NEW DELHI: Outgoing National Chief Athletics coach Bahadur Singh has appealed to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and administrators to ensure that every school in the country has space for children to play. The 74-year-old said that India has the potential to become a powerhouse in sports if it ensures that the country’s children have ample space to play sports.”If there is a playground in schools everywhere then there will be lots of PT Usha and Hima Das,” said Singh in a virtual farewell arranged for him by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). Rijiju was present in the video conference alongwith a number of big names of Indian sports administration, including former sportspersons like PT Usha and Anju Bobby George. “But unfortunately, our schools have no place to play. India has a lot of talent, no doubt. India can be a world power in athletics but for that we have to make space for kids to play in schools. “In schools in China, there is three hours continuous physical activity. They also give food in the school. That’s the importance that country and many others are giving to their children. But sir, we are not giving our children importance. In lakhs of schools in our country, there are no playing fields.” Singh also said that the country needs more indoor facilities which might help athletes to avoid travelling overseas for training when conditions in India are not suitable. “We spend a lot of money in sending our athletes overseas when the climate at home does not permit training. India badly needs an indoor facility,” he said. Singh said that the rise of India in sports this far is a credit to the “teamwork” of various stakeholders in the field and not his achievement alone. “This work has been done by all the coaches, athletes, AFI, SAI, the centre heads, ministry — it is a teamwork they have done but everything comes on my name which is surprising,” he said with a smile. IANS Also watch: Get Set Global: How are People in The UK Facing Financial Crisis & More
They happened five months and more than 6,000 miles apart.First, there was the late March press conference at the Galen Center in Los Angeles where first-team All-Pac-10 center Nikola Vucevic declared he was skipping his senior season at USC to enter the NBA draft.Just last week, in a nondescript gymnasium outside Sao Paulo, star senior guard Jio Fontan landed awkwardly after being hit on a drive to the basket late in the first half of USC’s preseason game against a Brazilian professional team, tearing a ligament in his left knee and ending his season before it started.USC’s 2011-2012 basketball season doesn’t tip off until mid-November, yet its two defining moments have already taken place.The Trojans record is still unblemished at 0-0, but it feels like they’ve already lost so much.Now, let’s spare the doom and gloom and refrain from calling this a lost season for USC basketball.It is still only August and the Trojans have some intriguing young talent.USC’s group of freshmen and transfers could end up gelling very well together.A return trip to the NCAA tournament isn’t out of the question.The season that will be, however, is overshadowed by what could have been.With Vucevic and Fontan in the lineup alongside guard Maurice Jones, the Trojans would have returned their top three scorers from a season ago.Instead, USC now only boasts two players on its roster that scored in a game for the Trojans last year — Jones and sophomore forward Garrett Jackson.Newcomers Aaron Fuller and Dewayne Dedmon would have been expected to fill their roles solidly, not spectacularly.Now, they will be counted on to shoulder a good portion of the offensive load.The leftover effects of the O.J. Mayo scandal won’t help the team cope with the losses of Vucevic and Fontan, either.“Right now, this third year, especially with Jio getting hurt, that’s when you get hit with the remnant of these sanctions where we lost two recruiting classes,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. “We have a bunch of inexperienced guys that have never played. They’re going to get a lot of experience early and hopefully they respond well and turn themselves into a really good postseason team.”This could have been a banner season for recently rejuvenated USC basketball.After making only six NCAA tournament appearances from 1962 to 2000, the Trojans have qualified six times in the last 11 seasons.USC’s runs to the Elite Eight in 2001 and the Sweet 16 in 2007 marked the first time the program had made it past the second round of the Big Dance since 1954.“Our only goal is to make the NCAA tournament and try to win the Pac-12 title,” O’Neill said. “Those are our goals and I don’t think we should change those goals.”Fontan’s injury was an especially cruel blow to the Trojans, with his teammates forced to watch their leader stretchered off the floor.“In my career, I’ve never felt worse for a player than I feel for him,” O’Neill said. “The first two and a half games [of the Brazil trip], he was playing at a first-round-NBA-draft-pick level. I feel bad for him that way and bad for our team that he can’t be there to lead us and do all the things that a guy of his caliber would do.”Freshman Alexis Moore, from Long Beach Poly High, will be tasked with stepping into Fontan’s spot in the starting lineup.“He’s going to have to be a guy that doesn’t play like a freshman,” O’Neill said. “And even then, it’s going to be very difficult for a guy his age to step into his role that requires a ton of leadership, especially for what is a very young and inexperienced team now.”The schedule will do the Trojans no favors, either.With non-conference games against Kansas, San Diego State and Georgia, a potential tournament date with North Carolina in Las Vegas and a challenging Pac-12 slate, USC’s young players will be tested early and often.This season, however, will not make or break USC basketball.The gains the Trojans have made over the last decade have been substantial. The program weathered the storm of NCAA sanctions while enjoying its greatest run of success in recent history.The future remains bright for the Trojans — a talented and youthful roster, an experienced head coach and a recruiting foothold in the Southern California basketball market are all long-term assets.The short term gains of the 2011-2012 year, however, don’t look nearly as promising as how they were projected six months ago. “Sellin’ the Sizzle” runs Wednesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Jonathan at email@example.com.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 19, 2020 at 11:38 pm Contact Michael: firstname.lastname@example.org | @MikeJMcCleary Elijah Hughes baited his defender on the wing and cut backdoor toward the rim. It was the first day of live practice for John F. Kennedy Catholic (New York) High School in 2013, and during 3-on-3 drills head coach Al Morales was eager to unveil a 16-year-old Hughes. One who could pass like a point guard and score like a shooting guard. Two separate growth spurts led to a near overnight surge.Hughes received the pass inside and rose up. Nothing fancy: a two-handed dunk. He slammed it hard, though. Too hard. The rim burst off the backboard and sent Hughes crashing to the ground as shards of glass hailed down. Hughes felt the glass in his hair. “Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding?” Hughes frantically asked Morales.“To see it on TV is one thing,” Morales, who informed Hughes he was fine, said. “It was breathtaking.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCourtesy of Elijah Hughes’ FacebookFor years, Hughes has elevated his reputation through shooting and a strong feel for the game. But the most unheralded aspect of Hughes’ game is the athleticism that unlocks much of his arsenal. As the most experienced Syracuse (14-11, 7-7 Atlantic Coast) player, Hughes has been thrust into a role as its main offensive threat. The new role led to new expectations and new freedoms that allowed his athleticism to flourish on crossovers, quick first steps to the basket and powerful finishes at or around the rim.“I kind of always had a little boogie,” Hughes quipped in October. “I just really haven’t shown it.”At Syracuse, Hughes has flashed his athleticism with a rim-rattling dunk against Georgia Tech earlier in the season and quick bursts on drives to the rim against Florida State last Saturday. Over SU’s final stretch of the season, a hobbled Hughes will have to rely on that athleticism to carry a heavy workload for an SU team with dwindling NCAA Tournament chances.Hughes’ father, Wayne, said his son never had natural “Oh my goodness, this kid can fly” athleticism, so he learned how to dunk like most kids do: by lowering the adjustable hoop in his backyard to eight feet. Wayne and Hughes’ mother, Penny, remembered him jumping around outside every day, cocking his arm back and throwing down tomahawks and windmills. Hughes bumped it to nine feet, then messed around at regulation height.After Playmaker Academy AAU practices in the eighth grade, Hughes and his teammates stuck around to show off dunks sandwiched between multiple failed attempts. In a game later that year, Hughes’ teammate Justin Mitchell stole the ball and streaked down the court for a left-handed dunk. Hughes and his teammates erupted. No one had ever dunked in a game before. A few plays later, Hughes knocked the ball loose and did the same.“The whole team was hype,” Hughes’ then-head coach Ken Dawson said.Emily Steinberger | Design EditorFrom that point, it was “automatic,” Wayne said. Hughes parlayed his athleticism into other aspects of his game. Quick bounces on defensive plays has led him to become one of the top-15 shot-blockers in the ACC this season. He chases high after rebounds and elevates for a high release-point on layup finishes.“He jumped so high it scared me,” recalls Kelvin Jefferson, Hughes’ former South Kent (Connecticut) High School head coach.Dunk contest wins became a routine, and on Hughes’ first trip to Syracuse for the Elite Camp the Orange host each summer, he performed dunks in free time and attracted crowds, Beacon High School teacher Scott Timpano said.Kennedy Catholic teacher Brian Bruder and his son, Declan, sat in the stands at Kennedy Catholic as an 11th-grade Hughes broke away from defenders into the open court. The crowd braced for something amazing. “Appointment television,” Bruder said. Hughes unleashed a tomahawk dunk at the rim, and the crowd erupted.Bruder got home later that night and heard a thumping noise in Declan’s room. He opened the door, and Declan was jumping around, cocking back his arm and throwing down dunks into the plastic Nerf basketball hoop attached to the door.“What are you doing?” Bruder asked, laughing.The then-9-year-old Declan continued to jump around his room. He was just being a kid. And learning to dunk like Elijah Hughes. Comments