Category Archives: Sports

Sachin retires from cricket

The Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar ended his 24-year cricket career in his 200th and final test match against West Indies in Mumbai today.


Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement form One Day Internationals on 23rd December 2012 and Indian Premier League cricket 26th May 2013. On 10th October 2013, he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket after the two-test series against West Indies in November.

The test match was Tendulkar’s 200th test match. On his request, the BCCI scheduled the match at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, which is his home ground.

The last match facts

  1. In preparation for the final test, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) made every effort to make this test match a memorable one in honour of Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar’s wheelchair bound mother has never seen her son play international cricket. The MCA built a ramp for her to access the President’s box.
  2. The MCA named their new ground as Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana Club.
  3. There were huge Tendulkar cutouts displayed throughout Wankhede Stadium depicting the 24 years of his cricket career during the last test match.
  4. Each ticket to the match had his photograph and a list of the scores of his 51 international test centuries.
  5. Online travel portal Musafir organised 200 TAB cabs to provide free rides to the stadium from 14th to 18th November. This was on a first come first serve basis where fans had to show their match tickets to gain the free ride from the designated pickup points.
  6. On Day 1 of the match, Indian captain MS Dhoni flipped a special gold coin during the toss which had Tendulkar’s image on one side and the MCA logo on the other side. This coin was presented to Tendulaker as a memento.
  7. Kapil Sibal, Indian minister for Communications and Information Technology unveiled Tendulkar’s postal stamp. He is the second Indian after Mother Theresa to have a postal stamp released during their lifetime.

Bharat Ratna

The Prime Minister’s Office announced that Sachin Tendulkar will be conferred the Bharat Ratna award for his outstanding contribution to cricket.

“Sachin Tendulkar is an inspirational figure, and a role model for all sportspersons. He richly deserves the Bharat Ratna. I extend my heartiest congratulations to him,” said N. Srinivasan, President of the BCCI.

The Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian award for performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour. Tendulkar is the first sportsperson and the youngest to be awarded with this civilian honour.

The Farewell Speech

Sachin Tendulkar gave a tearful farewell speech where he thanked several people who have been a part of his life and career.

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Gareth Bale makes a debut today

World-record signing Gareth Bale made his debut for Real Madrid on Saturday at a La Liga against Villarreal at El Madrigal. He scored a goal at the 38th minute. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Most expensive deal

On 1 September 2013, Welsh footballer Gareth Bale signed a world record deal of £85.3m in a transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid. He is the thirteenth British footballer to join Real Madrid.

Through this deal, Bale replaced Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s most expensive player. Real Madrid bought Ronaldo in 2009 from Manchester United for £80m.

Gareth Bale’s club career

In 2006, Bale was the second youngest player after Theo Walcott to play for Southampton. He joined Tottenham Hotspur as a left-back for £10m from Southampton in 2007 and later became a left-winger. He spent 6 years playing for the Spurs.

Highest transfer fees by Real Madrid.

Real Madrid has a record of paying the highest transfer fees. In addition to breaking records with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer fees, other records include Kaká from A. C. Milan for £56m in 2009, Zinedine Zidane from Juventus for £46.6m in 2001 and Luís Figo from Barcelona for £37m in 2000.

Real Madrid is the world’s richest football club in terms of revenue with turnover of €512.6m.

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Is FIFA 2022 in Qatar a mistake?

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president has admitted for the first time that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar may have been a mistake.

The winning bid

On 2nd December 2010, Qatar won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Qatar will be the first Middle East nation to host a FIFA World Cup.

The other countries that bid to host the tournament were Australia, Japan, South Korea and the US.

Weather concerns

The weather in Qatar is the major issue. The FIFA World Cup is held during the summer where the temperature soars to above 50°C.

The official bid site for Qatar 2022 states, “Each of the five stadia will harness the power of the sun’s rays to provide a cool environment for players and fans by converting solar energy into electricity that will then be used to cool both fans and players at the stadia. Along with the stadia, we plan to make the cooling technologies we’ve developed available to other countries in hot climates, so that they too can host major sporting events.”

Rescheduling the tournament to winter months is not feasible, as it will disrupt domestic league competitions in countries like England, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. However, this matter will be discussed at a meeting on October 3.

Other concerns

Qatar’s legal system is based on Sharia law. Therefore, alcohol consumption is permitted legally only in a few clubs, bars, hotels and the Pearl island. However, the country has allowed specific fan zones for the consumption of alcohol

None of the Middle East countries including Qatar recognise Israel. However, if Israel qualifies for the FIFA World Cup, they would be allowed to play in Qatar.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Since FIFA does not want any discrimination, they have asked Qatar to relax its anti-gay legislation.

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Tokyo to host Olympics 2020

Tokyo defeated Madrid and Istanbul in the race to host the 2020 Olympic Games.  The decision was announced at the 125th IOC Session in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires.

Japan’s history of hosting games

Tokyo was the first Asian city to host the Olympic Games in 1964.Tokyo Olympics 2020 Now they will be the first Asia city to host the biggest sporting event twice.

Sapporo and Nagano have hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1972 and 1998 respectively. Sapporo has been the first Asian city to host Winter Olympic Games.

Japan previously co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea, the 2006 FIBA World Championship and the 2011 Gymnastics World Championship

The 2020 Olympic Games will add another feather to their hat along with the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Previous bids

Tokyo’s first Olympic bid was in 1940. They won the bid but the games were cancelled due to World War I. Tokyo unsuccessful bid for the 1960 and 2016 Olympic games where they lost to Rome and Rio de Janeiro respectively. They won the bid for the 1964 Games.

Osaka bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games and lost to Beijing while Nagoya lost to Seoul in the race to host the 1988 games.

Japan also made bids for the Winter Olympic Games. The scheduled 1940 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo was cancelled due to the World War II. They later bid for the 1968 Winter Olympic Games and lost to Grenoble. They successfully won the bid for the Winter Games in 1972. They later bid for the 1984 Winter Olympic Games and lost to Sarajevo.

The controversies

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami initially worked against them. However, their stability worked in their favour as opposed to Turkey’s large anti-government protests and Spain’s economic crisis.

Fukushima, about 225 kilometres from Tokyo has a nuclear plant. However, the country will bring the damaged reactors under control and clear up the radioactivity.

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The Olympic Experience of a Lifetime

The UK had been preparing to host the Olympics after it won the bid on 6th July, 2005.

Seven years later, the city had been spruced up to handle visitors from all over the world. People of different nationalities came to one place to support their team and to have a good time.

At the right place at the right time

I was working for the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) that is the official broadcaster of the Olympic Games. I applied for this job in February 2011 to work in July 2012. The competition was tough. My job description was to deliver the Olympics information to the rest of the world on a strict deadline.

This was indeed a privilege to be a part of the largest sporting event in the world in the centre of all the action. My venue was the North Greenwich Arena also known as the O2 Arena. The sports assigned to me were Artistic Gymnastics and Basketball Finals. Working behind the scenes, the atmosphere was exhilarating.

The Victory Ceremonies was my favourite part of the Olympics. The medal winners are presented with the medal and bouquet of flowers while the song “Chariots of fire” is being played in the background. Once the medals are presented, the national flags of the three countries are hoisted and the national anthem of the country winning the gold medal is played. The nationalism displayed was incredible

The benefits

My media accreditation gave me access to most venues. London is a very expensive city and travel costs are very high. My special Olympics Oyster card allowed me to free travel across London.

Working with the OBS gave me the opportunity to work and interact with broadcasters from all over the world. Each day was different. Everyday hundreds of journalists would walk through our Broadcast Information Office (BIO) doors asking for information on matches, player statistics, results, filming the game, press conferences and interviewing athletes. I was truly in a multicultural environment

As an employee of the official broadcaster, I was at the centre of all the activity, in the broadcast tribunes, mixed zone and the media centre. I got a very good view of the field of play. I was spotted on television channels in different parts of the world.

I knew nothing about both the games that were assigned to me but within no time, I became an expert in the field.

The Challenges

There were just too many people in London during the Olympics. The tube lines were packed. I had to go through airport like security check on every single day that I worked.

Journalists can be very bothersome and abusive. Working for the official broadcaster meant getting abused in different languages and putting the pesky journalists in their place whenever needed. But at the end of the day, we understand that they are doing their job, as they are answerable to their channels.

The memorabilia

I got to keep two sets of my uniform consisting of beige trousers, green polo t-shirt, green cap, blue jacket, blue backpack and a blue trolley bag.

Every participating country and most media companies have their own pins and badges that they give away. These are prices possessions among the volunteers and employees. It was almost like a competition of who could get the maximum number of pins and badges. These badges can be exchanged. I managed to collect about 20 of them.

After the Olympics

The 17 days that I worked for the Olympics has been the most memorable experience of my life and has been my best job so far. This is one event in my life that I will never forget. I met fantastic people. I made friends for life. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I hope to be a part of future Olympic Games.

I made the game and the game made me.


Filed under International, Media and Journalism, Olympics, Sports, UK

The Draconian Olympic Act

The Olympic symbol is one of the most recognisable symbols in the world. Is it so easy to use?

The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, restricts the use of words associated with the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in London.

These words include 2012, Twenty twelve, Two thousand and twelve in conjunction with medals, London, sponsors, summer, games, gold, silver and bronze in combination except by those who are official sponsors of the games.

Businesses who are not official sponsors of the Games cannot use any marks that could suggest the Olympics. These include words with “Olympi—” prefixes, the interlocking rings symbol and the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius.”

The action taken

The act also allows the Games’ authorities to enter private residences and may use “reasonable force” to remove the infringing material whether commercial or non-commercial use.

The person guilty shall be fined an amount not exceeding £20,000

Used to combat ambush marketing

The draconian measures to protect the trademark are used to prevent ambush marketing. Ambush marketing enables brand owners who are not official sponsors of the Games to be associated with the Games.

During the 1996 Summer Olympics in USA, Nike bought billboard space around the venues and constructed a Nike Village near the athletes’ village. Nike went to the extent of distributing Nike flags, ‘ambushing’ Reebok, the official sponsor. Nike was immediately asked to take down their banners and the village but by then the damage was already done. Television audiences were asked to recall the names of official sponsors. 22% cited Nike while only 16% cited the official sponsors, Reebok.

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, several countries were tuned into the Opening Ceremonies. Olympic gymnast Li Ning lit the torch. Li Ning owns a shoe company with the same name and is a direct rival of Adidas in China. Adias was an official Olympic sponsor. The irony though was that Li Ning was wearing Adidas clothing during the ceremony.

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