LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. READ: Celtics ink Paul Pierce to one-day contractKnown best for his moniker “The Truth,” Pierce wore number 34 throughout his first 15 seasons as a Celtic, culminated by an NBA title and NBA Finals MVP award in 2008.He left the team in 2013 to join the Brooklyn Nets, followed by a one-year stint with the Washington Wizards a year after. His quest for another title led to a reunion with former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers ofthe Los Angeles Clippers for the past two seasons.Pierce was a 10-time All-Star in Beantown and held career averages of 21.8 points, six rebounds and 3.9 assists while donning the Celtic colors. Khristian Ibarrola /raADVERTISEMENT SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Read Next UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Man sworn in as lawyer by judge who sentenced him to prison as a teen 20 years ago Makabayan bloc: Duterte suspension order on rice importation only a ‘media stunt’ PLAY LIST 02:46Makabayan bloc: Duterte suspension order on rice importation only a ‘media stunt’01:20US Defense chief Mark Esper visits Manila American Cemetery for wreath-laying ceremony03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:37Protesters 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 PH archers miss shot at third medal The team’s co-owner, Steve Pagliuca, confirmed that the team will hold Pierce’s much-deserved jersey retirement ceremony sometime in the 2017-2018 NBA campaign.“It’s going to be fantastic,” the executive told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.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“For our era, the most recent era, he embodied the Celtics’ leadership, the Celtics’ brand and was the MVP of the championship team. So it’s going to be fantastic to see that happen.”Last July, the team inked the 39-year-old forward to a one-day contract so he could walk away from the sport as a member of the franchise. Paul Pierce (34) bends down to kiss the Boston Celtics logo following an NBA basketball game on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Boston. AP Photo/Steven SenneThe Boston Celtics franchise paraded a string of legendary players through the years, from Bill Russell to Larry Bird to Robert Parish, among others.But perhaps nobody embodied the Celtic Green in the modern era more than recently retired forward Paul Pierce.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Flags of SEA Games countries raised at Athletes Village WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses
Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/PBA IMAGESMeralco strengthened its bid for a top two finish in the PBA Governors’ Cup, bombarding Globalport to submission, 100-93, Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.The Bolts tied Ginebra at the top of the ladder with 8-2 records while the Batang Pier, who are already out of the playoffs, saw their conference end at 3-8.ADVERTISEMENT 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 LOOK: LeBron practices with new-look Cavs MOST READ Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad LATEST STORIES Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Read Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending 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
PVL: FEU drags Adamson into semis game 3 LATEST STORIES Read Next MOST READ Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending 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 Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight National University showed great resolve and rallied past Arellano University, 25-17, 26-28, 17-25, 25-13, 20-18, to book the first ticket in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Saturday night at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Led by their towering spiker Jaja Santiago, the Lady Bulldogs climbed back from a two-sets-to-one hole and rose from a 13-9 in the fifth set in stunning fashion.ADVERTISEMENT Santiago carried NU in the pivotal stretch as she came up clutch with six hits.The Lady Bulldogs also got unlikely help from the Lady Chiefs’ Jovielyn Prado, who committed back-to-back 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 shutoutNU, which remained unscathed in the conference, faces either Adamson or Far Eastern University in the championship round.The Lady Tamaraws forced a do-or-die Game 3 on Monday after edging the Lady Falcons in five sets. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Ginebra, Meralco expect ‘tough, rough’ finals series to go the distance PLAY LIST 03:06Ginebra, Meralco expect ‘tough, rough’ finals series to go the distance00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending 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 READ: More than 50k fans attend Ginebra-Meralco Finals Game 6 “The motivation is just winning. We just wanted to have the chance to play for a Game 7 and we got it,” said coach Norman Black.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 shutoutWith championship series tied at 3-3, Ginebra and Meralco will go for all the marbles in Game 7 on Friday, with another massive crowd expected at the world’s largest indoor arena.The reigning Best Import scattered 28 points, 19 rebounds, and three assists for the Bolts as he gets one more shot at completing what he regards as his “unfinished business.” Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netBOCAUE — With Meralco’s back against the wall, the local crew finally woke up from its slumber and led the Bolts to a 98-91 victory over Ginebra on Wednesday at Philippine Arena here to force a winner-take-all Game 7 in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.Allen Durham didn’t have to carry much of the load this time, getting significant contributions from surprise starter Garvo Lanete and super sub Reynel Hugnatan as Meralco finally found its mark from downtown to hush the record 53,642 in attendance.ADVERTISEMENT Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Pumaren on UE’s Final 4 bid: We’re still here Hugnatan punished the Gin Kings from rainbow country, going 6-of-12 from three to wound up with 24 markers, seven boards, and four dimes.Lanete was on-point as well from beyond the arc, pumping 15 points powered by three triples, on top of five rebounds and two assists.Chris Newsome also flirted with a triple-double with his 10 markers, 11 assists, and seven assists, as he orchestrated Meralco’s standout 12-of-28 sniping from three this game.With the Bolts connecting from the three-point land, they pummeled the Gin Kings early, jumping off to a 22-12 lead which ballooned to 20, 44-24 midway in the second period.Ginebra, though, came back strong in the second half, unleashing a 32-point third quarter blast and slowly chipped away Meralco’s lead to as low as four, 90-86, with a Mark Caguioa jumper with 3:45 to play.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP LATEST STORIES The Kings, though, could not secure the rebound in the clutch as the Bolts repeatedly got their cracks at the bucket before Durham and Hugnatan delivered the dagger baskets in the final minute.“I think the two days off did us a lot of good. It helped to revive our legs a little bit and give usenergy. It was still really tough to beat Ginebra. They’re well-coached, they play hard every game, and of course they have the crowd support so they never really get down. And you really have to fight every second just to beat them,” said Black.The Bolts outrebounded the Gin Kings, 51-41, with Meralco securing 22 offensive boards.Justin Brownlee paced Ginebra in the losing effort with 23 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks, while Greg Slaughter chimed in 18 markers and six boards.The Scores:MERALCO 98 – Durham 28, Hugnatan 24, Lanete 15, Newsome 10, Dillinger 9, Hodge 6, Amer 6, Caram 0.GINEBRA 91 – Brownlee 23, Slaughter 18, Tenorio 12, Thompson 12, Devance 11, Aguilar 6, Caguioa 6, Ferrer 3, Taha 0.Quarters: 29-17, 54-37, 75-69, 98-91. View comments
