The Leitir Mor - Memory Bay four-year-old filly Forest Flame, trained by the Bangalore-based S S Attaollahi, towers over her rivals in the Gr 1, Gool & Soli Poonawalla Indian 1,000 Guineas, the feature event of Sunday's bumper nine-race card.
Interestingly Forest Flame, winner of all four races of her career so far, is not the only horse in the line up who enjoys the unbeaten status. There are two more: Smashing Blue from the yard of the Hyderabad-based trainer RH Sequeira who has reeled off all five races she has run; and Alluring Silver, two wins from as many starts, who hails from trainer Pesi Shroff's yard and, like Forest Flame, is bred by the Poonawallas and will race in their silks.
But I believe Forest Flame is in a different league altogether. Having won the Bangalore 1,000 Guineas recently, she will likely start as an overwhelming favourite, and is expected to justify the cramped odds by winning the first Classic of the Mumbai 2020-21 racing season, presently being conducted at the Pune racetrack. Alluring Silver should follow her home.
First race at 1 pm.Selections:
Venus De Milo Plate - Div II (Class IV; 1200m)Hioctane 1, Luscus Centaurus 2, Stick To The Plan 3.
Sir Rahimtoola Chinoy Trophy (Class II; 1600m)Mount Moriah 1, Gallantry 2, Victorious Sermon 3.
Lady In Lace Plate - Div I (Class V; 1400m)Posse 1, Seasons Greetings 2, Xponential 3.
Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy (VI Bart) Trophy (For 3y, maidens; 1000m)Nothing To Worry 1, Circus Queen 2, Red Merlot 3.
Uttam Singh Trophy (Class IV; 2400m)Roaring Tiger 1, Fire N Ice 2, Moriseiki 3.
Col. Kaikhushroo Maneckji Bharucha Memorial Trophy (Class III; 1000m)Hidden Gold 1, Storm Breaker 2, Namaqua 3.
Gool & Soli Poonawalla Indian 1000 Guineas - Gr 1 (For 4y Fillies; 1600m)Forest Flame 1, Alluring Silver 2, Noble Queen 3.
Venus De Milo Plate - Div I (Class IV; 1200m)Birkin Blower 1, Shamshir Sword 2, Mighty Warrior 3.
Lady In Lace Plate - Div II (Class V; 1400m)Summer Night 1, Caesar 2, Mythical Power 3.
RecommendationsBest bet: Forest Flame (7-3)Upsets: Alexander (4-1) & Historian (5-3)
Today's poolsJackpot pool: 5,6,7,8,9Treble pool: I - 1,2,3; II - 4,5,6; III - 7,8,9.Tanala pool: All races.
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Olympic long-distance runner Kavita Raut, 35, who was recently included as an executive committee member of the Maharashtra Athletics Association (MAA), is eager to work for athletes in rural areas. However, the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games silver-medallist clarified that she has not retired and aims to win a medal at the 2022 Beijing Asian Games.
"I have to now focus on two fronts-the association and my practice. I want to work in the association for the benefit of athletes in the rural areas, who find it difficult to get necessary assistance. It will be a different kind of challenge, but I am ready," Raut, who is in Dhule, Maharashtra, to promote a local marathon event, told mid-day on Friday.
Raut was nominated as chairperson of the Athletes Commission in MAA's Annual General Meeting at Pune last month.
Other Olympians-Lalita Babar (Disciplinary Committee), Rachita Mistry (Women Committee) and Anand Menezes (Marathon and Road Races Committee) were also appointed as sub-committee heads. "Being chief of the Athletes Commission, she [Raut] will be dealing with athletes' grievances. So, she will coordinate between athletes and the executive committee," said MAA secretary Satish Uchil.
Nashik-based Raut, who also won a 5,000m bronze at the 2010 Asian Games, assured every athlete sufficient backing. "I don't want young athletes to suffer because of the association. I will try my best to ensure athletes in the state get chances on merit," remarked Raut.
Adille Sumariwalla is MAA chief againOlympian Adille Sumariwalla and Satish N Uchil, both of Mumbai City District, were re-elected unopposed as President and Hon General Secretary respectively of the Maharashtra Athletic Association (MAA) for the period of 2020-2024 during the MAA elections and AGM which were conducted in Pune recently. Abhay Chajjed of Pune District was also elected Chairman of the association.
New Year 2021 is finally here and the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has figured out the best way to celebrate it on Monday Night Raw. WWE will host its first Raw episode of 2021 on January 4 and has huge plans for the weekly show. With a host of matches including a WWE title, presumably in the main event, WWE is sure to get the fans hooked on.
In a highlight of the show, the WWE Universe will witness some of the biggest Superstars in the history of Sports Entertainment during this must-see episode of Monday Night Raw. WWE Legends confirmed for 'Legends Night', emanating from the WWE ThunderDome live on Sony, include 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan, Booker T, Mickie James, Big Show, 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair and more.
In a fun interview, WWE caught up with Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan as he discusses his appearance at Thunderdome, his thoughts on Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre, his greatest of all time in WWE, expectation from the Legends Night show and much more. Excerpts from the interview:
At Raw ‘Legends Night’ this Monday, January 4, you’ll be entering the WWE ThunderDome for the first time. What do you think of the ThunderDome and are you excited to witness it in person?HH: Oh man I’m really excited. I love the way the way the ThunderDome looks, with all the screens and the fan interaction. I think it is a step above what I expected, you know, with all the craziness in the world today. I mean, I’ve had very exciting moments. I remember going into WrestleMania 1 with goosebumps not knowing what the heck was going on. I remember being scared to death of Andre the Giant and being afraid of my own shadow not knowing if he was going to break me in half. Then I remember wrestling the Rock and the fans were cheering. It’s kind of one of the crazy WrestleMania moments. For me to show up at the ThunderDome after all this time? To have Flair and Kurt Angle with me, all my buddies, the Big Show? We’ve even got Beth Phoenix and Tori Wilson. It’s just the unexpected wrestling moment I didn’t think was going to happen this late in my career. I am just totally pumped for this. I feel like I’m getting ready for WrestleMania or something.
This year marked 18 years since your iconic clash against The Rock at WrestleMania 18. He recently spoke of what you said to him backstage after the match and the generosity of “passing the torch” to him. How important do you think it is for Legends to “pass the torch” on to the next generation?HH: I think it’s the most important thing in this business, to maintain the artform, and to make sure that the next generation, the next decade of wrestlers, is ready. There was a time I was red hot in the 80s and all of a sudden the 90s came and it was time to pass the torch but, it didn’t happen that way. I mean they didn’t have enough guys ready to lead at that time so, you know, we skipped a generation. It took time to pass that torch, which should have been passed at the end of the 80s. I mean we tried with a couple of guys, putting the belts on them and stuff, but they weren’t ready to run. They weren’t ready like John Cena, they weren’t ready like The Rock, they weren’t ready like Stone Cold. So it’s very, very important that the torch is passed in the correct way and the guys that have all this experience don’t just walk away. They stay there long enough to build the storylines, build the talent, and then pass the torch in the correct way. It’s very, very important.
A few years ago you identified Kevin Owens as the ‘next big thing’ after his NXT Championship win. Is there anyone else that you have identified as a major future star?HH: Kevin Owens was an exception to the rule, you know, I was really into the NXT thing and I didn’t see any one guy there that really grinded and just thumped and thumped and stayed on it and was just vicious, and knew when to back off and when to beg and knew all the Pat Patterson tricks. Then I saw Kevin Owens and I thought “Wow, that’s the guy. That’s the guy. You know, he can be the next one if he’s given the opportunity.” Right now there’s another guy that’s stumbling into that situation. You know, acting like he doesn’t know what’s going on but he’s smart as hell. That’s the “Bro”, Riddle, who kicks his flip-flops off when he comes into the ring. I’ve been watching him and he’s really got good instincts. He’s really got a good aptitude for understanding what needs to be done, you know. It’s all about instincts and timing. His timing is off a little bit but it’s starting to come each and every week so, I mean, he would be the next one I’d put my money on.
You are huge on social media, particularly Instagram. How do you think your early WWE career might have been different if social media had existed?HH: Oh my gosh, I got a feeling we would have been selling tons and tons more merchandise I’m sure! Back in the day there were no cell phones, there was no internet, we didn’t even have camera phones to take the picture. I know how my merchandise sold at the live venues and I know how the VHS tapes sold – ‘The Best of Wrestling’, ‘Hulkamania’, ‘Hulkster’ – so if we would have had social media I think the numbers would have just blown through the roof as far as licensing and merchandising. And, of course, the awareness. We would really have had a better handle on how big our fanbase was and how to service the international audience.
Triple H has high praise for WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Universal Champion Roman Reigns, comparing their clashes as on the level of a Hogan vs Flair match. What do you think of the current Champions?HH: I’m a little biased to both of those guys. Romans Reigns’ father Sika and his partner Afa, they pretty much put me on track when I was lost. I mean, my first run in WWE I left Florida and we met up and drove to the first TV and when we were up there they had been in the business quite a while so they groomed me and they helped me and kept me from making too many mistakes when you’re first in the business. I’ve got so much respect for the Samoan dynasty, and to understand how it peaked with The Rock, I see Roman Reigns taking it to a whole other level now. He’s solid, he’s consistent, he’s got the look and there are no holes in his work… he’s really, really spot on. Then on the other hand I’ve watched Drew McIntyre, and the years of training and in-ring experience, now he’s as legit as they come. He’s got the eye of the tiger look in his eyes. He’s got the body of a god. His work is solid, everything he does is spot on. His interviews are good. So I think Triple H was right when he’s comparing those two guys having classic matches like the stuff Flair and I had… I think he’s spot on but I think they can take it to a whole other level.
How do you feel when people say you are one of the greatest WWE Legends of all time? Who do you think is the greatest WWE Legend of all time?HH: Well, you know, I will gracefully accept and acknowledge that compliment because it means so much, especially coming from my peers, to say that. The guy who is my hero, and who I think is the greatest wrestler of all time, that’s Ric Flair. So I do appreciate the comment but I have a different opinion about who is the best wrestler and the greatest of all time, I have to go with Flair. It’s in his blood… he laid the groundwork. He raised the bar that no one has really been able to follow as far as work ethic.
Earlier this month we sadly lost Pat Patterson. You shared an emotional tribute to him with a photo of your first on-screen interview. Just how big is the legacy that Pat has left to the world of professional wrestling?HH: Pat helped so many of us. I mean, he’s got a huge legacy… he evoked all kinds of emotion. When I wanted to get into the wrestling business, these guys were wrestling seven nights a week on the road and the last thing they wanted to do was mess around with some kid… Pat Patterson took time out of his schedule to come down and teach me how to take bumps, how to go out through the ropes and do all kind of stuff, and then as the years went by we became really close friends… When he passed away it was really a tough day. It was a very tough day.
What should fans expect from Raw Legends Night?HH: Well, the fans should tune-in because you never know what to expect. I don’t even know what to expect. I’m going there just to have a great time, reminisce with friends, but when you’re talking about having Flair and Kurt Angle there, Big Show, Carlito… anything is possible. We could end up in the ring, brother. We could end up taking over the whole WWE in one given night. You don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s why I’m so excited.
Royal Rumble is coming up on January 31: what makes that match so special, and what is the secret to winning a Royal Rumble match?HH: You’ve got to realize the odds are against you. When you go out there with 30 other guys the odds are definitely against you. You have to have a whole lot of luck, but more than anything it’s pacing. I don’t care if you get Number 1, or you get Number 15, or you get Number 29, it’s pacing because once you get out there you just never know how long you’re going to be pounding and grounding. It’s a real lucky situation and an enduring situation, it’s like having an Iron Man right in the ring. You just never know who is gonna come at you, who is gonna cheap shot you, who acts like they might help you but is just there to set you up and stab you in the back. You have to pace yourself. You have to have eyes on the back of your head. Otherwise, you don’t survive the Royal Rumble.
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Russian tennis beauty Maria Sharapova, 33, and British businessman Alexander Gilkes, 41 became the latest celebrity couple to announce their engagement recently. The announcement took social media users by surprise, but her fans will be eager to see if they get married in 2021. And if they do, it will be interesting to see which country they choose for their wedding rituals. Announcing her engagement on Instagram. Sharapova wrote: "I said yes from the first day we met [red heart emoji]. This was our little secret, wasn't it [ring and wine glasses emojis] @gilkesa." Meanwhile, Gilkes said: "Thank you for making me a very very happy boy. I look forward to a lifetime of loving you, and learning from you @mariasharapova." Sharapova and Gilkes have been dating since 2018.
Australian cricketer Ben Cutting and his TV presenter fiancee Erin Holland had made plans to get married in June 2020. But Cutting and Holland joined the list of celebrities who postponed their wedding due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The couple, who got engaged in June 2019, are ready to wait till the world gets back to normal so that they can have their near and dear ones when they say, I do. "Our wedding was actually scheduled for mid-June. I can't pretend it doesn't stress me out a little about getting it happening again. We made the decision to postpone back in early April, when things were really not looking good. Even though Australia is rallying terrifically, we still wouldn't have been able to have the wedding we have envisaged with all our loved ones, so it was definitely the right decision. So I'll wait," Holland was quoted as saying in Australia's InStyle magazine.
Brit singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 28, can't wait to become Mrs Andre Gray. She is waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to end so that she can get married to Wolverhampton-born footballer Andre Gray, 28. Pinnock has been busy planning her wedding and has even finalised colour schemes. In May 2020, the Little Mix star was devastated when her summer wedding had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later that month, Andre, got down on one knee and proposed to her, as the couple celebrated four years of togetherness. The singer has been dating the Watford footballer since 2016. It's not just the pandemic that has played spoilsport. She blamed the 2022 football World Cup for the delay in her wedding to England striker Gray. Whether Pinnock waits for the World Cup to be completed before saying, I do, or she waits till 2021 to marry is something her fans will be interested to know.
Perrie in no rush but will say yes
Brit band Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards and her footballer boyfriend Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been in a relationship since 2016. While they are not engaged, Edwards revealed that she would definitely say yes if Oxlade-Chamberlain asked her to marry him. On Capital Breakfast Show with Roman Kemp, presenter Sonny Jay asked Edwards: "If he [Alex] did pop the question, is it a silly question to ask, would you say yes?" Edwards replied: "You know what, I appreciate him [Alex], we don't want to rush into it [marriage]. Do you know what I mean? But it would be a definitely yes from me I reckon," she said. Her fans will just pray that the footballer pops the question in 2021.
Former American wrestler Nikki Bella and her dancer fiance, Artem Chigvintsev have decided to delay their wedding until the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic subsides. They now plan to have the wedding in the fall of 2021. Nikki, 36, and Artem, 38, who got engaged last year, want to host a big celebration for the family in a safe environment. The couple welcomed son Matteo in July. Bella and Chigvintsev's son will be one when his parents get married. The couple have not finalised the wedding destination. But we hope that the pandemic is over by then so that they could have a safe wedding and say I do in the presence of their families.
American actor-pop singer Jennifer Lopez can't wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to end. Lopez is all set to marry her ex-baseball star fiance Alex Rodriguez as soon as the lockdown ends. The couple were expected to tie the knot in Italy in the summer of 2020 and had made all arrangements. However, the global pandemic forced them to postpone their wedding not once but twice. Now, the loved-up couple eagerly wait for things to get normal to say, I do. The couple have been engaged since March 2019. This will be JLo's fourth wedding. She was married to Marc Anthony (2004 to 2014), Cris Judd (2001 to 2003) and Ojani Noa (1997 to 1998). Meanwhile, A-Rod was married to Cynthia Scurtis (2002 to 2008).
Which former Japanese Prime Minister, who was described having "the heart of a flea and the brain of a shark," is the head of the Tokyo Olympics?
On August 21, 2019, the world governing body of which sports announced that gender designations would be removed from the title of the women's World Cup, scheduled to be held in New Zealand in 2021 and decided that all World Cup tournaments from 2021 forward, whether for men or women, will be officially called the "World Cup" with a year designation and a prefix of the sport?
The postponed world championship of which sport is likely to be held in Dubai after the UAE city and Argentina sent their respective bids to host the marquee event in 2021?
Assad Vala led which country to secure qualification for the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in India?
"Kick Off the Dream" was the official slogan for which international tournament that got cancelled?"
Fifty seven year-old table tennis player NI Xialian will represent which country at the Tokyo Olympics?
The Indian cricket team will play their first home series against which country in 2021?
India's Davis Cup tie against which country was postponed until 2021 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The upcoming autobiography BACK is the first-ever memoir authored by which sports icon?
Which 42-year-old legend is expected to take on Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, and Conor McGregor before walking away for good?
Which marquee annual tennis event, once dubbed by Bud Collins, the celebrated tennis commentator and historian, as "a splendid idea with a lame name", will be officially known as "Billie Jean King Cup" from 2021 onwards?
What has been formally recognised by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports along with the Ayush Ministry as a competitive sport in India and is likely to be introduced as a sport discipline in National Games, Khelo India and international sports events in 2021?
The highest prize pool in mobile esports history will be offered in 2021 by which gaming entity as it will dish out $14 million in prizes across a new format in 2021?
Which US city will stage the Super Bowl LV or the 55th Super Bowl on February 7, 2021 at its Raymond James Stadium?
In January 2021, broadcast giants Sky will release a feature-length documentary looking back at the brutal heavyweight showdown of 1989 between Mike Tyson and which boxer?
Bollywood director Aanand L Rai will direct the biopic of which legendary world champion?
Which successful team may become the first outfit in major professional sports to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the squad's 100-odd members will receive the Chinese Sinopharm shot when they arrive in Abu Dhabi for a training camp on January 6 at the invitation of Emirati authorities?
On April 10, 2021, the Indian hockey team will resume their campaign at the COVID-19 halted 2020 FIH Pro League season against which country?
Which Manchester United footballer's loan deal with the club will expire on January 30, 2021?
After his efforts in 2019 went in vain due to sponsor Nike's objection to change jersey numbers, LA Lakers' LeBron James has once again announced to gift his iconic jersey number of 23 to which of his fellow teammates in the 2021-22 NBA season?
Which city will host the 2021 UEFA Champions League final?
Mick Schumacher, the son of racing legend Michael, will race in Formula 1 next season after signing a multi-year deal with which team?
Actor Tahir Raj Bhasin is playing which cricketer in Kabir Khan's upcoming film '83, based on India's 1983 World Cup triumph led by Kapil Dev?
Answers1. Yoshiro Mori2. Rugby Union3. Chess4. Papua New Guinea5. FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2021 (Now postponed to 2022)6. Luxembourg7. England (February-March)8. Finland9. Tiger Woods10. Manny Pacquiao11. Fed Cup12. Akani Simbine13. Simone Biles14. Yogasana15. PUBG Mobile16. Tampa, Florida17. Frank Bruno18. Viswanathan Anand19. UAE cycling team 20. Argentina21. Odion Ighalo22. Anthony Davis23. Istanbul (Ataturk Olympic Stadium)24. Haas25. Sunil Gavaskar
Jehan Daruvala had a rollercoaster 2020.
It started off on a high-he made the step up to Formula Two, was snapped up by Red Bull's young driver programme, and marked himself out as one of the drivers to watch during pre-season testing in Bahrain.
Having battled for the Formula Three title a year earlier in what was his strongest season in single seater racing yet, he went into the year with a certain momentum behind him.
But it didn't quite go according to plan.
Formula Two sits one step below Formula One on the motorsport ladder and serves as the proving ground for young F1 hopefuls who are all battling it out for a shot at the big time.
Daruvala, driving for British team Carlin, showed flashes of the speed that have marked him out as India's next big F1 hope. But poor starts meant he often fell back during the races.
An underpowered engine further hindered his efforts but by the time the circus arrived in Russia, Daruvala had turned the page on his struggles, ending his season on a high with a podium and finally a win in the finale in Bahrain.
Daruvala is yet to announce his plans for 2021. He is confident he will be back in F2 in a competitive seat and has set his sights on fighting for the title.
He has already laid down a marker, setting the fastest time on two days of the three-day post-season F2 test session.
But he will have to carry that sort of form through into next year.
Daruvala's struggles in 2020 need not define what has thus far been a strong junior career. It is a fact that some drivers take a year to settle in. Take Mick Schumacher for instance. The son of seven-times world champion Michael, the 21-year-old will make his Formula One debut this year after having won the F2 title.
But in 2019, his first year in the category, he could do no better than 12th in the overall standings, the same as Daruvala managed this year, except the German had fewer points than the Mumbai lad in 2020.
Daruvala doesn't have to win the title in 2021. His teammate Yuki Tsunoda finished third last year but will still make his F1 debut with AlphaTauri next season.
But he has to put on a convincing display and proven he has what it takes to cut it as a Grand Prix driver.
Former India left back Michael Kindo, who was part of the team that won the 1975 World Cup and bronze at the 1972 Olympic Games, died on Thursday in a hospital in Rourkela. He was 73 and is survived by his wife, son, and two daughters.
Kindo, a recipient of Arjuna Award, was undergoing treatment for geriatric complications for one month at the Rourkela Ispat General Hospital, said sources.
Kindo's former India teammate, goalkeeper Ashok Diwan, described Kindo a "gentleman".
"A true gentleman. It's sad that the year has to end with a news like this," Diwan, who was a goalkeeper of the 1975 World Cup-winning team, told IANS.
"He had been ill for some time now. When we had gone to Odisha for the last World Cup in 2018, we couldn't meet him because of his illness."
Hockey India, too, mourned the death of the versatile full back.
"We are deeply saddened by the demise of our former hockey player and 1975 World Cup winner, Michael Kindo. We send out our heartfelt condolences to his family," said Hockey India.
Kindo was part of the Indian team that beat Pakistan in the final of the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. It remains the only World Cup title that the Indian men's team has won and the team has also won only one Olympic medal since 1972 Munich -- gold at the Moscow Olympics.
"Deeply saddened to know the passing away of hockey legend and Arjuna Awardee #MichaelKindo, a tribal icon and part of India's World Cup winning team of 1975. My thoughts are with his family and fans," said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
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American skiing great Lindsey Vonn has announced on social media that she has ended her three-year relationship with National Hockey League (NHL) star fiance PK Subban.
On Wednesday, Vonn Instagrammed this picture for her 2.1 million followers and captioned it: "Over the past 3 years PK and I have had some incredible times together. He is a kind, good man, and someone I respect a great deal. However, after much consideration, we have decided to move forward separately. We will always remain friends and love each other immensely. We ask that you please respect our privacy during this time."
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Meanwhile, Subban wrote: "Lindsey is one of the most kind and caring people I know. I will always treasure our time as a couple together and the many laughs we shared. After much consideration, we have decided to move forward separately. We will always remain friends and love each other immensely. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time."
Lindsey Vonn and PK Subban were one of the most loved couples in sports in recent years. Vonn and Subban, a defenceman in NHL, began dating in June 2018. A year later on August 23, 2019, Lindsey Vonn and PK Subban announced their engagement. The couple even purchased a villa in May this year. Their split comes as a shock to other sports stars as well as their fans.
The year of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is arriving. That would be 2021. Ever since the Olympics were postponed nine months ago, local organisers and the IOC have been biding their time. They've said we'll have to wait until early in 2021 for details about how the Olympics can open on July 23 in the middle of a pandemic. That time is here.
The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers will have to start getting specific in the next few months. Though modest by global standards, the virus is surging in Japan with just over 3,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
The clock is ticking. The Japanese public appears more skeptical daily about the wisdom of holding the Olympics. In a telephone poll of 1,200 people this month, 63 per cent said the Olympics should be postponed or cancelled.
In an interview this month with CNN, Michael Phelps —the most decorated Olympian in history with 28 medals (23 gold)—said he was doubtful the Olympics should be held. The IOC has said they cannot be postponed again and will be canceled this time.
"The fact that you're going to put 10,000-plus athletes, plus all the volunteers, plus all the coaches, plus, plus, plus, plus plus. It doesn't make sense to me," Phelps said.
"I just don't see how it can happen. But fingers crossed that everything with vaccines—and everything goes smoothly on that front. But I mean. I don't know. There is just too much unknown."
Despite the uncertainties, what do we firmly know about staging the Tokyo Olympics?Most of the solid information has to do with spending. Organizers say the delay will cost an added $2.8 billion, most of which will be covered by Japanese taxpayers. The official budget for the Olympics is now $15.4 billion, a 22% increase over the last budget. Government audits over the last several year suggest the real costs are at least $25 billion. Tokyo said the Olympics would cost about $7.5 billion when they were awarded in 2013.
Will there be fans?Yes, likely. But it's not clear if fans from abroad will be allowed. Japan has just closed its borders to almost all visitors because of rising cases and the discovery of the COVID-19 variant.
Is there a deadline?The Tokyo Olympics were postponed in late March. This seems like a reasonable date by which many firm decisions must be announced. The torch relay is to start in Japan on March 25, and it faces massive logistical questions just as the Olympics with 10,000 runners carrying the torch to every corner.
The year started with the anticipation that is characteristic to an Olympic year. This time, however, there were also rumblings of uncertainty in the background. The coronavirus pandemic had started to make itself heard outside of China and before the end of the first month of the year, major sports events started falling to the pandemic.
The Tokyo Olympics was scheduled to start on July 24 and the calendar until that date was crammed with last minute qualifiers for a number of sports. For India, the initial blows came in the form of the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers, which were scheduled to be held in Wuhan -- the city that ended up becoming ground zero for the virus -- being postponed and shifted to Amman, Jordan, and the women's hockey team's tour to China being cancelled due to the pandemic.
Apart from the problems with holding the qualifiers, international travel restrictions and different levels of restriction on movements around the world left the organisers with little choice but to take up the unprecedented step of postponing the Olympics. The Tokyo Games will now be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
To what extent the pandemic caught the organisers and stakeholders off guard is testified by the fact that on March 4 -- 19 days before the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, and the Japanaese government announced the postponement of the Olympics -- IOC president Thomas Bach was still comparing the situation to the myriad other problems that previous editions of the Olympics faced months before they started.
"We had (before the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games) a situation where we did not know if we could have Games on the Korean peninsula (because of tensions with North Korea). Before Rio de Janeiro 2016 we were talking about the Zika virus. Boycott discussions about Moscow 1980, we had the counter-boycott in Los Angeles 1984. We had a terrorist attack in Munich in 1972. We had the African boycott in 1976. You need more?" said Bach at a press conference after a two-day meeting at the organisation's headquarters.
The majority of cancellations or postponement of sports events in India came during March, including big ticket cricket events like the ODI leg of South Africa's tour of India and the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL). On March 12, the Sports Ministry issued an advisory asking for all sports events to be held only if they are unavoidable and spectators won't be allowed to any of them. The advisory was also marked to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which promptly announced the postponement of the IPL. On March 19, the ministry put out another advisory calling for no sports events to be held until April 15.
The April 15 deadline was only a temporary one and it kept extending as the government renewed the lockdown that was put down in the country on March 25 and in May, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that there would be no sporting events in India for the foreseeable future.
A silence pregnant with uncertainty prevailed in the country's sports community during this period, only pierced by virtual events involving current and former athletes and administrative issues like a turf war within the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and National Sports Federations (NSF) losing recognition provided by the Sports Ministry due to a Delhi High Court order.
Just under a week before Rijiju's comments, however, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) issued detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for a phased resumption of sporting activities in the country, starting with training for Olympic bound athletes.
India's top athletes were mostly housed either at the National Institute of Sport in Patiala or the SAI centre in Bengaluru, Karnataka and the issuing and implementation of the SOPs meant that they could finally get out of their respective hostel rooms and do things that at least slightly resembled their normal training routines.
By the end of July, murmurs of the IPL being set to be held in the UAE started doing the rounds. With the number of infections continuing to spike in India, the BCCI finally decided to hold the tournament in the UAE while implementing strict bio-security rules. Artificial crowd noises filled up the silence that existed in the stadiums during the broadcast as the 2020 IPL was held from September 19 to November 10.
With that, men's international cricket also restarted for India with the team travelling to Australia for their full tour of the country right after the IPL. However, there is yet to be a concrete plan for the Indian women's team while any form of domestic cricket tournaments will take place only in 2021.
It has been a similar case in other sports as well with international tournaments that were set to be held in India and national championships of different sports being postponed to next year. Those athletes that did get some game time under their belts did so outside the country, like badminton and tennis players who participated in tournaments once their respective sports' international calendars restarted.
Indian boxers were taken on an extended European tour in October and they managed to participate in local tournaments in France and Italy. More importantly, the boxers could spar again once they reached Europe, something that they were not allowed to do according the SOPs and the NIS were they were situated.
Wrestlers also got a chance to get back on to the mat at the wrestling Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia, although a few of the top wrestlers chose to give the tournament a miss.
Preparation for an Olympics is a meticulous process with almost each month of a medal prospect accounted for during the four-year period between two Games. For many, it was this structured process that was delivered a body blow when the 2020 Games were postponed but now, it is all about making the most of whatever 2021 has in store for them and be prepared once again for a first-ever postponed Olympics.
American reality TV star, Khloe Kardashian has sparked marriage rumours after sporting a diamond ring gifted by NBA star boyfriend Tristan Thompson recently.
The couple got together again during lockdown following a split after Thompson was caught kissing her friend Jordyn Woods last year.
According to a report, Thompson gifted Kardashian a huge pear-shaped diamond ring before Christmas. "Tristan surprised Khloe with a huge diamond," a source told American celebrity magazine, Life & Style.
"It's more of a promise ring than anything else, and she absolutely loves it! He gave it to her while she was in Boston just before Christmas."
The source added: "Tristan is going above and beyond to make it up to Khloe after the cheating scandal and prove his commitment. He feels ready to marry her, but she needs to trust him first—and it will take more than a million-dollar ring, but they are making progress."
Former Brit Formula One champion Jenson Button and fiancee Brittny Ward were blessed with a baby girl on Sunday.
The couple have named their daughter Lenny Monrow. Button Instagrammed this picture for his 1.2 million followers, and captioned it: "Welcome Lenny Monrow Button. Mummy & Daddy are besotted already. She has the cutest little dimples like her big brother Hendrix. Britt is doing amazing and recovering well. #babybutton."