Whangarei (New Zealand), Apr 28 (PTI) Indias Gaurav Gill of Team MRF Tyres, the defending champion, set the early pace with a scorching night run of the Super Special Stage at the International Rally of Whangarei, the first round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship here. He led team-mate Ole Christian Veiby by 2.5 seconds. Gill and co-driver Stephane Prevot came up with an imperious drive during the two loops of the 1km long Super Special Stage that was also used for the mornings shakedown, where APRC debutant Veiby was the quickest. However, in the night run, it was Gill all the way as he took one minute, 49.2 seconds, while Veiby clocked 01:51.7, well clear of third placed Jan Ketomaa (Ville Mannisenmaki) of Mpart Sport (01:52.9). After the shakedown session, Gill expressed satisfaction and shrugged off Veiby being quicker than him, albeit by five-tenths of a second. High on confidence going into the new APRC season having dominated last year when he won all six rounds of the championship, Gill said: “I am hoping it would rain tomorrow, not much, but just enough so that it will help us. “Our MRF tyres have been working well and a bit of rain will be to our advantage,” added Gill during the pre-event press conference that followed the shakedown session. The region experienced mild showers in the afternoon, but the skies cleared by the time the Super Special Stage commenced after the ceremonial flag-off. With a cushion of 2.5 seconds, Gill hopes to build on the early momentum tomorrow when the rally moves north to run two loops of four Special Stages. PTI CM CMadvertisement
British boxing giant Anthony Joshua, who lifted the world heavyweight title after defeating Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley on Sunday, has expressed his desire to fight against a “real villain”, and none fits the bill better for him than heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.After winning a fight of unprecedented good manners against Wladimir Klitschko and 15 million pounds, Joshua is now willing to either defend his titles in a 50-million pound rematch in Germany in October or a bout against Fury.”At the end of the fight they cheered Wladimir but, yes it would be nice to fight a real villain,” the Guardian quoted Joshua as saying.”I think that we can definitely find someone to dance with again, to bring that sort of attention again. Anyone with a belt is good, to add more to the [collection]. We could rematch Klitschko again. I think that would be good because of the type of fight we had. And I think even guys without a belt would be good. Tyson Fury obviously hasn’t got a belt,” the 27-year-old said.Joshua believes a bout with Fury would definitely attract a lot of attention from all over the world.”Joshua is in no doubt: it would be either Fury or Dillian Whyte, whom he stopped in his most thrilling contest before the Klitschko show. Fury is definitely top of the list. Yeah, that’s a fight that would bring massive attention from the top to the bottom,” he added.The Briton has retained the IBF’s version of the heavyweight title while adding the vacant WBA strap. He’s now 19-0 with all 19 victories by stoppage.advertisement
Being a referee in any sport often presents many challenges, especially if you are a female referee officiating men in sport. For referees Louise Frost and Annabelle Connolly however, the challenge isn’t a problem. “From a players perspective sometimes I think they think they have it over you,” Frost said. “But if you show you’re confident then its fine. I’ve had no problems at tournament level, it’s more at park level that you sometimes have problems.”Connolly agrees that at the Opens tournament level, things run fairly smoothly. “When I was 16-17 and refereeing the Mens 30s and older guys sometimes it was a problem,” Connolly said. “But now things are pretty good.”Both Frost and Connolly among eight of the female referees here at the NTL Opens/20s.Connolly, a level six, recently represented Australia at the World Cup, and experience which she describes as “brilliant”.“I didn’t find out I was going until September – which was a fairly late call up,” Connolly said.“It was my first time overseas and it was brilliant. If you got the Australia or New Zealand games it was really high standard. Some of the other games were big score-lines like 20-nil, which is a lot different to what you get here at the NTL.”The 27-year old from WA has been officiating Touch for the past 11 years, and hopes to again represent at the international level.“My goal is to be part of the Youth World Cup, and then the next World Cup in 2011,” she said.“I had a fantastic time and made so many friends overseas, that was the best part, and it was completely different to what I expected.”Frost, 24, refereed at her first major tournament in 2004. Like Connolly, her goal is also to referee at the international level, and currently a level four she is hoping to upgrade to level five at the NTL. “Obviously the ultimate goal is to get my level 6 and to Referee at the World Cup in Scotland in four years time.”The schedule to referee three-to-four games a day at the Opens NTL will be a test for Frost, who is still recovering from damaged knee cartilage, which will be operated on following the tournament.“I’m having the op in a couple of weeks on my knee, and then I will be off for six months,” Frost said. “After that I will be trying to get fit again, and hopefully the knee will be fixed and won’t cause any more problems.”Sharing a room at the NTL, they say the female referees often “stick together”.“The girls do tend to stick together, you definitely do get the feeling of being in the minority, but you tough it out,” Connolly said.“We like to give it to the boys, but you always get it back!”
Man City boss Guardiola defends Bernardo Silvaby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City boss Pep Guardiola launched a defence of midfielder Bernardo Silva.The latter was involved in a racism row after he posted a picture on social media that compared a young Benjamin Mendy to a graphic on a popular chocolate.Many accused Bernardo of racism, but Guardiola does not believe that is the case.”Honestly, I don’t know what will happen,” Guardiola told reporters about the furore surrounding his Portuguese midfielder.”They should put their focus on another issue because they don’t know which guy you are talking about.”Bernardo is one of the most lovely people I ever met in my life. He speaks four or five languages and that is the best way to understand how open-minded he is and one of his best friends is Mendy. He’s like a brother to him.”The image is not about the colour of the skin. He took a picture of Benjamin when he was young and he related it to this cartoon, which was quite similar for the image.”If they want to do that [investigate] and ask for Bernardo, I think he will be open to talk. But first you have to know exactly which person you are talking about.”There are many situations with people, with white people and you look at a cartoon and the face is quite similar as your face and you put it in there, it is quite similar.”I think the response from Mendy was clear after that. They are joking all the time. Maybe what I say as advice is to hide social media, if something happened it would be a mistake.”Bernardo is an exceptional person. A guy who can speak five languages, it’s because he’s open-minded – nothing about the colour of the skin, nationalities or whatever.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
zoomImage by Navingo The registration for Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference 2019 is now live! The event, to be held on October (7), 8 and 9 in Amsterdam is expected to attract over 10,000 offshore professionals and more than 550 exhibiting companies.Offshore Energy is unique in bringing together various offshore industries, including oil and gas, offshore wind and marine energy, and as such gives the energy transition a home. The energy transition is also reflected on the 22,500 m2 exhibition floor and the conference consisting of six 2-hour sessions, Offshore Wind Conference and Marine Energy Event.Knowledge sharing in transitionThe OEEC conference will reflect all aspects of the energy transition. The Offshore Wind Conference, to be held on October 7 and 8, will focus on the offshore wind industry’s role in the energy transition.Five sessions ranging from the global potential of wind, future pioneers and linking the grids will take delegates on a journey to current and future challenges and achievements.Confirmed speakers are Manon van Beek, CEO, TenneT, Huub den Rooijen, Director Energy, Minerals and Infrastructure, The Crown Estate and Andries Hofman, Project Manager, Gusto MSC.Further to that, visitors can attend technical conference sessions during offshore energy exhibition on The Energy Outlook, Future Offshore Energy Systems, Cross Industry Game changing Technologies and The Energy Transition Debate.Marine Energy Event 2019, scheduled for October 9, will focus on how marine energy can lead Europe in the energy transition.Home of energy transitionA fascinating mix of leaders from the business, buyers, investors, engineers and other interested parties within the offshore energy sector will get the opportunity to meet each other at OEEC and it is precisely this balance between supply and demand which brings a unique mix of exhibitors and visitors to the event each year.More information of Offshore Energy Exhibition & conference can be found on the website www.offshore-energy.biz. Here you can also register attendance, book conference tickets, find out more about the conference program and all other events related to Offshore Energy 2019.
Celine Dion is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win a trip for two to Las Vegas to meet her backstage before her show, have a photo taken with her by her personal photographer, and watch her new show from VIP orchestra seats!The winner will be flown in from anywhere in the world and treated to hotel accommodations.To enter, all fans need to do is make a small donation ($5 per entry) to Aid Still Required to help women, children and farmers who are still struggling after Haiti’s devastating earthquake four years ago. Proceeds from this offer will support ASR’s programs for women who have been attacked in Haiti’s notorious shantytowns; at-risk kids in the northern slums; and farmers battling the effects of massive deforestation.If fans choose to donate more or share the campaign with their friends, they can increase their chances to win prizes. The top 3 sharers will each get a CD signed by Celine. Fans can also earn a campaign-exclusive t-shirt for a larger donation.Visit www.prizeo.com/celine for all of the details and to enter to win!
Teams that make the NBA Finals have great players. OK, that’s not exactly news. But teams can get great players in different ways. The 2008 Celtics became great largely by signing Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the offseason. Ditto for the 2011 Miami Heat, by snagging LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Ditto for the 2015 Cleveland Cavaliers.Other finals teams, however, become great organically; they keep mostly the same players, but those players get a lot better. This year’s Golden State Warriors are one such team. The Dubs’ season has been remarkable, but it’s all the more special because they’ve excelled with nearly the same crop of players from last year.1The only substantive addition to this year’s squad is Shaun Livingston, who ranks seventh on the team in minutes played. The top eight players in terms of minutes are almost identical to last year’s team, plus Livingston. Stephen Curry became an MVP winner; Klay Thompson turned into one of the best shooting guards in the league; Draymond Green nearly won Defensive Player of the Year — this Warriors team became great thanks to leaps in performance by existing players.The Warriors improved dramatically this season, according to our Elo ratings. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, they have surged 211 points. That’s the 13th-highest single-season Elo improvement of all time. That’s unusually high for a team that added little talent.Using work by my colleague Neil Paine, I can quantify the talent change from year to year, based on multiyear Real Plus-Minus projections — these are ex ante projections, which incorporate performance in past seasons, an aging curve and regression to the mean.2Specifically, the talent rating is five times the minute-weighted average of a team’s players’ individual Real Plus-Minus projections. (This relationship is shown in the scatterplot below.) Compared with other teams that have reached the NBA Finals since 1980, and given their 3.3-point improvement according to RPM, the Warriors’ Elo rating should have improved by only 83 points. They did much better than that.But guess who improved more than the Warriors, according to Elo, over the course of this season? Their finals opponent, the Cavs. Of course, the Cavs followed the model of the 2011 Heat and 2008 Celtics, signing big talent in the offseason: LeBron James and Kevin Love. James and Love — with Kyrie Irving before his and Love’s injuries — remade a struggling, below-average Cavs squad (who started the season with an Elo rating of 1463).Look at finals teams with large single-season jumps in their Elo rating and you notice something: They look more like the Cavs than the Warriors. That is, newcomers to the NBA Finals have typically acquired a big piece. The best example is the 2008 Celtics, whose 326-point Elo improvement is by far the all-time highest. That 2008 Celtics squad, not surprisingly, also has the largest swing in RPM talent, 11.4 points.To measure organic improvement only, we need to control for the influx of new talent. Specifically, we need to calculate how much the team would have improved if it had made no roster moves (this is the “old” talent), and compare it with how much they actually improved, thus deriving the benefit of new players (the “new” talent).3Specifically, by taking the players on the current year’s roster, but using their end-of-season talent ratings for the previous year, we can compute how the team would have done this season with the same group of players on both teams. Then, by comparing this change to the actual improvement in those same players, we have an organic, or “old,” talent rating. The difference between that and the actual change in the overall team’s talent rating can thus be attributed to the influx of new players (or “new” talent).As shown in the table below, among finals teams since 1980, the Warriors have the second-largest differential between their organic (“old”) talent and their “new” talent. This suggests that you don’t have to snap up a superstar in the offseason to see huge year-over-year improvement. Some teams, like the Warriors, can make it happen organically.CLARIFICATION (June 5, 10:25 a.m.): Some commenters interpreted an earlier version of this post as suggesting that Kyrie Irving was new to the Cavaliers this season. Irving has been in Cleveland since 2011. We’ve updated the language to make that clearer.Neil Paine contributed to this article.
Alan Shearer fears that Manchester City may be in line for a long period of domination in the Premier League under Pep GuardiolaThe Citizens sealed their third Premier League title in seven seasons with five matches remaining after their 3-1 win at Tottenham on Saturday.After a disappointing first season in the Premier League, Guardiola led City to the league title in dominant fashion with newly-crowned champions currently leading arch-rivals Manchester United by 16 points and having only lost twice all season.Currently City have the opportunity to break two more league records this season with their 103 goals during the 2009/10 season within their reach. As well as that, Chelsea’s points record of 95 is also within touching distance with Guardiola’s side currently on 87 points with five more matches to play.Report: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…Upon witnessing the change that Guardiola has made at City, Shearer is fearful that this reign of dominance has only just begun at the Etihad Stadium and has warned their challengers.“You go through all of City’s team and he has improved every player,” Shearer wrote on The Sun (via GiveMeSport).“They are all playing the way Pep wants them to play.“The worrying thing for all the other clubs now is that City could be around for a long, long time.
RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick wants his side to be brave up front and force Bayern Munich into errors ahead of tonight’s Bundesliga clashLeipzig are just two points adrift of third-place Bayern in the league table ahead of the game in Munich.Although Bayern heads into the match on the back of three straight wins and will be looking to maintain their rediscovered form as they bid to make up lost ground to leaders Borussia Dortmund.But Rangnick insists victory for Leipzig is not impossible as long as everything goes to plan.“Playing at home, we’ve shown that we’re more than equal to Bayern,” Rangnick told the club website.“We need to put in a very courageous and confident performance, and everything must come together, for us to get something out of the game in Munich.Crouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“We know that we’re not the favourites, but it’s possible to get something from the game – both teams have already proven that in the past. Our task is to send the right starting XI, in the right formation, out onto the pitch.“When you’re defending against Bayern, it’s tough – that’s for certain. We’ve got to be brave up front and force them into errors.“It will be an interesting game, and we must find an approach and ways to really challenge them.“If we win one or more of our remaining games, we would put ourselves in a fantastic situation for the second half of the season – the lads know that.”Emil Forsberg (groin), Marcel Sabitzer (suspended) are out for Leipzig tonight, while Kevin Kampl (toe) and Diego Demme (abdominal) are doubts.The Bayern and Leipzig match will begin at 20:30 (CET).