Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good manners guidelines ahead of India games

The government of the Indian capital Delhi has prepared guidelines for residents which will warn them not to urinate or spit in public.
The list of dos and don'ts is being compiled to ensure that people of the city are charming hosts for the Commonwealth Games, officials say.
Authorities say a major media and advertising campaign is being planned to teach good manners to people.
Tens of thousands of tourists are expected to attend the games.
They are due to be held in Delhi from 3 to 14 October.
'Keep clean'
"We want to change Delhi's public culture; their behaviour towards each other and to guests… so that they are courteous," The Hindustan Times quoted Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit as saying.
"We want tourists to go back with the impression that Delhi is a sophisticated city," she said.
"We want to tell them don't urinate in public, don't spit, keep your houses and shops clean, keep public transport safe and such things," the newspaper quoted Delhi tourism chief Rina Ray as saying.
"This will tell every Delhiite that instead of being on the sidelines as a spectator, he or she can contribute to a better games."
The BBC's Geeta Pandey in Delhi says that spitting and urinating in public - primarily male traits - are a common sight across India.
A few months ago, Home Minister P Chidambaram also advised Indians to brush up on their manners and stop spitting and urinating in public places.
Critics say poor civic sense and a lack of public urinals are the main reasons why people indulge in such activities.
A number of states have tried to introduce measures to ban urinating in public in the past.
Three years ago the government of the state of Rajasthan banned graffiti and spitting and urinating in public.
Calcutta has also tried to introduce measures to penalise men for urinating in public.
In some places, images of gods and goddesses have been put up to deter people from urinating or spitting there.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rafael Nadal’s pain-free return is a sight for sore eyes

There is a peculiar degree of suspicion each time Rafael Nadal is asked about his fitness, as if the vogue is to doubt him even when he says he is feeling fine — and thank you for your concern.
Such disbelief ought to get to the 2008 Wimbledon champion, but the only irritation he shows is when he screws up his face during a rambling question. He answers everything sincerely in the hope that we trust him at his word.
One wonders why those who have reported Nadal’s astonishing success from the age of 17 and been won over by his bravery and sincerity are such unalloyed sceptics. Yes, he had to get his knees tended to after his quarter-final retirement against Andy Murray in the Australian Open in January, a match that was threatening to become the tournament’s masterpiece, and at the end of 2009 he was but a shadow of the stirring Nadal.
As of this week, his movement and stroke-making at the BNP Paribas Open has been a wonder to behold and he reached the last four with a 6-4, 7-6 win over Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic. Do not take one man’s word for it, but listen to Francisco Roig, the Spaniard who bears responsibility for Nadal for periods of the year when Toni Nadal, Rafael’s uncle and coach, takes time off for family commitments and to refresh his mind.
“I have never seen Rafa play like he has this year in my life,” Roig, a 41-year-old former tour pro, said. “In Qatar, in Abu Dhabi, in the first two sets against Andy [Murray] and this week, we have seen he is a more complete player, someone who is able to do more things with his game.”
So, what of the doom-mongers? “People have no idea,” he said. “To talk about these things, you have to be inside of the work day to day, to know what he can do. I see him on the practice court every day and I am surprised every day.
“I stand behind him and I do not know how a player can hit the ball so strong, so good. I have never seen anyone in this sport who can arrive at a ball with not a good stance and still generate so much power. That is something he has had all his life, but now we are adding to his game.”
There are no real trade secrets in tennis — once you have seen a player often enough, you sense what they do well and not so well.
Nadal, the world No 3, has never had a devastating serve, his ground strokes lacked on different surfaces the bite he could rouse from the clay, so they needed to acquire a flatter trajectory. The assault on his limbs from hard-court tournaments would always count against him. Roig believes that he has four, maybe five years at 100 per cent and then he may have to call it a day.
“Rafa has finished four years as the No 2 player in the world and one as the No 1,” he said. “And he still has the ambition to win the big tournaments. I asked him once how many grand slams [tournaments] he thought he would win and he said, ‘Six, seven?’. I said for a player of his talents, he should have between eight and ten because he is a better player than those who have that number, in my opinion.
“But tennis is much, much tougher now than it was three years ago, especially among the top players.”
Into the semi-finals here, where he plays Ivan Ljubicic, the veteran from Croatia, today there is a sense that Nadal is relishing his tennis again. Watching him in the doubles with Marc López one is taken by the intensity, the drive, the frustration when a single ball goes awry. There is a gleam about him.
“He feels he is a really good player again,” Roig said. “It has never been only power with Rafa, but ability also and people do not see that. It is not always nice the way he does it, he is not [Tim] Henman. This is a different tennis. Sometimes, at the important moments, it is more important to be a mechanical player than a smooth one. Rafa knows the importance of how much risk he can take, and what risk is beneficial.”
There are not many coaches who would speak the way Roig does, be he part-time or not. The essence of belief in his player is all pervasive.
He accepts that at the O2 arena in southeast London last November, when Nadal lost all three round-robin matches at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, he played “terrible tennis” but that the upheavals in his family life had not been given enough credence. Nadal is playing wonderful tennis again. His legs do not hurt. His mother and father get on. We should be delighted.

Coach class•

Age 41, Roig played on the ATP tour from 1987 to 2001, earning $1,458,035 (now about £970,000).• Won nine career doubles titles, seven with Tomas Carbonell, his compatriot, all on clay. Reached a career-high ranking of 23 in doubles, 60 in singles.• Has been part of the Rafael Nadal set-up for five years, having also coached Alberto Berasategui, Feliciano López and Albert Costa (a former French Open champion), the Spaniards.• Runs the Barcelona Total Tennis Academy with Jordi Vilaro and Alvar Margets, other Spanish coaching professionals.• Appointed coach to the Spain Davis Cup side in 2009, under the captaincy of Costa. Spain won the Cup last December.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Indians mulling multi-million pound football league on lines of IPL

London, Mar 19 (ANI): Indians are planning a multi-million pound football league on the lines of the mega rich Indian Premier League.
They want to launch a two-month league within three years using big international names who are at the end of their contracts.
Three well-known football dealmakers, Pini Zahavi, Chris Nathaniel and Kia Joorabchian will help establish the competition.
A number of Indians have been linked with takeovers at English Premier League clubs but will now invest at home and bring players to them.
Football’s IPL is part of a wider strategy geared to bidding for the 2026 or 2030 World Cup. Moves are being made to attract top clubs for friendly cups over the next two years.
“It’s a very exciting concept. If players are out of contract there will be nothing to stop them coming,” The Sun quoted an Indian source, as saying.
“India saw how Major League Soccer got David Beckham. This would be on a much bigger scale,” the source added. (ANI)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yahoo! buys Citizen Sports

AFP - Yahoo! made a play for more sports fans on Wednesday with the purchase of Citizen Sports, a startup that makes sports-related applications for Facebook and Apple's iPhone.
Yahoo! announced the acquisition in a statement but did not disclose financial terms. Technology blog All Things Digital estimated the value of at between 40 million dollars and 50 million dollars.
According to Yahoo!, Citizen Sports has millions of users for its social network and mobile sports products.
Citizen Sports products allow users to play fantasy sports, check live scores and read news on such sports as American football, hockey, soccer, baseball, racing, rugby and cricket.
Yahoo! Sports is already the top sports news destination on the Web and the Sunnyvale, California, company said Yahoo! Sports content will be integrated into Citizen Sports products.
"Citizen Sports was founded with the intent to enable fans to access news, scores and fantasy games on the platform of their choice," Mike Kerns, founder and chief executive of Citizen Sports, said in a statement.
"We look forward to becoming a part of Yahoo! and bringing our social experiences to their 600 million users around the globe," Kerns said.
Besides making applications for Facebook and the iPhone, Citizen Sports has also developed products for MySpace, hi5 and mobile devices which use Google's Android platform.
San Francisco-based Citizen Sports was founded by Kerns and Jeff Ma in 2004.

Daredevils will have surprises for Mumbai Indians: Simmons

New Delhi, – Delhi Daredevils assistant coach Eric Simmons said his team will have some surpises for Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Wednesday.
‘We have a few surprises for them (Mumbai Indians). We know that Mumbai Indians are a good side and they have depth both in their bowling and batting. We have a strategy for them and hopefully we’ll succeed with it tomorrow,’ said Simmons.
Simmons said the Ferozeshah Kotla track, which has been banned from hosting international matches for one year, will help both the the batsmen and the bowlers.
‘The pitch looks absolutely fine. We had a practice game here and yes, it is on the slower side but good enough to see some huge scores,’ Simmons said.
The South African also said that the fast bowler Ashish Nehra is yet to recover from an injury is unlikely to play against Mumbai Indians.
‘The Daredevils are one of the most balanced sides in the tournament. The strength of the side is not only the kind of overseas players it has, but also the experience of local talent which will make a huge difference in a tournament like this,’ he added.
Simmons admitted that there is a little chance for him to change the techniques of the young bowlers.
‘Technically, one cannot make drastic changes. Mostly, we are travelling and there is not much time. We can have some strategies which players can go through and you can also teach players how to deal with pressure,’ he said.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Erin Andrews stalker sentenced to 27 months

LOS ANGELES - An Illinois insurance executive who secretly shot nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was sentenced Monday to 2½ years in prison after giving a tearful apology that was harshly rebuked by his victim.
Michael David Barrett pleaded guilty in December to interstate stalking after prosecutors accused him of following the reporter to at least three cities and shooting the videos through hotel peepholes.
Barrett, 48, of suburban Chicago, agreed to a 27-month prison sentence after pleading guilty but it was up to the judge to decide how long he would actually serve.
Andrews urged the judge at the hearing for a harsher sentence and said she fears for her life every time she enters a hotel.
“You violated me and you violated all women,” Andrews told Barrett. “You are a sexual predator, a sexual deviant and they should lock you up.”
After the sentencing, she said, “Thirty months isn’t enough.”
Barrett admitted renting hotel rooms next to Andrews three times and shooting two videos of her while she was naked. He was accused of posting the videos online and trying to sell them to Los Angeles-based celebrity gossip site TMZ last year.
U.S. District Judge Manuel Real said he gave Barrett the maximum sentence under the law.
“The victim, Andrews, will be suffering with this problem for the rest of her life,” Real said. “There is no life sentence that can be imposed upon him, except his own guilt.”
Barrett cried as he addressed Andrews in court, saying he would spend the rest of his life regaining the respect of his friends and family and atoning for his mistakes.
“There are no words to tell Ms. Andrews how sorry I am for what I’ve done to her,” he said. “I hope someday she can forgive me.”
Andrews, visibly nervous as she spoke, said she had no sympathy for Barrett’s claim he was publicly humiliated.
“It’s my body on the Internet,” she said. “I’m being traumatized every single day for what he did. ... This will never be over for me.”
Barrett, who has until May 3 to surrender, was ordered to have supervised probation for three years after his release, during which he will be prohibited from contacting Andrews, her family or friends.
He will not be allowed to stay in a hotel without approval of a probation officer and if he accepts employment somewhere, Andrews will be notified. Barrett was also ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and $7,366 in restitution, but the judge said further restitution may be imposed to compensate ESPN.
Barrett’s lawyer, David Willingham, said his client is undergoing psychological treatment and “has sought the path of redemption.”
“Mr. Barrett has lost everything he built throughout his life,” Willingham said. “He’s lost his career, his fiancee and his life savings. He knows that he brought this on himself.”
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have agreed not to pursue further charges against Barrett. However, he could face criminal action in other states stemming from other videos he allegedly shot of unsuspecting nude women through peepholes.
Andrews’ attorney, Marshall Grossman, has said there could be as many as a dozen other women that Barrett taped.
A sentencing memo filed last month in federal court says Barrett uploaded videos of 16 other women to an online account.

Barrett also allegedly conducted 30 Internet background checks that can produce birthdays and home addresses, the document said. The filing did not name the other alleged victims or say what information he obtained or how he may have used it.
Prosecutors claim that 32 videos provided by show Barrett “victimized approximately 16 other women in almost precisely the same way that he victimized” Andrews. They did not identify the women.
Andrews testified in December that Barrett’s actions had a devastating impact on her and her family because she is constantly reminded that his videos appeared online and is subjected to cruel taunts from sports fans when she works as a sideline reporter.
Andrews has agreed to appear on the new season of ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” — an offer she said ABC made before the stalking allegations. She said she doesn’t want to seclude herself from the public eye because other victims would get the wrong message.
“I did nothing wrong. Just trying to live my life,” she said.
“I had to deal with a lot of people who said I deserved it, that I had played to a certain audience.”
Her attorney said she will not file a lawsuit against Barrett.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Manny Pacquiao defends WBO title with points win over Joshua Clottey

