Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) dunks in front of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the first half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 1, 2017. APCLEVELAND — The first two games of the NBA Finals are the most-watched since Michael Jordan’s final championship in 1998.Despite two lopsided outcomes, Golden State’s two home wins over Cleveland averaged 19.6 million viewers, according to numbers released Monday by the Nielsen company.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR MOST READ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast 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 That’s an increase of 5 percent from the 18.6 million average in 2016.The Warriors’ 132-113 victory on Sunday drew an average of 20.1 million viewers, up 13 percent from Game 2 last year and the most for a Game 2 since Chicago and Utah met in 1998. The telecast peaked with 23.1 million viewers.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThis is the first time two teams have met three straight times in the NBA Finals. Cavs ignore last year’s comeback after another 0-2 hole BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’
View comments Neymar had kept the guessing game about his future bubbling away after posting a picture of himself looking pensive on Instagram on Friday.But there was little to suggest that the charismatic striker is overwhelmed by the transfer saga as he produced a bewitching performance in front of a sell-out 82,104 crowd at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.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 starsThe Brazilian broke clear after only four minutes but saw a tame shot from near the edge of the area drift away from the goal.Barcelona, with Lionel Messi starting, looked by far the more threatening of the two teams with Aleix Vidal and Messi both drawing early blocks from the Juventus defence. Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress LATEST STORIES Barcelona rang the changes at half-time, withdrawing all but two of their starting line-up, Neymar exiting for Sergi Roberto and Arda Turan replacing Messi. Juventus also made a raft of substitutions which led to the introduction of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa amongst others.The changes immediately gave Juve a sharper attacking edge and Dybala was quick to test Adria Ortola with a rasping shot on 62 minutes that was turned around for a corner.From the ensuing setpiece, Giorgio Chiellini nodded home Dybala’s cross to make it 2-1.However it was Barcelona who finished the stronger of the two sides, with Luis Suarez repeatedly threatening to extend the Spanish side’s lead.Man of the moment Neymar departed the stadium without addressing reporters, while Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde could only repeat his desire to keep the Brazilian.“We want Neymar to be with us,” Valverde said. “We know his value on the pitch and what he brings to the locker room.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ 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’ FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ MOST READ Chris Weidman tops Kelvin Gastelum in UFC college homecoming Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim At the other end Mario Mandzukic might have given Juve the lead on 14 minutes but his header from a Stefano Sturaro cross went wide.The Italians were made to rue Mandzukic’s profligacy a minute later when Neymar fired the Catalans into the lead, playing a clever one-two with Paco Alcacer and drilling his finish past Gianluigi Buffon.Nine minutes later and Neymar grabbed his second, picking his way through a static Juventus defence before burying a low shot beyond Buffon once more.Neymar might have had a hat-trick three minutes from half-time, when Messi floated a delightful pass in behind the Juve defence for the Brazilian.Buffon on this occasion was equal to the challenge however and blocked safely.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 Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) and is teammate Brazilian forward Neymar warmp up before the International Champions Cup (ICC) match between Juventus FC and FC Barcelona, at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on July 22, 2017.FC Barcelona defeated Juventus 2-1. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADNeymar gave Barcelona fans a dazzling reminder of what they could be about to lose on Saturday, scoring twice as the Spanish giants defeated Juventus 2-1 in a pre-season friendly.The 25-year-old Brazilian superstar is at the centre of frenzied speculation linking him to a gargantuan, world record 222-million-euro ($256.8 million) transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.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 Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Despite Game 1 beating, CEU Scorpions ‘won’t quit’ John Paul Bejar of the Philippines competes against Iwan Bidu Sirait of Indonesia in the finals of men’s -55kg kumite in the 29th Southeast Asian Games karate competition Wednesday at the KLCC Convention Center in Kuala Lumpur. Bejar lost to settle for the silver medal. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/POOLKUALA LUMPUR—An aggressive John Paul Bejar stormed to a 3-1 lead over his Indonesian foe but faded when it mattered to settle for the silver medal Wednesday in the 29th Southeast Asian Games karate competitions here.Bejar, who joined the Philippine team in training in Germany, took the action right to Iwan Bidu Sirait, who got the nod of the judges on many close calls to take a 10-4 victory in the -55 kilogram kumite.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim His silver is the best finish so far in karate, although the Filipinos are confident of grabbing a gold when the competitions end Thursday.Earlier, Mae Soriano snagged a bronze in women’s -55kg kumite. Junna Tsukii also took bronze this time in -50kg in the sport played at KLCC Halls right under the Petronas Twin Towers.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingBejar’s march to the finals was marred with controversy as the PH team filed a protest over his semifinals loss to a Malaysian.The protest was upheld, allowing the 23-year-old Bejar to fight for the gold medal. View comments Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ LATEST STORIES 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’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo MOST READ
Legendary athlete Milkha Singh has expressed bitterness about the treatment meted out to him during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) on Sunday. Milkha was apparently ignored by the Games organisers when he arrived for the ceremony as a special invitee. The athlete, who is fondly called the ‘Flying Sikh’, was denied a seat in the VIP enclosure where the other special guests were seated. Instead, he was given a place in the ordinary seating area after entry from gate no. 14 of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Milkha told Headlines Today that if sportsmen from the past weren’t respected, the future of young sportsmen was in doubt. Milkha said he did not know if he would be treated the same way during the CWG closing ceremony.
