Swedish Charlotte Kalla wins maiden gold at Winter Olympics in skiathlon

The first gold medal in Pyeongchang 2018 was won by the Swedish Charlotte Kalla in the women’s skiathlon. Kalla finished the race in 40 minutes, 44.9 seconds while Norway’s Marit Bjorgen was second. While, Finnish Krista Parmakoski
Incidentally, Norwegian Bjorgen still remains as the most decorated woman in the Winter Olympics, with a cumulative 11 medals. She is very close to making the world record that is held by her countrywoman, Ole Einar Bjorndalen for 13 medals.
With the exception of Parmakoski, both other women were present on the winner’s podium at Sochi in 2014.
The skiathlon is a 15 km long cross country event that is mass skiing. The athletes are needed to use a different technique from the mid-point. A pit stop in the middle of the race requires them to change their gear and switch to free technique from classic.
Reportedly, Charlotte gained a considerable amount of lead at the 12.5 km stretch and maintained the gap throughout. “I was quite nervous today and the Olympics is something I have focused on for a long, long time, ” Kalla said. “On the finish line I did not want to look back and just focused on keeping pushing.”
SOURCES: BBC, Eurosport

The Political Game Show

20th Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, July 3 – July 7.

The game of politics has never remained a constant theory to make accurate calculations and assumptions. In India, it seems to be even more complex. In a move which looks like a step of her campaign against the Sri Lankan government after the emergence of probable new evidence of war crimes, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa took the decision that her State would not host the 20th Asian Athletics Championships this year. In a statement, she said that the participation of Sri Lankan athletes would hurt the feelings of the Tamils. Ms. Jayalalithaa also said that her government wrote to the AAA, seeking the exclusion of the Sri Lankan contingent from the event. This was in view of the Sri Lankan government acting repeatedly against Tamils.

Such game of politics is not new in our country and the Central government should have kept in mind the regional aspirations of the State government before asking them to host the event. Similarly, the State government should also think about the international image of the country especially when we talk about India emerging as an Asian Giant. While it is always credible to have a stand on serious issues, at times we must have the sportsman spirit as well. Interestingly the event was not only rejected by Tamil Nadu but also by Jharkhand and Delhi for reasons better known to them.

Amidst months of uncertainty and indecisiveness, the Asian Athletics Championships was finally decided to be held in Pune’s Balewadi Stadium from July 3rd to 7th. Citing the difficulties the AFI faced all along, its secretary-general C.K. Valson said, “Of course, it would have been terribly shameful for the whole country had we been forced to back out of our commitment. But thankfully, all our worries are almost over as we have now that the Maharashtra Chief Minister has cleared our proposal to have the championship in Pune.”

The AFI, compared to the comfortable budget of over Rs. 40 crore allotted by the Tamil Nadu Government, would be working with a scaled-down allotment of around Rs. 12.75 crore to be made by the Maharashtra Government for conducting the meet in Pune. Later on the Maharashtra Government has also provided another Rs. 4 crore for sprucing up the stadium in Balewadi. There is no doubt that Maharashtra is the financial capital of the country and this time it acted as a very strong face-saver. The Congress-NCP led government under the leadership of Prithviraj Chavan once again proved that they are the ultimate master of all games.