first_imgThe newly established Phil Smith Medal has been awarded to one of our sport’s leading ambassadors, current Australian Open Men’s Captain, Gavin Shuker at the 2007 National Touch League.Shuker who has competed in both the Open NTL tournament (Men’s Open) and the Seniors tournament (Men’s 30s) for Rustlers in 2007 is a worthy winner of an award that is in its inaugural year of presentation.Touch Football Australia’s Board of Management Directors Peter Rooney and Paul Eggers made the presentation to a humbled Shuker.Phil Smith, one of the founding fathers of Touch Football, was instrumental during the 1980’s and pivotal to the development of the original Australian Touch Association (ATA) Nationals and the formation of the Federation of International Touch (FIT).Smith was reknowned for his leadership, sportsmanship, and outstanding contribution at the highest level of Touch Football. These attributes marked the criteria for voting carried out by all players and officials at this year’s Touch Football World Cup held in Stellenbosch, South Africa.Gavin Shuker, the inaugural recipient of this award, has completed three tours of duty for Australia at World Cup level in 1999, 2003, and 2007. Shuker has played 25 World Cup games and 17 Test matches for a total of 42 appearances for Australia.Shuker’s sheer numbers are enough to suggest he would be right in contention for any award recognizing longevity and service to the game, but it is more his contribution off the field and behind the scenes that has resulted in him being awarded the prestigious medal.The current Queensland and Australian Open Men’s Captain has been a rock for his team mates providing quality leadership, advice, and support for all his players, as well being a wonderful ambassador for the game.He was instrumental in organising a pre-World Cup training camp for the Australian Men’s Open team in November 2006 in his home town of Rockhampton that included a meet and greet with the locals, skills clinics for junior touch players, and an exhibition game that captured the imagination of the town.‘Shukes’ is a well respected and popular figure in Australian Team circles and his selection as Australia’s name bearer for the 2007 World Cup Opening Ceremony is testimony to the high esteem in which the tenacious Aussie skipper is held by all and sundry. For his part Gavin, was humbled by the award.“It’s a tremendous honour, made even more special because it was voted on by everyone involved in our World Cup campaign. It’s humbling to be honoured amongst so many great people who all gave so much to see Australia succeed on the world stage. I’ll cherish the medal, and what it represents. It’s fantastic.” Gavin said.The award will be presented at every World Cup in the future, to honour a player, official or administrator’s outstanding effort for their nation in World Cup battle.last_img read more

9 months agoSevilla target Moreno told he can leave Liverpool

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Sevilla target Moreno told he can leave Liverpoolby Freddie Taylor9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAlberto Moreno is looking to push through an exit from Liverpool after being told his contract will not be renewed this summer.The fullback has publicly slated manager Jurgen Klopp for being treated poorly this season.The Daily Express claims Moreno wants a return to Sevilla this month, but the Reds are not rushing to agree a deal.The 26-year-old has received lucrative offers from Turkey and Russia. However, he has his heart set on a return to his homeland. last_img

John Calipari Posts Heartfelt Message On Twitter Following Kentucky’s Loss, “I Love These Guys”

first_imgjohn calipari tweet loss wisconsinjohn calipari tweet loss wisconsinIt’s been a little more than 12 hours since John Calipari’s team suffered its first – and only – loss of the 2014-15 men’s college basketball season. Kentucky, winners of 38 straight games, fell to Wisconsin, 71-64, in the Final Four in Indianapolis Saturday night. Calipari has since had time to reflect on the season that was for his Wildcats. Sunday morning, after getting out of Easter mass, Calipari posted a message on Twitter about his team’s year. Left Easter Mass a little bit ago. It put me in a great frame of mind. As each hour passes, I’m beginning to feel better.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 5, 2015All of us need to look at this season for what it was. This season changed college basketball.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 5, 2015Not only historic 38-0 start, but it showed that All-Americans can be selfless & servant leaders that care about others more than themselves— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 5, 2015I love these guys.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 5, 2015Nobody seems to handle defeat with more class and grace than Calipari. Kentucky will surely have another chance at a national championship next season.last_img read more

Maryland explores quick way to approve sports betting

first_imgANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland lawmakers are exploring a quick way to approve sports betting this year, but it’s unclear if they will be able to do it without voter approval in 2020.Voters endorsed a constitutional amendment allowing casinos in 2008, but any further commercial gambling expansion requires another voter referendum.And lawmakers failed to pass legislation to put sports betting on last November’s ballot.As neighbouring states have added sports betting to lure gamblers, some Maryland lawmakers don’t want to wait until the next election in 2020. Some are looking at a potential loophole: Regulate sports betting through the state lottery instead of private entities.A spokeswoman for House Speaker Michael Busch says he’s looking at all options. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller says he’s amenable to move forward this year.Brian Witte, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Witness grandeur of Hungary’s Parliament in Delhi

first_imgAt a time when the nation is busy chosing its own parliamentarians, the breathtaking architecture of the Parliament building of Hungary, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in the neo-gothic style from 1885-1902, will soon be seen in an exhibition in the national capital. The exhibition, titled ‘The Hungarian National Assembly’, will showcase photographs capturing the splendour of the heritage building. Arranged by the Museum of the Hungarian National Assembly, the exhibition will run from May 18-27 at the India International Centre here. Also Read – The Puja carnivalLocated on the banks of the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary’s Parliament is one of the largest in the world. To throw in some facts, the 265 metre long and 123 metre wide building has a total of 29 gates allowing entrance into 262 numbered rooms. “A contest was held in the 1880s to find an architect for a new Hungarian Parliament which would represent the nation’s sovereignty.” “Drawing inspiration from London’s Houses of Parliament, the winner was Hungarian architect Imre Steindl who designed the grand, neo-Gothic building which stands today,” the Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre said. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this NavratraIt took 17 years to construct the Hungarian Parliament. Sadly, Imre Steindl went blind before his grand design was completed, and died in 1902. Standing tall, the building has seen two World Wars, a number of uprisings and revolutions, and a shifting urban landscape in the landlocked European country. Housed inside the detailed exterior are 242 full-figure statutes, window glass art, ceiling paintings, goldsmith art and vaulted ceilings, wall panels, gothic style doors and windows and furniture made mainly from Slavonian oak. Architectured in the Gothic Revival style with a Renaissance Revival style dome, the century-old building is an emblem of Hungary.last_img read more

‘Lawrence of Arabia’ star Peter O’Toole dies aged 81

first_imgLondon- Irish actor Peter O’Toole, the star of the 1962 Oscar-winning epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” has died aged 81, his agent Steve Kenis said Sunday.“He was one of a kind in the very best sense and a giant in his field,” Kenis said.The hell-raising icon of stage and screen was nominated for eight Oscars before finally being given an honorary award in 2003.last_img

Michael Johnson Relates Slavery To Superior Athlete Gene

Four-time gold medalist Michael Johnson apparently is faster on his feet than his brain, for Johnson actually said for public consumption that he believes the question of why black athletes dominate Olympic sprint competitions is because of slavery.The eight men who ran in the 100-meter finals — all African-American or African-Caribbean — in the Beijing Olympics are believed to have been descended from slaves, according to the documentary. But, what’s the surprise there?“Difficult as it was to hear,” Johnson contended, “slavery has benefited descendants like me. I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us.”Johnson, who recently had his lineage traced back to West Africa as part of a British documentary, told the Daily Mail that slavery has “left an imprint through the generations.”The Daily Mail wrote that some scientists believe a combination of selective breeding by slave owners and appalling conditions meant that only the strongest slaves endured, creating a group predisposed to record-breaking athletic performance.African slaves underwent a rigorous selection process and only the fittest were transported on ships.Johnson’s views on the genetics of slavery and his allusions to eugenics have been mostly ignored in the United States. The interview with the Daily Mail was published last Wednesday and barely made ripples on this side of the pond.Well, the remarks have finally arrived, and they make Johnson seem like a dumb jock. He totally discounts the work ethic and training involved to be a world class athlete. He does not address why every black person walking around is not 0f Olympic status if blacks have a “superior athletic gene.”Comments like these got jimmy (The Greek) Synder fired years ago. that they would arise again, in 2012, by a black athlete in particular, is, well, silly — and sad. read more

