Eagerly waiting for reopening of swimming pools, says Kushagra - The Daily Guardian
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Eagerly waiting for reopening of swimming pools, says Kushagra

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Delhi swimmer Kushagra Rawat.

Kushagra Rawat of Delhi needs no introduction. He has earned himself a reputation of being one of the leading Indian swimmers. He is the only Indian swimmer to have qualified “B” cut timings in three swimming events for upcoming Tokyo Olympics. With the swimming pools continuing to be shut because of the pandemic, Rawat is out of water since his return from Sydney after his competition there in March. But undeterred by these hurdles resulting from pandemic, the 20-year-old swimmer continues to workout outside water on dry land. He hopes to fulfill his dream to represent India in the Tokyo Olympics.

Kushagra can be seen every morning at Rajpath, India Gate doing workout and on the terrace of his home in the evening. The Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) second year student, Kushagra doesn’t shy away from doing the household work. Kushagra swims with Glenmark swimming academy in Delhi.

In an interview, the star swimmer spoke at length about various aspects of his career and ambition. Excerpts:

Q. The current pandemic has led to closure of swimming pools in India, with swimmers like you not being able to do practice ahead of important events like Olympics. What is your take on this?

A. Several countries have opened their swimming pools with SOPs in May and June. However, India’s swimming pools are still shut. I just hope our government reviews and reopens swimming pools so all swimmers get the chance to do proper practice and get trained. During this period of Covid-19 my father played my training partner. He himself has been playing football for State Bank of India since 1981 and has been my biggest support along with my coach who constantly guided me.

Q. When did you plunge into a swimming career?

 A. It was in 2007 when I was introduced to swimming and started taking interest in it.

Q. Who was your first coach?

A. Mr. S K Sharma, Head of Department, Sports at St. Xavier’s was the first coach of mine.

Q. Every sports person does recall a particular incident which at some point of time proved to be a turning point in his life. Do you also revisit such moment that was turning point in your life?

A. When I started my swimming (first time outside my school in the year 2012) at SPM Swimming pool, Tal Katora, one senior coach had denied training me. In the same year I was asked to participate in 50×4 mtrs FS relay and stood 4th. I was selected to reporesent India in SAARC, Sri Lanka in 2016.

Q. Would you like to share the moment of your life that you consider to be the most cherished moment?

A. It was when I won a medal in SAARC Sri Lanka and Asian Age Group Swimming championship, Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2017.

Q. What are the major achievements that you would like to share?

A. Malaysia Age Group Swimming 2019, where I got 2 golds 1 silver. Similarly, Asian age group swimming competition 2017, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where I won 2 silvers, 1 Bronze.

Similarly, I won two golds in SAARC swimming championships 2016. I won five golds in the 10th Asian Age group championship. I was also awarded the best swimmer trophy, 2019. I won 3 Gold medals and one silver in South Asian Games held at Kathmandu, Nepal in 2019. I am holding the best Indian performance title. Qualifying for three events in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics-2021 is also an achievement.

Q. To whom do you give credit for all the achievements you have made?

A. I give credit for my success to my coaches as well as parents.

Q. If you are asked to give suggestions for the improvement and progress of swimming in India, what would be that? A. Catch children at 7 years of age, with a review after every three years upto group one junior.

A programme should be made for updation of latest swimming techniques with coaches should train them to get the results accordingly. For that purpose, swimming camps for the coaches should also be held regularly.

 Q. What all has changed for good in swimming in India, with academies all around in the country?

A. Government has introduced incentive/ scholarship for promotion of swimming. Khelo-India, a National level sports has also been introduced.

Q. Finally, what message would you like to give to those seeking to make career in swimming?

A. Your aim must be high, make your efforts accordingly, you will get your goal nearby. Believe in yourself. Enjoy life by staying positive, happy and healthy.

