or residential purpose,” Hakim said. The state sports department is also probing into the land distribution matter to find out whether the former athlete got it under the state’s sports quota.
Once every four years a great gloom overtakes Middle India. Out there on some foreign field, rich countries and poor ones, renowned sporting powers and others you couldn’t locate on a world map, are collecting medals at the Olympic Games, the most significant global sporting stage of them all.Making up,Once every four years a great gloom overtakes Middle India. Out there on some foreign field, rich countries and poor ones, renowned sporting powers and others you couldn’t locate on a world map, are collecting medals at the Olympic Games, the most significant global sporting stage of them all.Making up the numbersIndians are enthusiastic participants, with large contingents of athletes and officials for global games. They add colour to opening ceremonies but do not bring the weight of their numbers to bear on the medals tally. Surinam has an individual gold medal in swimming, Ethiopia and Mozambique produce athletes of distinction, Thailand won as many individual medals in a single Olympics as independent India has in its entire history. Let’s not delude ourselves: despite the huge haul at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, India continues to remain a fringe player in world sport.For most part it does not seem to matter – as long as there’s cricket on television – but when the world’s finest athletes gather for the Olympics, the truth comes home. Only then is the Indian’s sense of self challenged and that tired question asked: why can’t one billion people win gold?During the Sydney Olympics, the Australian Bureau of Statisticscalculated that the country with the best performance at the Games wasnot the United States with 97 medals, but Barbados with its singlebronze – because sprinter Obadele Thompson’s 100m bronze was a medalearned by a nation with a population of 2,70,000. The worst performer by that count? India.You could crunch numbers a littledifferently. In truth, India does not have one billion candidates forathletic excellence. What it has is one billion mouths to feed. With 26per cent of the country living below the poverty line, there are 740million people who form the population base from where athletes can befound. Half of those are women, not actively encouraged to take part insport. Even when they decide to, support from family and society iswavering. So, more accurately, India is a country of around 300 millionwho cannot win gold. advertisementTainted awardsWhen the country’s highest award for sport, the Arjuna Award, is turned into a system of favour-trading and hand-outs, it’s time to call for change Truth is a tricky customer, it spots and slips through smokescreens.Just before the 1996 Olympics, two American researchers predicted howmany medals participating nations would win based on their real GDP.Their predictions turned out to be accurate, except even here-operatingagainst a low target of three medals predicted by the study – India wonjust one bronze. In 2000 the exercise was repeated and again worked forthe statisticians but not the Indians. Any which way you calculateOlympic performances – GDP, GNP, per capita income – India fails toweigh in again.It’s not only easy to blame the system. It’s imperative. Internationalsport is not a level-playing field, it is a jungle where survivalbelongs to not just the fittest but the best-prepared. The athlete whois not identified by the time he is in his early teens and taken underthe wing of a modern training programme, has already lost time andprecious medals.When they say the era of the amateur is over, it includes the athlete as well as the entire support structure around him. It is here that Indiafails.It begins with the lack of a culture for sport that surrounds a child: a shortage of playgrounds and facilities is the least of it. In India,school-level sport is not a starting point for talent-scouting as it isin countries as diverse as the United States and China. It’s just a gapin the time-table from the world of books. SUCCEEDING IN SPORTS Professionalise sport by restructuring its administration. The system of “honorary” officialdom is clearly outdated: running sport is a full-time business. Hand it over to private enterprise. Have the politicians and bureaucrats make way for management experts who will take care of fund-raising and managing money. All aspects of sport must be under the charge of qualified ex-athletes who will be paid for their expertise. Channel and prioritise spending on sport. Funding and attention should be extended to those sports which show sustained progress over a five-year period, starting now. Progress will mean a steady improvement in world rankings. There is no sense in putting a country’s energies into sports where India only makes up the numbers and brings up the rear in world. It’s not the Government, nor is it private enterprise that can run sport. There is only one institution that has the infrastructure, the tradition and the culture of discipline needed to make champions. The armed forces. It’s time to hand over athletes’ training to the military. It’s time to accept that India is not an Olympic power. Withdrawing from Olympic competition in disciplines where we are not in the world’s top 10 may work. India needs to focus on the Asiad and other world events to get good enough to contend for medals at the highest level. Opt for a more democratic model for sport. Concentrate on developing a culture for sport. Access to sport for all should be the first step, by setting up cheap, accessible sports centres in cities and villages with a network of talent-spotters. Quality will come from numbers.For the middle class, with access to sports clubs and reasonable facilities, it’s merely khel-kood, a trivial pursuit. For the rich, it’s just another diversion you wouldn’t want to take seriously because, seriously, only the yokels do. Sport