Australia proves fertile talent pool for NBA

first_img“It definitely gives you something to aim for, knowing that they have started where you started and they made it all the way to the top,” Austin Bradtke told AFP after a narrow win at a recent basketball carnival in suburban Melbourne.“Experiencing American basketball, and also the crowds and stuff, it looks really enticing for a young player, that is where I am keen to go,” added the 17-year-old, whose father Mark was among the earliest Australians to play in the NBA.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutOnce a far-flung dream for young hopefuls, technology is giving scouts greater access to international talent, while an elite junior program is putting promising Australians at the forefront of the game, with courts Down Under proving fertile ground for US recruiters.Australia’s national side “the Boomers” were earlier this month crowned FIBA Asia Cup champions despite fielding a second-string side because their top international stars were unavailable. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension “When they have guys that are prepared to sacrifice for their teammates and put their team above the individual… I think that attracts all the NBA teams to look to those characteristics,” said Andrew Gaze, one of the first Australians to play in the US college system.“It is great for our national team and it provides tremendous inspiration for the youngsters coming through, who know that if you play basketball in Australia, there is clearly a pathway you can end up as an NBA player.”The 1990s were a golden era for Australian basketball, with a handful of trailblazers, including Gaze (Washington Bullets and San Antonio Spurs), Bradtke (Philadelphia 76ers) and Luc Longley, who won three championships with the Chicago Bulls alongside Michael Jordan, playing in the NBA.The Boomers reached the Atlanta Olympic semi-finals in 1996 before losing a memorable encounter to the USA “Dream Team” and took fourth-place at Sydney four years later.Standards during this period were also bolstered by US talent looking for game time elsewhere, said Marty Clarke, associate head coach with Saint Mary’s College in California, where Australians Mills and Milwaukee Bucks’ guard Matthew Dellavedova graduated.Strong at the grassroots“Partly because of the influence of the USA, with import players going overseas and the coaches going to coach elsewhere, the distance between the USA and the rest of the world certainly shrunk,” said Clarke, also a former Boomers assistant coach.While Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) struggled after the turn of the century as attendances dwindled, grassroots participation remained strong, producing a new generation of talent.“Whereas people (once) played another sport and made a transition to basketball, these kids have been around these big stadiums since they were babies,” Clarke added.Exum, Simmons, and Jonah Bolden, who was recently drafted to the Philadelphia 76ers, are all sons of former NBL imports. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC A record eight Aussies (excluding Maker who was listed as South Sudanese) were listed on NBA rosters at the start of last season and hundreds of young men and women are now competing in the US college system, with many progressing to professional careers internationally.While no basketball nation can match the athleticism of the US, coaches say Australians have earned a reputation for selflessness and being team players.“I know that when we take kids to tours in America, the main thing that we struggle with is defending those super-athletic kids.“But then down the other end (Americans) struggle to defend our structure and our skill, and our decision-making,” said Melbourne Tigers coaching director Nick Abdicevic.Australia’s golden eraADVERTISEMENT Argentina, Uruguay collide in South America qualifierscenter_img (FILES) This file picture taken on August 21, 2016 shows Australia’s Matthew Dellavedova (2nd L) going to the basket during their men’s bronze medal basketball game against Spain during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. AFP PHOTO / Andrej ISAKOVIC / TO GO WITH Basket-AUS-USA-NBA, FOCUS by Daniel DE CARTERETIf you ask Australian youngsters who their favorite basketball player is, US superstars such as LeBron James or Kevin Durant are likely responses, with the mere mention of the NBA creating a buzz.But home-grown talent Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Dante Exum (Utah Jazz) and South Sudanese refugee Thon Maker (Milwaukee Bucks) have swelled Aussie numbers in the world’s top league and heightened the hopes of young Australians playing the game.ADVERTISEMENT The elite training program in Australia’s capital Canberra can take much of the credit for producing the country’s top talent.“We have got this hidden gem sitting in Canberra,” said Basketball Australia chief Anthony Moore.The academy has been lauded for producing an NBA talent pool whose numbers compare with some of the top US colleges.Recognizing this, the NBA in June teamed up with Basketball Australia to launch the NBA Global Academy there.“(Australian players in the NBA) have all had a touch point at some part with the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) basketball program, so that holds us all in really good stead, and that certainly has drawn the NBA to us,” Moore added. MOST READ LATEST STORIES WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