Joshua Clottey defends himself from a right-hand blow from Manny Pacquiao during the Filipino's WBO welterweight title defence in Dallas. Photograph: Chris Cozzone/AFP/Getty Images
Manny Pacquiao has defended his WBO welterweight title with a comfortable points victory over Joshua Clottey in Dallas. The Filipino scored a 120-108, 119-109, 119-109 but could not find Clottey's breaking point as he maintained his proud record of never having been stopped.
The Ghanaian entered the ring with a flamboyant dance but he failed to show as much imagination once the fight started and Pacquiao was always on top.
"He's a very tough opponent. He was looking for a big shot," Pacquiao said after the fight, which took place in front of a crowd of 50,994, the biggest in the US for 17 years.
Pacquiao also revealed the he still has hopes that a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr may still go ahead. "I want that fight, the world wants that fight, but it's up to him," he told Associated Press.
The pattern Saturday's fight would take was established early in the first round when, despite Clottey's peek-a-boo defence, Pacquiao still managed to advance against his taller opponent and throw punches with both hands from all angles. It was the same style that gave him spectacular wins in his past three fights and though Clottey was clearly the bigger fighter, he rarely sought to use his reach advantage.
Clottey's corner was urging him to take some risks late on but even in the final round, when he needed a knockout to win, the Ghanaian only sparingly dropped his guard.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wozniacki battles past American King at Indian Wells

(elu sports ) - Second seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark battled back from 4-1 down in the third set to scrape past American Vania King 5-7 6-2 6-4 at the Indian Wells WTA tournament on Friday.
The 19-year-old Dane broke her unseeded opponent in the seventh and ninth games of the third set before sealing victory in two hours 28 minutes when King hit a backhand long.
"I just kept fighting for every point," a relieved Wozniacki said in a courtside interview at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden after booking a third round spot at the $4.5 million event.
"Vania was playing really, really good and it was a tough match but I am so happy I came through."
King had never beaten a top-10 player in 11 previous attempts but appeared on track for the biggest win of her career when she hit a backhand down the line to take the first set.
Wozniacki came from 0-2 down in the second set by breaking King's serve in the third, fifth and seventh games to level the match, but the American gained early momentum in the third.
Hitting penetrating ground strokes from the baseline mixed up occasionally with delicate drop shots, she broke the Dane in the fourth game to lead 3-1.
King then comfortably held serve to take a commanding lead before Wozniacki steadily regained control.
Asked what her strategy had been when she trailed in the final set, the Dane replied: "I just kept thinking she still has to win eight points.
"As long as I am still there, I keep on fighting and running."
In other matches on Friday, 22nd-seeded German Sabine Lisicki made an early exit when she retired from her match against American Jill Craybas trailing 4-6 7-5 2-0.
Fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland advanced when Russian Anna Chakvetadze also retired at 6-2 5-3 while 18th seed Zheng Jie of China beat Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-3 7-5.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Indian Premier League 2010: It's showtime as extravaganza targets record audience

Starting on Friday in Mumbai, where defending champions Deccan Chargers play Kolkata Knight Riders, we will see the first proper IPL, that is, an IPL planned for more than nine months and executed in its home country.
The hype in India will have reached fever pitch on Friday night by the time an hour-long opening ceremony is closed by Lionel Richie singing Dancing on the Ceiling.
Richie, the king of middle-of-the-road groove, is not the image you readily associate with the IPL, but once the opening ceremony is over we will be exposed to a tournament that has spent the past few weeks launching initiative after initiative to tap into new markets.
It was reported in India on Thursday that more than 100 brands now have associations with the IPL. Watching a match will be like walking down an aisle in Tesco, as players are used as sandwich boards. Teams even have their own official chewing gum partners.
Fans will be able to watch live on YouTube and tweet their thoughts with other viewers around the world. At the same time ITV will be returning to cricket for the first time since the 1970s. Then there were only three channels on the television. Now the IPL will be shown on freeview on ITV4. It's not just the cricket that has changed.
YouTube and the IPL will share advertising revenue from an untested broadcast model that will be monitored closely by almost every other major sports body in the world. On Friday YouTube will announce deals in Britain with Lebara and Brylcreem. The endorsements keep on rolling.
In India the focus will be more traditional, in a Twenty20 sense that is.
Gideon Haigh, an Australian cricket writer, said this week that Twenty20 was a "TV property masquerading as cricket". That will be proved emphatically by Indian television companies, particularly the Hindi-language channel Colors.
They talk of a "Super Bowl-style atmosphere" and have plans for an IPL Rockstar reality show and will screen the post-match parties (which, naturally, have their own sponsors). It is this balance between cricket and showbusiness that the IPL has trademarked.
It is why English cricketers spend their time in the IPL goggle-eyed, like schoolkids chasing autographs, when they see the lifestyle it offers.
Stepping into the unknown this year will be two English batsmen who have moulded their talents to be successful in Twenty20. It is a sign of his progress over the past year that Bangalore expects more from Eoin Morgan than from Kevin Pietersen, who joins the IPL after the Bangladesh tour at the end of March.
Michael Lumb is the other new English name. Picked up by Rajasthan Royals, Lumb impressed in their pre-season training camp in January and then slapped the England bowlers around in Abu Dhabi for the Lions.
Now the Hampshire batsman will stand in for Graeme Smith in the early matches when Rajasthan, the first IPL winners, start their campaign in Mumbai on Saturday.
"Being out there for the auction gave me a feel for the enormity of the IPL," Lumb said. "I wasn't aware before of how massive it is until I saw the auction and how many different television channels were showing it.
"Speaking to some of the other players they tell me stories of playing in front of 60,000 people and that you can't hear yourself talk. So yes it is going to be huge playing out here."
Will it be huge over here? There should be no problem accessing the tournament for the majority. It never really caught on when it was shown by Setanta. Then again, Setanta never really caught on either. ITV access will help and fans are more familiar now, in year three, with the teams than they were in 2008.
Modi's mantra is that "eyeballs equals success". He certainly has access to viewers. Now it's time to deliver something they want to see.
IPL Players to Watch
Royal Challengers
English interest: Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan. Star names: Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Cameron White, Jacques Kallis.
Chennai Super Kings
English interest: With Andrew Flintoff injured, there isn’t any. Star names: MS Dhoni, Matthew Hayden, Muttiah Muralitharan.
Deccan Chargers
English interest: None. Star names: Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs.
Delhi Daredevils
English interest: If he gets a game, Paul Collingwood. Star names: Virender Sehwag, AB De Villiers, Dirk Nannes.
Kings XI Punjab
English interest: Ravi Bopara. Star names: Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Yuvraj Singh
Kolkata Knight Riders
English interest: Owais Shah. Star names: Sourav Ganguly, Chris Gayle, Brad Hodge
Mumbai Indians
English interest: Graham Napier Star names: Sachin Tendulkar,JP Duminy, Kieron Pollard
Rajasthan Royals
English interest: Dimitri Mascarenhas, Michael Lumb. Star names: Shane Warne, Shaun Tait, Graeme Smith.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New sports centre to replace Lido

Work has begun on a new £12m sports centre to replace the historic Matlock Lido.
The cornerstone has been laid to kick start the building of the new development, which will open in summer 2011.
The Lido is one of the oldest swimming pools in Derbyshire but council bosses have promised its replacement will be a state-of-the-art facility.
It's being built on an area of land off the A6 between Matlock and Darley Dale.
Geoff Stevens, the deputy leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, said it was a significant day for Matlock.
He told BBC Radio Derby's Andy Potter: "I'm personally excited and delighted. It's absolutely fantastic to get to this stage and see the work actually starting.
"The Lido was one of the first public pools to be built in Derbyshire, which was very forward-thinking of Matlock Council at that time.
"But things have to move on and once that centre closes and this one opens, there will be no comparison between the facilities.
"It also opens up the regeneration of Matlock town centre so it has several aspects to it."
People in Matlock have been waiting a long time for the new building following the closure of Sherwood Hall Leisure Centre in 2007 and Mr Stevens acknowledged it had been a difficult time. He said: "We know people have had a bit of pain and so have we but we always had this goal to have the centre here.
"Sherwood Hall was an old drill hall which had passed its sell-by date. In this facility they are going to have one of the best leisure centres in Derbyshire."
The new sports centre will feature a swimming pool, a fitness centre and a cafe.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How Vancouver came of age

