Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vijender the star of a 'golden year' in Indian boxing

New Delhi:  It started with an unprecedented gold rush and ended pretty much the same way as Indian boxers scaled new heights and broke new barriers with Olympic hero Vijender Singh once again leading the charge by clinching two gold medals and a bronze in a super successful 2010.

The season began with three gold medals in the South Asian Games in Dhaka in February with Chhote Lal Yadav (57kg), Asian champion Suranjoy Singh (51kg) and Amandeep Singh (48kg) finishing on top.

Just a month later, the boxers landed half a dozen gold medals with a cracker of a performance in front of adoring home fans in the Commonwealth Championships.

Trading punches in front of crowds that generally don't turn up for non-cricket sporting events in India, the sextet of Vijender (75kg), South Asian Games gold medallist Amandeep (49kg), Suranjoy (52kg), Asian silver medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Olympian Dinesh Kumar (81kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) fetched gold to further enhance the sport's rising profile in the country.

This was Vijender's first gold medal in two years, adding to the aura of the strapping six-footer, who remained the world number one from beginning to the end of 2010 -- his supremacy at the top unchallenged.

The championship, in fact, was just a prelude to a fantastic performance in the Commonwealth Games that were to follow six months later, again in the capital.

In the build-up to the Games, Vijender and Co took went for a month-long trip to Cuba to get battle-hardened in the 'spiritual home of boxing' and the improvement was there to be seen when they finally took the ring in the main-event.

Even as the Commonwealth Games Federation complained of lack of crowds at CWG venues, the dome-shaped Talkatora Stadium was witness to an atmosphere which can only be described as electric in every single session of the boxing competition.

Fans queued up as the likes of Vijender, Suranjoy and Akhil Kumar (56kg) began their gold quest in the biggest sporting event India was hosting since the 1982 Asian Games.

It turned out to be a bitter-sweet campaign in the end with Vijender settling for bronze after a controversial loss in the semifinals and defending champion Akhil signing off without a medal following a quarterfinal defeat.

But Suranjoy, Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Paramjit Samota (+91kg) ensured that Indian boxing pulled off its best-ever performance in the Games history by notching up gold medals.

Besides their golds, four bronze came through Amandeep (49kg), Dilbagh Singh (69kg), Vijender and Jai Bhagwan (60kg) making CWG a memorable event for Indian pugilists.

But Vijender's loss was a massive disappointment as he went down without conceding a single scoring punch when the referee penalised him twice for clinching and holding on to his rival in the semifinal. 

However, the poster boy of Indian boxing took the setback on his chin and promised a gold in the Asian Games which took place just a month later. And he delivered the goods at his happy hunting ground, China where the event was held in the city of Guangzhou.

There was skepticism that the boxers, who got just a month to rest and recover after the CWG, would under-perform in the Asiad but all such fears vanished once the competition began as Indian pugilists fetched two yellow metals at the event for the first time after Dingko Singh's gold in 1998.

In the end, the Indian boxers managed a brilliant haul of two gold, three silver and four bronze medals without showing any sign of fatigue.

The only disappointment of the event was Suranjoy settling for bronze after entering the event gunning for an eighth straight international gold. But that apart, the Asiad was an affair to remember for Indian boxing.

The 25-year-old Vijender's was the most dramatic final as he squared off against two-time world champion and old nemesis Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan with a dislocated thumb. Fighting practically with just one hand, he still managed to blank his rival 0-7 in a completely lop-sided encounter.

Vijender aside, the Games boxing competition threw up a second unexpected gold medallist for India in 18-year-old Vikas Krishan (60kg).

The lanky boxer from Haryana, who incidentally looks up to Vijender for inspiration, was the find of the year along with another teen sensation Shiva Thapa.

The two made India proud at the Youth World Championships in May where Vikas clinched a gold, while Shiva settled for silver after fighting his final bout with a stress fracture in his hand. The duo proved themselves again a couple of months later at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore where Shiva got a silver while Vikas came back with a bronze.

The men and the boys had a consistently good run but in the women's arena it was only 'The Magnificent' M C Mary Kom who made an impression.

The Manipuri mother of two added an unprecedented fifth world championship title to her kitty but the rest of the women boxers flopped at the September event, fetching just a bronze to go with Mary Kom's gold.

But women's boxing, in general, got a massive boost when the International Olympic Committee included it in the 2012 London Games roster. It also made its debut at a multi-sporting event in the Asiad where the Indian women pugilsits could only manage a couple of bronze medals through Mary Kom and Kavita Goyat.

The women's below-par show went unnoticed due to the brilliant performance of their male counterparts but theywill have to get their act together quickly enough to ensure that their London 2012 debut is a memorable one.

All in all, Indian boxing continued its upward march that began with Vijender's historic bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the graph should head northwards even next year, which has the men's World Championships and Olympic qualifiers lined up.  

Turkish companies to sponsor 2011 Asian Winter Games

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  (L-R)  Hollywo...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Representatives of the largest Turkish companies have expressed their interest in partnership and sponsored programs of the upcoming Asian Games. This was announced during a presentation of the VII Asian Winter Games in Istanbul; the press service of the Asian Winter Games Organizing Committee informs of it.
"Economic cooperation of the two countries dynamically develops; the Turkish companies are widely represented in Kazakhstan. The Turkish side could use a platform of the VII Asian Winter Games for presentation of their business opportunities to the Kazakh and world community", Managing Director of JSC Executive Directorate of the Organizing Committee of the VII Winter Asian Games 2011 Berik Sarin said.
Representatives of the Organizing Committee noted that the platform of the VII Asian Winter Games will be a good start for promotion and branding of the Turkish companies in the Asian region.


Advani's Asiad gold was high point for cue sports in 2010

Pankaj Advani
NEW DELHI: Pankaj Advani, the 'smiling assassin', was yet again cynosure of all eyes with his gold medal win at the Guangzhou Asian Games but overall it was an average year for the Indian cueists as titles eluded them at the major international events. 

The build up to the Asiad was rocky for the seven-time World champion Advani due to slump in form. 

The 25-year-old Bangalorean failed to defend his IBSF World titles in Pune this year, losing to Mike Russell in the final of the time format and semifinals of the points format. 

At the World Professional billiards event at Leeds, Advani was defeated by Dhruv Sitwala in the quarterfinals and was not in the best frame of mind going into the Asian Games in November. 

But, the 'golden boy' of Indian Billiards and Snooker defied all odds and roared back strongly, opening India's gold medal account at the quadrennial event. 

The 2006 Doha Asian Games champion Advani defeated Nay Thway Oo of Myanmar 3-2 in the summit clash in men's Billiards singles to add another milestone to his glittering career. 

For the modest and shy Advani, winner of seven World IBSF titles and three-time Asian championship, the journey to final at the Asian Games was enthralling. 

The other cueists also took inspiration from Advani's stupendous feat and went on to swell India's medal tally at the event with the trio of Yasin Merchant Merchant, Aditya Mehta and Brijesh Damani bagging the silver medal. 

In the individual Snooker event, Aditya won the bronze after losing his semifinal match to Marco Fu of Hong Kong 1-4 to take the cuesports' contingent tally to three medals, the number of medals India won at the Doha edition. 

But the icing on the cake was provided by Alok Mehta, who became the first Indian to win an Asian Games medal in pool events by bagging a bronze though he lost his semifinal contest 5-7 against Kuo Po-Cheng of Chinese Taipei. 

For the Indian cueists, the year started on a high-note with Advani defeating Singapore's Peter Gilchrist 6-5 to win the 2010 Asian Billiards championship in April. 

Eight-time world champion and veteran Geet Sethi, Rupesh Shah and Ashok Shandilya made the quarterfinal grade. 

The next challenge came at the Asian Snooker Championship in Thailand, where country's first professional snooker player Yasin Merchant failed to cross the semifinal hurdle and finished fourth, losing to Issara Kachaiwong of Thailand 6-2. 

In the prestigious Australian Open Billiards Championship held in Melbourne, title once again eluded the Indians where Sethi and Saurav Kothari finished as semifinalists. 

The story got no better for cueists in the inaugural Sangsom 6Red World Snooker Championship in Thailand where Merchant and Manan Chandra failed to qualify for the knockout stage after losing all group-stage matches. 

The start of the new season in August could not lift the gloom as Advani failed to defend his title in both the Point and Time format, losing to legendary Qatari cueist Mike Russell in the final of the time and semifinal of the point format respectively. 

In the same championship, Sethi impressed with his aggressive and fearless approach towards opponents, ending as bronze medallist in both time and point formats. 

In October came the World Professional Billiards Championship in Leeds, UK - one of the biggest events in the world of cuesports - where defending champion Advani suffered a shock quarterfinals defeat against compatriot Dhruv Sitwala. 

Advani had become only the second Indian after Geet Sethi to lift the coveted trophy in its 139 years of history last year, defeating nine-time world champion Russell. 

Sitwala came agonisingly close to a title win but his gutsy potting and cushion work didn't yield enough to prevail over tough Russell in the summit clash, which he lost 1204-1738. 

Sitwala emerged as one of the promising boys, defeating David Causier of England, countrymates Ashok Shandilya and Sethi en-route to the final. 

Sethi won the bronze medal after finishing third in the event, losing his semifinal clash to Sitwala. 

After the success of Asian Games, Advani headed for the IBSF World Snooker Championship held in Damascus, Syria last week with an aim to finish the year on a high. 

Looking to win the IBSF World Snooker crown for the second time in his career after the first title triumph in 2003 in China, Advani reached the finals but could not overcome a spirited challenge from Dechawat Pomajaeng of Thailand, losing 7-10 in the best-of-19 frames summit clash. 

Advani had defeated some big names such as Rodney Goggins of Ireland 7-4 in the semifinal, while got the better of Moh Keen Hoo of Malaysia 6-1 in the quarterfinal. 

At the national level, the 2006 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee Advani won the inaugural edition of Indian National 6-Red Snooker Championship in March, beating Brijesh Damani 8-7 in the best of 15 frames final. 

At the National Billiards and Snooker Championship , he failed to defend his billiards title, losing 4-5 to veteran Alok Kumar but successfully defended his Snooker title for the fourth time. 

Women cueist Tamil Nadu's Vidya Pillai also had her share of glory in the year passed by as she won Australian Open Women Snooker Championship and 19th National Snooker Championship. 

She also ended runner-up in the first National 6-Red Snooker (Women) Championship and National 8Ball Pool Championship and managed a semifinal finish in the 19th National Billiards Championship. 

Maharashtra's Meenal Thakur won the National Billiards Championship and 6Red Snooker (Women) Championship and ended runner-up at the National Snooker Championship.


Games’ success huge lift for sports PRIDE OF SARAWAK

PRIDE OF SARAWAK: Malaysian diving star Pandelela Rinong proudly displaying her gold medal for the 10 metre platform event at the recent Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
KUALA LUMPUR: Success at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and Guangzhou Asian Games provided the highlight of the Malaysian sporting calendar for 2010.
The success was the fruits of the Jaya 98 Programme initiated in view of the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games and the Asia-Comm programme for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 and the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
In New Delhi, India, the Malaysian contingent surpassed the 10 gold medal target and came home with 12 gold medals, the highest in the history of the country’s participation in the Games.
The previous best was the 10-gold feat achieved when Malaysia hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
In the New Delhi games held from Oct 3-14, badminton (4), shooting (2), weightlifting (2), track cycling (1), squash (1), diving (1) and gymnastics (1), contributed the gold medals. Barely a month after coming home from New Delhi with the 12-gold feat, the Malaysian contingent was called into action at the Guangzhou Asian Games hosted by China from Nov 12-29. Though the Malaysian contingent failed to emulate the New Delhi feat, they still managed to meet the ninegold target set for the Games, one more than the 8-gold won in Doha four years ago.
In Guangzhou, the gold medals came through squash (3), karate (2), tenpin bowling (2), cycling (1) and wushu (1).
The achievement in Guangzhou was also the best collection of medals in the history of the Asian Games.
National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong when commenting on Malaysia’s achievement in both the Games said the success was due to programmes carried out.
Zolkples said the success of SUKMA Games to unearth talented young athletes, had also contributed largely towards maintaining a large pool of athletes who become back up athletes and later replace those who retire.
In the 2009 Melaka SUKMA which was held from June 10-19, Zolkples said from the 434 gold medals offered, 279 were won by back up athletes, proving that there would not be a shortage of athletes in the country.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports had also initiated a programme in 2005 to identify raw talent among children who are under-14. The programme attracted 92,000 children who tested their ability in various sports.
“We are in the right track as far as development of athletes is concerned and I am confident we can groom them to compete at international level,” said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek. — Bernama

Final Report on Guangzhou 2010 Asian Para Games

IMAGE: The Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) and Guangzhou Asian Para Games Organising Committee (GAPGOC) jointly held a press conference and offered their final comments on the 2010 Asian Para Games on Saturday (December 18) (photo courtesy GAPGOC)
Asia Para Games
December 19, 2010

Guangzhou - 
The Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) and Guangzhou Asian Para Games Organising Committee (GAPGOC) jointly held a press conference and offered their final comments on the 2010 Asian Para Games in the Main Press Centre of the Asian Games Town on Saturday (December 18). 
Attending the press briefing was APC President Dato' Zainal Abu Zarin, Vice Mayor of Guangzhou Municipality Chen Guo, APC Secretary General Ms Malini Rajasegaran, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Media & Communications Senior Manager Craig Spence.

APC President Dato' Zainal Abu Zarin thanked Guangzhou citizens for bringing the world a splendid and marvellous gala, which became an example for future Asian Para Games. In this gala, several world records and Asian records have been broken and the values of the Asian Para Games have been spread all over the world. He also thanked volunteers, technical officials for their devotion and said the spirit of the Games will continue.

Chen Guo, Deputy Secretary General of GAPGOC and Vice Mayor of Guangzhou Municipality, introduced that the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Para Games was the first sports meeting for athletes with a disability after the foundation of the APC.

Some 2,512 athletes of delegations from 41 countries and regions of Asia as well as 1,286 team officials, 1,096 technical officials and 2,558 reporters from 185 media took part in the gala. "The athletes made their efforts to the success, and their courage and persistence earned our respects," said Chen. Till 15:30 on December 18, 74 athletes from 13 delegations had broken 82 Asian records 74 times, and 31 delegations had shared medals; up to December 17, over 470,000 spectators had been in attendance.

