Category: hixaginc

Second round goal! – Schäfer believes Reggae Boyz will shine at Copa CentennialSecond round goal! – Schäfer believes Reggae Boyz will shine at Copa Centennial

first_img “We need service for the players … And at the end of our matches we need success. We need our players, the best players, and I hope all our players come in very good (health). But for the team the service must be perfect, it’s very important.” Schäfer said hosting at least a one-week camp will be important. “We want one week before the players go off from the training. We had meeting with CONCACAF and they accepted what we want and we need one week for our players for tactical training, for standards of corners, free kick. It was the same for the (2015) Copa America, (the) players knew what they had to do,” he assessed. At the last two tournaments (Copa America and Gold Cup), monetary squabbles threatened to derail the team and the coach is hoping the federation and players work out all financial arrangements well in advance. “There are two parts; one is the team, the other is the JFF. It is normal for the players coming from clubs to want the best (pay) package, the highest money. In Germany, Britain, Mexico it’s all the same. So before we go to the tournament, five, six weeks before, we are clear. One day before the match I don’t accept this. “For the first match we have to be clear about the bonus arrangement. They need a meeting four weeks before and come to a result of what the JFF can do,” the German added. Schäfer, who attended the draw along with manager Roy Simpson and JFF President, Captain Horace Burrell, said their performances at last year’s Copa America and Gold Cup earned them greater respect outside of the region. “In Chile (Copa), we lost three times one-nil … but now we have more confidence, as the last big tournament gave more confidence to us, and we got more respect from the other teams. All the teams coming to this tournament are very good teams, Jamaica too. We qualified, this is not an invitation. “For us, this is a big tournament, and we are proud as a small island to be in one of the biggest tournaments in the world.” NEED SUCCESS National senior men’s team football head coach, Winfred Schäfer, says the Reggae Boyz aim to excel and make the country proud at this summer’s Copa Centennial football tournament in the United States, as he believes they can qualify for the second round. The Jamaicans were placed in Group C alongside Uruguay, Mexico and Venezuela at the competition’s draw in New York on Sunday and Schäfer argues that with the best players and the right support from the football federation the team can be successful. “Before the (2015) Copa America remember what I told (said) and many people smiled and say ‘coach, what you talk’. I told I want win. I’m not going to the Copa America and Gold Cup for (a) joke,” he said. “The players have to know we can win and not only the players, the JFF too. They (JFF) have to be perfect (with preparation and accommodation) for the first match in Chicago, then to Miami and then to New York,” Schäfer continued.last_img read more

No repeat for the MonsoonsNo repeat for the Monsoons

first_imgDOWNEY – Mayfair High’s bid for a second successive CIF Southern Section girls’ soccer crown fell victim to early misfortune: two fluke goals that put the Monsoons at a decided disadvantage. It led to a chess match of sorts, with adjustments answered with adjustments, but Mayfair couldn’t benefit from superior skill or possession, falling, 3-2, to top-seeded Sunny Hills in the Division III final at Warren High. The second-seeded Monsoons (25-5-2), who shared last year’s Division III title with Orange Lutheran, twice halved two-goal deficits but struggled to get behind the Lancers’ backline despite dominating play in midfield and dictating action most of the game. All five goals were scored in a frenetic first 24 minutes, with Sunny Hills (25-1-5) taking a 3-1 lead by the 16th minute en route to its second Division III championship in three years. “It’s hard to swallow, but we played our hearts out and did all that we could,” Mayfair captain Brittanie Perez said. “We had our chances to come back, but we were unlucky.” Sunny Hills took command early behind speedy striker Tanya Taylor, whose 37th goal of the season, on a 40-yard run from defender Melani Serrata’s long pass back, provided a seventh-minute lead. Lauren Roblero made it 2-0 four minutes later on an odd strike, redirecting Audrey McKay’s shot after Mayfair cleared the ball following a throw-in into its 6-yard box. The Monsoons quickly answered in the 14th minute, Sami Wall nodding home Nicole Hubbard’s corner kick, but the Lancers restored the two-goal advantage two minutes later. Gaby deSeriere’s clearance from Mayfair’s box ricocheted off Sunny Hills forward Jennifer Aanderud, and the ball slowly rolled past goalkeeper Danielle deSeriere and inside the right post. “I think that third goal kind of was, I don’t know, maybe a sign of the luck we were going to have today,” said Mayfair coach Sal Marroquin. “In the final it’s hard to give up goals and come back from them, but I think we did a great job of coming back and fighting.” Sunny Hills switched formations, from a 5-3-2 that surrendered midfield to the Monsoons to a 3-5-2 that effectively cut off Mayfair’s diagonal balls from the flanks. center_img “They were killing us,” Lancers coach Jeff Gordon said. “(We switched) to match up on every one of their players, and it changed the game around. They would have scored five, six goals on us today if we hadn’t adjusted. Individually, they’re better than us. But as a team we knew with a game plan we could find a way to play to our strengths and beat them.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Resilient Bandari break Gor’s unbeaten runResilient Bandari break Gor’s unbeaten run

