Superwoman! 28-Year-Old Olympian RUNS 800m Race While 8 Months PREGNANT Like It’s Nothing (Photos)

Many pregnant women do like to keep up with a gentle exercise routine while expecting, but it’s doubtful that many would fancy doing an 800m running race.

However, a five-time U.S. national champion did just that and ran it in just over two minutes – all while she was 34-weeks pregnant.

Olympian Alysia Montano may have finished last in the race yesterday at the Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California, but she said she enjoyed it and felt ‘really good’.

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The 28-year-old runner, who received a standing ovation after completing the race in 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds, said: ‘I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy and I felt really, really good during the whole process.’

Her finishing time was 35 seconds slower than her personal best of 1:57.34, which she smashed back in 2010 in a race in Monaco, but is still a time many recreational runners wouldn’t be able to achieve.

Nicknamed the ‘flying flower’ thanks to always racing with one in her hair, she joked her biggest fear was being lapped in USATF Outdoor Championships race.

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‘I just didn’t want to get lapped and be the first person to get lapped in the 800,’ said Montano.

The 28-year-old is expecting her first baby with her husband Louis, who she married in 2011.

Doctors gave Montano the OK to take part in the race and she hopes it dispels misconceptions over exercise and pregnancy.

‘That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy,’ Montano said of getting her doctor’s approval.

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Montano has been training and competing since she was a child and was glad to find there was no reason why she shouldn’t continue while expecting.

‘What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby…I did all the things I normally do…I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year,’ she said.

She knew she had no chance of winning or running at her best during the race but emphasizes that wasn’t the point. She wanted to take part for the joy of racing.

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She writes on her blog that she thinks it’s important that people – whatever their ability – remember that it’s the taking part in a sport that counts.

‘Racing is still very enjoyable for me because I’ve been able to think of it like a kid does. They’re so innocent – they’re wanting to win but they’re having fun, too,’ she writes.

‘As you get older, it’s easy to put importance on things that really don’t matter and then succumb to that pressure; so I don’t like to get myself wrapped up by talking about competitive goals too much.’

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Experts say it’s safe for women who are used to keeping fit like Montano to carry on exercising while pregnant – albeit at a lower intensity than before.

The pace Montano ran at in the race while pregnant would certainly be a more leisurely one for her than usual – in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she came 5th with a time under two minutes.

Alysia Montano came 5th in the London 2012 Olympics. Here a photo of the athlete competing before her pregnancy.

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Daily Mail

Bamba Sports Set To Air Arsenal, Barca Matches After ABS Partnership

European broadcast giant, ABS Broadcast, has partnered with Kenya’s Radio Africa to air sports content from international rights company, MP & Silva.

The new partnership will see Bamba Sports air top European sports, including European football clubs content. It will also capture the vast variety of European sports.

The free to air TV channel which also airs the National Super League (NSL) live every weekend following partnership with FKF, will also air one delayed match every week from the European top sides Spanish giants Barcelona, English side Arsenal and Italian side AC Milan.

Radio Africa who are the owners of the Bamba TV platform, Kiss FM, Classic 105, Kiss television, will also air club TV where the three side’s documentaries and interviews will feature every week.

According to the Managing Director of ABS Broadcast, Sass Jahani, the venture is good for African sports, adding that the company was excited to grow the newest channel in their portfolio and accelerate the growth of Kenyan sports.”

Group Head of Innovations and Special Projects at Radio Africa, Kamal Vekaria, said they see the partnership as a significant investment. Head of Bamba TV Danny Mucira says despite eyeing local sports to uplift the country’ standards, the new deal will cater for the interests of European football lovers as well.

SYDNEY SEVENS: Kenya 7s Drop To Challenge Cup After Dismal Start

Kenya will play in the Challenge Trophy quarterfinals at the Sydney Sevens after falling to a second successive loss in Pool A action on Saturday morning, falling 14-7 to currents HSBC Sevens World Series leaders South Africa.

The first half was closely fought, Shujaa edging the South Africans in the physical contests and frustrating them with a great defensive effort.

Collins Injera, caught in possession, releasing the ball to Augustine Lugonzo who touched down, Agero converting as Kenya led 7-0 at the break.

Agero would visit the sin-bin in mid second half and the South Africans soon scored, Seabelo Senatla finding himself in possession after being played in by impact sub Rosco Speckman.

Senatla would race clear to score under the posts with Justin Geguld ( who was part of the South African Elite Player Development team that won the 2012 Safari Sevens in Nairobi) converted to tie things.

Senalta would land his second try half a minute later, Geguld with the twos to give South Africa the lead and the eventual win.

In the first game, Kenya surrendered a 12-0 lead, losing 19-12 to England in their opening Pool A encounter.

Source

Ibrahimovic gets 700,000 euro monthly pay boost

Paris Saint-Germain’s star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been handed a 700,000 euros ($760,000) monthly pay-rise making him by far the highest-paid footballer in France, Le Parisien newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Swede, who joined the club in 2012 from AC Milan and has scored 127 goals in 156 games since then, now gets 1.5 million euros ($1.1 million) a month before tax under the performance-based hike agreed late last year.

On top, Ibrahimovic can pocket three big bonus payments for winning the Champions league, the French league title and and ending the season with the top combined total of goals scored and goal assists.

With Paris Saint-Germain currently 21 points clear of second-placed Monaco in the league, the first of those targets is all but certain. Paris go up against Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champion League next month.

Le Parisien added, however, that there was no word on whether Ibrahimovic would stay in Paris after his current contract expires at the end of the season.

He is on record as saying he has no intention of leaving, claiming he has “a beautiful relationship with PSG.”

Ibrahimovic will be playing in France during the summer as Sweden contest the Euro 2016 finals.

Photo Credits : AFP

Study: Coffee Could Boost An Athlete’s Performance

Seems like besides kick starting your day in the morning, coffee could boost your performance as an athlete, according to a new study.

The scientists reviewed more than 600 scholarly articles and screened them for those that focused only on caffeinated-coffee conditions, measured the caffeine dose and measured their endurance.

Of these, nine randomised control trials specifically used coffee to improve endurance. Participants either cycled or ran after drinking coffee. They then exercised vigorously and the results were measured. In a majority of cases, endurance was noticeably improved after the use of coffee.

Looking at the nine trials, the study author Simon Higgins from University of Georgia in the US found that between three and seven milligrams (mg) per kilogram of body weight of caffeine from coffee increased endurance performance by an average of 24 percent.

The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary from 75 mg to more than 150, depending on the variety and how it is roasted and brewed. Coffee appears to be just as helpful as taking caffeine in the form of powder or tablets, Higgins stated.

“New research could mean that athletes could have a cup of coffee versus taking a pill,” Higgins explained.
The study was published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism

-TOI

Julius Yego Sets Record At The Diamond League

Javelin boasted the strongest field of any discipline at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix, but few could have predicted the drama that would ensue in that event at the IAAF Diamond League meeting on Sunday .

Kenya’s Julius Yego took an early lead with 85.95m in the first round but Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott moved into pole position with a national record of 86.43m in round three.

But Walcott’s lead lasted just a matter of minutes as Yego threw 10 centimetres farther with the next throw of the competition.

World champion Vitezslav Vesely just made it past the halfway cut of the competition, throwing 79.55m in round three after two fouls to sit in eighth place. The world champion remained in that position until his last throw of the day when he unleashed a season’s best of 88.18m to move straight into first place.

Everyone else was unable to respond to the Czech athlete with their final throws until Yego stepped on to the runway.

He sent his javelin high into the air and it landed well beyond Vesely’s mark but was initially ruled to have fallen outside the sector. It was up for debate, though, as the sector lines hadn’t been extended beyond 87 metres.

The throw was measured anyway – 91.39m for the record – but after close examination the judges said it was still outside the sector.

Twenty minutes after the meeting ended, with the stands now completely empty, the officials reversed their decision and awarded Yego the victory with his 91.39m throw.

Confirmed as the winning mark, Yego’s performance is not only an African record and IAAF Diamond League record, but it was also the best throw in the world since 2006.

-IAAF

Pacquiao-Mayweather bout sets unpredictable pay-per-view figures

The potential pay-per-view television revenue for Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao’s blockbuster welterweight showdown with Floyd Mayweather is so stratospheric that with just four days to go, an actual figure is impossible to predict.

Stephen Espinoza, vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, said interest in the bout is unprecedented to a degree that the usual markers for predicting the number of purchases and revenue just don’t apply.

“Usually we get day by day updates of where the cable operators are in terms of their buys,” Espinoza told AFP. “I can compare Wednesday to prior Wednesdays in prior pay-per-views.

“In general, that’s fairly accurate. On this particular week, we’re seeing numbers that have no precedent — so encouraging and so massive that you really can’t extrapolate anything from them.”

Certainly Pacquiao-Mayweather, a fight more than five years in the making between the top pound-for-pound fighters of their generation, will shatter the records for pay-per-view purchases and — at a price in most markets of about $100 for a high-definition version — crush the record for PPV revenue.

It’s just a question of how much more the fight will garner than the record 2.48 million pay-per-view purchases for Mayweather’s 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya and the record pay-per-view revenue of $150 million set by Mayweather v Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2013.

“Do we think it’s a record-breaker? Absolutely,” Espinoza said. “Whether that’s 2.7 million buys or 3.2 I think both are possible but there’s no way to choose one or the other right now.”

More than 3 million buys could spell revenue to the camps of the two fighters near $200 million.

Television revenue is just one of the financial records the fight is set to break.

Anticipated live gate receipts of some $70 million dwarf the previous record for a Nevada fight, the $20 million for Mayweather-Alvarez.

Regardless of the outcome, each fighter could make more than $100 million, with Mayweather saying this week he expects to pocket $200 million.

The fight is one that boxing fans have craved for years — teased by the disintegration of talks in late 2009 and years of back-and-forth between the hostile camps ever since.

– Crossover appeal –

While the delay has purists grumbling that the bout comes too late, with each boxer past his prime, the will they-won’t they narrative has added to the fight’s crossover appeal.

“There is unquestionably a broader fan base that’s attracted by this fight,” Espinoza said. “Anecdotally we know this is attracting a lot of people who never ordered pay-per-view.”

The pay-per-view revenue is also coming from a wider range of countries — with 13 international pay-per-view territories.

“You’d have to go back to the Mike Tyson days to get near that figure,” Espinoza said, although he noted that back when Iron Mike loomed over the heavyweight landscape fewer countries even had the technology to distribute fights via pay-per-view.

The television production is a joint effort between rivals Showtime — which has a contract with Mayweather — and Pacquiao telecaster HBO.

Working out the rare deal between the two was just one of the hurdles to be overcome in making the fight, although such a joint effort is not unprecedented.

The model is similar to that used by the two networks in the 2002 fight between Lennox Lewis and Tyson.

– No free rides –

Not surprisingly, Showtime and HBO are doing everything they can to protect their asset.

Showtime this week filed a federal lawsuit in California targeting boxinghd.net and sportship.org, claiming the two internet sites are advertising free streaming of the bout.

In court documents, Showtime notes that boxinghd.net’s homepage touts, “If you can’t afford to buy tickets then simply watch Mayweather vs Pacquiao here. We will provide nothing but the freshest and the most reliable high quality live links.”

While the issue of on-line piracy isn’t limited to Saturday’s mega-fight, Espinoza said the efforts to protect the bout are “a multiple of what we’ve done before.”

He said the aims of the lawsuit are twofold.

“It’s eliminating these very active piracy sites and it sends a message that we’re very serious about it, we’re going to continue to pursue this all the way through and after the night of the fight.”

Photo Credits : AFP

TV exec made Mayweather-Pacquiao bout possible

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao meet Saturday in a fight many thought would never happen — but which came together thanks to the determination of US entertainment power player Leslie Moonves.

After years of false starts and finger-pointing, the twisting road to the spectacle set to shatter all boxing records for viewership and revenue wound through many locales, from the exclusive reaches of Beverly Hills to NBA courtside seats in Miami.

According to Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, Moonves — the chief executive of CBS Corporation — kept the train on the rails.

“It started when Les Moonves came to my house,” said Arum, the founder of Top Rank Promotions.

