Robert Whittaker edges Romero, grabs interim belt at UFC 213

first_imgSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Bisping stepped into the cage afterward and congratulated Whittaker in his own irascible style.“The fact that you’re standing there with a belt on makes me sick,” the Englishman said, throwing his own belt on the canvas. “Take that belt. Fight for it.”Romero’s Olympic-level wrestling skills kept Whittaker on the defensive for much of the first two rounds. Whittaker increased his striking output while Romero sat back in the third and fourth, with Whittaker also defending Romero’s takedowns more adroitly.Romero was cut on his left eyebrow while Whittaker had a bloody nose and mouth in the final round, which looked even until Romero slipped onto his back with 90 seconds left after failing to land a strike. Whittaker jumped on top to rain down blows to the final horn.All three judges saw the fight identically, scoring the first two rounds for Romero and the final three for Whittaker.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Riveracenter_img Before the pay-per-view portion of the card, heavyweight Travis Browne took his fourth consecutive loss in a second-round submission to 40-year-old Russian grappler Aleksei Oleinik.Browne (18-7-1), Ronda Rousey’s fiancé, lost for the sixth time in his last eight fights despite dropping Oleinik with punches in the first round. Robert Whittaker celebrates after defeating Yoel Romero in a middleweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 213, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)LAS VEGAS — Robert Whittaker won the UFC interim middleweight title Saturday night, surging in the late rounds to earn a unanimous decision over Yoel Romero at UFC 213.Whittaker (20-4) recovered from a hyperextended knee in the first round with a strong striking performance, peppering Romero (12-2) with punches and kicks over the final three rounds. The Australian won his eighth consecutive fight, earning the victory 48-47 on all three judges’ scorecards at T-Mobile Arena.ADVERTISEMENT PH paddlers reset world mark Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ “It’s a moment I’ve always dreamed of,” Whittaker said. “My knee was definitely hurt. I injured it in camp, and Romero’s kick set it back weeks. I know that Romero will capitalize on any weakness he sees, so I had to play it off. That’s just what champions are made of.”The main event of the UFC’s traditional July showcase in its hometown was canceled earlier in the day when bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was hospitalized. She was scratched from her second title defense against Valentina Shevchenko, who criticized the champion’s preparation for the bout.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsAlistair Overeem also beat Fabricio Werdum by narrow majority decision in the third career meeting of two veteran heavyweights, and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis also returned to the division with a unanimous decision victory over Jim Miller.Whittaker took advantage of his bout’s promotion to the main event by claiming the belt in front of a pay-per-view audience. He earned the chance to fight for the full 185-pound title held for the past year by Michael Bisping, who is injured. The 40-year-old Romero was gracious after his eight-fight winning streak ended, praising his opponent.Whittaker will get the chance to remove the interim designation from his belt when Bisping returns from injury, although it might not happen this year. The middleweight division has been in limbo ever since Bisping shockingly beat champion Luke Rockhold last summer and then fought old rival Dan Henderson instead of Romero, Whittaker or another top contender.For the third straight year, the UFC had to change the main event of its July show in Vegas at short notice. Last year, Jon Jones was sidelined by a violation of the promotion’s anti-doping policy three days before UFC 200.Shevchenko still showed up at T-Mobile Arena after being denied her long-awaited title shot when Nunes fell ill in the hours before their rematch.Shevchenko was furious with Nunes, claiming the champion’s drastic weight cut was responsible for her illness. She also echoed UFC President Dana White’s statement that Nunes was medically cleared to fight, but declined to go from the hospital to the cage.“You can’t just say, ’I don’t want to fight,’” Shevchenko said. “I couldn’t believe at the very last moment that this would happen to me. Of course I am upset. … I understand what she wanted. She wanted to cut (weight) in a very short time. You cannot do this. Our bodies need more time to recover.”Shevchenko was greeted with loud cheers when she was shown on the arena’s video boards before the main event.Overeem (43-15) and Werdum (21-7-1) finished a trilogy of fights between two of the most accomplished mixed martial artists of their generation. Werdum won their first meeting in the Pride promotion in 2006, and Overeem won their Strikeforce heavyweight rematch in 2011.Overeem was slightly better during the first two rounds, and he survived the third after Werdum floored him with a knee to the head.Pettis (20-6) returned to form in his return to 155 pounds, dominating the veteran Miller with flair and force. Pettis lost his title belt in March 2015 to start a 1-4 skid that included a two-fight stint at featherweight, but he looked sharp while carving up Miller (28-10), who bled copiously. Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

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PH goal scorer Cubon hurt but will be ready for Indonesia

first_imgHotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo “I was just very happy that I helped the Philippines win,” said Cubon of his first international goal.He also played for the AFC 23-under in Cambodia where the Philippines narrowly lost, 1-0.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side “I felt my left foot sink on the pitch,” said Cubon in Filipino while munching a banana inside the team bus right after the Philippines routed Cambodia, 2-0, late Tuesday night in the Southeast Asian Games football competitions.The 22-year-old Hotel and Restaurant graduate from Far Eastern University said they were too used to synthetic turf back home that he felt the competition turf was way too soft.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“We were celebrating after my goal. And then my feet sank. Then Cambodia made a counter,” said Cubon. “That’s when I felt pain.”The Davao Agilas defender said he would be ready when the team takes on Indonesia on Thursday. LATEST STORIES Football match between Cambodia and Philippines at Selayang Stadium during 29th SEA Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 on 15 August 2017. Photo by Dzulfadlil Azim / MASOCKUALA LUMPUR—After a silent, uneventful first half, the small Filipino crowd at Selayang Stadium suddenly erupted in jubilation after Reymart Cubon scored the first goal in the 52nd minute.That would include Cubon himself. He was jumping up and down with his teammates on the field that he literally hurt himself.ADVERTISEMENT Letran coach warns Lyceum: ‘We will destroy whoever gets in our way’ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

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Undefeated and unloved, Mayweather eyes final payday

first_imgRELATED VIDEO Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim The 50th bout of Mayweather’s 21-year professional career has been disparaged variously as a freakshow, publicity stunt or simply “bad for boxing.”Mayweather, who has spent years crafting an image as the fighter that fans love to hate, is not even remotely fazed by the catcalls.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingBecause not for the first time, the boxer who delights in displaying the trappings of his wealth across social media, will be laughing all the way to the bank.Mayweather, whose career earnings reportedly topped $700 million following his last bout in 2015, could, according to some estimates, pocket another $200 million this weekend. It is the latest money-spinning stop on a career that has seen Mayweather go from 1996 Olympics bronze medallist to be regarded as one of the greatest boxers in history.Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on February 4, 1977, Mayweather was destined for the ring.His father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., was himself a talented former welterweight who once fought 10 rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard. Floyd Sr. taught his son to box almost as soon as he could walk. Floyd Sr. was holding his infant son in his arms when he was shot in the leg during a family dispute, an injury that effectively ended his career.“He was training to be a fighter in the crib,” Mayweather Sr. said of his son.ADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters It means that the dollars have continued to flow in ever-increasing numbers, from $25 million to fight Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 to around $220 million for his 2015 fight against Manny Pacquiao.But while the dollars have rolled in and the bank balances have swollen, Mayweather has struggled to build up a reserve of public goodwill.Multiple convictions for domestic violence point to the fighter’s dark side, while in boxing terms he has faced accusations that he ducked his most dangerous opponents, such as Pacquiao, until they were past their peak.His cagey, cautious style inside the ring, while earning grudging approval from purists, has also frustrated fans hoping to see him take a more aggressive approach.Mayweather, who insists Saturday’s bout with McGregor will be the last time he ever enters a ring, is unapologetic about the tactics that have guided his career, believing his is a template that many rivals would like to emulate. “When a person has been so dominant in his era, I think other fighters are going to pay attention,” he told reporters recently.  “The main fighters are going to pay attention because they want to be at my level and they want to do the same thing — they want to dominate with ease.” LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View comments Las Vegas, United States — Two years after retiring from boxing, Floyd Mayweather climbs back into the ring on Saturday chasing history and one last mammoth payday.The 40-year-old former welterweight champion will become the first boxer in history to post a perfect record of 50-0, if as expected, he proves too strong for Conor McGregor, the mixed martial arts star fighting in his first ever boxing contest.ADVERTISEMENT Mayweather, who grew up in a cramped apartment with seven relatives, frames his early life as a battle for survival. ‘Never been easy’  “It’s never been easy for me. Boxing is easy but life has never been easy,” Mayweather says.  “I had a father who was a hustler and a mother who was on drugs. I was the man in the house from 16. That’s just the way it was.” When Mayweather fought at the 1996 Olympics, his father was serving a five-year prison sentence for drug-trafficking.  In Floyd Sr’s absence, his uncle Roger had taken over the training of the young fighter, overseeing his entry to the professional ranks. Within two years, the skillful, lightning-fast Mayweather had won his first world title, knocking out the WBC superfeatherweight champion Genaro Hernandez in eight rounds.Years of domination followed as Mayweather plowed through the divisions up to welterweight. In 2006, he took the unusual step of buying out his contract with promoter Bob Arum, in order to take greater control of his career. Since then Mayweather has been able to dictate terms for most of his fights, taking a cut of the back-end profit in exchange for upfront risk.  Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Mayweather, McGregor get ready for business Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Mayweather shaking off ring rust1.4K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 MOST READ Floyd Mayweather Jr. speaks about the upcoming fight against UFC fighter Conor McGregor during a press call at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on July 11, 2017. The two will fight August 26th in Las Vegas, Nevada.Gene Blevins / AFP FILE PHOTO Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his sidelast_img read more

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San Beda clinches Final 4 berth, edges JRU

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cameroonian big man Donald Tankoua also registered a double-double of 14 markers and 13 boards to keep his side rolling at 12-1 on an 11-game winning streak.Davon Potts also went 4-of-8 from three to wound up with 14 points, eight of which coming in the payoff period, including the back-to-back triples to put San Beda ahead 62-57 with 3:14 left to play.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingBut coach Boyet Fernandez said that there’s still a lot left to be desired with the way the Red Lions played this game.“It’s really our defense that really helped us win this game,” he said, after San Beda lost hold of its early 18-point lead, 28-10 in the second quarter. “The worst thing that could happen is we gave up 27 points in the third quarter, which is not our usual self. We also turned the ball over 25 times, we’re consistent at that. So we have to learn how to take good care of the basketball for us to be consistent in our ballgames.” LATEST STORIES Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Davon Potts. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netSan Beda officially clinched a seat in the Final Four after outlasting Jose Rizal University, 65-60, in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Javee Mocon unfurled 19 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists to help the Red Lions make it to the postseason for the 12th straight year.ADVERTISEMENT The Heavy Bombers, though, suffered their third loss in four games and fadl to 7-6.The Scores:SAN BEDA 65 – Mocon 19, Tankoua 14, Potts 14, Abuda 4, Bolick 3, Soberano 3, Doliguez 2, Bahio 2, Cabanag 2, Oftana 2, Presbitero 0, Adamos 0, Carino 0, Tongco 0, Noah 0.JRU 60 – Mendoza 16, Abdul Razak 11, Bordon 9, David 7, Grospe 6, Teodoro 6, Poutouochi 5, Lasquety 0, Dela Virgen 0, Sawat 0.Quarters: 17-10, 31-19, 45-46, 65-60. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’center_img Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Undefeated champ Andre Ward retires, desire no longer there Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Fernandez, though, took responsibility for the Red Lions’ lackluster play in the second half.“Frankly, if we lost this game, the blame is on me. Credit to coach Vergel Meneses and JRU for playing a good game. But luckily, we played good defense that resulted to clutch shots for Javee and Davon.”San Beda’s win also handed league leader Lyceum a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.The Heavy Bombers still had a chance to close in, trailing by only four, 64-60, after an Ervin Grospe jumper in the final minute, but Aaron Bordon turned the ball over as he was passing to Abdulwahab Abdulrazak which led to a split from the stripe from Tankoua to ice the game in the last 11.6 seconds.Jed Mendoza paced JRU with 16 points and three rebounds, while Abdulrazak had 11 markers and nine boards.ADVERTISEMENT No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

