19-year-old boy mauled to death by bull during Jallikattu

Image Courtesy: Associated Press/R. Parthibhan
An man tries to tame a bull during a traditional bull-taming festival called “Jallikattu,” in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu state.

Madurai, January 16: A 19-year-old boy was gored to death by a bull during a Jallikattu, a bull-taming event at Palamedu, in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu. The deceased was a participant in the first round of the event. The event was held as a part of Pongal festivities in the district.

Source quoted that the deceased was playing with the bull outside the arena, after his turn in the event got over when the bull attacked him. Around 25 spectators suffered injuries during the event.  Around 1,000 bulls were issued token to mark the event, where only 450 bulls were released at the end of the event.

The Madurai district administration, which governs the event, claimed that the preparation for the event was all set to welcome thousands of people. Around 50,000 to 1 lakh spectators are expected to witness the three-day event, said the district administration.

The festive event was brought to nations attention last year with massive protest, forcing Tamil Nadu government to pass an ordinance on the event. This year, the Animal welfare board of India has instructed the state government to comply with new safety rules and regulations while conducting the event. It is not to hurt the sentiments of culture but to protect the animals from cruelty, the board added.

Source: The Indian Express, India TV News

LeBron James accuses Donald Trump of emboldening racism

Image Courtesy: Getty Images
LeBron James (right, pictured with Steph Curry) praised Martin Luther King Jr. and said that all that he fought for could not be overlooked; Americans must stand united.

Cleveland, Ohio (U.S.), January 16: LeBron James, basketball star of the Cleveland Cavaliers, on Monday accused President Donald Trump of emboldening racists in the United States while on the flipside prompting the country to disallow itself from being divided along racial lines.

“The guy in control has given people and racism … an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear,” James, a frequent Trump critic, told reporters prior to the Cavaliers’ game against the Golden State Warriors on the U.S. holiday honouring civil rights activist Martin Luther King.

“And that’s the fearful thing for us because it’s with you and it’s around every day but he’s allowed people to come out and just feel confident about doing negative things.”

During a White House meeting with lawmakers, over discussions pertaining to U.S. immigration policy, Trump reportedly called some African nations “shithole countries”.
He denied using such derogatory language, which has drawn contempt from many African leaders and international rights organizations. He also told reporters he was “the least racist person you have ever interviewed.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s murder. James said he was highly appreciative of the leader’s sacrifice. “He took a bullet for all of us. And for us to stand here even though we’re trying to be divided right now by somebody, today is a great day for people to realize how America was built and how we all have to stand united in order to be at one.”

Four-time winner of the National Basketball Association’s most valuable player award, James, in August, slammed Trump for saying there were “some very fine people on both sides” of protests spearheaded by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one counter-protester dead.

In September, James called Trump a “bum” on Twitter after the latter withdrew a White House invitation to Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who had stated that he did not wish to meet with Trump in order to celebrate the Warriors NBA 2016-2017 Championship.


Sources: The Guardian, News18

Watching Virat Kohli bat in South Africa – when TNT meets Dynamite

Image Courtesy: BCCI
After Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli first India captain to score a Test century in South Africa.

Scoring 153 runs out of team total of 307 is no mean feat, especially when you are batting in tablelands of centurion and likes of Rabada and Morkel breathing down your neck. Add on to the pressure of being the captain, wrong team selection and a hostile press back home-not to speak of the Himalayan expectations of the fans.

But, Virat Kohli is no ordinary batsman or a captain or a mortal being. His intensity during his stay at crease is akin a mixture of rage and performance. It’s like accelerating a sports car towards its peak speed, for hours. Watching a cricket test match almost after a year, partly due to predictable India- Sri Lanka Series had and partly due to absence of any good competition, it was certainly a treat to the senses. And what a sight it was to see Kohli in his elements on a sunny day in South Africa. Not only he took Indian side to a respectable total, he also stamped his authority over the African soil- thereby silencing his critics regarding his batting technique-at least for a while.

But more than his batting skills, what highlighted Kohli’s stay at field was his never ending enthusiasm. He jumped in the air as he crossed past 100 mark, only to return back for an extra run gifted by an overthrow-all in less than 10 seconds. He applauded every time his partner at other end hits a four and slapped his bat to his pad when a wicket falls. It looked that his veins would burst out when Hardik Pandya ran himself out in a stupid manner.

He played shots by dragging himself wide due to lack of movement in the pitch, almost repeating his Cape Town action, but this time he pulls them through elegance. The fact that his strike rate his over 70 and he has faced just under 45% of balls that the whole team has faced, with a contribution of over 50% to the total score speaks volumes about his skill.

It almost seems that Virat is undoing all his mistakes for himself and the others. He seems to cover up for everything by his batting – constant failures of Rohit Sharma, dropped catches by Parthiv, poor deliveries bowled by Shami and yet stay at the crease with all his grit to partner with Ashwin to hit the three figures. He might have made his mistakes of field too-poor team selection, wrong fielding placements, but today on 15th January, 2018, Kohli makes South Africa fight for every minute he stays on the field. Who says the enfant terrible of Indian Cricket can’t put up a show in Dark Continent?

P.S.- Almost an hour after the end of his innings, Kohli breached ICC Code of Conduct for fair play, by disagreeing with the umpire and stomping the ball to the ground. He was fined, yet again, 25% of his match fee for his over-aggressive behaviour.

Anchal Thakur is the first Indian to win an International medal for Skiing

NDTV Sports reported that Aanchal Thakur won the first international medal in skiing for India on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. She is a resident of Barua in Manali and 21 years of age. She won the bronze medal for slalom race at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup held in Turkey. Federation International de Ski (FIS) coordinated the event.

“Finally something surprised me today. This is my first international medal. Turkey served me well,” the skiing star said in her tweet. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore congratulated her on Twitter for this historic accomplishment.

The Times of India informed that Roshan Thakur, her father and secretary general of Winter Games Federation of India supported her finances and funded her efforts. He expressed his disappointment about not receiving monetary support from the government of India.

Thakur mentioned, “One needs helmets, skis, suits, poles, gloves, goggles, boots and bindings as a professional skier. The estimated cost of the kit is five to ten lakhs. Hope this serves as a way to help us receive the required assistance. I look forward to seeing my daughter and son play for India at the Winter Olympics this year.”

She was trained by Heera Lal, a former Olympian and Roshan Thakur, her father.

Sources – TOI, NDTV

Yusuf Pathan handed five-month suspension by BCCI on doping charges

Indian Cricket juggernaut, Yusuf Pathan, has been handed a five-month ban following a doping charge against him. The BCCI released a statement confirming the 35-year old’s ban saying “inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups.” A urine sample provided by Pathan on March 16, 2017, was tested and found to contain ‘Terbutaline’.

However, Pathan’s suspension has been backdated to 15th August 2017, meaning he will complete the five months on 18th January 2018 itself.

The BCCI claim to be satisfied with Pathan’s explanation to the cause, stating he had taken Terbutaline only to treat his Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) and not as a performance-enhancing drug.

The statement read, “On 27 October 2017, Pathan was charged with the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under the BCCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) Article 2.1 and provisionally suspended pending determination of the charge. Mr Pathan responded to the charge by admitting the ADRV and asserting that it was caused by his ingestion of a medication containing Terbutaline that had been mistakenly given to him instead of the medication prescribed for him, which did not contain any prohibited substance.”

In his career between 2008 and 2012, Yusuf Pathan played 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is for India and was part of the T20 World Cup winning squad in 2007 and the ODI World Cup winning squad in 2011. The Baroda man has had a superb stint in the Indian Premier League as well, scoring over 2500 runs with a strike rate of 146, with Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders.

Sources – TOI, NDTV

Rafael Nadal loses to Gasquet at Kooyong, optimistic about Australian Open

World No.1 Rafael Nadal made a shaky start at the Kooyong Classic facing defeat at the hands of Richard Gasquet with a 6-4, 7-5 score. However, despite losing his first match of the year, Nadal expressed pleasure on facing no issues with his knee.
Nadal’s recurring knee pains forced him to withdraw from Brisbane International and proved to be an obstruction to the ending of his season in 2017. Rafa is also expected to play a match for a Tie Break Tens tournament in Melbourne Park on the 10th of January.
His opponent, on the other hand, had been forced out of Kooyong because of physical ailments but was obviously happy to have beaten the Spaniard even if informally. Nadal historically has beaten the Frenchman 15 times to none on the ATP tour.
The first set saw a rusty Nadal with Gasquet who relied on a solo break at 5-4 and took it. The second set started with Gasquet leading 3-0. The Spaniard came back with full force and equalled the score at 3-3. But Gasquet eventually won with a smash winner.
In the women’s game, German Andrea Petkovic beat Aussie Destenee Aiava 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 despite the strong winds.
Sources – The Guardian, New Indian Express

Wrestling maestro Sushil Kumar issued notice by WFI

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) dispensed a formal notice to two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar as a part of its investigation procedures into the brawl that ensued at the Commonwealth Games selection trials last week, a senior official said on Thursday.

Within three days, Sushil has been instructed to explain the actions of his supporters and respond to the charges leveled against him by Parveen Rana, his challenger in the 74kg freestyle weight class. In a written complaint to the WFI earlier this week, Rana accused Sushil and his supporters of beating up him and his brother Naveen. At the same time, Rana alleged ‘fraud’ was committed in the bout while also alleging ‘biased’ scoring. He attributed this to the referees feeling pressurized from Sushil’s corner.

Sushil defeated Rana 7-3 in the bout before beating another wrestler, Jitender, to secure his place in the CWG-bound squad. However, moments post the final bout, Rana alleged he and Naveen were beaten up by a group of men who he identified as Sushil’s supporters. The brothers subsequently lodged a police complaint against Sushil and six others from the Chhtrasal Stadium, where they all trained together before Rana relocated to Sonepat.

WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar said that no action is being planned against Sushil as of now.  The issue will be referred to WFI’s disciplinary committee, who is also likely to review the bout under the supervision of United World Wrestling jury member and referee Ashok Kumar Bhanwala.

“The bout might be reviewed because Rana has alleged fraud. However, all our officials were present on the day of the trials and there was nothing wrong technically,” Tomar said.

Rana and Sushil are India’s two main contenders in the 74kg category. Now, the healthy competition between the two has turned into a bloody rivalry over the last year since Rana left Chhatrasal to train independently.

During the national championships, Rana gave Sushil a walkover in the final. A month later, they faced each other at the Commonwealth Championships in Johannesburg, where Sushil won 5-4. Another noteworthy incident was during the hotly-contested bout for a spot in the CWG squad, Sushil accused Rana of biting him.

Sources – Indian Express, The Tribune