A cluster of villages in central Assam’s Nagaon district has found a way of keeping crop-raiding elephants off their crops — by setting aside land to create a meal zone for them.Most farmers of 12 villages in the Ronghang-Hatikhuli area of central Assam’s Nagaon district do not have enough land to sustain their families. But they donated 203 bighas (roughly 33 hectares) of community land and took turns to plant paddy exclusively for the elephants that often come down the hills of the adjoining Karbi Anglong district.‘Jumbo kheti’The “jumbo kheti (cropland)” has been envisaged as the last line of mealy defence against some 350-400 elephants that have often paid for venturing too close to human habitations. Five of them were electrocuted by illegal electric fences in the last 16 months while half a dozen, injured by spears and arrows, died in the jungles up the hills.About 10 km from the paddy field, toward the hills, is an 8-hectare plantation of Napier grass that 35 reformed hunters have grown for the elephants. This plantation is on land belonging to a tea estate.The locals have also planted saplings of 2,000 outenga (elephant apple), 1,500 jackfruit and 25,000 banana plants on barren land between the paddy field and grass plantation. The three-step plantation has a common thread — environmentalist Binod Dulu Bora and the NGO Hatibondhu, meaning ‘friends of elephants’, he is associated with.“Growing paddy for elephants was the idea of Pradip Kumar Bhuyan, the director of our NGO. We had several meetings with the villagers and managed to convince them by saying they would be setting an example for the world to follow toward reducing man-animal conflicts,” Mr. Bora told The Hindu on Monday.Feeding patternOnce convinced that the experiment would save much of their crops, the villagers decided to donate land and labour to grow paddy for the elephants. Forest Department officials chipped in to provide solar electric fences around the crop area.“Work on the paddy field began less than two months ago. The fence will be withdrawn once the paddy ripens for the elephants to feed on. By mapping the area and studying the feeding pattern, we calculated that the elephants would take 20-22 days to finish the paddy in their demarcated zone,” Mr. Bora said.The nearest fields where the villagers have grown crops for themselves and for trade are 5 km away. “By the time the elephants finish the crop grown for them, we will have harvested much of our own. We think the elephants will turn back if they don’t find crop in our spaces,” said Dyansing Hanse, one of the two village headmen.The Ronghang-Hatikhuli area is inhabited by the Karbi and Adivasi communities.“The fruit trees will take time to grow. But the elephants can feed on the Napier grass, a tropical forage crop that grows fast, if they return to the hills. They have already partaken of the grass six times,” Mr Bora said, adding that 35 hunters who had given up hunting four years ago have been maintaining the grass plantation. ‘Unprecedented’Jiten Kro, the other headman said the villagers had been living in dread of the elephants for years. He hoped the experiment would go a long way in ensuring co-existence with the animals. “We are happy to have given back some space to the elephants through a project that I believe is unprecedented,” he said.
Putting behind the bitter experience of steel major POSCO’s unsuccessful bid to set up a plant in Odisha, South Korea has evinced keen interest in forging a new relationship in investment and business with the State.South Korean Ambassador Shin Bong-kil, who led a business delegation, met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and key functionaries of the industries department here on Monday.“Recognising the State’s potential in natural resources, POSCO had made $12 billion investment commitment in 2005 to set up a steel plant in the State — it was not only the single largest overseas investment by a South Korean company, but also the single largest foreign investment ever made in India,” said Mr. Shin.‘Fast-growing State’Observing that POSCO’s mega investment had faced many hurdles, he said: “I understand both sides have learnt from POSCO’s experience and now need to make a fresh start. Odisha is a State growing very fast.”The delegation included representatives of Samsung, Hyundai, Kia and LG. Commenting on the slowdown in the automobile sector, the Ambassador said: “I think the phenomenon is temporary. Things will improve shortly. Korean automakers, however, have been doing very well in India.”Addressing the delegation, Mr. Patnaik said, “The Republic of Korea and Odisha have many possibilities to collaborate across identified focus sectors. We are in the process of promulgating a strategy document, Vision 2030, to ensure that 50% of the primary metal produced in the State is value-added within the State.”“Odisha is also fast emerging as the petrochemicals and chemicals hub where Korea has natural strengths. We welcome Korean investments in these and other sectors,” said Mr. Patnaik.
The Uttar Pradesh government has submitted a proposal to the Centre to encourage foreign airlines to operate at the proposed Jewar airport. The State’s suggestion is to allow foreign carriers to fly to the airport, likely to be ready by 2023, without the need for India to revise its bilateral agreements with different countries to increase the total number of flights permitted for different ports of call in the country.The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) informed potential bidders about this proposal late Thursday evening in its reply to queries raised about the tender on operation, management and development of Noida International Airport Limited. It has also made public its revised request for proposal-cum-request for quotation and concession agreement.In response to a query by an interested bidder on allowing international carriers to fly to Jewar airport for a period of three years without revising bilateral agreements, the YEIDA said, “Authority is awaiting a response from MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation).”Centre to take callAccording to the minutes of the meeting with the MoCA on August 16, the Centre is examining the issue: “MoCA will separately examine the issue of bilaterals and will provide clarity on whether the bilateral rights under Delhi (IGI Airport) will extend to the new airport or it should be considered as a separate port of call.”Though the reply from YEIDA to the bidders comes after a delay of almost one month, officials say that the deadline for submitting bids on October 30 will remain unchanged. The timeline for opening technical and financial bids on November 6 and November 29 will also be unaffected.Shailendra Kumar Bhatia, nodal officer for Jewar, told The Hindu that as many as 20 players have bought the bid document so far, including domestic and international airport developers. Nearly 70% land (1,400 hectares) has been acquired by the YEIDA. The authority has also entered into an MoU with Wildlife Institute of India for environment impact assessment. A team of scientists has already conducted an inspection earlier this month to draw a plan for conservation of flora and fauna in the area. It is expected to submit its report by October 30.On the instructions of the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet, the YEIDA will also explore whether the airport can have 4-6 runways instead of two proposed now.In order to ensure Jewar airport is connected to the National Capital Region, state-owned infrastructure company RITES has been tasked with conducting a study which is expected to be submitted by October 15, Mr. Bhatia said. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, too, has submitted its report for metro connectivity for the airport, which is being examined by the Uttar Pradesh government and Noida Metro Rail Corporation.