View comments Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Oklahoma City held the Warriors to 42 percent shooting in the first half and forced them into 10 turnovers. The home crowd gave the Thunder a standing ovation as they walked off the floor.Early in the third quarter, Westbrook had a steal and dunk, then a steal and layup plus a foul that brought the crowd to its feet. He made the free throw to put the Thunder ahead 72-52. Oklahoma City led 94-71 at the end of the third and Warriors coach Steve Kerr pulled his starters with about eight minutes remaining. CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Westbrook said it was just another game in the buildup, but he didn’t play like it. At one point in the third quarter, Westbrook and Durant went forehead to forehead and were called for double technicals.Westbrook’s new All-Star teammates came through. Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points and Paul George added 20.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 crowd booed Durant nearly every time he touched the ball. He finished with 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting. Stephen Curry scored 24 points for the Warriors, who produced their lowest point total of the season.The Thunder led 65-48 at halftime as Westbrook filled the stat sheet with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Anthony had 16 points and George had 14 at the break. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Manute Bol could have been ’40 or 50 years old’ while in NBA, ex-coach says Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, left, keeps the ball from Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)OKLAHOMA CITY—Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 34 points and added 10 rebounds and nine assists to help the Oklahoma City Thunder roll past the Golden State Warriors, 108-91 on Wednesday night.It was Oklahoma City’s first win over the Warriors since Kevin Durant left the Thunder to join the Warriors after the 2015-16 season. Golden State won all four meetings last season by an average of nearly 20 points.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort LATEST STORIES Read Next Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?02:25Raptors or Warriors? PBA players take their pick of NBA champ01:37Protesters 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 MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’
Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues LATEST STORIES Golden State has won all six games since Curry injured the ankle on Dec. 4 at New Orleans.Curry will miss two more games this week, as well as the Christmas Day showdown against Cleveland before getting evaluated again. Read Next La Salle management ‘firmly behind’ Ayo in Green Archers’ rebuilding phase Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 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 Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Omri Casspi came off the bench to contribute 12 points and six rebounds. While coach Steve Kerr would far prefer a healthy roster, he appreciates the opportunities many of his role players are receiving to play more significant an important minutes.“I like it,” said Kerr, who certainly wasn’t going to be pleased with the 16 turnovers.The Warriors began a seven-game homestand in a stretch with nine of 10 games at home before next playing away from Oracle Arena on Jan. 3 at Dallas.Curry did some light on-court work at morning shootaround a day after the Warriors said the two-time MVP would be out at least another week with the ankle injury. Kerr said it was Curry’s first time moving laterally, and he wouldn’t scrimmage or practice before being examined again.“He had a good day today. He was working out with Steve Nash and Q (Bruce Fraser) and got a lot of good stuff and it looked like he was moving pretty well,” Kerr said. “A good sign.”ADVERTISEMENT 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities Cayetano: 4 social media groups behind SEA Games ‘sabotage’ Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol (33) drives the ball against Golden State Warriors’ Patrick McCaw, Klay Thompson, David West and Omri Casspi, from left. APOAKLAND, California — Klay Thompson scored 27 of his 29 points in the first half and made his first nine field goals, leading the undermanned Golden State Warriors past the Memphis Grizzlies 97-84 on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) for their 10th straight win.Kevin Durant added 22 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots as defending champion Golden State was down five regulars again, including two-time MVP Stephen Curry out for his sixth straight game with a sprained right ankle.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Thompson shot 10 for 16 overall and didn’t miss until a 3-point try with 6:10 left before halftime.Curry tweeted in the midst of Thompson’s hot start: “Somebody is having a great game!”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 shutoutThompson received a rare technical — his seventh in seven seasons — with 10:22 left in the game for arguing when he thought he was fouled.Marc Gasol had 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Memphis, which started a stretch with seven of eight games on the road. The Grizzlies were 10 of 44 in the second half, shot 12 for 31 from 3-point range and committed 17 turnovers. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraq View comments
NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo 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 LOOK: Filipinos in Lebanon go all out in support of Gilas Pilipinas MOST READ The Hyperdunk 2017 ‘Manila’ (retail: P6,745, Titan BGC and Titan22.com), is the latest in the line of Nike “homecoming” kicks released to satiate the thirst of flag-waving Filipino hoop fans for local-flavored lines.Among the fan-favorite “homecoming” kicks from Nike include the Kobe 9 EM “Philippines,” which features the likeness of flip-flops, another streetball fixture, and the Lebron 14 “Agimat,” which features Filipino words and phrases and was inspired by Gilas Pilipinas.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The Hyperdunk 2017 Manila is of of six shoes representing different cities with rich basketball culture. The others include American playground haunts New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Chinese hoop hotbed Beijing and Spanish basketball mecca Madrid.The “Tenement” tribute shoe honors the place where every Filipino baller dreamt of playing big-time hoops in front of adoring crowds: The streets. Taking inspiration from the Tenement Court Taguig, the limited edition Hyperdunk 2017 Manila still features its latest cushioning breakthrough, Nike React.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 starsThat means players still get the quick bounce reaction that streetball players will find reassuring even during the harshest concrete court battles.Even the aesthetics of the shoe takes from the tenements. It boasts an all-gray upper and concrete-style midsole. LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Hyperdunk ’17 ‘Tenement’.Another Nike shoe comes home. And this one is a little bit closer to the heart of the Filipino baller.Going straight back to the roots of Filipino hoop dreams, Nike just announced the Hyperdunk 2017 Manila with little fanfare–but expect patriotic local sneakerheads to rave about this latest pair.ADVERTISEMENT Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters View comments
Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters PH goal scorer Cubon hurt but will be ready for Indonesia LATEST STORIES Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next A successful routine counts as one point, and the team with the most points after a 10-minute round wins.READ: PH bags silver medal in men’s sepak takrawPassing should be seamless because it’s a race against time. A failed routine would require the ball to be served—which takes precious time.“So it’s important that you communicate very well with you teammates,” said Bobier.“I think we did well considering we only trained for four months,” he added. “Malaysia has been a team for years. But I think we can still improve and raise our level.”ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side MOST READ View comments For one, Bobier said the team regularly takes a shower together.READ: Sepak takraw targeting 2 golds 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 opening“We are like family. We shower together. Eat together and dress together,” said the 25-year-old Army First Class.Chinlone, a discipline under the sport of sepak takraw, requires six players in a circle performing a routine of kicking a ball made of wicker one after another. NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Rhemwil Catana of Philippines. during the Chinlone event at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur where Chinlone team won the 1st silver for the country. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZKUALA LUMPUR—Chinlone, the event that broke the Philippines into medal column, requires hand-foot-eye coordination as much as cohesion and team work.Team member Johnjohn Bobier said they may have came up short in skills department — after settling for silver behind gold winner Malaysia — but not in camaraderie.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony
With barely a week to go before the Commonwealth Games would begin in the national capital, Scotland and Canada have decided to delay the departures of their teams to New Delhi because of the unfinished athletes’ Games Village.Labourers work outside Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the main venue for the Commonwealth Games, in New Delhi on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.Meanwhile, an official with the New Zealand swimming team said international swimming federations could quickly stage an alternative meet if the Games were cancelled.Commonwealth Games Federation President Mike Fennell headed to New Delhi, seeking emergency talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the situation, the Games’ Chief Executive, Mike Hooper, said on Wednesday. Hooper had castigated Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi earlier this year for the haphazard planning and execution of Games projects.The idea of holding the Commonwealth Games in India initially sounded good as this would have helped the country broaden stage for international competitions and encouraged economic development.But frantic last-minute preparations are verging on chaos, international sports officials are furious, and the Games have become an international embarrassment that could threaten plans for major sporting events in other developing nations.The Games organisers have faced a slew of troubles recently, including heavy rains, a citywide outbreak of dengue fever, fears over security after the shooting of two tourists near Jama Masjid, and the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, injuring at least 26 construction workers, five critically. Part of a false ceiling at the weightlifting venue also collapsed on Wednesday.advertisementThe Games Village was still unfinished on Wednesday, the eve of its scheduled opening. The home for more than 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories has been called “unfit for human habitation”.Andrew Foster, head of Commonwealth Games England, said on Wednesday “the next 24 to 48 hours is the critical time” to determine if the standards of the athletes’ village can be raised.So far, four athletes – including three world champions – have said they won’t attend because of health or safety concerns.Indian government officials insisted they would prove the critics wrong.Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, told the BBC that the Games will be “one of the most successful that the Commonwealth has undertaken”. He blamed “the prolonged monsoon” for the problems.New Delhi, chosen over the Canadian city of Hamilton, Ontario, as host, has had seven years to prepare, though little was done until 2008. Armies of workers – often rural villagers making just a few dollars a day – have been deployed across the city in recent weeks to get it ready.Indian officials have long dismissed international worries over the slow preparations, even though they were more than a year behind schedule. At one point, the sports minister joked the Games were like a stereotypical big chaotic Indian wedding – and after lots of last-minute efforts everything would turn out fine.But in recent weeks, as the many problems became more apparent, the media have turned increasingly critical, questioning why the government hadn’t done more to reign in mismanagement.Experts say that taking the event to India carried inherent risks.The trend in recent years among major international sports bodies, such as the International Olympic Committee, is for what organisers call “universality” – spreading major competitions around the world as much as possible, including to developing nations where such events have rarely been held.Last year, the IOC awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, taking the games to South America for the first time. Africa is now the only continent that hasn’t had an Olympics. But South Africa’s triumphant hosting of this year’s World Cup despite widespread concerns has made it a strong contender for the 2020 Olympics.”It’s part of a desire to keep expanding the range of countries that can host these events,” senior Canadian IOC member Dick Pound told The Associated Press. “You know when you do that the risks are much higher. You just hope the sense of national importance for the host country will allow it to focus on what resources are required and get it done. That said, the risks remain.”So what happened in India?There’s no simple answer. Certainly some blame lies with the central government, which only recently began keeping a close watch on preparations. The Indian media is also rife with allegations of widespread corruption.And some is pure bad luck: New Delhi has had its heaviest monsoons in decades this year.advertisement”There’s an awful lot of talent in India,” Pound said. “There’s no inherent reason why they could not make a national effort to pull it together better than they have – or seem to have.”He also noted the Commonwealth, unlike the IOC, is at heart a political grouping, so there is pressure to hold some games away from the traditional hosts of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.”You can’t have the same old four or five white countries doing these games all the time,” he said.The IOC and FIFA both have committees which carry out regular and rigorous inspections of preparations for the Olympics and World Cup, something that helps avoid the type of chaos engulfing the games in India.The IOC had to put heavy pressure on Athens ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics after chronic construction delays and political wrangling put those games at risk.”We saw what happened in Athens,” Pound said. “There’s a limit to what you can do if you don’t have the national will or there’s a domestic conflict between different groups or political parties.”Pound said Kingston, Jamaica, proved when it hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1966 that developing countries can pull it off with the necessary zeal.The message to India and others, he said, is: “If we’re going to do this and occupy a share of the world’s stage, we’ve got to do it properly. If we’re not committed to it, we shouldn’t do it.”India’s troubles have severely dented its hopes of bidding for the 2020 or 2024 Olympics.”I’m sure it’s put that back by at least a decade,” Pound said.The economic impact of staging major global sports events can weigh heavily on host cities and countries.The Indian government initially pegged the cost of the Commonwealth Games at less than $100 million in 2003, but the figure has skyrocketed, with estimates ranging from $3 billion to more than $10 billion.Unlike the Olympics or World Cup, the Commonwealth Games do not attract major international sponsors or TV rights fees.Although China was able to use the Beijing Olympics to highlight how far it has come after decades of isolation, India is falling behind in that quest.”When you look at China’s very monolithic, dictatorial approach, they have a machine where they can make things happen in a very deterministic manner, whereas India is a colorful and chaotic democracy and sometimes things don’t quite go as planned,” said Gunjan Bagla, founder of Amritt, Inc., a California consulting firm that helps Western companies do business in Asia.But the games remain deeply important to India’s national pride, making it highly unlikely the government will call them off.”We’re absolutely prepared,” Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, who is in charge of monitoring the readiness for Singh, told CNN-IBN television Wednesday.
There is something about tradition in some Indian sports where even today the athlete will touch the feet of a coach or someone who deserves that kind of respect. As Preeja Sreedharan, Kavita Raut and Sudha Singh shone on Sunday night and went through the motion of dope tests, the media was waiting in hordes.And even a day later, on Tuesday, as the trio was still doing interviews, Sudha almost touched the feet of a senior Indian sportswriter whose athletics knowledge is baffling.Such modesty is something unheard of in sport like tennis or squash at home, but Sudha’s gesture went to show what the respect for a guru is. Accompanied by middle distance coach Nikolai Snesarev, all the three – Preeja, Kavita and Sudha – spoke at length as to how the Belarussian has worked wonders with the middle distance runners.Nikolai is highly respected in international circles and is a nononsense man. He set such punishing schedules for the athletes that they started to hate the workload. At least, that was the story till the time they started enjoying its fruits.And Nikolai has been careful to hold long camps in the cooler environs of the SAI centre in Bangalore. And at a time when athletics buffs at home wonder why athletes are taken to Ukraine for training “as food and conditions” are better here, Nikolai is supposed to be a very dedicated coach.As he got used to the Indian system, he slowly allowed the athletes’ families to visit the camps and spend a day or more with them.advertisementSuch regimens have worked wonders with the Indian athletes and the stars of Sunday night now are worried Nikolai may be gone soon. As has been the case with a lot of foreign coaches hired by the sports ministry, their contracts run till the end of the Asian Games. Be it Nikolai, shotgun coach Marcello Dradi, Jose Brasa and a few more coaches, a lot of Indian athletes are worried about what will happen to their training schedules.As it were, Vladimir Chertkov, who has worked wonders with gymnast Ashish, has said goodbye.Without looking at medals tally, what the respective sports federations at home now need to do is ensure the contracts of coaches are again signed till the 2012 Olympics. In the past, India have lost the services of several coaches because of haggling over wages or red-tapism in the sports ministry.Why, even after the Beijing Olympics, Cuba was not keen to send BI Fernandez again to India for some months. It is now accepted that unless there are good coaches from abroad, our standards can never improve. What Nikolai has done in terms of making three athletes reach an Asian Games level winning standard is commendable.By his own admission, to push the Indians to world or Olympic standards cannot happen by 2012. His view is that to make champions, one needs to have a five or six year plan where the athlete doesn’t worry about anything else.It’s easy to look at China’s medal tally and rave about how in virtually every sport they are making a big dent.Even if the Indians are to raise the bar slowly and steadily, it’s not going to happen without foreign coaches. The choice is very clear: keep the good coaches back or be ready to weep again after the 2012 Olympics. Nothing else matters at this stage.
As India take on Pakistan in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday at Mohali, both the teams would like to go in with their best playing XI.Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi who, it seems, has already made up his mind on his bowling combination has said that Shoaib Akhtar is still not 100 per cent match fit and the last call will be taken on Wednesday before the crunch game.Many feel Akhtar’s status does not fit in with the new-look Pakistan squad, which boasts a more disciplined approach from quietly effective performers.His runs-in with the team management twice in this tournament — allegedly over a late entry into the team hotel and a spat with an underperforming teammate — have also been cited as reasons for his omission.Despite worries about his fitness, manager Intikhab Alam has said that Akhtar has been fully involved in match practice and is mentally ready to play. Akhtar factorThe Rawalpindi Express may be on his last run, but he can still prove to be the trump card for Afridi. Doubts and aspersions aside, his value, especially against India, is a factor, which is undeniable, even to his team-mates. While he has 41 wickets from 28 matches, his sheer experience will be invaluable.Though Akhtar won’t have fond memories of the last time he bowled to Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in a World Cup clash, he will, however, want to hang up his boots on the best note.
Pakistan’s ODI cricket captain Shahid Afridi.Pakistan’s ODI captain Shahid Afridi has ruled out returning to play Test cricket despite being urged to lead the side in all three formats of the game by former skipper Imran Khan.Afridi decided to retire from Test cricket last year although he was named captain for the entire Test and one-day series against Australia and England.He retired from Tests after Pakistan lost to Australia under his captaincy and since then the flamboyant all-rounder has focused on playing just one-dayers and Twenty20 cricket.”I don’t think I am the sort of player who is ideal for Test cricket. So I have no plans to make a comeback to Test matches,” Afridi told reporters at a function hosted for the World Cup team.Afridi insisted that he enjoyed playing limited overs cricket and wanted to focus on these two formats and do justice to his captaincy.”I am thankful to those former players who believe that I should also lead the team in Test matches but I don’t think I am cut out for the five-day format,” he said.Imran has said that Afridi can return to Test matches primarily as a bowler.Afridi, however, said that he was keen to make up for his relative lack of success in batting.”I will focus a lot on my batting on the coming tour to the West Indies because I know people want to see me scoring runs. Now even my daughter has started saying ‘Baba Boom Boom out’,” Afridi said.advertisementThe experienced all-rounder, who has made 320 ODI appearances said he was confident of making his mark as a batsman in the West Indies.”Batting is one department I want to regain my form,” said Afridi who last year scored two hundreds in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.- With PTI inputs
If there ever was a confirmation required that Indian cricket needed immediate rescue, then the incident now enshrined as the Ford Fiasco has provided it. Even if Graham Ford went back after giving his word, the current Board has so little credibility that no one imagines them as the victims,If there ever was a confirmation required that Indian cricket needed immediate rescue, then the incident now enshrined as the Ford Fiasco has provided it. Even if Graham Ford went back after giving his word, the current Board has so little credibility that no one imagines them as the victims of improper conduct.But the stumbling, bumbling Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) cannot be wished away, it cannot be sacked. It governs Indian cricket, yes, that too very badly, but maybe it should be freed from running the game. The necessary evil that is the cricket Board needs to be worked around. Leave the elections to the politicians who flock to the game. Build around them a steel frame of men whose commitment is foremost to cricket, not the accumulation of votes or propagation of their legend.Men with vision and ambition, knowledge and humility, free of agendas, without the boulder-on-the-shoulder syndrome found in some ex-players. Finding such men may seem an impossible task. An India player mumbled, “Good people aren’t given chances, they don’t come forward.” But some do, like chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar, his colleague Sanjay Jagdale, CAO Ratnakar Shetty, coaches Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad or T.A. Sekhar at Chennai’s MRF Pace Foundation and constructive critics like Arun Lal, Saba Karim and Ravi Shastri.Tomorrow is actually brighter than it seems. Of India’s players today, Anil Kumble could make a fine coach and Sourav Ganguly an astute nonparochial selector. Rahul Dravid has the mind to turn the National Academy into the place it should be. There is no better roving ambassador for our cricket than Sachin Tendulkar, a proud Indian, steeped in modern game, universally loved and who loves cricket himself like a boy with a bat. This is a hunt for Indian cricket’s future leaders who deserve authority and responsibility in the next five years. Hearing their names, an insider commented wryly, “What you’re actually doing is ruining their chances.”advertisementThe crabby and the cynical may rule today. But the future is coming.CoachingRoger Binny/Paras MhambreyMhambrey is rated best coachAsked if he was ready to dehydrate himself into nothingness playing a mongrel tournament called the Afro-Asia Cup, one Indian cricketer replied, “I’m not playing for Asia or on Mahela’s team, I’m playing for Roger Binny’s.” Whenever local patriots jump to their feet and suggest Indian names for the post of Indian coach, their candidature rarely ventures beyond a handful, which, if you leave out the most credible Sandeep Patil who has had success overseas, are a familiar crew: Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath, often the former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad with a stopover to pay passing obeisance to Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. Coach Binny needs to come homeRarely does anyone mention the name of former India all-rounder Roger Binny. Maybe because in 1999 Binny, with his star on the ascent, was dispatched by Jagmohan Dalmiya to the Asian Cricket Council in Malaysia where he still works. Recently Binny, 51, made a brief though typically understated return to Indian action when he coached Asia in the recent Afro-Asian Cup. The Indians on his team were grinning through their sweat for many of them have worked with Binny during his most productive years as a coach in India with the under-19 team that won the junior world cup in Sri Lanka, the India under-17s to their World Cup and the India A team to the West Indies. He is a hardworking and knowledgeable man who is trusted and appreciated still by the players he has worked with. These are not common qualities in all those aspiring to be India’s coaching stars. All it needs today, is for India to ask him to come home.The caterwauling around desi vs videshi coach is impressively patriotic but when candidates are sought, bowler-turned-coach Frank Tyson worked with many young Indians during his time at the BCA-Mafatlal bowling scheme during the early 1990s, and from among them has a candidate he rates as, “one of India’s young coaches of the future”.Paras Mhambrey, 35, had a brief stint with India but has made coaching his full-time vocation. In the summer, he plays as overseas pro and part-time coach for a club in England. In India’s winter, he serves his apprenticeship as a professional coach. He spent two seasons with Bengal, along with captain Deep Dasgupta shepherding them into two consecutive Ranji finals, before moving to Vadodara. A good organiser and communicator, Mhambrey has remained a student in cricket.advertisementPolicy and PlanningSanjay ManjrekarManjrekar is high on realityIndia’s cricket has enough marketing wizards, spin doctors and TRP magnets. What it could really use is a thinker, a functioning bulls**t-meter and people not afraid to look back and forward with objectivity. Cricket on TV seems to have only one philosophy these days: that the only expert worth hiring is an ex-player who will act like the idiot on the idiot box. Instead of sagely opinion-makers, the cricket media is peopled with mob-leaders.In this melee, Sanjay Manjrekar’s is one of the few measured voices. If the BCCI were to convene a think tank to chart out plans for Indian cricket, they would do well to sweep their table clean of the usual suspects and ask Manjrekar, 41, to head it. A composed and competent top-order batsman for India, Manjrekar is the kind of man who is the first to admit that his career wasn’t as successful as it could have been, and to then explain the reasons why. Indian cricket and the BCCI usually don’t do introspection, but Manjrekar has never been afraid to.In a recent column he wrote, “‘Stagnation’ is a more accurate description of the current situation than ‘crisis’? we have had some proud moments but after all these years, India needs to have a memorable era.”Low on rhetoric, high on reality, Manjrekar may be right or he may be wrong but he knows how to make you stop and think. He knows, more than TRP magnets, how to think.Fast Bowler DevelopmentJavagal SrinathSrinath,mentor for fast bowlersJavagal Srinath, 37, has always been a bit of a fast-bowling fundamentalist. The former India bowler-turned-commentator-cum-columnist and now ICC match referee never thinks twice about asking batting-obsessed India to contemplate the lot of the fast bowler. He will forever champion their cause, whether it is in preparing wickets to suit them, or playing five bowlers instead of the four, or, like he did in the last days of his international career, being the best kind of mentor to the younger bowlers in the team.Srinath’s understanding of the mysterious zone that is the mind of the fast bowler, the uses as well as the limitations of technology and biomechanics in fast bowling mean that there are few better than him to be put in charge of a fast-bowling development programme.His old coach John Wright, with whom Srinath had many a wrangle, says, “Sri would be a great choice to look after young fast bowlers wanting to play for India, where the the drop-off rate is very high. He knows his stuff, has empathy and is forthright and honest.”Corporate GovernanceM.R. SrinivasaprasadTons to Tech:SrinivasaprasadM.R. Srinivasaprasad, 48, would be astonished to find himself on this list but there could be fewer more qualified for the role of Indian cricket’s first CEO. Vice-president with Fidelity Business Systems in Bangalore, he manages insurance technology groups in three cities. An engineer-MBAwho has lived in Paris and Japan, he worked for ITI, Alcatel and set up Sony Technology Centre (which developed technology for products like Playstation 3).But 20 years ago, he was one of Karnataka’s distinguished first-class batsmen, his career spanning nine seasons. He still follows India, watches a Bangalore ODI when he can and misses the “sheer joy of playing hard”. Asked about his impressions of Indian cricket (ignorant of this list), he replied, “Running Indian cricket is like running a billion-dollar company. Having a CEO is great but it would be important to get the right person and create the right environment for him to succeed.”advertisementThe CEO, he said, would need to define end-goals and a time-frame, learn from successful examples and hire the right people. “The sport’s environment has changed, Indian cricket needs to recognise this and change themselves to be successful.”Junior DevelopmentPRAVIN AMREAmres eye for talentUsually the junior selection committee acts as a parking lot for those who the BCCI wishes to bless with favours or quietly induct into its hierarchy. Thanks to the Board’s zonal handouts, all kinds of candidates are lodged in the junior panel-the influential, the unsuitable and the unscrupulous. Doing a job, which, as chairman of the selection committee Dilip Vengsarkar admits, is tougher than what his colleagues on the senior panel must do.Junior selection is grunt work, unglamourous labour undertaken in the hope that there are diamonds waiting to be found in the dust of some faraway town. The junior selector, if he is diligent, must travel to distant places, where comforts are few, identify players of skill as well as mental toughness, and then shepherd them up the ladder. Pravin Amre took to junior selection as chairman as if he was being given the keys to the kingdom of heaven.A former India batsman and chairman of the junior selection committee, Amre formed a fruitful partnership with Vengsarkar when he was chairman of the BCCI’s Talent Resource Development Wing (TRDW) created in 2002. The names that came through with Amre and his fellow junior selectors working with Vengsarkar are familiar: Irfan Pathan, Dinesh Karthick, R.P. Singh, Robin Uthappa, V.R.V. Singh, Piyush Chawla, Suresh Raina. The barrel is not, he believes, empty, “We need to go out and spot talent, groom it, be patient with it, monitor it and not abandon young players if they struggle.”Vengsarkar believes, “Pravin is perseverant, he is patient. He can play a important role in our junior cricket. I feel the best people must be employed to look after young cricketers. The wrong person can ruin a young cricketer’s career.”Amre is currently coach with Ranji champions Mumbai after doing his Level II coaching course in South Africa when he played provincial cricket for Boland, and his Level III when it was first offered in India. His training as coach has added to his judgement as selector. As junior chairman, Amre was diligent, a believer in monitoring those he was meant to keep an eye on. The scoreboard was not the benchmark for selection, the conditions in which scores are made or wickets taken are paramount. With information sourced and stored in his computer, Amre’s meetings would end in 15 minutes.His colleagues speak of his open mind and his ease with new technology and old tools: a cricketer’s instinct and his eyes. He says, “With juniors, you have to reinforce in them what they’re doing right rather than criticise them for doing something wrong. Most of the times they really don’t understand what their own talent is.”OperationsVijay DahiyaSo what makes former Delhi captain and India wicket-keeper Vijay Dahiya the man to keep an eye on the many arms of the cricket business? To see that grounds are being maintained, equipment is being used, contracts are being honoured and a game’s clockwork universe is in order? In Delhi, they will only point to the St. Stephen’s Ground and say, look.It was once a place for truckers to rest their vehicles, a haven for drug addicts and general vagrants, the famous college’s grounds had deteriorated through disuse and abuse. The college sought some of its old cricketing glory back and an old student, Dahiya, who is employed for Indian Airlines, was up for the job that began in 2005. It took him a year-anda-half to have the area cleared, to get a round-the-clock guard put in place around the fringes of the ground to keep the layabouts at bay.Today, nearly 50 train at the St. Stephen’s Cricket Academy, which is run by Dahiya on a day-to-day basis. The college has two grounds, nine match strips in good shape, and a field that has gone from murky brown to lush green. Like all wicketkeepers, it seems, Dahiya, 34, comes armed with enough skill and smarts to survive in the shark pool that is Indian cricket.Grounds and grassrootsMoncho FerrerFerrer at the RDT stadiumAnantapur is a southwesterly district in Andhra Pradesh that houses one of the game’s best kept secrets. A Ranji Trophy venue with a lively wicket and an outfield that Moncho Ferrer, president of the Anantapur District Cricket Association, says, “is the best in the country”. This, in a town, said to be the most arid in India after Jaisalmer.The Rural Development Trust Stadium has hosted six Ranji Trophy games and could provide the prototype for that elusive of entities: a lively Indian wicket. Ferrer, 36, researched pitch preparation, sent his team out for samples, tested them, met with experts in engineering college, before his team found their answer: the black soil from the coastal parts of northern Andhra Pradesh in the Godavari region can be used to prepare wickets that make Indian fast bowlers burst into song.Neighbouring Karnataka heard and borrowed the formula to lay three new wickets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, used in the national Twenty 20 and the Afro-Asia Cup. Ferrer says, “I’m at a very low level in cricket administration, but am glad we have been able to do something in this small town.” BCCI bigwig I.S. Bindra’s dream is to have a proper ground in every district: if he finds someone who knows how it’s done, he doesn’t need to go too far. Only to Anantapur.