It’s no doubt that Suresh Kalmadi is in for a tough time over allegations of corruption related to the Commonwealth Games.Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.Be it Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) is being given the royal snub ever since the Games ended.While the Prime Minister has ordered a probe over alleged financial irregularities, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit has gone on record claiming the needle of suspicion is on the Kalmadi-led OC. But in her haste to blame Kalmadi and company, the chief minister perhaps failed to overlook the doings of her own departments.The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has pointed out several irregularities in the two showpiece road projects built specially for the Commonwealth Games by the Public Works Department (PWD) of the state government. In documents provided in an RTI reply to Mail Today, the CVC has expressed shock at how the cost of the prestigious elevated road over Barapullah Nullah could increase by over Rs 80 crore.The RTI query found out that while the estimated cost was Rs 352 crore, the tender was awarded for Rs 433 crore and that too within days of drawing up the estimate.”The estimate for the project was approved on July 30, 2008. Approximately 90 per cent items in the estimate were calculated on the prevailing market rate. But the work was awarded by the PWD (in August the same year) on higher rates by 23 per cent,” the CVC said in its reply.advertisementThe CVC has also indicted the PWD’s Ring Road bypass project, which provided dedicated access to the Indira Gandhi Stadium.The tender for this project was awarded by the department for Rs 214 crore to M/ S Simplex Infrastructure Ltd against an estimated cost of Rs 172 crore. The CVC documents say the tender was awarded by the PWD at “very high rates” by jacking up prices of materials and labour by as much as 36 per cent.” The amount was highly inflated by various methods. In labour rates, Rs 3.68 crore was included as transportation cost from labour camp to site of work which was not justified.Surprisingly, labour camps were allowed on site and do not involve any transportation of labour. There was another unjustified amount of Rs 25.84 crore by way of 25 per cent extra charges on labour and machinery cost,” the CVC document pointed out.With inputs from agencies
A marina, a wharf to park boats and yachts in an orderly fashion, is a symbol of economic prosperity. The world’s top seaside cities have one, as a place to display the wealth of their rich and to make water sports easily accessible. Mumbai-projected to be a global financial hub-will not get its marina anytime soon, thanks to forces working at cross purposes.The Port Trust of India, a central government body, owns the land and water around the Mumbai port, while the 164-year-old Royal Bombay Yacht Club (RBYC) currently holds the key to allow individuals to park their million dollar toys across the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba. The Maharashtra Government needs to issue permits to build one at sea and the navy, which has its western naval command in Mumbai, will have put its stamp of approval. “No one is now talking of building a marina as it looks impossible to get the project going,” says Simon Arrol, chief operating officer, Marina India. Honchos such as Adi Godrej, Gautam Singhania and Anand Mahindra are among the 143 owners of private yachts registered in Mumbai as of December 2010.The biggest stumbling block is the Port Trust. The Trust is the biggest land owner in the city. In cities such as London, Singapore and Sydney, the old harbours have tried to monetise their real estate to generate other income streams on the back of increased restrictions for cargo movement. In Mumbai, however, the Port Trust is adding a new container terminal despite the fact that another government-owned port, Jawarharlal Nehru Port Trust, is more suited to take on increased volumes.advertisementVijay Mallyas The Indian EmpressApart from a wharf, a marina usually has accompanying real estate to house restaurants and shops. It is this business that makes it economically viable for a developer to build a marina, which can cost upto Rs 150 crore. In 2008, the Trust had called for expressions of interest to build a marina but it gave a piece of the harbour where the depth was just a metre, too shallow for keeled boats to anchor.The Mumbai Docklands Regeneration Forum, a group of citizens which is working to make the vast docklands more productive, wanted the Trust to convert the old Prince’s and Victoria Docks into a marina. But the trust wanted the two docks buried to build a parking lot. The Trust was close to finalising another proposal to build a marina and cruise terminal close to Radio Club, 150 metres from the Taj hotel. But the navy objected, saying it would come