Clashes erupted late on Tuesday at Wangjing Tentha in Thoubal district between the police and people who were taking out a torchlight rally in protest against the Naga agreement. All sections of people fear that since the Centre was not disclosing the details of the agreement, there might be clauses against the interests of Manipur.S. Ibomcha, Police Superintendent of Thoubal district, told The Hindu on Wednesday that a large number of men and women took out a torchlight procession in the district. As part of the well-organised agitation under the supervision of the COCOMI formed by five civil society organisations, processionists tried to storm the house of Paonam Brojen, the MLA of the constituency. Police intercepted them to maintain law and order while the people tried to bull through the police barricade.There was a mild baton charge. The processionists retaliated by throwing burning torchlights. Besides, stones were pelted at the police. Some youths were also allegedly used sling shots to attack the police. A few policemen sustained injuries. Later, police arrested 17 processionists.There were reports of such processions at Leishangthem also in the Thoubal district on Tuesday night.Meanwhile, Congress MLAs of Manipur reached Delhi on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand protection of the interests of Manipur while signing the Naga agreement. Okram Ibobi, the CLP leader and former Chief Minister, said, “The reported assurance of the Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue is nothing new since he made similar assurances in the past. Despite assurances, the stakeholders were not consulted before giving the final shape to the Naga agreement”. However, as Modi is out of the country, it is not immediately known when and if the meeting will take place.Appeals by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren to have trust in the assurance of the Centre and call off agitations, including the proposed ban on the tourism-related international Sangai festival, had fallen on deaf ears since the COCOMI continues to quarterback the agitations. Taking umbrage at the refusal to summon a special Assembly session to take a firm resolution on the issue, the COCOMI announced that it will not hold any further talks with the State government.
Six peahens have died in a village in Bijnor. Four were found dead and four others were recovered in an unconscious state from a field in Shadipur village on Monday, district forest officials said.“Two more died on Tuesday during treatment,” M. Semmaran, Divisional Forest Officer, told The Hindu. He said two doves and a partridge were also found dead in the same field. Mr Semmaran, who is a veterinary doctor as well, said the cause of the deaths were not clear yet. Wild berriesHe said around 100 wild red berries were found stuffed in the digestive tract of peahens along with a few wheat grains. Mr. Semmaran didn’t rule out pesticides that farmers spray on crops for the deaths.
Man sworn in as lawyer by judge who sentenced him to prison as a teen 20 years ago Nzeusseu fired eight of his 13 points in the payoff period, where the Pirates used a 10-2 run to turn things around and get the lead, 63-62, on amazing reverse from Marcelino with 5:41 left.READ: Letran coach warns Lyceum: ‘We will destroy whoever gets in our way’FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Cameroonian also had 15 rebounds and three blocks to help keep Lyceum’s unbeaten record through eight games.CJ Perez tallied a team-high 14 markers and five boards, as he bucked a forgettable 6-of-19 clip from the field and drained the huge three with 3:30 to play to give Pirates some separation down the stretch. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netLyceum weathered a tough stand from Letran and pulled off a 75-68 victory Friday in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.The Pirates, who played without coach Topex Robinson who was serving a one-game suspension, rallied behind Mike Nzeusseu in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback from 17 points down.ADVERTISEMENT Flags of SEA Games countries raised at Athletes Village NBA: Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s jersey next season UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LATEST STORIES WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Jaycee Marcelino added 13 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, while Reymar Caduyac was steady from the charity stripe, drilling all of his 12 markers from the free throw line.Lyceum faced its biggest deficit of the season as it trailed by 37-20, midway in the second quarter.But the Pirates soon after buckled down to work with Nzeusseu punishing the depleted Knights frontline, who was without the injured Jeo Ambohot and foul troubled Daryl Pascual and Irvin Mandreza.Lyceum snapped Letran’s four-game winning run and got a shot at a first round sweep with a win against Mapua on Tuesday.Rey Nambatac topped the Knights with 16 points and six rebounds, while JP Calvo had 11 markers, four boards, and two assists in the loss, as they finished the first round with a 5-4 card.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. The Scores:LYCEUM 75 – Perez 14, Nzeusseu 13, Jc. Marcelino 13, Caduyac 12, Ayaay 7, Baltazar 5, Jv. Marcelino 4, Ibanez 4, Tansingco 2, Pretta 1, Marata 0.LETRAN 68 – Nambatac 16, Calvo 11, Quinto 10, Balanza 8, Balagasay 6, Mandreza 6, Taladua 5, Caralipio 4, Pascual 2, Gedaria 0, Vacaro 0, Bernabe 0.Quarters: 18-26, 35-44, 53-59, 75-68. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:12San Beda, Lyceum early favorites ahead of NCAA Season 9300:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games View comments
PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games “We are confident against Vietnam. Our mindset is positive that we can beat them because we already did (in the Asian Championships),” said Reyes.That win, according to her, would be the big motivation for the team.“But we can’t be over-confident. We can’t be complacent. We need this win against Vietnam so we will work very hard for it.” ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES “It was a good result. We are thankful that we won,” said Reyes. “But we know that we were a bit slow. We had a slow start.”Reyes was referring to the first set when the Filipinos threw away five points through service errors.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Maybe it’s first-game jitters but we need to work hard on it,” she added.Reyes said that the game against Vietnam on Friday would be different. Heroes rise as athletics fuels Philippine gold drive Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games FILE/CONTRIBUTED PHOTOKUALA LUMPUR—For team captain Mika Reyes, the important thing is not to get complacent.The Philippines blew past Malaysia in straight sets, which the 6-foot middle blocker said will boost the confidence of the star-studded team.ADVERTISEMENT UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension MOST READ LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments
Read Next John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Nursing an LCL injury, Jalalon was stuck in the sidelines doing therapy with the Hotshots PTs, watching helplessly as coach Chito Victolero laid down the groundwork in the team’s first week of practices.But the former Arellano guard’s frustrations isn’t limited on Star alone with the injury also ruling him out of Gilas Pilipinas in the first leg of the 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers later this month.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’m already out. I really want to join them, but the doctors advised me to not to,” said Jalalon, who is will continue therapy for the next two weeks before the doctors could give him the green light to finally rejoin the Hotshots.With the chance to don the national colors out of the picture, Jalalon is now looking at the next task ahead, and that is to be in full strength once Star opens its campaign this upcoming 2017-2018 PBA season. “I’m just strengthening my knee and following what the PTs tell. I’ll continue doing therapy and I’m preparing to play in the opening,” he said.As an observer, Jalalon also liked what he saw from the Hotshots after this first week of training.“I could really see that we play well in our practices and I feel that this will be the timewe’ll really be contending for the title.”ADVERTISEMENT CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:33Leo Austria, SMB wary of ‘more experienced’ Hotshots ahead of PBA Finals rematch01:28’Walang bigayan’: Expect all-out war between sister teams Magnolia, San Miguel01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View comments Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Timberwolves overwhelm Jazz for 109-98 win MOST READ LATEST STORIES CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/PBA IMAGESSophomore playmaker Jio Jalalon couldn’t hide his frustrations as he was limited to a spectator in Star’s morning practice at Ronac Art Center on Tuesday.“I’m not used to this, that I’m not practicing. I’m jealous,” he admitted.ADVERTISEMENT Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101
Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises View comments Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers The fight over Wahoo has spanned decades in Cleveland.Every year, groups of Native Americans and their supporters have protested outside the stadium before the home opener in hopes of not only getting the team to abolish Chief Wahoo but to change the Indians’ nickname, which they feel is an offensive depiction of their race.Those dissenting voices have been met with fans devoted to preserving Chief Wahoo’s place in team history. The Indians’ resurgence in the mid-1990s helped spur a downtown renaissance in Cleveland.The NFL’s Washington Redskins have come under similar fire to change their logo and nickname but so far have resisted. Last year, a Supreme Court ruling in another case cleared the way for the Redskins to preserve the trademark on its logo. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting MOST READ LATEST STORIES FILE – In this June 19, 2017 file photo, members of the Cleveland Indians wear uniforms featuring mascot Chief Wahoo as they stand on the field for the national anthem before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore. The Cleveland Indians are taking the divisive Chief Wahoo logo off their jerseys and caps, starting in 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)CLEVELAND — Divisive and hotly debated, the Chief Wahoo logo is being removed from the Cleveland Indians’ uniform next year.The polarizing mascot is coming off the team’s jersey sleeves and caps starting in the 2019 season, a move that will end Chief Wahoo’s presence on the field but may not completely silence those who deem it racist.ADVERTISEMENT “Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”Under growing pressure to eliminate Chief Wahoo, the club has been transitioning away from the logo in recent years. The Indians introduced a block “C″ insignia on some of their caps and have removed signs with the Wahoo logo in and around Progressive Field, the team’s downtown ballpark.National criticism and scrutiny about the Indians’ allegiance to Chief Wahoo grew in 2016, when the Indians made the World Series and Manfred expressed his desire to have the team eradicate the symbol. Earlier in that postseason, a lawsuit was filed while the club was playing in Toronto to have the logo and team name banned from appearing on Canadian TV. That court case was dismissed by a judge.The Indians’ bid to host the 2019 All-Star Game, which it was ultimately awarded, further heightened debate over Wahoo.“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Dolan said. “While we recognize many of our fans have a long-standing attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”ADVERTISEMENT Abueva finally shows up at Gilas practice John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:04Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC The Associated Press was informed of the decision before an official announcement was planned for Monday by Major League Baseball.After lengthy discussions between team owner Paul Dolan and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Indians are taking the extraordinary step of shelving the big-toothed, smiling, red-faced caricature, which has been used in used in various expressions by the team since 1947.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHowever, the American League team will continue to wear the Wahoo logo on its uniform sleeves and caps in 2018, and the club will still sell merchandise featuring the mascot in Northeast Ohio. The team must maintain a retail presence so that MLB and the Indians can keep ownership of the trademark.“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” Manfred said in a statement. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.
MOST READ The Elasto Painters, meanwhile, slipped to a losing record of 5-6.In a matchup where misses became the turning points in the final minute, it was James Yap, who became the goat.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingAfter tying the game at 101-101 with 1:04 left, Yap muffed two free throws at the 51-second mark of the game.Those costly misses left the door open for TNT, which pulled ahead for good after RR Pogoy nailed a long two to give the KaTropa a 103-101 lead with 26 seconds left. “I expected this kind of game, because Rain or Shine needs to win today for them to have a good place in the quarterfinals,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela. “We’ve been in the PBA for so long that at this point we know that no lead is safe.”TNT was dominant in the first half as it ended the second quarter up, 51-39, while maintaining composure up until the third when ROS had pulled within, 78-71, heading into the final period.“Teams are leading by 15 points in the first half and still end up losing the game.”Yap had another couple of chances from the free throw line with five seconds left but the most he got was a split and Ranidel de Ocampo eventually closed things out for TNT with two freebies.Joshua Smith impressed in his second game for TNT, coming away with a game-high 23 points to go along with 12 rebounds while De Ocampo had 21 points. ADVERTISEMENT Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP View comments LATEST STORIES PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO—TNT survived Rain or Shine, 105-102, to finish off its elimination round campaign on a high note in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at Ynares Sports Center here.The KaTropa head to the playoffs with an 8-3 record but will still await the final games of Star, San Miguel, Ginebra, and Meralco to determine their seed.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Returning Kvitova wins Roland Garros opener Troy Rosario finished with 11 points to help TNT while Pogoy and Ryan Reyes had 10 points apiece.Yap led the Elasto Painters with 23 points.Rain or Shine gave TNT quite a scare despite the early ejection of its import Duke Crews with still 6:51 left in the third quarter. Crews had nine points and 17 rebounds.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR
Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Froome loses Tour lead to Aru, Bardet wins 12th stage Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Cignal’s diminutive defensive ace Jheck Dionela was the conference’s Best Libero.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View comments El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Rhea Dimaculangan and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas. Photo by Sherwin Vardeleon/INQUIRERPetron Blaze Spiker Aiza Maizo-Pontillas is no stranger to winning individual awards.And she added another hardware to her collection Thursday night, taking home the MVP in the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference Thursday after helping Petron dethrone F2 Logistics in five sets, 26-24, 24-26, 24-26, 25-23, 15-11, in the finals.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera “But I will still work hard to show that I deserve the MVP.”Maizo-Pontillas’ teammate and fellow UST alum Rhea Dimaculanagan, meanwhile, won the Best Setter award.READ: Petron blanks F2, closes in on PSL titleMika Reyes also took an individual trophy for Petron, winning the 2nd Best Blocker Award while silver medalist Mary Joy Baron was named the Best Blocker.Foton teammates EJ Laure and Jaja Santiago won the Best Outside Spiker and Best Opposite Spiker trophies, respectively, while F2 Logistics’ Ara Galang was named the 2nd Best Spiker.ADVERTISEMENT “I think I’m more pressured right now because I won the MVP,” said Maizo-Pontillas, who won several MVPs when she bannered University of Santo Tomas in the Shakey’s V-League.READ: Petron claims PSL All-Filipino title, sweeps F2FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsMaizo-Pontillas likened her MVP trophy to being part of the national team, as immense pressure comes along with with both distinctions.“This MVP trophy is like being named to the national team because not only does it bring pressure but the expectation for you to perform well is also there,” said Maizo-Pontillas, who had 14 points in the title-clinching game. MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend
View comments Ledecky failed to set a personal best in any of her races — the ultimate goal for every swimmer, even more than the medals. A runner-up finish in the 200-meter freestyle was the 20-year-old’s first individual defeat in a major international race.“I always wish there was more,” Ledecky said. “I’ve never walked away from a season completely satisfied, even last year (after winning four golds at the Rio Olympics). You always are looking and moving forward.”She was certainly due for a letdown.Ever since a stunning breakthrough at the 2012 London Olympics, when she won the 800 free as a little-known 15-year-old, Ledecky’s trajectory has been nothing but up, up, up.In 2013, she won four golds at the worlds in Barcelona, setting a pair of world records. Two years later in Kazan, she swept every freestyle from 200 to 1,500 meters, setting two more world records. And, yes, two more world records fell last summer in Brazil, transforming her into a full-fledged star.ADVERTISEMENT Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet But that wasn’t the only striking change in Ledecky’s life.After putting off college for a year to focus on the Olympics, the Washington, D.C.-area swimmer moved across the country for her freshman year at Stanford. It has been an enriching experience that she’s fully embraced, meeting new people and taking all sorts of challenging classes, but perhaps it had an impact on her swimming.Ledecky acknowledged that she “didn’t really set as high of goals or have that same motivation, just always being on and on and on.”“Going through a lot of transitions and changes this year, knowing that I’ve gone through that now, I can really take what I’ve learned and use it moving forward,” Ledecky said.She was certainly overshadowed along the banks of the Danube.Caeleb Dressel emerged as America’s newest sensation with a record-tying seven gold medals — three of them on the same night, the first swimmer ever to accomplish that feat at worlds.