first_imgHeading into the tie, Gor were on a run of 22 matches without defeat and had only dropped points on five occasions. However, Bandari under new coach Bernard Mwalala were determined to be the first to ‘break Gor Mahia’s virginity’ and they did so with a pinch of style.Heading into the tie, Gor boss Dylan Kerr fielded his strongest 11 having been given a scare in a 2-2 draw against Nakumatt over the weekend. The only difference was keeper SHabaan Odhoji who stepped in ahead of Boniface Oluoch who remains sidelined.Ernest Wendo returned for the first time since the CECAFA Kagame Cup where he limped off with a hamstring strain and he partnered Humphrey Mieno in midfield.K’Ogalo were shocked early with Guya heading the home side into the lead turning in a corner after 11 minutes, sending the home fans into frenzy while the green army of K’Ogalo was sent into stunned silence.Gor Mahia winger George ‘Blackberry Odhiambo’ Odhiambo beats Bandari’s Nicholas Meja during their first leg meeting in Machakos Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYABut the league leaders kept pushing hoping they would get the steering wheel back with Godfrey Walusimbi and George Odhiambo making inroads on the left, but their industry didn’t provide much for the forwards led by Francis Mustafa.It was Bandari however who would get their party going, Congolese import Yema Mwana sending them 2-0 up after 35 minutes.The hosts should have added another one few minutes later when Darius Msagha broke off on the counter from the right beating Walusimbi to face Odhoji one on one, but he could not get the ball past the keeper with Mwana screaming for the ball in a better position.Gor came back with determined hearts in the second half, looking to salvage their invincibility with at least a point.Harun Shakava was the first to have a go at goal with a 65th minute stinging freekick from range but Bandari keeper Faruk Shikhalo proved equal to the task making a decent save.From another set piece, this time taken by Francis Kahata, Gor had a chance to get the scoring on but the effort curled beyond the wall but wide.Gor ultimately pulled one back through Jacques Tuyisenge in the 77th minute, but it was too little too late as Bandari managed to hold their own and get the three points.The hosts were reduced to 10 men for the final few minutes of the game when Fred Nkata was given his marching orders for a second yellow card. Coach Mwalala made a change bringing in Siraj Mohammed to fill in the void at left back.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Gor Mahia fans show their love from teh stands during their friendly match against Hull City on May 13, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaNAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7- First half goals from Dan Guya and Yema Mwana saw Bandari break Gor Mahia’s unbeaten Kenyan Premier League run with a 2-1 win at the Mbaraki Complex in Mombasa on Tuesday afternoon.Gor Mahia pulled one back through Jacques Tuyisenge 13 minutes from time, but it was never enough to call for a comeback. Bandari had to finish the game with 10 men after Fred Nkata was sent off for a second yellow card.last_img read more

City whip Leicester to reach Carabao semisCity whip Leicester to reach Carabao semis

first_img0Shares0000Man City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko celebrates scoring the winning penalty with Arijanet MuricLONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 18 – Holders Manchester City edged through to the Carabao Cup semi-finals by beating Leicester City 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.A poor quality shootout saw the home side miss three penalties while a dinked effort went wrong for Raheem Sterling before Oleksandr Zinchenko stepped up to emphatically thump the decisive kick into the top corner to take his side through. Pep Guardiola’s side took the lead in the first half through Kevin de Bruyne’s first goal of the season – a sweet, low drive into the bottom corner.Leicester were poor in the first half but regrouped at half-time and levelled the contest through Marc Albrighton’s well-struck effort before crumbling in the shootout.League One side Burton shocked Championship side Middlesbrough to advance to the last four, while Arsenal face rivals Tottenham and Chelsea host Bournemouth in Wednesday’s remaining quarter-finals.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more


first_imgA Donegal woman has flown to Austria in a bid to win one of the world’s most exclusive beauty pageants.Dearbhla Walsh at Dublin airport today.Dearbhla Walsh, from Kerrykeel, flew out from Dublin Airport this morning.Stunning Dearbhla will represent Northern Ireland in the Miss Earth Pageant competing against some of the world’s most beautiful women. But if this picture is anything to go by, we think that Dearbhla stands more than a modest chance of winning the contest!Dearbhla thanked al her family and friends for supporting her along the way.But she paid a special tribute to her mum and dad for always being there for her.“The most important thank you goes to mammy and daddy. I wouldn’t be sitting here in this airport if it wasn’t for you both supporting me every day,” she said. We wish her the best best of luck and will let all our readers know how Dearbhla gets on in Vienne in the coming days.DONEGAL WOMAN DEARBHLA A HOT FAVOURITE FOR MISS EARTH PAGEANT was last modified: November 18th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Dearbhla WalshdonegalKERRYKEELMiss Earth pageantlast_img read more


first_imgSEVEN more community clinics will close next month due to Government cutbacks, a Senator said today.Brian Ó Domhnaill said clinics in Brinaleck, Burtonport and Doochary had already shut and said clinics will close on April 2 in Laghey, Frosses, Mountcharles, Dunkineely, Glencolmcille and Kilcar.Senator Ó Domhnaill has hit out at the Government for not replacing three essential Community Welfare posts in County Donegal brought about through retirement. Ó Domhnaill told tonight: “At a time of rising unemployment and people struggling to meet living costs it is unacceptable for the Government to cut back the Community Welfare Services in the County by not replacing key front line staff positions.“Instead the Department of Social Protection, who administer the service have decided to reconfigure the CWS within the County. In other words the Department is continuing to follow with this Government’s agenda of centralising and cutting key services.”“To date 3 clinics in the County have been closed in Brinaleck, Burtonport and Doochary and on the week commencing 2nd April clinics in Laghey, Frosses, Mountcharles, Dunkineely, Glencolmcille and Kilcar will close.“Community Welfare Officers who work for the Department of Social Protection but provide clinics from the HSE Health Centres provide on excellent and professional service in County Donegal. “The type of payments made under various schemes include Rent Supplement, Mortgage Interest Supplement, Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance, and the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme to assist individuals who are struggling financially.  CWOs also carry out important work in actively referring individuals to other state agencies and/or voluntary organisations if appropriate to the client needs.”He said the closure of clinics of the nine areas concerned mean that individuals would be expected to travel to clinics up to 10-15 miles away, claiming this is not a possibility for many people as they do not have their own private transport or indeed access to public transport.“This decision in my view is another attack on the most vulnerable people in our society and it is simply wrong,” he said.“At a time when many families and individuals across the Country are struggling to financially survive – it is absolutely outrageous that the Government would withdraw such an information service from nine centres across Donegal.” 

“I have today written to the Minister for Social Protection requesting an urgent review of this decision for the reinstatement of  the CWO service to all the centres which have or are due to close.” TOTAL WIPEOUT: SEVEN MORE WEST DONEGAL CLINICS TO CLOSE, SAYS SENATOR was last modified: March 21st, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:SAYS SENATORTOTAL WIPEOUT: WEST DONEGAL CLINICS TO CLOSElast_img read more

USC notes: Bad turf makes it no field dayUSC notes: Bad turf makes it no field day

first_imgUSC coach Pete Carroll might make more than $2 million per season, but even he couldn’t get the Trojans on to their practice field Wednesday as ground crews struggled to fix new turf problems and a crew supervisor said the field might not even be ready today. But Carroll vowed to return the Trojans to Howard Jones Field today no matter what condition it’s in. USC practiced on Cromwell Field the past three days. Cromwell Field has FieldTurf instead of grass and doesn’t even have a 100-yard field. “We’ll force our way out there (to Howard Jones Field),” Carroll said. Three different-sized bulldozers unsuccessfully tried to level the new sod and a huge amount of sand was poured on the field to soak up water from the recent rains. But Wednesday night, the field was still uneven. Carroll ordered equipment moved to Howard Jones Field anyways. Carroll’s only consolation was that USC plays on FieldTurf against Washington on Saturday. “This fits that we’re out here,” he said. “In the long run it’s better but I would have preferred to have taken (the team) to the grass.” Cushing connections: Freshman linebacker Brian Cushing is finally expected to return from a dislocated shoulder, although he tweaked it during drills Wednesday. “I’m real excited to play football. It’s been a disappointment to me and I’ve been a disappointment to others,” Cushing said. After making the trip to Notre Dame, where he expected to commit before Tyrone Willingham was fired, Cushing said the Irish are a different program now. “That might be the Notre Dame of old,” Cushing said. Would he have gone to Notre Dame if he were a high-school senior this year? “I might have,” Cushing said. Willingham is now the coach at Washington and Cushing hopes to see Husky linebackers coach Bob Simmons, who recruited him at Notre Dame. “Coach Simmons was over at my house all the time,” he said. “I still talk to him once in awhile.” Take two aspirin: Quarterback Matt Leinart got shaken up when tailback LenDale White landed his head against Notre Dame and NBC reported Leinart needed medication before returning to the game. It turned out Leinart took two Tylenol. Special teams update: Freshman linebacker Rey Maualuga along with cornerbacks Josh Pinkard and Will Harris appear to be the favorites to be placed on the punt team as gunners, the players that line up wide and race down the field when the ball is snapped. Harris is also an addition to the kickoff team, replacing the injured Desmond Reed. “He looks like he’s flying around here,” Carroll said of Harris. Big audience: An estimated 30 million watched USC defeat Notre Dame, making it the most-watched college football game in nine years. A Florida-Florida State game on ABC in 1996 attracted 32 million viewers. This was the highest-rated Notre Dame game since 1996 and fourth-highest since NBC started televising Irish games 15 years ago. Injury report: Defensive back William Buchanon (hip flexor) will miss the game. Tight end Dale Thompson continues to wear a cast on his broken hand but is cleared to play. Defensive lineman Lawrence Miles underwent x-rays on his sore shoulder but is expected to be OK. Keep talking: Carroll’s done a lot of TV interviews this week following the highly publicized victory over the Irish. “I’m starting to get sick of hearing myself talk,” he said. Scott Wolf, (818) 713-3607 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

The lowdown on Assam’s NRC driveThe lowdown on Assam’s NRC drive

first_imgWhat is it? On December 31, at the stroke of midnight, the Assam government published the first draft of an updated version of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) with the names of 1.9 crore people. In all, 3.3 crore people from 68.7 lakh families have submitted over 6 crore documents to back their claim of being a citizen of India. Another draft is expected by early March after the documents of the residents are verified. If any resident is left out, he or she can approach the authorities with the requisite documents for their name to be included in ( 20this/). This is called the claims and objection process to rectify any error. Once the verification is over, a final updated NRC will be published with the names of citizens. Those excluded will be considered foreigners.How did it come about?The first draft was published as per the directives of the Supreme Court. However, the issue has its roots in the anti-foreigner movement or ‘Axom Andolan’ that was launched in June 1979 by the All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU). It started after the death of Mangaldoi Lok Sabha member Hiralal Patwari in 1978 that necessitated a byelection. When the electoral rolls were being prepared, the number of voters increased dramatically. It was suspected that the increase was largely because illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh had settled down in the State. After years of mass protests that at times resulted in violence, including the Nellie massacre of 1983, the Assam Peace Accord was signed between the Rajiv Gandhi government, the AASU and the Asom Gana Sangram Parishad in 1985.Anyone who entered the State after the midnight of March 24, 1971, was considered a foreigner. The State government was to “detect and deport” illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. However, successive governments in the State have failed to make progress in detecting and deporting foreigners as laid down in the Accord.In 2005, another agreement was signed among the Centre, the Tarun Gogoi government and the AASU. It mandated an update of the NRC.Though the Gogoi government started the update as a pilot project in some districts, the exercise was stopped after violence broke out in some parts of the State. Assam Public Works, a non-governmental organisation, petitioned the Supreme Court for identification of Bangladeshi foreigners and deletion of their names from the electoral rolls. The court directed the State to complete the NRC update first.Why does it matter? The NRC — first published after the 1951 Census in the post-partition India when parts of Assam went to the erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) — is being updated to determine foreigners who entered Assam after the cut-off date. Once the exercise is over, it is expected to tell the authorities how many migrants might have illegally settled down in the State. It will also provide dignity to all those Bengali-speaking settlers who continue to live under the shadow of being called “illegal Bangladeshis.”In pre-independent India, migration of farmers from Mymensingh district of the erstwhile East Bengal was common as they were brought in as experts in wet paddy cultivation. Many of them had come in when Sir Syed Muhammed Saadullah was heading the government of Assam Province and launched the Grow More Food campaign to aid British war efforts in the early 1940s.What next?The next stage is undoubtedly the most difficult part of the exercise. The State and the Centre are expected to take a call on what to do with those identified as foreigners. Bangladesh does not recognise them as their nationals and even the cut-off date of March 1971 is 46 years old. There are apprehensions of it becoming a law and order issue. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has talked about dealing with the issue humanely.last_img read more

ScienceShot: New Hope for Identifying Mystery DiseasesScienceShot: New Hope for Identifying Mystery Diseases

first_imgWhen a baby is slow to crawl or talk or has other symptoms suggesting a genetic disorder, parents often find themselves embarking on a long, frustrating quest for answers. Doctors may order a series of tests but cannot arrive at a specific diagnosis. Now, cheap DNA sequencing could help uncover the causes of such mystery disorders. The idea is to sequence the 1% of the patient’s DNA that codes for protein—the “exome”—then sift the data for the genetic culprit behind the disease. Today in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report that using exome sequencing, they successfully identified the mutations underlying the conditions of 25% of 250 patients, most children with neurological disorders. Among them were three patients with Cornelia de Lange syndrome, which can cause intellectual delays and distinctive facial features such as long, thick eyebrows and downturned lips (above). This success rate suggests that exome sequencing could be used routinely for clinical diagnosis of a variety of rare genetic conditions.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

A string of champs from God’s own arenaA string of champs from God’s own arena

first_imgsport Going on a Gold hunt RELATED Kerala COMMENT Rio 2016: Faster, Higher, Stronger events August 05, 2016 Why Kerala outruns others at the Games null × Hope fills Indian hearts as the ‘samba’ Games begincenter_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL It doesn’t get bigger than the Olympics COMMENTS Sporty State Middle-distance runner PT Usha, seen here in action at an event in 1998, is one of many stars to shine from Kerala   –  Rajeev Bhatt When PT Usha missed the bronze by one-hundredth of a second in the 400-metre hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, all of Kerala was in agony.That’s because Usha was the embodiment of Kerala’s sporting ambitions. She was the icon of the Malayali spirit. She was Kerala’s brand ambassador—not just in the realm of athletics or sports, but of all things Keralite. Moreover, her athletic career had a rags-to-riches aura about it: a rural girl from a poor background who sweated it out on the fish-smelling sands of the Payyoli beach to reach the world’s greatest sports arena. Her life was a lesson in hard work, determination, and goal-setting.Usha’s failure to win that third prize at the Los Angeles Olympics by a whisker, however, brought home to the average Malayali the elusive greatness of the Olympics. Until then, the Games had been a distant thing played out on distant shores by the greatest, the ablest and the best-est. Usha’s ‘defeat,’ which was discussed for months on end across the State, made Olympics a bit more intimated – as if it related to the girl-next-door. Usha had earlier competed in the 1980 Moscow Olympics (and later in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, too), but the missed medal at Los Angeles had the most impact on the public mind.It was after the Los Angeles Games that athletes and sportspersons in Kerala started dreaming the Olympian dream. The result has been an onrush of schoolchildren into athletics. At the national school games, Kerala won the overall championships year after year after year.“Usha had a huge impact on children,” says Mercy Kuttan, who won the silver for long jump at the 1982 Asian Games and who currently runs the Mercy Kuttan Athletics Academy in Kochi. “She has been the role model for young athletes in Kerala.”A number of schools, mostly in the rural areas, emerged as training grounds for athletic talent. For instance, the Koruthodu school is well-known at the national level for producing talented athletes who consistently won top honours at the national school meets. Koruthodu’s legendary coach, Thomas Master, won the Dronacharya award, the country’s topmost coaching honour. The Kakkavayal school in the tribal district of Wayanad moulded several tribal children into athletes. T Gopi, a member of the Indian contingent for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, is a product of Kalavayal.The focus across the State on track-and-field, which started from 1970s onwards, was reflected in the number of athletes from Kerala.“Tiny Kerala has always had a fair share of athletes on the Indian Olympic teams,” points out Mercy Kuttan, who is also the Vice-chair of the Kerala State Sports Council. Indicatively, there will be 11 Keralite athletes in Rio.However, Kuttan is worried that the young generation of athletes is content with just participating in the Olympics. “They need to be focussed on winning,” she said. “Athletes of PT Usha’s generation had the determination and commitment to win.”She is also worried that Kerala’s long domination at the national-level school meets is receding, with States like Haryana emerging as strong contenders. Parents are not promoting children to shine in athletics as they did earlier. One reason for this is the middle-class parents’ fad for ‘entrance examinations’ (for professional courses) which has dampened the athletic passions of children. Sporty State Middle-distance runner PT Usha, seen here in action at an event in 1998, is one of many stars to shine from Kerala   –  Rajeev Bhatt Don’t blame it on Rio! Published on SHARE In mission mode, for a changelast_img read more