in the flight path of its helicopters from ins Shikra, the navy’s first helicopter base.On the other hand, it is the RBYC which has the permission to allow its members to park their boats in the water. Sensing an opportunity to find more funds to maintain its ageing, iconic building, it has been enrolling rich yacht buyers as members. A senior member of the navy-controlled Yachting Association of India (YAI) says that this vested interest may also be the reason why RBYC is against a privately owned marina in the harbour, which has so far been under its control. Already, yachting associations across the country want the YAI to be nodal body to regulate the sport. Right now, it is done by the Port Trust which applies the same set of rules of other sea going vessels to register a yacht. So, a dredger and a yacht of a certain length will have the same manning and safety requirements. Further, the land for the club premises has been leased from the Trust, which has threatened in the past not to renew it. “They are constantly afraid that even one wrong move could cost them their lease,” says a member requesting anonymity.Ironically, for members of the RBYC club, a marina will also mean a boom in the business. Shakeel Kudroli, the first Indian to win a medal at an international sailing event and a member of the club, says, “A marina would mean more parking place for boats and better prospects for sales.”According to a senior Port Trust official, there are now talks to allow a marina in the western waterfront, opposite the Oberoi Hotel. But the western side is the open ocean. Companies planning to put a marina here will have to construct a breakwater in the sea to stop waves from constantly shaking the boats, which is an expensive affair. For now, big names such as Singhania and Godrej have stayed away from making direct demands for a marina. A senior member of the Docklands Forum had once approached Union Minister Murli Deora to enlist his support. But Deora reportedly declined, saying that associating with an expensive past-time of industrialists will not go down well with his constituency.advertisement
Rohit Sharma and Andrew Symonds put on an unbeaten 102 runs for the fifth wicket as Mumbai beat Hyderabad by37 runs during their IPL match at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday. Score | PhotoThe win would be special for Sachin Tendulkar, who turned 38 today.Chasing 173, Hyderabad managed to score 135/8 in their allotted 20 overs against Mumbai.Early in the Hyderabad innings, opener Sunny Sohal got run out in Harbhajan Singh’s over when the team total score was 14. And then Lasith Malinga struck like a lightening to send the other opener Shikhar Dhawan packing on 25 in the sixth over. And it was his famous Yorker that killed the batsman when the Hyderabad score was 41.In the 8th over, Hyderabad lost another wicket when Ausie Cameron White got run out in Kieron Pollad’s over when Hyderabad were on 54. Next man Bharat Chipli too could not stay at the crease for long and fell when the team total was 70.Captain Kumar Sangakkara was still at the crease and he wanted to up the tempo. But, just when he tried to do that, his Sri Lankan team-mate Lasith Malinga struck and uprooted his stump with a Yorker. He fell on 34 and Hyderabad were down to 93/5.Then 15th over, Mumbai paceman Munaf Patel got the better of D Ravi Teja with keeper Davy Jacobs stumping the batsman on 99/6.Eventually, hosts Hyderabad fell short by 37 runs. Mumbai paceman Malinga, who ended with a three-wicket haul, walked away with the Man-of-the-Match award.Mumbai inningsRohit Sharma and Andrew Symonds put on an unbeaten 102 runs for the fifth wicket to help Mumbai score a fine 172/4 against Hyderabad in the 27th IPL match.advertisementEarlier, Hyderabad captain Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and put Mumbai in the middle. Mumbai lost their opener Davy Jacob early despite the fact he and Sachin got off to a good scoring more than 9 runs an over.On the first ball of the fifth over Ishant Sharma scalped Jacobs on 32 with Pragyan Ojha claiming his catch at mid-on. Jacobs and Sachin scored 47 runs for the fist wicket.However, Sachin Tendulkar too could not stay at the crease for long after Jacob’s exit and departed in the 9th over with Hyderabad leggie Amit Mishra claiming his wicket on 28 when the Mumbai total was 70/2. Two balls later, Mishra struck again to dismiss Ambati Rayudu cheaply and Mumbai were down to 70/3.Then it was the left-arm spinner Ojha’s turn to show his prowess with the ball and he did that by scalping West Indian Kieron Pollad on a duck on the first ball of the 10th over. Mumbai were 70 for 4 at the stage.But that was the last wicket to fall from the Mumbai camp as soon Rohit Sharma (56 n.o.) and Aussie Andrew Symonds (44 n.o.) batted on for the rest of the overs to help Mumbai to a fine 172/4 in 20 overs.
