Ronaldo, Santos Honoured At Globe Soccer Awards
- DUBAI : Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal's Euro 2016-winning coach Fernando Santos scooped the top prizes at the seventh edition of the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai. Ronaldo claimed the best player award after helping his country land their first major title at this year's European Championship and firing Real to a record 11th European Cup triumph. "Probably (this) was my best year so far," Ronaldo, who earlier this month won the Ballon d'Or for the fourth time in his career, said in a short video message. "The people still doubt about me, about Real Madrid, about national team, and you have the proof.
- We win everything, so amazing year, I'm so happy." The 62-year-old Santos was named best manager after masterminding Portugal's success in France, while Champions League winners Real Madrid took home the prize for club of the year. Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery, under pressure at the Parc des Princes following a mediocre first half of the season, also received an award having led Sevilla to a third straight Europa League crown before leaving for France. Former Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o was lauded for his career achievements.
Debbie Reynolds, Legendary Actress, Dies One Day After Daughter Carrie Fisher
- LOS ANGELES : Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, who sang and danced her way into the hearts of millions of moviegoers around the world in musicals like "Singin' in the Rain," died on Wednesday at age 84, Variety reported citing her son. Reynolds, one of the most enduring and endearing Hollywood actresses, died hours after being rushed to the hospital in Los Angeles after suffering a possible stroke, according to media reports. Her death came just one day after her daughter, the actress Carrie Fisher, died of a heart attack. Reynolds, who rose to stardom in the film "Singin' In the Rain," appeared in dozens of films. She starred opposite Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Donald O'Connor, Fred Astaire and Dick Van Dyke. She received a best actress Academy Award nomination for the 1964 musical "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." She is survived by her son, Todd Fisher, an actor and producer. Her daughter Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" fame, died a few days after suffering a heart attack.
- At the peak of her stardom, Reynolds was drawn into a scandal when her husband, singer Eddie Fisher, began an affair with actress Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds and Fisher divorced in 1959 and he married Taylor. Reynolds and Taylor, who eventually divorced Fisher, made peace years later and appeared together in the 2001 television movie "These Old Broads," written by Carrie Fisher. In a 2010 interview with Rage Monthly, Reynolds reflected on her philosophy of life. "I always go by a five-year plan," she said. "I get through today and I'm not going to get upset for five years. "I always picture a long tunnel and at the end of the tunnel, there's a light. I know I can make it to that light and I'll take five years to get there. NowI've gone through many tunnels. So, I just keep trying. I never give up." Mary Frances Reynolds was born on April 1, 1932. She was 16 and in the Miss Burbank beauty contest when she was discovered by a talent scout. Warner Brothers changed her name to "Debbie," and she had a bit part that year in "June Bride."
- She was signed by MGM in 1950 and that year, in "Two Weeks with Love," Reynolds performed the hit duet "Aba Daba Honeymoon" with Carleton Carpenter. She also made her feature acting debut in 1950 in "The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady." It was 1952's "Singin' in the Rain," however, that catapulted Reynolds to stardom, playing opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor and recording the original soundtrack album for the film. Her fame grew with leading roles in "Susan Slept Here" with Dick Powell, "The Tender Trap" with Frank Sinatra, "The Catered Affair" with Bette Davis, "Bundle of Joy" with then-husband Fisher, "The Mating Game" with Tony Randall, "It Started with A Kiss" with Glenn Ford, and "The Pleasure of His Company" with Astaire. Reynolds' song "Tammy" from her 1957 movie "Tammy and the Bachelor" hit No. 1 on the singles charts. That year, she became a regular on "The Eddie Fisher Show" broadcast by NBC. She performed in nightclubs, hosted TV specials, and in 1968 had her first TV series, the NBC sitcom "The Debbie Reynolds Show." The 1970 film "What's the Matter with Helen?" turned out to be the last big screen acting role she would have for some 20 years. "I didn't stop making movies. They stopped making me," Reynolds told The New York Times in 1996. Reynolds performed on cruise ships and in nightclubs and took to the stage in New York and London.
