Sunday, December 12, 2010

‘It’s all Chinese to me’, but the rest is great

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post | Tue, 11/16/2010 9:53 AM | Sports
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Ask for directions or help from the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games volunteers and you will never get a direct answer. Most of the time you will receive the reply: “wait a minute”, and the person you addressed will go off to find someone from their team that can speak better English.

Although the language barrier is a small problem — it sometimes is frustrating, especially if you in a hurry. After all, there are 600,000 volunteers at the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games and Asian Para Games scattered on every corner of the city and in the neighboring towns to provide help for foreign delegates, journalists and spectators.

“For the first two days I found it very difficult but it got better after that,” said 20-year-old Liu Weihuan, who is a member of a press work room at the Nansha Gymnasium, the stage for the wushu competition.

A boat that attracts people from all walks of life

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou, China | Sun, 11/21/2010 2:40 PM | Sports
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While many professional athletes struggle to find their way into the limelight at international multi-event sporting competitions, such as the current Guangzhou Asian Games, teams of fantastic amateur boat racers are now unable to avoid publicity.

Civil servants, police officers, soldiers, nurses, firemen, fishermen, housewives, teachers and students all joined the colorful Asian Games dragon boat race competition, which made its Asiad debut on Tuesday.

Indonesian policeman Silo said he has had no difficulties joining the national team because his superiors were supportive and granted him training leave.

“If there is no training camp, I am a police officer as usual, and there is no special treatment for me,” said the 25-year-old first brigadier officer who works as a training instructor in Central Kalimantan.

“But I’m very grateful because my superiors support me, and they will have no objection if there is a call for me from the National Sports Council [KONI].”

For Silo, dragon boat racing has the same principles as police work. “Its like a police brigade, one for all and all for one,” Silo said.

The Indonesian men’s team consists of policemen, a marine, several civil servants and university students. Sixteen of the 22-strong squad are new members, while the rest are members of the previous team that competed in several Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and the Bali Asian Beach Games.

Silo’s teammate, civil servant Didin Rusdiana, said he discovered dragon boat racing by accident when university students from Jakarta came to train in his home town near Bandung a few years back. He was hoping that his dragon boat racing efforts would help the new Asian Games sport gain global exposure as it chases a berth in the Olympics.

Japan’s men’s dragon boat team consists of staff from Uohashi Hospital in Aioi, and despite borrowing boats to train and only hitting the water once or twice a month, there is nothing amateur about this crew’s mindset when it comes to competition.

“Our team is all nurses, and in most people’s eyes seems to be weaker than athletes from other teams,” captain Takamasa Matsuno told the Asiad News service.

The Japanese nurses finished first in the 500-meter minor final for a ranking of seventh, and second in the 1,000-meter minor final to take eighth in the event.

The squad is a member of a 10-year-old dragon boat club that won a third straight national open championship in July to qualify for Guangzhou.

Takamasa said they told their patients that they were planning on competing in the Asiad. “They were very supportive and cheered for me. My boss also supported me, so I was able to train indoors in the morning and evenings.”

The Macao team has another dragon boat story. The team is made up of firemen.

“Even many of full-time athletes didn’t get the chance to come here, but we made it. I really feel very lucky,” 31-year-old Macao fireman Chang Wa Ieng told the Asiad Daily, the China Daily supplement for Asian Games.

Chou Pi-Chieh, a 29-year-old high school teacher from Chinese Taipei, whose team competed for the first time, said most of his teammates were students, most in college and some still in high school.

“We broke a paddle during the heat and didn’t have a reserve in the boat, and a lot of our rowers are young and lack experience at such a high-profile event. We can do a lot better,” Pi-Chieh said.

Dragon boat racing, which has its ancient roots in southern China, was added to the Asian program along with kabbadi, sepaktakraw, wushu and the traditional Asian board game of go (weiqi).

Dragon boat racing was revived as a competitive sport in 1976 in Hong Kong. It has been contested worldwide since the International Dragon Boat Federation was formed in 1991.

For the 2014 Incheon program, the Incheon organizers have proposed baseball, bowling, kabaddi, sepaktakraw, softball and squash.

The Olympic Council of Asia would like to see cricket included due to high spectator interest and TV ratings, and karate because of its Asian roots and global popularity. The decision will be made during the next executive board meeting in Muscat, Oman.

Securing the Guangzhou showcase

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou, China | Sun, 11/21/2010 2:41 PM | Sports

An Indonesian journalist unintentionally left his ID card at the main press room and went to the toilet outside.

He was stopped by a security guard when he was about to exit the toilet, and was escorted to the news room to retrieve his ID card.

That was only one little story about how tight the security arrangement has been during the 16th Guangzhou Asian Games.

The local police chief revealed Thursday that the Asian Games security arrangement comprised a four level security line: community security, neighboring area security, torch relay security and venue security.

The police estimated that over 800,000 people have taken part in community security.

“We believe a peaceful and harmonious society is essential to the safety of all sports teams, technical officials, team officials and spectators,” He Guangping, deputy director general of the Guangdong provincial public security department, said at a press conference Thursday.

Since last April the police had launched a campaign for game security called “Social Security for a Safe Asian Games” in which they applied advanced information technology in inter-district and multi-force crack downs against crime.

Three security circles had been mapped out with the sports venues at the center, a circle around Guangdong province, and a circle around host city Guangzhou and co-host cities Foshan, Dongguan and Shanwei.

Since Oct. 10, the police also tightened supervision of road traffic, water traffic, air traffic and rail links by setting up 56 check points along the provincial circle, 76 check points along the city circle, 26 points along waterways and 24 points along rail links. A total of over 3,600 policemen and 7,400 security staff are deployed at these check points.

As of last Tuesday, highway checkpoints had pulled over 2,734,000 vehicles, interviewed more than five million passengers and nabbed “1,740 criminal suspects and 207 wanted criminals.” Police also confiscated 1,979,000 fireworks and 65,000 kilograms of dangerous chemicals.

Security teams have also been deployed at each venue and every residential area.

Physical isolation and technical protection facilities have been installed at all venue and competition areas. “We have a well-equipped nuclear biochemical detection team, professional teams responsible for technical protection, venue security checks, human and vehicle checks, water security checks, an explosives removal team and a special group with explosive detective dogs,” said Guangping.

In the wake of a high-rise inferno that killed 53 people in Shanghai last week, more than 600 fire inspectors have been deployed at the venues, the Asian Games Village and hotels to identify loopholes and remove any possible fire threats to security.

Guangping claimed that the security plan was based on practices adopted by the Beijing Olympics and the 60 anniversary celebrations of the founding of the People Republic of China, both of which were in line with the relevant rules of the Asian Games and the Olympics.

“We believe we can deliver not only a safe Asian Games, but a friendly one. The safety of events
in all venues will remain our priority, and we will deploy the police force to the most needed areas to work jointly with the communities,” he said.

For the Nov. 12 opening ceremony alone up to 100,000 security personnel were on full alert in Guangzhou, Foshan, Dongguan and Shanwei. “Among them, 40,000 personnel were deployed around the Haixinsha Island, the site of the opening. Despite the unprecedented challenges, there have so far been no major security incidents at these games, thanks to arduous preparation,” He Guangping said.

Guangzhou praised for perfect preparation

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post | Mon, 11/15/2010 11:45 AM | Sports

While Indonesia has been busy debating how much money should be spent and where the various sporting events should be held for the South-east Asian (SEA) Games, the Chinese province of Guangzhou began preparing for the 16th Asian Games six years in advance.

Guangzhou, the richest province in China, has spent 13.6 billion Yuan (US$2.04 billion) on the Asian Games and the Asian Para Games, slightly lower than the 2006 Asian Games, which cost host Doha $2.8 billion.

The money was used to build 12 new stadiums, to upgrade 58 existing venues and to build support facilities for the event.

Instead of building stadiums only in a few regions, the arenas have been arranged around the downtown and suburban areas of the city.

“At first we thought of building the stadiums in a concentrated area. But we changed our mind because we want to let people in different parts of the city enjoy the legacy of the Asian Games, for years to come,” 16th Asian Games (GAGOC) organizing committee secretary-general Zhang Guangning told China Daily.

An Asian Games Town is built in an area of 2.73 square kilometers, which comprise eight functional areas including Athlete Village, Media Village and Main Media Center, all of which were completed by Aug. 2010.