Gandhian Anna Hazare has threatened to go on yet another fast-unto-death against the government’s “intransigence” on the contentious Lokpal legislation. He announced his decision to go on an indefinite fast after the failure of the final round of talks on the draft Bill on Tuesday.Stepping up his attack soon after the meeting with the government panel, Anna said he would go on a fast from August 16 as the government had ” no intention” of drafting a strong Lokpal Bill. He said protest was the only option left. (READ GOVT DRAFT OF LOKPAL BILL)”We have been saying the government is not serious on the Lokpal Bill. We are sure the people will teach them a lesson,” Hazare said.Sensing the mood of the activists, the UPA government gathered its flock to muster support on the draft Bill. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convened a meeting of UPA leaders late in the evening in an apparent bid to show unity of the ruling alliance on the issue. (READ CIVIL SOCIETY DRAFT OF LOKPAL BILL)Sources said finance minister Pranab Mukherjee briefed the leaders on the two drafts and told them that he would hold consultations with all other parties too. The allies backed the government.Besides the PM, present at the meeting were UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, defence minister A. K. Antony, political secretary to Sonia, Ahmed Patel, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, NCP’s Praful Patel, DMK leader T. R. Baalu, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and IUML leader E. Ahmed. Sulking DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi, who was in Delhi to meet his jailed daughter Kanimozhi, stayed away.advertisementThe ninth and last meeting of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee ended with both sides differing on at least six key features. The government made it clear that two drafts of the Bill, one prepared by the government and the other by activists, will be circulated to all political parties.After taking the views of political parties, a single Bill, comprising both the views, will be presented to the Cabinet. The government proposes to call an all-party meeting in July.Just before the meeting, Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee voiced her strong support for the government stand. In fact, Banerjee went a step further to give a certificate of recommendation to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. One of the most contested clauses during the discussions on the Lokpal is the inclusion of the prime minister in its ambit. The government is resisting PM’s inclusion, while the civil society is pressing for it.”I know the PM is an honest man,” Banerjee said at the Press Club in the Capital. “Do you think the inclusion of one person will strengthen the fight against corruption? Whether the PM or the chief justice is included, it hardly matters. To fight corruption we need a larger systemic change,” she said.The government has also postponed the monsoon session in order to arrive at a political consensus on the legislation. The session is usually held in the third week of July but now it is scheduled to begin on August 1.The civil society members maintained that they were “most disappointed” at the outcome of the drafting committee’s meetings but added that the government did agree to make major changes in their views on the Bill. HRD minister Kapil Sibal said the talks could not resolve key differences.One of the key issues, bringing the Prime Minister under the Lokpal’s purview, came up during Tuesday’s discussion as well. While the government opposed the clause, activists maintained that the Bill will be complete only if the PM and his office are also brought under the Bill’s purview. Both the sides also disagreed on issues like the appointment of Lokpal, integrating CBI and vigilance into Lokpal, bringing higher judiciary, lower bureaucracy and MPs in the Lokpal’s ambit.HRD minister Kapil Sibal said the government fears that the Lokpal can be a “parallel authority” if certain views of the activists were accepted. He maintained that the government is committed to table the Bill in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament. “We want to have a strong Lokpal bill but there need to be checks and balances. We can’t afford to have a parallel government,” he said.Sibal said the inclusion of PM in the Bill’s ambit was the major stumbling block. “The PM is the lynchpin of parliamentary democracy. We want to protect prospective PM and the institution of the Prime Minister,” he said. If the Lokpal starts issuing notice to the PM, “given the situation when we are in a neighbourhood which is extremely sensitive, anything can happen anytime,” he said.advertisementStating that the discussions with Team Anna were constructive, Sibal said the government has made changes in the initial draft. He said the government proposes to give Lokpal quasijudicial powers, provision for time-bound