Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bindra, Saina among six Commonwealth Games brand ambassadors

A commuter walks past the New Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 mascot in New Delhi October 3, 2009. Beijing Olympic gold medal winning shooter Abhinav Bindra and five others sportspersons were named on Tuesday as brand ambassadors for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal/Files

The list also includes two other Beijing Olympic medallists -- boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar -- apart from shuttler Saina Nehwal, shooter Samaresh Jung and boxer MC Mary Kom, Chairman of the Organising Committee Suresh Kalmadi said in a statement.

"These champions have done India proud with their achievements and will serve as remarkable brand ambassadors for the Games," Kalmadi said.

Bindra won the 10m air rifle event in Beijing to become the first Indian to win an individual Olympic gold medal.

Jung, a pistol shooter, was adjudged the best athlete of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, while Saina is world number two.

Mary Kom, mother of two, is a four-time world champion amateur boxer.

"Their focus, mental strength and resilience make them role models, inspiring generations of Indians not just with their achievements but also with their work ethic, discipline and determination," Kalmadi said.

"I believe that they will lend their charisma to ensure that the Games are a huge draw with the people".

The announcement came on a day when Sports Minister MS Gill inaugurated the remodelled Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which will stage the opening and closing ceremonies apart from events such as athletics.

New Delhi will stage the Games from October 3-14 without top draws like Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and British track cyclist Chris Hoy.

Lorenzo wins U.S. MotoGP, Pedrosa crashes

Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo of Spain races during the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California July 25, 2010. REUTERS/David Royal
California (Reuters) - Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo benefited from a spectacular crash by compatriot Dani Pedrosa to win the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday, a fourth victory in the last five races extending his world championship lead.

The 23-year-old Yamaha rider, who started on pole in bright sunshine at Laguna Seca, finished 3.517 seconds ahead of Ducati's Australian Casey Stoner, champion here in 2007.

Lorenzo twice punched his right fist forward in celebration after crossing the finish line, having extended his run of successive podiums to 10. He has finished no worse than second all season.

MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi outduelled fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso to secure third place in only his second race back after breaking his right leg in practice for last month's Italian Grand Prix.

Pedrosa, who won last week's German Grand Prix, had powered ahead early in the 32-lap race before hitting a bump to crash out on the fifth turn of lap 12 to hand Lorenzo the overall lead.

"Dani was pushing so much but I knew if I kept pushing like him, maybe he make a mistake," a smiling Lorenzo told reporters after recording his sixth win of the season but his first at the U.S. venue.

"I'm sorry he crashed but from then on it was very easy for me because I had a big gap over Casey. I'm so happy to win here at Laguna Seca. This is very special. I rode so well today, right on the limit."

With nine rounds of the championship to go, Lorenzo leads by a commanding 72 points with an overall tally of 210. Pedrosa has 138 and Dovizioso is third with 115 points.


Pedrosa, who began Sunday's race in fourth place on the grid, surged into the lead after the first turn before opening a 0.6-second advantage over the fast-starting Stoner after four laps.

Lorenzo snatched second place from Stoner on the sixth lap over the twisting, technically challenging circuit but he trailed Pedrosa by 1.104 seconds with 24 laps remaining.

Pedrosa, winner of last year's U.S. Grand Prix and bidding for his third victory this season, then slid off his bike as he entered the left-hand fifth turn on lap 12 to gift Lorenzo the race lead which he never relinquished.

"It's very, very disappointing obviously but this can happen when you're trying everything to win," said Pedrosa, who triumphed at Laguna Seca 12 months ago after Lorenzo had been on pole.

"You have to push as much as you can and take risks -- and I really wanted to win this race. When I crashed, I was pushing hard to maintain my lead over Lorenzo and my rhythm was good."

Nine-times world champion Rossi, who needed the help of crutches to walk to his bike before the start of the race, was delighted with his first podium on his return to competition.

"It's great for me and it is very important to be back on the podium in such a short time," the 31-year-old said. "It was more difficult than we expected because this track is one of the toughest for the body."

Shahrukh bonds with Kareena in Ra.1: First look

The 'Baadshah' of Bollywood and the hottest babe of Bollywood are back together. Yes...we are indeed talking about Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor who are currently busy shooting for the sci-fi extravaganza Ra.1 in London. Amidst all the dare-devil action sequences, the duo are also having a good time bonding with Karan Johar who is also in London. Karan in fact even visited the sets of Ra.1 and assisted in the shooting much to the cast and crew's delight.
Shahrukh and Kareena
Both SRK and Karan in fact have been busy tweeting about all the fun that happens on the sets of Ra.1. SRK tweets, "long day at work...shooting double shifts on same film on an outdoor. never done this before. one way to tire urself to avoid loneliness." The superstar also seems to be all praise for his director Anubhav Sinha. Says SRK, "anubhav sinha took some awesome shots today...all were amazed. I am so excited by it all...hope we can share this film with all of u soon."

From the looks of it, King Khan has yet another blockbuster up his sleeve in the form of Ra.1.

Nokia X6 8GB Arrives in India, Costs Rs. 14,499

Nokia's music oriented X6 was launched in India quite some time ago. That was, however, the 16GB version which we had reviewed as well.

Now, Nokia has another variant of the X6 under its sleeves in the form of the 8GB version. The company has launched the same across India today. The 8GB X6 is similar to the 16GB X6 in all aspects. The only obvious difference is the lesser memory and somewhat low price. That said, we are wondering whether Nokia has any plans to launch the "original" 32GB X6 here in India.

As mentioned earlier, the X6 8GB comes with the same features as the 16GB and 32GB versions boast of. These include 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, Symbian S60 5th edition UI and a 5 megapixel camera with D-Flash. The X6 is powered by a ARM 11 434 MHz CPU and boasts of 128 MB of RAM. Other features include VGA video recording at 30fps, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, UPnP technology.

The 8GB version is priced at Rs.14,499 and is available across all Nokia Priority Dealers in the country. This is just a few thousands less then the 16GB variant. However, we suggest getting this one only if 8GB of memory is sufficient for you. This is because none of the X6 variants have microSD support. So, you'd be stuck with 8GB for a long time. Considering the low price difference, if you really need an X6, we suggest the 16GB one.

Why India's $35 computer joke isn't funny

India's $35 laptopHere we go again! India's Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has "launched" a $35 computer, evidently a "dream project" of his. The touch-screen, Linux-based device looks iPad-inspired, but we know little about how it works.

It emerged from a student project with a bill of material adding up to $47, a price that the minister wants to bring down to $10 "to take forward inclusive education". It promises browser and PDF reader, wi-fi, 2GB memory, USB, Open Office, and multimedia content viewers and interfaces.

Will it die a quick death within this year, or a painful, government-funded one over the next two? I fear the latter. Project Sakshat even has a busy website so it looks like a project well under way.

Remember the Rs 10,000 personal computer, the Simputer, the $100 laptop from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the NetPCs from a host of companies and India's so-called $10 laptop? How many flops and failures will it take to convince governments -- and brave, but misled companies -- to get these facts of life tech, products, and life?

You don't launch products until you have a product to launch. Else it's vapourware. The Indian government is building up a good track record of vapourware, from $10 laptops upward. Apple, for in sharp contrast, for instance, launches with a million units ready to sell, and midnight queues outside.

You don't show prototypes unless they are working ones with running apps, backed by a clear game plan to build up a vendor and apps network, and a clear design and specifications - and, preferably, a bill of materials.

It isn't about the hardware -- it's about the application and the applications (apps) ecosystem. What will it be used for? Who will make those apps? Where's the developer community? Where is the road map for hundreds of applications?

Apple had it all when it launched the iPhone and the iPad.

India are relying on the Viru plan

Four years ago, the now retired Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan warned the curator at the Sinhalese Sports Club to produce a pitch that would give bowlers some hope.

Midway through day two of this second Test, with Mahela Jayawardene posting yet another venue record, breaking Sir Donald Bradman’s most centuries as a venue, the thought did cross the mind that next to Motera and Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, SSC now ranks as of those grounds where they know how to take the term “competitive” out of Test cricket.

It may be a harsh judgement; after all, there have been only six sessions so far. But with only two wickets falling on the second day – four so far in 180 overs - while there was yet another celebration of the Kumar Sangakkara/Jayawardene batting show at the SSC, and 425 runs scored, the avalanche of runs is hardly surprising. Nor the thought that this is “a pitch from hell,” the bowlers are in for a lot of exercise as are the fieldsmen on a fruitless leather-hunting safari.

What can be argued perhaps is how, with no Lasith Malinga in the Sri Lanka bowling attack, and some wariness about the Muralitharan back up plan, Ajantha Mendis, the realisation that India may struggle a little batting second on a pitch scuffed up forced a rethink in strategy.

This is where it may backfire. Enter Virender Sehwag and the warning signs are already there. India at the close are 95 without loss, in reply to Sri Lanka’s 642 for four, declared, with the Delhi bazooka machine blazing away with shots that have smashed through the Sri Lanka bowling defences.

His undefeated innings of 64 at the close left anyone who has watched him at close hand before would tell you “beware of the Viru factor”. It is his 22nd Test half-century, at a run a ball, explaining why his ability to put the bowler under pressure is important in India’s gameplan.

And at least in batting they have a strategy: it’s the Sehwag crunch and was in display here late in the afternoon. The way he dismissed new ball bowler Dammika Prasad in the first couple of overs, crunching the bowler off the backfoot with precision drives and placement, left Sangakkara in no doubt that India had launched their challenge in blistering fashion.

Or, as one New Delhi colleague smiled at Galle in 2008, “Never fear when Viru is near”. Good advice, too for those who enjoy his style of batting; how he uses his feet to get to the spinner and deft wristwork steering the ball into the gaps. Bowlers don’t enjoy it, but spectators do, and neutral ones as myself even more as it creates expectation.

In Galle there was a hesitancy about his batting in both innings; in the first, despite the century he threw it all away with a nothing shot that cost him his wicket to a nothing delivery. It explained a certain frustration.

Sri Lanka’s bowling plans were in trouble from the ninth over when Angelo Mathews was given an official warning by Australian umpire, Rod Tucker. The bowler was cutting across the pitch and that scuffs it up even more. It is a naughty habit, designed to give some spinners an area of extra rough and Tucker, an all-rounder too in his day for New South Wales, is all too well aware of such tricks.

While the Viru show filled the latter afternoon, give a thought to former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene. He surpassed a record held by legendary Don Bradman with his 10th Test century at the same venue. Bradman managed nine at Melbourne in his Test career, spread over 10 matches.

While he was pleased to achieve such a milestone in his career, the 33-year-old stylish batsman, when asked his opinion, was quick to point out the reality from the fiction.

“I think we need to get something straight here,” he said, he nodded thoughtfully. “I needed twenty-three Tests to get there and Sir Donald (Bradman) managed nine or ten in MCG” - (it was 11 Tests) – “That explains the difference. I am pleased that I have broken the record, but I don’t think you can compare what he (Bradman) did in his day and what we are doing right now. He is a legend, and we need to remember that.

“But the record will definitely be a moment for me to remember,” he added with the sort of care and attention he applies to his batting.

“It is something so special, but also, I love to play here, it is my home ground. I grew up playing here. It is fun play before the club members. It is something special. But also, you have to be very humble when you break something like Sir Dons record.”

Thinking ahead to day three of the Test, and where Sehwag needs to give India a head start if they are to make any sort of challenge, Jayawardene is full of ideas, as a former captain should be.

“We have the runs on the board, so our guys will go on the attack,” he said. “At the same time we know India have some quality batsmen who could bit for long periods of time. So we need to make sure that we don’t give away too many easy runs and control Viru and other batsmen.

“We have three days of play left and just needed a couple of opportunities to run through their side. The game is in our hands. We need to put in lot of efforts. The surface is still pretty good, and we just need to be smart about it and try to get the first ten wickets and then see how we can get the next ten.

“I think our two fast bowlers with the old ball can reverse the ball quite a bit. I think that is one of the reasons why we have played these two guys (Prasad and Dilhara Fernando). They have good pace. They both can reverse the ball. That is something we can work on.

“Suraj Mandiv looked a bit nervous because he was playing the first Test. But he is a very dangerous bowler, especially if he can get the bounce and spin out of this surface. And then there is Ajantha Mendis, coming back and I know that he is very eager to do well and create opportunities as well. So we have to make sure that we stick to our game plan and execute them well.”

Search Your Questions Results Trends Video Pictures Jobs