In a first, sportspersons receive national honours virtually

first_img Press Trust Of India First Published: 29th August, 2020 13:59 IST Last Updated: 29th August, 2020 13:59 IST In A First, Sportspersons Receive National Honours Virtually India’s sporting heroes were bestowed the annual national awards in an unparalleled online ceremony amid the COVID-19 pandemic during which athletes logged in from multiple cities to be honoured by President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday SUBSCRIBE TO US Written By COMMENTcenter_img LIVE TV India’s sporting heroes were bestowed the annual national awards in an unparalleled online ceremony amid the COVID-19 pandemic during which athletes logged in from multiple cities to be honoured by President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday.This year a whopping 74 winners were picked for the national honours, including an unprecedented five Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratnas and 27 Arjuna awardees. Of these, 60 attended the virtual ceremony conducted across 11 Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres in various cities.Cricketers Rohit Sharma (Khel Ratna) and Ishant Sharma (Arjuna) missed out due to their IPL commitments in the UAE, while star wrestler Vinesh Phogat (Khel Ratna) and badminton player Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (Arjuna) had to pull out of the ceremony after testing positive for the dreaded virus.The other three Khel Ratna winners — TT player Manika Batra, Paralympic gold-medallist Mariyappan Thangavelu and women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal — attended the ceremony.While Batra logged in from Pune, Thangavelu and Rampal joined from Bengaluru.President Kovind applauded as names of the attending awardees were called out and their achievements were cited as is the convention. Missing, however, was the grandeur of the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Durbar Hall.”This is the first awards ceremony in COVID times during which the President has participated,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said at the beginning of the ceremony.The athletes can look forward to enhanced cash awards this year. The prize money for the Khel Ratna was increased to Rs 25 lakh from the previous amount of Rs 7.5 lakh this morning.Arjuna awardees, 22 of who attended the ceremony, were given Rs 15 lakh, which is Rs 10 lakh more than the previous sum.The Dhronacharya (Lifetime) awardees, who were earlier given Rs 5 lakh, were awarded Rs 15 lakh, while the regular Dhronacharya came with Rs 10 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh per awardee.Dhyanchand Awardees were given Rs 10 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh.The strict COVID-19 protocol meant that for the first time in 44 years’ history of the awards, the winners, guests and dignitaries did not gather at the Durbar Hall to be recognised for their excellence.President Kovind congratulated all the winners and exuded confidence that India can achieve its goal of finishing among top-10 countries in the 2028 Paris Olympics.”My heartiest congratulations to all the award winners! All of you, through your performance, have provided unforgettable moments of collective success to all Indians,” Kovind said in his address during the ceremony, which lasted little more than hour.”I am confident that with the collective efforts made on the strength of everyone’s participation, India will emerge as a sporting superpower.”Our goal is to be in the top-10 podium finisher countries in the 2028 Olympic Games. We will definitely achieve this goal.” Kovind said India needs to develop a sporting culture and everyone should work towards achieving that.He said the entire sporting world has been affected by the pandemic, but hoped athletes will come out stronger from this experience.”COVID-19 also has a huge impact on the sports world. Olympic Games have been postponed…In our country too, all sports activities have been affected. Players and coaches may be less motivated by practice and competition stops,” he said.”I believe that the people of sports will come out of this test with more mental strength and will create new history of achievements.” The top Arjuna awardees this year included star sprinter Dutee Chand, woman cricketer Deepti Sharma, golfer Aditi Ashok and men’s hockey team striker Akashdeep Singh.The Dronacharya award in the life-time category was bestowed on eight coaches, the prominent among them being archery coach Dharmendra Tiwary, Naresh Kumar (tennis), Shiv Singh (boxing) and Romesh Pathania (hockey).In regular category, there were five recipients of the Dronacharya, including hockey coach Jude Felix and shooting coach Jaspal Rana among others.In a tragic turn of events of Friday, a Dronacharya (Lifetime) winner, athletics coach Purushottam Rai, died in Bengaluru after suffering a heart attack.The Dhyan Chand award this year was given to 15 individuals, including Sukhvinder Singh Sandhu (football), Trupti Murgunde (badminton) and Nandan Bal (tennis) among others.Golfer Aditi Ashok and former footballer Sukhwinder Singh Sandhu did not attend the award function as they are out of the country.All health and safety protocols, keeping with the guidelines of the Health Ministry, were followed at the venues where dignitaries and awardees were present.In fact, awardees were seen clad in PPE kits as they made their way to the ceremony venues.As per the direction of the Sports Ministry, every award winner had to undergo a COVID-19 test before reporting to the ceremony venue.Image credits: SAIMedia / Twitter WATCH US LIVE FOLLOW USlast_img read more

Ronaldo asked me to join Juventus after Nations League final – Man Utd target de Ligt

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo (left) told Matthijs de Ligt (right) he should join Juventus this summer Plenty of clubs are interested in De Ligt and perhaps Juventus will throw their hat in the ring He helped his boyhood side to a domestic double and they came within seconds of reaching the Champions League final before Tottenham scored a last-gasp winner in the semi-finals.Manchester United and Barcelona have both been heavily linked with De Ligt and Liverpool are also understood to be interested.Whether or not Ronaldo’s comments were in jest remain to be seen but the Dutchman is to weigh up his options.‘Now I will go on vacation, I’ll think carefully about what is best for me and then I’ll decide. For a young player like me, it’s important to go to a club where I can play consistently. That’s the main issue,’ he concluded. ‘He asked me to come to Juventus,’ the 19-year-old told NOS. ‘I was a little shocked by that question, that’s why I laughed. I didn’t understand him at first.De Ligt and Virgil van Dijk formed a solid partnership at the back for Ronald Koeman’s side but Goncalo Guedes scored the decisive goal.The young central defender has a host of top European clubs chasing him this summer and it seems inevitable that he will leave Ajax.center_img Ronaldo was clearly impressed by the powerful young central defender in the Nations League Cristiano Ronaldo told Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt to join Juventus in the wake of Portugal’s UEFA Nations League win over Holland.De Ligt’s side suffered a 1-0 defeat at the Estadio Dragao but he was seen laughing with Ronaldo after the final whistle.When asked what the conversation was about, he revealed that the legendary forward was trying to recruit him for the Italian champions.last_img read more

Rain spoils Ferrari’s 70th birthday party preparations

first_imgMonza, Italy | AFP | The fans flocked to the party, the team wore celebratory uniforms and the boss admitted emotions were running high.Only the weather failed to oblige on Saturday when Ferrari hoped to mark their 70th anniversary at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix with a memorable tribute to team founder Enzo Ferrari.Torrential rain, overnight and throughout the day, reduced final practice and qualifying to near-farcical washouts.The decisive afternoon session was curtailed after only five minutes when Frenchman Romain Grosjean aquaplaned and crashed his Haas car on the straight, leaving thousands of the devoted ‘tifosi’, sitting behind their Ferrari banners and flags in the grandstands, to wait for the rain to clear.Like team chief Maurizio Arrivabene, they were in thrall to the passion generated by the scarlet scuderia and their prancing horse symbol — and the prospect of seeing championship leader Sebastian Vettel winning for Ferrari.“It’s unbelievable,” explained Arrivabene. “The atmosphere, the tradition, the history… Even Enzo Ferrari was talking always about the Italian Grand Prix as the Grand Prix.“This is the emotional part. The public is fantastic. We can feel the vibe. I think even on Thursday we were feeling it, all of us, the team, the drivers – they could feel the vibe of the tifosi and they were pushing us…“The expectation is very, very high. Despite that, we need to be humble because we know the nature of this year’s and we know that Monza is not really the best track for us.“Having said so, our attitude will be humble, but not surrendering.” For Vettel, the storms that lashed Monza on Saturday would have brought back vivid memories of his maiden F1 victory in similar conditions on the famous old track in 2008.Not only was it his first triumph, but he also registered Toro Rosso’s first pole and victory in the process, inspiring an affinity with the Italian fans that has stayed with him and only intensified as a Ferrari driver.After weeks of speculation, Ferrari confirmed in Belgium that Vettel had agreed a new three-year contract – a signal that he remained intent on ending their 10-year wait for a drivers’ title.The last Ferrari drivers’ champion, by an ironic quirk of history, was Vettel’s current team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who produced a late surge of results to take the crown in 2007.Vettel arrived in Monza with a seven-point lead over nearest rival, Briton Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, knowing that another win by the Englishman would enable him to take over as championship leader for the first time this year.“It’s not extra pressure to be at Monza,” said Vettel. “It’s special, yes, but it is enjoyable. It is our favourite race, of course, and the support helps to push us on, but the season will go on.”Vettel has won twice before at Monza, but never in a Ferrari and knows that a victory on Sunday would not only confirm his place as championship leader, but also deliver a blow to Hamilton’s hopes of mounting a late-season surge.And, in front of Ferrari’s chairman and chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne, it would also give the tifosi a good excuse to enjoy a 70th anniversary party on Sunday.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Broward County to Stop Recycling Paper This Summer

first_imgHundreds of thousands of Broward County residents will soon be required to stop recycling newspapers, pamphlets and other mixed paper.Waste Management is ending mixed paper recycling, claiming that Broward has not been following the program’s guidelines.The change includes newspapers, mail, magazines, glossy inserts, pamphlets, catalogs, print and office paper and school paper.However, environmental groups want Waste Management to consider other options.Fourteen Broward cities were recently told the change begins Aug. 1. They are: Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea; Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, Margate, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pembroke Park, Plantation, Tamarac, Wilton Manors.According to the notice given to those municipalities, mixed paper “has no viable market” to be resold as recyclables.Another 13 Broward cities are expected to be weaned off mixed-paper recycling, depending on new contract terms, according to Waste Management spokeswoman, Dawn McCormick.Those are: Cooper City, Dania Beach, Davie, Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale Lakes, Miramar, Parkland, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Southwest Ranches, West Park, Weston.Broward County Vice Mayor Steve Geller says: “We’ve known we’d be dealing with this in the next year or two. I don’t think we had any idea we’d be dealing with this in the next week or two.”McCormick explains that Broward is putting trash in the recycling bin, causing contamination rates of around 30 percent. Unable to clean it enough to sell, the paper then gets sent to the landfill or burned to turn into electricity.In addition, the global market demand for recycled paper is slowing.The company’s recycling income dropped nearly $90 million last year, compared with 2017.Waste Management is the country’s largest hauler and the largest recycling processing company, with recycling operations in 30 states and Canada. McCormick explains that other locations around the country have abandoned recycling entirely.The agency handles recycling in Miami-Dade County, where mixed-paper recycling will continue since the contract does not allow for paper to be eliminated from recycling.No cities in Palm Beach County plan to end paper recycling, says Solid Waste Authority spokesman, Willie Puz.There, residents separate their paper for recycling from their glass, metal and plastic, cutting down on the contamination rates.Although paper does not produce much revenue, it will not disappear. Puz explains, “As a government entity we’re not in it to make money; we’re in it to do the right thing.”Once the changes are implemented, the financial burden could land on the individual cities, says Coral Springs Commissioner Larry Vignola.If people continue to recycle paper, Waste Management could fine the cities for contaminating recycling.“Hopefully the market will rebound in a few years, but this is going to be a challenge,” he adds. “It’s a shame. Everybody is a lot more environmentally conscious and striving to do the right thing by the environment. That’s very frustrating. We still have people putting plastic bags in the recycling bins. Not everyone really understands what’s recyclable and what’s not.”Despite Waste Management’s notification letters, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Steve Glassman hopes the change will not occur. He explains, “I’m hopeful we are able to figure this out. It makes no sense to fill up the landfills with this kind of material that can be recycled. I don’t know if there’s time to change anything now, but I think we need to have that conversation. I think we need to get it back on track.”The list of what can still be recycled in Broward County generally includes clean, dry and empty cardboard such as Amazon shipping boxes and diaper boxes, plastic bottles and jugs, aluminum and steel cans, and glass bottles and jars. Clean pizza boxes with no grease, paper or food are also recyclable.last_img read more

XPRESSBET $10K BET SWEEPSTAKES IS BACK FOR SECOND YEAR

first_imgAbout XpressbetXpressbet provides legal and secure online wagering services to horseplayers in the United States.  It is the industry’s most comprehensive and user-friendly wagering site, allowing customers to wager on more than 300 of the world’s best racetracks from their computer, phone or mobile device.  Xpressbet operates XB SELECT, the industry’s premier destination for high-volume wagering, and XB Net, which connects bet shops and wagering sites from around the world to North American racing.  Xpressbet is a Stronach Group company, which also owns and operates Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, the award-winning Adena Springs operation, AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and Monarch Content Management. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network. Additionally, 25 Second Prize winners will receive a $100 Xpressbet wagering voucher and 50 Third Prize winners will receive autographed memorabilia signed by Hall of Fame jockeys, including John Velazquez, Mike Smith and Edgar Prado. Visit Xpressbet.com to sign up. In addition to participating in the $10K Bet Sweepstakes, new customers can earn a $125 Bonus by entering promo code XMAN125. “We’re excited to once again provide our customers the opportunity to experience a marquee event at an iconic horse racing venue,” said Xpressbet Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kerry Carlson. “Both of last year’s Grand Prize winners not only hit big, which was incredibly exciting, but also raved about the experience. We love to reward our loyal customers, and this year we’ve introduced even more prizes so everyone that registers and plays has a greater chance of winning.” 2014 Grand Prize Winners Cashed for $60,000 on Florida Derby & Santa Anita Derbycenter_img February 2, 2015 (Washington, PA) – For the second consecutive year, leading online wagering provider, Xpressbet, is giving two customers the opportunity to win a VIP trip to the Florida Derby and Santa Anita Derby, as well as $10,000 to place a Win bet on their race. Each Grand Prize winner will get to cheer their horse down the stretch in person from the track. The Grand Prize package also includes roundtrip airfare for two and three-nights hotel accommodations. In last year’s inaugural $10K Bet Sweepstakes, both Grand Prize winners parlayed their luck into an unforgettable experience at the track, complete with a winning wager. Tom Guadagno turned his $10,000 Win bet on the Florida Derby into a $43,000 payday when Constitution hit the wire first, while Scott Shore’s choice of California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby returned $17,000. Since 2000, the average Win payout is $19.71 in the Florida Derby and $14.63 in the Santa Anita Derby, based on a $2 wager. The Sweepstakes begins Sunday, February 1 and continues through Sunday, March 15. Registration is free for Xpressbet customers and registrants earn entries for every wager they make with Xpressbet. Bonus entries will be awarded for wagers made on Stronach Group Tracks and Hawthorne Race Course.last_img read more

Terrible QPR away form is down to quality opponents, insists Redknapp

first_imgQueens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp believes that their poor form away from Loftus Road is down to playing some ‘fantastic’ teams after he saw his side lose to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.The R’s are yet to win away from from home in the Premier League this season and fell to a 2-0 defeat as goals from Ki Sung-Yueng and Wayne Routledge secured victory for Garry Monk’s men.But Redknapp was quick to take the heat off of his players claiming that his side have faced tougher opposition away from west London.“We’ve played good teams away from home this season, who have got fantastic players, and its hard in this division, you look at West Brom losing to West Ham, Leicester losing to Liverpool and Burnley drawing with Newcastle – its tough in this league.”The former Portsmouth and West Ham manager is now looking for some home comfort as they look to get back to winning ways against Burnley on Saturday.“We’ve got some home games coming up, and they will be vital for us, the next three or four home games are all big games. We have had a couple recently and managed to win them [over Aston Villa and Leicester].“Now we have got Burnley, West Brom and Crystal Palace coming up and we need to pick up some points from those games,” Redknapp added.On the game itself, the Rangers manager was quick to praise his number one Robert Green who pulled off a number of fine stops.“[Green] was fantastic tonight,” cooed the 67-year-old. “He is a top class keeper and a great professional, but in the last four or five years Swansea have been playing some great football, and Garry Monk has continued that and anyone coming here will find it difficult to win, just ask Arsenal the other week.last_img read more