“He’s incredible,” Ledecky said, maybe even a bit relieved to have the spotlight shining elsewhere. “Just so impressive how he goes race to race to medal ceremony to medal ceremony, has another race in about two minutes. He’s just such a great athlete and such a great swimmer. So young, too, that he has so many great years ahead of him.”Dressel is the same age as Ledecky.Chances are, they both have plenty of great years ahead of them.But now, for perhaps the first time in her swimming career, Ledecky is facing a bit of a setback. FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES She won five gold medals. She took silver in her other event.“If that was my bad year for the next four years, then the next couple years are going to be pretty exciting,” Ledecky declared.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsBut her performance in Budapest did prove one thing.She’s human. National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games It will be interesting to see how she bounces back.In all likelihood, she’ll come back better than ever.“This year I didn’t really set very specific time goals or goals in general,” she said “I just kind of wanted to repeat in all by different events from the past two worlds and just play a part on some good Team USA relays. I didn’t really have too big of expectations for myself, especially compared to the last couple of years. I knew there were expectations externally, but I was really just trying to focus on my own races, putting those together, and using this year as a big learning year.”Ledecky took on her most demanding program at these championships, competing in four individual events and two relays, a total of 6,300 meters in all counting preliminaries, semifinals and finals.“It was pretty tiring,” she conceded. “I’m pretty wiped out right now. But I’m happy with how it all went. I was happy with how I was able to bounce back after each race, move forward to the next race and get through to the next round as well as I did.”She’s not totally pleased with the results, even though she’s now the winningest female swimmer in world championship history with 14 gold medals — more than anyone except Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.Ledecky feels like she’s capable of more.“I’m happy with five golds and a silver,” she said. “But there’s a lot of room for improvement for me, as crazy as that sounds. Moving forward, I’m going to be really motivated. I’m really looking forward to working toward 2020 now.” Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next United States’ Katie Ledecky leaves the hall after winning the gold in the women’s 800-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions of the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. APBUDAPEST, Hungary — OK, it wasn’t like Katie Ledecky was a flop at the world championships.Far from it.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ After historic 7 swim golds, Dressel to wrestle with math test DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games
LATEST STORIES MOST READ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View comments Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next San Beda cruises to 8th straight; Bolick ejected after scuffle Roger Pogoy. Photo from Fiba.comGilas Pilipinas is set to compete in the 2017 Fiba Asia Champions Cup which runs from Sept. 22-30 in Shenzen, China.National team coach Chot Reyes announced Gilas’ participation in the tournament Tuesday on his Twitter account.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim “Breaking: Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas joins @FIBAAsiaCC. Games will be shown @TV5manila & @Sports5PH,” Reyes wrote.The tournament features some of Asia’s best club teams with China’s Xinjian Flying Tigers tipped to repeat as champions. The Flying Tigers will be led by naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingGilas, which finished in seventh place in the Fiba Asia Cup last month, will use the competition as part of its buildup for the Fiba World Cup Qualifying in November. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side
Fatehgarh Heritage Renaissance Resort in Udaipur uses wind and solar energyFew states of India are as evocative as Rajasthan–the very name conjures up images of medieval forts and flamboyant palaces, havelis and temples, castles on hilltops, picturesque villages and colourful fairs. Today, keeping with the times, Rajasthan’s heritage entrepreneurs are incorporating audio-tours, son et lumiore, alternative technologies for power generation or water harvesting. Nowhere is the change more apparent than in the cities of Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaipur.Udaipur updateA cooking demonstration in progress at Deogarh MahalUdaipur has long been the epitome of Rajasthan’s romance since an island palace of the Maharanas was converted into the stunningly beautiful hotel with five-star trappings. One of the most exciting new heritage developments of Udaipur is Fatehgarh Heritage Renaissance Resort built from the remains of a demolished castle moved to the site from about 150 km away, supplemented with architectural fragments and doors from other heritage properties. Climb to the terrace and the glass-walled restaurant offers a breathtaking view of the lakes. There is much focus on eco and social conscious measures–an energy efficient design that makes the most of air movement and natural light, a wind turbine and solar panels that account for more than half the power consumption of the property, a water harvesting system inspired by medieval stepwell architecture, indigenous plantations to make a home for wildlife, local employment and a focus on using locally available materials. Vintage collections are still popular in the StateIf you are looking for a place to dine on a romantic night out, Udaipur is becoming known for those too–the Whistling Teal is a beautiful garden restaurant with a bar furnished with saddles and a coffee lounge; the park-like Ambrai has a view across the lake to the island palaces, the aptly named Sunset View Terrace in the City Palace complex, and the recently opened Raaj Bagh, which, as the name suggests, is done in colonial style with old dressers, antique furniture and vintage cars in a covered area.Like the properties, Udaipur’s shopping scene is also taking a modern twist–the Bougainvillaea Art Gallery showcases contemporary paintings, sculpture and artworks in aesthetically pleasing interiors with an ambience to match, Andraab is an attractive showroom recently opened for Kashmiri shawls and other handcrafted textile products, the trendy Ganesh Art Emporium, the Pristine Gallery, and galleries of individual artists.New entriesTraditional food is still popular in the StateAs you head up NH-8 from Udaipur towards Delhi, you come to one of Rajasthan’s most fairy-tale heritage hotels–Deogarh Mahal which rises from an elevation in the middle of a village with hill views from its terraces. The 50 rooms are imaginatively designed to match the character of the property. For something more exclusive, head for the owner’s four-suite Fort Seengh Sagar set amid shimmering waters. The decor is Rajasthani yet chic and minimalistic, with rooms having distinctive features–a fountain, a rockery, a temple, stone art and even a jacuzzi.Jodhpur jauntRamgarh Lodge near Jaipur is now a Gateway HotelStraight out of a storybook is Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort, built in AD 1459. The new thing about the historical site is an audio-guided tour that will take you through the collections in the museum of princely memorabilia. At the end of the tour you come to the splendidly designed Museum Shop, which blends the fort’s old-world charm with contemporary visual merchandising to display art, artefacts, handicrafts, porcelain, jewellery, clothing and souvenirs. The display prompted an international magazine writer equalling the shop to being as good as an annexe of the New York’s Museum of Contemporary Art!Head from here to Raika Bagh and the Palace Road for Jodhpur’s superbly carpentered furniture, first-rate antique reproductions and handcrafted artefacts. There are some fun places to eat in this area–On-the-Rocks, as the name suggests, is a bar and restaurant in a rock garden along the imposing Ajit Bhawan Palace while Khaas Bagh has an arts and crafts gallery, a resort garden and a Bollywood themed dining area.A hidden gem in the city is MV Spice Shop in the Vegetable Market. The daughters of spice merchant, Mohanlal Verhomal, who was quite a legend among tourists, have come up with an extraordinarily innovative range of spice blends that they make at home from hand-ground spices. It is the place to buy anything from chai masala to a mutton curry mix.Jaipur goes contemporaryPolo tourism is catching up in the StateWhile Udaipur and Jodhpur remain old-worldly in their charm, Jaipur has burst out of its ‘Pink City’ shell with gleaming glass-and-steel shopping complexes, malls, supermarkets and multiplexes along its thoroughfare, Delhi-style plush new residential areas, and the ubiquitous CCDs, Baristas, fast food outlets and bars. But for visitors Jaipur is still about serious shopping. What is really exciting about shopping in Jaipur these days is the initiatives of the NGOs, cooperatives, self-help groups and artisanal families. A classic is Anokhi’s museum at the restored Chanwar Palkiwalon Ki haveli at Amber which won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award in 2000. Here you can watch craftsmen at work on block printing and woodcarving, learn about the history of block-printing besides experiencing the architecture of a haveli. It is just a few minutes away from Amber Fort, which now offers an audio-tour as well as a Sound and Light Show, with Gulzar’s words, Amitabh’s voice and music to match. Amber is also being given a makeover ahead of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.The stylish showrooms of Anokhi and Fabindia in the city, the Soma on Jacob Road, the UN-supported Mojari which, as the name suggests, sells footwear from rural Rajasthan, and the blue pottery showroom called Kripal Kumbh, run by the daughters of the master ceramist Kripal Singh, are happening places to shop.Jaipur is also teeming with places to eat–from well-known names like Dasaprakash and Sankalp for South Indian food, Copper Chimney for North Indian, Little Italy, and so forth, to novel places like the Peacock Rooftop Restaurant or Om Tower Revolving Restaurant. Favourite evenings-out from Jaipur are village-theme restaurants like Chokhi Dhani, which also offers a range of folksy entertainments, an artisanal bazaar and camel and elephant rides.A couple of new options are also available for those who want to escape the city and yet not be too far from it. A good example of this is the Ramgarh Lodge, the former hunting lodge of the Maharajas of Jaipur, which is now a Gateway Hotel. And for a taste of something more energetic, get whisked away to Anokhi Farm outside Jaipur where you can learn the royal sport of polo. The training includes riding under supervision, stick-and-ball practice on wooden horses and practice chukkers.They say it’s just the beginning of modernisation. Let’s see what this year–the year of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi–spells for Rajasthan, its neighbour. advertisementadvertisement Fact fileFatehgarh–A Heritage Renaissance Resort Sisarma, Udaipur; tel: (0294) 241 3845Whistling Teal 103-Bhatiayani Chhohata, Udaipur; tel: 242 2067Ambrai Amet Haveli, Chandpole, Udaipur; tel: 243 1085Sunset View Terrace, City Palace Complex, UdaipurRaaj Bagh Fateh Sagar Lake, Udaipur; tel: 329 0228Bougainvillea Art Gallery Fatehsagar Lake, UdaipurAndraab New Fatehpura, Udaipur; tel: 242 3285Ganesh Art Emporium Jagdish Chowk, Udaipur; tel: 242 2864Pristine Gallery Bhattiyani Cohtta, Udaipur; tel: (0) 98291 84223Deogarh Mahal tel: (02904) 252 777; 253 333Fort Seengh Sagar Reservations through Deogarh MahalMehrangarh Fort Audio Tour Tel: (0291) 254 8790, 254 8992On-the-Rocks Circuit House Road, Jodhpur; tel: 251 0410Khaas Bagh Opp. Police Lines, Ratanada, Jodhpur; tel: 251 4513MV Spice Shop Clock Tower, Jodhpur; tel (0) 92520 00435;Anokhi Museum Amber Fort, Jaipur; tel: (0141) 253 0226Sound and Light Show at Amber Fort; 6.30 and 7.30p.m.Anokhi Jaipur; tel: 400 7244/45Fabindia MGF Mall, Jaipur; tel: 511 5997; Prithviraj Road; tel: 511 5992advertisementSoma 5 Jacob Road, Civil Lines, Jaipur; tel: 222 2778Mojari Vishwakarma Industrial Area, Jaipur; tel: 309 4260Kripal Kumbh Bani Park, Jaipur; tel: 220 1127Peacock Rooftop Restaurant Ajmer Road, Jaipur; tel: 237 3700Om Tower Revolving Restaurant MI Road, Jaipur; tel: 404 6666Chokhi Dhani Tonk Road, JaipurGateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge One-hour drive from JaipurAnokhi Farm Tel: (01532) 275 0868
Indian born wicketkeeper-batsman Ashish Bagai is captaining Canada. He has two centuries under his belt and will be hoping he gets more during the World Cup. They too come under the ‘minnows’ category and would be lucky it they win a match in this mega event.Squad: Ashish Bagai (captain and wicketkeeper), Rizwan Cheema (vice captain), Harvir Baidwan, Nitish Kumar, Hiral Patel, Tyson Gordon, Henry Osinde, John Davison, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Parth Desai, Karl Whatham, Khurram Chohan, Jimmy Hansra, Zubin Surkari, Balaji Rao. Standby: Hamza Tariq
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday admitted that losing quick wickets was still a concern but said his team was gradually improving and will be at its best against Australia in the World Cup quarterfinals in Ahmedabad on Thursday.India, who had lost nine wickets for just 29 runs against South Africa in their last outing, on Sunday slipped from 218 for three to 268 all out.”It (losing wickets) is a concern. But there is a gradual improvement (from seven for 29 to seven for 50) I am sure we will be at our best in the quarters. That’s the positive I will take out of this,” Dhoni said after India beat West Indies by 80 runs here.Dhoni said the turning point of the match was the wicket of opener Devon Smith, who was dismissed by pacer Zaheer Khan in the 31st over to trigger a collapse.”The game really changed once Zaheer gave us the breakthrough, until then Devon was batting really well. After that we could put pressure on both sides, and got more wickets than we needed and seize the game in the end,” Dhoni said.Asked about their quarterfinal match against Australia, Dhoni said they are focusing on the preparation rather than thinking about the result.”Australia are a very strong side and very expressive on the field. But it’s about how we prepare. Preparation is very important and we are just thinking about that particular day and match rather than think about the result,” he said.”Being in the present is a better option that thinking of the past or worrying about the future,” he added.advertisementMan of the Match Yuvraj Singh, who battled stomach cramps to score 113 runs and took two crucial wickets, said he was happy with the way he was middling the ball.”It’s been good, I went in and was middling the ball, so happy with the way it went. When you lose early wickets, you need a partnership going. Me and Virat took us to 220, very happy with the way it went,” he said.”I was getting stomach cramps since morning, but I wanted to bat till the end. I am Very happy with the team effort today. We have our batting plans. Our batting is going well, once we get the bowling and fielding going we should be ok.Asked about the quarterfinals match against Australia, Yuvraj said,”Australia have won five matches, we have also won five matches, so looking forward to the contest.” .West Indies skipper Darren Sammy said though they lost the match, there first objective of reaching the quarterfinals have been achieved.”We reached our first objective of reaching the knockout stage and we have to tighten our games quickly and produce our A game to beat Pakistan in the quarterfinals,” Sammy said.Sammy said he was happy with the bowling but said batting has let them down.”Rampaul was really good in his first game. He bowled tremendously, our bowing game good something which many felt were not our strong point. But we lost seven wickets in 30 odd runs and that is a concern,” he said.West Indies had beaten Bangladesh by nine wickets after bowling out the hosts for just 58 runs and Sammy hoped that they will carry the same confidence when they play in Dhaka on Wednesday.”We did well against Bangladesh at Dhaka and hopefully we will have the same confidence going in there on Wednesday,” he said.Sammy also hoped that injured players Kemar Roach and Chris Gayle will be fit for the match against Pakistan.”Knowing their commitment, I hope they will hopefully come out and give their best for West Indies,” he said.-With PTI inputs
PIB reveals that the UPA-led government suggested that Kalmadi be made the OC chief.As the debate rages as to who appointed Suresh Kalmadi as the chief of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Mail Today has accessed a document which shows that he was elevated to the post on January 30, 2005 by the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by the late Arjun Singh.The document also reveals that the GoM accepted a suggestion made on December 6, 2004 by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to appoint Kalmadi as OC chief.In the Press Information Bureau (PIB) release – which Mail Today is in possession of – dated January 30, 2005, Singh had also announced a slew of committees, including the one where the OC was to be headed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Kalmadi.”The Organising Committee will deal with the Government of India through the ministry of youth affairs and sports and with the Delhi government,” the PIB release quoting Singh said.In that release, the apex committee headed by sports minister Sunil Dutt was given overriding power and responsibility to oversee and coordinate the Commonwealth Games. In fact, Dutt was a member of the GOM that appointed Kalmadi. While suggesting that Kalmadi be made the OC chairman, the PMO also wanted an empowered committee, under the minister of youth affairs and sports, to look after the construction of the stadia and other infrastructure facilities required for the Games.The PMO suggested that “this committee may be chaired by minister of youth affairs and sports and would comprise three vice-chairmen – Lt Governor, Delhi, chief minister, Delhi, and chairman of the OC”. It is clear that the GOM had envisioned the apex committee as the supreme body.”The minutes of all the other committees related to the conduct of the Commonwealth Games shall be submitted to the apex committee periodically for its information,” Singh had said.”The chairman of the apex committee can also call for such information which he deems fit and can give such guidance that may required.” Singh had also announced then that a threemember sub-committee, headed by the then finance minister P. Chidambaram, would supervise and deal with all the financial matters.Singh had also said the OC executive board would have 15 members, including the chairman and the vice-chairman, to be appointed in consultation with the GoM. effect, the GoM had put in place checks and balances over the OC.How many meetings of the apex committee under Dutt and subsequent sports ministers were held is, however, uncertain. But the fact remains that Kalmadi was appointed by the government and the OC was formed only a week or so after the January 30, 2005 announcement.advertisement
