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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No female shuttlers for Asian, CW Games - Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Badminton Federation has decided not to send any female badminton players to the upcoming Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, disregarding the recent performances of female shuttlers in recent international events.

“The female shuttlers are not up to the international standard. If we send them to such big tournaments not only will they be embarrassed, our sport's image will be blemished,” claimed the federation's joint secretary Golam Aziz Jilai, defending the decision to send only male shuttlers to these games.

However, reality says something different. The last two medals earned from international events were courtesy of female shuttlers. The pair of Shapla Akter and Rasel Kabir won a bronze medal in the mixed doubles event of the 2010 SA Games while Shapla also won another bronze in the singles event of an international tournament in the same year in Dhaka.

Aiman Ibne Zaman and Raisuddin will participate in the Commonwealth Games while Enamul Haque and Ahsan Habib will take part in the Asian games.
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Rakesh Kumar gets highest bid in Pro Kabaddi League player auction


Two-time Asian Games gold medal winner Rakesh Kumar emerged as the top money earner and was bought for Rs 12.80 lakh by Jaipur franchise Pink Panthers in the inaugural Pro Kabaddi League player auction held in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Raider Kumar, 32, employed with Northern Railways and was part of the Indian men's gold winning squad at the 2006 Qatar Asian Games and the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games as well as the 2007 World Cup winning team, fetched the top prize in the auction featuring 96 players from 13 countries.

In second place was raider Deepak Niwas of Sports Authority of India who was bought for Rs 12.60 lakh by Telugu Taitans (Vishakapatnam).

Other big buys were: Surjeet Singh (Rs 12 lakh, Bengal Warriors of Kolkata), Ajay Thakur (Rs 12.20 lakh by Bengaluru Bulls of Bangalore), Surjeet Narwal (Rs 12.20 lakh by Delhi franchise and Navneet Gautam (Rs 11.20 lakh by Jaipur Pink Panthers).

There were four Pakistani players too at the auction and two of those - Atif Waheed and Wajid Ali - were purchased for Rs 4 lakh each by the Telugu Taitans.

The other two - Waseem Sajjad (Rs 5.20 lakh) and Nasir Ali (Rs 4 lakh) - were bought by the Patna franchise and Jaipur Pink Panthers, respectively.

"There are just a few Pakistani players. We have initiated the process for their visas and expect support from the government. We want to showcase their skills," said Charu Sharma of league promoters Mashal Sports at the media conference, when queried on the issue of Pakistan players.

Among the foreign players, Iranians were the biggest draws with defenders Mostafa Noudehi (Rs 6.60 lakh, Puneri Paltan of Pune) and Farhad Gharibi (Rs 5.60 lakh, Bengal Warriors) being the pick of the lot.

Players from South Korea, which is hosting the Asian Games in September-October at Incheon where kabaddi is a medal event, Japan, Kenya, Taiwan, Britain, Oman, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Turkey were also bought at the auction.

The league is scheduled from July 26 to August 31.
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New Asian games from WMS

It is presenting a series of localised products designed to set new standards for lasting performance, while offering players unique and dynamic entertainment experiences. WMS is debuting new games for Asian players, including the Winning Fortune Progressives.

WMS’ focus is on providing a full range of gaming solutions on the fast CPU-NXT3 operating platform in the next-generation upright Blade cabinet. “Blade currently stands among the industry’s strongest performers and confirms WMS as a leader in both content and innovation,” said Sebastian Salat, president of WMS International.

“WMS continues to build its global support and brand presence through a diverse and localised product portfolio and an expanded global team and facilities. G2E Asia is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our dedication to meeting the local needs of customers, while keeping in mind market-specific player preferences.”
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Gowda aims for good show in CWG, Asian Games

NEW DELHI: A silver medal in the prestigious Diamond League Meet to boast of, discus thrower Vikas Gowda said that he's in good shape to bring laurels for the country in the upcoming Commonwealth and Asian Games later this year.

Gowda won a silver in the first leg of Diamond League Meetings in Doha on May 10 with a throw of 63.23m and the rare achievement by an Indian has boosted his confidence with around two months left in the Glasgow CWG. Gowda holds the national record of 66.28m.

