The International Olympic Committee wants to keep considering changes that could result in both the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games awarded in September. An internal letter written by IOC President Thomas Bach’s spokesman suggests further adjustments are needed in the way Olympic hosts are chosen. It references Bach’s statement from last year, saying the “process produces too many losers”. In December, Bach floated the idea of awarding both the 2024 Games, as scheduled, along with the 2028 Games. Los Angeles and Paris are the remaining candidates from a list that began with five cities. Budapest, Hungary, said this week it was withdrawing. The letter, obtained yesterday by the Associated Press (AP), was first reported by Inside The Games. In an interview last week with the AP, Bach said continued speculation about awarding two Olympics at the IOC’s meeting in September “may give us some ideas”. “This procedure as it is … our political environment in such a fragile world just produces too many losers,” Bach said last Saturday. The letter echoed that phrasing, saying “the political situation in our fragile world requires us to further adjust the candidature procedure”. The IOC acknowledged Budapest’s withdrawal, which will be made official by Hungary’s Olympic committee. “It is clear that a promising Olympic Games candidature has been used to promote a broader domestic political agenda beyond the Olympic Games and was overtaken by local politics,” said the letter, written by Bach’s spokesman, Mark Adams. Adams defended Bach’s ‘Agenda 2020’, the core of which was to streamline the Olympics and make bidding more attractive and less expensive for cities. “All three candidates have made it clear that their candidatures would not have taken place without Olympic Agenda 2020,” Adams wrote. Still, the dwindling of the candidate pool raised questions about whether Agenda 2020 was really working. The point of the letter was that Agenda 2020 was only the start and more reforms are needed. If those reforms involve awarding the next two Summer Games this year, it will be a hard sell for both Paris and Los Angeles, each having insisted its proposals are good for only 2024. Replicating plans for 2028 would be possible but would also take significant retooling since many of the contracts in place for development and stadium use are for only the 2024 Olympics. FRAGILE WORLD
Arcata >> Over the last four seasons, Ja’Quan Gardner and Alex Cappa have celebrated a lot of touchdowns together.On Wednesday, they earned a pair of All-American honors together.Both Cappa and Gardner, two of the best players to ever come through the Humboldt State football program, earned spots on the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-American Football Team as first-team selections. They also were selected as Associated Press Division II All-American, with Cappa …
For evolutionary theory to work, all human behavior must originate from mindless natural processes. What does that do to honesty and kindness?Godless potheads: A survey of Swiss men conducted by Lausanne University found that people who believed in God used fewer drugs than atheists. Medical Xpress reported the finding: the more atheistic, the more the drug use. “Karl Marx said that religion was the opium of the people,” the article quipped. “New figures now suggest that religion plays a role in preventing substance misuse.” Correspondingly, perhaps atheism instead is the opiate of the people: the dope that turns people to dope. Needless to say, any scientist trying to do believable scientific research must be in full use of his or her mental capacities.Theism might be helpful even if not true: Does it matter if God exists? That’s the question a philospher at Ryerson University is studying, with funds from the Templeton Foundation, according to PhysOrg. Professor Klaas Kraay is not trying to prove or disprove God, but just to see if it makes a difference. “Through our research, we hope to clarify our intuitions about the difference in value that God’s existence makes (or would make) to our lives and to the world around us,” he said. So far, he is just framing the questions, but he and his colleague are trying to refute the position of Oxford philosopher Guy Kahane who has argued religion makes the world worse, and makes people’s lives meaningless. So far he has identified four positions on a scale of belief. “People seem to have strong intuitions and feelings about these four positions,” says Kraay. “However, this grant will enable us to move beyond intuition and feelings and into rigorous arguments about all aspects of this important issue.” But can he even approach the arguments if he is not trustworthy? How does he know rigor is good, if that is not a category of virtue? On what grounds can he assume that rigorous arguments generate true conclusions?Who needs God? Ara Norenzayan’s new book Big Gods: How religion transformed cooperation and conflict (Princeton, 2013) looks like a throwback to the positivism of Auguste Comte (1947-1859), who viewed society in evolutionary stages, passing through a religious stage to culminate in a scientific one. Michael Bond, reviewing the book for New Scientist, summarized it as follows: “As societies mature, many outgrow the need for a spiritual superbeing,” according to Norenzayan. Bond, apparently an evolutionist himself, described the book’s perspective as “a kind of theological take on survival of the fittest.” He finds some of the book’s ideas compelling, such as the idea that having a “big god” enabled societies to control individuals with the notion they are being watched. Once a country outgrows that need, like Denmark or Sweden, they can dispense with the god hypothesis, he says. Still, he is a bit puzzled by the USA, an “outlier” on the graph; it’s “a reminder that