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first_imgJoshna, Dipika can break into worlds top 5: Indias foreign coach By Bharat Sharma Greater Noida, Aug 25 (PTI) Leading womens squash players, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, are very much capable of breaking into the top five of the world rankings, believes Indias Egyptian coach Achraf El Karagui. Both Chinappa and Pallikal have broken the top-10 barrier in the past (they remain the only two Indians to do so) but have been unable to cement their place in the elite club. They are currently ranked 14th and 22nd respectively. “They definitely have it in them to be in the top five. Joshna is playing better than ever, she is supremely fit. Dipika too is supremely talented and has been working hard of late to improve her fitness,” Karagui told PTI on the sidelines of the Senior Nationals here today. “I see both of them playing for the next five, six years. Dipika mind you is only 25 despite being on the pro tour for a long time. Joshna is 30 and in squash you tend to peak when you are in your 30s. She has been playing brilliant in the last 12 months or so,” said the foreign coach, who has been in India for over an year now. Results have too come too since Karagui took charge of the senior and junior teams in July last year. Most notable performances came from Chinappa, who made the top 10 for the first time before winning the prestigious Asian Championships earlier this year, and Velavan Senthilkumar, who won the coveted British Junior Open beating compatriot Abhay Singh inthe U-19 final. According to world number 27 and countrys number one male player, Saurav Ghosal, Indian squash is in the middle of a golden generation. However, Karagui feels a lot more needs to be done and achieved. “All the leading Indians including Saurav can be world beaters but they must know how to win close matches against the top players. And thats what I have been focusing on in the last 12 months. “They have all the strokes in the book but they need to get better at the tactical side of the game. Modern squash is fiercely competitive and you should be able to play in different ways depending on what the situation demands. Like when to attack and when to slow things down,” said Karagui, who is also a chemical engineer. Karagui, whose contract is extended till 2019, is primarily targeting a pool of 6-7 world class players. And he wants Indians to be worlds best and not just be satisfied with medals at Asian and Commonwealth Games. “When I came here, I could sense there was a lot of focus on doing well in Asian and Commonwealth Games. But with that approach, you cannot be world beaters. You have to aim to be the best. And that is where I want India to be,” said Karagui. The Alexandria-based coach cited the example of his own country Egypt in that respect. “1996 was the time when we changed the structure of squash back home. Our president Hosni Mubarak also played a big role in developing the sport which is now number two after football. “What changed in 96 was that we created a league structure which covered age groups from 11 to 23. So in every age group, we started grooming players. Initially it was tough but once cycle started running smooth, we began churning out players in a phased way,” he said. “I am in talks with the federation of creating a similar structure in India. But since it is a huge country, the task will be anything but easy,” Karagui added. PTI BS SSC AHadvertisementlast_img read more

Heat Burn Spurs, Tie Series 1-1

first_imgSAN ANTONIO — No cramps, no problems for LeBron James.And with their superstar making it to the finish this time, the Miami Heat bounced back from a loss, just as they always do in the playoffs.“Obviously, having No. 6 in the game at the end was a plus for us,” Dwyane Wade said.James had 35 points and 10 rebounds in a powerful comeback from the cramps that knocked him out of the opener, as the Heat tied the NBA Finals with a 98-96 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 the night of June 8.Chris Bosh made the go-ahead 3-pointer on a pass from James with 1:18 remaining for the Heat, who have won 13 straight following a loss in the postseason. Just like last year, they rebounded after losing Game 1 to the Spurs.Bosh had 18 points for the Heat, who are headed home for Game 3 on June 10. James played more than 37 minutes, making 14 of 22 shots. He was 1 for 4 with three turnovers in a shaky first quarter, then made 11 of his next 13.After two days of enduring criticism for not finishing the game and getting suggestions on how to avoid cramps, James changed the subject.“What happened on Thursday was Thursday,” James said. “My whole focus was how I was going to try to help this team even this up and just try to make some plays.” He had a key strip of Tony Parker down the stretch, playing a dominant game on both ends as if he had something to prove.As usual, James found a way to silence his haters.He had 11 points in the second quarter, helping Miami erase an 11-point deficit early in the period. The game was played within a margin of a few points from there, and the Spurs missed a chance to seize control in the fourth quarter when Parker and Tim Duncan missed four straight free throws when they had a two-point lead.James then made a 3-pointer and two free throws to put Miami in position to win. Parker scored 21 points and Duncan had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs, who had won eight straight at home by at least 15 points.“Down the end there they executed really well,” Duncan said. “LeBron made some great passes and guys made open shots. We had the same result in the first game. They kind of flipped it in this one.”The game was played in comfortable conditions inside the AT&T Center, where an air conditioning failure in Game 1 sent temperatures soaring to about 90 degrees. The broken circuit breaker was fixed by June 6, and it was much cooler inside the arena.James had the toughest time with the heat on June 5, needing treatment midway through the fourth quarter before eventually having to leave for good. He had plenty of time to recover, with the two days off between Games 1 and 2.He changed only a little of his routine, taking an 8 a.m. yoga class on June 8 and switching to a shorter pair of tights. He personally erased a 62-56 San Antonio lead by scoring eight points in less than a minute, and his 14 points in the third quarter had Miami down only 78-77 heading to the fourth.“For me, once I get into a good groove, I feel like everything is going to go in,” James said. For a time, everything did. Then he switched to being a passer at the end, finding Bosh in the corner for the shot that made it 95-93.Wade and Rashard Lewis each scored 14 points for the Heat, who also dropped Game 1 of the NBA Finals against Oklahoma City two years ago. They have won five straight series after dropping the opening game.The Spurs were in good position, withstanding James’ assault long enough to lead by one with under 2 minutes to play. But they were shut out from there until Manu Ginobili’s 3-pointer as time expired.“LeBron with the ball did a pretty good job at his end and we had to be really perfect at the other end and we didn’t,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We didn’t take advantage of things. We made bad decisions.”And it didn’t help them that they had to deal with James at the end of this one. Ginobili finished with 19 points for the Spurs, whose 18 points in the fourth quarter were half the 36 they scored in the opener.“We have a very competitive group and you have two days to commiserate how that game went down,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It was frustrating, painful going through that for two days and now we have to manage the other emotion.”After their sensational finish to Game 1, the Spurs picked up right where they left off, making 10 of their first 15 shots. They opened an 11-point lead early in the second before James got going. He had three straight Miami baskets, and a follow shot later in the period gave the Heat their first lead at 34-33.(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Football’s collective voice must be mobilised to rid the streets of knives

first_imgShare on Twitter Knife crime: how teenagers cope with daily life on the front line The FA Share on Pinterest Football Sportblog Like many 10-year-old boys throughout Britain in the year 2000, Damilola Taylor was a fan of Manchester United, happily in thrall to the team of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Andy Cole. He loved playing the game, too. Today, 18 years after he bled to death in the stairwell of a Peckham housing estate, his name is on the youth centre where he practised his skills.Beyond the fact he had left Lagos for south London a few months earlier with his mother and a sister who needed specialised treatment for epilepsy, a love of football was among the few things that could be used to build a picture of Damilola when the news of his death made headlines in a Britain that could still be shocked by the idea of children killing each other. Now the connection is made all the time in reports of boys dying by violence on the streets. An involvement in rap music is often mentioned. But football is the interest that, by providing the victims with a sense of aspiration, most frequently gives us a clue to who they were. Topics Premier League comment Share on Messenger Knife crime Share via Email Read more Share on LinkedIn A weekend, or a month, or an entire season could be devoted to getting the message across Kids feel they do know Sterling and Rashford, and look up to them. Not all young black footballers come from difficult backgrounds but they are all familiar with the story. So why not make use of this sense of identification to communicate a message through a voice that may actually be listened to? And not just one such voice, either: all of them, black and white and everything else, standing together and speaking in unison.The Premier League and the FA could take a lead here. They depend on the underfunded schools and untended recreation grounds of England to nurture many of the players whose skills attract their lucrative worldwide audience. If they took the initiative, a campaign based on a collective voice might have a chance of success. A weekend, or a month, or even an entire season could be devoted to getting a message across: “Drop the knife – save a life”, for instance, although any half-decent advertising copywriter with two minutes to spare could improve on that. “Drop the knife – save YOUR life” might be better, since we learnt last week that more than half of young victims are killed by their own knives, wrested from them in the course of a fight. There could be a national version of the visits by players to schools and other places that already form part of some professional clubs’ community programmes.By itself, football cannot hope to solve the problems that induce children – whether out of fear or bravado – to leave home carrying knives. It cannot provide a generation with proper jobs. It cannot eradicate the gangs that persuade kids barely into their teens to transport drugs around the country, giving them money and a sense of belonging. But its privileged position enables it to exert a positive influence. Here, amid the tragedy of young lives bleeding away, would be a chance to do some real good. It was there again last week when 16-year-old John Ogunjobi was stabbed to death in Tulse Hill, another part of south London. John had played for a local team, St Matthew’s FC, which started 14 years ago as a friends’ kickabout and now works with local agencies to provide support and recreation for kids in the effort to keep them away from gangs and crime. “He was a good footballer, a real star,” one of his friends said.More than 40 people aged between 16 and 24 have died by violence in the capital so far this year but the phenomenon of teenage stabbings extends around the country. This is a plague and the effects of government cuts – particularly to the police and social care – throw its symptoms into higher relief.The successful attempt to reduce knife crime in Glasgow is held up as a positive example but it will have escaped no one’s attention that many of the killings in London and elsewhere in England are black-on-black. Victims and perpetrators alike are the descendants of the citizens of former colonies who were invited to work in this country and then, thanks to the collapse of the industrial sector, saw their children and grandchildren look in vain for meaningful large-scale employment or a sense of social structure. No wonder the boys search for routes – mainly rap and football – by which to escape the trap set by Thatcherism and sharpened by George Osborne’s imposition of economic austerity.Where does football come in? The heroes of many young people who take knives to school are the likes of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford: the ones who made it, who got out, whose weekly salaries amount to many times the average national annual wage. These days, the lucky ones can count their blessings as they look back on what happened to childhood friends who did not escape.Rio Ferdinand, brought up on a Peckham estate, has always spoken eloquently on the issue. Among the present generation is Andre Gray, the Watford striker, who gave an interview to the Sunday Times recently in which he spoke of his tough upbringing in Wolverhampton. Pointing to the scar on his cheek from a knife wielded in a gang fight one Christmas, he talked of friends who had become involved with gangs and ended up in jail. Warnings, he said, usually fell on deaf ears: “The way youth is now, they don’t respect a lot of people. They’ll stand there saying, ‘You don’t understand.’ I know how I was at 16, 17. You don’t look up to people you don’t know.” Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Reuse this contentlast_img read more

The Charleville initiative

first_imgAt the request of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, an Arunachal Study Group has been conceptualised at the Academy to look at issues concerning the capacity building of officers of Arunachal, understand the unique potential and diversity of the state in almost every respect – language, religion, culture, agro climes, hydel, natural and renewable resources, flora, fauna, birds, mammals, butterflies, besides challenges from the 1000 km border with China which contests the integration of the state with the Indian Union. One will not write about this – for reams have been written on this aspect, and usually, the discussion terminates with the assertion that Arunachal is indeed a state of the Indian Union, which leads the North East in many parameters of development. The initiative about this came from Jitender Kumar, an IAS officer of the AGMUT cadre when he was attending the Phase V program at the Academy. So, while this dispatch is not written at Charleville, it was conceptualised there! Also Read – A special kind of bondOne must mention here that there’s a strong Charleville connection with the state. Six decades ago, in the year of 1959, the Academy moved from the Metcalfe House in Delhi to Mussorie, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama established the first Tibetan settlement in India after having fled to the Tawang Monastery in Arunachal (then NEFA) to avoid persecution from the Chinese who had occupied Tibet. The Tawang monastery is in the Monpa area, bordering Bhutan to the west and is a centre of Lamaistic Buddhism. The middle range of Arunachal has the Tani and Mishmi areas, while Singhpo, Naga and Yobin areas border Myanmar to the East and Nagaland and Assam to the south. Also Read – Insider threat managementIn between there are transition zones such as the Bugun aka Hruso, Miji and Sherdukpen – these are the cultural buffers between Lamaism and Doniyo Polo (translated: the sun and the moon) – the shamanic and animistic belief systems.The Chief Minister and his team had a frank and candid discussion with our group which included Special Director Manoj Ahuja and we agreed that LBSNAA would conduct a training needs analysis for the civil and senior technical services of Arunachal, especially with regard to skills on project formulation and monitoring, leadership and team-building with focus on the potential drivers of Arunachal’s economy: tourism, hydropower, horticulture and handicrafts. The road to Arunachal, as indeed to most places in the Northeast, is via Kolkata and/or Guwahati, and your columnist spent a day at Kolkata – visiting the National Library, the ATI, the NUJS and had an interesting interaction with the executive committee members of the Indian Chambers of Commerce. The National Library is supposed to be the repository of all books published in the country, however, fulfilling this mandate requires professional leadership, administrative competence, political will backed with financial muscle – all of which require a reboot. The Academy is keen to seek their technical support and assistance in becoming the National Reference library for writings on and by civil servants, as well as on governance. The Academy has taken up a project under the title “The making of a Nation” to document all publications by and on civil servants/civil services and governance to understand how India has evolved from an outpost of the Empire to a G-20 nation with global ambitions and aspirations. This is taken from the title of Surendra Nath Banerjee’s publication A Nation in the Making, published in 1925. Banerjee’s contribution to nation-building has not received the attention it deserves – not only was he one of the first ICS officers who had to quit quite early in his career on account of racial discrimination, he was also an influential journalist, the President of the Indian National Congress, the Mayor of Kolkata and an inspiration for a generation of leaders of the freedom movement, especially before the advent of Mahatma Gandhi who transformed the Congress from an influential debating forum to a mass movement. The sessions at the ATI and NUJS were basically interactions with the civil service aspirants clearing their queries about the exams, and discussing the myriad possibilities in the civil services. There were many apprehensions about the selection process and the respective roles of the UPSC and the Academy in the determination of services, as well as inter-state seniority. It is always a delight to respond to questions of the aspirants as well as explaining to them that while governance depends on a positive rapport between the political leadership and the permanent executive, there are fairly well-established norms and conventions of what can and ought to be done. The relationship had to be professional – officers were expected to follow the rules and uphold the law but the discretion to amend the laws was vested with the political executive, and this too was subject to judicial scrutiny. Laws could not go against the ‘fundamental nature and the essential spirit of the Constitution. The session at Indian Chambers was also very interesting where your columnist sparred with economist Onkar Goswami on the role of bureaucracy in the budget exercise. His argument was that the bureaucracy was responsible for creating the Trust deficit which made it difficult for the entrepreneurs to expand their business. Your columnist’s view was that the budget was essentially a political statement and that the democratically elected political executive had every right to send whatever signals it wanted to convey. Moreover, the budget-making process was fairly participatory and the memoranda and submissions presented by the Industry chambers and trade associations were also factored in the budget-making process. (Dr. Sanjeev Chopra is Director, LBSNAA, Mussoorie, and Honorary Curator, Valley of Words: Literature and Arts Festival, Dehradun. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more