“He visited me on a couple of occasions to tell me that he wanted to make this fight happen.”

A fight between two of the most talented fighters of their generation — unbeaten American Mayweather and Filipino icon Pacquiao — seemed a no-brainer.

But despite the clamor of fans worldwide and the potential financial bonanza, contractual obstacles and personality conflicts long prevented the match-up from becoming a reality. Talks for a 2010 clash between the two foundered amid acrimony.

Fingers were pointed as to which fighter might be ducking the other as the parties squabbled over various issues — the last unresolvable difference a mutually acceptable pre-fight drug-testing protocol.

In the intervening years, the chances of scheduling the fight didn’t seem to improve.

At least back then, both fighters had a loose deal with telecaster HBO, but in 2013, Mayweather inked a six-fight, 30-month deal worth more than $200 million with Showtime — meaning the two fighters were now contracted to rival networks.

Arum has denied that lingering animosity between himself and Mayweather — who bought himself out of a Top Rank contract and now fights under the banner of his own Mayweather Promotions — played a role.

“I have no animosity with Floyd Mayweather,” Arum says. “Floyd has always remained a good friend. I have nothing whatsoever bad to say about Floyd as a person.”

Nevertheless, the two have often traded barbs in the media, and in 2013, Mayweather declared he would never work with Arum.

Between Pacquiao and Mayweather themselves, the scars of prior disputes remained, even after a 2012 out-of-court settlement put to rest Pacquiao’s lawsuit over Mayweather’s accusation that he doped on his way to his unprecedented eight world titles in eight weight divisions.

Despite the occasional Twitter tease, the needle didn’t seem to be moving until Moonves stepped in through the back door — introduced to Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach last October by a waiter at a Hollywood restaurant.

Moonves, whose CBS is the parent company of cable outlet Showtime, was leery but approached Arum.

“He wanted me to go to Manny and discuss with him the purse that would be acceptable,” Arum recalled.

“We had frequent dialogue. I felt confident that it was going to happen because Moonves would do whatever he could to make it happen.”

Moonves remained a go-between in the tortuous talks as one by one the hurdles were overcome.

“Both sides realized how important this fight would be,” Moonves told the Los Angeles Times. “There was a real desire on everyone’s part to get this done.”

Even the elements played a part — in January, winter storms stranded Pacquiao in Miami, where he had judged a beauty pageant.

The rabid basketball fan decided to take in a Miami Heat game, and came face to face with Mayweather at courtside.

The two agreed to a private meeting that Arum said was key to the deal.

“It wasn’t until the basketball game in Miami where Manny was convinced that Floyd wanted the fight,” he said.

In Miami, Pacquiao recalled, he let Mayweather know he would agree that the American was the “A” side and Pacquiao the “B”.

– Tensions linger –

As social media hummed with rumors, details were hammered out. Showtime and HBO came to terms on a joint production and re-broadcast rights.

But even the February 20 announcement of the fight didn’t put an end to all tensions.

The usual pre-fight trash talking from training camp was accompanied by more serious issues — the most threatening a dispute over precious ticket allocations to host venue the MGM Grand, Top Rank and Mayweather Promotions that was finally resolved less than a fortnight before the fight.

Pacquiao, whose concessions have included taking the lesser part of a 60-40 purse split, thinks it’s worth it.

“This fight is very important to me and in boxing history,” he said. “We don’t want to leave a question mark in the mind of boxing fans.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Mayweather vs Pacquiao tickets sold out in 1 minute

The much awaited and dubbed the most expensive boxing match in  history  between Floyd Mayweather and Pacquiao had their ticket sold out in one minute after they were put on public sale online via ticket masters.com.

All the tickets were sold out including the ones going for  $7,500 approximately 700k !

Several people who tried to purchase the tickets  say they got the “No Tickets Left” graphic less than 20 seconds after it started.

So, if you want to be at the fight, you have to go to the secondary market … where seats are going for up to $80,000.

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Image – TMZ

 

Larry Asego’s love letter to Manchester United

Manchester United lost 2-1 to Arsenal Monday night at the FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford. For classic 105 drive presenter, Larry Asego who is a United die hard a 12-year wait for the FA Cup victory is a sad affair.

United now have one sole focus which is the race for Champions League qualification in which they are currently trailing Arsenal by a point. Larry Asego was quick to post on his facebook that he still loves his team United. He says, “ At least there’s hope that some day we will win the league and not just have preset ambitions of fourth place. That said a gifted win to Arsenal, enjoy the semi-finals. I still hope you lose that one but for now you have bragging rights. You played well, not spectacular but well enough to win. We hope Wenger remains at Emirates forever too.”

Will Larry Asego need to write another love letter at the end of the Champions League? Check out his heartfelt post below

Screenshot from 2015-03-10 08:45:37

Cristiano Ronaldo pays stylist to maintain his sculpture in a museum

Cristiano Ronaldo pays a personal stylist to comb his sculpture made from wax every month.

The art work is  at the Museo Cera wax museum in Madrid.

And in a bid to make sure it’s kept in perfect order, Ronaldo sends his own stylist along to make sure the hair is all perfect and lovely.

The news was confirmed by museum director Gonzalo Presa.

‘Cristiano told us to be sure his figure was perfect,’ he explained.

‘He sent his own hairstylist to brush his figure once a month. Cristiano’s hair is natural. It is not a wig and it comes from India.’

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Image courtesy of Metro

Walcott encouraged by Arsenal’s fast starts

Theo Walcott believes Arsenal’s first-half form has been the key to the club’s change in fortunes since the turn of the year.

Arsene Wenger’s side travel to face Crystal Palace on Saturday looking for their eighth victory in nine games since the defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day.

That run, blemished only by defeat at Tottenham two weeks ago, has fired up the Gunners’ top four challenge and earned an FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Manchester United.

A feature of Arsenal’s recent form has been their ability to conjure an early goal that has allowed them to take a grip on the game.

Last weekend it was a double strike from Olivier Giroud midway during the first half that effectively killed off Championship club Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth round.

And England winger Walcott maintains Arsenal’s ability to work up an early head of steam has helped generate belief within the side.

“The confidence has come from the way we are starting games,” Walcott said.

“The manager has put in our heads that we need to start well, particularly from the front and pressurise the ball well.

“You need the fans behind you so getting that early goal settles them and the players down.

“We have maybe been working a lot harder in training. I don’t know if that’s the reason, but everyone relates to each other and knows their weaknesses and positives. It is working well.”

Walcott credits the improvements made at the back with helping move Wenger’s side up to fifth place, a point behind fourth-placed Southampton going into the latest round of matches.

“Keeping clean sheets will mean we win games because we always know we are going to score goals and we’ve continued to do that in recent weeks,” he said.

“Things are paying off for us at the moment so we just need to make sure we take it into the next few weeks.”

– Wilshere returns –

Wenger’s team will be boosted by the return of England midfielder Jack Wilshere for the trip to Selhurst Park.

Wilshere returned to full training last week after damaging ankle ligaments against Manchester United in November and is expected to take a place on the bench.

But Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy are out, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mathieu Flamini and Hector Bellerin are doubtful.

Palace have been revived since the arrival of Alan Pardew, losing just one of five Premier League games since the former Newcastle manager took charge.

Last weekend’s FA Cup defeat at home to Liverpool ensured the club’s remaining target is to build on their recent run and secure a mid-table finish.

Palace striker Marouane Chamakh will have an added incentive to do well against his former club after a disappointing stay at the Emirates Stadium.

Pardew believes the Morocco international has benefitted from being given a more prominent role at his new club and said: “I think he’s grown in confidence and sometimes only games can do that for you.

“You know he was in and out at Arsenal, it’s a difficult club to break through. For players like Chamakh, sometimes it’s best to move away and find yourself and he has found himself and he’s an asset to us.”

Palace forward Yaya Sanogo, on loan from Arsenal, is ineligible to face his parent club and having lost Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak to extended international duty last month, Pardew admits he has not yet had the opportunity to field his strongest side.

“We’ve not actually got it all together and I don’t think this weekend we will because we’re not quite there,” Pardew said.

“This is a bonus game for us in a way because no one will expect us to get anything outside of Crystal Palace.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Blind rescues late point for United against West Ham

Daley Blind’s stoppage-time goal rescued a point for Manchester United in a 1-1 draw away to West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday as they failed to leapfrog Southampton into third place in the Premier League table.

Cheikhou Kouyate’s superb finish, with the Senegal midfielder, who had his back to goal, controlling a Mark Noble free-kick before volleying home in the 49th minute, looked as if it would win the game for the Hammers.

But after both sides had chances to score late on it was Blind who, after Marcus Rojo’s ball into the box was only partly cleared, fired home to seal a draw in the second-minute of stoppage-time.

There was still time for United’s Luke Shaw to be sent off for a second bookable offence but his exit came too late to have a bearing on the result.

Photo Credits : AFP

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos ruled out for 5 weeks

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos will be out of action for five weeks, coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed on Friday.

Spain international Ramos, 28, suffered a torn hamstring in Wednesday’s 2-1 La Liga win over Sevilla and limped off after just nine minutes, replaced by Nacho.

“Sergio’s injury is a serious one. He’ll be out for five weeks,” Ancelotti said.

Ramos, who had already been ruled out of Saturday’s derby against Atletico, could also miss both legs of Champions League round of 16 against Schalke, on February 18 and March 10.

The centre-back’s absence is a major blow for Real, who already had to do without James Rodriguez (foot), Pepe (rib) or Luka Modric (thigh).

Against their Madrid rivals, Real are set to start with Raphael Varane, 21, and Nacho, 23, at the heart of the defence.

“I trust those two players. They are very good players. They are dedicated and willing to play. I am convinced they will do good things on Saturday”, Ancelotti said.

Real, currently top of the league with 54 points, face Atletico on Saturday for the 10th time in the past year in all competitions.

Photo Credits : AFP

Sport’s last taboo – period pains

There are few taboos left in sport but how women “suffer in silence” through their period pains is one that needs to be acknowledged, according to former British number one Annabel Croft.

She made the comments after current British number one Heather Watson was knocked out of the Australian Open after admitting she felt unwell.

“I think it’s just one of these things that I have, girl things,” Watson told reporters.

The 22-year-old said she felt dizzy, sick and had low energy levels that were so bad she was forced to call a doctor towards the end of the first set in her 6-4, 6-0 first round loss to Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.

She had come into the opening Grand Slam of the season in top form having won the lead-up Hobart International.

Croft told BBC radio that Watson’s comments were “brave” and that women would “identify completely” with her symptoms.

“Women’s monthly issues seems to be one of those subjects that gets swept under the carpet and is a big secret,” she said.

“Women dealing with these issues at any time is hard enough, but actually trying to go out there and trying to play top-level sport at one of the most crucial times in the calendar year. It is just really unlucky.

“I think women do suffer in silence on this subject. It has always been a taboo subject.”

Watson said not being able to play to her full ability due to “women issues” was “really frustrating”.

“But it happens and you’re dealt with different cards on different days and I should have dealt with it better. It’s a real shame and it sucks.”

Tara Moore, a tennis player friend of Watson and the current British number five, said she had complete sympathy with her menstrual cycle falling during major tournaments for the past six years.

“We have to deal with another element that no one speaks about really,” she told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, adding that she thinks the sport’s governing body should consider changing the rules about toilet breaks.

Currently players can only take a break once every set.

“That should be enough really but if it’s a long set it can be tough,” she said, adding that Wimbledon’s insistence that all players wear white was another issue for women going through the menstrual cycle.

Photo Credits : AFP

Do sports cars have a future in a driverless world?

Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Bugatti. The prestigious names embody performance and luxury across the automotive world.

But with the advent of soulless self-driving cars, are they fated to be locked away in the stables like the horses they replaced a century ago?

Not so fast, responds Ferrari. The Italian race car legend, its iconic prancing horse logo idolized by drivers everywhere, is still putting out high-performance cars that need real people at the wheel.

It just introduced its newest supercar, the Sergio, and is working on a car more powerful than any it ever produced, the FXX K. An electric motor will help boost the 860 horsepower of the V12 engine to an astounding 1,050 horses.

Maserati, like Ferrari part of the Fiat Chrysler stable, is promising a new Alfieri coupe in 2016, and the next version of the GranTurismo will be unveiled at the end of 2017.

But will the Italian thoroughbreds and their German counterparts be able to resist the looming turn of the industry toward cars that don’t need drivers at all?

– ‘Change inevitable’ –

Karl Brauer, an industry analyst at Kelley Blue Book, says the industry march away from humans controlling cars and toward more technology will not stop.

“It is inevitable,” he told AFP.

That will leave performance sports cars and supercars the province of a small group of wealthy motor speed fans and hobbyists dedicated to having their own hands in control, he said.

Increasingly, they will be confined to driving on tracks and private roads as autonomous vehicles take off with the broader public.

Some of those who buy performance sports cars for social status — the majority of buyers — could even turn away from them for other ostentatious signs of success, said Martin Zimmerman, a professor at the University of Michigan and a former economist at Ford.

But there will always be fans who value traditionally driven sports cars, Zimmerman said.

“I suspect that there will be always a demand for sitting in a nice looking sports car and being able to control it yourself.”

Eventually, the sports car could become confined to a small niche of passionate fans, revving their engines and testing their speed on dedicated circuits.

It is up to the top automakers around the world together with tech leaders to produce autonomous, driverless cars for public use, and the day they enter general use is coming soon.

Self-driving cars could make highways safer by eliminating the main cause of road accidents, driver error.

The first driverless cars could hit the market in 2018, according to manufacturers, though the legal and ethical questions are many — for instance, who is to blame if there is an accident?

Road tests of self-driving cars are already well advanced — especially of the Google Car, the pioneer in the market. It has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles on California roads without accident, Google says.

The war on speeding in developed countries; changes in consumer interests, with a new generation more focused on electronic gadgets; and more eco-friendly thinking also pose obstacles for performance sports car fans.

– Seeking a balance –

One course for the future, according to analysts, will be to achieve a balance between technologies that make the vehicles safer and the sensations of high speed and high performance on the road that fans crave.

“There will be a demand for sports cars that allow individuals to control and drive the vehicle, but the technology that’s being developed around these autonomous vehicles will actually make it more fun and safer for individuals to drive these vehicles,” said Joe Vitale, an industry specialist at consultant Deloitte.

Makers of top-end cars in the sports and luxury segments have to keep coming up with new things, and adopt the most advanced technologies, to keep attracting buyers, said Alan Baum, head of the consultant Baum and Associates.

“When that product starts to age, then the consumer starts to go to the next new thing,” he said.

CAF President determined to eradicate violence in African football

Following the tragic incidents that resulted in the death of three people in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the end of a match of the local championship on Sunday, November 23 in Lubumbashi between FC St. Eloi Lupopo and Sangabalende of Mbuji-Mayi, the President of CAF shares the grief of the families and relatives of the victims of this latest tragedy that saddens African football.

“Football must remain a moment of good association, fellowship, sharing, celebration and joy; values that are legendary with the African people’s culture of hospitality and solidarity. So it is always saddening and with dismay that we have to vehemently disapprove of such events,” Hayatou said.

According to medical sources quoted by Agence France Presse (who reported the tragic news on November 24), two of the victims were shot dead and a third died after being trampled on by the crowd following clashes with police.

Five other people were injured. The Mayor of Lubumbashi acknowledged that police fired live ammunition at violent supporters who were allegedly dissatisfied with a decision of the referee.

“African football cannot be the breeding ground for some phenomenon of hooliganism whatsoever. We expect exemplary sanctions to be taken, because violence has no place in African football in particular and sport in general. We remain steadfast and state in the strongest terms our commitment to eradicate all forms of violence or unsporting behaviour from the continent,” said Hayatou.

 

 

Arsenal’s second largest shareholder Usmanov tells Wenger to wise up

Arsenal’s second largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov has warned Arsene Wenger to start learning from his mistakes as the pressure mounts on the Gunners’ boss.

The Gunners have lifted just one trophy in nine-and-a-half years and a 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United on Saturday marked the team’s worst start to a season since 1982.

And Usmanov, who owns 30 percent of the Premier League club, believes Wenger is letting his purist footballing principles stand in the way of Arsenal’s success.