religion is about more than cooperation, that belief thrives perhaps because it eases deep existential anxieties where reason and logic cannot help.” But on what basis does he believe in the legitimacy of reason and logic?Fingering evil: Let’s try a test case. Is it legitimate to call Syria’s President Assad evil? He’s the dictator who allegedly launched a poison gas attack that killed over a thousand of his own people, and has killed over 100,000 in the civil war through conventional weapons. Whether we can call him evil is the question Maggie Campbell of Clark University is asking on Live Science. Posing this question on a science site presumes that science is capable of answering it. Campbell, a social psychologist, knows that the answer matters. In true academic style, though, she claims these are “not easy questions with simple answers.” Part of her answer depends on surveys she conducted of individual attitudes, but the gist of it puts the onus on the claimant: “the extent to which a person believes that some people, or social groups, are completely evil relates to that individual’s opinions on violence,” as if defining an opponent as evil justifies revenge. That sounds like relativism, yet later she makes her own value judgments: “Ignoring crimes against humanity is shameful, so any attempt at making the world pay attention is important.” One wonders what she would say if someone called her opinion evil.Evolving good: Another article appeared trying to explain kindness in Darwinian terms – not just any kindness, but the costly kind Robert Trivers called “reciprocal altruism,” like a combat soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save comrades. “In principle, altruism confounds the basic logic of evolution by natural selection because individuals incur fitness costs while providing benefits to others,” Joan B. Silk writes in Current Biology. So does that falsify Darwinism? There is an out, Silk thinks: “Altruistic traits can evolve only when some cue allows altruists to direct benefits selectively to other altruists, and thereby increase the relative fitness of altruists.” Thus she relies on “inclusive fitness” or group fitness, where natural selection acts on the group rather than the individual. She points to putative examples of altruism in the animal kingdom, such as chimpanzee grooming and bat food sharing; Silk waffles, though, on whether the simple explanation works, pointing to other biologists who have disputed it. Asked “Aren’t humans special?”, she referred to evolutionists who have speculated that language enables humans “to inform their partners about their intentions and expectations and coordinate exchanges more effectively.” In the end, though, she urges caution, exiting the Q&A with the ‘further research is needed‘ escape clause: “It would be profitable to assess the factors that stabilize reciprocity in human societies, because this information will influence estimates of the plausibility that strategies based on reciprocal altruism will exist in other species.” One can only hope she was writing altruistically (i.e., expending energy for the benefit of others).Pragmatic or mystical virtue: Rather than reason philosophically about virtue, some authors approach it pragmatically. An article on Medical Xpress, for instance, is titled “Love thy neighbor; It could lower your risk of stroke.” A little reflection shows, however, this is not really love; it is selfishness. Other evolutionists approach it mystically. A photo of neuroscientist Tania Singer in Science titled “Concentrating on Kindness” shows her in lotus position on an MRI machine. Singer is convinced that compassion and empathy would “make the world a better place.” The scientist in her wants to know where a “signature of compassion” might be located in her subjects’ brains, using MRI experiments. If identified, she wants to find “evidence that the instinct to be kind to others can be nurtured through meditation.” She seems to find as much motivation in the Dalai Lama, Buddhist monks and the possibility of “altered states of consciousness,” though, as in scientific evidence in pursuit of her ill-defined goal of trying to make the world a better place. Who defines “better” in evolutionary terms? Needless to say, “many of her colleagues are skeptical of her sweeping vistas—and even more about getting there through meditation,” partly because “historically, meditation is intertwined with religion.” Singer tries to purify her experiments of religion, but Science (its materialist bias showing) questioned her motives, knowing that her funding came from the Templeton Foundation, “a philanthropic organization that has frequently been criticized for trying to blur the boundaries between science and religion.” Meditation is ill-defined, the article points out, and experiments are typically performed with little scientific rigor. Can Singer convince her colleagues she is not on a mystical quest? Either way, who is being truthful and virtuous in the debate?In each of these instances, the evolutionary authors “helped themselves” to the notions of truth and virtue, assuming that their readers would consider them to be speaking or writing altruistically and honestly with unmixed motives, attempting to lead people toward a true understanding of the world. But without genuine truth or virtue—in a survival-of-the-fittest world—anything goes. Cartoonist Zach Weiner showed this cleverly on his strip, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, that appears to satirize evolutionary game theory, showing that ethics is unsustainable in such a world.Evolution implodes when you ask its proponents if truth evolves or virtue evolves. At first, they will launch into their just-so stories about reciprocal altruism, evolutionary epistemology, or whatever. But unless truth and virtue are rock-solid realities independent of what human beings think or feel about them, there is no assurance that anything is really true or virtuous. What’s more, what is considered to be true or virtuous today might be its opposite in the future. Because of this, evolutionists have no grounds for judging anything, including the validity and value of their own beliefs. Consider the consequences. On what grounds can an evolutionist call Assad evil? If Maggie wants to argue that it depends on one’s views on violence, do a little role playing: “Suppose someone called your views on evolution evil and wanted to kill or imprison you and all who agree with you. What would you think of that?” You get the picture. Evolutionists cannot weep if Islam or some future Genghis Khan kills all the evolutionists, because that is a possible outcome of natural selection. Can you imagine any evolutionists not calling that horrendous outcome “evil”? All the “knowledge” bequeathed to us by Father Charlie would be wiped out! “So what?” you respond. “Evolution is as evolution does. Stuff happens.“When the evolutionist is recovering from the horrid thought of the Golden Age of Darwinism being wiped from the history books, similar to the frightening end of George Orwell’s 1984 wherein the history of any resistance to the regime is systematically erased, leaving no trace of the valiant efforts to restore freedom, truth and virtue, you deliver the coup de grace. You ask the evolutionist if truth evolves. If he answers yes, because everything evolves, you ask how he knows that evolution is true. If it becomes false tomorrow, wouldn’t that allow for the possibility that creation is true? If he answers no, you welcome him into the ranks of supernaturalists, because he has just acknowledged that some realities (e.g., truth, virtue, and the laws of logic) are immaterial, timeless, and universal. Most evolutionist brains will have short-circuited before this point, producing a limbic reaction to go on the attack – proving they are only acting out mammalian “survival of the fittest” behaviors, and therefore are not to be trusted. If your interlocutor hears you out, though, you ask him if he is aware of any concept that is simultaneously trustworthy and virtuous (within the constraints of being immaterial, timeless, and universal), if not personal (i.e., like God). Without God, therefore, evolutionary theory is self-refuting.Truth and virtue are preconditions of science—indeed, of any kind of logical reasoning. Evolutionists routinely “help themselves” to these rich foods from the Christian smorgasbord without paying the philosophical price. For that, they are being neither honest nor virtuous. Show a little tough love and graciously but firmly help evolutionists out of their hopeless condition before it implodes on them. 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24 July 2002What will you have in your mealie meal, cone-shaped pancake – lamb and morogo (African spinach), beef and butternut, or chicken chakalaka? These pancakes are selling like hotcakes down in Mpumalanga, with tourists snapping them up at R7 each.And if you’re wondering what chicken chakalaka is, it’s chicken with baked beans, garlic, red wine, and peri-peri sauce for those who like their pancakes spicey.As part of its Poverty Alleviation Programme, the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology responded to Marinda Marais’s pancake proposal by giving her and a group of black women R500 000 to start their project.Marais, community relations officer at the popular Blyde River Canyon Resort in southern Mpumalanga, says that they wanted something that was environmentally friendly and wouldn’t generate any waste, so the pancake seemed the obvious solution, wrapped in a bio-degradable serviette, to be eaten “like an ice cream’.The pancake is similar to roti, but thicker – “the thickness of three conventional pancakes’. The dough of mealie meal and cake flour is rolled out, and using a pot lid, is cut into its shape and, once cooked, rolled into butcher’s paper and filled with one of the three fillers. “The taste of the dough is somewhere between a pancake and a slice of brown bread’, says Marais.The pancakes are sold at Bourke’s Luck Potholes, an area of potholes in the Blyde River Canyon where Tom Bourke found gold in the 1870s. The canyon is the third-biggest, and greenest, canyon in the world. The whole area enjoys a sub-tropical climate and is part of a panoramic route that includes waterfalls, mountains and forest land, on the way to the Kruger Park.The Potholes are at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur Rivers, where the scouring of water-borne pebbles over countless centuries has carved out a spectacular geological formation of surreal rock shapes.Marais and a group of 13 women took over the kiosk at the viewpoint to the Potholes in April last year, and with the help of the owner of Harry’s Pancakes in nearby Graskop, worked out these African cuisine recipes, together with the mealie meal pancakes.“These 13 women would be unemployed if they weren’t making pancakes,’ says Marais. And she intends employing more women when the project expands. The idea is to keep the kiosk running and take over the present Aventura restaurant, and employ 10 more women to run it.This would involve upgrading the present cooking infrastructure – at the moment the pancakes and their fillings are prepared on two 2-plate stoves. The restaurant is likely to continue selling the hamburgers and hotdogs on sale at present in the restaurant, but they will be given an African flavour, perhaps with that spicy chuckalucka sauce.The plans go further: Marais says they are planning to start a franchise in time, firstly in Mpumalanga, then across the country.What is the secret of its success? Hard work, the right attitude and a good spirit, says Marais.