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Archers survive Tams’ final rally

first_imgFEU’s Prince Orizu tries to get La Salle’s Ben Mbala out of the way, but the MVP continues to drop double-double numbers to lift the Archers past the Tamaraws . —AUGUST DELA CRUZWith reigning Ben Mbala struggling, Ricci Rivero and Jollo Go rose to the challenge anew as La Salle hammered out a thrilling 75-73 victory over Far Eastern U Wednesday to regain solo second in UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Sustaining his fiery form, Rivero finished with 20 points and five steals while Go made four triples en route to 14 points as they picked up the slack for Mbala, who shot just 5-of-16 from the field for 18 points.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “It was really a struggle,” said Perasol.Mbala was made to work for his points by Prince Orizu and Barkley Ebonia, but La Salle’s defense also hung tough in a tight fourth period with Andrei Caracut breaking up FEU’s final inbound play with 2.2 seconds remaining.“They focused on defending Ben (Mbala), but fortunately for us, Jollo was hitting his shots,” said La Salle assistant coach Miggy Solitaria, who has been filling in for Aldin Ayo at post-match press conferences after the loss to University of the Philippines last Sept. 23.“It was all about doing my role,” said Go, who shot 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. “I’m just grateful for the trust and confidence given to me by my teammates.”The Archers could have sealed the victory earlier, but Rivero missed a couple of free throws and intentionally missed a second foul shot that failed to hit the rim for a violation, allowing the Tamaraws one last chance of stealing the win.“We just have to stick to our system,” Solitaria said. “There’s always an impact if we don’t follow the system. Fortunately, in the last few minutes of the game, we found a way (to win).” “Every time we go up against UST, it’s always going to be a classic for us,” said UP coach Bo Perasol, whose team snapped a three-game slide.“This is just too difficult for us, because we just wanted to get another win after the three losses we had. This is something that can perk us up, make us believe again that we can still do this.”A surprise starter, Jan Jaboneta went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to topscore with 12 points for the Maroons, who once again struggled to get baskets in the endgame.“Just imagine what would have happened if we lost that game,” said Perasol. “It was a close game; it could have been the third close game that we (lost). We’re able to make a stop in that last possession, and we’re just happy about this, all of us.”Marvin Lee cut UP’s lead to a single point with a triple in transition before Manzo split his free throws, setting the stage for a wild finish. The Maroons took control in the second period, where Manzo and Desiderio joined forces in a 13-2 burst that gave UP a 31-22 lead.ADVERTISEMENT Arellano U Presses bid for final 4 MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LATEST STORIES Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The win allowed the Archers to break the tie for second with the Adamson Falcons as they improved to 6-2, while dealing the Tamaraws their second straight defeat for a 4-4 record.FEU’s loss also allowed University of the Philippines to catch up at fourth spot as the Fighting Maroons slipped past University of Santo Tomas, 71-69, earlier.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutJun Manzo split his free throws with seven seconds remaining, before the Maroons watched Marvin Lee’s triple rim out at the buzzer as they escaped with a narrow win just like in the first round when Paul Desiderio nailed a triple as time expired to lift UP.It was the eighth straight loss for the Tigers, who once again showed plenty of fight in the final period, before falling short. Deaf personalities everyone should know PLAY LIST 04:26Deaf personalities everyone should know05:01What the Deaf want the hearing to know01:24Life lessons the hearing can learn from the Deaf01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight View commentslast_img read more

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As new PBA chief, Marcial vows to focus on improvements in officiating

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Willie Marcial. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netWillie Marcial, the longtime media bureau chief turned PBA commissioner, admitted that he was overwhelmed when he got the nod to lead Asia’s first pay-for-play league.But he vowed to try his earnest to fulfill his duties, starting by making sure the PBA Governors are on the same page anew following the PBA’s controversial chapter which led to the departure of former commissioner Chito Narvasa.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Chief Justice Peralta vows to lead by example, bares 10-point program PLAY LIST 02:02Chief Justice Peralta vows to lead by example, bares 10-point program01:37PNP vows dismissal for cadets in alleged hazing at PNPA00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “For the Board, I hope we’ll all get along. If we won’t get a long, the PBA won’t work, so that’s what we want to do,” he said.The 56-year-old Marcial, who has served the league for more than three decades before his appointment, still couldn’t believe that the Board entrusted him such a huge responsibility.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I really thank the Board because it’s a huge honor that I never expected. A lot of people have wanted to get this job, but it fell on us. As hard as we tried to evade the job, it still ended up on us. So maybe, it’s God’s will. We’ll just do our best,” he said.Marcial’s earlier moves as the league’s officer-in-charge to start the 43rd season has been greatly praised in the boardroom and has been much appreciated by the fans. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasacenter_img Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC NCAA volleyball: Arellano thinks fatigue big factor in San Beda’s surprise collapse He formed a five-man committee to tackle transactions between teams, allowed more physicality to be observed during the games, and has also extended the basketball superstars to the streets by making surprise visit to the barangays with PBA Homecourt.In his first act as a commissioner, Marcial has also solidified the league’s support to Gilas Pilipinas as he convinced the Board of Governors to allow all players to be made available for national team duty moving forward.The cordial executive, however, knows that the work is just getting started as he seeks to further improve the style of play in the PBA and to bring the league back to the fans.“We’re focusing on implementing changes in officiating. We want our product to be more appealing and to draw the league closer to the fans,” Marcial said.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

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Venus Williams opens play at French Open on Day 4

first_imgLacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Defending champion Novak Djokovic is also on the bill, facing Joao Sousa on Court Suzanne Lenglen.The locals will also keep a close eye on 13th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic, a Frenchwoman who dealt with back pain and deficits before winning in the first round. She next takes on 2012 runner-up Sara Errani.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Venus Williams of the U.S. plays a shot against Japan’s Kurumi Nara during their second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France. Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)PARIS — Under bright sunshine, 10th-seeded Venus Williams will open play on Court Philippe Chatrier against Kurumi Nara of Japan in the second round of the French Open.The first Wednesday at Roland Garros is traditionally known as kids’ day. Parisian boys and girls will get the chance to see some of the game biggest stars this year, with Rafael Nadal later scheduled to resume his quest for a 10th title in Paris against Robin Haase.ADVERTISEMENT View comments BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast MOST READ Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Patafa cuts Tabal, runner says ‘I just want to run for PH’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PARlast_img read more

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Timberwolves waive oft-injured center Nikola Pekovic

first_imgLATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Nikola Pekovic. APMINNEAPOLIS — Nikola Pekovic’s combination of size and strength made him a productive and popular player early in his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves.He just may have been too big for his own good.ADVERTISEMENT Sixers like Fultz first, Lakers eye Ball as NBA draft looms Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken He had Achilles tendon surgery on his right foot in 2015 as a last-ditch effort to revive his career, but the pain returned. He spent most of last season in Montenegro.Pekovic still has one year remaining on this contract, but the team was able to work out an arrangement so that they can gain some salary cap relief heading into free agency, an important step for a team that wants to be aggressive in adding veterans to a young core that won just 31 games last season. What ‘missteps’? 1 dead in Cavite blast, firecenter_img MOST READ Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ The Timberwolves waived Pekovic on Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time), likely ending a career that was derailed by foot and ankle problems over the past three seasons. Pekovic missed all of last season and played only 12 games the previous season, a disappointing development for a player that was on his way to being one of the most effective centers in the league when he signed a five-year, $60 million contract in 2013.The 6-foot-11, 307-pound native of Montenegro was coming off a season in which he averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds and formed a formidable pick-and-roll tandem with Ricky Rubio. He was limited to 54 games in the first season of his new deal, but still averaged 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds that season.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCalled “The Godfather” for his menacing appearance on the court, Pekovic was a fan favorite. Affable off the court, he remained a popular figure with his teammates, who desperately missed his toughness and efficiency over the past couple of seasons.The chronic foot issues really started to set in during the 2014-15 season, when he played in just 31 games. The Timberwolves and Pekovic tried numerous methods to address the problems, including surgeries, diets and different workout regimens. In the end, nothing worked. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide View commentslast_img read more

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76ers take Fultz with top pick in NBA draft

first_img1 dead in Cavite blast, fire WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Markelle Fultz walks on stage with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers during the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 22, 2017 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mike Stobe/Getty Images/AFP(Updated, 8:17 a.m.) NEW YORK— The Philadelphia 76ers selected guard Markelle Fultz on Thursday night (Friday, Manila) with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.The Los Angeles Lakers followed by taking Lonzo Ball as the draft started with a pair of freshmen point guards from the Pac-12 Conference.ADVERTISEMENT Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken READ: Sixers like Fultz first, Lakers eye Ball as NBA draft loomsFultz averaged 23.2 points last season at Washington, tops among freshmen, and added 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game, the only Division I player to reach those stats. He walked across the stage Thursday night at Barclays Center wearing red sneakers made of basketballs.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe 76ers had the No. 1 pick for the second straight year after trading with the Boston Celtics on Monday. Now they add Fultz to a promising young core that includes Rookie of the Year finalists Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, plus Ben Simmons, the top pick from last year who sat out all season with a foot injury.Ball then got the wish he and his father, LaVar, wanted all along by staying in Los Angeles, where he starred last season at UCLA. LaVar Ball had said his son would only play for the Lakers, and it was clear that would happen when Lonzo got a phone call with the Lakers on the clock. What ‘missteps’? Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ TNT seeks 2-0 cushion World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide LATEST STORIES As Lonzo walked on stage to meet Commissioner Adam Silver and put on a purple Lakers hat, LaVar put on a gold Big Baller Brand hat, the company he has started.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken View commentslast_img read more

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Prabhu Chawla interviews Pranab Mukherjee on his future in politics

first_imgPranab MukherjeeThe quintessential politician and a veteran of many a political battle, Pranab Mukherjee, as external affairs minister, is typically in the thick of things. Not only does he continue to head a dozen important government committees but is now on a hectic tour of India’s neighbours including Pakistan and,Pranab MukherjeeThe quintessential politician and a veteran of many a political battle, Pranab Mukherjee, as external affairs minister, is typically in the thick of things. Not only does he continue to head a dozen important government committees but is now on a hectic tour of India’s neighbours including Pakistan and the ASEAN summit at Cebu to promote India’s foreign relations. Before he left, he sat down for an hourlong interview with INDIA TODAY Editor Prabhu Chawla and Associate Editor Saurabh shukla in the executive drawing room of South Block. Excerpts from the interview:Q. As part of your tour of India’s neighbours you would also be making your first visit to Pakistan as foreign minister. What is your agenda?A. I am going to Pakistan, firstly, to extend an invitation to President Musharraf to attend the 14th SAARC Summit. That is the official purpose. And surely we will not discuss the weather, we will discuss issues which are there. We will discuss SAFTA. With all other SAARC countries, tariff reduction has been finalised. But with Pakistan this has to be done still. Similarly, we would also like to review at the foreign ministers’ level the third round of Composite Dialogue that just got over.Q. The biggest impediment to the peace process is the issue of terrorism. Will you be seeking an assurance from General Pervez Musharraf that all terrorist acts against India will stop?A. The assurance was obtained by Atal Bihari Vajpayee on January 6, 2004. President Musharraf assured him that Pakistani territory or Pakistani-dominated territory will not be allowed to be used by terrorists. The question is not of assurance; the question is how these assurances are actually implemented.Q. You said General Musharraf’s promises on terrorist camps are not being implemented. You used the word “unconvincing”.A. What I stated is that infrastructure of launching terrorists has not been dismantled. His (Musharraf’s) pledges have not been implemented.Q. But do you think that the peace process will be affected if terrorism continues from across the border?A. That is the issue which has been flagged at the foreign secretary-level meeting. We will flag it again.”Infrastructure for launching terrorists has not been dismantled. We will flag the issue during the talks.”Q. Do you think we can trust Musharraf now?A. We have to deal with the head of a state. The basic presumption would be that we would trust each other.Q. What about Jammu & Kashmir? Do you have any package solution?A. I don’t have any readymade solution.Q. But are we discussing a Kashmir solution on the lines of the four-point formula that General Musharraf has been suggesting?A. We are trying to resolve the issue of Kashmir in the context of Shimla Agreement, Lahore Declaration, and the series of talks which have taken place; we are having a composite dialogue of which resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue is a part. In that context we are going to discuss it. These are the issues that have been raised from time to time and the responses are there; you have heard the response of the prime minister in Amritsar.Q. Are your allies constraining you on foreign policy choices, be it Sri Lanka, the US or Iran? Your allies are dictating foreign policy choices now.A. No, not at all.Q. But you have to do a lot of explaining to them.A. Yes, as I have explained to my Left allies, I have equally explained it to the BJP leaders. Because parliamentary democracy demands that when there is a broad consensus in respect of foreign policy we should try to maintain that consensus. Keeping that in view, we apprised them of the developments which took place in our neighbourhood.Q. There have been reservations over the Indo-US nuclear deal. Even the scientists have opposed the deal.A. No, only a section of scientists have opposed it. They have expressed their concerns. But these concerns will not be ignored.Q. So are you saying that you will go for 123 agreement only if those concerns are taken care of?A. Of course, that is the commitment we have made.Q. Are you also saying that in the current form the deal will not go through, unless your concerns are sorted out?A. Unless certain issues are taken care of, certain concerns are addressed, it would not be possible for us to go with it.Q. The Congress is heading a coalition for the first time since Independence. So is handling coalition conflicts a major problem?A. Of course, running a coalition government in a country like India is a difficult task. More so when Congress leads the coalition, since most of the political parties were anti-Congress. To have a coalition, to run a coalition government, you require a lot of adjustments, a lot of flexibility. But the success of the coalition Government to a great extent is the contribution of UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Q. You could have done better if it was only a Congress-led government?A. That would be a value judgement right now because we do not have the majority.Q. But have you also compromised on your ideology?A. Sometimes compromise is not bad. Sometimes absolute power creates problems. There is an old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.Q. Don’t you think that most national political parties are getting marginalised? Rather, people are looking up to industrialists and entrepreneurs.A. I would not put this as marginalisation of politicians or political system. I would put it as the recognition of other sections. Earlier it was monopolised by politicians only. Now there are other sections of the society- industry, sports, academics, judiciary- which are important too. They too have roles to play.Q. Your 1991-96 economic policies and the present ones are almost the same. But you lost the election then.A. Compare my Budget of 1982 with Manmohan Singh’s Budget of 1991. The policies which I proposed were almost the same but Indian industry strongly resisted my proposal for NRI portfolio investment. In 1991 it was welcomed because conditions had changed.Q. In the reforms process, you have not been able to fulfill certain things like FDI in telecom and insurance. Labour reforms are also stuck. Is it because of coalition compulsions?A. We have done whatever was possible through the administrative route. But where you require legislative support, you need the backing of others.Q. Has the Left been more of a hindrance than an asset for you?A. No, not at all. We are getting the support of all their 60 members solidly.Q. But you are paying a price for it.A. For everything, you have to pay a price. You are not running a single-party government.Q. You have always been the number one minister. Weren’t you upset when Manmohan Singh, whom you once appointed as RBI governor, became prime minister?A. I am neither number one nor number two. I am just one of them.Q. Don’t you have prime ministerial ambitions?A. Thank you for coming.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

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Doping: Doctor blows lid off SAI’s role

first_imgThe doping menace in the country continues to get murkier with a junior scientific officer claiming that the malaise is widespread inside the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala.Sajib Kumar Nandi, who was appointed as a scientific officer (sports medicine) at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, has come out with startling revelations about the Sports Authority of India (SAI) ganging up against him when he tried to raise his voice against the corrupt activities at the country’s premier sports institute.Nandi said he has seen banned drugs lying inside the NIS, Patiala premises and alleged that top SAI officials were involved in corrupt activities which facilitated doping among athletes.Before the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) came into existence in 2009, the National Dope-Testing Laboratory (NDTL) was under government jurisdiction and the dope tests were conducted under SAI’s nose.For decades, Indian athletes have been using banned performance – enhancing drugs and all that happened under the nose of SAI. Nandi has now blown the lid off SAI’s corrupt activities and said the system was corrupt from top to bottom.”For long, Indian athletes have been failing dope tests and I used to notice all that during my tenure at the NIS Patiala. In 1999, I was asked to collect dope samples without any documentation and when I protested, the then chief executive director of NIS, Patiala, BS Ahlluwalia forced me to go ahead without following the proper procedures,” Nandi told MAIL TODAY from Patiala.He said in 2002, a huge stock of banned supplements was found in the hostel at NIS Patiala and he went up to the higher authorities in SAI so that it could be used as evidence in court to prove that there was organised doping going on inside the institute.advertisement”But all those medicines were destroyed and there was no chance those drugs could be used as evidence,” said Nandi.”All my efforts to check the doping menace at the institute were resisted by the SAI officials.Since I was against the malpractices of the SAI, they harassed me in whatever way they could.”I was accused of theft and sexual harassment against a lady doctor and was transferred twice – to Gandhinagar and Bangalore. In 2009, I was assaulted.”But I fought against the system and took legal recourse. A Chandigarh bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal quashed my transfer orders to Gandhinagar as all allegations were found false,” added Nandi.He pointed that the samples of athletes were collected without keeping any records and it was all because of the involvement of the SAI officials, national federations and the Indian Olympic Association ( IOA).”All this cannot be done within the premises of the institute without the knowledge and encouragement of the administration.” He further revealed that there were times when the dope samples were collected but never reached New Delhi for testing.”Through an RTI petition, I asked for the travel and daily allowances of the driver and attendants who took the samples to New Delhi. But SAI did not furnish any such information as the samples were never transported to the capital for testing in the first place,” Nandi alleged.The junior scientific officer is not the only one who has charged SAI and federations of malpractice. As many as 558 positive cases between 1991 and 2009 are set to be revisited by the anti- doping disciplinary panel.The names of all those erring athletes are in two sealed documents which are currently with the NADA panel and reopening those cases may have serious implications.last_img read more

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