Monday Scramble: Close encounters

first_imgJustin Rose takes down another classic venue. Rory McIlroy blows another chance to win. And we’ve got a monster week ahead in the golf world. All that and more in this week’s edition of Monday Scramble. Justin Rose is a big game hunter. Take a look at some of courses he’s bagged as part of his nine PGA Tour victories: Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion, Congressional and now Colonial. He’s also won an additional seven events on the European Tour (on courses including Valderrama and Royal Aberdeen) and a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. So, is that a Hall of Fame resume? Well, golf writers no longer have an official say. That will ultimately be up to a 16-member selection committee. Said committee is going to have to make some tough decisions down the line. Just taking into consider what they’ve done to this point in their careers, there are some legitimate borderline contenders. Among the more established one-major winners: Rose, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jim Furyk and Adam Scott. Among the multiple major champs: Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer and Zach Johnson. Speaking specifically of Rose, you have to take into strong consideration the caliber of venues at which he’s won. And while the field in Rio a few years ago wasn’t major-caliber, winning gold may prove to be the defining moment of his career. Hall of Fame? We’ll see how high the committee’s standards are. 1. Over the last decade at Colonial Country Club, everything from 9 under par to 21 under par has proved victorious. This year it was closer, much closer, to the latter. Rose made 25 birdies and five bogeys for a 20-under total. Had he not bogeyed the 72nd hole, he would have tied the tournament scoring record. Five of the last six events, including the Zurich team competition, have been won at 17 under or lower. For those of you who prefer higher scores, fear not. The U.S. Open is in a few weeks and the average winning score of its predecessor, the FedEx St. Jude Classic, over the eight years is 11 under. Only one player in the last decade has shot lower than 16 under at the Memorial Tournament (this week’s event). That, however, would be Rose (18 under, 2010).  2. Second sucks. Brooks Koepka concurs with Tiger Woods. Koepka earned his sixth runner-up finish since May 2016, finishing three shots behind Rose in Fort Worth. Koepka wasn’t quite as abrasive as Woods was in the late-90s, just referring to the close calls as “annoying.” He does, however, have a U.S. Open victory – and a win in the Dunlop Phoenix – during that stretch. Given his good form, he could become the first player since Curtis Strange, in 1989, to defend his national championship title. 3. Kevin Na opened in 62 and closed in 61, and finished six shots back of Rose. Middle rounds of 73-70 at par-70 Colonial cost him any chance of a second PGA Tour title. That’s now one career victory in 367 Tour starts. At least he has nearly $26 million in earnings to comfort him. 4. Before we leave Colonial, let’s remember … we don’t have to. Thanks to Charles Schwab and Co., stepping in as sponsor, beginning next year, this event – and this venue – will remain on the Tour schedule for the foreseeable future. 5. And, before we get dive into what McIlroy didn’t do at the BMW PGA Championship, let’s pay off the man who got the job done. Francesco Molinari earned the biggest victory of his career by beating McIlroy head-to-head on Sunday at Wentworth Club. The two began the final round tied for the lead. Molinari closed in 68, McIlroy in 70. The 35-year-old Italian played his final 44 holes bogey-free and only made two all week to capture the European Tour’s version of The Players. It’s Molinari’s fifth career European Tour win. 6. McIlroy could have five wins this season. Alas, he has but one (Arnold Palmer Invitational). McIlroy was once again in prime position to add to his trophy case. He played so well through two rounds that defending champion and playing competitor Alex Noren joked about quitting the game. But Saturday was erratic and Sunday was unproductive, and, in the end, he was left with a solo second-place finish. “I should have closed it out,” he said. Just as he should have done at the Masters, and in Dubai, and in Abu Dhabi. 7. European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn began last week by naming Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell as his assistants. But he had to be even happier with the way the week ended. Rose won on the PGA Tour. Molinari emerged on the European Tour. And McIlroy is thisclose to being dominant Rory again. Molinari was on the victorious 2010 and 2012 European teams. His half-point against Tiger Woods in singles in ’12 helped the away team complete the Miracle at Medinah. 8. Did someone say Tiger Woods? He’s in action this week at the Memorial Tournament. Given his history at this event (five wins) and his impressive weekend showing in his most recent start (The Players), the expectations will be high at Muirfield Village. But when aren’t they? Tiger will get the lion’s share of attention, but the field also includes McIlroy, Rose, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. And, of course, host Jack Nicklaus will hold court in the media center. Expect lots of good headlines. 9. The women, meanwhile, will be competing in the U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek … weather permitting. Mother Nature has not been kind to the LPGA this year and with Subtropical Storm Alberto moving through the Gulf of Mexico and into Alabama, it’s going to be another rainy occasion. This section is usually reserved for something wacky that happened in the past seven days. But this week we spotlight the heroics of Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana. Seaman took three bullets in helping stop a school shooting. Seaman survived. Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reported that Seaman’s aunt, Tracy Hubly, was serving as caddie for her husband, Chris Starkjohann, at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Said Hubly, “You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school. It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does.” Another school shooting. What the hell? This week’s award winners … Dude is major: Paul Broadhurst won the Senior PGA Championship, defeating Tim Petrovic by four shots at Harbor Shores. The 52-year-old Englishman closed in 63 to earn his fourth career PGA Tour Champions title and his second senior major (2016 Senior Open Championship). Happy birthday to Minjee: Minjee Lee birdied the final hole for a one-stroke win at the LPGA Volvik Championship. She turned 22 on Sunday and collected her fourth career tour victory, at an event in which she finished runner-up a year ago. Hale(y) to the victors!: The University of Arizona won the NCAA Women’s DI Championship when Haley Moore made birdie in a sudden-death playoff to give the Wildcats a 3-2 victory over Alabama in the finals. Arizona needed an eagle by Bianca Pagdanganan and then a playoff win over Baylor just to make the match-play field. Now, they are a three-time national champion. Live up to that, fellas: The man now take the stage at Karsten Creek. You can watch the action live on Golf Channel: Monday: Final day of stroke play to determine individual champion and match-play field Tuesday: Quarterfinals (11AM ET) and Semifinals (4PM) Wednesday: Finals (4PM)last_img read more

What It’s Like To Be An Atlanta Parking Enforcement Officer

first_img4:54 | Play story Add to My ListIn My List For Whom The Bell Rings Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility Related Stories Atlanta has had a sometimes contentious relationship with its parking enforcement agency, PARKAtlanta.When the private company took over enforcement in Atlanta six years ago, many drivers complained of aggressive ticketing. And at one point, an Atlanta City Council member called on the city to cancel the contract.While the city eventually restructured its deal with the agency to address the complaints, today you’ll still see the occasional bumper sticker that reads, “Nobody Likes PARKAtlanta.”This all got us wondering: what it’s like to be the people writing those tickets — the parking enforcement officers, or meter maids, as they’re sometimes called?To find out, WABE’s Stephannie Stokes joined a PARKAtlanta officer on one of her rounds downtown.Audio version of this story.4:5430-second version of this story.0:31 Share ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Partylast_img read more

Montréal works modernised

first_imgAlstom Transport Canada is delivering 50 remanufactured SD40-2 diesel locos (top right), to First Union Rail Corp, which will lease them to CSX Transportation under a multi-year agreement. The locos are being rebuilt at Alstom’s Montréal plant, a former Canadian National workshop which has been extensively remodelled since Alstom took it over in 1996.Next month should see the completion of a new locomotive stripping facility, with full environmental protection from oils and other parts. The main assembly hall has been remodelled from transverse workstations to two longitudinal five-station assembly lines with semi-autonomous work teams, mirroring modern production techniques. At full capacity the unit can outshop a loco every working day.Alstom now buys second-hand diesel locos speculatively as a source of parts for future orders. Most components are refurbished or replaced by sub-contractors, but Alstom has retained and updated its diesel engine refurbishment line, adding a purpose-build test house and other machine tools.The Montréal plant is also refurbishing second-hand commuter coaches for local operator Agence Metropolitaine de Transport. The Québec government acquired 80 single-deck cars from GO Transit several years ago, and these are stored at the plant to be refurbished and put into service as traffic develops.Alstom has also moved into freight wagon construction, with a new assembly line able to turn out 12 vehicles a day. The plant has a five-year contract to supply 3100 wagons to First Union of up to six designs, and has just completed 200 covered steel coil carriers (lower right). Mirroring its Optionic Design strategy for the passenger market, Alstom has brought in advanced computer-aided design software from the French aerospace industry. This allows it to develop specialised wagon designs for construction in batches of 100, compared to a minimum of 500 from some other wagon builders.last_img read more