- Her 1973 revival of the musical "Irene" earned her a Tony Award nomination. The same year she gave voice to Charlotte in the animated feature "Charlotte's Web." Her second marriage, to shoe businessman Harry Karl, ended in the early 1970s after he gambled away most of her money. Financial reasons compelled her to keep working. In 1984 she married her third husband, real estate developer Richard Hamlett, and they bought a Las Vegas hotel and casino, where she also performed. That marriage ended amid the financial collapse of that property and Reynolds filed for bankruptcy protection in 1997. "There are good men, including my father and my son Todd, but I happened to marry idiots, which is why I gave up years ago. I have very bad taste in men," she told the Yorkshire Post in a 2010 interview. Reynolds' theatrical performances took her to the West Coast, then in 1981, she returned to Broadway to take over the lead in "Woman of the Year." That year brought another TV show, the short-lived series "Aloha Paradise." By 1983, Reynolds had a recurring role in the TV series "Jennifer Slept Here, starring Ann Jillian. The next year she created and starred in an exercise video, "Do It Debbie's Way," and four years later produced the exercise video, "Couples (Do It Debbie's Way)." Reynolds starred in her first TV movie, "Sadie and Son," in 1987. The following year brought her written memoir, "Debbie: My Life." She then toured nationally with "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."
Former World Number One Ana Ivanovic Retires From Tennis At Age 29
- BELGRADE : Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 29 on Wednesday because she no longer feels fit enough to compete at the highest level. Ivanovic became the first Serbian woman to win a grand slam tournament when she beat Russian Dinara Safina in the 2008 French Open final, following in the footsteps of compatriot Novak Djokovic who clinched the Australian Open title the same year. "There is no other way to say it. I have decided to retire from professional tennis. It has been a difficult decision but there is so much to celebrate," Belgrade-born Ivanovic said on Facebook.
- "I began dreaming about tennis when I was five. My dear parents backed me all the way and by the time I was the world number one and won Roland Garros in 2008, I have seen the heights I never dreamt of achieving," she added. Her French Open victory catapulted Ivanovic to the summit of the WTA tour rankings but she only occupied top spot for a few weeks and dropped to 22nd at the end of 2009 after a dramatic loss of form. She returned to the top five in 2014 and reached the French Open semi-finals in 2015, but slipped out of the leading 60 this year after losing to little-known Czech Denisa Allertova in the US Open first round, her final match on the WTA tour. "I played so many memorable matches.
- But staying at those heights in any professional sport requires top physical form and it's well-known that I have been hampered by injuries," Ivanovic said. "I can only play if I perform up to my own high standards. I can no longer do that so it's time to move on." Striking a happy figure as she announced her retirement with a smile in a live address to her fans, Ivanovic also revealed her future plans. "Don't be sad, be optimistic alongside me. My love and my greatest thank you to all of you," she said. Ivanovic, the world number 63, married former Germany soccer international Bastian Schweinsteiger this year. "I am so excited about what comes next. I will become an ambassador of sport and healthy life and will also explore opportunities in business, beauty and fashion, among other endeavours," she said. "Beyond that, who knows. All I can say is that I have lived my dreams and really hope to have helped others do so as well."
2016 In Review : Phenomenal Rise In Indian Hockey's Stature
- NEW DELHI : A few disappointments aside, it was all about Indian hockey's phenomenal rise in stature, both on and off the field, in 2016 with a historic silver medal in the Champions Trophy and Junior World Cup title after a hiatus of 15 years being the biggest achievements. If the Champions Trophy silver, gold in Asian Champions Trophy and Junior World Cup title were the high points on the turf, former Hockey India chief Narinder Batra's election to the post of International Hockey Federation (FIH) president was the talking point off the pitch in the year goneby. Batra was unanimously elected to the FIH president's post in November this year, thus becoming the first Indian and Asian to head the world body since its inception. Batra's elevation to the FIH chief's post has also changed the power centre of world hockey from Europe to Asia. 2016 was an Olympic year and much was expected from India and the eight-time Olympic champions did achieve success on the pitch barring a few failures -- major among them being a loss to Pakistan in the final of the SAF Games and a quarterfinal exit in the Rio Games. But at the fag end of the year, the Indian colts lifted the Junior World Cup title after a long gap of 15 years on their home turf in Lucknow.
- The year, however, started on a bad note for the sport. For those who believe in perfect starts, defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan in Guwahati in the SAF Games final for the third consecutive time was as disastrous a beginning as one could imagine. In the earlier two editions of the Games in 2006 and 2010, Pakistan had won the gold by beating India. But the SAF Games team did give India two players -- goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya and Ajit Kumar Pandey -- who played a major role in the nation's title triumph in the Junior World Cup later in the year. Meanwhile, the senior men's side travelled to Ipoh, Malaysia for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, a tournament looked upon as a preparation for the Rio Olympics. Dutchman Roelant Oltmans was at the helm and was given the charge of preparing the side for the Olympics following the unceremonious exits of Terry Walsh and Paul van Ass. In the Azlan Shah Cup, it was smooth sailing for India till the final where they were hammered 4-0 by the mighty Australians.
- The thrashing once again raised questions about India's submission against big teams in big matches and Oltmans was desperate to prove the theory wrong in his next assignment. The Dutchman, a master tactician, then decided to change the composition of the team and he was helped by a rare controversy involving the talismanic Sardar Singh. Then Indian captain was accused of sexual exploitation by a British citizen Ashpal Kaur Bhogal, and to keep him safe the ace midfielder was left out from the London-bound Champions Trophy squad. In the Champions Trophy, the Indians played out of their skins to reach the title clash, where they probably played their best match of not only the year against a very strong Australian outfit only to end on the losing side. Despite the loss, the Indian team created history -- a Champions Trophy silver as they had never gone beyond the bronze earlier. Then came the event which the hockey crazy fans of the country were looking forward to, the Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro. With dip in form and controversy surrounding him, Sardar was removed as captain and in his place ace goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was handed over the arm-band for Rio Olympics. With a rich Olympic history behind it, much was expected from the Indians.
- They did impress in the league stages and expectedly qualified for the quarterfinals where they lost 1-3 against a resurgent Belgium despite taking the initial lead. The Indian eves too created their own bit of history in 2016 by qualifying for the Olympics after a gap of 36 years. But their campaign turned out to be a disappointing one as they finished last in the 12-team competition having managed to draw just one game (2-2 against Japan). The quarterfinal exit of the men's team not only broke the hearts of the players but also the hopes a billion countrymen who now will have to wait for four more years for the elusive medal when the Games head to Tokyo. The Indian men's next assignment was the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan, Malaysia and chief coach Oltmans made it clear to his wards before leaving for the tournament that only the trophy would to some extent, heal the Olympic ouster pain. The players rightly responded to his call and defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 3-2 in the final to lift the Asian Champions Trophy for a second time.
- The burden of captaincy gone, Sardar sparkled in Kuantan, while Rupinder Pal Singh finally stamped his authority as a defender as well as penalty corner specialist with 11 goals in the tournament. It was then left to the junior men's team to provide a resounding and perfect send-off to the year and the colts didn't disappoint. The hosts produced a commanding performance from the word go to reclaim the Junior World Cup title by beating Belgium 2-1 in the final. For Indian hockey, 2016 was a year in which much was promised and achieved as well. It was also a year where India made significant and visible advancements. But deep down somewhere the pain of missing out on an Olympic medal will remain for four more years. But 2016 was nonetheless a good year for Indian hockey and from here on, it's all about ticking the right boxes next year to carry on the gradual progress.