CWG probe: Kalmadi’s lockers searched; aides sent to jail

first_imgSpeculations is rife that CBI sleuths may arrest the former Games OC after the arrest of his two key aides – former OC secretary-general Lalit Bhanot and director-general V.K. Verma.Two bank lockers in Pune belonging to Suresh Kalmadi, former chief of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, was searched on Tuesday by the CBI in connection with the alleged irregularities during the organising of the mega sporting event in Delhi.The lockers at ICICI and Saraswat banks in the city were sealed by the agency in December following CBI searches at Kalmadi’s residential and official premises, sources said.Kalmadi’s farm house at Khadakwasla near Pune and the Sai Service petrol station he owns in Pune were among his properties searched. The premises of his personal secretary Manoj Bhure in Pune were also searched by the CBI. The December searches were in connection to the award of video installation work for the Queen’s Baton Relay to a London-based private firm allegedly at inflated rates.Several of Kalmadi’s top aides including former secretary-general Lalit Bhanot and V. K. Verma, director general of the committee, were arrested during the last few months.Bhanot and Verma were produced before a Delhi court on Tuesday following the expiry of their five- day police custody to which they were remanded on February 24.The CBI did not seek further police custody and they were sent to a 14-day judicial custody by the court on Tuesday for striking a “suspect” Rs 107-crore deal with a Swiss firm to provide various logistic support for the Games.advertisementSpecial judge Talwant Singh remanded the duo in judicial custody on the CBI plea that the investigation into the case was still going on.Bhanot and Verma were arrested on February 23 by the CBI and were remanded in CBI custody for five days on February 24 for interrogation of their role in the scam.The duo were among the functionaries and key personnel in the organising committee and were deeply involved and instrumental in allotting the contract for timing, scoring and result (TSR) system to Swiss Timing in a preplanned and pre- mediated manner at an exorbitant rate, the CBI had told the court after their arrest.Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit, meanwhile, launched an attack on Kalmadi, four days after the sacked OC chief demanded bringing Dikshit and two Union ministers into the ambit of the CBI probe into the alleged bunglings.”All those who were involved in organising the Games must be summoned. Why just go after the Organising Committee,” Kalmadi had said when asked if he wanted Dikshit as well as former sports minister M. S. Gill and urban development minister S. Jaipal Reddy to be summoned by the CBI. Attacking Dikshit for her statements against the Organising Committee, Kalmadi said, “She said even before the investigations started that all scams are in OC. Does that mean she predetermined all this?”- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

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Sport to combat homophobia

first_imgToday marks International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) and the theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Speaking about silence – homophobia in the sports world’.ASC Sports Performance and Development Assistant Director Nadine Cohen said that a recent national survey of same-sex attracted young people identified that the second-most threatening environment for abuse was within sport.‘To address these concerns, the ASC and the VEOHRC are trialling a 12 month anti-homophobia project to reduce the experience and impact of homophobia in a national sporting code, which will form the benchmark strategy for other sporting codes and their governing bodies,’ Cohen said.‘We are working with the VEOHRC to effect cultural and behavioural change in sport across many areas including bullying and harassment, player well-being and discrimination, with a focus on addressing homophobia.’VEOHRC’s Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke said the project will aim to saturate one sporting code with a range of resources and information and capacity-building materials to address the issue of homophobia in sport.‘The pilot program sport will be announced in June 2010,’ Szoke said.‘In the general sense, we understand sport is a very powerful vehicle to reach the population, to educate and empower, to enable people’s voices to be heard.’The project will determine effective ways to create safe and welcoming sporting environments through the prevention of homophobic behaviour.  It will also establish how these strategies can be adapted to reduce the occurrence of other discriminatory barriers to sport participation.‘The ASC is committed to partnering with the sport industry to uphold the principles of fairness, respect, responsibility and safety.  Being a part of promoting IDAHO and working with the VEOHRC are some of the initiatives the ASC is focusing on to maximise participation of all Australians in sport, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sexuality or gender,’ Cohen said.Sexuality Discrimination & Homophobia ASC LinkVisit the Play By the Rules Website, for interactive scenarios, role specific information (athletes, coaches and administrators) and additional resources.last_img read more

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Mixed Success

first_img@Eden_RichardsAustralia have made the perfect start to their Mixed Open campaign, downing New Zealand 9-6 in an exciting contest at Sunshine Coast Stadium.The win puts the Aussies up 1-0 in their best of three Trans Tasman Series, but they did not have it all their own way as the Kiwis mounted a late second-half comeback.The match may have opened up in the second stanza, but it was a tight low-scoring affair in the first half as both teams put up huge defensive efforts.Adam Pryde opened the scoring for Australia in the 4th minute, giving his side the perfect start to the match after an even first few minutes.The Aussies doubled their lead just a minute later, with Elin Mortimer crossing after being left unmarked on the left wing to make it 2-0.New Zealand had the better field position for the next 10 minutes, but resolute defence from Australia turned back raid after raid from the Kiwis.It looked as if New Zealand wouldn’t be able to take advantage of their dominant field position heading into half-time, but that all changed when they crossed for a touchdown one minute from the break.Danyon Morgan-Puterangi took advantage of an overlap to dive over, giving New Zealand some reward for their time in Australia’s half.But Australia hit back on the half-time hooter, with Leah Opie-Lukins scoring courtesy of an excellent cut-out ball from Michael Singh.It left the score sitting at 3-1 at the break and the Aussies extended their lead two minutes into the second half when Opie-Lukins crossed for her second.But New Zealand soon replied, scoring a touchdown on the right through Rahera Rauwhero to make the score 4-2 with 15 minutes to play.New Zealand’s Tina Ashworth crossed in the 28th minute to cut the scoreline to 4-3 and make Australia nervous, but seconds later Australian Jayden Benbow scored to restore the two-touchdown lead.With 10 minutes to play James Blackwood crossed for his first, giving Australia a 6-3 lead and some breathing room.Benbow then added another touchdown to his name and it was becoming clear that it would be the Aussies’ night as they jumped to a 7-3 lead.But the Kiwis would not lie down without a fight, crossing in the 34th minute through Mackenzie Haugh to keep his side alive.Yet it seemed whatever New Zealand could do, the Australians could do better, with Zara Nicholas replying in the 35th minute to give her side an 8-4 lead.But the Kiwis soon got a reply of their own, with Morgan-Puterangi crossing for his second touchdown of the night as the game began to open up.New Zealand made it two touchdowns in a row late in the match when Nicole Drummond crossed, but the Kiwis left their run too late and their hopes of securing a come from behind win were all but gone when Justin Costello scored for Australia to make it 9-6 to the home side.That’s how it stayed as Australia secured a vital win over their biggest rivals.Australia 9 (Opie-Lukins 2, Benbow 2, Blackwood, Costello, Nicholas, Mortimer, Pryde touchdowns) defeated New Zealand 6 (Morgan-Puterangi 2, Rauwhero, Ashworth, Drummond, Haugh touchdowns)Related LinksMixed Successlast_img read more

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American Pharoahs A Superhorse But Hes No Secretariat

After American Pharoah (sic) won this year’s Preakness Stakes, I warned you all to be skeptical of him in the Belmont Stakes.Oops.In my defense, I was technically being skeptical of any Triple Crown hopeful, not this horse in particular — and I (mostly) stick by that. But American Pharoah appears to be a legitimate superhorse.Indeed, he may be one of the most super superhorses in history (at least among American 3-year-olds). Like Secretariat, American Pharoah has broken a multi-decade Triple Crown slump. Like Secretariat, American Pharoah won all three races without much difficulty. American Pharoah won the 1.5 mile (12 furlong) Belmont Stakes in a time unmatched by any other Triple Crown winner (save Secretariat) in history. American Pharoah also led wire-to-wire, and won by an impressive five and a half lengths.But as great a run as American Pharoah had, it still didn’t really approach Secretariat’s. Picture how far ahead of the field American Pharoah was at the end of the Belmont. Now double it (multiply by 2.4 to be exact). That’s about how far American Pharoah would have been lagging behind Secretariat (13 ¼ lengths). In a Belmont field featuring the 11 Triple Crown winners running their Belmont-winning times, Secretariat would have led the other horses by the following distances:1I converted the difference between each horse’s finishing time to lengths using the typical rate of five lengths per second. Still, this is amazing company, and American Pharoah’s triumph is only the fourth Triple Crown since 1948.All that said, American Pharoah’s win didn’t clear up whether a horse that wins at 9.5 and 10 furlongs (the distances of the Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby, respectively) is likely to be able to win at 12 furlongs. The types of horses that win the Belmont may be more naturally calibrated to the longer distance.There’s some evidence of specialization in the race’s winning times. Since the Belmont Stakes moved to 12 furlongs for good in 1926, American Pharoah’s time is only seventh-best, with four of the six better times coming during the most recent drought:The most interesting thing about this chart is what we do not see: There hasn’t been a recent bunch of Belmont superhorses. In fact, Belmont times have been on the rise for the past 20-plus years, and their five-year average in 2014 (pre-American Pharoah) was the highest it has been since the 1930s.While this makes a win by American Pharoah a little less spectacular than if he had to fend off a troupe of ever-improving distance-running specialists, it makes his time – the best by any horse in over a decade (since Point Given in 2001) – even more impressive, relative to the recent trend.CLARIFICATION (June 7, 3:37 p.m.): An earlier version of this article included a chart that suggested it showed all Triple Crown winners’ Belmont finishes. It showed all Triple Crown winners’ Belmont finishers since the Belmont race was lengthened to 12 furlongs in 1926. read more

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Wait … Is LeBron James Actually Going To Miss The Playoffs

2018 Season2019 Season It’s been a tough season for the young LakersPerformance metrics for four Los Angeles Lakers prospects, 2018 vs. 2019 Lonzo Ball+1.7.05310.0+0.7.0568.8 Josh Hart-0.1.1118.8-0.4.0636.4 PlayerBPMWS/48*PIE%†BPMWS/48*PIE%† Brandon Ingram-1.3.0689.6-3.2.0428.4 Average-0.4.0769.8-1.1.0608.7 *Win shares per 48 minutes†PIE% = Player Impact Estimate, a rough measure of the percentage of all positive on-court events (for both teams) the player accounted for.Source: Basketball-Reference.com LeBron James has been so good for so long that it’s easy to forget just how astounding some of his accomplishments are. For example, he currently owns one of the greatest ongoing streaks in sports: His team has made the NBA Finals in eight straight seasons, starting in 2011. That’s mind-blowing in a league where a single finals appearance can be the highlight of a player’s entire career — and he’s done it for two different franchises.Of course, everyone knew it would be hard for James to keep that streak going this season after moving from the Cleveland Cavaliers — and the relative ease of the Eastern Conference — to the Los Angeles Lakers and the scary West. The thing that has taken NBA observers by surprise is the reason why the finals streak might not happen: James’s Lakers are in real danger of not making the playoffs at all.According to our NBA projection model, Los Angeles currently has just a 26 percent probability of making the playoffs. L.A. sits a game under .500 in the West’s No. 10 slot, three games back of the eighth-seeded Clippers with 25 games left on the schedule, and it will face the league’s ninth-toughest schedule down the stretch. The Lakers’ only saving grace is that, at full strength, our model thinks they’re the West’s eighth-best team, significantly better than both the Clippers and the No. 9 Sacramento Kings. But it will be a race to the finish that James hasn’t had to worry about in a very long time.The last LeBron-led team to miss the postseason entirely was the 2004-05 Cavs, in James’s second NBA season. They went 42-40 — which has traditionally been good enough to make the playoffs in the East — but lost out on a tiebreaker with the New Jersey Nets (who beat Cleveland 3-1 in the season series). Talent-wise, that team was a far cry from even later versions of the Cavs that would be prematurely bounced out of the playoffs: Journeyman guard Jeff McInnis was second on the team in minutes behind LeBron, and low-scoring swingman Ira Newble was also a full-time starter. (The next scoring options behind James were Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden.) James himself had not yet fully ascended to GOAT levels of performance, either, posting what would eventually be the fifth-worst Box Plus/Minus and fourth-worst win shares per 48 minutes of his career to date.On paper, this season’s Lakers should not be drawing comparisons to Jeff McInnis and Ira Newble. Although L.A.’s supporting cast didn’t have the same immediate appeal as players in other potential free-agent destinations for James, it was assumed that the young quartet of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball would build on their promising 2018 performances — particularly by playing alongside James — and mix with the Lakers’ strange mishmash of veterans to make a functional team. But that hasn’t consistently happened during James’s debut campaign in purple and gold. Kyle Kuzma-1.3.07710.4%-1.3.07810.6% Across a variety of metrics, LeBron’s young sidekicks have mostly declined in performance this season, despite benefiting from an extra year of development and getting to play next to one of the greatest offensive creators in NBA history. Only Kuzma can credibly say he has shown any amount of improvement, increasing his usage rate and true shooting percentage while reducing his turnover rate. The rest — particularly Ingram, whose advanced stats have slid into an abyss — have stalled out or worse, and none has even amounted to a league-average player, according to the consensus of metrics.Making matters worse, it could be argued that those four cost Los Angeles a shot at trading for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis at the deadline (assuming that former Pelicans GM Dell Demps ever actually intended to deal Davis). If even a few of the Lakers’ youngsters had played well this season, showing the requisite star potential to be included in a trade package for Davis, it’s possible that L.A. would have been penciling a LeBron-AD duo into its lineup for a playoff push this year. Instead, it’s left waiting for Hart and Ball to return from injury and hoping the kids can play better down the stretch.The veterans haven’t exactly helped much, either. JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler are an efficient pairing of defensive bigs, and both are above average in win shares per 48 — the most charitable stat for each — while shooting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the recently acquired Reggie Bullock are at least in the vicinity of average in the metric. (As is new power forward Mike Muscala.) But Rajon Rondo has shot the ball poorly this season, and Lance Stephenson hasn’t been an effective player in years. All told, James’s supporting cast hasn’t been appreciably better than the one he fled in Cleveland after last season.1On average (weighted by minutes), non-James Lakers this season have a -1.1 BPM and .080 WS/48. Last year’s non-James Cavs had a -1.6 BPM and .086 WS/48.And it bears mentioning that James himself has not been as statistically dominant as in his last few seasons as a Cavalier. His usage rate, true shooting percentage, assist rate, rebound rate, steal rate, block rate and defensive BPM are all down from last year. He’s shooting worse on twos, threes and free throws. And most concerning, the 34-year-old missed 18 games between Christmas and early February with a groin injury, and he’s played only 49.5 percent of the Lakers’ available minutes this season — by far the lowest mark of his career.James did tell reporters over All-Star weekend that he “feels great,” though, and that he’s ready to lead a playoff push for Los Angeles.“[I’m] looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race,” James said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to happen in my mental space for these next two months, pretty much on how I can get this team playing the type of level of basketball we were playing before my injury.”The Lakers will need to summon all of James’s focus and talent to storm back into the playoff picture. It’s more than possible, particularly if James is indeed healthy. But our projections are still low for a LeBron team even after accounting for James’s return to the lineup — and the fact that the Clippers were sellers at the trade deadline. (That’s why we give L.A. a 26 percent chance, while simpler forecasts such as the one at Basketball-Reference.com peg its odds at about 5 percent.) And even if the Lakers do make the playoffs, they would probably end up being heavy underdogs against the Golden State Warriors in the first round.The Lakers’ long-term future should be brighter: The team will have plenty of cap space to use on free agents surrounding James and plenty of superstar options to choose from (in addition to the ongoing potential of a Davis trade). For now, though, James’s finals streak has a real chance of ending far earlier than anybody expected: April 10, the final day of the 2018-19 NBA regular season.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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