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NASCAR managed small miracle in problem-free return

first_img Written By First Published: 19th May, 2020 07:30 IST COMMENT The odds were against NASCAR flawlessly executing its reopening plan, which was a potential standard-setting moment for other professional leagues to follow in this new normal of sports.No plan is ever perfect and all the assistance from outside health officials couldn’t protect NASCAR from the obvious flaw in its procedures: The system in large part is based on the honor code.A sport with a storied history of cheating, lying and sometimes stealing in the name of winning expects its participants to tell the truth if they aren’t feeling well, practice social distancing at the track and at the shop, and wear face masks.Cloth over your face for 12 hours under the South Carolina sun is not ideal. Yet everyone complied Sunday at Darlington Raceway and NASCAR — a series often criticized for being consistently inconsistent and making up rules on the fly —“They pulled this thing off and it feels a little like a Christmas miracle,” said driver Brad Keselowski.Things could have gone awry starting at sunrise when crews pulled off through an obscure entrance and into a gravel lot. Officials with clipboards and thermometers waited ahead.If NASCAR had not set staggered arrival times, the system could have broken right there with 900-something vehicles trying to enter at the same time. Instead, every entrant had their forehead scanned, temperature logged on a list and not a single person was turned away.NASCAR is not testing for COVID-19 but believes its social-distancing protocols ease the risks.“I think everybody found their groove,” said NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell. “Didn’t have to tell anyone or remind anyone to wear a mask. I think the industry really came together and did a tremendous job to enable us to get to the race.”There was no other choice for NASCAR, now in a survival mode approach to get cars back on the track. Money can’t be made if races aren’t run and a shutdown since March 13 wounded every area of the industry.Team owners stopped receiving sponsorship checks, promoters had nothing to promote and crew members took pay cuts, lost bonuses or were furloughed.Wallets already hit, few seemed daring enough to mess this up for themselves or the sport.Kevin Harvick had no true victory celebration for his 50th career win. On the desolate frontstretch, he noted the eerie silence of the empty grandstands in an “awkward” post-race session with Regan Smith, the only Fox Sports reporter sent to the track.“Usually you get out of the car and the crowd is screaming and yelling,” said Harvick, adding he was unsure what to do. “You’ve got Regan from Fox six feet away, a masked man, I didn’t know if I was supposed to put a mask on and talk to him.”Harvick noted his team didn’t get a chance to celebrate with the car, but “in the big picture of things, being able to do what we did — and that’s race — is what everybody wants to do.”The effort must continue to keep the engines running. NASCAR has eight more Cup Series races scheduled over the next 35 days and it includes three Wednesday night races. The Cup cars last ran on a Wednesday in 1984, Richard Petty’s 200th and final victory.It’s a heavy workload for race teams and stamina will be tested for drivers now running multiple times a week. But in getting past the first test, there is hope.“This was a really big moment for the sport to be able to pull this off,” said Keselowski. “Up until probably two or three hours before the race I was ready for something to go wrong. Like, alright, what is it going to be? Is someone going to be sick? Is there going to be somebody boycotting outside the race track? Nobody did. Nothing bad happened.“It would have been really, really easy to just say, ‘We will wait for the NHL, NFL or NBA to be the guinea pigs.’ (NASCAR) didn’t take that attitude and I have a lot of respect for them making that decision.” Last Updated: 19th May, 2020 07:30 IST NASCAR Managed Small Miracle In Problem-free Return The odds were against NASCAR flawlessly executing its reopening plan, which was a potential standard-setting moment for other professional leagues to follow in this new normal of sports. Associated Press Television News center_img SUBSCRIBE TO US WATCH US LIVE LIVE TV FOLLOW USlast_img read more

Bo De La Cruz NT’s top Sportsperson

first_imgBo De La Cruz was all smiles at the Northern Territory Sports Awards on Friday night 2 April 2004 as she accepted the prestigious award of Northern Territory Sportsperson of the Year. The touch footballer was gobsmacked to receive the honour in front a field of 10 nominated Territorian athletes for outstanding achievement. “I’m lost for words, for once” she said in her acceptance speech at the gala event held at Darwin’s MGM Grand Casino. Finalists for the award were Australian hockey goalkeeper Mark Hickman, a veteran of 71 Tests, and Australian tenpin bowling champion Ronald Voukolos. “I was up against a pretty hard field,” De La Cruz said. “Mark and Ron are two very good friends of mine but in my eyes we are all winners. “It was a very big shock to me because it was a very hard field, but girls took it out” De La Cruz was a member of the Australia Womens Touch team that won the World Cup in Japan in May 2003. She was also named Player of the Series at the event. She thanked her family, especially the discipline learnt from father Norm a halfback for Nightcliff and NT representative in rugby league. She also thanked guest speaker Jason McCartney for being at the awards. “He is a major inspiration. I didn’t know all the facts about what happened in Bali. I’m a Kangaroos fan for the record, and he is an amazing man to overcome the hurdles and to do something that passionate, that takes an amazing person.” Next on the agenda for the speedy playmaker is the State of Origin series in the unfamiliar colour of blue. “I was recently picked in the New South Wales State of Origin team which my Dad is not to happy about he’s a Queenslander and I go for Queenslanders but I’m very honoured to be playing for NSW.” De La Cruz is also preparing for Australia’s bid to win the All Nations Cup to be played in New Zealand late in 2005. “We’re back in the squad again and the easy part was making the team, the hard part is staying there,” she said. De La Cruz has considered other sports but at the moment is content with her chosen team sport. “I’ve always loved playing in a team.” She said. “I don’t know if I would ever go well in an individual sport. “I thought about going back to athletics. As a junior I did athletics and swimming. “I’m only 23 and look at Nova Peris, Kyle Van Der Kuyp and Patrick Johnson they’re all in there 30’s now and still going strong. “Nova is on of my biggest inspirations. I remember when I was about 11 and she came to my school, and I’ll always remember her words that nothing is impossible. I’ve always stuck to my guns and that saying, and looking at what I’ve achieved now, I think everything is possible.” This article is from the Northern Territory News, Monday 5 April 2004.last_img read more

10 months agoWatford prepared to sell Doucoure – but not at PSG price

first_imgWatford prepared to sell Doucoure – but not at PSG priceby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWatford are prepared to sell Abdoulaye Doucoure this month.That’s according to ESPN, which report Watford will listen to offers for Doucoure starting at €50m.PSG are keen, but will not consider going higher than €30m for the midfielder.Doucoure is considered at PSG as a replacement for wantaway midfielder Adrien Rabiot.Just last week, Watford boss Javi Gracia said: “It’s important for the club and the owner to know how important he is to us. But after that, they will choose what is best for the club. Sometimes, some players, like last season with Richarlison, decide themselves. It could happen again. We do not want him to leave, but it’s football.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Prime Minister Trudeau promotes progressive NAFTA agenda before US audience

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took his so-called progressive trade agenda to the United States on Tuesday, arguing that worker-friendly policies are key to saving public support for free trade.He made that case in a speech as he arrived in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, and was presented an award for global citizenship by the Atlantic Council think tank.Trudeau was introduced to the stage by Jordan’s Queen Rania who saluted his values and his work on Syrian refugees.The prime minister noted that some critics at home have made fun of his government for pushing chapters on gender equality, indigenous rights, and labour protections as priorities for a new North American Free Trade Agreement under the argument that these things have nothing to do with trade.But he suggested this is no laughing matter for anyone who cares about preserving trade, in an era when populist currents have threatened to topple international agreements in Europe, Asia and North America.“Some appear to have been confused by this,” Trudeau said“It’s as though they expect us to do trade exactly the same way it was done by our parents, a quarter century ago.”He said trade deals have been broadly positive for the majority of citizens but if they were perfect there would be no populist backlash like the ones currently occurring, especially in former manufacturing regions slammed by offshoring and automation.“So we need to do a better job of ensuring the benefits of trade extend to the middle class and those working hard to join the middle class — not just the wealthiest few,” Trudeau said.“In short, progressive trade is not a frill. In addition to being the right thing to do, it is a practical necessity, without which popular support for a growth agenda cannot be maintained.”He noted as an example the push for labour rights. Sources say the Canadian government hopes the new NAFTA includes stronger union protections for Mexican workers, and an end to U.S. right-to-work laws that limit the potential to strike.Sources say some of these ideas have swiftly been deemed non-starters by the other NAFTA parties.Trudeau delivered his speech on an aircraft carrier in the Hudson River where the black-tie Atlantic Council gala was held.The speech included three themes: progressive trade, promoting human rights, and preserving the post-Second World War multilateral order. Some of those post-war institutions have come under attack recently by President Donald Trump, who argues that the U.S. pays too much into organizations like NATO and the United Nations and gets too little out of them.It was a common theme of Trump’s speech to the General Assembly Tuesday — he toasted the merits of nationalism, and the idea that countries should be free exercise their own sovereignty.But the prime minister said that on common challenges like climate change, income inequality, terrorism, civil war and mass migration, international institutions are indispensable.“Alliances that have underpinned global security and prosperity since 1945 are being put to the test,” Trudeau said.“Worldwide, the long-established international order is being tested. With Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and encroachment in Ukraine, we have seen the first major territorial seizure in Europe since the Second World War.“This is not the time for retrenchment. It is a time for the Atlantic democracies to renew our commitment to universal standards of rights and liberty, enforced through a multilateral, rules-based order that has promoted peace and stability, and stood the test of time.”He said that includes NATO, and the UN, Norad, and the World Trade Organization, spanning both soft and hard power, which is why, he said, Canada is also significantly boosting its defence spending.The Jordanian queen saluted the prime minister as he stepped up to the stage for his award.“We live in an era of shrinking trust in government institutions,” Rania told the audience.“But every once in a while a leader steps up onto the stage and reignites our faith… As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, Mr. Trudeau has led his country in renewing its deepest values: the openness, generosity, big-heartedness and broad-mindedness for which Canadians are admired across the globe.”IMF president Christine Lagarde spoke after Trudeau to introduce the second award recipient, South Korean president Moon Jae-in. Lagarde joked that her friend, Trudeau, was a tough act to follow.Trudeau and Korea’s leader met before the event and discussed the nuclear crisis to its north.last_img read more

Sabarimala to open for annual festival today

first_imgThiruvananthapuram: The Sabarimala temple will open for the annual temple festival for 10 days, starting from March 11.A release issued by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which administers the shrine, said that head priest Kandararu Rajeevaru would preside over the temple opening ceremony. The festival will end on March 21. The temple will also get a new gold-plated door for the sanctum sanctorum when the hill shrine opens for the festival tomorrow. The existing door, which developed tiny cracks, would be replaced with the new one. The holy door, made of quality teak wood, has been plated with at least four kilograms of gold after engraving and embossing it with copper. A group of Sabarimala devotees, led by one Unni Namboothiri, met the expenses of the new door as an offering to the presiding deity, TDB president A Padmakumar had said. “The new door is designed in such a way that the gold platings can be removed if the door suffers any damage in course of time,” the TDB chief had said. The Lord Ayyappa Temple had recently witnessed frenzied protests by devotees opposing the implementation of the landmark September 28 Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the temple.last_img read more

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The Knicks Did This To Themselves

When Carmelo Anthony joined the New York Knicks at the trade deadline six years ago, the team feted his arrival. Just before Anthony, who was born in Brooklyn, was introduced at Madison Square Garden as a Knick for the first time, the team played Diddy’s “Coming Home,” featuring Skylar Grey. The club, formerly led by Amar’e Stoudemire, was now armed with a second star, one who was supposed to change the trajectory of the long-suffering franchise and make it a contender. And for a time, at least on paper, it was hard to argue with the results: After a decade of mostly awful basketball, the Knicks reached the playoffs in each of their first three seasons with Anthony.Fast-forward to today, though, and the team seems to be unraveling with every passing minute. The Knicks keep making headlines for the wrong reasons, whether it’s because their big-name point guard has gone AWOL, their president is putting his foot in his mouth or a fan favorite is being hustled out of the Garden in cuffs.1NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a Monday statement that he and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, a longtime friend of Charles Oakley, the former player who was arrested, spoke with Oakley and Knicks owner Jim Dolan in hopes of the two men moving past the incident. Like last year, when New York fell off the map after a surprising 22-22 start, this year’s team put up a decent record early in the season only to see the wins have dried up and the club fall out of contention.To figure out how the Knicks could be so terrible — it looks likely that they’ll miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year despite having a future Hall of Famer on the roster — look to what the franchise lacks: continuity. Even when it makes the most sense to keep things as they are, the status quo is often upended in New York.The vast majority of that upheaval stems from failures in the front office, but before analyzing that mess, it’s important to note that Anthony isn’t blameless here either. The 32-year-old has shown an unusual degree of loyalty to the city and team he forced a trade to, despite being subjected to the team president’s subtweets and critiques every other month. But he hasn’t exactly been the easiest player to build around. People in the Knicks organization2I was a Knicks beat reporter at The Wall Street Journal for four years. will tell you that Anthony’s never been happy about the physical toll that comes with playing power forward, especially on defense, even though power forward is his most productive position. He also didn’t see eye-to-eye with his first Knicks coach, Mike D’Antoni (who’s now nearly a lock for coach of the year in light of what he’s doing in Houston), though D’Antoni’s quick-trigger, pick-and-roll-based offensive principles should, in theory, have fit Anthony’s game well.But most of the dysfunction is rooted in the Knicks’ front office. Perhaps the most maddening thing about its moves in recent years has been its inability to gauge the direction of the NBA as a whole.It’s hard to picture it now, but the Knicks were once exemplars of the NBA’s push toward more 3-pointers. The 2012-13 Knicks thrived using a two-point-guard system with Anthony at power forward en route to breaking a league record for 3-pointers made and attempted in a single season. They won 54 games — their most in 15 years — and earned the East’s No. 2 seed as Anthony won his first NBA scoring crown.Then, strangely, the Knicks dealt away Steve Novak, their best 3-point shooter (along with a first-round pick and two second-rounders3Marcus Camby and Quentin Richardson were also sent to Toronto as throw-ins, but they never actually played for the Raptors following the trade.), for Andrea Bargnani, who couldn’t really shoot anymore. Later that offseason, owner Jim Dolan axed Glen Grunwald, the team’s general manager, who’d finished tied for third in Executive of the Year voting just months earlier.Then, when Phil Jackson took over as president, he was adamant about using his beloved triangle offense. Teams throughout the NBA borrow from the triangle system, but it’s likely too antiquated to work when used in its entirety because it relies heavily on midrange and post-up shots that have fallen out of favor in today’s efficiency-obsessed NBA. At the same time, Jackson and his first coaching hire, Derek Fisher, seemed to downplay the importance of the three ball in today’s league. And by breaking up a team that was at the forefront of a larger leaguewide trend, the Knicks might have missed an opportunity to develop into an annual playoff contender. Who’s Going Where As The NBA Trade Deadline Approaches? For years, episodes like the Lopez-Rose swap4The trade also included the Knicks sending guards Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon going to Chicago in exchange for swingman Justin Holiday and a second-round pick. — where an element of the team’s continuity is sacrificed in pursuit of a win-now gamble — have clearly been causing problems at the Garden. Since 2000, the Knicks have gone through more coaches than any other team, according to information provided by Elias Sports Bureau. Since the start of the 2008-09 season, they’ve suited up more players than any club. Anthony alone has had five coaches and 79 teammates during his time in New York. Jackson, who’s hired three coaches and cycled through 45 players in less than three years, has done little to slow the game of musical chairs down since becoming team president.Only now does the team seem to be grasping some of the nuances of the collective bargaining agreement and the importance of youth. New York’s front office, which hasn’t re-signed one of its first-round picks to a multi-year deal since Charlie Ward in 1999, deserves credit for having held onto its future first-round selections these past three seasons. The team’s foreign scouting has been solid for years. And the Knicks seem to have learned from past mistakes, signing unheralded free agents to longer, cheaper deals very different from the risky one-year pacts they agreed to with Jeremy Lin and Chris Copeland, who outplayed expectations, then left for bigger paydays elsewhere.Still, none of these relatively straightforward improvements absolve Dolan or Jackson of the mistakes they’ve made, since the team still lacks a clear direction years after this power structure was put in place.Though Dolan finally had the right idea in removing himself from basketball operations and handing those duties over to someone who can guard against Dolan’s urges to meddle with the team, it’s become painfully clear that Dolan should’ve turned to someone who’d done this job before, especially since the job now comes with a $12 million salary.Hopefully Jackson will view his tenure with the Knicks as an education on how vastly different this job is from coaching, but in the meantime, he has faced almost too many challenges (including setting a clear organizational agenda, giving a new coach room to experiment, and building a rapport with his players) to mention.The 71-year-old dealt Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert but has little to show for them. He has awkwardly straddled the line between trying to win now and trying to reload for the future, and he has made choosing a path harder by including a no-trade clause in Anthony’s contract.For too long, he micromanaged the club’s style of offense as if that was the problem, even though the Knicks are likely to field their 11th bottom-10 defense in the 15 seasons since Jeff Van Gundy resigned. And Jackson’s efforts to motivate his star player by criticising him in the media — which might have worked in the past, when Jackson was a coach and winning rings left and right — have fallen flat, and perhaps made players around the NBA less likely to want to play in New York.A simple dose of normalcy, along with a moment’s pause to take stock of how the rest of the NBA is operating, would go a long way in leading New York back to success, whether Anthony remains a Knick or not.Check out our latest NBA predictions. The Novak trade and the move away from 3-pointers are just two of the many examples of New York cutting experiments short when patience and cultivation might have eventually yielded a positive outcome, or at least prevented a negative one.Take Jackson’s 2015 signing of center Robin Lopez, which, outside of drafting Kristaps Porzingis, might stand as his best acquisition to date. After a solid season in New York — Lopez was arguably the most consistent player on the team in 2015-16, and he improved considerably after the all-star break when he got a better grasp on the offense — the Knicks dealt him away for Derrick Rose, who, because he’s in a contract year, may end up being just a one-season rental.Had the Knicks stood pat with Lopez, it would have spared them the pain of what replaced him: Joakim Noah’s four-year, $72 million contract, which, combined with his age and injury history, makes him seem untradable. (The signing looks borderline disastrous, given that Porzingis should be able to play Noah’s position full time within the next year or so anyway.) Related: Hot Takedown read more