Thursday, September 23, 2010

Well done Nicol

CAIRO, Sept 23 — Datuk Nicol David captured her 5th World Open squash title yesterday, in dominant fashion, securing her place in the pantheon of great squash players and edging her closer to be being the greatest female squash player ever.

Nicol, 27, was always in control in the final against Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy winning in straight games 11-5, 11-8 11-6.

Omneya was expected to give a sterner test to Nicol as she was playing in front of a home ground, but the Malaysian continued her romp to the title, winning without dropping a set in the tournament.

Omneya did take the lead in the second game, from 3-0 to 6-3, but a very assured Nicol kept to her game plan and wrapped up that set 11-8.

By the third set the signs were clear that it was turning out to be a victory lap for the Penang lass, who has dominated the women’s tour the last four years.

“My focus was strong throughout the tournament, ” she said after the match to
“I really wanted this. I didn’t want to let it slip.”

“”It’s amazing that I can do something that Sarah [Fitz-Gerald] has done, because she’s such a great player.”
Australian Fitz-Gerald’s five titles are now matched by Nicol.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Risky Games

NEW DELHI – Less than two weeks before it begins, one of the world's biggest sports events is in jeopardy as organizers struggle to cope with unfinished buildings, a filthy athletes' village called "unfit for human habitation," a bridge collapse, concerns over security and corruption, and an outbreak of dengue fever.

The Commonwealth Games, which bring together more than 7,000 athletes from the 71 countries and territories every four years, was supposed to showcase the emerging power of India — just as the 2008 Beijing Olympics did for China.

Instead, the Oct. 3-14 games in New Delhi are highlighting the problems in the developing nation of more than 1 billion people that is still plagued by vast areas of poverty.

The frenzied, last-minute preparations are in such disarray that some officials are speculating that a few teams could withdraw or the event could be called off.

The latest blow came Tuesday, with the collapse of a footbridge being built to connect the main stadium to a parking lot. Police said 23 construction workers were injured, five seriously.

Hours earlier, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) urged the Indian government to finish work on the athletes' village, which is due to open Thursday. In addition to shoddy conditions inside and outside the buildings, there also are problems with plumbing, wiring, furnishings, Internet access and cell phone coverage.

"We have to continue to push our concerns at the highest level and you can't get higher than the Cabinet office of the country and the prime minister," CGF chief executive Mike Hooper told The Associated Press. "They have to come up with a clear plan to meet the needs of athletes and show they can provide consistent standards."

The games have historically been dominated by England, Australia and Canada, and all three have voiced concerns about the conditions in India.

"It's hard to cancel an event of this magnitude, but we are close to the wire, and teams may start to take things into their own hands," England chef de mission Craig Hunter told Britain's Press Association. "Athletes will start getting on planes soon and decisions will have to be made. We need new levels of reassurance."

Australian discus world champion Dani Samuels withdrew from the games Tuesday, citing concerns over health and security, according to her manager, Hayden Knowles. England's Phillips Idowu also said he won't defend his triple jump title in New Delhi because of fears for his safety.

He explained on Twitter that he has children, and "my safety is more important to them than a medal."
Commonwealth Games Scotland said the team's living area was "unsafe and unfit for human habitation."

Australia's chef de mission, retired marathon runner Steve Moneghetti, said Indian organizers "have got two days to do what's probably going to take about two weeks."

Commonwealth Games Canada director of sport Scott Stevenson said housing facilities were not "anything like what was promised."

Although no one has said they will pull out, New Zealand team manager Dave Currie had some of the strongest words for organizers.

"If the village is not ready and athletes can't come, obviously the implications of that are that (the event) is not going to happen," Currie told New Zealand radio network newstalkZB.

Swimming New Zealand's high-performance manager Jan Cameron said in a radio interview that swimming federations had already discussed the prospect of the games being canceled and were prepared to act quickly to stage an international meet.

The chaos has severely dented India's hopes of using the games as a springboard for a bid to host the Olympics in 2020 or 2024.

The International Olympic Committee carries out more rigorous and frequent inspections of host cities to make sure that construction deadlines are met. The process has been tightened further since the delays that dogged preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The games in India are only the third to be staged outside Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Kingston, Jamaica held the 1966 edition, then known as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was the only Asian city to host the event in 1998.

New Delhi, India's capital and home to more than 12 million people, was chosen to host the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games in November 2003, beating out Hamilton, Ontario. Between then and 2008, the country did little to prepare.

Organizing committee secretary general Lalit Bhanot said the situation at the village was normal.
"All games face such problems and they will be resolved before the athletes come in," Bhanot said. "These are not going to affect the games in any way as all venues are ready to host the games."

Even Hooper called the problems "fixable."

He said he would not speculate on whether the games would take place, adding: "The games start on the third of October and everything that has to be done must be done."

Hooper said newspaper reports of human excrement around the village were true. The BBC, the games' biggest and most influential broadcaster, has detailed the troubles on its website and called the state of the village "shocking."

"This is a very serious matter and it needs the attention of the government of India to deploy whatever resources are necessary to fix and address it," Hooper said. "A massive deep clean is required and it needs to be done."

Aside from the bridge collapse and the unfinished construction, the buildup to the games has been plagued by poor ticket sales and monsoons. Organizers said last month that only 50,000 tickets had been sold, out of 2.3 million available.

Two weeks ago, the Indian capital was hit by an outbreak of dengue fever, and heavy rains have contributed both to the problem of the mosquito-borne virus and floods. Although the government played down the threat of dengue fever, doctors in New Delhi's private clinics said they were inundated with dengue patients and accused the government of vastly understating the situation.

The stagnant water of the Yamuna River next to the athletes' village certainly hasn't quelled fears of infection for visiting teams.

In August, organizing committee treasurer Anil Khanna quit after allegations that his son's firm was awarded a contract to lay synthetic surfaces at a tennis stadium for the games. Khanna denied the allegations, saying he had not started at the organizing committee when the contract was awarded. The organizing committee's joint director, T.S. Darbari, was fired a week earlier at the request of India's sports ministry for alleged corruption during the Queen's Baton Relay launching ceremony in London.

Security in the city was also increased after unidentified gunmen wounded two tourists Sunday. An Islamic militant group took responsibility for the shooting.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The bowling team to Guangzhou

Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress announced the following names who have been selected to represent Malaysia in Guangzhou Asian Games in November, 2010 :-
MEN”S TEAM                                  WOMEN”S TEAM
ADRIAN ANG                                    ZATIL IMAN
ALEX LIEW                                       ZANDRA AZIELA
AARON KONG                                  SIN LI JANE
MUHD NUR AIMAN                          SHALIN ZULKIFLI
The above six men and six women bowlers were selected based on a 12 series of roll off on different lane oiling condition recommended by National Chief Coach Holloway Cheah, endorsed by the National Development & Selection Committee and approved by the Management Committee.  

Five bowlers – three in the Men’s division (Adrian, Muhd Syafiq, & Muhd Nur Aiman ) and two in the women’s division (Sin Li Jane & Zatil) will be competing their first ever Asian Games in Guangzhou, while the others were members of the Team in Doha 2006 where Tenpin Bowling won Malaysia’s three out of eight Gold and contributed in helping the country to clinch the best ever medal haul in Asian Games.
The Team will be leaving for Guangzhou on November 11. The Official Practice will be on November 13 & 14 prior to the Singles event on November 15. MTBC Vice President & High Performance Manager  Mr. BC Cheah will lead the team  with Holloway Cheah as the Chief Coach of the Team.

American Professional technical consultant Mr. Rick Benoit will be back to Malaysia on October 3 to further working with the team on their equipments and other technical preparation and will accompany the team to Guangzhou .
“ Looking at the good performance in the Hong Kong Open last week, I am happy that our team preparation is on the right path. “ said Team Manager BC Cheah “ The Hong Kong Open was the last Championship prior to the Asian Games, The Team will concentrate in training and prepare themselves mentally and physically from now till early November.”

“ We will be ready for a good show in Guangzhou .”

Monday, September 20, 2010

NSC owes the NSAs

The National Sports Council (NSC) has given assurance that all money owed to National Sports Associations will be unsettled by year end, its Director-General Datuk Zolkples Embong said.

He added that the NSC would settle money owed to associations through installments through allocation received from the government and sponsors.

"When we receive the allocation we will settle the amounts claimed. The NSC has actually started paying some associations but not at one go," he told reporters after opening the centralised training camp for Commonwealth and Asian Games bound athletes at the Palm Garden Hotel, Putrajaya, Sunday.

The NSC had come under fire from associations when reports in a local daily claimed that NSC owed national associations millions of ringgit.

Unlike in the past, Zolkples did not refute claims from the associations but added that claims from most of the associations were being processed while some did not submit complete documents for their claims.

Zolkples added that associations must understand the fact that the NSC depended on the government and sponsors.

He added that although NSC was burdened with debts, it would not disrupt the 'Road To London 2012' programmes aimed towards the 2012 London Olympics. -- BERNAMA

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Run up to 2011?

The past two weeks has been quite busy. My phone line was busy and people made me very busy by giving me plenty of informations with regards to the happenings in the sports scene. Most of it needs further confirmation but there were a few interesting ones which I will try to write through this post, and some more later.

Word has it that with slightly less than a year to go for the OCM elections, some moves are being made - surprisingly not by those who want to get in - but by those who want to hold on to their positions. The first move was to reject the Archery Association's proposal, at the last AGM, to ammend the OCM Constitution to limit the age of office bearers to 70 years, a proposal in line with the IOC Charter.

With that out of the way, the next step was to find a suitable person to lead the campaign to make sure "most" of the incumbents continue to be in office for as long as they want. A few officials, familiar with the happenings, said that Cycling's Deputy President, Datuk Naim Datuk Mohamed is the person.

Whether he has been approached or not is not known but I hope Datuk Naim can tell us. I have known Datuk Naim for a long time, and I know he is a person who will say yes, for yes, and no, for no. Hope to contact him soon.

Then there are some who have complained about an instruction not to speak to their former General Manager. They themselves are not happy about it and too many unhappy people is not a good sign. Well, what can we do to help them? Their President cannot help. No point going to Sports Commisioner's office.

National Sports Council is also so busy appointing non sportsmen as advisors so they also won't lift a finger to intervene. Therefore, just hang on, things will change in due time.

I have also been informed that there will a fight for the post of President of Malaysian Gympastics Federation. Incumbent, Datuk Zakaria Ahmad is expected to be challenged at the AGM, scheduled for December 2010.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Football For Hope

At the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in July, FIFA pledged it would continue to support Africa in creating and leaving a lasting legacy in the continent that will continue to benefit Africans for many years. A few weeks after the competition was completed, the Football for Hope Centre in  Kenya – the first outside South Africa - officially opened today, 4 September 2010.
 “With the opening of the Football for Hope Centre today in Nairobi, we have taken yet another step towards fulfilling our commitment to leave a tangible legacy for the entire African continent in placing a strong emphasis on education and public health through football. These fundamental rights are essential to provide the next generation with a chance for their future," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
Six further centres – as part of the 20 Centres for 2010 campaign - will be completed in the next four to five months in Namibia, Mali, Rwanda, Ghana, Lesotho and South Africa (Mokopane). In December 2009, the first Football for Hope Centre was inaugurated in Khayelitsha/South Africa.
The centres address local social challenges in disadvantaged areas and improve education and health services for young people. Community involvement and ownership are crucial for the success and sustainability of the centres.
The Mathare Football for Hope Centre in Kenya will help hosts Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) to provide programmes of leadership training, environmental cleanups, HIV/AIDS awareness and other community-oriented activities to some of the most disadvantaged young people in Nairobi.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More complaints from parents

Many parents feel that the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) is not doing enough for the development of the sport. They have provided some facts to back their claim. I feel that LTAM should look at these complaints in a postive way - a sure sign that there is a great interest in the sport.

Many parents are claiming that the Milo National Junior Age Group held in (4-9) August 2010 was a flop. This is supposed to be the premier and most important junior age-group tennis tournament in the country. It carries the highest points awarded for a national tournament. But, the entries recorded were lower compared to previous years.

Here are some facts:
Girls U18 - no competition, no entries
Boys U18 - only four entries but no points awarded
Boys U10 - 21 entries (7 pairs for doubles)
Girls U10 -  7 entries and no doubles
Boys U12 - 18 entries (6 pairs)
Girls U12 - 7 entries (no doubles)
Boys U14 - 29 entries (10 pairs)
Girls U14 - 13 entries (6 pairs)
Boys U16 - 27 entries (9 pairs)
Girls U16 - 16 entries (no doubles)

The conclusion some parents have made is that tennis is losing out at junior level. Also, the parents are also wondering why the National Ranking Points have not been updated for two and a half months. Two tournaments have been held since then - the MBPJ Junior Open and Milo National Juniors.

Do something, LTAM.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Malaysia lupakan hasrat anjur Sukan Asia 2019

Malaysia terpaksa melupakan hasrat untuk menganjurkan Sukan Asia 2019, setelah usul untuk membida penganjuran tersebut ditolak oleh Kabinet tiga minggu lepas.

Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek berkata, hasrat tersebut ditolak oleh Kabinet, setelah mengambil kira kos penganjuran yang mencecah sehingga RM1.6 bilion dan tidak termasuk kos untuk membaik pulih kemudahan yang sedia ada.

Menurut Shabery, jika kerajaan meneruskan hasrat untuk meneruskan penganjuran tersebut, ia dikhuatiri akan menyebabkan rakyat merasa kurang selesa dengan jumlah kos yang tinggi bagi temasya sukan yang singkat.

''Kerajaan terpaksa mengambil langkah berjimat cermat kerana waktu ini tidak begitu sesuai untuk melaksanakan niat itu, kerana melibatkan perbelanjaan yang besar.

''Untuk membida sahaja kita memerlukan jumlah antara RM15 juta sehingga RM20 juta dan sekiranya kita menang dalam bidaan itu, apakah sesuai atau tidak kita menanggung kos yang tinggi bagi penganjuran yang singkat,'' katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian dalam sidang akhbar selepas berbuka puasa bersama Persatuan Penulis-Penulis Sukan Malaysia (SAM) di Kuala Lumpur, Rabu.

Sebelum ini Malaysia bercadang untuk menganjurkan Sukan Asia 2019 edisi ke-18, setelah dua kali gagal dalam usaha untuk menjadi tuan rumah temasya sukan terbesar di benua Asia itu
Dalam pada itu, Ahmad Shabery berkata, beliau juga telah pun memaklumkan kepada Majlis Olimpik Asia (OCA) berhubung perkara itu.

''Dahulu kita telah maklumkan kepada Presiden OCA sebelum ini untuk menyatakan hasrat membida Sukan Asia 2019 dan kita juga telah maklumkan kepada mereka yang Malaysia tidak dapat meneruskan hasrat tersebut setelah keputusan daripada jemaah Menteri dibuat.

''Malah, saya dimaklumkan bahawa Dubai dan Hong Kong yang sebelum ini berminat untuk menganjurkan temasya itu juga tidak lagi menyatakan pendirian mereka,'' katanya. - Utusan.