As the games host the biggest number of sports in the history of the Asian Games, including 28 Olympic sports and 14 non-Olympic sports, the organizers have organized 150 medical teams, 3,700 vehicles and a team of 60,000 volunteers.

A total of 4,280 technical officials were also appointed, of which 1,911 are international officials. Among the internationals, 506 are Chinese nationals.

As last minute preparations have tarnished the image of many countries in the past, including the recent India Commonwealth Games, the Guangzhou administration has been meticulous throughout the entire preparation process. Since Guangzhou won the bid to host the 2010 games in July 2004, the administration has been dedicated to improving water and air quality, dwelling conditions and transportation in the city.

At the beginning of this month the administration began providing free subway commutes and bus rides for the public, including on a new line from the Baiyun Airport to the downtown area.

However, when it became clear these transportation modes had become too crowded as a result of the policy — passenger volume hit 17.45 million per day — the free policy was revoked and replaced with a 150-yuan subsidy for each family in Guangzhou.

The Guangzhou Games are somewhat focused on the sustainable development and post-games use of facilities, a topic that became a hot issues for the Beijing Olympic Games, deputy GAGOC secretary-general Xu Ruisheng said.

“After six years of preparation, everything is ready for these games in Guangzhou,” Xu Ruisheng said Wednesday, ahead of the spectacular opening ceremony on Friday evening, adding that the 16th Asian Games had progressed through many stages.

Indeed, the Friday night opening ceremony was evidence that the organizing committee had done very well in their preparations, which a 14-month-long rehearsal schedule for the opening act.

At the 380 million Yuan ceremony at Haixinsha (meaning “sand in the heart of the river”), a boat-shaped shoal in the Pearl River sat surrounded by residential buildings and skyscrapers, including the 610-meter high Canton Tower.

With the concept of “taking the Pearl River as the stage and taking the city as the background”, the site for the opening ceremony was open, unlike others that have been held in enclosed stadiums.

Unlike a traditional parade, delegations from every country made their entrance via boat. A total of 45 pleasure boats, featuring landmarks from the event’s 45 participating countries, embarked on a 9.3 kilometer cruise on the Pearl River to the main venue, Haixinsha.

Fireworks exploded from the base of the city’s new iconic landmark, Guangzhou Tower, making the tower look like a blossoming Kapok tree, which is regarded as Guangzhou’s official floral emblem. The fireworks were set off at 960 sites throughout Guangzhou, including Haixinsha. Thousands of fireworks exploded around the Guangzhou Tower, and more than 40,000 projectiles were fired while 580 officials monitored the display.

Chief fireworks designer Christophe Bertoneau also played a major part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

The organizing committee said the fireworks were “low-carbon” and environmentally friendly. “We have applied to the Guinness World Book of Records for fireworks,” said fireworks headquarter chief Zhao Weiping.

The same wushu athletes who dazzled onlookers at the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympic stole the show again on Friday night, flying almost 80 meters above ground on steel wires.

The 160 “flying teens”, who were divided into eight groups, used their bodies to form various shapes, including mountains, fish, seagulls and flowers against a changing backdrop provided by huge LED screens for what amounted to a breathtaking 10-minute performance.

In contrast, a smaller group of 60 performed in Beijing by circling a globe representing the earth to the accompaniment of a 1,000-person drum assembly.

“It was unique, and the organizing committee was perfect. I tried to find something wrong with the ceremony but I could not. I am happy and appreciate what they have done for us,” said Iran team official Hassan Teimourtash.

IOC President Jacques Rogge praised the city. “Guangzhou definitely has the skill to [host the Olympics],” he told reporters Saturday. “Guangzhou has the expertise and experience from these games.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Santia brings husband birthday gift, eyes London Olympics

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou, China | Wed, 11/24/2010 11:15 AM

Despite winning another silver for Indonesia at the Women’s Individual Road Race at Guangzhou Triathlon Venue on Tuesday, Indonesian cyclist Santia Tri Kusuma says her next target is to bring back a medal from the 2012 London Olympics.

“I hope I go to London for the 2012 Olympics, and I’ll try my best to win a medal,” she said after the 100-kilometer race at Pan Yu District of Guangzhou.

Santia crossed the finish line in two hours 47 minutes 46.52 seconds behind Hsiao Mei Yu of Taiwan who snatched the gold medal with 2:47:46.12, while China’s Zhao Na took bronze with 2:47:46.63.

“This is a birthday gift for my husband [Indonesian cyclist Rochmat Nugraha], which will fall tomorrow,” said the 29-year-old.

“I am very happy because this event is not my favorite. I was expected to win a medal in track but I failed. So it is kind of a revenge for me. Moreover, it was quite hard for me to pull out of the pack and only in the last 300 meters was I able to sprint,” she said.

The 2007 Manila SEA Games double gold medalist said that the race was not so difficult as the course was fairly flat and not very hilly, but there was a small corner approaching the finish, which may have cause a bit of trouble for her.

“My compatriot Tonton [Susanto] fell there yesterday but luckily I didn’t,” she explained.

Starting with race number 31, Santia was 23rd of 28 cyclists in the first 20 kilometers of the five-lap race with 34 minutes 59.64, dropping behind to 26th in the second 20 kilometers with one hour seven minutes 59.96 seconds, but advanced to 22 in the third lap with 1:38:21.89 and pressed forward to 21st in the fourth lap with 2:12:31.49.

Santia started the final sprint in the very front, ahead of 2006 Doha Asian Games silver medalist Zhao Na, but in the final 100 meters, Hsiao Mei Yu accelerated hard down the right side of the road, catching Zhao Na and Santia by surprise.

Hsiao passed Zhao, who was looking at the rider to the left, and maintained her sprint to cross the line four bike-lengths ahead of Santia.

Pre-race favorite Natalya Stefanskaya of Kazakhstan placed fourth, while You Jina of Korea was one place behind her in fifth, while Santia’s compatriot Yanthi Fuchianty was ninth with 2:47:48.35.

Hsiao adds this gold to the bronze medal she won in the women’s 500-meter Time Trial last Saturday.

Hsiao’s gold is the first medal for Taiwan in Road Cycling in the history of the Asian Games.

Hsiao, a member of Hong Kong’s Giant Pro Cycling club, is also the fifth female from Taiwan to win a medal of each color at the Asian Games, and also the fifth person to win a medal in two different sports disciplines at the 2010 Asian Games. All five previous athletes have won their medals in Road Track Cycling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Local legend inspires mascots and emblem

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 11/23/2010 12:16 PM

If we look carefully at the Asian Games emblem, is seems to be a simple flame, but the rising torch-like curves actually outline the Five Celestial Goats, a famous Guangzhou landmark.

The emblem is indeed designed to symbolizing the dynamic athletic flare of the Games, but it also represents Guangzhou in many ways.

The design of both the 16th Asian Games emblem and its mascots was inspired by a legend about the city of Guangzhou materialized in a huge statue in the heart of the city — the Sculpture of the Five Rams.

As the legend goes, a long time ago the farm lands in Guangzhou ran dry. Crops could not be grown and a famine struck the people. They could do nothing but pray to the heavens for good luck. One day, a heavenly melody suddenly rang out and five angels came down from the heavens, each wearing different colored coats. The angels arrived riding on goats, and each goat carried bundles of rice with their teeth. The immortals gave the rice to the people of Guangzhou, and promised that the land would soon be free of famine.

The angels then rose up to the clouds and gradually disappeared. The five goats they left behind turned into stone. From that time onward Guangzhou reaped bumper harvests of grain every year and became the most prosperous city in south China. The story has been passed down from generation to generation and has rendered Guangzhou the title “The Ram City”.

The Sculpture of the Five Rams, located within the 868,000 square meter recreational and cultural Yuexiu Park, was created in 1959 by three famous Chinese sculptors; Ying Jichang, Kong Fanwei and Chen Benzhong. The Yuexiu Park itself is a historic scenic spot in the city, constructed around the year 1380 during the Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty.

The sculpture is made of 53 cubic meters of granite, including the base, and stands over 10 meters tall. The heads of the rams weigh two tons each, and the two-meter horns weigh over 500 kilograms.

The sculpture is surrounded by verdant woods and the nearby Nanxiu Lake glistens with silvery ripples and picturesque reflections.

Locals regard the statute as the city’s emblem. In 1989, more stones carvings in commemorating this moving legend expanded the Five Rams Scenic Area into today’s Five Rams Celestial Court.

The five goats, which together are known as Le Yangyang, have been made into the five cute and sporty official mascots of the 16th Asian Games.

Each of the five goats has a different color coinciding the colors of the five Olympic rings, thereby embodying the Olympic spirit at the Asian Games. The names of the five goats are A Xiang, A He, A Ru, A Yi and Le Yangyang, which when spoken together form the Chinese phrase “Xiang He Ru Yi Le Yangyang”, meaning “Peace, Harmony and Great Happiness, with everything going as you wish”.

Both the emblem and the mascot are the result of a long and tight competition.

By June 2007, a total of 812 mascots proposals had been received by the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (GAGOC), including submissions from the US, Germany, Canada, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. About 100 entries were short-listed, and on Dec. 2007 the five goats were selected by GAGOC as the basic concept for the Asian Games mascot.

Even before being made official, the mascot, together with Beijing Olympic Games Fuwa and Paralympics Games mascot Funiu Lele, was recognized with the Best Sports Cartoon prize at the first China International Cartoon and Animation Festival and Award Ceremony and again at the 5th Golden Dragon Original Cartoon and Animation Contest on Sept. 28, 2008.

In April 2010, the five goats concept was approved by GAGOC as the official mascot for the games.

“This corresponds with the concept of the 16th Asian Games — “Thrilling Games, Harmonious Asia”, the organizing committee said in a statement.

The competition for the emblem started in Sept. 2006 when the GAGOC invited several companies and a postgraduate from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts to participate in the design competition, asking them to submit designs for consideration.

Some 100 designs were collected. After repeated modification and screening rounds, the piece by Guangzhou-based designer Zhang Qiang and his design team of Zhongjia Design Co. Ltd. [including Zhang Yi, Yang Jingsong, Hatoli Hikahiko, Li Chenjia and Liang Yihui] won the competition.

“When you put the five names of the mascots together, they represent the hopes of local people that the Games will bring peace, auspiciousness and happiness to the people of Asia,” said GAGOC publicity director Luo Jingjun, as quoted by the SEA Games official website.

— JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh

Fun Fact and features of Le Yangyang

The five colors of the mascots are identical with the colors of the Olympic Rings. “It is to imply that the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games inherits and carries forward the Olympics spirit.”

The blue “A Xiang” symbolizes the meandering and flowing Pearl River as well as the cordial character and the open-mindedness of Guangzhou people.

The black “A He” symbolizes the long history of Lingnan culture and the profound historical and cultural heritage of the ancient city.

The red “A Ru” symbolizes the city’s floral emblem, Kapok.

The green “A Yi” symbolizes Baiyun Mountain.

The yellow “Le Yangyang” is identical with the colors of rice ears and symbolizes harvest and joy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lilyana-Tontowi bring new hope

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, GUANGZHOU, China | Thu, 11/18/2010 9:55 AM

A new hope for gold came from new badminton mixed pair Lilyana Natsir and Ahmad Tontowi who easily defeated Malaysian pair Koo Kien Keat and Woon Khe Wei in the preliminary round 16 of the 16th Asian Games on Wednesday.

Lilyana and Tontowi defeat the Malaysian rival 21-10, 21-9 at Tianhe Gymnasium.

“I think we started out strong and I kept up the front of the court while Tontowi [Ahmad] took the back. Koo [Kien Keat] is very strong but Tontowi’s attack was stronger,” said Lilyana after the match. “We were just able to take control from the start.”

Lilyana attributed the victory to her younger partner saying that Tontowi is very strong mentally and physically. “So as the older, experienced player, I just work with him on technique and confidence,” said Lilyana.

“When I first found out that I wouldn’t be playing with my old partner [Nova Widianto] I was a little uncertain because my former partner and I were world number one for a long time. I felt I had to start all over again but when I started playing with Tontowi, I saw his potential and his ability.

“Together we have won a few tournaments. Nothing big yet but it’s a good start to this partnership. He is definitely stronger and quicker but then, he’s young, so it’s to be expected.”

Lilyana said she is comfortable and confident with her new partner but they will take it one game at a time here. The pair will play Chen Hung Ling and Cheng Wen Hsing of Taiwan on Thursday.

“We have beaten them twice before so I do believe we can get closer to gold,” said Lilyana.

At the men’s division, the 2004 Athens Olympic Games gold medalist Taufik Hidayat, once again, survived the early test after trailing Hsieh Yu Hsing of Taiwan in the men’s singles preliminary round.

Not like most of his current matches, Taufik ended the opposition of the 2008 Beijing Olympics quarter finalist in straight sets 21-16, 21-12.

“I was better this time than the last time I played with him. The last time I won but I went to three games. Here, I won in two. I know his game and I played my own well,” said Taufik who won the gold for Indonesia at the 2002 Busan games and 2006 Doha games.

Meanwhile, another Indonesian ace and the 2008 China Master Super Series champion Sony Dwi Kuncoro crashed out of the men’s division as he was defeated by 20-year-old Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan 13-21, 21-14 and 17-21.

“I could not take control of the match. In the first game I started slow, he was fast but I did not change my playing style. In the second game he felt back and he changed his game to match mine and I could not keep up,” said the fifth time badminton World Grand Prix champions.

This is the second time Chou Tien Chen has defeated world top rank players. In the current China Masters Super Series he also defeated Chinese Chen Jin, the men’s single winner in the 2010 world championship.

On Tuesday in the round 32 matches, women’s single Adriyanti Firdasari also defeated Salakjit Ponsana of Thailand 21-18, 16-21, 21-15 to advance to round 16.

“I’m glad that I won today’s match, but there will be more matches and there’s a long way for me to go. I need to use more effort if I want to go further,” said Firdasari.

Firdasari will play eight seed Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia in a late Wednesday evening match.

Men’s double Mohammad Ahsan and Alvent Yulianto Chandra, who defeated little known Sharim and Zayan of Maldives on Tuesday, are also advancing to round 16 and will play Chieh Min Fang and Sheng Mu Lee of Taiwan on another Wednesday evening match.

On Thursday, pair Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan who has a bye in the round 32 will play Japanese Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hakayama who defeated Hee Chun Mak and We Kiong Tan of Malaysia on Tuesday.

RI teams survive first test at Games

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post | Thu, 11/18/2010 9:56 AM

Indonesian beach volleyball aces Andy Ardiyansah and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro overcame their first test at the Asian Games after beating Yemen’s Adeeb Mahfoudh and Assar Mohammed in Pool Cof the men’s preliminaries at the Town Gymnasium in Guangzhou on Tuesday.

The two-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games champions got off to a slow start in the first, but closed it out set 24-22. They were more dominant in the second, sealing the match 21-12. “In the first match we were not in good shape as we on center court,” Koko commenting on difficulties in the first set, with the Yemenis leveling the score at 20-20, pushing the Indonesian coach to ask for a time-out.

“I told Andy we should focus on the match in order to get more points from blocks and defense,” Koko said. “The Yemeni players are taller than us and we’ve never played them before so we just played our own style.”

In the second set, Andy and Koko led early by six points but the Yemenis fought back and pushed the Indonesians to call for another time-out.

“We lifted our foot off the gas that time, but we said to each other ‘come on, wake up’ while in the time-out,” Andy said, adding that the Yemenis were good hitters.

The 2007 and 2008 Asian champions will next meet Japan’s Shinya Inoue and Yoshiumi Hasegawa on Thursday. Another Indonesian pair, Dian Putra Santosa and Ade Candra Rachmawan, also won their first preliminary match in pool H against South Korea’s Lee Gwangin and Ko Junyong 15-21, 21-15, 15-9.

“Our service game was riddled with error. It was too windy,” Dian said referring to their first set loss. In the 42-minute match in front of 1758 spectators, Dian and Ade made eight service faults while the Korean made only four. The wind speed was recorded at 9.7 kilometers per hour at the time of the match.

In the second set, the Indonesians won a surprising seven straight points to come from behind 14-15 and win the set 21-15.

“We just took it slow and had many blocks. I believed we could win at the time.” said Dian said.