"My main targets are Commonwealth and Asian Games. The Diamond League meets are very competitive and standards very high. It's the same people you will see in Olympics and World Championships final. It (silver medal) definitely gives me a lot of confidence going forward. My performance could have been a little better, but it's a good indicator for the early part of season," said Gowda, who was born in Mysore but grew up in United States.

Asked about his training method, Gowda, who trains under legendary Olympic champion John Godina in the United States, said, "When I train I try to train with very high intensity. The same intensity and pressure you feel during a competition. Thus, when I get to a competition it is a familiar feeling."

He said that Indian athletics needs to improve faster in order to catch up with the world's best.

"Indian athletics has definitely got better over the last few years, but obviously it needs to be much better to win more medals," he said.

"The most important thing that needs to be done is to create more basic infrastructure. People need easy access to a track. They don't need a huge stadium. When I was growing up, my community had six or seven tracks within a 10-minute drive. After that is done, a high-performance centre also needs to be built," he said in an Athletics Federation of India release.

"The most important thing that helped me was the access to facilities. When I was young I had easy access to three or four different track in my area. And coaching is also very important. I did not start competing at the world-class level until I started training with John Godina."

Gowda won a silver in 2010 Commonwealth Games, bronze in the 2010 Asian Games, gold in the 2013 Asian Championships and finished eighth in 2012 Olympics.
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Vietnam cannot host the 2019 Games.



Vietnam recently advised the Olympic Council of Asia, which administers the 45 nations Asian Games, that for cost reasons it cannot host the 2019 Games.

Could this be a forerunner occurrence regarding grand-scale sporting events? I say that despite Pakistan and South Korea having also forfeited hosting rights in the past for the same reason, each time Bangkok taking over.

The Asian Games are scarcely reported here, but next to the Olympics theyre the worlds second-biggest sporting tournament, larger than the Football World Cup because of their 35 different events.

Other major tournaments include the Pan African and Commonwealth Games, although excepting the participants, no-one cares any longer about the latter. The Commonwealth is an anachronism comprising mostly highly uncommon, conspicuously unwealthy nations. Weve hosted three Empire/Commonwealth Games in the past, but thered be a ratepayer revolt if any New Zealand city put their hand up for them today.


Staging these events is viewed as prestigious and justified by grossly exaggerating the ensuing financial bonanza from visitors. We saw that with the Rugby World Cup. Auckland hotels and restaurants took a beating as regular visitors stayed away, evidenced by my Wellington manager being charged $55 at his almost empty hotel in lieu of the normal $250 when he visited our Auckland office. So too with Sydney and the 2000 Olympics. My Sydney manager phoned and said it seemed like a neutron bomb had fallen on the affluent eastern suburbs, given the absence of people and cars. Why? The residents had fled out of town. This it seems is common. In 1982 I visited Calgary to see a specialist book dealer for an esoteric topic I was researching. We arrived at the hotel then promptly cancelled on encountering in the lobby and streets crowds of fat middle-aged shoe salesmen types, wearing cowboy outfits and pulling toy six-shooters on one another then shouting bang. Regrettably my visit had coincided with the Calgary stampede. We were then outrageously defamed by the hotel receptionist suggesting if we stayed, we would get into the spirit of it. After completing my purchases the bookseller said "Im out of here now to join my family on holiday," which, he claimed, huge numbers of embarrassed residents did when the stampede was on. Who can blame them? All of this has been confirmed by analysts showing the ongoing tourism benefits claims for such events are always false, business travellers and tourists staying away during them.

In recent months Brazils poor have rioted over the massive stadia expenditure for the forthcoming World Cup. Theyre spending US$200 million on one in Manaus, an Amazonian hell-hole with its soaring temperatures and humidity. Of the 12 new and upgraded stadia budgeted to cost circa US$18 billion, analysts assert at least four and possibly eight will prove white elephants with no permanent use. The Brazilian government commissioned studies claiming long-term economic benefits but these have been ridiculed by economists.

A principal problem is host nations trying to outdo their predecessors in grandeur. The numbers tell the story. Barcelona cost US$850 million, Atlanta $1.6 billion, Sydney $5.6 billion, Athens $15 billion, Beijing $44 billion then a reversal in London down to $11 billion, the city already having a range of good facilities.

Once it was clear the year-long disaster forecasting stories for Sochi were unjustified, the Western media slammed into the cost, reporting this as $51 billion. An American professor, Joseph Campbell, debunked that figure as absurdly exaggerated. In fairness, where a legacy of useful buildings remain, their cost should be deducted. The Sochi expenditure, for example, was to give the city a year-round tourist industry, it being a popular summer destination. But Aucklands current poser of what to do with the Cloud is reflected in Athens, a city half Aucklands size, now littered with unused Olympics-created buildings. That $15 billion outlay would have been a significant contributor to Greeces current troubles. And on a smaller scale, look at Dunedins financial troubles stemming from its overly ambitious stadium.

Its ironic to recall our Governments Winter Olympic hosting feasibility enquiry I chaired back in the late 1980s. We did our homework and concluded that based in Queenstown it was do-able in practical and cost terms, but that was when Sochi-like extravaganzas were not the norm.

Its overdue for a back-to-basics trimming of the Olympics, particularly the summer Games, cluttered as they are with far too many low interest events. These can still have their worlds", the likes of Azerbaijan being big on hosting international minority sports tournaments. As it is, theres now only a dozen nations with the financial wherewithal capable of putting their hand up and, of them, maybe only half willing to do so for fear of a justified public backlash, as we have seen in Brazil.
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China Pledges $145 Million for 2023 Southeast Asian Games


China on Monday promised to donate $112 million to Cambodia and provide an additional $33 million in concessional loans during a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shanghai, according to state news agency Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP).

According to AKP, Mr. Hun Sen asked the Chinese side to provide more support for infrastructure development to help Cambodia prepare to host the 2023 Southeast Asia Games.

A high-ranking Cambodian delegation left for China on Sunday morning for the two-day Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, which was attended by 46 different countries and was to focus on the current security situation, peace and cooperation in Asia.

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cheng Hong Bo, confirmed the aid and loan deals, but said he was awaiting further details about the agreement and the conference from Beijing.

China has become increasingly dominant in providing Cambodia with aid, military assistance and investment in recent years.

It is unclear whether China’s current spat with Vietnam over its decision to move a $1 billion oil rig into Vietnamese-claimed waters in the South China Sea, which sparked riots and caused 1,600 Chinese to flee across the border into Cambodia, was discussed at the meeting.

In May, Cambodia was confirmed host of the 2023 Southeast Asia Games, the soonest that it could stage the games given the need for greater infrastructure development. Mr. Hun Sen requested the latest batch of grants and concessional loans from China with the aim of building a new sports stadium and investing in other development projects, the AKP report said.

henderson@cambodiadialy.com
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Indian Martial Art City girl set to pack a punch in Asian Games


From the by-lanes of Dewan Devdi of Charminar locality, 19-year-old Syeda Falak has become the first-ever in martial arts from the city to make it to the Indian team for the Incheon (South Korea) Asian Games scheduled for September.
Falak will be competing in the 68 kg category of Kumite event for senior women in the Asiad by virtue of wining a gold in the KAI National championship in Delhi last December.
“It is a dream come true. When I started off at 12, it was for purely for fitness and self-defence. But within a few months, my coaches noticed my improvement. The first international medal I won in Nepal (2007) was perhaps the turning point of my career,” says the BA second year student of Villa Marie College.

With solid support from parents – S. S. Majaz-ul-Haq and Amena Fatima, this young talent is quite determined to script a memorable chapter. “The national camp in Bhopal from the 20th of this month should be a great experience as I will be training with some of the best in India and also trying to pick up a few new tricks in the art,” says a confident Falak, who idolises four-time world champion Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan.
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JAPAN SENDING SPARSE 22 AND 21 SWIMMER ROSTERS TO PAN PACS AND 2014 ASIAN GAMES


Japan has announced their rosters for the 2014 Pan Pac Championships and the 2014 Asian Games, and despite a stellar performance at their National Championship week, the Japanese are sending relatively small rosters to both meets.
They are only sending 22 swimmers to the Pan Pac Championships and 21 to the Asian Games. The only differences between the two rosters are on the men’s side, Junya Koga taking the spot of Takeharu Fujimori; and on the women’s side, Mio Motegi dropping from the roster.
By comparison, Japan sent 29 to the 2010 Asian Games.
The 2014 Pan Pac Championships will be held from August 21st-25th in Gold Coast, Australia. The 2014 Asian Games run from September 19th through October 4th in Incheon, South Korea.
12th Pan Pacific Championships (2014 / Gold Coast)
[Men] – 13 people
Shinri Shioura (Brightman eastward)
Kosuke Hagino (Toyo University)
Takeshi Matsuda (SEGA)
Yuki Kobori (Nihon University / Central Sports)
Daiya Seto (Waseda University / JSS Moroyama)
Ryosuke Irie (Brightman eastward)
Yasuhiro Koseki (Miki)
Kazuki Kohinata (Meiji University / Central Sports)
Takuro Fujii (Konami)
Hirofumi Ikebata (Hosei University)
Kenta Hirai (Meiji University / Central Sports)
Hiromasa Fujimoro (Miki)
Takeharu Fujimori (Nippon Sport Science University)
[Women] – 9
Miki Uchida (Toyo University)
Miyuki Takemura (Brightman)
Kanako Watanabe (Musashino high school / JSS Tateishi Daiwa)
Satomi Suzuki (Miki)
Rie Kaneto (Jaked)
Mio Motegi ( Hosei University / Renaissance Makuhari)
Natsumi Hoshi (Mizuno)
Miho Takahashi (Nihon University / Central Sports)
Sakiko Shimizu (Nippon Sport Science University)
17th Asian Games (2014 / Incheon)
[Men's] – 13
Shinri Shioura (Brightman eastward)
Kosuke Hagino (Toyo University)
Takeshi Matsuda (SEGA)
Yuki Kobori (Nihon University / Central Sports)
Daiya Seto (Waseda University / JSS Moroyama)
Ryosuke Irie (Brightman eastward)
Yasuhiro Koseki (Miki)
Kazuki Kohinata (Meiji University / Central Sports)
Takuro Fujii (Konami)
Hirofumi Ikebata (Hosei University)
Kenta Hirai (Meiji University / Central Sports)
Hiromasa Fujimoro (Miki)
Junya Koga (Daiichi Sankyo)
[Women's] – 8
Miki Uchida (Toyo University)
Miyuki Takemura (Brightman)
Kanako Watanabe (Musashino high school / JSS Tateishi Daiwa)
Satomi Suzuki (Miki)
Rie Kaneto (Jaked)
Mio Motegi ( Hosei University / Renaissance Makuhari)
Natsumi Hoshi (Mizuno)
Miho Takahashi (Nihon University / Central Sports)
Sakiko Shimizu (Nippon Sport Science University)
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Economists urge Vietnam to relinquish 2019 Asian Games


Vietnam should relinquish the 2019 Asian Games (Asiad), economists said, citing poorly made plans and its inability to make use of the economic opportunities it would throw up.

Le Dang Doanh, former chief of the Central Institute for Economic Management, told Thoi bao Kinh te Sai Gon (Saigon Times) Online newspaper that Vietnam bid for the Games based on poor planning.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's plans were not carefully reviewed or debated, especially from the economic angle, he said.

The estimated cost of hosting the event is still unclear.
Hoang Vinh Giang, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Olympic Committee, told online newspaper Dan Tri earlier this week that the ministry had calculated the cost of the event at over VND4.16 trillion (US$196.5 million), and the government will cover over 76 percent of it, or $150 million.
After winning the bid, the ministry sent another proposal to the Ministry of Finance, saying the total cost would be around $255 million, 96 percent of which will come from the exchequer, online newspaper VTC News reported.

Faced with the finance ministry’s objection, the ministry later adjusted the cost down to $150 million and claimed that 72 percent of it would come from non-government sources, the report said.
However, in its latest reports to the government and the National Assembly, the ministry said it would cost the government $150 million, but that would be just 28 percent of the total cost.

In other words, the total cost could be over $535 million, of which 72 percent would come from non-government sources.

Doanh told Thoi bao Kinh te Sai Gon Online that the ministry failed to explain what these sources would be and how they would be persuaded to bring in the money.
He said he did not support Vietnam’s hosting of the 2019 Asiad because the country is not well prepared for it.
“It will be shameful to back out, but it is better than not withdrawing.”
Pham Chi Lan, another economist, also said that Vietnam should relinquish the right to host the Games since the cost would likely increase in future and the economy is still mired in difficulty.
Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of the Vietnam Centre for Economic and Policy Research at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi, agreed.
Vietnam is unlikely to make good use of the opportunities brought by the hosting of the Asia, he said.
For the event to become a real boost to the economy, all sectors, especially  private, have to be given an equal chance to take part in the opportunities like building infrastructure, transport services, and tourism, he said.
But it is impossible in Vietnam, where such projects are often awarded to state-owned firms, Thoi bao Kinh Te Sai Gon Online quoted him as saying.
While the event would offer Vietnam the chance to speed up economic restructure, the country is not ready to make use of it, Thanh said.
“Pulling out does not mean Vietnam will lose prestige. We will lose much more prestige by doing things badly.”
Tran Dinh Thien, chief of the Vietnam Institute for Economy, said if the government boldly changes its ways and encourages the private sector’s participation, the Games would help develop the economy.
But he doubted that such large and deep changes could be effected within a few years.
“If we feel that we cannot do it, it is better to give up [the Games] at the earliest,” he said.
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20 hotels to provide accommodation for 2015 SEA Games

SINGAPORE: Athletes, officials and delegates coming to Singapore for the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games next year will be housed in a "Village in the City", instead of in university hostels.

The Singapore Southeast Asian Games Organising Committee (SINGSOC) on Wednesday announced that 20 hotels within the Havelock, Tanjong Pagar/Chinatown and Marina areas will be awarded the tender to provide accommodation for those attending the 2015 SEA Games.

Over 7,000 athletes and officials will be staying in these hotels.

Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park are two of the 20 hotels that have been chosen to house athletes and officials during the SEA Games next year.

Located in Balestier, the hotels have 789 rooms in total and all of them are on offer.

The hotels said having a shopping mall within their premises and other amenities could have helped them win the bid.

Norman Cross, executive assistant manager for F&B at Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park, said: "The Balestier heritage trail... offers guests a look, or a glimpse into Singapore's past. And to promote Singapore's food culture, there are so many eateries nearby, which are well renowned."

The hotels added that they are confident of giving guests a good experience, even if they haven't handled groups on such a large scale before.

Mr Cross said: "We will be working very closely with the SEA Games officials on this note. Definitely, it is a little bit more stringent, but I believe we can foster a very close working relationship with the SEA Games Council to provide our foreign guests a welcoming and enjoyable experience."

Fifty-one hotels participated in the tender, and others selected include the Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore and Marina Bay Sands.

Based on the concept of “Celebration in the City”, SINGSOC said it decided to house the athletes and officials near the Singapore Sports Hub and areas where the majority of the sports competitions and fringe events will take place.

Other criteria included the number of hotel rooms offered, catering services and the availability of function rooms and other supporting amenities.

"The 28th SEA Games will celebrate and showcase sport against the backdrop of Singapore's stunning city setting.

“We want our SEA Games athletes and officials to enjoy our city's unique flavours, sights and sounds, even as they focus on competing at their best," said Lim Teck Yin, chairman of the exco committee at SINGSOC.

"We are very appreciative of the hotels' support and effort for this historic event. The 28th SEA Games is an important event in our calendar of celebrations for Singapore's 50th anniversary next year, and for the entire Southeast Asian region.

“We are confident that our SEA Games athletes and officials will have an enjoyable stay and return home with wonderful memories of the Games and Singapore," added Mr Lim.

To ensure that housing athletes and officials in hotels would be a cost-effective arrangement, SINGSOC said it had carefully evaluated the alternative of a centralised athlete's village in university hostels.

Its study showed that the costs would be comparable because of the need to install additional arrangements for the Games, such as security fencing, and to restore conditions on return.

The committee said the hotels which participated in the tender had also "taken onboard their role in this national effort and had offered attractive packages".

The 28th SEA Games will be held from 5-16 June 2015, with Singapore Sports Hub as the main venue for the Games.

List of hotels:

1. Amara Singapore
2. Copthorne King's Hotel
3. Days Hotel Singapore At Zhongshan Park
4. Fairmont Singapore
5. Furama City Centre Singapore
6. Furama Riverfront Singapore
7. Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
8. Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel
9. Village Hotel Bugis
10. M Hotel Singapore
11. Marina Bay Sands
12. Marina Mandarin Singapore
13. Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay
14. PARKROYAL on Beach Road
15. PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road
16. Peninsula.Excelsior Hotel
17. Ramada Singapore At Zhongshan Park
18. Resorts World Sentosa - Hard Rock Hotel and Festive Hotel
19. Swissotel The Stamford
20. Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Filipino riders will have a chance to earn national team berths in the 17th Asian Games

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino riders will have a chance to earn national team berths in the 17th Asian Games in South Korea when they race against a tough international field in the 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas.
PhilCycling president and Cavite 7th District Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Tuesday announced that the top Filipino finishers in the four-day bikathon have strong chances of earning slots in the national team to the Asiad slated Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

“The Le Tour de Filipinas has always been a determinant on how strong our cyclists are because it is an international race participated in not only by the best cyclists in Asia, but also potent riders from around the world,” said Tolentino.

Of the 15 teams that will race in the Le Tour, an advocacy of PhilCycling chair Bert Lina and presented by Air21, 13 are foreign with the majority of them continental squads registered with the International Cycling Union.

The local teams are 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines, powered by 2012 Le Tour champion Jonifer “Baler” Ravina and two-time Tour winner Mark Galedo, and Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance.


Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/150700/filipino-le-tour-riders-contest-asiad-berths#ixzz2z1KNgpBr
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
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South Korea hopeful of North Korea taking part in Incheon Asian Games

INCHEON: Come September, the 17th Asian Games will kick off in South Korea, and many will be tuning in to see if North Korea will join the other 44 participating Asian nations in the march past.
Tensions might be high between the two Koreas on the political front, but it could be more palatable from a sporting perspective.
Channel NewsAsia finds out why it is important for North Korea to attend the Asian Games.
When South Korea hosted the Asian Games in Busan in 2002, North Korean cheerleaders stole the show.
It was a symbolic and rare occasion, bringing athletes and officials from the two Koreas together.
Twelve years on, the Organising Committee for the Incheon Asian Games is confident of a similar outcome.
Mr Kim Young Soo, President of the Organising Committee for the Incheon Asian Games, said: "There's no doubt they will attend. On this assumption, we are preparing for their accommodation, transportation, safety and everything else so that all is in order."
He said with only about five months left before the start of the games, it would be difficult to field a joint unified team for some sporting events.
Mr Kim said: "But there's still a lot of room left to have a joint cheerleading team or to enter the games together. We are still very hopeful that North Korea will very soon announce its participation and propose talks to discuss these issues."
North Korea has until mid-August to decide on its participation.
North and South Korea have competed in the past as a unified team in major sporting events - like the 2002 Busan Asian Games, the Summer Olympics in 2000 and 2004, as well as the 2006 Winter Games.
Sports brings different nations together to compete in friendship and organisers are hopeful that the 17th Incheon Asian Games could be a catalyst for peace as it celebrates its games motto of 'Diversity Shines Here'.
Mr Kim said: "We are hopeful that this could help improve relations between South and North Korea. And that's why we think it is very important that North Korea attends."
North Korea's attendance is also significant as it would mean all 45 Asian nations will be taking part as they did at the last Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, four years ago.
With only about five months left before the start of the games, it remains to be seen if ties between the South and North Korea will improve, allowing the two Koreas to march together under a unified Korea flag at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Games. 
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Following multiple World Cup medals, Confident Son talks Asiad gold

INCHEON, April 15 (Yonhap) -- Having grabbed multiple medals on the World Cup circuit, South Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae said Tuesday she has set her sights on this year's Asian Games on her native soil.
Son returned home after competing at FIG World Cup events in Portugal and Italy earlier this month. She captured four titles at a FIG World Cup stop in Lisbon during the first weekend of April, including the individual all-around gold medal. Son is the first South Korean rhythmic gymnast to win an individual all-around gold at a senior international competition.
The following weekend in Pesaro, Italy, Son won the silver in clubs and the bronze in ball. She also set her personal-high with 18.100 points in the preliminary for hoop, though she came up shy of a podium finish in the apparatus.
The 19-year-old has now won at least a medal in her past eight World Cups. She is now eyeing more success at the Asian Games starting this September in Incheon, a metropolitan city just west of Seoul.
"My goal is to win the individual all-around gold medal at the Asian Games," she said. "I also hope to do well at the team event."

   Son won the bronze in the individual all-around at the previous Asian Games, held in Guangzhou, China, in 2010. It was the first rhythmic gymnastics medal by a South Korean at any international event.
Son and her three teammates finished fourth in the team competition, 0.6 point behind the bronze medal-winning Japanese team.
Son finished fifth in the individual all-around at the 2012 London Olympics, the best South Korean performance at an Olympics in her sport.
Son is scheduled to compete at the 2014 Korea Cup International Gymnastics Competition on Saturday and Sunday at Namdong Gymnasium in Incheon, the same venue for rhythmic gymnastics at the Asian Games this fall.
"I am looking forward to competing at the same venue for the Asian Games," she said. "I began preparations for this season early, and it's helped me with my conditioning. I've been able to perform my programs with more energy."

   A whirlwind schedule will see Son take the center stage at a corporate-sponsored rhythmic gymnastics gala show in Seoul on April 26 and 27.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Indian Rowers team leaves for Italy

CHENNAI: The 17th Asian Games, to be held at Incheon in South Korea this year, may still be about six months away, but the Indian rowers are fine-tuning their skills before the premier event. To get some international exposure under their belt, the Indian team leaves for Italy to participate at the Memorial Paolo d'Aloja International Regatta to be held at Piediluco from April 11 to 13.

"The season in Europe is commencing with this event, and this will be our first international tournament of the year," coach Ismail Baig told TOI on Sunday, eve of the team's departure.

The team has prominent names such as Olympian Swarn Singh, Asian Games medalist Bajrang Lal Takhar, and Baig expects a good show from the team. "We are hopeful that this side will come up with a noteworthy performance. Doing well against teams from Europe will give a lot of confidence," Baig said.

Is this more or less the squad that will represent India in the Asian Games? "Most of the rowers in this team will be part of it (the Asiad). However , there is always scope for others to make it too," the Dronacharya Awardee mentioned.

In the 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou, the rowing team had clinched 5 medals (1 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze) and Baig wants to comes up with an even better show this time. "With the national camp at the Hussainsagar Lake in Hyderabad in full swing, I am confident that we can deliver the goods. The most important thing is not to get ahead of ourselves, and execute our plans as we did so at Guangzhou. Our preparations have been good. Our timings too have got better. Also, in the last few seasons , we have had the opportunity to gauge our opponents, and that will stand us in good stead," Baig said.

The squad: 

Men's single scull: Swarn Singh Men's lightweight single scull: Dushyant Chauhan Men's quadruple scull: Shokender Tomar, Sonu, Vikram, Rakesh Raliya Men's eight: Ranjit Singh, Maninder Singh, Mohammed Azad, Kapil Sharma, Robin, Bajrang Lal Thakar, Manjeet Singh, Sawan Kalkal, Mohammed Ahmed Women's quad: Manjula, Chaoba Devim, Monalisha, Dittymol Varghese; Women's lightweight single scull: Amusana Devi
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Lingappa , Indian Coach won immense praise for his exploits as an athlete Turns 90


BANGALORE: Some of the finest athletes produced by Karnataka -including Olympian Kenneth Powell and Asian Games medalist Satish Pillai - returned to their alma mater at the Sree Kanteerava stadium on Saturday evening to celebrate the birthday of their coach N Lingappa who turned 90.

It was an impressive and well attended party hosted by the Indo-German sports club and its coach VR Beedu next to the track where Lingappa trained and produced champions since 1955 - a routine that continues even today.

Besides Powell and Pillai, former champions DY Biredar (marathon), Uday K Prabhu (400m), Jalaja Naresh (800, 1500), PC Ponnappa (400m), Nirmala Ponnappa (100, 200m), KN Sundara Raj Setty (100, 200) and A Naresh (triple jump) too were present to greet their tutor.

"It's our privilege to be here. Most of us have trained under Lingappa sir at this stadium during different periods of time and we are thankful to him for all the help he has done to us," Pillai said.

Lingappa cut the cake even as his pupils sang 'Happy Birthday.'

Remembering the olden days, Lingappa said his love for Bangalore made him stay. "I got an appointment letter to join NIS in the late '50s as a member of the faculty, but I decided against it," he told TOI.

Despite the lack of recognition - Lingappa is yet to receive the coveted Dronacharya award - life hasn't changed much for this great ambassador of athletics.

Lingappa travels almost 30km a day to get to the stadium and train his wards and he does that without charging a rupee. "When they win medals I'm happy," he said.
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