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Krishna dispels concerns about Commonwealth Games

first_imgDispelling concerns about next week’s Commonwealth games, India has assured 71 participating nations that the 12-day sporting event will be very successful.During a meeting here with Commonwealth ministers on Monday, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna invited sports persons from Commonwealth nations to attend the October 3-14 Games.”I invited spokespersons and representatives of sporting bodies from Commonwealth countries to Delhi for the opening session next Sunday,” he told the Indian media, after coming out of the meeting.No there are going to be very happy to come,” he added, in response to whether there had been resistance due to recent reports that New Delhi hadn’t got its act together in time in preparing for the Games.Krishna, who is in United Nations attending the opening session of the UN General Assembly since last week, also tried to dispel any concerns about the Games.”The people, the government and the prime minister of India are resolved and determined to make the Commonwealth Games a success,” he told BBC, noting that all athletes and participants arriving in New Delhi would be protected and they have no reason to worry.On Sunday, the Commonwealth countries wished India all the best for the embattled CWG, and expressed confidence that the Games will be a success.”We wish India and the Games Federating all possible success and our support,” said Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General.”They will go ahead. They will honour the athletes who have invested so much energy into their participation.”After being slammed by the Indian and foreign media about the deplorable arrangements from filthy rooms to lack of security, the CWG organisers appear to have got the situation under control.advertisementAustralia Chef de Mission Steve Monoghetti on Tuesda expressed satisfaction over the facilities being provided to the athletes and delegates of his country in the Commonwealth Games Village.”We are working very hard. We have brought the largest team from Australia. We are enjoying a comfortable life in the Village,” Monoghetti told Australian media.Gill, Kalmadi meet President on CWGIn New Delhi, Sports Minister M S Gill and Commonwealth Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi met President Pratibha Patil and are understood to have briefed her about the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.Under a compromise reportedly reached between New Delhi and London, Prince Charles will declare the games open while President Patil will say ‘let the games begin’.Official sources said the Gill and Kalmadi met Patil for about 10 minutes at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and are understood to have discussed the upcoming sporting extravaganza and briefed the President about the opening ceremony.With inputs rom PTIlast_img read more

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India banking on crowd support to win hockey gold

first_imgAlready assured of their maiden medal in the Commonwealth Games, a confident India will be hoping to ride on home support to seek a major upset against world champions and three-time gold medallists Australia in the final of the men’s hockey event at the Commonwealth Games, in New Delhi on Thursday.The Indians have already scripted history by ensuring themselves at least a silver medal since hockey’s introduction in the Games in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur edition after beating England 5-4 via tie-breaker in a dramatic second semi-final on Tuesday.Thursday’s title clash also gives India a great opportunity to avenge their identical 2-5 loss to the mighty Kookaburras during the pool stages as well as during the World Cup held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here, earlier this year.A win on Thursday will not only give eight-time Olympic champions India it’s first-ever Commonwealth Games gold but will also do wonders for the national game, which is battling hard to redeem its lost pride.The Indians are also on a roll as, after being piped to the corner in the preliminary stage, they made a remarkable comeback and defeated Pakistan 7-4 in their must-win final pool match to make it to the semis.In the semifinal against ever-improving England, India displayed a lion-hearted performance and came back from two goals deficit to win the encounter 5-4 in the penalty shoot out.In both the crucial matches against Pakistan and England, the Indians were helped by a packed, vociferous crowd who screamed their heart out to support the home team. And Australia too, India would be hoping a similar atmosphere if not less which will give them that extra advantage.advertisementEven India coach Jose Brasa admitted that crowd support will play a big role in deciding India’s fortune in this tournament.”It is incredible to play in front of such a crowd.People here understand their hockey. They know when to cheer and shout,” Brasa had said.England captain barry Middleton after their semofinal defeat had said, “Crowd or no crowd, Australians are too strong for any other teams in this competition.”When Brasa was told about English captain’s remark, he gave a curt reply. “I don’t agree with him.”Talking about the Australia game, Brasa had said yesterday, “We take one match at a time and cross the bridge when it comes.” .However Brasa was quick to caution after England victory that it’s too early to say that Indians are right up there among the top nations.”Our first aim is to be among the top six hockey playing nations in the world. And yes, we are improving and climbing up the ladder gradually,” Brasa said.In both their last two matches, the Indians displayed smart, fast-paced hockey with their midfield and forwardline combining well to create chances.The Rajpal Singh-led side also used the flanks to perfection in both the matches. However, defence still remains a major concern.In a nutshell, India will have to dish out a far-more improved performance against the Kookaburras, who, if given a chance, will not waste a single opportunity to kill their opponents.What is most heartening for India is that against England India?s all three goals came from field play. But star-dragflicker Sandeep Singh once again disappointed with short corners and against Australia, he cannot afford to misfire.But all said and done, Australia belong to a different league and are enjoying a dream run under coach Ric Charlesworth as they have won every major international tournament this season, including the World Cup held at the same venue and Champions Trophy in Germany.The Kookaburras are the hot favourites to clinch the gold and their dominance can be gauged from the fact that they have not lost a single match in the Commonwealth Games since hockey’s debut in 1998.And going by their reputation, Australia would be determined to make it four gold in a row, which will stamp their authority among the Commonwealth nations which plays hockey.With a mixture of youth and experience in their ranks, the Australians sailed into the final of the Delhi Games with comfortable victories over their opponents, barring a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Pakistan in the pool stages.However, one thing which might go against the Aussies in the summit clash is heat. To the dislike of Australia coach Charlesworth, the gold medal match would be played during the daytime under sweltering weather conditions.”India have got fair amount of rest compared to us. We have played four matches in five days time under these extreme conditions but India is yet to play during the day time,” Charlesworth had said.advertisement”It is very hard to be consistent in those conditions but we have the fitness to counter these conditions,” he concluded.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