trial and police powers to its investigating officers. However, he said the government cannot allow a parallel investigation agency that will be answerable to nobody.After the meeting, Sibal said the Cabinet will take up the Bill after discussions with political parties. “They gave their draft, we gave our draft and there was a short discussion. However, on important issues there was no agreement. The views of political parties have been sought on six issues,” he said.Leaving scope for more discussions, Sibal said activists can comment on the government’s Bill within three days.”We agreed to disagree. But we hope that differences can be resolved. If they wish to give comments on our drafts, they can do so,” Sibal said.The activists, however, were far from impressed. “The government draft which was unveiled at the meeting excludes the Prime Minister,” Arvind Kejriwal, a member of the panel, said. “I am deeply disappointed by the government’s model of Lokpal,” said another member Prashant Bhushan.The drafting committee was formed on April 9. The panel is co-chaired by Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Supreme Court lawyer Shanti Bhushan. Five key ministers, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, M. Veerappa Moily and P Chidambaram, represented the government on the panel. Anna Hazare, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Santosh Hegde represented the activists.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.
The track and field competitions get underway on Friday and this is one of the largest ever Indian contingents that we have seen in athletics at the Olympics.Expecting a medal in track and field would be asking too much as the leading athletes from other nations are far ahead of us in terms of training and level of competition. Indian athletics still has a long way to go before we can actually compete and challenge the top international stars.On Friday, we will have four Indian athletes competing at the Olympics and all the efforts they have put in over the last couple of years will finally be tested.Om Prakash Karhana (shot put), Krishna Poonia and Seema Antil (discus throw) and Mayookha Johny (triple jump) will be seen in action; the discus throwers have the best possible chance of making it to the finals.Amongst the four, Mayookha’s chances are pretty remote as not much has been heard about how she has fared in recent competitions as her focus was more on attaining the qualifying mark in the long jump event.Om Prakash will have to match his personal best to make the cut for the final. He hasn’t participated in enough competitions in his build-up towards the Olympics; moreover, the events in which he competed lacked top level athletes. However, Om Prakash has tremendous potential and we hope for the best.Krishna and Seema should qualify for the finals if they manage to cross the 61m mark, which they have achieved on numerous occasions.advertisementJust like every other sport, technique is quite crucial in athletics as well. That is exactly why I feel the discus throwers are more prepared. Their best efforts have come this year and what goes in favour of Seema is that she seems to have peaked just at the right time.Krishna had her personal best throw of 64.76m in May this year and although she looks prepared, I feel she might have peaked a couple of weeks early.Both Krishna and her husband Virendar Poonia, who is also her coach, are targetting the 65m mark and if they manage that, India could be celebrating its first Olympic medal in athletics.After the bronze medal from Gagan Narang, nothing much has gone India’s way, although Saina Nehwal is on track to win a medal. Indian athletes have been training for long to prepare themselves in the best possible manner for the ultimate challenge.But making tall claims wouldn’t help our athletes and it would be better for them to focus on making the finals, and then put everything on the line.(The writer is an Asian Games gold medallist and finalist at 1964 Tokyo Olympics)
Maldives toiled against Syria, rain, and a water-soaked pitch and got a just reward with a 2-1 win in a Nehru Cup match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday.With this win, the former SAFF champions have six points from three matches while Syria’s hopes of reaching the final are over. Captain Ali Ashfaq and Ahmed Rasheed scored for Maldives while Alaa Alshbbli scored for the West Asian nation.The football on display was far from spectacular as the game started more than an hour late than the scheduled time.Maldives gave a better account of themselves in the challenging conditions with Ashfaq leading from the front.His dribbling skills came to the fore in the third minute itself when he got past Alaa Alshbbli and Jehad Albour but his left-footer went over the bar. Syria responded with a counter attack but Mohamed Imran safely collected Ali Ghlioum’s header.While the game mostly went on in the midfield, Syria