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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Covid news ! .. .. Krunal Pandya tests positive ! - T20I postponed !!!

Life has changed a lot !  - 2020 was lived under fear .. 2021 perceptions have not changed – vaccines have come, one always get a doubt whether the portrayed numbers are to be believed !!

Lot of sporting activities globally – the biggest of em all is of course ‘Tokyo Olympics 2020’ – then there is so much of Cricket too .. .. today was waiting to see Indian Team (predicting its composition itself is becoming challenging !) in 2nd T20I – which has been postponed by a day due to a new cause in Cricket !!

Indian player Krunal Pandya has tested positive and so, the match is tomorrow – what it will do – are there more players – would that affect Prithvi Shaw & Suryakumar Yadav’s travel to UK – with its bench strength and additional players in the squad, perhaps Indian team can still play the remaining two T20I with some more making their debuts – possibly Devdutt Padikkal, Rituraj Gaekwad or some one from the 5 who are with the team as net bowlers get a surprise lucky chance to represent India : - Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh are the net bowlers !!

While many parts of the globe were reeling under dreaded Corona last year, West Indies travelled to England stayed in bio-secure bubble and played Tests.  In July 2020, Jofra Archer was excluded from the 2nd Test after breaching Covid 19 protocol when he went home enroute. 

India so far has vaccinated over 44 crore people against Coronavirus.  At 29,689, India reported less than 30,000 new Covid-19 cases after 132 days, according to Union health ministry data on Tuesday. The number of active cases in the country also fell below 4,00,000 after 124 days, it said.  Kerala on Tuesday recorded 22,129 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the infection caseload to 33,05,245, with the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) going back to more than 12 per cent. The number of people who succumbed to the virus rose to 16,326 with 156 more deaths.  The eyes of many experts and non-experts alike are currently on Kerala, as its COVID-19 case load has been increasing in increments far greater than any other state in India. The average number of daily new cases reached a low of 11,000 around the last week of June, 2021, and it has since been rising, albeit slowly, over the past two weeks. At the same time, the number of cases elsewhere in the country has been falling after a major second-wave peak in the first week of May.  In recent months,   Kerala currently accounts for close to 35% of all active cases in the country. Needless to say, the dominant narrative in the public discourse is that Kerala has failed to contain its COVID-19 epidemic.

To breathe a sigh of relief, Tamil Nadu recorded 1,767 positive cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state tally to 25,52,049. Among these, Chennai reported 139 positive cases, bringing the city’s total to 5,37,386. The state recorded 29 deaths on Tuesday putting the state toll at 33,966. A total of 2,312 patients were discharged following treatment, taking the total number of recoveries to 24,95,895.

The Tamil Nadu government has planned to vaccinate the most vulnerable sections soon and also train medical professionals to cope with the possible third wave of coronavirus, state Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said on Monday. Also, localised infections would be closely monitored and all out efforts would be made to ensure the pandemic is under check, he said. “Doctors and nurses would be trained to cope with the possible third wave and already the infrastructure at all the paediatric wards in the government hospitals across the state have been upgraded,” Radhakrishnan told PTI.

Getting back to stoppage and postponement of today’s T2oI at Colombo, Indian all-rounder, Krunal Pandya has tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the second T20I between Sri Lanka and India, scheduled for Tuesday evening, to be pushed back by a day. Pandya's positive test result came not too long before the scheduled start of play - 8pm local time - and eight other members of the Indian contingent have so far been identified as Pandya's close contacts and asked to isolate in their hotel rooms.

It is understood that Pandya complained of a sore throat on Tuesday morning, after which the Indian medical staff asked him to take the rapid antigen test, which came out positive. It is also understood that Pandya also underwent the RT-PCR test, globally recognised as the gold standard in Covid-19 testing, and that came out positive too.  BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a media release that the entire Indian squad would also undergo the RT-PCR test to "ascertain any further outbreak" in their camp. The BCCI did not identify the eight people who had been asked to isolate along with Pandya, but Shah told PTI that a majority of those were players.  

It could not be confirmed how long Pandya and the eight others are going to be in isolation, but one person privy to the discussions in the camp said that the period would be determined based on the strain of Covid-19 in question. There are no reports of positive results among the Sri Lankans, who are scheduled to be tested next on Wednesday morning. Professor Arjuna de Silva, who overseas SLC's bubble protocols for international tours, told ESPNcricinfo that it remained a mystery as to how Pandya could have contracted Covid-19, as there have been no reports of the bubble being broken, nor any other significant irregularities. The series has been played behind closed doors and both teams have been operating out of a bio-secure bubble with their movements restricted to only the team hotel and the ground. The India team has a hotel - the Taj Samudra - to themselves, and even the staff working in the hotel are essentially in the bubble, and undergo frequent testing. de Silva said that no one else, including staff, had tested positive so far.

This is the second time Covid-19 has forced Sri Lanka Cricket to tweak the itinerary of the six-match series. The ODI series was originally meant to commence on July 13, but had to be pushed to July 18 after a few positive cases emerged in the Sri Lankan group. This is also the second time in the last week that an international match has been postponed because of a positive Covid-19 test: the second West Indies vs Australia ODI in Barbados had to be postponed after the toss had been conducted because a non-playing member in the West Indies camp had tested positive.

As things stand, the second and third Sri Lanka T20Is will now be played back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday. Though Pandya and some other players are likely to be unavailable for the last two games following the latest developments, India have enough back-up to field an XI, as they have travelled with an expanded squad of 20, plus five reserve bowlers. Though the series will end on schedule despite the postponement, the Indian team's return home, slotted for Thursday, is likely to be delayed. The development is also set to impact plans for Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav, the two batters who were selected to join the Indian Test squad in England. Shaw and Yadav were scheduled to travel to England at the end of the tour of Sri Lanka. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th July 2021.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Cycling Gold medalist in Olympics Anna Kiesenhofer is a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics

One of Tamil cinema’s heroes  cycled his way to the polling booth in Chennai to cast his vote – and people were talking about that !! .. funny, is not cycling a very easy thing !  .. .. .. in our school days, only elites had cycles and came to school in their bicycles.  In every area, there would be shops hiring cycle [it was 30 paise per hour !] – cycle was a vehicle for common man .. once a while in TV they would show the song from Pavamannippu whence Sivaji Ganesan would pedal a bicycle.

A wrong cliché those days – those who did well in Sports would not study well – rather if you show inclination towards sports, elders would scold that it would affect studies.  .. .. it was another fact that those days famed Cricketers Erapalli Prasanna, Srinivasan Venkatraghavan and later Krishnamachari Srikkanth among many others were Engineering graduates (long before the concept of Private Engineering colleges came !)

Do you remember your Maths teacher at School – I remember well, Mrs Bhagawathi at Samarao, Mr ST Padmanabhan, Mr Munuswamy, Mr V Chandrasekaran among others ..  was Maths the most difficult subject ?? 

The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is a public research university located in Lausanne, Switzerland. It specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, with three main missions: education, research and technology transfer. The QS World University Rankings ranked EPFL as the 14th best university in the world across all fields in 2021.   


The women's individual road race event at the 2020 Summer Olympics was held on 25 July 2021 on a course starting at Musashinonomori Park and ending at the Fuji Speedway in Tokyo. 67 cyclists from 40 nations competed, with 48 completing the course.  The road race was a mass-start, one-day road race event.   The women's road race was 137 kilometres (85 mi) long with a total elevation gain of 2,692 metres (8,832 ft).

The race was won by Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria. Kiesenhofer was part of the original breakaway after having broken away at the very start of the race along with four other riders. She proceeded to drop her breakaway companions, soloing off the front at the Kagosaka Pass with 41 kilometres (25 mi) to go and holding off the late chase from the peloton. She won by 1' 15" over the silver medalist, Annemiek van Vleuten of Netherlands. Van Vleuten made a late attack with 2.1 kilometres (1.3 mi) to go, distancing the remnants of the peloton. She celebrated after crossing the line, having mistakenly thought that all the breakaway riders have been caught and that she had won gold. The bronze medal went to Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy, after unsuccessfully attempting to bridge up to van Vleuten's attack and holding off the peloton.

Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria produced the performance of a lifetime to win the women's cycling individual road race. The 30-year-old cyclist was in a race of her own, going it alone for the final 40km before coming home first in a time of 3:52:45.

By the final stretch of a gruelling 137km race, Kiesenhofer was ahead by over two minutes, with the chasing pack seemingly unaware she was out in front. Her face was filled with emotion as she crossed the line, a minute and 15 seconds ahead of silver medallist Van Vleuten, with Italy's Borghini a further 14 seconds back. Kiesenhofer has had an unconventional journey to the top echelons of the cycling world, having previously competed in triathlon and duathlon until injuries forced her to stop running. She holds  a Master's degree in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge in England, and a PhD in applied mathematics at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain. However, her decision to concentrate on cycling has now paid dividends as she took home one of the ultimate prizes in sport at Tokyo 2020.

"I planned to attack at kilometre zero and I was happy I could get in front. That is something I could not take for granted because I am not good at riding in the peloton, said Kiesenhofer. "I am happy that I was not too scared and I just went for it. I attacked and with the group we worked more or less together - it was helpful to have a group. I saw I was the strongest and I knew I had the climb before the long descent.

The Austrian mathematician’s gold at the final seconds was assisted by the  veteran Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten mistakenly thinking and celebrating  she had won. The 30-year-old who  holds a doctorate in applied maths from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia having also studied at Vienna and Cambridge Universities, held her nerve    

Anna Kiesenhofer  hails from Austria and is a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL).  Kiesenhofer studied mathematics at the Technical University of Vienna, completing her Master's degree at University of Cambridge. She earned her PhD at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia with her thesis on Integrable systems on b-symplectic manifolds. Kiesenhofer is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and is part of a group researching nonlinear partial differential equations which arise in mathematical physics. Truly vera level.

Five Red Tulips (Cinq tulipes rouges) is a 1949 French crime film directed by Jean Stelli and starring René Dary, Suzanne Dehelly and Raymond Bussières. The film's sets were designed by the art director Jacques Colombier. The plot was the murders of five riders during the Tour de France.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th July 2021. 

Appreciating AmbuRx Radhika Shastry - Mann ki Baat !!

The Nilgiris (Blue Montains)  district is one of the 38 districts of Tamil Nadu.   Nilgiri Hills are part of a larger mountain chain known as the Western Ghats. Their highest point is the mountain of Doddabetta, height 2,637 m. The district is contained mainly within the Nilgiri Mountains range.

Incessant rains in the Nilgiris district for more than ten days resulted in landslides at many places. The dams in the Western Tamil Nadu are filling to the brim, reported a Tamil daily on Saturday. The Nilgiris district has been receiving heavy to very heavy rains with thunderstorms for the last two days. The catchment areas like Avilanji, Upper Bhavani, and Ooty suburban areas are receiving incessant rains. Avilanji recorded 16 centimeters of rainfall while Naduvattam recorded 14 centimeters of rainfall on Friday. Farmlands at Kappathorai, Muthorai Palada, and Nanjanad areas are flooded destroying more than 50 acres of crops.

Moving away, the sirens of 108 Ambulance are heard lesser these days – a movie criticized stating  ‘pizza arrive faster than ambulance’ but that was abject lie,  sensationalism in a movie, nothing beyond.  108 is an excellent service in the State, comes much faster and the people of Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai too are to be appreciated, for in general, everyone moves out and makes way for the ambulance when they hear the siren !!  

Hyderabad Traffic Police have faced criticism following allegations that two ambulances were stopped to give passage to a VIP convoy. In the visuals of the incident that have gone viral, long queues of vehicles are seen waiting for the go-ahead at Masab Tank area in Hyderabad. Among them are the ambulances and their sirens can be heard in the videos.  The ambulances were reportedly going from Mahaveer Hospital to Virinchi Hospital when the traffic movement was allegedly stopped to let the VIP convoy pass. Local residents said traffic movement was stopped to give passage to the convoy of Telangana Home Minister Mahmood Ali.

People, especially those from the tribal areas of Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu have always faced difficulty reaching hospitals during emergencies. The hilly terrain and narrow roads restrict the movement of vehicles. To overcome these hurdles, a cafe owner in Coonoor purchased six-autorickshaws through crowd-funding and remodelled them into auto ambulances.

A Bengaluru resident for nearly 30 years and a senior professional in a timeshare holiday company, Radhika Shastry decided to retire to a quiet hillside one day. Years of working in Resort Condominium International had given her enough opportunities to see idyllic locales while location hunting for new resorts for her company. She homed on the Nilgiris. In 2017 - Café Diem started in Coonoor in January this year and is a cute, cosy spot with a to-die-for-view of the Nilgiris, reported Rediff at that time.  now that lady icon is in news especially with the Prime Minister making a mention of her in Mann ki baat. 

The woman entrepreneur, a cafe owner in Coonoor has crowd-funded six ‘autorickshaw ambulances’, customised for the hilly terrain and narrow roads of Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris.  "AmbuRx has been customised in Jabalpur and it will run free of cost in Nilgiris. These will be very convenient for patients' movement, especially in the narrow hill roads. It will be very useful for non-critical patients as well as Covid patients too," it is reported.  Tamil Nadu Forest Minister K Ramachandran along with Collector J Innocent Divya inaugurated the ‘AmbuRx’ services on Saturday.

The auto ambulances have a separate driver's cabin and are fitted with a patient stretcher, attendant seating, an oxygen cylinder, drip hooks, a fire extinguisher, a first aid box, and a fan. Each of the remodelled vehicles costs Rs 3.5 lakh. In total, Shastri and her supporters, including patrons of her cafe and those who contributed to the social media campaign, spent a total amount of Rs 21 lakh to get the ambulances to the hill station. AmbuRx will be donated to the Ketti government hospital, Pushpa hospital (Coonoor), Kotagiri Medical Fellowship hospital, Hotel Federation Kinder Trust (Wellington), and 3-star ambulance services.

The cafe owner Radhika Shastri, a resident of Coonoor, told, “I came across these electric auto ambulances, a project of Vivek Tankha of Jabalpur, on social media, and thought the Nilgiris also should have such facilities. The terrain is quite difficult here and these autos would enhance mobility in the narrow hilly roads. I contacted the manufacturers in Jabalpur and asked customisation of the ambulances for the Nilgiris’ unique topography”. Then came the task of raising money for the ambulances. Shastri appealed to the patrons of her cafe, Café Diem, and also conducted social media campaigns.

The entire process of modifying the ambulances and their delivery took only 30 days. Six 470-CC Bajaj Maximas were remodeled for the purpose, with each ambulance costing Rs 3.5 lakh. Shastri spent around Rs 21 lakh to get the ambulances to Nilgiris. Once their registration process is complete, the ambulances will be deployed in public and private hospitals and NGOs in Ketti, Coonoor, and Kotagiri areas to help patients residing in remote villages.  I think AmbuRx can be very effective and deliver great services to non-critical patients,” Shastri said. Dr. Harija, Block Medical Officer in Coonoor, agreed that the AmbuRx can serve hilly areas well. “We have 108 ambulance services in all Primary Healthcare Centres. But this AmbuRx is focused on people living in tribal hamlets and remote areas, where roads are narrow and patchy. It will improve mobility in inaccessible areas,” Dr. Harija said. 

This is not the first time Shastri has helped improve medical infrastructure in the region. Last month, along with other welfare associations, she helped raise funds to build a 500-lpm oxygen generator unit in Lawly Government Hospital in Coonoor.

The auto ambulance service initiative of Smt. Radhika Shastry of Nilgiri district found a mention in Prime Minister’s monthly radio broadcast, “Mann Ki Baat” this Saturday. During the programme, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said, “Radhika Shastry has started the AmbuRx (Amburex) Project. The purpose of this project is to provide easy transport for the treatment of patients in hilly areas. Radhika runs a cafe in Coonoor. She raised funds for AmbuRx from her cafe colleagues. Today six AmbuRx are serving in the Nilgiri hills and are coming to the aid of patients in remote parts during the time of emergency.  Following the acknowledgement of the Prime Minister, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Shri L Murugan spoke to Smt. Radhika Shastry over the phone and congratulated her. Later, in a tweet, Shri Murugan said this compassionate gesture by her in Nilgiris will motivate others and also improve health facilities in the region.

Let us appreciate good things – hats off to Radhika Shastry.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th July 2021. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

PNG women lifter's unique achievement !!

Can you connect Cricketers – Wilfred Rhodes, DB Close,FE Woolley, GA Headley and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar ??

Papua New Guinea,  is a group of islands located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.  It is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world - 848 different languages are listed for the country, of which 12 have no known living speakers.  Though mining provides impetus to the economy, many people live in extreme poverty.  After being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea established its sovereignty in 1975 after Australia ceased to administer it. It became a separate Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II reigning as its Head of State.

Papua New Guinea's women weightlifter Loa Dika Toua made history on day 1 – 24.7.2021  at the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first woman weightlifter to compete at the games five times. Her career started at 16, when she became the first-ever female Olympian lifter. At this year's games, Toua belted out a scream and smiled at the camera as she grabbed the bar weighing about 368 pounds.  "I am so proud of this moment, I hope the young girls in my country follow my footsteps," Toua told Reuters.

Her Olympic journey has taken her to Australia, Greece, China, Britain. She skipped the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, giving her position to her sister, but financial issues stopped the country from competing that year. Toua was  placed sixth in the 2004 Athens Games, her highest score.  "You can dream of attending one Olympics, and if you're lucky enough, you can make it to two. But I've made it to five Olympic Games, you don't even dream about this," Toua told Reuters.

The Tokyo Olympics will feature several trailblazing women, including Georgian shooter Nino Salukvadze, who will be the first woman at nine Olympics in any sport. Gymnast Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan is defying age and odds as she continues to vault at 46.

When women's weightlifting was introduced as an Olympic sport in 2000, Papua New Guinea's then 16-year-old Loa Dika Toua became the first-ever female Olympian lifter. On Saturday in Tokyo, the now 37-year-old athlete did it for the fifth time. Wearing her country's flag colours of red and black, Toua grabbed the bar with a scream, lifted 167 kg in total and smiled in joy, making a heart gesture with her hands at the television camera that she said was for her children. "This would have been my sixth, but in 2016 Rio Olympics I pulled out from the team to give my spot to my sister. Unfortunately due to financial constraints of the country, we couldn't send our team there."

Amid coronavirus restrictions, her achievement in returning to the Games after previously lifting in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London was witnessed live by just a handful of journalists, judges, coaches and other athletes - an achievement nearly thwarted after she contracted tuberculosis in 2013. Coming from a family of weightlifters, Toua was encouraged to get involved in the sport by her aunt. "I had just turned 16 when I attended the Sydney Olympics, and it was nerve-wrecking. It was my third international competition ever and it was an amazing experience, being called an Olympian," Toua said.

That list on top is that of Test Cricketers who had the most career span :  Wilfred Rhodes of England debuted on 1st June 1899, played across the century for 30 years 315 days playing 58 matches, followed by Close, Woolley, Headley and then fifth in the list is Sachin who played from 15.11.1989 till 16.11.2013 spanning 24 years and 1 day – playing 200 Tests !

In One dayers,  it is Sachin who tops the list 18.12.1989 to 18.3.2012 – 22 years 91 days – 463 matches in all; followed by Sanath Jayasuriya 445 matches in 21years+; Javed Miandad 233; Chris Gayle 301; Shoaib Malik 287 and P Arvinda de Silva 308 matches in 18 y 352 days.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar