U.S. swimmers win four out of five finals

first_imgYOKOHAMA — Sachiko Yamada had the home crowd screaming their lungs out. Same with Ian Thorpe, who proved he was fastest regardless of length.And, quietly, the Americans continued to dominate the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 “I think we’re doing awesome,” said Amanda Beard, who won the gold in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke in 2 minutes, 26.31 seconds. Of the five finals on Wednesday at the Yokohama pool, the U.S. took four first places to increase its gold medal count to 16.What got the crowd excited was Yamada’s late-spurt in the women’s 800 freestyle final, the most heated of Wednesday’s races.Although she couldn’t reach American Diana Munz, who finished ahead of the pack at 8:30.45, Yamada gradually caught up on U.S. youngster Hayley Peirsol and passed her in the final few meters for second place in 8:31.89, shaving .07 seconds off of her own Japan record.“I was surprised when I heard the time later,” said Yamada, who took her fourth medal of the meet later in the evening in the 4×200 freestyle relay. “I’m very satisfied with the race. I could hear everybody cheering me on, and I was able to push myself one last time.”The Australians settled for one gold from Thorpe in the men’s 100 freestyle final to make it nine after the fifth day of the event. He will anchor the 4×100 medley relay on Thursday, the final day, and aim for his sixth gold of the PanPacs.In the final, Thorpe got off to a rather poor start and turned after the first 50 meters in fourth place before making a charge in the final 20 meters to clock 48.84 for first place. Countryman Ashley Callus also made a late-spurt to come in second at 49.26, followed by American Nate Dusing, who led the first half of the race, at 49.47.“It was very close to my best time,” said Thorpe, who swam a personal best 48.73 seconds in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. “I’m really happy with the way I raced this evening.”En route to another dominating day, the Americans also set four course records. The U.S. women’s 4×200 freestyle relay team wrapped up the day downing Australia in 7:56.96.Aaron Peirsol watched her sister, Hayley, lose to Yamada immediately before he took the pool for the 200 backstroke final.It was enough motivation for him to shoot for the gold.“Yeah, I thought about that, but I wanted a medal,” said Peirsol, who was chosen as the day’s MVP after winning the final in 1:56.88. “But she’s still young and has a big future in front of her.” Hagiwara passes out Tomoko Hagiwara lost consciousness after topping her semifinal heat of the 200-meter backstroke and was carried away on a stretcher at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships on Wednesday.Hagiwara, who won the gold in the 200 individual medley on Monday withdrew from the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay held later on Wednesday.The 22-year-old was carried to the medical room on a stretcher at Yokohama International Pool, but Japanese swimming officials said her condition is not serious. center_img GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMESlast_img read more

Bad pitches are waste of time, energy and money: Rahul Dravid

first_imgFormer India captain Rahul Dravid was very critical of the pitches being prepared in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, where “getting six to seven wickets by bowling darts” has become the order of the day and said that it will prove to be detrimental towards producing “good cricketers”.Dravid made no bones about the fact that such pitches like these are “waste of time, energy and money.”Five matches in Ranji Trophy ending inside two days has certainly not impressed the India A and U-19 coach, who has been entrusted with the responsibility of guiding the next batch of talented cricketers.”We don’t want green tops but also we don’t want wickets where matches finish in two days and people who are bowling darts are getting six-seven wickets. I think we need to be very careful that we don’t go down that path,” Dravid spoke his mind on what he thought about the nature of wickets in Ranji Trophy.While match between Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand saw 26 wickets falling in a day, Bengal skittled out Odisha for 37 on a strip which was termed dangerous by Odisha skipper Natraj Behera.”Square turners, matches are finishing in two or three days. I really don’t think its good for the health of Indian cricket. Because if you think about it it’s a waste of time, energy and money,” the usually reticent Dravid, let everyone know his thoughts regarding the issue.While he said that international cricket is a different ball-game, the Ranji Trophy should be the place where one prepares good players for future.advertisement”It’s a little different at the international level since you are looking for wickets. But at least in the Ranji Trophy level we are looking to prepare players for the international stage. These wickets, what I have seen recently, is poor,” Dravid did not mince words.While he carefully avoided the Bengal vs Odisha clash but it did come up during his media conference.”It is disappointing. I don’t want to specifically mention the Bengal game just because I happen to be here. But all around in the Ranji Trophy this year, the teams are producing in my opinion poor wickets.””And if we keep playing on bad wickets like these, we are not going to develop and produce good cricketers. So I think we need to find a balance, we need to nip it in the bud. I am at least glad that the knock-out stage is at neutral venues. At least, we will see good wickets at the knockout stages.”Dravid feels that while a lot of people advocate for home venues in Ranji Trophy but preparing these kind of pitches only force BCCI to choose neutral venues for knock-out matches.”A lot of people criticise and say Ranji Trophy should be at home venues but if teams are going to resort to doing these kind of things then I think its better Ranji Trophy is in neutral venues, at least in the knockout stage. We need to start forcing teams to start preparing good wickets.”Dravid also spoke about the Indian team and said Kohli was doing a great job as a Test captain and it is not right to put labels such as “aggressive” or “non-aggressive”.”In the end, it is about winning. He has produced some very good results in Test cricket. I think he has got to learn. No one is born a perfect captain and even when you are an established captain you will make mistakes. So I think we are sometimes very quick to judge and start labelling, who is aggressive and non-aggressive because, it suits us.”Suits the press really because then you can build a story around it. The fact is he has got to be judged by the results he produces. So far so good. I think he is doing a great job.”Asked who should be the perfect no 3, Dravid said it all depends on the performances but went on say that Cheteshwar Pujara was doing a great job.”I like Pujara. He has played some critical match-winning innings. So I really like him at No 3. But that again depends on performances. You got to keep performing in any position. There is no position that’s written in stone that it’s your spot.”There was a generation of cricketers who batted. There was myself, Sachin, Laxman and Ganguly, who played for a long time because there were performances. You keep performing you can hold on to your spot. Pujara is doing well at No 3. Pujara is a class player. He doesn’t need help. He is going to do well for himself.”advertisement”Kohli obviously is a really good at No 4. And Rahane bats well at No 5. They keep performing hopefully they will play for a long time.”Dravid further said he’s in touch with the cricketers but refused to divulge any details.”I don’t give people advice through the press. I have constant conversation with some of these boys and the important thing to maintain a respect in these conversations because a lot of them are of a relationship of coach. Some of these conversations should be as they are.”On a different note, Dravid seemed excited about the pink ball being used for the first time in Test cricket.”I am excited about it. I’m looking forward to how it goes. At one stage we keep talking how Test cricket is diminishing in value and we need to say look we are doing something that gets hopefully more people to the stadium,” said Dravid, who has himself played a first-class match in Abu Dhabi in 2011.”I have played it myself in Abu Dhabi for the England champion county versus the rest of England four years ago. I quite enjoyed it. I didn’t have an issue seeing the ball. We need to try things. We need to experiment.”last_img read more