Dressed in the team jersey, footballfans in Kolkata cheer for their favourite team, BrazilYou’ve got to love India for the way it loves football. There is no Indian team in the World Cup; and yet, for many Indians, life has ground to a delicious halt for the month-long duration of,Dressed in the team jersey, footballfans in Kolkata cheer for their favourite team, BrazilYou’ve got to love India for the way it loves football. There is no Indian team in the World Cup; and yet, for many Indians, life has ground to a delicious halt for the month-long duration of the tournament. Unlike in 2006-when Vikash Dhorasoo, a Mauritian descended from Andhra labourers indentured in the 19th century, made his improbable way on to the roster of France-there isn’t a single player of Indian origin in any of the 32 squads on view in Brazil.Amid the legions of naturalised players representing countries other than the ones in which they (or their parents) were born, there are Congolese players playing for Belgium, Albanians for Switzerland, Jamaicans for England, Turks for Germany, Surinamese for The Netherlands, Senegalese for France, Guinea-Bissauans for Portugal, Icelanders for the United States.But there is no ethnic Indian in sight- on any team, from anywhere-even though there can scarcely be a country where Indians have not settled in numbers. And yet, India is agog, watching the World Cup through late nights and early mornings with a passion that is truly impressive, even slightly mad. At an emotional and spiritual level, this should make Indians a special people. At least with regard to football, we are not narrow nationalists. I wanted to set up a business call with a colleague in Delhi and he pleaded, “Please, no, not then, I’ll be watching Colombia.” This was a country in which the man in question had never set foot, whose music (I can reliably state) he’d never heard, whose language he does not speak, and yet…missing even a small part of the game mattered. Colombia mattered because Colombia was playing football in the World Cup, and that was that. There is a purity of devotion in the heart of the Indian football aficionado that comes from being unsullied by merely patriotic impulses. This is what makes the Indian football fan so much more noble than the Indian cricket fan, who cares only for the Indian cricket team (a victorious Indian cricket team, preferably), and who would rather die a slow death than watch New Zealand play Sri Lanka, or England play South Africa.advertisementEvery four years, when the football World Cup starts to sizzle, Indian fans are faced with a question that fans in Brazil or England, Argentina or The Netherlands, do not ever face: Who to support? Not for Indians the electric pleasure of watching their team emerge from the tunnel, hair gelled, chins astubble, chests puffed with pride as the national anthem plays out to the world. Not for Indians the delight of having strangers from other lands come up to them, mouthing (and mangling) the names of Indian players in gestures of admiration and fandom. Not for Indians the panning of the cameras to Indian sections of a World Cup crowd, alighting on the faces of lovely Indian girls, painted Indian diehard fans, troops of men beating Indian drums. India, a billion-strong, is absent from the spectacle. We had a chance to be a part of all this, in 1950, when the Indian team was invited to the last World Cup held in Brazil. But the men who ran the Indian football federation, to their eternal damnation, chose not to send a team that would likely have acquitted itself well. They deemed the damage to their precious budgets to be too high.India-and Indian football-has been paying for that shortsightedness, that cosmic niggardliness, forever after. Those were years when India was the India of global under-confidence, of an inward-looking provincialism, when competition was frowned upon by the elites who governed the country. This aversion to competition afflicted our business, our industry, our trade… our football. And now that we are ready to compete with the world, we find that we cannot, except in those areas where we have a special advantage, such as cricket, with its small field of countries against which the game might be played.We are still appalling at most truly global competitions: Our universities aren’t world-class; our scientific R&D is mediocre, as is our defence technology; our industries are uncompetitive; our military fit for battle only against paltry Pakistan (and China knows this); our diplomats can barely speak English (let alone Russian or Arabic)… and our football team is ranked 154th in the world, one place above Singapore, one place behind Malaysia.But our football fans should be ranked close to, or at, No. 1, for they are the closest one gets to the platonic ideal of a football-lover. Not wedded to a team by blood or flag, they pick their favourites independently. An Indian family might have a father who supports Brazil, a son who shouts for a Spain, a daughter who swoons for Italy, a mother who admires Argentina. Brazil has long been an Indian passion, in part because its players play the game with such rollicking panache, but also because there is a sense that Brazil, somehow, is like India: A big, unruly, Third World country with colossal income disparity and cities seething with slums. It helps, perhaps, that some Brazilians even look a bit like us. But when we look at their football crowds, and their women, we know that there are few countries in the world that are as unlike India as Brazil. We gape at their sexual frankness, their startlingly different moral codes, and we know that all comparisons, all likenesses, have limits.advertisementIn the end, what the Indian fan looks for in a World Cup team is not an echo of himself or his country, but a history of excellence and a recognisable sporting idiom that appears to transcend national boundaries. Brazil plays football in a way that invites the whole world to watch. Recent Spanish teams have played that way, too, as have some of the more successful Argentine sides of the modern era. England, by contrast, and Germany (or, to be fair, the Germany of about 10 years ago) have both been teams that tailor their appeal to their own compatriots. Flair is an important part of global appeal, efficiency and grit less so. Which is not to say that Indian fans aren’t quietly envious of people from countries that aren’t in the top tier, and yet, by sheer dint of effort, send teams to World Cups: Costa Rica. Algeria. Greece. Bosnia and Herzegovina. South Korea. United States. Honduras. Iran.For the truth is that the Indian fan is acutely embarrassed every four years by the resounding absence of India from the World Cup, even as he is exhilarated by the matches between old favourites. Just as players from other lands are household names in his own country, the Indian fan yearns for the day when Indian players will command global attention, serving as better ambassadors for India than the legions of suits in embassies around the world. Watching football is a complex business when the World Cup comes around. We are uplifted by the play we see, by the rugged beauty on display. But we also feel very small as we watch, a nation cut down to size.Tunku Varadarajan is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution