Nadal Masters Raonic To Reach Australian Open Semi-Finals
- MELBOURNE : Rafael Nadal claimed a dominant straight-sets win over world number three Milos Raonic to advance to the semi-finals at the Australian Open on Wednesday. The 14-time Grand Slam champion was too clinical for the Canadian, winning 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 in two hours 44 minutes and will play Bulgaria's 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov in Friday's semi-final. He leads Dimitrov 7-1. Nadal kept alive hopes of a much-anticipated ninth Grand Slam final with his great rival Roger Federer as the tournament got down to the last four. It is the Spanish great's first Grand Slam semi-final appearance since his last 2014 French Open triumph after recent injury setbacks. "Milos is a very difficult opponent. He beat me two weeks ago in Brisbane in a tough match so I decided to go a little bit more inside the court on the return tonight," Nadal said."I knew that there were going to be tough moments in the match with a player like him, that he has one of the top serves in the tour."
- It was the 30-year-old Spaniard's fifth Australian Open semi-final and his 24th in Grand Slams. Nadal is bidding to win his second Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era -- and only the third man in history -- to win each of the four Grand Slam titles twice. With his victory Nadal is projected to rise to six in next week's ATP rankings unless Dimitrov goes on to win the Australian title, in which case he would be number seven. A title in Melbourne would lift Nadal to fourth on the world rankings. Nadal began the night quarter-final better and earned a break point in the fifth game before breaking when the Canadian over-hit a smash at double break point in his next service game. He safely negotiated the rest of his service games and took the opening set with an overhead smash. Nadal fought off a break point in a five-deuce service game early in the second set as Raonic began to serve better.
- The Canadian left the court for unspecified treatment at 3-2 and upon his return, games went with serve until Nadal came under attack in the 10th game, saving three set points with pressure serving. Raonic had three more set points in the tiebreaker and blew them all before Nadal took a two sets lead on his first set point as the match swung decisively the Spaniard's way. Raonic was wayward with his volleying and made errors on crucial points to take the heat off Nadal. There were signs of Raonic physically in trouble and he was wincing in between points. Last year Raonic was hampered by a groin injury in his five-set loss to Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. The end came quickly when Raonic fell three match points down in the 10th game and Nadal won the rally to win which he greeted with his arms raised in the air.
Vyapam And Satyam Probes Get CBI Medals
- NEW DELHI : The CBI officers who probed multi-crore Satyam scam and cases related to Vyapam and post-demonetisation irregularities are among the 28 officers who have been awarded with distinguished and meritorious service medals on the occasion of Republic Day. AYV Krishna, CBI's joint director in Hyderabad who had probed the infamous Satyam scam, has been awarded President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service this year. His probe saw conviction of Satyam chief Ramalinga Raju and others. Tarun Gauba, DIG, posted in Chandigarh, and PC Thenmozhi, superintendent of police, posted in Chennai, have been honoured with police medals for meritorious service.
- Gauba was involved in the probe of Vyapam scam which had rocked the political establishment as allegations of corruption were levelled in the selection of candidates through Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, known as Vyapam. Thenmozhi has been instrumental in a number of cases related to illegal currency exchange following demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes in November last year. Other officers who have been awarded with President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service include superintendent of police Sushil Prasad Singh, additional SP Devendra Singh, deputy SP Kishan Singh Negi, inspector Bansi Dhar Tiwari and assistant sub-inspector G Satyanarayana.
Four Vibhushans For Netas, Padma Shri For Kohli
- NEW DELHI : A much-pruned Padma Awards list this year is marked by the domination of the second highest honour by politicians with four of the seven Padma Vibhushans being bagged by veteran leaders. The government honoured political leaders cutting across affiliations, including BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, ex-chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Sunderlal Patwa and former Lok Sabha Speaker and Meghalaya chief minister P A Sangma. All were conferred Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour in the country, the latter two posthumously. Former Congressmen Sangma and Pawar had at one time revolted against Sonia Gandhi on her foreign origins issue. Joshi was among the saffron veterans seen as being kicked upstairs to the party's Margdarshak Mandal by the Modi regime under its 75 years age cut-off rule insisted upon by RSS and embraced by the new BJP leadership.
- The other big names to feature in the 2017 Padma list, which laid emphasis on being transparent by following an online recommendation system, include Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli; hockey captain P R Sreejesh; Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik; gymnast Dipa Karmakar who put up a spirited performance at Rio Olympics; playback singers K J Yesudas, Kailash Kher and Anuradha Paudwal; mohan veena player and Grammy Awards winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, spiritual leaders Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, and Ratna Sundar Maharaj, yoga exponent Swami Niranjana Nanda Saraswati and political satirist Cho Ramaswamy (posthumous). Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev bagged the Padma Vibhushan, the second year in a row that a spiritual guru was awarded the honour, after it was won by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 2016. Dr Suniti Solomon, awarded the Padma Shri posthumously, detected the first cases of AIDS in India and was considered a visionary in the field of microbiology.
- Significantly, the list of 89 awardees — which include 7 Padma Vibhushan, 7 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri — is not only thinner this time, considering that earlier versions featured 120-plus beneficiaries — but takes care to strike the right balance between honouring celebrated achievers and offering recognition to the silent and selfless workers at the grassroots level. The 2017 list does not feature a single Bollywood star Among the Padma awardees are 15 ordinary people known to have made a difference with their rare talent, innovation and contribution to the cause of nation-building. For instance, India's oldest Kalaripayattu (practised in Kerala) exponent Meenakshi Amma was conferred the Padma Vibhushan for practising the ancient art form said to be at the root of Chinese martial arts. Chintakindi Mallesham, inventor of Laxmi ASU machine that significantly cut time and labour required to weave Pochampalli silk sarees but who incidentally is a school dropout, has got Padma Shri in the category 'science and engineering'.
- The list of unsung heroes — who were honoured in the absence of any recommendations and purely on the basis of research — is a celebration of the common man, featuring Daripalli Ramaiah who has planted over 1 crore trees and is nicknamed 'Tree Man'; Bipin Ganatra, a Kolkata fire-fighting volunteer who decided to devote his life to rescuing people from fires after losing his brother to one; engineer Girish Bharadwaj who has built over 100 suspension bridges; a tea garden worker, Karimul Haque, who converted his bike into a free 24x7 ambulance; Genabhai Dargabhai Patel, a physically challenged farmer who transformed the drought-prone Banaskantha into India's largest pomegranate producer; and Shekhar Naik, captain of World Cup-winning Indian visually-challenged cricket team.
Padma Vibhushan Is Another Stepping Stone For K J Yesudas
- For veteran playback singer K J Yesudas, November 14, 1961 will be indelible. It didn't just mark the launch of his career. The memory of battling a throat infection to sing a tune praising the nation pushed him to new frontiers. On Wednesday, it fetched him the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in the country. The award isn't the end, said the 77-year-old singer said. "It is humbling, yes. It is also a stepping stone," he said. The singer was among the seven people who were selected for the award. He didn't see the award as just an accolade. "It is a mirror of the mind of my audience, who acknowledge that music has no religion, caste or creed," said the Carnatic musician, who made his entry with the lines 'Jaathi Bhedam Matha Dwesham' in a studio in Madras in 1961.
- However, it was only a year later that he sang his first film song `Attention Penne Attention', along with legendary singer Santha P Nair. Recalling his younger days, Yesudas, who won the Padma Shri in 1975 and Padma Bhushan in 2002, said the award was also a prize for the struggles he went through as a newcomer. "It is only be cause of that I'm here today and I've learned to appreciate success a lot more," said the singer at his residence in Abhirama puram in Chennai. He recalled staying in a temporary accommodation in Triplicane and walking to Royapettah every day for recording. "I will never forget where I came from," he said. The singer has recorded more than 50,000 songs in several Indian languages as well as Malay, Russian, Latin and English in a career spanning more than five decades.
Usain Bolt Loses Gold As IOC Strips Jamaica Of 2008 Relay Win
- LAUSANNE : Usain Bolt lost one of his nine Olympic gold medals on Wednesday when the International Olympic Committee stripped Jamaica of their 4x100m relay win at the 2008 Beijing Games after a team-mate was caught doping. It is the result of retesting of hundreds of samples from the Beijing Games and means that Bolt -- who had previously described the prospect as "heartbreaking" -- loses one of the three gold medals he won at that Olympics. Bolt's relay team-mate Nesta Carter, who ran the first leg of the race, was found to have tested positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine, which was once used in nasal decongestants but now is more commonly found as an ingredient in dietary supplements. The loss of the relay gold deprives Bolt of one of his "triple triples" -- he won gold in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m at Beijing and repeated the unprecedented feat in London in 2012 and again in Rio last year.
- Last year, warned of the case against Carter, Bolt said: "It's heartbreaking because over the years you've worked hard to accumulate gold medals and work hard to be a champion -- but it's just one of those things. "Things happen in life so when it's confirmed or whatever, if I need to give back my gold medal I'd have to give it back, it's not a problem for me," Bolt said, while praising the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the IAAF for their efforts to stamp out doping. An IOC statement said re-analysis of the 2008 samples of Carter, 31, "resulted in a positive test for the prohibited substance methylhexaneamine".
- The IOC Disciplinary Commission ruled that Carter "is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation pursuant to the IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing in 2008". As such, he "is disqualified from the men's 4x100m relay event" and must return his medal while the team -- led by sprint king Bolt -- is likewise disqualified and they must hand back their medals. Trinidad and Tobago, who came second, are promoted to gold medal winners, while Japan move up to silver and Brazil win bronze. The IOC said that Russia's Tatiana Lebedeva, who won silver in the women's triple jump event and long jump in 2008, had also been disqualified following re-analysis of her samples, which showed up positive for the steroid dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (turinabol), also on the banned list. "I received that information (she would lose her Beijing medals) a long ago, in the autumn," she told Sport Express.
- "I can say for sure that I never intended to dope and I do not consider myself being guilty of cheating. "Of course, nobody has proof against accidental mistakes. But even if I made a mistake, it should be proved in court," said Lebedeva, saying her lawyer was working on an appeal even if she rated her chances of succeeding as "minimal". The IOC has been retesting hundreds of samples from Beijing 2008 and London 2012 as latest technology allows experts to detect new cases which were previously undetectable. In the case of relay events, if one member of the team is found to have used illegal substances, the whole team is stripped of their medals. To date, 1,243 samples from the Beijing and London Games have been re-analysed.
- Last month the IOC's medical director Richard Budgett said he expected to see further cases of doping emerge from re-testing of London samples following 101 positive cases from those Games in 2016. On January 12, the IOC announced three Chinese weightlifting champions from the 2008 Games had tested positive for the banned GHRP-2, a human growth hormone. Following last month's publication of the McLaren report into state doping in Russia the IOC indicated 32 Russian athletes who participated at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014 were facing a disciplinary procedure for alleged doping. Russia has denied state-sponsored doping. Referring to Lebedeva's case, Russia's Athletics Federation (RusAF) chief Dmitry Shlyakhtin regretted what he termed a "sad echo of the past". He told Russia's TASS news agency: ""RusAF regrets that such things happen to outstanding people like Lebedeva."
From Sports To Spirituality, Padma Awards Tamil Nadu Talent
- It wasn't just celebrated personages from Tamil Nadu who made it to the prestigious list of Padma winners for the year, but those who work away from the spotlight as well. While the list of eight awardees from the state includes singer K J Yesudas, originally from Kerala, the poster boy of Indian paralympics Mariyappan Thangavelu, famous spiritual leader Jaggi Vasudev , and the late political commentator-actorwriter Cho Ramaswamy, it also features social worker Nivedita Raghunath Bhide -the didi or big sister of the Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, and writer-historian-activist the French-born Coimbatoresettled Michel Danino, who works towards promoting India's heritage. Physician and microbiologist Dr Suniti Solomon, whose name is synonymous with AIDS research and prevention in India has been awarded the Padma Shri posthumously.
- Dr Solomon, who had detected the first cases of AIDS in the country , had died at the age of 76 in 2015. The other posthumous recipient is the journalist, actor and writer Cho Ramaswamy , who died in December 2016 at the of 82. Known for his fearless criticism of political figures in his plays and magazine `Tughlak', he was also the sole Padma Bhushan awardee from the state. While Yesudas has won all three of the Padma awards, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev was directly given the Padma Vibhushan.The founder of the Isha Foundation felt the honour was a "recognition of the work of all the volunteers of Isha involved in transmitting the science of inner well-being, particularly the Tamil people who have executed large-scale projects in education, health and ecology". The oldest among the awardees from the state this year is 93-year-old Padma Shri mridangist T K Murthy, who, according to his fans, students and colleagues, devoted his life to his instrument. Though the honour came at the fag end of his career, Murthy was happy that his contribution to music was recognised.
- "The word has come late but it is heartening that at least now the government thought of giving him the honour," his son T K Jayaram said. From a family of court musicians in Thiruvananthapuram, Murthy performed with legendary Carnatic vocalist M S Subbulakhsmi for 55 years. Padma Shri recipient Bhide could not be reached, but Raghunathan Nair, secretary, Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, spoke about the "big sister" of the association who never stopped working for the cause of women's empowerment and the socially neglected ever since she witnessed a "one-rupee collection" drive to build the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari. "She was a child then but it made her realise that just like one rupee can make a big difference, so can a person if he works for a cause," says Nair. Teacher, social worker and author, 58-year-old Bhide, now vice-president of the Kendra, joined it in 1977 and dedicated her life to the cause since.
- Academic Michel Danino, a specialist in Indian history and science, is a French national who left his country in 1977 and settled here. The 2017 Padma Shri awar dee's theory of "Indigenous Aryans", which scraps the previously propagated "Aryan Invasion theory", has been critically acclaimed the world over. The 61-year-old also engaged himself in the preservation of tropical rainforests in the Nilgiris and established the International Forum for India's Heritage in 2001. Since the Padma awards were instituted in 1954, Tamil Nadu has produced 27 Padma Vibhushan, 130 Padma Bhushan and 235 Padma Shri awardees. The most Padma awards have been in art, followed by medicine, literature and education.