 (The interviewer is Assistant Professor in LSR, DU and a wellknown swimmer)

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LaLiga’s income exceeded 5 billion euro despite Covid-19

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LaLiga on Monday presented its financial report for 2019-2020 season, in which the total income of the Spanish football division achieved a new historical record despite the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total income of LaLiga was EUR5,045 million in 2019-2020 season , +3.6 per cent compared to 18/19. “Although this figure could have been EUR5,321m (+ 9.3 per cent) without the impact of COVID-19 according to estimates by PwC. Additionally, the average cumulative long-term growth in each of the last five seasons was +12 per cent, a figure that is worth even more when compared to other sectors and companies: IBEX35 companies, for example, decreased by -1.4 per cent on average in the last five years,” an official release by LaLiga stated. Compared to the other major European competitions, LaLiga is the only one that made a profit (EUR77m Net Result) and continues to be the leader in income on a demographic and price level equality comparison basis (EUR107 per capita).

In terms of total expenses, the cost and amortisation of sports staff continues to be clubs’ largest outlay, having risen to 60 per cent in 19/20, two points more than in the previous season, compared to the cost of non-sports staff, which remained stable at 5 per cent.

“Spanish professional football can boast resilient high-level profitability, with positive operating profitability despite the impact of COVID-19. EBITDA after transfers of players exceeded EUR1,000 million (EUR1,196 million without COVID according to PwC), thanks to the significant effort of the clubs in containing costs,” the release added.

“LaLiga maintains a great capacity for investment and a sustainable level of indebtedness (NFD/EBITDA of 1.63x), thanks to strong profitability levels. In this sense, net financial debt increased to EUR745 million, mainly resulting from net investments of EUR509 million. Of the total invested, 84 per cent was for players and 16 per cent for infrastructures.

“The pandemic broke out when the bulk of the investments had already been made or committed to in the 19/20 season. A drastic reduction in this will be seen in 20/21 as well as a decrease in the capital employed (NPA)/total income ratio -currently at extraordinary levels. The investment data shows that LaLiga generates talent that is sold abroad, affording us the possibility of reinvesting in more talent and infrastructures,” the Spanish league pointed.

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MAHARAJ BECOMES SECOND SA BOWLER TO TAKE TEST HAT-TRICK

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Spinner Keshav Maharaj on Monday became the second South Africa bowler to take a hat-trick in men’s Tests.

Maharaj achieved the feat in the ongoing second Test against West Indies. The 31-year-old spinner first dismissed Kieran Powell and then picked the wickets of Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva to put South Africa insight of a 2-0 series win. Three wickets for Kagiso Rabada and a hat-trick from Maharaj in the first session saw West Indies losing six batsmen for less than 100 runs on Monday. South Africa reduced West Indies to 109/6 at lunch on day four after sensational bowling performances by Rabada and Maharaj.

West Indies still need more than 150 runs to win the second Test. On Sunday, a remarkable 70-run, eighth-wicket stand between Rassie van der Dussen and Rabada put South Africa in the driving seat on Day Three of the second and final Test against West Indies.

Van der Dussen returned unbeaten for 75 off 142 balls – his sixth Test half-century – after the batting unit collapsed after lunch was taken early. Rabada’s 40 off 48 was a career-best score for the 26-year-old number nine batsman. The day began with the loss of the entire first session due to a wet outfield caused by overnight and morning rain with the visitors due to come in to bat.

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REASONS WHY WOMEN’S TEST CRICKET IS LAGGING BEHIND IN INDIA

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When the BCCI took over the responsibility of women’s cricket in November 2014, the exposure of female cricketers to Test cricket was already very less. The truth is that the Indian women’s team has only got a chance to play three Test matches in these 15 years since then.

BCCI did not give any opportunity to women cricketers to play test cricket in the first seven years.

In 2014, of course, the Indian team got a chance to play two test matches and the Indian team won both these Tests against England. Indian women were kept away from Test cricket for the next six years despite producing good results. It seems that under pressure from the ICC, the BCCI was compelled to take women’s cricket into its own hands. Under the supervision of the Indian Women’s Cricket Association, Indian players got the opportunity to play eight Test matches in four years. That is a huge difference between the two.

The President of this association, Shakti Rani Sharma, said that Women’s cricket has not merged with BCCI. Because of this, she said, “The players are facing many problems even today. Even today we organise the age group tournaments at the state level, efforts are made to give maximum opportunities to the young girls in the academies, from where a lot of talent is incubated for the national level. Mithali Raj has shined at the national level only by getting ready from our tournaments.”

At the same time, it is also a fact that Indian women players get very less exposure to the game as compared to men. Where men are getting a package of Rupees seven crores in A plus category, there is no such category for women. Similarly, in category A, men are getting Rs 5 crore, women are getting only five lakhs, in B category men are getting Rs 3 crore while women are getting Rs 30 lakh, and finally in C category men are getting Rs 1 crore and women are getting Rs 10 lakh respectively. That amount of money given to women is ten times less than men are paid. Shakti Rani Sharma says that there is not only a wide pay gap but there is also a big difference in the facilities available to both.

It is also a fact that South Africa’s women’s team also played their last Test in 2014. The situation of the West Indies, New Zealand, and Pakistan teams is even worse.

Nevertheless, Indian women have played 909 matches since the inception of T20 cricket in 2004 and played a total of 731 ODIs.

The BCCI has given more attention to T20 cricket itself. Its big motive has been to add sponsors behind this. Rajkumar Sharma, who coached the Indian women’s team at the NCA, says a lot depends on the sponsors. He, however, hopes that in the coming times, the Indian women’s team will get to play many Test matches and for this BCCI will have to push women’s cricket.

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Perturbed by slow turnaround time of Covid-19 test results, IOA writes to Tokyo organising panel

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Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has sought clarifications on a number of issues following new regulations put in place by the Japanese government pertaining to entry conditions to Japan affecting 11 countries including India.

A number of Indian athletes are training abroad for more than 30 days and will be traveling directly to Tokyo. The countries where they are training are not on the list of the 11 countries that have these new additional conditions. IOA President Narinder Batra and Secretary-General Rajeev Mehta in a letter addressed to the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (TOCOG) asked if these specific athletes will be required to follow these additional entry conditions or not. “Can you please kindly confirm that these specific athletes training out of India for over 30 days will not be required to follow these additional entry conditions,” read the letter.

As per new rules, Indian athletes have been advised to not physically interact with anyone from another team, delegation, or country for three days on arrival.

IOA said team sports such as hockey, there is a requirement for team meetings, equipment check, and uniform checks, which may happen during the three-day period where they are not permitted to associate with other countries or delegates and sought clarification on how will the contingent proceed on this.

“How will this be managed for India and other 10 countries for each respective sport since attending these meetings are a mandatory requirement in hockey and many other sports in which India athletes are competing,” asked IOA in the letter.

As per the TOCOG circulated list of Labs and Testing facilities for Covid-19 PCR tests in India are very few. The 103 CLO has been writing and reminding the concerned in TOCOG for additional testing facilities in India, but they are getting no replies.

IOA said some testing labs are up to 400 km away from places where the athletes are training and the governing body will be sending to TOCOG a separate email with the request from the 103 CLO to the concerned in TOCOG with their request for additional labs at the locations where athletes are training

“We have been further informed by D-Care Medical Centre which is the approved centre in Delhi that they will supply a soft copy via email of the results of the PCR test within 24 hours and a hard copy within 30 hours,” read the letter.

“As you can appreciate this slow turnaround time, due to the specific template required, would mean that members of the contingent may not be able to provide or carry a copy of their PCR test results for the period of the 48 hours prior to their arrival in Tokyo.

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Rain plays spoilsport, Day 4 washed off

Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen has advocated to not stage an ‘incredibly important cricket game’ in the UK following constant interruptions caused by rain in the ongoing WTC final.

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Rain played spoilsport once again as Day Four of the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand was abandoned without a ball being bowled on Monday.

“Update: Play on Day 4 abandoned due to rain. We thank our fans who turned up and kept the tempo high. See you again, tomorrow,” BCCI tweeted. Day 1 of the ongoing final was also abandoned due to rain while Day 2 saw early stumps being called due to bad light.

Jamieson was New Zealand’s hero on the third day as he claimed his fifth five-wicket haul in just eight Tests to help the Black Caps seize the initiative in the WTC final.

The 26-year-old Jamieson, who only made his Test debut against India in February 2020, secured the all-important wicket of Virat Kohli to prevent the skipper from adding to his overnight score of 44.

“It continues to drizzle and we have to state the obvious. Start of play on Day 4 has been delayed,” BCCI tweeted.

To kill time, New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson was seen playing table tennis. “Wet weather has returned to the Hampshire Bowl so it’s table tennis for now,” tweeted BlackCaps.

He also dismissed the dangerous Rishabh Pant (4) before taking the wickets of Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in successive balls as India slumped to 217 all out from 92.1 overs.

In reply, openers Tom Latham (30) and Devon Conway (54) put their side in the driving seat with a 70-run partnership before India hit back late to leave the Black Caps on 101 for two at the close of play on the third evening.

Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen has advocated to not stage an “incredibly important cricket game” in the United Kingdon (UK) following constant interruptions caused by rain in the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) final.

The first session of Day Four of the WTC final between India and New Zealand was on Monday washed off at the Ageas Bowl.

Earlier, the start of play on Day Four was delayed due to rain at the Ageas Bowl. To kill time, New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson was seen playing table tennis.

“It pains me to say it, but a ONE OFF & incredibly important cricket game should NOT be played in the UK,” Pietersen tweeted.

Day 1 of the ongoing final was also abandoned due to rain while Day 2 saw early stumps being called due to bad light.

A call on using the Reserve Day will be taken on the fifth afternoon.

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HARYANA DECIDES TO NAME PARAGLIDING CLUB AFTER MILKHA SINGH

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In memory of the Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh, who passed away recently, the Haryana Government announced to form a paragliding club in Morni. Regarding the same, Chief Minister Manohar Lal, while addressing a press conference, said that the state government has decided to form a paragliding club in memory of Milkha Singh The youth from the neighbouring areas will be trained for paragliding in this club. He said that Morni would prove to be a very suitable place for paragliding. This will increase employment in the surrounding villages and also increase the revenue of the state.

He said that a tourism information centre and Yatri Niwas would be set up in Panchkula, and five buses to be deployed for Panchkula Darshan. The Chief Minister said that nine one-day trekking routes have also been prepared for adventure sports activities. Soon after finalizing the arrangements for nighstay, two-day trekking routes will also be finalized. The Chief Minister also said that the use of hot air balloons would be started in Pinjore. With this citizens will not only visit Pinjore Garden but also Morni, Lake and other places of Panchkula.

He also said that the hot air balloon facility was available only at 5 or 6 places across the country. With the start of this facility in Pinjore, this area will be a leader in the field of tourism. Along with experiencing the adventure sports activities, the Chief Minister encouraged the youth and expressed his commitment towards developing Panchkula in the fields of culture medicine, wildlife, etc. The Chief Minister reviewed paragliding, hot air balloon, parasailing, power motor, e-hydrofoil, jet scooter, boating, etc., and also rode the jet scooter himself. Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria, Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Sh. Gian Chand Gupta, Haryana Tourism Minister, Kanwar Pal, Minister of State for Sports, Sandeep Singh, Panchkula Mayor, Kulbhushan Goyal were also present on this occasion.

He said that people have to travel far away to Manali, etc. for adventure sports activities. By starting such activities in the Morni Hills area amidst the Shivalik hills, people will not only get an opportunity to experience these adventurous activities, but this will also lead to the economic development of the surrounding area. He said that the region has been culturally rich and has a very ancient geographical and social history. Besides, Kalka to Kalesar is being developed as a tourist route. Rs. 49 crore has been received from the Centre for the development of Nada Saheb and Mansa Devi pilgrimage sites.

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