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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.