The sports ministry has granted Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) more time to consider its proposal of setting up a unified body to run the game in the country, and the two rival associations have been in talks in the last few days to reach a consensus in the matter.The government has proposed to enlarge Hockey India’s executive committee to co-opt members of the IHF, as well as increasing the strength of their working committee for the same purpose.While Hockey India accepted the proposals readily, there was hesitation on IHF’s part as they felt that the suggestions were loaded in their rivals’ favour.HI general secretary Narinder Batra.”We have had a discussion with IHF in the past few days and another round of talks are lined up on Tuesday,” Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra told Mail Today on Sunday.”The issue of co-option was discussed by the ministry with both the bodies before making it public. We have accepted them. We don’t know why they raised objections.”You cannot say something in a closed room and something else outside. ( Former IHF president) KPS Gill and ( present chief) RK Shetty were part of Hockey India for our elections, but resigned later.” Hockey India’s executive committee met in Bhopal on Sunday and authorised Batra to take decisions in this regard.Hockey India have also included two associate members – Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy and Sashastra Seema Bal – under its wing.”More teams have applied for membership and we are looking into it,” Batra said.advertisementThe sponsorship deal with Sahara is also nearing expiry and the Hockey India secretary general said work was on to have a new deal in place soon.”Sahara have the first right of refusal, but we will have to look at our requirements also. If a better offer comes from somewhere else, we will definitely consider it,” he said.The Bhopal Senior Men’s Nationals are the first under the aegis of Hockey India, but the federation has plans to hold agegroup tournaments in months to come.”The junior nationals, for both men and women, are expected to be held in July with Ranchi as the likely venue.”The sub- juniors for men will be held in Hyderabad in September, while Pune will stage the corresponding event for women soon after,” Batra added.
The heat is on Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. The 800-page CAG report, which indicts the chief minister for financial irregularities during the Commonwealth Games, was on Friday tabled in Parliament. The report has blamed the Sheila Dikshit government for several infrastructure contracts given before the Delhi Games. Dikshit is expected to hold a cabinet meeting on Friday to decide on the next course of action. Dikshit who was attending a function in Delhi even as the CAG report was tabled appeared unfazed by the developments. “Let me see the CAG report first. Good system is in place to punish guilty in CWG and 2G cases,” she told reporters. The opposition, which is baying for the CM’s blood, even saw a conspiracy in the delay in giving the CAG report to MPs. BJP maybe fighting corruption charges in Karnataka, but that hasn’t stopped the party from demanding Dikshit’s resignation. “We have been raising the issue of corruption in the CWG for a long time. Few people are in jail in this regard. There cannot be two standards for corruption. Sheila government must go,” BJP spokesperson Rajeev Pratap Rudi told reporters in Delhi. Senior BJP leader Balbir Punj also demanded the Delhi CM’s resignation after CAG report on CWG. Meanwhile, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said there was a procedure in Parliament on CAG reports, which will be followed and that can’t be pre-empted. The charges Dikshit has been indicted for a host of financial irregularities in the CWG projects executed by her government. The most gaping irregularities were found in the street lightling projects undertaken during the Games last year. The CAG has found that: A firm Space Age, disqualified for street lighting, was irregularly declared fit after it made a plea before the Delhi Chief Minister. Space Age had applied in the lucrative imported luminaries category and then ended up supplying low-cost luminaries made by a Saudi Arabian firm. The Saudi make cost just Rs 5,040 a piece even as Space Age pocketed Rs 25,704 each for the same from the government, making a neat profit of Rs 2.68 crore. The CAG report says that the CM’s decision to go for imported luminaries led to overall extra expenditure of Rs 31 cr. The winning tender of Sweka Powertech had many over-writings and corrections, apparently in a bid to inflate profits. The report further faults the Delhi government saying that street-scaping contracts worth Rs 4.87 crore per km were awarded in an ad hoc manner. These street-scaping and beautification contracts led to an overall loss of Rs 101 crore to the exchequer. The Delhi government’s indictment doesn’t end there. The report also blames it for incurring avoidable expenditure on road signages. The report states that PWD didn’t facilitate healthy competition by ensuring sharing of work between two major retro reflective sheet manufacturers, 3M and Avery Denison. The anti-competitive bidding process led to a higher procurement cost, leading to overspending by about Rs 15 crore. The Delhi government has also been criticised for accepting a single tender at a higher rate, which led to a loss of Rs 1.40 crore. The designs for signage and subsequent awarding of work were revised, affecting quality and costing the exchequer dearly. There is criticism for irregularities in the development of infrastructure ahead of the sporting extravaganza. The CAG specifically points out the bloated contractor’s profit and overhead (CPOH) charges of 37.5 per cent instead of the CPWD-stipulated 15 per cent. The report says the PWD accepted overwritten, corrected bids for the Barapullah Nallah flyover project. The bid for the Ring Road bypass project was also manipulated, costing the exchequer an extra Rs 6.23 crore. The auditor also held Delhi government responsible for accepting the suspension model for the foot overbridge near the JLN Stadium that collapsed days before the Games. The CAG report says that Infrastructure, Leasing and Financial Services Ltd was paid an exorbitant amount to remove debris from some CWG sites. In the face of such damning allegations, it looks like the Delhi CM will have a lot of explaining to do in the days ahead. The report has reportedly pointed out that Spage Age, one of the disqualified firms bidding for street lighting, was declared qualified “irregularly” after it made a plea to the chief minister.advertisement