UEFA Stage Protest Against FIFA, Rejects Club World Cup and Nations League Proposal

first_imgThe president of UEFA, Aleksander Ceferin, and his colleagues will stage a walkout at the FIFA Council Meeting set to take place in Kigali on Friday if the world governing body decides to push for a vote on a new Club World Cup and Nations League.UEFA delegates are said to be angry and frustrated over what they perceive as “emotional blackmail” by FIFA president Gianni Infantino to agree to the proposals.Complaints center on the implications it will have on confederations, lack of detail on football’s calendar and an overall lack of consultation from parties involved.A new and expanded Club World Cup – held every year featuring some of the Premier League and Europe’s top clubs – has been proposed by FIFA.The ruling council is to decide whether it should be adopted and how to proceed at its meeting in Rwanda on Friday.The Club World Cup is held every December currently and features seven teams from six confederations.Earlier this year, Infantino proposed an expansion of 24 teams, which will include 12 teams from Europe, with the competition to be staged every four years.An opposition to the plans from FIFA Council members resulted in talks being suspended shortly before the start of the World Cup in Russia.The options being put forward would see the current Club World Cup and Confederations Cup abolished, with a new and expanded Club World Cup set up:Proposal 1: Stage it in place of the Confederations Cup, an eight-nation tournament held in June the year before each World Cup.Proposal 2: Same plan – but also includes options for a yearly competition held either as a pre-season tournament in July to August or in another time slot.In either case, the competition format, number of teams and division of places between each confederation are yet to be determined, but it will not exceed 18 days.The world governing body also wants to introduce a new global Nations League based on the format of the UEFA Nations League, which began in September.The new Club World Cup and global Nations League is projected to generate $25bn in revenue, with the investment coming from a consortium led by Japan’s SoftBank.However, with FIFA facing scrutiny over potential financial links with Saudi Arabia, the official documents outline how the organization “would not enter into a joint venture for this purpose, whether directly or indirectly, with sovereign wealth funds of individual states”.The FIFA Council will vote on whether to introduce a Nations League that will include countries from across the world from 2022.However, it will also decide whether organizing and commercializing that competition is also FIFA’s responsibility.Relatedlast_img read more

Does Your Relationship Pass This Ten-Question Love Test?

first_imgA bunch of divorce lawyers came up with a list of ten questions they say every couple should talk about before they get married. 1.  Are you a good fit for each other?  Which is a broad question.  But just think about it.2.  Is your relationship grounded in friendship?3.  Do you try to see the best in each other?4.  Do you both have realistic expectations of each other?5.  Do you generally want the same things in life?  So, things like kids, or a nice house.6.  Can you raise issues with each other, and talk them out?7.  Do you keep things exciting?8.  Are you both committed to working through tough times?9.  Would you pull together in hard times?  Which is kind of the same as the last one.10.  Do you each have your own support group, so you don’t just rely on each other? If you don’t answer yes to all ten, don’t worry.  It doesn’t mean you’re totally wrong for each other.  But it might help you find things to work on.  Here are the ten questions . . .last_img read more

Q&A with Kim McFadden on the NFL High School Experienceship Program

first_imgPhoto Copyright: National Football League (NFL) High School Expereinceship As both a native Philadelphian, and an Eagles fan, for me the NFL Draft, hosted in Philadelphia late last month, was the best of both worlds.  What I, and so many of us may not have realized, however, was how much of a learning opportunity was going on behind the scenes, thanks to the hard work of many – including the NFL’s VP of HR and SHRM Member Kim McFadden.Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Kim about the NFL’s “Experienceship” program for high school students, which took place during the NFL Draft in Philadelphia.  What I quickly learned was that, against the backdrop of one of the NFL’s biggest events, the NFL’s High School “Experienceship” program gave a number of NYC high school students an incredible opportunity to understand and aspire for a future career in the business of sports and sports marketing.  Here’s a Q&A with the NFL’s Kim McFadden.AM:  As the lead for the NFL’s 2-day “Experienceship”, tell us how this initiative came about, its objective and why it was important for HR to take the lead?KM:  As we prepared for the Women’s Summit at the Super Bowl where the focus was young adult females, we realized we are at a time when more high school graduates are enrolling in college and looking for work. Students in their junior year are making critical decisions about the next phase of their education, which will ultimately impact future career paths. We know schools are continuing to increase counseling, career training or college preparation services; however, the private sector can also step in and help fill the void.  We wanted the NFL to play a role and share in the responsibility to better prepare students for a successful future.  Hence, The NFL High School Experienceship was born.    The program was a hands-on, two-day experienceship program that introduced high school juniors from the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem to the sports industry, specifically the National Football League (and its program partners). By educating students on career disciplines within the broader ecosystem of sports, the NFL was able to reach and inspire the workforce of tomorrow and encourage their commitment to further their education today.AM:  Why was it important to time the experienceship around the draft window, and what type of preparation did the young men and women go through to prepare themselves for the experience? KM:  The Draft was the perfect opportunity for the students to get hands-on experience and be exposed to the many different areas within sports. Students participated in NFL guided tours, had the ability to volunteer and saw the inter-workings among our partners, community and NFL staff.   Prior to the Experienceship, participating students completed an intensive four-week workshop series. In preparation for their Draft-week visits, students created personal pitches and life maps and fine-tuned their presentation and networking skills.AM:  What was the experience like for those NFL employees and sponsors who participated?KM:  In the midst of the Draft, I thought it would be challenging to get volunteers to come in and speak to the students on Day 1 of the program.  I was wrong – many employees raised their hands to help and provide insight into their career journeys.   We also had executives from three of our partners come in and speak to the students about their careers and how they link to sports.   The students came prepared and asked informed questions of all of the panelists and NFL staff.   After Day 1, I received emails from partners and our staff stating how much they truly enjoyed speaking to the students and how impressed they were by the students’ engagement.    All enthusiastically mentioned that they would participate again.AM:  What was your one key take-away from the program?KM:  As an HR professional, I have always had a commitment to developing employees and helping them reach their North Stars.   With this program, we are helping the younger generation understand that they can be/do whatever they want to; but it takes hard work and dedication.   We are hoping to make this an annual event and will continue to look at ways to build and improve upon this pilot program.   A closing note, at the end of Day 2 of the program, four participants individually approached me and said that this program has changed the direction that they want to go in their future and opened their eyes to the possibilities to work in sports.  It was so rewarding to hear because that’s what we set out to do with this program. About Kim McFadden:Kim McFadden is Vice President of Human Resources at the National Football League. In this role, Kim manages staff at NFL Headquarters in New York and NFL Films in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Prior to joining the NFL in 2008, Kim served as Director of Human Resources at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R & D and worked in HR at Motorola and Lockheed Martin.Kim holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Elizabethtown College. She lives in Yardley, Pa. with her husband Robert and their two children Robbi and Shannon.last_img read more

India Today 35 anniversary issue: The Glamour world

first_imgClick here to EnlargeOff the RecordPaul Williams, driver of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Morris Minor, much to the consternation of Mrs Gandhi’s security staff, leaned over and made a valiant attempt to plant a chivalrous kiss on her cheek. Fortunately the lady’s physical reflexes proved as good as her political,Click here to EnlargeOff the RecordPaul Williams, driver of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Morris Minor, much to the consternation of Mrs Gandhi’s security staff, leaned over and made a valiant attempt to plant a chivalrous kiss on her cheek. Fortunately the lady’s physical reflexes proved as good as her political ones and she adroitly evaded the contact but not before an enterprising photographer filmed the event.Kiss and SellLip-locks and near misses. Kisses that caught our eye.Almost ThereYou would think the snog says it all. But after this photo of Kareena Kapoor and beau Shahid Kapur, apparently taken on a cell phone at Mumbai’s watering hole Rain surfaced, there has been a lot of peering. Letters have been exchanged between Kapoor’s lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani and the nightclub. So is this morphed? You take a look.Curve BallShe managed to outshine the Taj when papers splashed pictures of her kissing soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. Since then Bipasha Basu has been crying herself hoarse saying the photo was taken “out of context”. With rumours of boyfriend problems doing the rounds, Basu sure needs some fancy footwork. Contact Ronaldo eh?Great Indian WeddingsTeeny-bopper love. Tycoon trysts. What happens when beautiful people wed.The King of Good TimesSomething’s been brewing in Vijay Mallya’s life-and it’s not just liquor. Last week, the country’s most eligible bachelor-who heads the Rs 700-crore UB Group -wed air hostess SakinaTayabji in a private but grand ceremony at Goa’s Fort Aguada. Mallya reportedly booked up the entire hotel in Goa, mailed return air tickets with invitations and gave his entourage a beach party to remember. Who needs a honeymoon now?advertisementClick here to EnlargeBubblegum RomanceThose who feared that master showman Raj Kapoor had lost his touch can breathe easy. The wedding of his son Rishi to long-time sweetheart Neetu Singh was a technicolor extravaganza in the grand R.K. tradition. A spectacular fireworks display and gallons of Scotch were also provided. And for that final filmi touch a movie camera whirred throughout the proceedings.The SizzlersThey bared, dared and dazzled, as they shed their inhibitions and their clothes.Peep showJan 15, 1978In 1978,Shobhaa De, then Kilachand, wrote in Eyecatchers of Katy Mirza “well-publicised operation to reduce her bustline by ten fulsome inches”. Calling it Operation Bust, she said Mirza emerged “slimmer, lighter and with a big load off her chest”. Making a clean breast of it, what?All That GlittersNov 30, 1992As Meher Jessia swirled and twirled to reveal the bizarre Cleopatra like bustiers, the crowd’s jaws dropped. Designer Suneet Verma even had Bombay’s Beautiful People clamouring for the Rs 2,500 breastplate.May 15, 1984The price people are paying her has never been paid to an actress before. She has the kind of appeal which will satisfy everybody.Romu Sippy, Bollywood producerHead TurnerAug 31, 1978For the first time in her seven-year film life, Zeenat Aman faces genuine competition in the form of an equally shapely 19-year-old Nafisa Ali. To be directed by Shyam Benegal in Junoon, Ali adds : “The best part of the game is to know how to be a good loser.”March 31, 1993Click here to EnlargeImitation ArtPlagiarism is back. After actress Demi Moores cover pose for Vanity Fair in a painted-on outfit, Pooja Bhatt has followed suit. The latest Movie cover has Bhatt covered in a painted suit-and a brief pair of panties. Bhatt has her reasons for not going all the way; “I didn’t want to flash everything as yet.” So, isnt this just a demi Demi Moore?Like Mother, Like DaughterIt’s just that there are so many different people within me. They are all getting a chance. First I was recognised as Kabir Bedi’s wife, then I.S. Johar’s wife and now as an Odissi dancer.PROTIMA BEDI, Classical dancerPooja Bedi’s taken a commercial break: advertising for Kama Sutra condoms. A stop-gap arrangement, but it’ll sure make this bare-devil a household name. When They Were YoungAn artist, a model and a budding nursery teacher. Politic’s first family before they found their causes.Royal PainsThe mellow-voiced and attractive Sonia Gandhi, 34, has recently taken up an old passion-preservation of paintings as an apprentice at the National Gallery of Art, New Delhi. When approached for an interview, the lady pouted, swished her hair back in one delicate stroke and exclaimed:”No please. Do not take any photographs. Even if you wait here for an hour I will not give you an interview.”The ShadowWhat’s Priyanka Gandhi up to these days? Aside from finishing college that is. Getting ready to file her nomination papers from Amethi? The pretty young Gandhi instead is teaching art and craft to tiny tots in a nursery school in south Delhi. The celebrity teacher’s salary: Rs 1,200.advertisementRebel QueenThis was justly Maneka Gandhi’s, 22, first claim to fame. As an aspiring model, she had signed up with DCM to model for their entire campaign of towels that were launched in 1973. But her success on the modeling scene was short-lived. When she became engaged to Sanjay, the advertising agency MCM was summarily commanded to withdraw the campaign and clean up all possible remaining records of it.Crown PrinceThe matters of state were temporarily put on the back burner as the Gandhi clan, ranging from the prime minister down to her grandchildren Rahul, and Priyanka, popped up regularly in the various stadia, watching the proceedings of the Asian Games. Rahul was found instructing an amused Mrs Gandhi on the finer points of the sporting events.Drag DramaBollywood men who decided to look pretty. These gentlemen are no ladies.Not to MissFirst to go were the eyebrows. Next, the hair on the chest, legs and arms. And with tape strapped onto the chest, voila, there was a bosom. But look again: this lady is really a gentleman. And no transvestite either. Just Aamir Khan as Julie Braganza, a club dancer in director Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Baazi.Et Tu, Baba?After a dash of thanda thanda pani, India’s irreverent rapper, Baba Sehgal, is turning on the heat. Inspired by Madonna’s breast-sellers, Sex and Erotica, the raja of rap is all dolled up to look like Madonna on the jacket of his latest album, Main bhi Madonna, complete with the distinctive mole on the upper lip.Bizarre BollywoodLoose and loony phases of tinseltown. What were they thinking?Femme FatalRekha acting in an X-rated film? Not really. Indian cinema’s Great Survivor is however playing a radically different role-as Madam X, the tough talking, sten gun wielding female don of the underworld. And enjoying every take. Says director Deepika Shivdasani: “Rekha has given her best performance to date in Madam X.”All in the FamilyKishore Kumar has launched a film, where Leena Chandavarkar, his third and present wife, is cast opposite Amit Kumar, his son by his first marriage. The casting creates history, as no real-life son has yet been hugged by the heroine on screen in a step-motherly embrace.Once Upon a Time in IndiaZeenat Aman almost married Imran Khan? Karan Kapoor became a dad? Here’s where it all happened.Hot and ColdIs Zeenat Aman getting married? Last fortnight, the air was rife with rumours that Pakistan’s dashing cricket hero Imran Khan had popped the question to his lady love and his lady love had gushed, “I will”. But instead of a wedding came a lull. No fairytales here.HomecomingThe time has come for the Cup to come back to us.advertisement AMITABH BACHCHAN, on the World Cup being unveiled in India in 1999Daddy DearestBAD NEWS GIRLS. The man’s a daddy. Karan Kapoor, that hunk with the biceps we loved, has just had a baby girl. Eligible, he is no more. He’s now in his 30s and just a trifle plumper than his Dream Lover days. Too bad about those broken hearts.Alternative RealityThey did things their own waySlumming ItShe seemed to have walked out of one of the hoardings. But this role was for real: Shabana Azmi was fighting for the squatters. She rolled up her jeans, courted arrest with Om Puri and Govind Nihalani and went on an indefinite fast.Simply SmitaSmita Patil launched her very own play at Bombay’s Prithvi Theatre last fortnight, titled Aap Ki Farmaish. It is Alyque Padamsee’s adaptation of German playwright Franz Xavier Kroetz’s Request Concert. “I had the guts to take up this play because it is totally experimental theatre,” says Patil, who did on stage what she’s already done on screen-playing an ordinary, next-door Plain Jane.last_img read more

Organizational failures, official bickerings mark 25th National Games

first_imgAngel Mary – five golds and two recordsTwenty four fresh entries in the inter-state athletics record books in spite of sub-standard cinder track, has been the highlight of the week long – February 17-22 – 25th national games in Hyderabad. But, organizational failures and official bickerings marked the Rs 20,Angel Mary – five golds and two recordsTwenty four fresh entries in the inter-state athletics record books in spite of sub-standard cinder track, has been the highlight of the week long – February 17-22 – 25th national games in Hyderabad. But, organizational failures and official bickerings marked the Rs 20 lakh games in nine disciplines.Said a senior official: “Rules of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the apex federal sports body, prescribe that the games can be conducted only if there are 10 disciplines. The 10th was very much here, money-spinning-cum-fighting.”The IOA Vice-President and Games Organizing Secretary T. Rajagopalachari, 49, a sports organizer for 20 years however disagrees: “Besides 7,000 competitors and 750 officials we had to play host to another 500 office-bearers of national federations and affiliated units and technical delegates from various disciplines. They learn as to how the games, being revived after nine years, could be held every four years hereafter.” Rajagopalachari explained that the IOA had informed them only on November 29, about the dates of the games and just three federations-volleyball, handball and cycling-confirmed participation by the deadline-December 29.The other six federations confirmed later while the All India Football Federation demanded guarantee money of Rs 50,000. Finally national championships in volleyball, cycling, handball, weightlifting, judo and boxing were conducted.Open competitions were held in gymnastics and with weigh-ins scrapped, overweight grapplers collected medals in the other discipline, wrestling. A phenomenal performance of five competitors breaking the shot put record for boys was discovered to be a result of a shot put weighing less than the 3.5 kg prescribed for the class. advertisementAll these hassles were more or less expected because of poor preparations at all venues. Even contestants had difficulty in work-outs. A large number of players and officials criticized the facilities but were not willing to be quoted fearing reprisals. At the main venue, Lal Bahadur Stadium, girl judokas were victims of bottom-pinching and volleyballers of eveteasing by crowds fringing the playing areas.Khambatta – success in discus and shot putBelow Par: Jal Pardivala, 67, member, Technical Committee of International Amateur Athletic Federation reacted sharply. “The very concept of the games had been violated,” he said. “Athletics competitions, the major discipline, was pushed out of the main venue to another, 10 kilometres away. Organizers were interested in making money by holding the other competitions even though Andhra Pradesh had shown courage to revive and host the games.”Many athletes, including several 1978 Asian Games medalists, petitioned the Secretary General of the Amateur Athletic Federation of India, Col Kripal Singh, that “the ground surface and technical supervision have been sub-standard and athletes have been exposed to injury and despair”.Tamil Nadu’s Gnanasekharan, Asian Games 200-metre-sprint gold medalist withdrew because of poor conditions. Another Asian Games gold medalist, Kerala’s Suresh Babu, also did not participate. Babu told india today that a national athletes welfare association was being planned. It will work for the promotion of athletics and help indigent athletes through a fund, the corpus for which will be formed at the open national athletic meet.Babu said plans for the promotion of athletics included conducting track and field contests through the year at different venues so as to popularize it like cricket. However, athletics this time received wide media coverage with day long live relays by Doordarshan.On Top: Kerala displayed athletic prowess by winning the team championship- 19 gold, 14 silver and 13 bronze medals. Its athletes broke nine of the 12 records in women’s and girl’s events. While the top pentathlon and Asian Games silver medalist, Angel Mary Joseph, brought Kerala five gold medals and set up two meet records, the petite shy 15-year-old P. T. Usha, a class ten student set new records in winning the 100-metre and the 80-metre hurdle events.But though this wonder girl, participating in her second nationals, broke the 200-metre-sprint record in the semi-final, Judith Fernandes of Maharashtra out-ran her in the final with an improved timing and kept the record in the family-her elder sister established it earlier. After Kerala the next best in track and field events was Maharashtra with 12 gold, three silver and nine bronze medals.Adil Sumariwalla, a Bombay University student, achieved a “sprint double” and was termed the fastest man of the meet. Another Bombay student doing her business management course and working with Western Railway, 21-year-old Bakhtavar Khambatta, had the distinction of completing a Throw Double by tossing the discus and putting the shot to new distances.Punjab finished third with nine gold, 11 silver and seven bronze medals. The northeastern hill state of Manipur had the distinction of winning three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals, though it fielded just two boys and two girls.advertisementlast_img read more