The Closing Ceremony of the Asian Para Games on Sunday will mark the conclusion of two Asian Games.

According to Chen, preparations for the Closing Ceremony of Asian Para Games have been accomplished. GAPGOC will share the theme of "We cheer We share We win" with the world and leave the whole Asia and the world with "beautiful, passionate and charitable" impressions of Guangzhou.

The subject of the Closing Ceremony Performance is "You make the world different", composed of three charters "Sky and Sea", "Leaf and Vein" And "Light and Dream", and the gala will feature celebrations for athletes from 41 countries and regions of Asia, totally 41 minutes long.

The Ceremony will comprise several parts including the parade of athletes, flowers presentation for volunteers, remarks by distinguished guests, holy flame putting out ceremony, flag lowering ceremony and handover ceremony to Incheon, Korea, the host city of the 2014 Asian Games and Asian Para Games.

Indian Gold Medallists at 16th Asian Games 2010

GUANGZHOU, CHINA - NOVEMBER 21:  (L-R) Kavita ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Pankaj Advani (Billiards) – The only player to have won both point and time formats in World Billiards gave India their first gold. In the final, he had to come from behind to win.
Ashwini Akkunji (Athletics)- This was least expected the 400 m hurdles is a tough event, but Akkunji with her long graceful and rhythmic strides pulled off an upset victory timing 56.15 sec.
Bajrang Lal Takhar (Rowing) – The armyman won the first individual rowing gold for India at the Asiad. He times 7.04 78s, 0.03 ahead of nearest rival. Takhar won a silver in 2006 Games.
Joseph Abraham (Athletics)- The athlete timed 49.52 to win in photo-finish. His time also become a national record in the event.

Sudha Singh (Athletics)
- The 3000m Steeplechaser won the race in a tight finish against Chinese rival. Sudha, won hold the national record, finished with a time of 9:55.67.

Vikas Krishna (Boxing) 
- The 60kg pugilist is another product of the famed Bhiwani school. In winning the gold, he became the youngest to win a boxing gold for India.
Preeja Sreedharan (Athletics) – Led India to 1-2 finish in the 10000 m. Kavita Raut came in second. The two were way ahead of their rivals. Incidentally Kavita had beaten Preeja at CWG.

Men’s Team (Kabaddi)
 – Six out of six in this sport for India at the Asiad. Once they had opened up a huge lead lead in the first half against Iran in the final the gold was theirs again.
Ronjan Sodhi (Shooting) – The double trap shooter followed his World Cup win earlier this Year with a gold here. The Indian shooter provided the only high point in shooting campaign.
Women’s Team (Kabaddi) – After a gruelling and gutwrenching fight against Iran in the semis, the final against Thailand was easy. This was the first women’s event was included.
Somdev and Sanam (Tennis) – White the big guns, Paes and Bhupathi were missing, the young duo made sure India never missed the legends. The tow teamed up to beat their Taipei rivals.
M Relay Team (Athletics) – The Quartet of Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur staved off a fight from the Kazakhs to defend title. The team had won at CWG too.
Somdev Devvarman (Tennis) – After the double gold, Somdev backed it up with a gold in the singles. He beat a much-higher ranked opponent in Uzbekistan’s Dennis Istomin.
Vijender Singh (Boxing) – The Olympic bronzemedallist tamed his Uzbek rival in the final after overcoming a tough Iranian rival in the semi final. He is undoutably India’s leading boxer.


28 gold medallists receive life policies

Nicol Ann David during CIMB Malaysian Open 2008.Image via Wikipedia
Kuala Lumpur: Twenty-eight gold medallists in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games will receive whole life policies worth between RM10,000 and RM100,000 each.
Athletes who won individual gold medals were given policies worth RM50,000 each while each member of a gold medal winning pair received policies worth RM25,000.
For teams of more than two person who clinched a gold in New Delhi and Guangzhou, will receive policies valued at RM10,000 each.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar said after a sponsorship signing with Carlsberg Marketing Sdn Bhd here Thursday that the policies were provided under OCM's Athletes Retirement Scheme for athletes who excelled in their respective sport.
He said from the 17 gold medallists at the Commonwealth Games and 11 from the Asiad, only world number one squash player Datuk Nicol Ann David won gold medals in both the Games.
He said Nicol's outstanding achievement earned her a RM100,000 policy, and with her earlier policies received, made her the highest beneficiary with a total of RM250,000 in over 12 years, from 1998 to 2010.
"To date, 88 athletes have benefited from the scheme which now stands at RM3.1 million. They made the country proud by winning at the past Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics," he said.
Nicol, Chai Fong Ying (wushu), R. Puvaneswaran (karate), Alex Liew Kien Liang and Adrian Ang Hsien Loong (tenpin bowling) attended the event Thursday.
Imran said by the year 2013, the premium payment by OCM would cease and the athletes could redeem their policies for cash.
"However, it is recommended not to redeem the policy but to let it accumulate for a longer period because the value will increase," he said.
Nicol said the OCM's Athletes Retirement Scheme was beneficial and could support national athletes to be more successful in their career.
Meanwhile, Nicol will embark on a three-week training stint in Melbourne, Australia to prepare for the new season next year.
Nicol said she would leave for Melbourne on Jan 2, to train under her mentor Sarah Fitz-Gerald, before taking part in her first event in Cleveland, Ohio, United States from Feb 4 to 6.
After the US meet, Nicol, who won gold medals in the New Delhi Commonwealth and Guangzhou Asian Games, said she would fly to Amsterdam, Holland for another tournament later.
"I need to stay strong because starting March, there will be lot of big tournaments waiting on the Women's International Squash Players Association (Wispa) calendar," said Nicol.
Nicol said there would be between 10 to 12 tournaments in her schedule for next year.
Australian Fitz-Gerald had won five World Open titles, which was equalled by Nicol when she clinched the World Open in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last Sept.
Asked to describe her achievement throughout the year, Nicol said it has been a fruitful year compared to 2009, adding that she wants to open a new chapter after what she had achieved in 2010.- Bernama


Year 2010: Below-par performance by Indian lifters

Dope menace ebbed a bit in Indian weightlifting but the country's lifters produced below-par performances in the two multi-sporting events of the year - Commonwealth Games and Asian Games - in which they were allowed to take part only after paying a hefty fine to the international parent body.

India were allowed to take part in the CWG after the Organising Committee gave the national federation Rs. 1.75 crore as loan to pay the last two installments of USD five lakh fine imposed by International Weightlifting Federation after six lifters flunked dope tests in 2009.

The lifters though failed to live up to the expectations as they could win just eight medals, including two gold, a far cry from the 27 - 11 gold, nine silver and seven bronze - in 2002 Manchester Games and less than the three gold, five silver and a bronze the country won in Melbourne in 2006.

K Ravi Kumar (men's 69kg) and Renubala Devi (women's 58kg) bagged the gold while Monika Devi (women's 75kg), drafted late into the squad after serving a two-year ban following her controversial dope flunk just before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, settled for a bronze. Geeta Rani (women's +75kg) failed to defend her Melbourne gold and finished fourth.

The Delhi performance was the worst for Indian weightlifters since 1990 when India began scooping rich haul of medals in Commonwealth Games and that came when the mega event was held at home.

Commonwealth Games are one multi-sport event in which Indian weightlifters have done well in the absence of strong contenders China, Central Asian countries, South Korea, Turkey and Russia. From 1990 till 2002, nearly half of India's total medals in every Commonwealth Games have come from weightlifting.

India, however, ensured that the dope shame of the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games was not repeated in 2010 with the lifters coming out clean to the relief of the national federation officials who took charge in December 2009 after the earlier executive was forced to resign en masse in the aftermath of six lifters testing positive. 

The only lifter who tested positive this year --Sanamacha Chanu -- was luckily not selected for Commonwealth Games squad. She was caught for doping at the selection trials for the CWG.

Manchester Games gold medallist Chanu (53kg) failed a NADA test for banned stimulant methylehexameamine in the samples taken in September in New Delhi. Chanu was the culprit in India's first international ban -- for one year -- in 2004 when she and Pratima Kumari flunked dope tests at the Athens Olympics.

Satheesha Rai and Krishnan Madaswamy were stripped of their medals in 2002 Manchester Games for flunking dope tests.

Four years later, Shailaja Pujari and Prameelavalli Bodari flunked WADA tests just before the Melbourne Games while Tejinder Singh and Edwin Raju were caught for doping during the Melbourne Games. That led to Indian lifters being banned for one year and missing the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

Except for Ravi Kumar (men's 69kg), India were not expected to win medals in the Asian Games in Guangzhou where the competition is much tougher. But, none of the lifters, including Ravi Kumar, could produce their best leave alone improving their performances.

Ravi Kumar should have won a medal had he come up with his Commonwealth Games gold-winning effort of 321kg but he could only lift 311kg to finish a disappointing fifth. Another CWG gold-mdallist Renubala (58kg) had pulled out of the Asian Games due to personal problems.

The year began with the new dispensation in the Indian Weightlifting Federation deciding to take strict action against dope offenders in the aftermath of the six lifters testing positive in out-of-competition WADA tests in September 2009.

They were emboldened in their quest as the International Weightlifting Federation in January handed life ban on repeat dope offender Shailaja Pujari, who has won many medals for the country in 75kg category.

Vicky Batta, a 56kg silver winner in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Singh, Sunita Rani and Vijaya Devi were banned for four years and fined USD 5,000 each. 

Indian Weightlifting Federation followed suit two month later, by handing life bans on Vicky Bhatta, G Damodaran (105kg) and Rajesh Kumar Singh (94kg) for their second dope offences. The cracking of the whip seemed to have the desired effect as none of Indian lifters were caught for doping in the CWG and Asian Games.

Indian lifters did well in the youth and junior competitions in the Commonwealth and Asian level. They finished runners-up in the Asian Junior Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with 10 medals -- two silver and eight bronze.

The girls' team were crowned champions in the Asian Youth Weightlifting Championships held simultaneously at the same venue.

But in the World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in June, a 15-member Indian team failed to finish on the podium, the best performance being Srishti Singh's fifth-place finish in women's 75kg.

In Senior World Championships in Antayla, Turkey in September, India sent a nine-member second rung team as the top lifters were reserved for the CWG and expectedly all of them finished at the bottom half of the result chart.

N Sunilkumar was the best finisher at 17th place in men's 62kg.

India though ended the year on a good note with an impressive performance in Commonwealth Youth and Junior Championships in Penang, Malaysia this month by bagging 19 medals, including nine gold. 


Daegu 2011 World Championships stadium track revealed

Athletics fans can look forward to record-breaking performances at the IAAF World Championships, Daegu 2011 as a new blue-coloured track supplied by Mondo was officially inaugurated at the Daegu Stadium today.

Among the dignitaries were the Daegu Mayor Bum-Il Kim; LOC Co-President Hae-Nyoung Cho; IAAF Council Members Cesar Moreno and Rocky Park; Andrea Vallauri from Mondo; and LOC Vice President and Secretary General Dong-Hoo Moon.
Nine athletes who won medals in athletics at the recently concluded Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, were also invited to the ceremony.
After the ribbon-cutting session and a montage of the medal-winning performances at the Asian Games, the athletes briefly showcased their respective events to the delight of the participating media and LOC staff.
"One of the most prominent features is that it is the first blue-coloured track in the whole of Korea," said Bum-Il Kim, mayor of the Daegu Metropolitan City. "We have laid the groundwork for athletes to achieve their lifelong dreams in Daegu."
Speaking at a press briefing IAAF Council Member and Technical Delegate Cesar Moreno praised the Local Organising Committee's (LOC) efficiency in delivering on its promises.
The Daegu Stadium already had a Class 1 track certified by the IAAF. The decision to resurface the track, and its delivery well ahead of the Championships, are testament of the LOC's commitment to quality and punctuality.
Andrea Vallauri, export director of the Official Supplier Mondo, added that the Daegu track would be the same as the one to be used at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The quality of the Daegu track is the "most updated" around the world, with colours that complement the Colorful Daegu brand.
In addition, Dong-Jin Oh, president of the Korea Athletics Federation, stated that the national team athletes are training hard to meet the Entry Standardsestablished by the IAAF. He assured the media that "the national team will do Korea proud".
Concerning the promotion of the Championships, the Mayor emphasised on the city government and Local Organising Committee's joint efforts in promoting the Championships nationally, including a strong push for full ticket sales.

Asian teams do enough to reaffirm status in 2010

BadgeImage via Wikipedia

SINGAPORE: Asian teams did enough to reaffirm the region's potential during a World Cup year with some convincing performances by national sides, while the AFC Champions League grew in stature.

In South Africa, two of the four Asian Football Confederation sides made the last 16, and they did it in historical fashion with neither South Korea or Japan ever going beyond the group phase on foreign soil before.

Japan went into the tournament under a dark cloud after losing four games in a row, but they left with their dignity restored after beating Denmark 3-1 and Cameroon 1-0, and only narrowly losing 1-0 to the Netherlands.

It put them into the knockout rounds and they were unlucky to fall 5-3 on penalties to Paraguay after the game ended in a scoreless draw.

South Korea also won plaudits by beating Greece 2-0 before crashing 4-1 to Argentina and then drawing 2-2 with Nigeria.

It was enough to see them into the knockouts rounds where squandered chances saw them lose 2-1 to Uruguay.

While they shined, Australia, who made the last 16 in Germany 2006, flopped, ultimately losing out on a place in the knockout stage on goal difference.

North Korea, at their first World Cup in 44 years, were the one team truly out of their depth.

They put up an impressive performance in a 2-1 defeat to Brazil but were routed 7-0 by Portugal and 3-0 by the Ivory Coast.

All four teams will be in action again at the Asian Cup in Qatar in January, a dry-run for the 2022 World Cup that was awarded to the Gulf nation by FIFA this month.

On a more domestic front, AFC president Mohammed bin Hammam, in his second term in charge, continued to push forward his agenda of promoting club football.

"You can take the game forward by developing club football, not by developing the national team," he told reporters recently.

"When you improve the standard of club football, the game at national level improves automatically. That's what AFC is looking to do in the next four years."

The ruling body has ploughed plenty of time and money into making the AFC Champion's League a quality competition and it provided some thrills and spills this year.

South Korea's Seongnam Ilhwa won the title, edging Iran's Zobahan 3-1 in a final played in Tokyo, handing them a berth in the FIFA Club World Cup where the exited to Inter Milan at the semi-final stage.

Seongnam are South Korea's most successful club, with seven K-League titles. They reached the AFC Champions League final in 2004 and the semi-finals in 2007.

Zobahan though was the surprise package, knocking out some of Asia's biggest clubs enroute to the final, including holders Pohang Steelers, Uzbek champions Bunyodkor and two-time winners Al Ittihad.

It was a third victory for South Korea, following triumphs by Jeonbuk Motors in 2006 and Pohang Steelers in 2009, while Japan and Saudi Arabia have won twice and the United Arab Emirates once.

"Our role model in improving football is the European Champions League. We want to be their main rivals," said Bin Hammam in explaining his vision.

"We have got a lot of help from Europeans, especially the English Premier League. The experts in EPL have spoken to us and shared with us their knowledge. We are utilising their help."

Meanwhile, Australia's Sasa Ognenovski, who plays for Seongnam Ilhwa, was named the AFC player of the year, while Japan's Takeshi Okada scooped the prize for coach of the year.

2010 also witnessed the Asian Games, where Japan's women won their first ever title, a feat that was matched by their men.


Legco opposition to Games bid

Kam Nai WaiImage via Wikipedia

A Legislative Council panel has passed a non-binding motion urging the government not to bid for the 2023 Asian Games. The motion was moved by Democratic Party lawmaker, Kam Nai-wai, who said the HK$6-billion budget for the Games was grossly underestimated. Earlier, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Tsang Tak-sing, admitted that the cost could rise due to factors such as inflation. The government will seek approval in principle from the Finance Committee next month. Decision Points

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Karate in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games

Muscat,Oman: HH Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al-Sabah, President of OCA and Dr. Lee, Yun Taek, President of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee (IAGOC) made the final confirmation for the decisions including the Sports Program of the 17th Asian Games prior to thePress Conference in Muscat, Oman.
The Olympic Council of Asia and the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee have finalized the sports program for the 17th Asian Games- Incheon 2014. IAGOC had proposed a total of 35 sports at the Guangzhou OCA General Assembly based on the amendments made to the OCA.
OCA & IAGOC made the final confirmation for the decisions including the Sports Program of the 17th Asian Games.
The 35 sports proposed by IAGOC were 28 Olympic sports plus baseball, bowling, kabaddi, sepaktakraw, softball, squash, and wushu. However, the OCA Executive Board had decided that the inclusion of cricket and karatedo would be more beneficial towards the overall direction of the Asian Games.
As per the OCA Constitution, the OCA has the sole authority to approve the sports program. Based on this fact, OCA and IAGOC have finalized the sports program for the 17th Asian Games.
The sports program for the 17th Asian Games are as follows:
1) 28 Olympic sports
2) Baseball
3) Bowling (usage of existing venues as recommended by OCA)
4) Kabaddi
5) Sepaktakraw
6) Squash
7) Wushu
8) Cricket (temporary venues)
9) Karatedo
It was also agreed that no additional sports will be allowed to be added to the sports program once announced.
Along the same lines, OCA has allotted the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Art Games to the City of Incheon in 2013. The OCA and Incheon therefore agree that a maximum of 9 sports will be included in the sports program for the 4th AIMAG. The exact sports program will be chosen by Incheon and approved by the OCA. However, the sports program should consist of sports that are appropriate to be tested for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Both parties have agreed that there will be no indoor athletics competitions and no new indoor athletic stadium will be required to be constructed for the Games.
As for the marketing release, OCA and IAGOC have agreed to follow the Guangzhou method for the 17th Asian Games and that the generated revenues would be shared as per the OCA Constitution Olympic Council of Asia © OCA 2009 - All rights reserved which OCA would take one-third and IAGOC would retain the remaining two-thirds.

HK to bid for Asian Games

Hong Kong cyclist Lee Wai-sze struck gold at last month's Asian Games in Guangzhou. Photo: Reuters.
The Government has announced that it will proceed with a controversial bid to host the Asian Games in 2023, despite public reservations about the huge cost involved.The Home Affairs Secretary, Tsang Tak-Sing, said most of the concerns raised during a public consultation on the bid coud be addressed, and added that the Government could afford the HK$6 billion bill for hosting the games. Mr Tsang said another HK$30 billion would be spent on building sports facilities to satisfy local demands.
Mr Tsang noted that public support for the bid had surged after Hong Kong's strong showing in the Guangzhou Asian Games last month. He said lawmakers should reflect public wishes, and he is confident that the government's funding request will be endorsed by the Legislative Council.
Mr Tsang said the Games carried intangible benefits, such as stronger community cohesion and the promotion of a healthier lifestyle.

Six non-Olympic sports make the 2014 Incheon Asian Games list

XVII Asian GamesImage via Wikipedia
PETALING JAYA: The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) have confirmed that squash, bowling, karate and wushu are on the list of eight non-Olympic sports that will be contested in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
And it was sweet music indeed for Malaysia, who recorded their best-ever showing in the history of the Asiad with a haul of nine gold medals in Guangzhou last month.
Initially, there were fears that bowling would be shifted to the Asian Indoor Games in 2013 as the OCA were keen to streamline the number of non-Olympic sports for the Asiad.
The OCA meeting held on the sidelines of the Asian Beach Games in Muscat over the weekend agreed to let it remain in the Asian Games. But they dropped cue sports and softball.
The OCA gave the thumbs up to the 28 Olympic sports on the programme for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games along with baseball, bowling, cricket, kabbadi, karate, sepak takraw, squash and wushu.
The 17th Asian Games will feature 36 sports, six fewer than in edition in Guangzhou.
The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) secretary, Sidney Tung, said that they were relieved that the matter had been laid to rest.
“There were rumours that bowling would be taken out of the next Asian Games,” he said.
“The Asiad is the biggest multi-Games participation for us and something our bowlers look forward to. We are happy and we never wanted to be in the Asian Indoor Games.
“Bowling is very popular among Asian countries and South Korea did very well (in the Guangzhou Games) and there was really no reason for us to worry (that it would be dropped from the Incheon Games).”
But there will certainly be disappointment for Malaysia if bowling, squash, karate or wushu were excluded from the 2014 Asiad programme.
The four sports accounted for eight of the nine gold medals won by the Malaysian contingent at the Guangzhou Games.
The only gold medal coming from an Olympic event was from cyclist Azizulhasni Awang in the keirin discipline.


Para games add to harmony in Asia

Photo taken on Dec. 12, 2010, shows the opening ceremony of the 2010 Asian Para Games held in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Lu Hanxin)
Photo taken on Dec. 12, 2010, shows the opening ceremony of the 2010 Asian Para Games held in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Lu Hanxin)
BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- The 16th Asian Games in the Guangdong provincial capital Guangzhou presented audiences with a magnificent sporting feast. Now Asian people's attention will once again be on the booming Pearl River city as the Asian Para Games began on Sunday.
The Guangzhou Asian Para Games is the second major sports event for disabled athletes in China after the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
The Asian Para Games was previously known as the Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled (FESPIC). In 2006, the Asian Paralympic Committee was set up to push forward the development of sports for disabled people in Asia and help boost their social status. The same year, the committee decided to change the FESPIC into an event for disabled athletes in Asia and chose Guangzhou as the host for its first games.
Ever since, the millennium-old port has been carrying Asian disabled people's sporting dreams under the slogan "we cheer, we share, we win".
Guangzhou has been striving to develop the regional Asian Para Games into a grand event which all people can enjoy. The gathering of disabled athletes and non-disabled people from across Asia in Guangzhou, where they can cheer together and extend mutual blessings, will be a fitting realization of "Spirit in Motion", the original concept of the Paralympics.
The Guangzhou Asian Para Games is also devoted to driving home the idea that disabled people and non-disabled people are equally privileged both in sports and in social life. Everyone should share the joy, friendship, dreams and success that sport can provide.
The Guangzhou Asian Para Games will be an important stage for the athletes to display "self-esteem, self-confidence, self-striving and self-reliance". In such an event there are no losers and all participants are winners.
The Guangzhou authorities and its residents have made concerted efforts to make the Asian Para Games a resounding success. More than 20,000 slopes have been renovated to make them accessible to wheelchair users. Audible signals have been installed in more than 500 crossings for the convenience of the blind. More than 70 bus stops across the city have been made barrier free and special paths have been paved for the disabled in front of many shops. There are also specially designed ATMs, booths and service stations. A total of 25,000 volunteers have received specialized training to offer assistance to those in need.
At a large charity party held in Guangzhou in early September to mark a 100-day countdown to the games, stars from China, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Singapore performed, raising more than 30 million yuan for the cause of sports for disabled people.
A number of large enterprises from home and abroad have also supported the event. At a sponsored arts exhibition in Beijing in November, Chinese and ROK disabled artists co-authored a work displaying their common love for life.
Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has commended Guangzhou's efforts in hosting the event and said he believes the games will be a milestone in the event's history.
Dato' Zainal Abu Zarin, president of the Asian Paralympic Committee, also praised Guangzhou's organizing work, expressing his confidence in the Games' success and its promotion of an inclusive society.
The Guangzhou Asian Para Games will not only help foster a more inclusive society, but also enrich the cooperation among Asian nations and inject new vitality into their bid to construct a harmonious Asia.
We sincerely believe the event will help create a better future for Asia.
(Source: China Daily)