Fans at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Photograph: Gene J Puskar/AP
At some point during the night of 19 February, something changed in Vancouver.
The Olympic games were a week old, and by and large, those paying attention to the media coverage of the event were lead to believe that the entire thing was a resounding failure. First, tragically, was the pre-games death of Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, whose horrific crash during a training run quickly became early fodder for questions surrounding Canada's aggressively titled Own the Podium campaign, and which would cast a dark pall over the following 17 days. Then, there was the hydraulic malfunction during the opening ceremony, followed by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky's bizarre evening tour of downtown Vancouver in the back of a pickup truck in the pouring rain. In the days that followed, the weather would continue to be an issue, causing postponements and ticket cancellations, which, combined with the bleak beginning, seemed to solidify the idea that these games were somehow cursed.
And that's ignoring the protests. As spectators made their way to BC Place stadium to take their seats for the opening ceremony, a throng of protesters marched through the downtown core. They chanted "Shame on Canada" and branded placards with slogans that railed against everything from the lack of affordable housing, to the continued excavation of the oil sands in northern Alberta, from which came the fuel to power the games.
So as the first week wore on, there was an overbearing sense that Canada ought to be ashamed of itself – that Vancouver's games were nothing but an expensive propaganda campaign, designed to push the nationalistic fervor for Canadian pride into everyone's face. The Own the Podium brashness seemed somehow "un-Canadian," and drew scorn from all corners, including domestically – especially because Canada's athletes seemed to be, at best, only renting it.
As Simon Barnes wrote for the Times:
"It is customary at the Olympics to say that the nation holding them has 'come of age'. China 'came of age' in 2008; Australia "came of age" with the Sydney games of 2000 … But Canada has not come of age in Vancouver 2010."
It was as if Canada was upset at the rest of the world crashing its party, rather than being pleased to host invited guests.
Then, everything kind of changed.
A poll taken prior to the games revealed that only about half of British Columbia residents felt that Olympics would be beneficial for the province. On Friday 19 February, that poll could not have seemed any more inaccurate. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Vancouver's downtown core that night in the most impressive showing of what effectively amounted to the city embracing the games wholeheartedly for the first time. The daytime crowds prior to that night were large, but it was the infectious, positively celebratory feeling of that night that was new. Since then, the criticism has been quieter, and the games were labelled the one thing that initially looked impossible: a success.
For Vancouver, the No Fun City, the games have given it reason to further tout itself as "world-class" – a familiar self-imposed label that has always seemed overly insecure. And while many of the benefits of the games are as easy to list as the detriments, one potential benefit has to do with exactly what Barnes addressed: a "coming of age" for Vancouver.
After the 1994 riot that followed the Vancouver Canucks losing the Stanley Cup to the New York Rangers, John Masters described the crowd as:
"[A] large group of citizens who don't feel that the society in which they live is theirs … For many, when the party turned ugly Tuesday, the fleeting feeling of having belonged to something was lost."
Understandable, in a way – it was a riot, after all. But the feeling of belonging to something is exactly what suddenly made the Olympics an event that was no longer dominated by negativity. It is what made the tongue-in-cheek, cringingly nationalistic closing ceremony, an event that almost made sense (giant inflatable beavers and all) – that feeling of, for once, being a part of a large shared experience. It's also a feeling that's difficult to find in Vancouver, a city often fragmented by its neighbourhoods, and defined more by its geography than by its citizens.
The Olympics were never going to make Vancouver any more of a tourist destination than it already is. Instead, these games have given Vancouver a taste of what living in a world-class city actually feels like: the vibrancy and togetherness that defines the world's great metropolises did, if only for a moment, flicker to life here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Zambia: One Hundred Days before the FIFA World Cup—What is Zambia Doing?

There is now less than 100 days before the FIFA 2010 World Cup kicks off in South Africa. Here in Zambia there is little or nothing that is being done by authorities to take advantage of this big event in our front yard. What exactly is wrong with our leaders?
A fortnight ago I visited the ministry of tourism to find out what they were planning, here in Zambia, as far as the world cup was concerned. There seemed to have been no one particularly responsible for this.
After running around and bouncing from office to office I was referred to the Zambia Tourism Board Managing Director who was too busy and still waiting for a call from him.
My take is that since Zambia is pretty much a neighbor to South Africa, the government should have taken front seat in attracting tourists as they come to watch the big game.
The region will be expecting a lot of tourists from around the world who will be spending quite a substantial amount of money. Zambia could take advantage of these visitors by promoting some of our best tourism destinations.
In fact, it is perhaps only in Zambia that you can experience Banji jumping, water rafting, canoeing, sky diving, gliding, game hunting, etc all in one destination.
These sports can all be experienced right around the Mosi-o-Tunya Falls in Livingstone. The Mosi-o-Tunya Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The Zambian experience does not just end with Livingstone. Zambia is a home to thousands of species of beautiful and colorful birds.
We have some of the best wildlife in our national game parks. There is the spectacular South Luangwa National Park with hundreds of kilometers of wildlife.
Not far from this park there is Mfuwe also with its different specifies of antelopes. Then there is Kafue and Mosi-o-Tunya National Parks in the south with its elephants, giraffes, and zebras.
These are just some of the few things one can experience in Zambia the real Africa. It is a land filled with beauty.
When you arrive in Zambia you are greeted with smiling and friendly people right at your entry point. Zambia’s people are so friendly.
The country has many cultures with many different ethnic groups speaking different languages countrywide. Many of these regional groups have amazing traditional ceremonies that attract hundred of thousands of visitors.
If you are planning on coming to the FIFA World Cup make sure you visit the Lwiindi-Gonde Ceremony of the Tokaleya people in Southern Province around that time.
Can you imagine the support we could drum up if the government was on top of the game? We could have restarted our national airline and really branded ourselves during this period.
I have not seen a single advert or program in our media regarding the 2010 World Cup. Maybe they have placed some in Europe, North America, Asia, or South Africa.
In any case, the Zambian government needs to step up in the remaining three months before the kick off. As a country we are hungry of money and we can use the revenue from the tourists.
While Rupiah is still in China he better should get those Chinese to come to Zambia to spend some bucks. And while he is still in the region he should stop by in Europe so that we can have the Europeans come in numbers as well.
Rupiah and his buddies still have time to redeem themselves. Let us all stand up tall for mother Zambia.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vancouver Winter Olympics: Amy Williams says victory 'has not sunk in yet'

Amy Williams, Britain's first solo Winter Olympics champion in 30 years, has said her gold medal triumph still has not sunk in after returning home.
But proudly wearing her Olympic medal from winning the skeleton at the Vancouver Games, she said it was the stuff that dreams are made of, adding: "It is absolutely amazing."
"I do not think I have still got a sentence to describe it. It is just absolutely amazing. I cannot really believe it is real but this is making it real by the second," she said at a Team GB press conference at Heathrow.
"To have it around my neck and touching it is everything that dreams ever existed of."
Williams, 27, was Britain's only medallist at the Games and carried the British flag at the closing ceremony.
She revealed that her gold medal has so far won her an upgrade to first class on the flight home. It has also put her centre stage amid a whirl of press conferences, receptions and a victory parade in her home town of Bath tomorrow.
Williams dominated the Vancouver event - leading from her first run - to win by an emphatic 0.56 seconds.
Now that she is out of the bubble of the Olympic Village, Williams said she was looking forward to doing something normal like having a cup of tea with friends.
"I am looking forward to getting back to Bath, bringing the medal back to my friends and family and showing it off to them," she said.

Monday, March 1, 2010

China makes historic breakthrough in winter sports at Vancouver Olympics

China's Sun Linlin (L), Wang Meng (2nd L), Zhou Yang (front in R) and Zhang Hui celebrate after the women's 3000m relay final of short track speed skating at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, Feb. 24, 2010. China's team won the title of the event with a world-record-breaking time 4:06.610. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)
Following consecutive two-gold finish in both Salt Lake City and Turin, China made historic breakthrough in winter sports as it claimed five titles plus two silvers and four bronzes at the Vancouver Games which concluded all competitions here on Sunday.
"We have made important breakthrough at these Games," said Xiao Tian, deputy chef de mission of the largest ever Chinese Winter Sports Delegation in history.
Having sent a total of 90 athletes to the Games, China shared a seventh place at the medal tally with Sweden while tying its own 11-medal performance in Turin four years ago.
And its record medals also marked the first top-eight finish for the summer sports powerhouse in the Winter Olympics.
"Actually the five-gold finish was within my expectation before we set off for the Games, but I couldn't say that at that time because I would not want to put any pressure on the athletes," Xiao added. "Now I can speak out."
While Xiao admitted he had not expected the Chinese clean sweep in four women's short track speed skating events where Wang Meng became the first Chinese skater to win three golds at one single Winter Games.
"That was amazing," Xiao said. "The Chinese women's relay team impressed me most by taking their first gold in this event after so many years' hard work."
The 1-2 finish in the pairs figure skating by Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo and Pang Qing/Tong Jian was also a remarkable achievement.
"The 37-year-old Zhao and his teammates not only won the medals, but also well demonstrated Olympic spirits and sportsmanship."
Although narrowly missing golds in the freestyle aerials, the Chinese could be contented with a silver and a bronze from Li Ni'na and Guo Xinxin in the women's category as well as a bronze from Liu Zhongqing in the men's.

Another pair of bronzes in the speed skating women's 500m and the women's curling, where the reigning world champion China only made its Olympic debut, completed the Chinese medal run in Vancouver.
"Despite the good results at these Games, we still have a long way to go in the development of China's winter sports," said Xiao. "It's impossible for us to reach the same level as we have done in summer sports, but we will try to minimize the gap as much as we can."
"As to my knowledge, Chinese athletes' good performance at the Games has aroused great interest to winter sports of the people back home. We should try our best to transfer their enthusiasm into participation in the sports."

Beer stain tarnishes Canada’s golden girls

It may be small beer in comparison with the stories of triumph and tragedy that have been created over the past fortnight, but the celebrations that followed Canada’s victory over the United States in the women’s ice hockey final left the gold medal- winners with nagging hangovers.

More than half an hour after their 2-0 win yesterday morning, the Canada players ambled back on to the ice, still clad in their uniforms and armed with cans of beer, bottles of champagne and cigars. One player, Rebecca Johnston, tried to drive the ice- resurfacing machine.

More damagingly, Marie-Philip Poulin, the scorer of both goals, was photographed with can in hand. Given that she is 18 and under the legal drinking age in British Columbia, which is 19, it is clear that the Canadians were a little too open in toasting their success.

Many people will think that the IOC is making a mountain out of a molehill by even looking into the impromptu party, but Hockey Canada moved quickly to save face. It issued a statement saying: “The members of Team Canada apologise if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone. In the excitement of the moment, the celebration left the confines of our dressing room and shouldn’t have. The team regrets that its gold-medal celebration may have caused the IOC or Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) any embarrassment.”

The IOC seemed unsure yesterday whether it would be investigating the matter. Mark Adams, the IOC director of communications, said the body would look into it but it was not an investigation, while Gilbert Felli, the executive director, said there would be an investigation. Either way, a slap on the wrist is the likely outcome.

The IOC is drafting a letter to send to COC requesting an explanation, but Adams said: “There was a quick apology from the athlete and I think we have pretty much drawn a line under it.”

Public opinion seemed split between those who viewed the players as setting a poor example and those who felt the players were entitled to let their hair down.

Probably, the most pertinent comment came from Steve Keogh, the COC spokesman, who said: “It’s not exactly uncommon in Canada.”

Just hours before Canada’s gold-medal triumph, Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, suggested that the female version of the game may be axed unless it becomes more competitive.

Unless, in other words, the women become more like the men. The cigars and beer cans may be regarded as a step in that direction, and defenders will point to alcohol often playing a part in celebrations in other sports.

If anyone requires a dose of perspective as they damn the drinkers, they might choose to look at the feats of Joannie Rochette, who won the best bronze medal of these Olympics in the figure skating. Rochette began competing here only two days after her mother, Therese, died of a heart attack. It made for a gripping free programme, with every onlooker willing the 24-year-old through.

An early mistake drew gasps, but the Canadian recovered to take a medal in a competition dominated by the graceful genius of Kim Yu Na, the Toronto-based winner from South Korea. She set a world record of such vertiginous standards, beating Mao Asada, of Japan, by a massive 23 points, that she must surely rank alongside the likes of Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Roger Federer in the pantheon of greats. And she is 19.

Having decided not to speak until the end of her competition, Rochette opened up about her traumatic Olympics. “Even though I was trying to be an athlete focused on my goals, emotions just took the best out of me,” she said. “I didn’t know if I could skate. My legs were shaking. I didn’t feel like it, but I’m glad I did. That’s what my mom would have wanted.

“Sometimes she was a pain in the a**, but she was my biggest fan and my best friend. She was with me every step of the way.”

Today’s highlights

Skiing Men’s slalom (6pm)
Speed skating Men’s team pursuit finals (8.51pm)
Bobsleigh Four-man final run (10.40pm)
Curling Men’s final, Canada v Norway (11pm)

Copyright (c)onine sports news | hot chicks and beer sexist Blog Page : ipl cheer girls