3 Big Questions Heading Into The NBA Finals

From ABC News: TORONTO — We’re finally reaching the end of what’s been a long, somewhat bizarre, landscape-shifting NBA season. And somehow, it feels as if we’re still not fully realizing just how crazy these finals could potentially be.The Warriors, in most people’s eyes, will enter as favorites — something that’s understandable given their talent, their history and the ease with which they reached this stage. The challengers, meanwhile, are the Raptors, who have home-court advantage and likely the most lethal two-way talent in the league. The Raptors also figure to benefit from the absence of reigning back-to-back finals MVP Kevin Durant — whom we still don’t know when to expect back, if he returns at all.While TV executives may be less than thrilled about Toronto replacing a LeBron James-led club in the title round, there’s plenty to analyze that could swing the series in one direction or the other. Here are the three biggest things we’ll be watching as the NBA Finals kick off here Thursday night. Check out our latest NBA predictions. Who’s guarding Kawhi? And how will Toronto deal with Steph?We saw in the Eastern Conference finals how big a game-changer it can be when one superstar begins defending another. Kawhi Leonard began taking defensive responsibility of likely league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3 of the series against Milwaukee, limiting him in half-court scenarios while getting support from teammates, who helped wall off the paint.But who’s going to answer that call against Leonard for the Warriors, particularly without Durant? Our guess would be versatile wing Andre Iguodala, who generally took the role of guarding James in previous installments of the finals.The regular-season matchups between these two teams took place in November and December; lineup weirdness and roster changes since then make it hard to extrapolate those games to this series: Kawhi missed one of the games, while Stephen Curry missed the other, and Toronto made a trade-deadline deal for Marc Gasol. Golden State primarily used Durant to defend Leonard in the lone matchup the Toronto star suited up for, and Durant is of course out for at least Game 1. For what it’s worth, Kawhi dominated offensively that game, much like he always does in matchups against the Warriors, scoring 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting from the field.Draymond Green, a former defensive player of the year, could end up being the best bet to stop Leonard. The numbers certainly suggest that: In his three head-to-head matchups with Leonard since the start of the 2016-17 season, Green has rendered Leonard inefficient, holding him to just 28 points per 100 possessions, on a whopping 39 shot attempts per 100 possessions, according to data from Second Spectrum. By contrast, Kawhi has scored about 35 points per 100 possessions against Iguodala and Klay Thompson and nearly 49 points per 100 possessions against Durant.But Warriors coach Steve Kerr may treat that move as a “break in case of emergency” option. If Draymond takes that assignment for long stretches, it could leave the Warriors vulnerable at the rim, where Green does much of his best defensive work during the playoffs.On the flip side, it’s also fair to wonder who will handle defending Curry for Toronto. While it wouldn’t be shocking to see Leonard end up defending him here and there because of an occasional switch, expect the Raptors to show plenty of faith in backup guard Fred VanVleet, who has fared very well against Curry in the past.It’s almost certain that more attention will be given to VanVleet’s offense in this series. After all, he’s coming off arguably the greatest three-game perimeter-shooting stretch in postseason history — and all in the wake of the birth of his son. But his determination to stay glued to Curry while on defense — something the Cavaliers simply couldn’t do in last year’s finals — stands out on film. On several occasions, that resulted in the ball swinging to the other side of the floor:Video Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The numbers tell the story even more clearly: VanVleet limited the two-time MVP to a measly 10 points per 100 possessions during their matchup this season, per Second Spectrum.No, it wouldn’t be wise to assume that he can keep Curry under wraps to that extent in the finals. But even when you increase the sample size and start with the 2016-17 season, VanVleet has still surrendered just 21 points per 100 plays to Curry. So there are indications that he may be able to slow Steph down. And that’s big. The less Toronto has to run a second defender at Curry, the better the Raptors can protect the rim against Green’s short rolls, which annihilated the Blazers because of how decisive the fiery forward was in that series.Can Toronto limit the Warriors in transition?So many clubs have been overtaken by the Warriors’ debilitating runs over the years, and nothing fuels those infernos like a parade of missed shots and live-ball turnovers. But the Raptors are incredibly cautious about both, which figures to give them a decent chance in this series.During the regular season, Toronto was the most efficient defense in the NBA after missing a shot on the offensive end, allowing just 105 points per 100 possessions after a misfire, according to the data site Inpredictable. The Raptors excelled in this regard during the conference finals: They abandoned efforts to crash the offensive glass at times, realizing the greater importance of thwarting Antetokounmpo’s transition opportunities.Toronto also doesn’t turn the ball over much. The team’s 12.2 percent turnover rate this postseason would have ranked as the NBA’s best during the regular season. This is one area in which Kawhi’s elite one-on-one skills become even more useful: He can do so much on his own, without having to pass the ball, and those sorts of plays limit the likelihood of a turnover while also slowing the game down.Playing at a controlled tempo can help a great deal against the Warriors, particularly in these first two games before Golden State returns to Oracle Arena, where they often play considerably faster.How will the series change if and when Durant returns?Depending on the state of the series at the time, Durant’s return has the potential to be a sports talk radio host’s dream. If the Raptors play solidly at home, it wouldn’t be shocking for them to jump out to an early series lead. Should that happen, and then Durant comes back and helps the Warriors tie the series in Oakland, it would point to the obvious: that for however talented the Dubs are, they still need Durant — at least in certain spots, as a cushion — to get by certain opponents in tough situations.There’s an alternate universe in which the Warriors could jump out to a 2-0 lead of their own in Toronto before heading home to Oakland. Perhaps the most fascinating development possible would be if Durant is then cleared, and Golden State struggles to reincorporate him on offense. (The first two games could also result in a split, in which case maybe more nuanced takes would emerge upon Durant’s return and offer less breathless hyperbole about his value to the team.)In any case, there’s no doubt about what the Warriors’ preference is in all this. They view Durant as both a defensive option on Kawhi and as someone on whom Leonard would have to expend energy himself. (Durant had a season-high 51 points against Toronto earlier this year, and Leonard was his primary defender that night.) Not having someone in your lineup who can do both those things — especially given that Leonard is far and away the best player the Raptors have — could be incredibly costly in a series like this one.Kerr has had to dig deep into his bench — using Alfonzo McKinnie and Jonas Jerebko for longer stretches — to fill in as the team coped with Durant’s absence (and an injury to Iguodala). That worked well enough against Portland. But the Blazers weren’t as stingy or as adaptable as the Raptors, who have posted the league’s most efficient defense following a switch this postseason.It may all end up being academic. Perhaps the Warriors’ original core is talented enough to make it where none of this — including Durant’s return — ultimately matters. But more likely than not, Toronto will at least hold its own by playing the sort of hard-nosed, challenging defense that the Warriors haven’t seen in a while. And if that happens, we may finally get an answer to how badly Golden State did, or didn’t, need Durant in order to win an NBA championship. read more

March Madness Has Weaponized The Zone

Gonzaga803.610.7-2.9 Source: Synergy Sports Oregon88748.69869.5+20.9 UCF31515.82417.9+2.1 Iowa67132.2%8160.0%+27.8 Buffalo50.200.0-0.2 Ohio State814.054.1+0.1 Maryland301.53423.6+22.1 UC Irvine1888.73527.1+18.4 Tennessee1959.121.5-7.6 LSU673.100.0-3.1 Florida1698.52418.0+9.5 Villanova1708.9108.1-0.8 Oklahoma1808.62015.3+6.7 Virginia Tech251.332.3+1.0 Kentucky221.100.0-1.1 Regular SeasonTournament Liberty150.810.8+0.0 Wofford653.310.8-2.5 Texas Tech1758.675.4-3.2 TeamZone Plays% ZoneZone Plays% ZoneDiff. Teams are going zone in the big danceAmong the final 32 teams in the men’s NCAA tournament, the rate of zone used in the regular season vs. the tournament in rounds 1 and 2. Michigan90.400.0-0.4 Baylor84641.02922.1-18.9 Purdue30.200.0-0.2 Kansas582.743.2+0.5 Minnesota482.310.8-1.5 Auburn1607.71611.9+4.2 Michigan State50.200.0-0.2 Houston30.100.0-0.1 Florida State1196.010.8-5.2 Virginia110.600.0-0.6 Washington201895.413391.7-3.7 Duke1054.81713.0+8.2 North Carolina813.610.8-2.8 There was a time when the thought of a Krzyzewski team using a zone was unthinkable. From the 2009-2010 season until 2013-14, Duke played zone on 1.62 percent of defensive possessions. Known as an unusual defense used to compensate for a gap in talent, the zone was often unnecessary for the most athletic teams in the country (read: Duke)But Krzyzewski has changed over time, employing zone on 14.3 percent of possessions in 2014-15, then 23.5 percent the next year. Last season, Duke played zone on about half of its possessions, including 92.2 percent from Feb. 11 on, throwing off basketball fans everywhere.This year, with a new batch of freshmen in tow, the Blue Devils have shifted way back to 4.91 percent. But they still break out the zone in a pinch — a 2-3 half-court set or a full-court zone press — which is more than they could say five years ago. A Washington Post story earlier this month described how Krzyzewski learned parts of the 2-3 zone from the master of it, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, when Krzyzewski became the head coach of the U.S. men’s national team. Boeheim told The Post he sees hints of Syracuse’s zone in Duke’s defenses today. “I don’t think Coach K should be allowed to play zone,” Boeheim joked to reporters last season.Zone defense appealed to teams big and small in the tournament’s first weekend. Some were double-digit seeds like Iona, Colgate and Gardner-Webb who needed the zone to try to level the playing field against more athletic teams. But there was also Maryland, which played as many possessions of zone Sunday against LSU (34) as it had all season until that point.Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon has not used much zone during his eight seasons in College Park — only on 2.7 percent of possessions. But after his technical foul put the Terrapins behind 46-31 with 16 minutes left, he called for a 3-2 zone that baffled LSU the rest of the way. Maryland averaged .95 points allowed on 38 man-to-man possessions and .59 points allowed on 34 zone possessions, erasing the 15-point deficit before losing on a go-ahead layup with less than two seconds left.Turgeon’s strategy tweak was stat-driven. He knew LSU was one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the tournament at around 32 percent. “That’s low,” Turgeon told reporters after the loss. “So everything told us to guard that way. We weren’t going to guard Belmont that way, obviously. And so we told the guys yesterday morning when they woke up, we’re going to zone, don’t know when, but we’re going to zone.”Added LSU interim coach Tony Benford: “We knew they were going to run the 3-2, and we had worked on it. But when you don’t have but one day to prepare, it’s tough.”In the first round on Friday, UC Irvine turned to its zone defense to fluster Kansas State and earn the tournament’s biggest upset by seed. “We knew they’d play zone, and I was just hoping, I told them to attack with confidence, not to act like we’ve never been there, because we’ve played against a bunch of people, bunch of zones,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said after the game. “But obviously we just didn’t get enough.”The worst 3-point shooting team left in the tournament is Duke at 30.7 percent, a troublesome mark because a good zone defense could force the team to take threes. UCF stayed in Sunday’s game by mixing in a zone at times. That might hint at a blueprint for a team to take down the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed — that is, if that team can figure out Duke’s zone first. Murray State874.496.2+1.8 With 10:39 left in a second-round game Sunday, Mike Krzyzewski did something you don’t think of Mike Krzyzewski doing against a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. No. 1 Duke was more talented and more established than Central Florida. The Blue Devils started four top-15 freshmen, all future pros, led by the star of this college basketball season, Zion Williamson. And yet, locked in a 54-54 tie far earlier in this tournament than anticipated — FiveThirtyEight’s model gave Duke a 91 percent chance of winning before the game — Krzyzewski needed a spark. He called for the Blue Devils to play some zone defense.It started on a baseline out-of-bounds play for UCF. “Duke is in a zone — no, a matchup, a matchup zone,” Grant Hill called out on the CBS telecast. “They did this one trip against Virginia Tech,” Bill Raftery recalled. Guards Tre Jones and Jordan Goldwire made up the front line of the 2-3 zone. Williamson stood in the paint. Out of that baseline play, UCF drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer. But the zone was enough for Duke to hold off Johnny Dawkins’ team for a while, even if it took a last-minute Duke put-back and a last-second missed UCF tip-in to seal the win.In all, Duke deployed the zone for 11 possessions, more than in all but three of its games this season. The key second-half stretch lasted eight possessions, of which UCF scored on only three. Mostly, the zone stunted UCF’s rhythm, forcing five 3-point attempts and often pushing the Knights to the end of the shot clock.The fact that Duke needed a late defensive adjustment at all was a surprise. But a team in its position going to zone was not — it has become a popular strategy in the NCAA men’s tournament, where even brief momentum swings can change games and seasons. Coaches tend to be more apt to use their full playbook to gain an edge. And opponents sometimes have less than 48 hours to prepare for new defensive looks. In other words, the zone can function like an off-speed pitch for opposing offenses who didn’t expect to see it coming.This season, 12 tournament teams played zone on more than 15 percent of defensive possessions entering the Big Dance, according to Synergy Sports. But 19 teams have played zone on more than 15 percent of their defensive possessions in the tournament1Through the round of 32.. read more

Santi Cazorla is a fan of Steven Gerrard

first_imgThe midfielder is ready to return to European competition after missing almost two years and his team Villarreal will play against RangersFor Villarreal’s Santi Cazorla Thursday will be a special day.Not only he will return to a European competition, after not playing there since October 2016, but he will also see Steven Gerrard.Gerrard is the coach of Villarreal’s rivals for Thursday night, Scottish Premier League club Rangers.Guiseppe Rossi, Villarreal, ItalyReport: Former United man Rossi almost went to Barca George Patchias – September 9, 2019 Former Manchester United starlet Giuseppe Rossi almost joined Barcelona.Currently without a club, and having trained most recently back at his old stomping ground of…“My last match in Europe was two years ago in the Champions League, so returning to European competition is always beautiful and more so if it is with Villarreal,” he told The Scotsman.“I have been able to live great things with this club and hopefully we will play a great role this year. We aspire to everything in all competitions, but we know it will be difficult.”And when asked about Gerard he said: “he’s a point of reference. I’ve always looked up to him and I wish him the best in his coaching career from tomorrow.”“I think our team has done well since the start of La Liga and it is clear that everything looks better after a victory.”last_img read more