Hema Vallabh is listed in the Mail & Guardian newspaper’s 2011 list of 200 top young South Africans. (Image: Mail & Guardian) MEDIA CONTACTS • Hema Vallabh GirlEng +49 170 914 4961RELATED ARTICLES • Fostering SA’s young scientists • SA scientists win AU awards • Denel helps maths, science pupils • SA students tops at science awards • SKA on the African horizonWilma den HartighWhen Hema Vallabh set her sights on studying engineering, she had no idea that one day she would lead a campaign that encourages more young women to pursue careers in engineering.Her determination to reduce the severe shortage of female engineers in South Africa, and to see more young women study engineering, has earned her a spot on the Mail & Guardian newspaper’s 2011 list of 200 top young South Africans.The title is only awarded to deserving young people who are willing to think creatively about what they can do to make a difference and bring about change in South Africa.Vallabh is a chemical engineer at fuel and chemical giant Sasol and director of GirlEng, a sub-division of South African Women in Engineering (SAWomEng), a NPO which aims to develop, motivate and empower women in engineering.Her two roles keep her very busy, but for Vallabh it is all about nurturing a love for engineering and dispelling common misconceptions that prevent women from entering this field.“There is a misconception that to be an engineer, one needs to be a grease monkey, donned in a hard hat and overall all day and getting your hands dirty,” she says.But this is not the case. Engineers can work as consultants, in finance, research or development.“Your job does not have to be limited to the stereotypical engineering prototype that most high school pupils have in mind,” she says.Decisions, decisionsVallabh’s decision to study engineering was a coincidence.She didn’t want to follow any of the traditional career paths that most of her schoolmates were pursuing, but she also didn’t have any alternatives.In the process of deciding what to study, she happened to have a brief conversation with a relative who was studying engineering at the time. “It sounded fairly interesting,” she recalls, and it was with this limited information that she made the decision.And, for a young woman from Johannesburg’s concrete jungle, Cape Town was just the change that she needed.“The decision to go into the chemical discipline of engineering meant I could study at the University of Cape Town, which was very attractive to an 18-year-old from Johannesburg,” she says.Looking back, she knows that this was a very risky way to choose a career.“I was just incredibly fortunate that I ended up absolutely loving my chosen field both during my studies and once I started working,” she says.But not everyone is so lucky. The lack of relevant information on careers, particularly those that are maths and science-related, are one of the reasons why so many girls gloss over careers such as engineering.“This made me realise just how great the need is for programmes such as GirlEng,” she says.Pushing the boundariesGirlEng’s approach is centred on providing information about careers in engineering. In doing this, young girls don’t have to make career decisions based on hearsay or choose from a list of careers perceived to be suitable for women.“The physical strength of the individual is by no means proportional to how successful they can be as an engineer,” she says.She adds that on an intellectual, academic and technical level, women have continually shown that they can match, if not exceed, the capabilities of their male counterparts in the engineering workplace.GirlEng facilitates workshops around the country to educate girls from grades 10 to 12 about the opportunities in engineering. University engineering students are recruited to act as mentors to high potential students.Solutions for the skills shortageSAWomEng, which was established in 2005, was first aimed at tertiary students studying engineering. However, it soon became clear that if the organisation was to make a real difference in addressing the skills shortage in engineering, it had to shift its focus to women only.“We needed to go one step back and tap into the talent pool at grass roots level,” explains Vallabh. “This meant that we needed to focus our attention on encouraging high potential maths and science high school students to pursue a career in engineering.”South Africa is experiencing a severe skills shortage in the engineering sector. Of the limited number of engineering professionals in the country, only a handful of these are female.Countrywide initiatives are underway to address the various causes of the critical skills shortage.The Engineering Council of South Africa has embarked on a research campaign to understand the challenges faced by tertiary institutions in achieving higher pass rates in engineering bachelor’s degrees. Solutions are also needed for the poor results in subjects such as mathematics, physical science and English in South Africa’s high schools. Since 1994, the school system has consistently produced too few matric pupils with adequate results in these subjects, which are required for admission to engineering programmes.These programmes take a general approach to addressing the engineering skills shortage, but none are specially targeted at getting more women to enrol for engineering degrees.This is why GirlEng has an important role to play, in South Africa and overseas.Vallabh says that the shortage of female engineers is not limited to South Africa. In countries such as Germany there is also a major lack of women in the field.She has already identified an opportunity to expand the reach of GirlEng to other countries and is looking to adapt the locally-developed GirlEng model to also bring about change in Europe’s engineering sector.Seeing resultsThe initiative’s work is already paying off. Results from surveys show that a number of girls have gone on to enrol for studies in the engineering sector as a result of attending GirlEng events.“There is still plenty of work to be done, but I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Vallabh says.Being recognised as a young South African making a difference is a great honour, but she believes that accolades alone cannot be a driving force to bring about change.“The work I do with GirlEng has become such an integral part of my life. For me, it’s my way of giving back and hopefully making a difference in the world,” she says.
Watch the video stream of Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
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Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks sits on the bench during the first half of the preseason NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on October 14, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFPLOS ANGELES — Dirk Nowitzki said Wednesday night he was “disgusted” to read about allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by former team president Terdema Ussery in a Sports Illustrated report that described a hostile workplace for women.The 20-year player who has spent his entire career with the Mavericks told reporters after the first post-All-Star break practice in Los Angeles that he was glad the franchise was addressing the situation by hiring outside counsel to investigate the allegations.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH “Obviously there’s a problem in the Mavericks organization and we’ve got to fix it,” Cuban told the magazine. “I’m embarrassed, to be honest with you, that it happened under my ownership, and it needs to be fixed.”Cuban declined comment to The Associated Press on Wednesday.Two women claimed Ussery harassed them for years, incidents that ranged from inappropriate remarks to requests for sex to touching women’s calves and thighs during meetings.Ussery had left Nike to join the Mavericks and had previously served as commissioner of the old Continental Basketball Association. He was praised by former NBA Commissioner David Stern and served as the Mavericks’ alternate governor with the league.“I am deeply disappointed that anonymous sources have made such outright false and inflammatory accusations against me,” Ussery said. “During my nearly 20-year tenure with the Mavericks, I am not aware of any sexual harassment complaints about me or any findings by the organization that I engaged in inappropriate conduct.”Ussery said he had raised concerns about other Mavericks employees who he said engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct and the organization didn’t address those concerns.“I believe these misleading claims about me are part of an attempt to shift blame for the failure to remove employees who created an uncomfortable and hostile work environment within the Mavericks organization,” Ussery saidCuban told the magazine that the team was establishing a hotline for counseling and support services for past and current employees. He is mandating sensitivity training for all employees, himself included. The Mavericks said Wednesday they hired Evan Krutoy and Anne Milgram to lead the independent investigation. Krutoy served as a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for over 20 years and served as Acting Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit. Milgram is a professor at New York University School of Law, and a former New Jersey attorney general.A day earlier, the NBA said the Mavericks had informed the league of the allegations involving Ussery and Sneed. The league said it would “closely monitor” the investigation.“Their findings are going to go directly to Mark Cuban and (Commissioner) Adam Silver, and the Mavericks will abide by whatever recommendations are made,” coach Rick Carlisle said after practice. “I can tell you that when it comes to anything involving the Mavericks, Mark Cuban is a strong believer in extreme ownership, extreme accountability.”SI contacted six female former Mavericks or American Airlines Center employees who claimed they left the sports sector because of a structure that left them feeling vulnerable and devalued while protecting powerful men who misbehaved. A male former department head said there was “built-in protection for a lot of men.”A woman who had recently been hired as a support staffer said Ussery made sexually suggestive remarks to her in the media dining room before a game during the 2010-11 season, when the Mavericks won their only NBA championship. The woman said she had been told by others to be wary of Ussery.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC D-League: Eze leads as Perpetual hammers Batangas-EAC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City LATEST STORIES “It’s very disappointing,” Nowitzki told The Dallas Morning News. “It’s heartbreaking. I’m glad it’s all coming out. I was disgusted when I read the article, obviously, as everybody was. I was shocked … that our franchise, my franchise, that stuff like that was going on.”Ussery was accused of making sexually suggestive remarks to several women. He spent 18 years with the team before going to the sports apparel company Under Armour in 2015. Ussery, who was investigated by the team over similar claims in 1998, denied the allegations in a statement to SI.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe report said team website reporter Earl Sneed was twice accused of domestic assault while working for the Mavericks, including a guilty plea in a case that was dismissed when he met the conditions of the agreement.The team said Sneed had been fired, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told SI that he fired human resources director Buddy Pittman after learning details of the magazine’s report. Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico MOST READ Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding AFP official booed out of forum Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Ranked near the bottom among rugby sevens playing nations, the Indian team are rank outsiders at a top class field in the Commonwealth Games but the home squad is gearing up to prove that they can compete at the highest level.Indian rugby team is keen to do well against its stronger opponents.Grouped with Wales, South Africa and Tonga, the Indian ruggers have little chance to go beyond the preliminary league round but nonetheless are looking to give their more fancied rivals a run for their money in front of the home crowd.The Indian team is high on confidence after their recent title triumphs in Istanbul (Istanbul 7s) and England (Bee’s International 7s)–against some of the best club sides in Europe, Middle East and Asia–and a tour to New Zealand in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games.Skipper Nasser Hussain sought to see the positive side and said they would not be overawed by their fancied opponents.He is rather upbeat that his side has got the chance to measure their strength against the best in the world.”The top 10 Rugby teams of the world are from Commonwealth countries. So the field is really going to be strong. But we are ready for the challenges and looking for some great rugby action in front of the home crowd,” Hussain said.”Commonwealth Games will bring the best out of all of us. Teams like New Zealand, South Africa, England and others have superior understanding of the game and that shows in their rankings. We all know as a team that there is still a long way to go for us. But we are looking forward to test ourselves against the best in the world. Who knows we can have an upset or two,” said Hussain.advertisement”Recent title triumphs in Istanbul and England have boosted our confidence.”Wales and South Africa are formidable sides and it would be quite a herculean task to beat them. But we expect to beat Tonga,” said Hussain.
It was a very disappointing performance by the Indians against New Zealand. One had thought that after giving the Dutch a run for their money in the first match, India would open their points tally against the Kiwis.It almost seemed like the team was unprepared and lacking in fight. The team looked disjointed and the strategy seemed lacking. There was a lot of gap between the forwards and the half-line.After taking an early lead, the Indians did not show much coordination or teamwork. Even when they went 1-3 down and time was running out, they allowed the New Zealanders to control the tempo. They easily regained possession due to wrong passing by the Indians. The Kiwis had thrashed India 5-1 at the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.On the other hand, after our initial success with the penalty corner, we failed to make the other three count. Our drag flickers seemed to hit the ball at the rusher. There was no variation and it was very predictable for the Kiwis.Against the Dutch, India had a splendid second half when they went into all-out attack and made it 2-2. But there seemed no such urgency on Wednesday. Even when the team loses, one does not feel so bad if they fight till the bitter end.One saw the late match in which the Koreans gave a tough fight to the Germans, who were lucky to escape with a 1-0 win. That sort of defeat one does not mind.advertisementAfter conceding three goals in the first half, skipper Bharat Chetri was taken off at half-time and was replaced by PR Sreejesh.Probably, the team management wanted to avoid the possibility of Chetri letting in more goals. If the captain suffers a dent in confidence, it could have an adverse impact on the whole squad.As far as the forward line is concerned, the less said the better. SV Sunil tried to make forays into the opposition striking circle, but there was nobody to support him. Shivendra seemed lost.To make matters worse, indiscipline also marred India’s chances. Two key players, including Sardar Singh, had to spend time out after being shown yellow cards.This has been a bane of Indian hockey for long. I never got injured in my international career, but suffered several injuries in domestic hockey.Now, India face Germany next. They are the defending champions and are in a different league. India need to show more fight and if there is a miracle, we may get a positive result. We need to have an attacking mindset, but also be careful of defence.(The writer is a 1980 Moscow Olympics gold medallist)