MIAMI:As other runners wrap up their preparation for the World Championships in Beijing, Nick Symmonds plans to retreat into nature, seeking solitude after being left off the United States squad in a squabble over Nike uniforms the team must wear.Fishing and climbing rocks are a way for the middle-distance runner to clear his mind and deal with the “frustration and letdown that I’m experiencing right now”, he said.Symmonds, a silver medallist at 800 metres at the last World Championships, refused to sign a contract that USA Track and Field (USTATF) requires of all athletes before they’re placed on the team. When the official roster was named on Monday, Symmonds wasn’t on it despite his win at the US championships in June.For Symmonds, the issue is Nike’s standing as USATF’s official uniform sponsor. Anyone going to Beijing later this month on the US team is required to wear Nike gear at team functions. Symmonds is sponsored by a rival shoe company, Brooks, and wanted a clear definition of what a Team USA function was.”I guess a small part of me thought they weren’t stupid enough to leave me off the team,” Symmonds said. “Apparently, they are.”Emotionally and physically, I’m beat up right now.”Except for the exclusion of Symmonds, there were no surprises on the roster released Monday. There are five defending World champions on the US squad, including Ashton Eaton (decathlon), LaShawn Merritt (400 metres), David Oliver (hurdles), Brittney Reese (long jump), and Brianna Rollins (hurdles).Marquee sprinters such as Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, and Allyson Felix are also on the team.Taking Symmonds’ place in the 800m is Clayton Murphy, who finished fourth at nationals.too much powerThe 31-year-old Symmonds is known for taking stances on social and business issues that surround what he believes is a widely corrupt world of track and field. He said he couldn’t sit idly by on this topic, believing that giving Nike so much power on what athletes can and can’t wear at major events may hinder sponsorship deals down the road.”We have to wear Team USA kit at all official Team USA functions, which is fine. I’m fine with it,” said Symmonds, who plans to eschew training for a bit to fish and rock climb. “The problem is they never define what a Team USA function is. They do that almost on purpose so they can call anything a Team USA function.”USATF makes about $20 million a year in a sponsorship contract with Nike that was recently extended to run through 2040.The federation issued a statement on Monday, saying, “The only restriction USATF places on athletes’ apparel or appearance at any time is when they represent the United States in national team competitions, award ceremonies, official team press conferences, and other official team functions tied to these national team events.”USATF said it invests more than 50 per cent of its revenue directly into athlete support.”We look forward to continuing to expand our programmes for athletes and we hope to see Nick on future national teams,” the statement said.Symmonds was a Nike-sponsored athlete for about seven years before switching to Brooks last year. He did so because “I needed a company that could work with me and match my personality a little bit better”, Symmonds said.He won the 800m at the National Championships in June, finishing in a time of one minute, 44.53 seconds. Symonds decided to skip lucrative competitions in Europe to concentrate on his training in Seattle so he could be in prime shape for Beijing. He felt like he was possibly in even better condition than when he earned silver at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.”We’re not going to get a chance to find out what I can do,” Symmonds said. “That’s a travesty.”Although he has an airline ticket and a visa into China, Symmonds isn’t sure if he will attend as a spectator or watch from home.”I want to apologise to the fans who want to see me run,” Symmonds said. “I just feel that I can’t go out there and put on that Team USA jersey and feel good about it, while all the athletes are being mercilessly bullied and threatened by USATF at the same time.”
CLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceSAN JOSE — Sidney Crosby will never be considered a fan favorite inside the walls of SAP Center, not after he hoisted the Stanley Cup on the arena’s ice surface less than three years ago when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Sharks in six games for hockey’s holy grail.Saturday, he was given another award in front of thousands of fans in teal, a new car, as he was named the NHL All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player for …
SANTA CLARA – The Gauntlet. The Hellacious Hat Trick. Three-And-Out?Call it what you like but the 49ers’ upcoming three-game stretch sets up as the toughest of the Super Bowl era this deep into a season, at least based on team records.After hosting the Green Bay Packers (8-2), the 49ers (9-1) take a 10-day trip for road games against the Baltimore Ravens (8-2) and the New Orleans Saints (8-2). To ease the rigors of transcontinental travel, the 49ers will spend the time between games in …
Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken With three-point shooting becoming a priority for most NBA teams’ offensive schemes, Howard bared his intentions to expand his shooting range by working with a trainer this off-season.“I’ve been working on my threes, really trying to add some range to my game,” the Atlanta Hawks center told ESPN. “Which is going to be weird for people to see, I guess. They are used to seeing me in the paint battling.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe task, meanwhile, will be easier said done than for Howard, who has been regarded as a notoriously poor free-throw shooter throughout his 13-year NBA career.He made five of his 56 attempted three pointers in his career, most of which came from end-of-quarter heaves. Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Salado posts triple-double as Racal sets D-League scoring record Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken 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 Howard knows he’s going to have his work cut out to improve his range, but understands the need to evolve his game to keep up with today’s fast-paced games.“In order for me to play longer, I have to expand my game. The game is not just back to the basket, get the ball in the post and go to work,” he said.“It’s more stepping away from the basket, setting screens, popping, shooting threes and stuff like that. People haven’t seen me do that,” he added.Howard thinks that “it’s going to be an adjustment for me, but also the fans. I think it’s going to be fun.”Howard looks to follow the footsteps of his fellow centers Al Horford, Brook Lopez, DeMarcus Cousins and Marc Gasol, who all shot considerably more from beyond the arc this season. Khristian Ibarrola /raADVERTISEMENT 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Dwight Howard #8 (left) of the Atlanta Hawks. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFPAt one point in his career, Dwight Howard was deemed as the most dominant center in the league.However, multiple significant injuries slowed down the 31-year-old big man, as evidenced by his declining production in recent seasons.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ MOST READ WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage View comments World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide What ‘missteps’?
Sushil at his home in Baprola.Kushti mein tukke na laga kare hain (There are no flukes in wrestling)!” Diwan Singh explodes, indignant that anyone could ever insinuate that his son was a “one-win wonder”. Olympic silver-medallist Sushil Kumar’s father, a driver with Delhi’s Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, is thrilled about,Sushil at his home in Baprola.Kushti mein tukke na laga kare hain (There are no flukes in wrestling)!” Diwan Singh explodes, indignant that anyone could ever insinuate that his son was a “one-win wonder”. Olympic silver-medallist Sushil Kumar’s father, a driver with Delhi’s Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, is thrilled about his son’s unprecedented triumph at the London Games, but also a little wistful: “My boy was his best. He was within grabbing distance of the gold medal.”Sushil, 29, and his India teammate Yogeshwar Dutt, who won the 60 kg freestyle bronze medal in London, are the biggest success stories from the Chaudhary Devi Lal Sports Centre. The 83-acre Sports Authority of India (SAI) facility-a finishing school for wrestlers-in Sonepat’s Bahalgarh village, where India’s best hone their grappling skills in gruelling training schedules, has happily been rechristened the ‘Haryanvi Medal Factory’ by local residents.”Lajawab uplabdhi hai (It’s an unparalleled achievement),” says chief coach Anil Khokhar, 35, who has seen a distinct change in younger wrestlers at the centre. From simply striving to participate in international