The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

sumber :-

The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Ribery reflects on losing his way in ‘terrible 2010’

Posted: 21 Mar 2011 09:28 PM PDT

French player Franck Ribery (right) with France national team coach Laurent Blanc (centre) and Karim Benzema at a training session in Clairefontaine, southern Paris, March 21, 2011. — Reuters pic

CLAIREFONTAINE, France, March 22 — Franck Ribery, back in the France squad for the first time since the player mutiny at the World Cup in South Africa, said he lost his way in 2010 in what had been a "terrible year" for the winger.

Ribery was banned for three matches after France players refused to train during the ill-fated World Cup campaign last year when now-banished striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for insulting former coach Raymond Domenech.

"I have learnt a lot," Ribery, recalled to face Luxembourg in a Euro 2012 qualifier and Croatia in a friendly, said at a news conference yesterday.

"I am glad to be here."

A few minutes before facing reporters, Ribery handed out a statement stating he wanted to "stop talking about the past".

"I lost my way," the statement read. "I had a terrible year."

Ribery and fellow World Cup rebel Patrice Evra were recalled by France coach Laurent Blanc against the wishes of the country's sports minister Chantal Jouanno, who reiterated her wish that the two of them remain excluded.

Ribery gave her views short shrift yesterday, snapping back: "She can say what she wants, Blanc is the coach."

The Bayern Munich player was also asked about his relationship with France teammate Yoann Gourcuff.

French media reported last year that Ribery had bullied Gourcuff during the dismal World Cup finals campaign in which France exited at the first round stage.

"I have never had a problem with Gourcuff. I did not like that I was being portrayed as the bad guy and him as the poor one," he said.

"I would have liked him to print a denial."

Ribery still faces months of uncertainty after he was last year placed under judicial investigation on suspicion of soliciting sex with an under-age prostitute.

Ribery said he had not been fairly treated by French media.

"Some things that were written did hurt me. You hurt a lot of people, especially my wife," he said.

France travel to Luxembourg on Friday for a Euro 2012 qualifier before hosting Croatia in a friendly next Tuesday. — Reuters


Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

Olympic frustration for squash players

Posted: 21 Mar 2011 06:46 PM PDT

The four-sided glass court at the Squash Stadium used at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in New Delhi in 2010. Such portable courts have taken squash to spectacular locations, such as in front of the pyramids in Egypt. — Reuters pic

LONDON, March 22 — Emma Beddoes is bright, bubbly and devoted to the sport that provides her with a livelihood and travel around the world.

Enthusiasm quickly turns to frustration, though, when the 25-year-old British professional confronts the disagreeable reality that squash will not feature in next year's London Olympics.

"I think I'm going to emigrate before the Olympics are in London," Beddoes lamented during an interview with Reuters in the deserted bar of her local club on a freezing afternoon in Nottingham. "It's going to be too depressing."

Squash, a racquet and ball indoor sport, is derived from the much older game of racquets, which in turn made an improbable journey from the walled yards of London taverns and prisons in the early 19th century to the privileged surroundings of Harrow school.

Spread throughout the world, partly by Britain's armed forces, squash combines ball skills, agility and brutal physical demands.

With this in mind it would appear an ideal Olympic sport and, in an admittedly random Reuters straw poll, several British sports enthusiasts expressed astonishment that it was not an Olympic sport although it is played in the Commonwealth Games.

"When you talk to people they say they are so looking forward to 2012, it takes everybody by surprise, everybody just assumes it's in the Olympics," said world No. 3 women's player Alison Walters in a telephone interview.

"If we were in the Olympics it would be massive for the sport. We don't get enough publicity, basically, and that's a big, big part of it. If it were an Olympic sport it would make a massive difference."

Peter Nicol, who was the world No. 1 for 60 months, agrees.

"People who you think would know, don't. They just assume that because of badminton and tennis and table tennis, squash is in there," he said.

Exotic champions

Tim Garner is a former professional who, among other activities, is the director of the annual Canary Wharf Classic in the English capital.

"Squash was a little naive initially and felt it was a sport that deserved to be in the Olympics," Garner said over coffee at a north London cafe.

"It waited for the Olympics to come knocking and wasn't proactive about getting in when a number of other sports like tennis and badminton joined the movement when they expanded the raft of sports.

"There's undoubtedly a focus on the Olympic sports in terms of the coverage that the terrestrial (television) channels are able to give. They allocate time to Olympic sports and if you are not in that raft you are not going to be able to get that exposure."

Squash boasts a distinguished list of exotic champions.

Abdel Fattah Amr, also known as F.D. Amr Bey, was an Egyptian diplomat, horseman and polo player and the British Open champion from 1932-7.

Hashim Khan, who learned the game as an eight-year-old at the Peshawar Club where his father was the chief steward, was champion from 1950-55.

Another Pakistani Jahangir Khan dominated the game in its heyday in the 1980s and may have been the best of them all.

Then there is the remarkable Jonah Barrington, who transformed himself from an unemployed 23-year-old with indifferent eyesight into a formidably fit and exciting champion who introduced the game to a wider public in the 1960s.

The modern obsession with football on television and in the media generally has affected the profile and coverage of a host of sports in Britain, including squash, even though Walters and the current world men's No. 1 Nick Matthews are English.

Glass court

One particular criticism of squash has been that it is a better game to play than to watch.

"That's an argument I've heard," said Beddoes. "On traditional courts I would agree.

"But I think live you can now watch it and appreciate it. At a big tournament you have a four-sided glass court, which means you can put it anywhere in the world, spectacular locations like in front of the pyramids."

Garner said squash had lost ground after the boom years of the 1980s and '90s.

"I would be the first to admit it had a sort of lull, when the administrators sat back and thought it was just going to grow and grow," he said.

"As with anything you have to invest time and money to maintain things even when they're successful. But they have been doing that over the last 10 years or so and I think you have seen the benefits in the number of people who are playing.

"Five or six hundred thousand play squash in Britain, 20 men and 10 women playing solely on the world tour."

Beddoes said modern light racquets had made the sport infinitely quicker.

"The skill level now is incredible, you have such a fast racquet speed now, you can play a lot more diverse shots, different shots," she said.

Garner said portable glass courts made squash a great spectator attraction.

"The event in Egypt was truly spectacular, with all the seating around it and the pyramids in the backdrop. It's also been set up in Hong Kong harbour, a number of shopping malls around the world.

"There are some pretty spectacular locations so it was a massive disappointment missing out on the Olympics. You can put a court almost anywhere in London, there are many iconic backdrops." — Reuters


Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan