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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Wimbledon - Seeding makes Serena happy - leaving Cibulkova unhappy


One would have witnessed some people jumping Queue (say in trying to get a train seat or in a Ration shop) – so, when a person or a group of persons – cut the queue and surge ahead, they actually prevent those legitimately in the queue in getting their due share !! ~ I had posted earlier on Wimbledon seeding and Serena’s comeback after giving birth to a child.

Dominika Cibulková  is a Slovak professional tennis player who has  won eight WTA singles titles and two on the ITF circuit.  In 2014 she appeared in the finals of Australian open becoming the first female Slovak to reach the championship round of a grandslam.   She also won the WTA Finals in 2016, becoming the fourth player (after Serena Williams in 2001, Maria Sharapova in 2004 and Petra Kvitová in 2011) to win the tournament on debut.

Remember Cawley playing in a Wimbledon finals.  Evonne Fay Goolagong Cawley,   was one of the world's leading players in the 1970s and early 1980s, during which she won 14 Grand Slam titles: seven in singles (four at the Australian Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the French Open), six in women's doubles, and one in mixed doubles.

Now comes the news that Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams is the 25th  seed for this year's tournament, despite being outside the top 32 in the rankings.  Serena Williams, whose world ranking is No. 183 after she took time off to have a baby last year, has been seeded 25th  in the singles draw at Wimbledon, the tournament announced this day.  Serena Williams’s elevated status was the only deviation from the world rankings made by the seeding committee, made up of the tournament referee; representatives from the All England Club, the tournament host; and representatives from the Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body for tennis in Britain.

A seeding of 25 at Wimbledon, while much higher than someone with Williams’s world ranking could normally expect, still brings a difficult road as the tournament progresses. Seeds from 25 – to – 32  are drawn to face one of the top eight seeds in the third round.   The top eight players are Simona Halep, the French Open champion; Caroline Wozniacki, the Australian Open champion; Garbiñe Muguruza, the defending Wimbledon champion; Sloane Stephens, the United States Open champion; Elina Svitolina; Caroline Garcia; Karolina Pliskova; and Petra Kvitova.

The 36-year-old American  returning to the thick was in news as she was away from play after giving birth to her first child in September. Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles winner, has played only three tournaments in the past 12 months and is ranked 183rd in the world… .. .. and that brings some agony to - Slovakia's world number 32 Dominika Cibulkova who now would be unseeded. On Tuesday, Cibulkova said it would not be fair for Williams to be seeded ahead of her. "I don't think it's the right thing to do," said the 29-year-old. "I think it's just not fair. I have tried and I should be seeded. If they put her in front of me then I will lose my spot that I am supposed to have."

Simona Halep is the top seed, with Roger Federer her counterpart in the men's draw.  Federer is seeded a place higher than his world ranking, with world number one Rafael Nadal the second seed. With the exception of Williams, and perhaps Cibulkova,  all of the women are seeded in line with their WTA ranking. Williams is seeded one place lower than Maria Sharapova, who she was due to meet in the fourth round of the French Open before pulling out because of injury. Her sister Venus is the ninth seed.

However, due to  different rules in the two draws, Andy Murray cannot be seeded as he sits outside the top 32 in the rankings. Britain's three-time Grand Slam champion is returning from a hip injury. Williams will not have to face another seeded player before the third round, but at that stage should expect to run into one of the top eight in the world. So the protection a seeding offers her will be limited – that may be bane not for her, but for that seed !

Though  the committee clearly felt  Williams is a unique case: an extraordinary champion who has only been able to play three events in the past year after giving birth to her first child in September.   By elevating Williams to the No. 25 seed, the Wimbledon committee edged Dominika Cibulkova, ranked No. 32, out of the seedings. Cibulkova, who reached a career high of No. 4 in March last year, has had more middling results this year, with a 14-13 record. She lost in the first rounds of the Australian Open and French Open.

In 1980 in the finals the good looking Chris Evert Lloyd played against  and lost to Evonne Goolagong Cawley.  Martina Navratilova was the defending champion, but lost to her rival Chris Evert Lloyd in the semifinals.  Cawley defeated Evert Lloyd in the final, 6–1, 7–6(7–4) to win the Ladies' Singles tennis title at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships. The second-set tiebreaker in the final was the first tiebreak ever played in the ladies singles final at Wimbledon and the match was the first ever singles final (men's or women's) to end on a tiebreak. 

Goolagong realized during the 1976 US Open final that she was pregnant and did not play again on the regular tour until the late summer of 1977, continuing through to Wimbledon 1978. An ankle injury forced her to miss the remainder of 1978  and she did not return to competitive play until March 1979.  In 1980, She withdrew from the US Open where she had been seeded fourth, due to a recurring back injury and in the early stages of her second pregnancy.  She is the only mother to have won the Wimbledon title since Dorothea Lambert Chambers in 1914.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th June 2018..