events, he says, “our boys have smelt blood. They all want to chase medals now. Sushil and Yogeshwar have shown them it can be done”.Unlike the father, who will just not settle for second spot, the sleepy village of Baprola, on the fringes of Delhi’s northwestern border with Haryana, is euphoric about their new hero, Sushil Kumar, silver medallist in wrestling at the London Olympics in the 66 kg freestyle category and a bronze-winner in Beijing in 2008 in the same event. Says Mukhtiar Singh, a veteran of many a past dangal (wrestling tournament), “This boy has made it all worthwhile. His victory makes me feel truly celebrated for the first time in all my 84 years.”The ‘Haryanvi medal factory’ is thriving even more with lavish monetary rewards from the state government.Every youngster in Baprola wants to follow Sushil into wrestling. Tenyear-old Ritik and his three friends walked 2 km from their homes to touch the feet of their champion, just back home from London, in keeping with the old akhara tradition. “Kushti ladoge kya (Want to wrestle)?” asks Sushil. All four nod vigorously, swelling visibly with pride.Eighty kilometres to the north along the monsoon-damaged road to Gohana in Haryana’s Sonepat district, the residents of Bhainswal Kalan stayed up the night to welcome their own champion. A thousand of them thronged Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport to carry the 29-year-old Yogeshwar Dutt home on their shoulders. A large settlement of nearly 20,000 residents, Bhainswal has a long tradition of sending its sons and daughters into teaching. But it’s taken the single-minded devotion and grit of a wrestler to bring home the accolades. Pleasantly tidy despite its large population of water buffaloes, every street in the village is paved with concrete and lined with street lamps that actually work.”All this is thanks to Yogeshwar’s successes,” says Rameshwar Vashishth, 63, a former teacher, recalling how the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government first took note of Bhainswal after the wrestler found a place in the Indian squad for the Beijing Olympics. “Every man, woman and child here owes this young man a debt of gratitude,” he says. So they all thronged his freshly repainted house in the centre of the village just before sunrise on August 14 when he drove in. “The first thing he did was to touch the feet of his biggest fan-our mother,” says his younger brother Mukesh Dutt, 26.”It rained on the day Yogeshwar was born,” says 59-year-old Sushila Devi, fondly hugging her favourite child. “I knew then he was meant for great things. You know how they say sapooton ke paer palaane mein hi pehchaane jaate hain (good sons indicate their path in the crib itself),” she says, quoting an old Haryanvi adage. And breaking a long and worrisome dry spell, there was rain yet again on the morning Yogeshwar returned from London, convincing all in Bhainswal that he is their luckiest charm.Yogeshwar at his home in Bhainswal.But besides luck, India’s Olympic triumphs are rooted in an age-old rural wrestling tradition that extends all the way from the Najafgarh villages in Delhi to Sonepat, Rohtak, Hisar, Bhiwani in Haryana and further across to Baghpat, Shamli and Meerut in western Uttar Pradesh. It is like a thriving cottage industry. Every other village here has an akhara where older pehalwans (wrestlers) teach youngsters the finer nuances of grappling, widely misconstrued as a rustic sport involving brute strength.”It’s all in the soil and water that God gifted our people,” says Suresh Malik aka Bhaddal Pehalwan, who trains 100 young boys at the Balraj Akhara, a private wrestling school in Bhainswal Kalan set up over three decades ago by Satbir Singh, a celecelebrated local wrestler. Malik starts them young. His youngest pupils like Harsh, Shivam and Rohit, all between nine and 13 years, fight hard to stay ahead amid the mustard oil and turmeric-infused loam that serves as the mat in their akhara.”Yogeshwar and I were about the same age and just 30 kg each when we first began training under Mahabali Satpal at Delhi’s Chhatrasal Stadium 15 years ago,” Sushil recalls. His guru’s older brother Chaudhary Dara Singh first spotted the champion, when he won the gold medal at the National School Games in Delhi at the age of 12. “I imagine that (the exhilaration of the school-time victory) is how it would have felt had I struck gold in London,” he says a trifle ruefully.For 17-year-old Praveen Kumar, who just rejoined training at the SAI Centre in Bahalgarh after six months of rehab to treat injuries sustained when miscreants pushed him off a speeding train on his way to his village near Shamli in January, Sushil’s silver medal has been inspirational. “Beijing was the beginning but London has shown the world that you cannot mess with Indians,” says the youngster who is back to a punishing workout from 4.30 in the morning until lights out at 10.30 p.m. every day.The results are evident. Fourteen of the 15-man squad of ‘Bahalgarh Boys’ that participated in the November 2011 Inter-SAI Games at Hisar came back with medals. Six of them struck gold at the national sub-junior wrestling tournament in May 2012.The ‘Haryanvi Medal Factory’ is thriving even more with lavish monetary rewards from the state government. Chief Minister Hooda not only announced a cash award of Rs 1 crore for Dutt but went on to proclaim similar prizes for every medallist even remotely connected with his state: Sushil because he speaks Haryanvi and trained here; badminton star Saina Nehwal and shooter Gagan Narang because their families are originally from Haryana.Back in Bhainswal and Baprola, both champions say they are not ready to hang up their boots. “I will go for gold in Rio 2016,” says Sushil, who is spending most of his 15-day break before the upcoming SAF Games Camp in September, watching YouTube re-runs of his failed final bout. “I have to spot where I faltered against the Japani (Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu),” he says. Relatively relaxed, Yogeshwar too heads for the computer when he gets the chance.As Diwan Singh reiterates, “There are no flukes in wrestling. It is all about keeping fit, training hard and perfecting tactics to be far superior to anything your opponent can possibly come up with.”advertisementadvertisement
Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) member Sourav Ganguly said there would be no immediate announcement of the next India coach and the CAC was in fact waiting to speak with skipper Virat Kohli.WATCH FULL VIDEOGanguly, VVS Laxman and Sachin on Monday interviewed five candidates for the India coach – Lalchand Rajput, Virender Sehwag, Richard Pybus, Tom Moody and Ravi Shastri. Phil Simmons was not interviewed because he was not available, Ganguly said.However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sources confirm to India Today that the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) is keen on an Indian coach.Therefore, it is now a race between Ravi Shastri and Virender Sehwag.They feel the presentations were at par and that is the case there is no reason to look beyond an Indian. More importantly and interestingly, the argument being made is Ravi Shastri, who has played and won so many matches for India was removed after two years and Anil Kumble — India’s biggest match winner had to go after a year and this is sending a very poor signal to the world that Indians can’t run their own team and we need a foreigner to do so.CAC members feel that to assume Shastri or Sehwag, legends of Indian cricket can’t run a team while a player like Tom Moody can is unfortunate.They say that how come Duncan Fletcher was given a long rope while Shastri or Kumble had to give way after short bursts?Based on all of these assumptions it is now a two horse race between Shastri and Sehwag while Moody has only a very small outside chance.advertisement
Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging well-thinking Jamaicans who are keen on volunteering their services in the public’s interest, particularly on the Boards of Public Bodies, to offer themselves for consideration.“If you are of high integrity (and)… competence, and you have that willingness to serve, the Government wants your help,” he said.The Prime Minister was addressing the management and staff of State refinery, Petrojam, during a meeting at the entity, located on Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston, on Friday (July 13).His remarks came against the background of recent developments regarding the management of Petrojam’s operations, which have resulted in administrative restructuring and an impending strategic review of the entity.Noting that public service is among the “highest callings” to which any Jamaican can aspire, Mr. Holness said persons who are so interested should not be deterred by recent developments at Petrojam.“People who put themselves up voluntarily to serve the public interest, come under significant public scrutiny… and what has been happening in the last few weeks, certainly, would cause people to want to revisit whether or not they should give public service,” he pointed.Mr. Holness argued, however, that “the experience of (those) events has created a greater understanding and interest in how public bodies are run.”“That is why we are putting in place a new policy as to how Board Chairmen and members for Public Bodies are to be selected. Let us use this opportunity to transform how our country is governed,” he added.The Prime Minister also used the opportunity to thank Petrojam’s new Chairman, Paul Hoo, and Board members, for offering their services.“They have volunteered and I am particularly grateful and I want to publicly say thanks (to them) for agreeing to serve,” Mr Holness said.