tried to string along passes but the water-soaked pitch played a spoilsport.Amidst all this, Ahmed Alsalih fouled Ashfaq on the left of the box. The resulting free kick, taken by Ashfaq himself, was easily parried away by goalkeeper Mosad Balhous.Syria had their tale of missed chances as well when Yaser Shushara’s shot, off Mohammad Zahir Almedani’s corner, was cleared by Abdulla Asadhulla from the goal-line.Ashfaq, on the other end, continued with his onslaught on the Syrian box but Balhous stood like a wall. However, despite the Maldives player’s repeated forays, the goal eluded him.advertisementIn the second half, Syria started on a strong note with Mardek Mardkian, who came in place of Ghlioum, making in-roads. But it was far from making an impact as water on the pitch played a spoilsport on a couple of occasions. Finally, Maldives got the opener in the 59th minute when Ashafaq rose to the occasion to find the Syrian net off a free kick from Umair Mohamed.The game looked set to go Maldives’ way but Alshbbli had some other plans. The defender, who also scored against India, gave another proof of his goal-scoring abilities when in the 81st minute he shot a spectacular bicycle kick to restore parity.Both Syria and Maldives upped the ante in the dying moments. In injury time, Rasheed got a pass from Ashfaq from left and coolly shot the ball into the net. However, Maldives coach Istvan Urbanyi was sent off for his wild celebrations as he kicked a bottle on the pitch.
The much anticipated Cabinet makeover brought in it’s wake a few surprises, some disappointments and the usual chorus of disapproval from the Opposition. In a rejig which saw Manmohan Singh incorporate 17 new faces in his Council of Ministers, many see the imprint of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘young brigade’ mantra.Young or not, the reshuffle has definitely raised the fortunes of some of Team Rahul’s acolytes. The biggest takeaway from the reshuffle is that people who have supported the Congress through the tumultous push towards economic reforms have gained the most. Also, the Congress seems to have send out a strong message that corruption charges arising from the street (read Arvind Kejriwal) will not dictate governance tactics and the biggest gainer of this has undoubtedly been Salman Khurshid.Here’s a look at the names whose political fortunes are on the upswing after Sunday’s facelift.Salman KhurshidThe biggest gainer, of course, is Salman Khurshid who has now joined the elite club with the highly coveted Foreign Minister tag. The shift gains significance in light of the fact that the esrtwhile law minister was recently in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, including the sting, Operation Dhritarashtra, accusing him of corruption.Pawan BansalAnother massive upgrade is the elevation of Pawan Bansal – Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources – who has been handed the plum Railways portfolio. The move gains significance in light of the fact that the railways portfolio has traditionally been given to one of the constituent allies of the UPA. Bansal, who is known to be a close associate of Finance Minister P Chaidamabaram, is expected to speed up the pace of railways reforms which have been subject to highly populist and regressive policies over the past several years.Veerappa Moily Already a Cabinet Minister Veerappa Moily (Corporate Affairs) has now been handed the crucial and sensitive Petroleum Ministry, taking over from Jaipal Reddy. The idea is that Moily will speed up the decision making process as opposed to his predecessor who was accused of blocking the government’s policies. The move can be interpreted as a huge gain since Moily, for his seniority, had been pretty much sidelined after he lost his previous portfolio of the Law Ministry to Khurshid.advertisement Ashwini KumarOne of the biggest suprises and consequently one of the biggest gainers is Ashwini Kumar. A Minister of State, he is now a full fledged Cabinet Minister taking over from Salman Khurshid as the Law Minister. A massive jump in profile for a man who is known to be extremely articulate and immensely supportive of Manmohan Singh’s vision for UPA. MM Pallam Raju The erstwhile Minister of State for Defence has now been handed the crucial and controvery laden Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, taking over from Kapil Sibal. Sources say the move is aimed at rewarding Raju’s loaylty to the Congress clan as well as bringing in a relatively non confrontational politican in place of the verbally acrid Sibal. Ajay Maken The current Sports Minister has been promoted to a Cabinet rank with the Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation portfolio in a move many see as a counter to Sheila Dikshit’s stronghold in the Capital. His new portfolio is one of the most important in terms of the Congress and UPA’a electoral influence in the coming General Elections 2014.