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Iceland bows out graciously of FIFA 2018


Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is the world's northern most capital of a sovereign state. Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, which, according to Ingólfur Arnarson, was established in AD 874.  The  famous Reykjavík Summit  meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev,  was held in Höfði in Reykjavík, on 11–12 October 1986. The talks collapsed at the last minute, but the progress that had been achieved eventually resulted in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, being the  most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain IngólfrArnarson became the first permanent settler on the island.  Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944. Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture, and was among the poorest countries in Europe.

In FIFA 2018, Croatia beat Iceland 2-1 to top Group D.  Two years on from their fairy-tale march to the knockout stages of the European Championship - and historic humiliation of England - Iceland failed to repeat the feat at the World Cup here.But there was no shame in falling short for the tournament’s smallest ever nation after what was a thrilling, see-saw climax to Group D that saw them thunderclapped from the field by their army of supporters.“We showed that we deserved to be here; we can compete with the best,” said manager HeimirHallgrímsson afterwards, proclaiming he “couldn’t be more proud of the players”.

In case, you are keen on knowing the squad :  Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram; Kari Arnason, Ari FreyrSkulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, SverrirIngiIngason, Hordur Magnusson, HolmarOrnEyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson; Johann Berg Gudmundsson, BirkirBjarnason, ArnorIngviTraustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, OlafurIngiSkulason, Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarsson; Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Jon DadiBodvarsson, Albert Gudmundsson.  ~   Wondering why all the squad members' names end with sson or ssen? There are no surnames or family names in Iceland - Icelanders use the traditional Nordic naming system, which includes a last name that is comprised from their father's (or mother's) first name with the addition of -daughter or -son. Now you know.

The Iceland men's national football team is controlled by the Football Association of Iceland.   There are only 21,500 registered football players in Iceland, a country with a population of just 330,000. Iceland has based its football surge on building football 'houses" because of a climate which is tough, although not as harsh as many might imagine. There are 11 football houses at present, containing a full field, changing rooms, medical facilities, stands etcetc and some hold thousands of spectators. Iceland was hit hard by the global financial crisis six years ago, which put the brakes on constructing these houses.

The team has enjoyed success in the second half of the 2010s. In the qualifying rounds for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Iceland reached the playoffs before losing to Croatia. Iceland reached its first major tournament, UEFA Euro 2016, after a qualification campaign which included home and away wins over the Netherlands. In doing so, they became the smallest ever nation to qualify for a major tournament.

The unheralded squad includes 32-year-old goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson (featued above), a film director who directed the video for Iceland's entry in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Halldorsson starred in the initial 1-1 draw with Portugal, making eight saves and setting his team on a path to the knockout stage. Icelandic film studio SagaFilm has a job waiting for him when his football career is over.HeimirHallgrimsson works as a dentist as well as co-managing the team. He works on a five square-mile (13 sq km) island called Heimaey, where there are fewer than 5,000 people and millions of puffins.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th June 2018.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

maternity leave ! ~ Wimbledon seeding ~ John Mcenroe speaks


The Central Government passed the Maternity Benefit Act in 1961 applying to every establishment in India. While the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act came as a relief to the working women of India, it is not going down well with many firms for whom the cost of six-month paid maternity leave is difficult to afford. This had led to job losses for women, estimated at 1.2 crore across sectors, in FY19, reports The Times of India.A TeamLease report estimates a net job loss of 11-18 lakh women for the fiscal year 2018-19. This is over and above the average annual attrition rate of women employees in the workforce.

Come July ~ the focus shifts to Tennis and to Wimbledon, more specific, the grass court tournament.  The 2018 Wimbledon Championships  would be played at  All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom. The main draw will commence on Monday 2 July 2018 and is due to finish on Sunday 15 July 2018.Roger Federer is the defending champion in the Gentlemen's singles and has won the event eight times in his career. Garbiñe Muguruza is the defending champion in the Ladies' singles.

Fifty years ago Wimbledon defied the wishes of the International Lawn Tennis Federation and ushered in a lucrative new era of professional grand slam tennis.  Rod Laver, returning to the All England Club after a five-year enforced absence, picked up £2,000 from a total tournament prize fund of £26,150 for winning his third men's singles title, while women's winner Billie-Jean King had to settle for just £750.It is small change compared to the £2.25million each of the singles winners of Wimbledon 2018 will pocket, but it was the relatively low-key initiation of the open era in 1968 which paved the way for such an abundance of riches.  Till then, the ITF had resolutely refused to let professional players compete in grand slams, leading to an increasing number of top players pursuing their own rival tour, a situation which the Lawn Tennis Association among others recognised as unsustainable.

Wimbledon 1968 thus became the second grand slam tournament, after the French Open that same year, to permit professionals, although the first few years of the open era would be hit by frequent boycotts by professionals who did not consider the prize money sufficient.Laver beat Tony Roche in straight sets to underline his status as the world's best player, having come through a different test in the fourth round against Britain's Mark Cox, who took a set off the Australian before folding.  Billie Jean King  won her third consecutive title with a win over Judy Tegart. King had beaten British fourth seed Ann Jones in the quarter-finals, but young fifth seed Virginia Wade had suffered a shock first-round exit to Christina Sandberg.

The change marked a major breakthrough for the sport but its top stars would still have to be patient. It was another six years until the men's Wimbledon champion would take home a five-figure sum, while the women's winner had to wait two further years. In 2018, both will collect £2.25million out of a tournament prize fund of £34million.King and Laver will be this year's 'chairman's special guests' at Wimbledon, organisers have announced, as the tournament takes the opportunity to mark the significant anniversary.

Besides the fact it is the biggest and most prestigious tournament in the world of tennis, Wimbledon brings a unique feature in calculating the seeds as well, with the results on the grass playing a major factor in player's position among the favorites.By the regular ranking, Rafael Nadal would have been the number 1 seed after passing Roger Federer on the ATP list (Roger failed to defend 500 points in Halle) but it will be an eight-time champion Federer as the first man on the list of seeds for the seventh time in his career and the first since 2010! Nadal had to skip Queen's and he travels to London with no pre-Wimbledon tournament in his schedule, hoping for a first good run at Wimbledon since 2011 when he lost in the final.Queen's champion and last year's Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic will be the third seed in front of Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin del Potro, Grigor Dimitrov, Dominic Thiem and Kevin Anderson, who complete the Top 8 spots.

The official draw and seeding for Wimbledon 2018 will be determined on June 29 but two of tennis' premiere grass court players — Roger Federer and Serena Williams — are already the clear favorites for the tournament.Federer reacquired the ATP No. 1 seed in his return from a two-month break and sits as the heavy favorite in the men's draw to win a second consecutive Wimbledon title and his record ninth at the All England Club. In the women's draw, it's Serena Williams as the favorite to win the grass court Grand Slam. The seven-time Wimbledon champion is still working her way back after taking a break for the birth of her daughter and though the question still remains as to whether or not she'll be seeded, Williams is always a threat at any tournament. Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova figures to be an early favorite and defending champ Garbine Muguruza sits with solid odds to win back-to-back titles at the All England Club as well.

Seeding at the Wimbledon Championships is not determined in quite the same way as at other tennis tournaments. Instead of being based solely on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Entry System Position, seeding at Wimbledon for the men’s singles takes into account grass court performance. Thus seeding will not necessarily be in the same order as the 32 highest ranked players.In tennis tournaments and other sports, the better-performed individual players and teams are seeded so as to protect them from early elimination. If the names of all 128 men (or women) in the singles draw at Wimbledon were placed in a barrel and names drawn at random, two top ranked players might play each other in the first round, knocking one out. Much lower ranked participants would have a reasonable chance of advancing through the rounds and reaching the finals without meeting a really good player.

To try and reduce such inequities, the names of the 32 highest ranked men and 32 women are arranged in the draw in such as way that none of them will play one another until the third round. The top 16 seeds will not meet until the fourth round, the top eight before the quarters, the highest four until the semis, and the top two seeds cannot meet until the final. The other 96 entrants’ names are drawn from the barrel and fill the remaining places, such that no seeded player has another seeded player in their initial group of four who meet in the first two rounds. The system is never completely fair as the 33rd ranked player could meet the top seed in the first round, and the person ranked 32nd could play a qualifier.

Wimbledon takes the ATP rankings as at mid June and then, unlike other tournaments, makes some adjustments. Firstly, it doubles the points that players have earned in grass court tournaments over the previous year. Secondly, it multiplies by 1.75 the points earned on this surface 1-2 years ago. These ‘bonus’ points are added to the normal ATP points from other tournaments to arrive at revised total points and new rankings. This listing determines the order of the 32 seeds.The arguments behind the different system of seeding players at Wimbledon is because the tournament is played on grass and if a player has excelled on grass at other events, then he should be entitled to a higher seeding than his position in the ATP rankings.

Curiously, the women’s seeding is not adjusted for grass court performances. Here the seeds are based on the Women’s Tennis Association rankings, although changes may be made depending on the view of Wimbledon’s Committee of Management. For example, in 2009, an adjustment was made for 2004 winner Maria Sharapova who had been out injured for nine months and she became the 24th seed.John McEnroe has added his weight to those calling for Serena Williams to have a privileged draw position for Wimbledon when the seedings are announced on Wednesday.Williams is currently ranked 183 in the world and has a 5-2 match record this year following her return to the tour after giving birth in September last year.

The 36-year-old had a daughter - named Alexis - with husband and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.   John McEnroe believes that she deserves favourable treatment, even if it means that the world No 32 would be bumped off the list of seeds, and be at the mercy of the draw when it comes to pulling a first round opponent.      The rules are somewhat grey in this area, and last month the All England Club had to scramble to reach a position with the Women's Tour Association about what could be done.Ultimately it was decided that the committee should have a fall back position of using 'discretion' about where she should end up.'I'd put her somewhere between 1 and 10, 1 and 16 at the worst,' said McEnroe, who will be commentating for the BBC during the big fortnight.'I don't think there would be a player that would complain, especially the top ones, if she was one of the top eight. Why in the world would they want to play her in the first, second, third round? Nor should they, in my opinion.'

When asked whether this would be fair on the world No 32 - currently looking like Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova - he was typically blunt. 'Forget the fact that she has won 23 Majors and what she brings to the table. I'm sorry, I apologise to the 32nd player in the world. That's just the way it goes sometimes. I just don't think it's right to think that way. That's me coming from a different viewpoint.'Former world No 4 James Blake, meanwhile, said Serena should not be 'punished' for going on maternity leave.  Serena was absent in 2017 but had won 2016 & 2015.While Serena has been keen to emphasise that 'pregnancy is not an injury', opinion has appeared divided among the players about whether or not she should get special treatment.

There is no argument about whether she should be allowed to get straight into the tournament, as rules are already in place for her to claim a protected ranking for entry purposes.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th June 2018.

Monday, June 25, 2018

What's special about South Korean Lee Duck-hee, aiming to play at Wimbledon


At Old Trafford, Manchester,  Jos Buttler gave Australia one last nightmare to take home from an abject ODI tour of England as the hosts squeaked to a victory that gave them a first-ever 5-0 sweep of a series between the two nations. That they did so was largely due to Buttler, in the first innings of his ODI career to traverse more than 100 balls. Billy Stanlake's pace and hostility had reduced England to 50 for 5 in pursuit of 206 and they were no further than 114 at the fall of the eighth wicket.  Moving away from Cricket -   
                                                 Come July ~ Wimbledon, the grandslam – the exploits of Bjorn Borg and the ever unfinished agenda of exceptionally talented ice-cool (those days Dhoni) – Ivan Lendl would haunt me !!  - you are bound to clap for this player by the time you finish reading this post !!!

Wimbledon - is a district of southwest London, England, 7.1 miles (11.4 km) south-west of the centre of London.  It is home to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and New Wimbledon Theatre, and contains Wimbledon Common, one of the largest areas of common land in London along with a Wimbledon Tennis Club. The residential and retail area is split into two sections known as the "village" and the "town", having first developed gradually after the building of the railway station in 1838.  Wimbledon has been inhabited since at least the Iron Age. 

The Grandslam event is week away and prior is the - Wimbledon Qualifying 2018 at Bank of England Sports Centre, Roehampton.    Imagine the "thwack" of the racquet hitting the ball, the line judge calling "out", the umpire declaring "deuce" and the crowd clapping and cheering. And now imagine being a professional tennis player and not hearing any of it.

~ and that’s what BBC writes about -  the reality for South Korean player Lee Duck-hee, who is deaf and is hoping to qualify for the main draw at next week's Wimbledon. "I'm very proud of myself as being the only deaf professional tennis player in the world at the moment," the 20-year-old told BBC Sport. "I feel huge responsibility that my every step as a tennis player will influence other deaf people. I hope my career could give them a hopeful message that they could also overcome their disability and make their dream come true."

Lee, who observes the way opponents swing for the ball as a way of reading the game and whose matches have been thrown off course because he has been confused by officials' hand signals, reached a career-high ranking of 130 in April 2017.  Now ranked 233, he has come agonisingly close to Grand Slam main draws, reaching the final round of qualifying at the French Open last month where he had two match points before losing in a third set tie-break. This week he takes part in the Wimbledon qualifying event at Roehampton, where he begins his campaign on Monday against Hungary's Attila Balazs and needs to win three matches to reach the tournament at the All England Club.

Lee, who was here at the 2014 US Open junior event, made his debut on the professional ITF Futures Tour at the age of 14.  From the moment he picked up a racquet at the age of seven because he had seen his cousin playing, Lee sought inventive ways to read the game he could not hear. He has said in the past that he was told he could never be a great player because he was deaf and that he sometimes felt like quitting but also wanted to prove the doubters wrong.

"I focus on watching and expecting the opponent's swing and movement, which needs very intensive concentration of my eyes and fast decision-making for the next move," he said. "I try to watch other players' matches on websites as much as possible when I have spare time - I need image training because it gives better understanding than giving me verbal coaching." Lee has not learnt sign language, so lip reads officials or looks at their hand signals - with often confusing and frustrating results. "Sometimes, I could not recognise whether it is 'let' or not because I cannot hear the sound from the net or the chair umpire's call, which leads to me missing the first serve," he said.

"I rely on umpires' hand signals, but they also sometimes give me a hard time when their hand signals differ from country to country, which often has influence on the match results. "I could communicate simple English through lip-reading with other players. However, it is impossible for me to communicate with ATP officials and referees when there is need for long conversation."

In the case of this interview to BBC Sport, he  provided written responses through a translator. Playing in front of a partisan crowd, there could be times when a player would really rather not hear the boos. "I think blocking out all potential distractions can be an advantage," said tennis coach Judy Murray, mum of two-time Wimbledon champion Andy. "It is possible playing an opponent who has a disability can be a distraction," said Murray. She has coached deaf players in the past and says it required her to take different approach. "One of the biggest things I learned was to not shout instructions whether they were looking at me or if they had their back to me," said Murray, who was speaking as part of UK Coaching's Coaching Week earlier this month.

Match officials also need to adapt when making the calls. "Deaf players are constantly looking at the umpire for scores and constantly checking the scoreboard," line judge David Bayliss told BBC Sport. "But there are problems, if you have a net on serve they don't always hear it and the umpire has to try and stop the rally. "And of course the player is focused, they are still watching the ball and still playing that point."

Will Lee ever achieve his Grand Slam dream is the Q ?  Lee says he has three "short-term" goals - breaking into the top 100, winning a Challenger title, and gaining direct entry to the main draws of ATP and Grand Slam tournaments.  He strongly believes that a day when he would become a champion of a major tournament  would come and his skills would improve.  He says his greatest achievement so far was reaching the final of the Kaohsiung Challenger in 2016, where he lost to Chung Hyeon - who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open this year and is ranked 20th in the world.  He  dreams of one day playing against former world number ones Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, who has praised him for his "strong determination and mental toughness".

The 2018 Wimbledon Championships will commence on Monday 2 July 2018 and is due to finish on Sunday 15 July 2018.  The  132nd  edition of The Championships, the 125th  staging of the Ladies’ Singles Championship event, the 51st in the Open Era and the third Grand Slam tournament of the year. Roger Federer is the defending champion in the Gentlemen's singles and has won the event eight times in his career. Garbiñe Muguruza is the defending champion in the Ladies' singles.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th June 2018.

Friday, June 22, 2018

India thumps Pakistan in Kabaddi WC at Dubai 2018


A few years ago, the  phase of an ODI innings between overs 15 to 40 was considered to be dull and insipid -  with batting sides resorting to accumulation. Two new balls were expected to offer some swing to seamers and more runs to batsmen in this period.  Now that is under cloud !!  342, 481, 314 in 44 overs. As England once again ravaged the Australian bowlers - chasing 311 in the 45th over in Chester-le-Street - Sachin Tendulkar said it was high time that cricket revisited the rule of having two new-balls in an ODI.


In FIFA  2018,  Philippe Coutinho and Neymar broke down dogged Costa Rica in injury time on Friday, sealing a 2-0 win for Brazil that propels the five-time champions towards the World Cup last 16. The Central Americans looked likely to hold on for a hard-earned draw, particularly after Neymar had a penalty award chalked off by referee Bjorn Kuipers after he consulted the Video Assistant Referee. But Coutinho and Neymar finally broke through, scoring in the 91st  and 97th  minutes to put Tite's side on the brink of the knockout stages. After a ponderous start, Brazil enjoyed a gradual crescendo during the first period but their dominance in possession was not reflected in chances created.

To us the match of the day was different – it was Kabaddi World Cup at Dubai .. .. of course, World champions India starts as  firm favourites as they locked horns with arch-rivals Pakistan in the opening game of the inaugural six-nation Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 today.   The tournament will provide an excellent opportunity for the Asian countries like India, Pakistan, South Korea and Iran to fine tune their skills before the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang in August.

Star raider Ajay Thakur, who led India to successive wins against Pakistan en-route their Asian Championship crown in Iran last year, is at the helm.  Besides Thakur, the Indian team also has quality raiders in Rahul Chaudhari, Pardeep Narwal, Rohit Kumar, Rishank Devadiga and Monu Goyat in their ranks. In Deepak Hooda, Manjeet Chhillar, Surender Nada and Girish Ernak, India also boast of top-class all-rounders and defenders to lend a perfect balance to the side. Perhaps the Indian time clearly has the bench strength to field another side in the tournament. 

The Kabaddi World Cup, is an indoor international kabaddi competition conducted by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) in standard style, contested by men's and women's national teams. The competition has been previously contested in 2004, 2007 and 2016. All the tournaments have been won by India. The current format of the competition involves a round robin group stage, with 6 teams in 2 pools, with the first and second place finishers of each group progressing to the semi-finals.

The 2018 Dubai Kabaddi Masters is a 6 nation Kabaddi Masters series held in the United Arab Emirates for 9 days from 22 June 2018 - 30 June 2018. This is the first international kabaddi sport event to be witnessed in the UAE.  The tournament features defending world champions India, Pakistan, Iran, Republic of Korea, Argentina and Kenya. Al Wasl Sports Club which is in Dubai is set to host all of the matches. 

Indian Union sports minister and former professional shooter, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore  is the Chief Guest and Abhisheik Bachan, owner of kabaddi team in pro-league was also present.  The matches are telecast live in Star Sports Network.

India thumped  Pakistan 36-20 in their opening encounter of the inaugural six-nation Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 a few minutes ago.  After starting the game cautiously, India soon picked up the pace scoring points off successive raids. On the other side, Pakistan raiders looked clueless and were all over the place. The world champions continued with the raiding domination collecting a total of 15 points compared to 9 by Pakistan. Skipper Ajay Thakur led from the front scoring 8 points in the match.  In the defense department as well, India outclassed their opponents clinching 12 tackle points. Pakistan were no way near their opponents  as they got all-out twice during the match. Towards the end, India extended their with tackle points from Ajay Thakur and Rohit Kumar. India will next play Kenya on Saturday.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd June 2018 @ 21:30 hrs.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Oh Teacher Sir, please don't go pleads students and parents !!


சுமார் 30 அல்லது 40  ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன் – பள்ளிகளில் ஆங்கிலபிரிவில் படித்தவர் குறைவு.   முந்தையகாலங்களில் 'ஆசிரியர் - மாணவர்'  உறவு அன்பான பந்தமாக இருந்தது.  நாம் இதை இயம்பினால் பழமைவாதி என பட்டியலிடப்படும் அபாயம் உள்ளது.  திருவள்ளூரில் ஒரு கிராமத்தில் அமைந்துள்ள இப்பள்ளி இப்போது செய்திகளை ஆக்கிரமித்துள்ளது !

அரசுவேலைகளில் பதவி உயர்வு ஒரு முக்கியமான நிகழ்வு.  பணிமாற்றம்  -  விருப்பத்தின் காரணத்தாலோ அல்லது வேறு சூழ்நிலைகளிலோ நடக்கவல்லது.  சமீபத்தில் தமிழ் செய்திதாள்களில் வந்த இந்த செய்தியை நீங்கள் படிக்காமல் இருந்திருக்கக்கூடும்.  :  பணிநிரவல் கலந்தாய்வு, இரவு வரை நடக்காததை கண்டித்து, மாவட்ட முதன்மை கல்விஅலுவலகத்தில், பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள் உள்ளிருப்பு போராட்டத்தில் ஈடுபட்டனர். நாமக்கல், தெற்கு அரசு ஆண்கள் மேல்நிலைப்பள்ளியில், அரசு பள்ளியாசிரியர்களுக்கான, பொதுமாறுதல் கலந்தாய்வு நடந்துவருகிறது. நேற்று, பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு, பணிநிரவல் கலந்தாய்வு நடப்பதாக அறிவிக்கப்பட்டிருந்தது. இதில் பங்கேற்பதற்காக, மாவட்டம் முழுவதும் இருந்து, 104 பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள் விண்ணப்பம் அளித்திருந்தனர். அதன்படி, நேற்று காலை, 10:00 மணிக்கு கலந்தாய்வு நடக்கும் மையத்துக்கு வந்திருந்தனர். ஆனால் இரவு, 7:00 மணிக்கே மாவட்டத்தில் காலியாக உள்ள பட்டியல் வெளியிடப்பட்டது. இருந்தும், இரவு, 9:00 மணிவரை ஆன்லைனில் கலந்தாய்வு நடத்தவில்லை. அதனால், ஆத்திரம் அடைந்த பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள், மாவட்ட முதன்மை கல்வி அலுவலகம் முன், உள்ளிருப்பு போராட்டத்தில் ஈடுபட்டனர். இதற்கிடையில் இரவு, 9:45 மணிக்கு, ஆன்லைன் கலந்தாய்வு துவங்கியதால், போராட்டத்தை கைவிட்டு கலைந்து சென்றனர். ஆசிரியர்கள் உள்ளிருப்பு போராட்டம் நடத்தியதால், அப்பகுதியில் சிறிதுநேரம் பரபரப்பு ஏற்பட்டது.

Till a few decades ago, Tamil was the primary medium of education and most of us studied Tamil medium in Govt schools or aided schools.  The bonding between teacher – student, those days was exquisite.  I still remember the teacher (Mrs Bhagavathi) who was my Class teacher for V standard at Samarao school.  She was travelling from Katpadi and like most teachers – was very kind, taught us so well – clearly a role-model whom we would like to remember.

You may have skipped the news item – of the school education department announcing the schedule for the counselling for transfers of headmasters and teachers of government high and higher secondary schools and promotions of higher secondary school teachers across Tamil Nadu. It is online application, conselling and transfers to places sought or where there was need. 

Samuthirakkani and Thambi Ramaiah were impressive in their role as school teachers in the film ‘Sattai’ - directed by M. Anbazhagan. The hero comes to a Govt school in a village in Thiruvannamalai district; the condition of the school is not great and as he manfully strives to change, is met with hard resistance by the AHM and many others.  Though he gets into turbulence, the teacher becomes a hit with the students. He gets involved in a foisted case of sexual abuse condition. He is physically assaulted too.  With all his efforts, the students do well in the exam and towards the end, he gets promoted and posted as Head master elsewhere.  The students weep – they and others do not let him go and appeal to him to continue service there itself.  The hero moves stating that change has occurred and perhaps he is needed in another place that requires change. 

All movie stuff, one may think – yet it was moving !  ~ now this newsitem has appeared in all Tamil dailies and English newspapers too including TOI, Chennai edition.

                      As 28-year-old Bhagawan tried to exit the gates of the government high school in Velliagaram, Pallipattu  in Thiruvallur  on Wednesday, he was engulfed in hugs and tears while his students held on to his arms. Their stance was clear – their beloved English teacher could not be transferred out.Demonstrating a kind of love and admiration that is rare to witness in schools today, students of the school in Tiruvallur district staged protests soon after they received the news of their teacher’s transfer. Bolstered by the support of their parents, students even decided not to go to the school on Tuesday to show that the government’s decision of transferring their teacher was not agreeable.

“We don’t want him to be transferred. He has been one of the most supportive staff members and has been like a brother to many of us,” said Nithya, a student. Not every teacher can boast of such love from students. “But then, not all teachers are Bhagawan Sir,” say his students. In a matter of four years, the teacher has formed long-lasting friendships with his students, comforting the teens as brother, ally and guide. “Many of us were not comfortable with English but with his encouragement, we were able to improve. He was always available to clear doubts at any time of the day and we could call him even late in the evenings after the special classes,” said Tamilarasan, a student.

Instead of merely focusing on syllabus, students said he gave them information on GK, social service, developing skills and prepare for competitive exams and focused on employment-oriented education.Principal A Aravind said that he had submitted a representation to officials of the education department based on the requests by parents and students. “We have requested the department if there is a possibility of retaining the teacher. He is one of the best teachers we have, completely involving himself in teaching students. During special classes that would go beyond school hours, he would help in arranging food for students and had been overall very friendly,” he said. “The students too are very affectionate by nature, something I find more common in rural schools. It is usually difficult for them to let go of their teachers but this time even parents got emotional,” he added.

Meanwhile, education department officials said the transfer is part of the usual deployment and based on teaching hierarchy. They have to carry it out as per the requirement.  Some other reports suggest that the teacher’s transfer has been stalled for now !!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st June 2018.



long hours occupation of crease ~ work culture !!


Afghans learnt it the hard way ~ that in Test Cricket – occupying the crease is one of the most important thing.  Have once seen Anshuman Gaekwad grind Pakis for 436 balls, 652 minutes,  making a double ton.  Gaekwad had stonewalled the vaunted WI pacers in their own backyard in 1976 and was recalled in 1983 when India toured Caribbean islands.  In an Ashes test, Len Hutton's technical excellence, stroke-making abilities and the ability to score big when set was in full show as he tormented the Australian bowlers at the Oval. He faced 847 deliveries and batted for more than 13 hours to bring up the then record score of 364.

As different as the countries' work cultures are,  not many have similarities – and one of them is  employees working  long hours and do not take many vacations ! Japan is notorious for its long work hours. There is even a phenomenon where people have died from working too much. It is called karoshi, which literally means "death by overwork."   However,  data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, states  American workers clocked in more average annual hours than Japanese workers in 2016.

In Nov 2017,  Cheteshwar Pujara achieved a rare feat, becoming only the third Indian and ninth overall to bat across five days in a Test match.  He joined ML Jaisimha and Ravi Shastri in the elite list. Incidentally they had also achieved the rare feat at the Eden Gardens.  He could achieve the feat thanks to rain interruption on day one and two. Pujara had come in to bat on day one after opener Rahul was dismissed in the first ball and went on hit a gritty 52 under testing conditions.  Pujara remained unbeaten on eight runs having faced 32 deliveries on day one. He added 39 runs in his unbeaten knock and faced 70 balls on day two. Pujara added five from 15 balls on day three before being cleaned up by Lahiru Gamage. Pujara faced nine balls on day 4 and on fifth day,  he added 20 to his overnight total of two, having faced 42 deliveries before being done in by Suranga Lakmal.  Incidentally Pujara’s aggregate of 74 runs (52 and 22) is the lowest among the nine players to bat all 5 days, going below 94 by Jaisimha (20* and 74).

The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over the millennia, from the country's prehistoric time Jōmon period, to its contemporary modern culture, which absorbs influences from Asia, Europe, and North America. Strong Chinese influences are still evident in traditional Japanese culture as China had historically been a regional powerhouse, which has resulted in Japan absorbing many elements of Chinese culture first through Korea, then later through direct cultural exchanges with China. The inhabitants of Japan experienced a long period of relative isolation from the outside world during the Tokugawa shogunate after Japanese missions to Imperial China, until the arrival of the "Black Ships" and the Meiji period. The Black Ships  was the name given to Western vessels arriving in Japan in the 16th and 19th centuries.

MailOnline reports that a  Japanese water company has apologised to customers and docked a worker's pay after he was caught leaving his desk for a lunch break.

A 64-year-old male staff member at the Kobe City Waterworks Bureau on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan, took approximately 78 minutes of lunch break over the course of seven months.  But his employers took a dim view of his antics, arguing that he had frittered away company time in the pursuit of food. The trips a nearby store, which took three minutes each time, took place a total of 26 times between September 2017 and March 2018.

The man was only caught when a senior office worker looked out the window and saw him crossing the street to get himself a bento - a popular Japanese lunchtime box. A televised apology was staged by the Waterworks Bureau after the 'scandal' with company executives appearing on screens to bow in apology to its customers. The company also docked him a half-day's pay for good measure.  According to the man's superiors, the reason he gave for leaving the office to buy his lunch was because he wanted 'a change of pace'.

While the, high-ranking officials called the incident a 'scandal' and apologised  -  social media users leapt to the man's defence - calling the punishment 'absurd'. The incident throws the spotlight on Japan's torturous working conditions where many employees are expected to work overtime and not take holiday.  A twitteratti said it is workplace slavery while another   said: 'The punishment is totally absurd – 26 times over a six-month period means he only left the office once a week.' .. .. . Workers are entitled to 20 days leave a year but currently about 35% don't take any of it.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                                      20th June 2018.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

பாரதியாரின் குயில்பாட்டு ~ Indian koel - the songbird


மஹாகவி சுப்ரமண்ய பாரதியாரின் குயில்பாட்டு, (the songbird Cuckoo)  மற்றைப் பாட்டுகளினின்றும் வேறுபாடானது. கவிஞன், குயிலொடு கொண்ட காதலைத் தானே சொல்வதாக அமைகிறது. விழுமிய பொருளையும் உயர்ந்த தத்துவக் கருத்தையும் மனித வாழ்க்கையை, லட்சியத் துணையோடு இணைக்கும் வகையிலும் அமைந்து, பொருள்நயமும், கவிதை இனிமையும் சேர்ந்த இத்தொகுப்பு பாரதியார் பாண்டிச்சேரியில் வாழ்ந்தபோது இயற்றப்பட்டதாம்.

காலைத் துயிலெழுந்து,காலிரண்டு முன்போலே
சோலைக்கிழுத்திட,நான்  சொந்த  உணர்வில்லாமே
சோலையினில் வந்து நின்று,சுற்றுமுற்றுந் தேடினேன்,
கோலப் பறவைகளின் கூட்டமெல்லாங் காணவில்லை.
மூலையிலோர் மாமரத்தின் மோட்டுக் கிளையினிலே
நீலக் குயிலிருந்து நீண்டகதை சொல்லுவதும்   !!   ,...

                    புதுச்சேரியில் கடல் அலை எழுப்பும் ஓசை கவிஞருக்கு வேதப் பொருளை உரைத்ததாம்; கடல் அலைகள் மட்டுமல்ல  ~   குக்கு குக்கூவென்று குயில் பாடும் பாட்டில் தொக்க பொருளெல்லாம் தோன்றுகின்றது அவரது சிந்தைக்கே.

Cuckoo, (குயில்)  of the family Cuculidae,  designates some 60 arboreal members of the subfamilies Cuculinae and Phaenicophaeinae. Cuculids range in length from about 16 cm (6.5 inches) in the glossy cuckoos (Chrysococcyx and Chalcites) to about 90 cm (36 inches) in the larger ground cuckoos. Most are coloured in drab grays and browns, but a few have striking patches of rufous (reddish) or white, and the glossy cuckoos are largely or partially shining emerald green. All have long (sometimes extremely long), graduated tails, usually with the individual feathers tipped with white. The bill is rather stout and somewhat downcurved.

The attribute for which the cuckoos are best known is the habit of brood parasitism, found in all of the Cuculinae and three species of Phaenicophaeinae. It consists of laying the eggs singly in the nests of certain other bird species to be incubated by the foster parents, who rear the young cuckoo.  Some of the adaptations that enhance  the survival of the young cuckoo are : egg-mimicry, in which the cuckoo egg resembles that of the host  minimizing rejection by the host; removal of one or more host eggs by the adult cuckoo, reducing both the competition from host nestlings and the danger of recognition by the host that an egg has been added to the nest; and nest-mate ejection, in which the young cuckoo heaves from the nest the host’s eggs and nestlings.

In India,  a pied cuckoo or chatak has the magical ability to summon rains wherever it goes. In fact, it feeds off rain. There are many stories of pied cuckoos signaling  the beginning of rainy season, heard from childhood.  The pied cuckoo is closely associated with monsoon rains in India -- so much so that generations of nature watchers and observers have found a strong correlation between a pied cuckoo's sighting and rain following closely behind.

The Asian koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, found in the Indian Subcontinent, China, and Southeast Asia. The name koel is echoic in origin with several language variants. The bird is a widely used symbol in Indian poetry. The Asian koel is a large, long-tailed, cuckoo;  male of the nominate race is glossy bluish-black, with a pale greenish grey bill, the iris is crimson, and it has grey legs and feet. The female of the nominate race is brownish on the crown and has rufous streaks on the head. They are very vocal during the breeding season (March to August in the Indian Subcontinent), with a range of different calls.

குயில் பாட்டு ஓ வந்ததென்ன இளமானே ! அத கேட்டு ஓ செல்வதெங்கே மனம் தானே   ~ இசைஞானி இளையராஜாவின் மனதை தொட்ட இசையில் ஸ்வர்ணலதா பாடிய பாடல். படம் ராஜ்கிரண், மீனா, நடித்த -  'என் ராசாவின் மனசிலே'.   இத்திரைப்படத்தில் தான் நகைச்சுவை நடிகர் வடிவேலு தமிழ்த் திரைப்படங்களில் அறிமுகமானார்.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th June 2018