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Bringing up a champion

first_imgHe won India gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year. Now he has his sights set on the London Olympics 2012? Vanessa Fitter talks to Somdev Devvarman’s mother, Ranjana, about her son in a rare interviewSuccessful, ambitious, likeable and down-to-earth: Four words that, in a nutshell, describe Somdev Devvarman, 26. His boy-next-door charm makes daughters and their mothers love him. And yet, unlike so many other athletes, he’s stayed clear of controversies. So how do you raise a champion? The Devvarman children were always encouraged to get outdoors. Be it when they were in Kolkata or Chennai, the large government colonies (Somdev’s father, Pravanjan, worked with the Income Tax Department) the family lived in had no shortage of space. So it was cycling, football and wall tennis every day. Says Somdev’s mother, ‘Television was a strict no-no.’He had a “normal” upbringing in every way. Apart from sports, like most boys his age, Somdev too had the odd “school encounter”. His mother recalls one incident, ‘In his school in Chennai (Asan Memorial), a friend and he were punished for beating up another boy. He was asked to kneel down outside his class and could not move until I had gone over and met with the school principal, Ms Shanta. After my meeting with her, he turned to his principal and asked if he was required to continue kneeling. She asked, “Why? Does it hurt your pride to kneel?” To which he replied, “No, but it does hurt my knees!”‘ This practical approach helps his game today.advertisementFamily tiesSomdev’s father got him and his siblings started in sports early. Till date, that love for the playing field has stayed with all of them. But it is tennis that caught Somdev’s mind and heart. He started playing the game when he was nine. ‘We had a tennis court inside the colony and my husband always encouraged our children to play,’ says Ranjana. One of Somdev’s proudest moments on court was the first time he beat his brother at tennis. He was 10; his brother, 15.Once the family realised that the young boy had a gift, all in the family pitched in to help. While Somdev was out with his parents at the local tournaments, his siblings Aratrik and Paulami would return home from school to the empty house…They would unlock the door, eat the lunch prepared for them by their mother and then go out and do what they too loved most – play! No fuss about mummy not being home or always out with Somdev. Ranjana says this support was always spontaneous. ‘When I would travel with Somdev for his tournaments in other cities, my other children would pitch in and help my husband manage the household. They were always very independent that way.’ Somdev’s sister Paulami would sometimes even help him string his racquets.The Devvarmans say they never put pressure on Somdev to score high marks in his exams. ‘It’s just fortunate that he turned out to do well in both; it was never difficult for him to find that balance,’ says Ranjana. Somdev’s school in Chennai also supported his budding career by allowing him to go on leave during tournaments. In turn, the young boy rewarded that trust from his parents and his school with consistent academic performances.For Somdev, his family was always priority, as is evident from a small incident? Once, during his days at the Britannia Amritraj Tennis Academy (BAT) in Chennai, he was sent to play a tournament. The boys were given a daily allowance; it wasn’t a substantial amount. Somehow Somdev managed to save some money and took it to an ittar shop. ‘He tried on the various fragrances. Once he was done, he came out reeking of perfume,’ says his mother. ‘His friends refused to walk or sit next to him, but he’d got me the gift he wanted!’Somdev’s success on and off the court was recognised by the University of Virginia in the US. They offered him a scholarship programme in 2005, that would form the base for his later endeavours. Somdev made it to three NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) Singles Championships from 2006 to 2008 and won two of them back to back. This rare feat has been achieved by only three other players since 1950.Somdev says his family never let him feel the distance while he was away in college. ‘My family’s been extremely supportive. We’re pretty close-knit and we stayed connected right through my college days in the United States.’ Today, even though Somdev lives and trains in Austin, Texas (in the United States) and is travelling most of the year playing on the ATP tour, his mom is always only a phone call away. ‘My mom is the closest person to me in my life today,’ he says. ‘I talk to her all the time. She is very understanding and supportive, and somehow she knows exactly what to tell me and what I want to hear.’advertisementStaying groundedRanjana and Pravanjan knew that to be a true champion, skills are not enough. You have to be a good human first. Somdev says the best advice his mother gave him was “to treat other people the way you’d like to be treated”. His mother also told him how to lose… ‘I say to him, “Bad luck. Never mind. You’ve learnt something from this. There is always a next time!'”, says Ranjana. ‘He never liked to lose. But we always told him it does not matter. You just go out there and give it your 100 percent. That’s what’s important.Don’t pressure yourself with what the media has to say, or think of unnecessary things. Just focus on your game and remember to always enjoy yourself.’It is this advice that has helped Somdev win several non-tennis awards; the most recent being the “Sports Person of the Year”. He shared the accolade with legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar at the Sports Illustrated India Annual Awards held this February. Despite such trophies, including his incredible gold rush at the 2010 Commonwealth and Asian Games, Somdev remains grounded and focused. His mother says she and her husband brought up all their children to not get carried away with momentary highs or lows. ‘Success can be shortlived as can disappointments; the type of a human being you develop into is much more important,’ she says. Her only hope for her children, she adds, ‘is that they remain happy and successful in whatever they do’.Good adviceSomdev urges parents of children with special talents to be like his parents and give them their full support. ‘Let your child do what he wants to do. If he’s passionate about any sport, let him realise his true potential,’ says the tennis ace. ‘As long as there is a healthy balance maintained between sports and academics, it is good for children to take part in and enjoy various sporting activities.’His mother adds, ‘Allow them to follow their dreams. Never stress too much on academics. If they have sporting talents, let them pursue that and see where the road leads. You’re never too old to study but you might get too old to play a sport; you don’t want them to miss that bus. Be observant and encourage them. Provide your child with the avenues. But above everything else, give your children a lot of love, support and undivided attention.’ Wise words from the mother of a world-class champion.advertisementlast_img read more