in India is one way out of poverty – the reasons our young men and women take to sport is not to set the fields of the world alight, but to keep their home fires burning.advertisementIndian sport also works as a welfare state; the average athlete knows that and sets his or her sights low. The state is the patron, the benefactor which can provide an athlete a job in the public sector. Once that is sealed it is the rare athlete that wants to let go of that safety net and pursue athletic excellence.An unknown Ghanaian who plays in Delhi’s local leagues made an observation once: “In Ghana, footballers from the smallest clubs talk about playing in Europe, for Juventus, Inter Milan. In India, they talk of getting a job.” If the athlete’s reach and his grasp have very little to separate them, then who would aim for heaven?This is a peculiar kind of contentment, one that eats away at the soul of aspiration; but it is arrived at only after the athlete’s will is gnawed into once he has dealt with the establishment and the world of feudalism, intrigue and compromise.The administration of Indian sport is two-pronged: the Ministry of Sport, served through its monster-child, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), and the national federations that run individual disciplines. It’s a circus made up of politicians, bureaucrats and career sports administrators, the latter belonging to either one of the first two categories.Once elected to office in a sporting federation – where the voting process involves allegations of bribes, arm-twisting tactics and intimidation – power is not easily relinquished. An Indian succeeds not just because of hard training , but because the gods have decided his federation has a well-meaning set of officials who know what to do with their elite athletes and how to plan their careers.The reason India won only a single medal at Sydney in women’s weightlifting, a discipline in which it had dominated world competition before the sport made its Olympic debut in 2000, was corrupt officials, poor planning, favouritism and biased selection. The same officials, selectors and coaches are still in charge. By now the most dedicated and deserving lifters would have got the message: toe their line or else. Indian hockey could be a metaphor for Indian sport itself, so badly has it slipped-and been allowed to slip-from public consciousness.advertisementTopsy turvyLike the wrestler in this photograph, the Indian athlete can be thrown about-by officialdom. His career is dependent not on his skill but on the quality of officials, mostly unaccountable, who run his sport. Such anarchy exists in a vacuum of leadership and vision. Government control over sport is restricted to the functioning of the SAI, the running of sports hostels across the country and the clearance of special funding and teams for overseas competition; not to areas like keeping an eye on federation elections and a scrutiny of accounts. Moving sport to the Concurrent List will give the Government those rights but its own track record is poor. Poor, in fact, says it all.The national sports budget totals Rs 150 crore, of which the SAI receives Rs 104 crore for maintenance of existing infrastructure, salaries and assorted projects. The outlay for the creation of new infrastructure, promotion of sport in schools and colleges and installation of artificial surfaces does not total more than Rs 16 crore a year. The structures that exist are in a state of disrepair or disuse. When the centre cannot hold, things will keep falling apart.Nothing epitomised the decay in Indian sport as the Arjuna Awards controversy which proved that the prestigious national awards in sport had been turned into a programme of compromised hand-outs. In the list of 2001, India’s greatest male runner, Milkha Singh, was named alongside a sacked hockey coach, a gymnast with no international competition on her CV and an athlete with one half-marathon victory to her name.There will always be two schools of thought on the approach that India must take to sport: whether to concentrate on spending big on putting up stadia and hosting multi-discipline meets and spreading excitement and a buzz around sports, or whether to strengthen the framework on which such grand dreams must essentially rest. Whether to build up the grassroots base from where the numbers will come or to pump money into training a select band of athletes from disciplines that show progress internationally.Ground realitiesThere is a pattern with Indian stadia. Just before a major event, crores of rupees are spent to upgrade the venue, after which maintenance is never a priority, as is evident from the astroturf at this Uttar Pradesh ground. When Indian athletes do well, as the Manchester medallists will testify, administrators, officials and people in politics jostle with each other to organise felicitations and shower them with cash. Everyone likes being fussed over but the more circumspect athlete will say that had they received all that funding and even half that support during training, they could have been slightly better performers. In a world where nano-seconds and millimetres separate a medallist and just another loser, “slightly” embraces a universe. What does Indian sport need more: the Afro-Asian Games (which will cost more than Rs 100 crore) and another set of world-class sports stadia we struggle to maintain once the Games are gone? Or a foolproof, corruption-proof, red-tape-proof programme of nurturing elite athletes and making champions? Champions are the only catalysts that can cause an explosion of interest and enthusiasm around their sport.The 1983 World Cup victory put cricket in a different universe compared to other Indian sports, a universe it still does not share with any other discipline. The burgeoning of chess talent in India has been attributed to the global success of one man, Viswanathan Anand. If India seeks sporting excellence, it will have to rid its establishment of the mediocrity that defines it.
Saina Nehwal may be India’s brightest medal prospects in badminton, but she will have to breach the Chinese wall to lay her hands on Olympic gold. With her recent victories in the Thailand Open and Indonesia Open Super Series she has made a strong statement. The three top Chinese players Wang Yihan, Xin Wang and Li Xuerui will be better prepared to face the Indian in London. Pullela Gopi Chand, who knows what to expect from the Chinese players, has already worked on the drawing board to prepare Saina for the surprises. In her startling career, she had upset the top Chinese players many a times, only to see them return stronger. “They always have some surprise up their sleeves against Saina,” Gopi Chand, who has been Saina’s coach since 2003, told Mail Today.”Whenever Saina has beaten the top players, they always had a change of tactics in the next meeting, so we have to be prepared for that. They know that Saina is in top form and a big threat to their chances,” he said.The biggest win Saina achieved against the Chinese recently was over Li Xuerui in the final of the Indonesia Open. Li, who was fourth in the world ranking at the time of cutoff date, has arguably been the best player this year, considering she beat world No.1 and compatriot Yihan Wang three times. In Jakarta, Saina stopped Li’s march for her second win in five meetings.”Saina played a lot of rallies in that game and was brilliant at the net. It was a gritty performance,” said Gopi Chand. Against Wang, who too is an attacking player, Saina has lost five times though she stretched her on a couple of occasions. World No.2 Wang Xin also enjoys a 4-2 record against her. Saina, however, will not meet the Chinese before the semi-finals. Unlike on international tours, the competition will be played in two stages group and knock-out. There will be 16 groups of four players each and one player from each group will progress to the knock-out round where Saina is expected to face her first big challenge, against the likes of German Juliane Schenk, Korean Ji Hyun Sung and Denmarks Tine Baun. Challenges will be aplenty but Olympics is a platform where the young shuttler will have to show her famous grit and the hunger to win.advertisement
Sports editor S Kannan.The London Olympics suffered a huge jolt as eight women badminton players were disqualified by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on accusations of cheating and “not using one’s best efforts to win” in the doubles event.The ugly incident happened at the Wembley Arena on Tuesday night when two pairs from South Korea and one each from Indonesia and China made a series of unbelievable errors, hitting the shuttle repeatedly into the net, as if they were novices on court.It was very much “spot fixing” in badminton and on a stage as big as the Olympics.Just after all hell broke loose, India appealed against the result of a Group B match between Japan and Chinese Taipei, alleging it was not played in the right spirit and resulted in the elimination of Indian pair Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. The appeal was turned down, but India have asked the BWF to review its decision.”We had put in a protest this morning and the BWF has come back saying that they didn’t find any bias or anything beyond the ordinary in the matches. We have filed an appeal to review that decision,” said India’s coach Pullela Gopichand.Even as fans jeered the night match between China’s top seeds Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na, the referee got off his chair to warn the players.He had sensed that with just four shots being the longest rally in the first game, something was amiss. Spectators also complained that the players were hitting the shuttle aimlessly and were deliberately serving poorly.advertisementAccording to the BWF, the other guilty players are Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari and South Korea’s Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung.After the introduction of the league phase for the first time in badminton at the Olympics, there was scope for teams to play dirty. But nobody expected that teams which perform at the highest level would indulge in such acts.London organising committee (LOCOG) chief Sebastian Coe was aghast. “I was at the Wembley Arena earlier on Tuesday as the British team was playing and the atmosphere was good,” said Coe.He described the behaviour by the players as ‘depressing’ and ‘unacceptable’ at his daily briefing.”Who wants to sit through something like that?” added Coe.Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Akhilesh Das Gupta said their formal protest was rejected because of lack of evidence.”On behalf of the BAI, we had lodged a protest saying the match between Japan and Chinese Taipei was also fixed and Japan deliberately lost that match just to have a better draw in the next round, resulting in India not getting a chance to qualify for the next round,” Akhilesh said.”We are shocked and surprised that our protest has been rejected. A day before, we had beaten Chinese Taipei and they have qualified and we could not go through because Japan lost deliberately.”Jwala and Ashwini missed out on a quarter-final berth by a difference of just one point, even though they beat Shinta Mulia Sari and Lei Yao of Singapore 21-16, 21-15 in their last Group B match, after tying with the Japanese and Taipei combinations on the number of wins.The quick action from the BWF came in for praise from all quarters, as before this, badminton was always seen as a clean sport.It required no investigation to look into the despicable acts on the court as the players were accused of “not using best efforts” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.One of the officials with the Indian badminton team who spoke to Mail Today and did not want to be named said: “It’s a shame such acts happen in the Olympic arena. Badminton has been a clean sport all along and the reputation of the sport has been tarnished.”The bad news for the fans who watched the farce is their tickets will not be refunded. Paul Deighton, the LOCOG chief executive, said spectators had been able to watch another match in the session adding: “You get in to all sorts of strange precedents if people aren’t satisfied with what they see – it is very grey and dangerous territory.”South Korean coach Sung Han-kook blamed the Chinese. “If they played right, this wouldn’t happen,” he said. “So we did the same.”