The ghost of Lalit Modi continues to haunt the Indian cricket board. Thanks to what it calls “unauthorised” contracts and deals struck by the sacked chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Board is struggling to recover several million rupees of sponsorship money from various companies.The latest balance sheet of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shows over Rs 262.95 crore as receivable from sponsors/ rights holders, besides another Rs 30.07 crores under ‘other amounts receivable’.And a huge chunk of this figure pertains to the various IPL deals that have gone sour.Almost all of these contracts were entered into by Modi, but the current BCCI dispensation claims that it was blissfully unaware of them, saying the ex-IPL chairman did not take the government council into confidence.After BCCI president Shashank Manohar sacked Modi in May last year, following allegations of corruption, the Board launched a two-pronged investigation into these deals.Besides launching a probe by its own disciplinary committee, the BCCI appointed a firm of chartered accountants to investigate contract compliance, authorisation of expenditure etc. and the firm has since submitted its report.The BCCI suffered a deficit of Rs 41.89 crore from IPL-2009, when the tournament was held in South Africa, but earned a surplus of Rs 118.75 crore from IPL-2010. And it has budgeted a surplus of Rs 209.94 crore from the 2011 edition played in April-May.But what is causing the BCCI consternation is the money that parties have either delayed paying or have refused to pay.advertisementThe BCCI signed an MoU with Viacom for entertainment rights such as IPL Nights, IPL Annual Awards, IPL Rock Star, Fear Factor, and Khatron Ke Khiladi – all of which were IPL entertainment properties – for Rs 35 crore during the 2010 season. But after Modi was sacked, the Board discontinued these projects following heavy pressure from all sides. The BCCI has accrued for revenue of only Rs 21 crore in the books of account.Viacom alleged in June last year that the Board had breached the contract and therefore it is not liable to pay any money. Arbitration proceedings have started under Clause 11 of the MoU.”But the Board, based on the legal advice it has received, is confident of recovering the entire amount of Rs 21 crore,” said a source.Another deal that went sour was with Yog Sports Pvt. Ltd., the official merchandise partner contracted for 10 years. The Board was supposed to receive Rs 1.5 core in 2010, but when the company didn’t pay up, it encashed the bank guarantee of Rs 50 lakh.”The Board has not accounted for the balance amount of Rs 1 crore in view of the uncertainty involved in receiving the same,” according to the 2010- 11 balance sheet.Also, the BCCI was to receive from Bandelier SA, which was to use IPL trademarks on high end products, Rs 1.6 crore, or 10 per cent of the gross sales of the licensed products, for IPL- 2010. But it received neither the money nor the receipts of gross sales of the products.The BCCI admits “uncertainty” is involved with the recovery of the amount.The Board is entitled to receive 50 per cent of revenues earned by Live Current Media (LCM), which was contracted to maintain the IPL website, subject to a minimum of $2 million for IPL-2010.Further, five per cent of the revenue generated by Cricket.com, also owned by LCM, should be considered as part of the web services income.The BCCI didn’t receive the money of the two websites for last year. For 2008 and 2009 IPL seasons, the Board claims Rs 4.25 million is receivable from LCM.The BCCI last year terminated the novation agreement with LCM. According to the balance sheet, the Board is eligible to receive Rs 29.75 crore from Pioneer Digadys Services Pvt. Ltd., which was to commercially exploit the 150 seconds of air time available to the BCCI.This includes Rs 16.54 crore due on United Telelinks for advertisement revenue generated from the 50-second strategic timeout during each innings. The Board has received some money and is confident of recovering the outstanding Rs 7.94 crore from the two parties.The BCCI paid Rs 5 crore to Visual Impact for providing security for the IPL-2010. But it’s now trying to recover the amount following investigations, and after discussions the BCCI is “confident” of recovering Rs 3.5 crore.The deal with the World Sports Group has developed complications and now the Board is trying to recover Rs 2.7 core from the company.
After being in the news largely for doping, Indian weightlifting will attempt to make a fresh start when they begin their campaign at the London Olympics on Saturday.India are returning to the Olympics after eight years and not much is expected in terms of medals from K Ravi Kumar (69kg) and N Soniya Chanu (48kg).Karnam Malleshwari (69kg) earned glory by winning a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.Both lifters qualified for the Olympics at the Asian continental event in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.Soniya, who finished sixth at the world championships, will open her campaign on Saturday in a field of 14 weightlifters.”I know the competition is bound to be tough. But I qualified through Asian championship held in Korea in April,” Chanu said.This is the first Olympic quota place India has earned in men’s weightlifting since the 2000 Olympics when Thandava Murthy Muthu competed in the 56kg category.Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ravi, who lifted a total of 311kg (141+170) to bag sixth spot at the Asian championships, has recovered from a shoulder injury.
Returning to the big stage after a gap of eight years, erstwhile champions India put up a brave fight before going down 2-3 against the formidable Netherlands in their opening Group B match of the men’s hockey competition at the Olympics in London on Monday.Ranked 10th in the world, the Indians meant business as third ranked Netherlands had to sweat it out to start their campaign on a winning note.The first half, however, did not go according to the script for the Indians as they conceded two goals to go into the breather trailing 0-2.Robert van der Horst (20th minute) opened the scoring for the Dutch with a fierce hit from top of the circle and then Roderick Weusthof doubled the margin nine minutes later, converting a penalty corner.The Indians, however, came out with vengeance after the change of ends and scored two goals within a span of three minutes to level the scoreline.Dharanvir Singh (45th minute) scored India’s first goal after capitalising on a rebound and then striker Shivendra Singh tapped home from close quarters three minutes later after receiving a ball from Gurvinder Singh Chandi.But it was not to be India’s day as Mink van der Weerden converted another penalty corner in the 51st minute to restore Netherlands’ lead.Thereafter, the Indians pressed hard in search of the equaliser which eluded them inspite of getting numerous chances.India will next play New Zealand in their second group match on Wednesday, while the Netherlands will be up against Belgium the same day.advertisement