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Indo-Pakistan foreign secretary talks on June 23-24

first_imgMarking their second meeting in four months, foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will hold two-day talks in Islamabad from June 23 during which the Indian side is expected to press for effective action against those behind the 26/11 attacks, including elements in the ISI.In the talks on Jammu and Kashmir, Peace and Security and confidence building measures, the Indian side is expected to voice its concern over the nexus between ISI and 26/11 attackers as highlighted during the trial of Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana in Chicago.”Foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet in Islamabad on June 23-24 to discuss peace and security, including CBMs; Jammu and Kashmir, and promotion of friendly exchanges,” external affairs ministry said in a statement in Delhi on Friday.Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will be meeting her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir for the second time since February when they held talks in Thimphu in Bhutan on the sidelines of SAARC Ministerial conference.During that meeting, the two sides had agreed to resume their comprehensive dialogue on all bilateral issues to resolve outstanding issues in a constructive and forward-looking manner, two years after India put on hold the Composite Dialogue process with Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.On Monday, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said the two foreign secretaries will discuss all bilateral issues and that Rana’s confessions will also be one of the important issues that will be taken up by India.The foreign secretaries will also take “stock of the progress made by India and Pakistan during the series of parleys held at official levels on various issues such as terrorism, water, trade and commerce.advertisementIn February, it was decided that meetings at the level of respective Secretaries will be convened on counter-terrorism (including progress on Mumbai attack trial), humanitarian issues, peace and security, including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir, promotion of friendly exchanges, Siachen, economic issues, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project and Sir Creek (at the level of Additional Secretaries/Surveyors General).For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

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