Dian and Ade will next meet Oman’s Khalifa Al Jabri and Abdullah Al Alrajhi on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Japan and Indonesia in rare tie for bronze

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou | Tue, 11/16/2010 9:09 PM

Indonesia’s Susyana Tjhan and Yuki Hiraoka of Japan shared a wushu bronze medal in a rare tie in the women's changquan final in Nansha Gymnasium at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Tuesday.

Both scored 9.66 out of 10 in their changquan routines and had to wait 10 minutes after receiving their scores before learning they would both stand on the podium’s bronze-medal step.

Usually a tied score in a Taolu event goes to the athlete who performed the most difficult movements, but Susyana and Hiraoka scored the same on all three scoring components.

“I am satisfied with my result. Although I won the silver medal at the Doha Asian Games, I don’t feel regret, because I tried my best,” said 26-year-old Susyana.

Hiraoka said she was very happy to share the bronze with Susyana.

“There was no pressure for me because I'm not famous in China. What I want to do after the competition is to eat the chocolate, cake and desserts at the Athletes Village.” she said laughing.

It is not the first time a medal has been tied in wushu at the Asian Games, but it is still a rare occasion. At the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games two athletes shared silver in the men's changquan and at the 1994 Hirosima games there was a tie for bronze in the men's taijiquan.

Susyana's bronze was her second Asian Games medal after she won a silver at the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

The gold medal went to Geng Xiaoling of Hong Kong who posted a score of 9.75. Xiaoling is the world daoshu champion but entered the changquan event because her favorite event was not featured at the Guangzhou program.

“Actually, I want to cry now. I prepared for this Games for a long time and I had pressure. I feel tired, not only physically but also psychologically. It is very hard,” Xiaoling said through an interpreter. “I have knee and ankle injuries and a pulled leg muscle. I could hardly move in the most serious period,” she added.

The 26-year-old Xiaoling said she had prepared hard. “People may see our wonderful performances during the competition but they cannot imagine the tedious training we have to do. We have to repeat the same training again and again, every day.”

Myanmar's Oo Sandi Oo, the last woman to compete, won silver with a score of 9.67.

Malaysia snatches gold from RI hands

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post | Tue, 11/16/2010 9:56 AM

World champion Llindswell Wijayaka failed to deliver Indonesia gold at the 16th Asian Games after finishing sixth at the women’s Taijiquan and Taijijian all-round at Nansha Gymnasium, about 71 kilometers south of Guangzhou, on Monday.

“I realize I was too intense. When I landed I was trembling,” Llindswell said after the contest. “Moreover, compared to the others, I choose maneuvers with the greatest [degree of] difficulty,” she added.

Llindswell performed beautifully at the Taijijian morning session and stood at the top of the group with 9.67 points, on par with Ai Miyaoka of Japan and Fong Ying Chai of Malaysia. The result inspired the athlete’s hopes for Indonesia’s first gold, similarly encouraging a stable of journalists and Indonesian officials who had flocked to the venue from downtown.

However, during the Taijiquan evening session Llindswell almost fell during her performance, which earned her only 19.10 total points, leaving her in sixth position.

“She expected to win the gold. First, because she is the 2010 world champion, and secondly because she was champion again in the category during a recent international event in Beijing. Lastly, because there were no host competitors in the category,” Indonesian Wushu Association (PBWI) chairman Supandi Kusuma told reporters after the contest.

“If she did not make a fatal mistake, she would have won the first gold for Indonesia,” Supandi added.

The gold was grabbed by Fong Ying Chai of Malaysia with a total score of 19.36, while the silver medal went to Ai Miyaoka of Japan with a total score of 19.34. Ching Ni Wen of Chinese Taipei took the bronze with a total score of 19.33.

“I’m proud to win my country its first gold medal,” Fong Ying Chai said during a conference after the contest. “It’s true that I have most of the same people standing by me on the podium, which reminds me how time flies and we’re all getting old.”

Malaysia has targeted nine gold medals at Guangzhou. It has won one silver in billiards, and bronzes in equestrian, shooting and the nanquan/nandao all-round event in wushu.

The three Taijiquan and Taijijian medalists have all trained for several months at Fozhou, the capital of southeast China’s Fujian province.

“We are really familiar with each other and we are good friends,” said Ai Miyaoka. “I hope we can move forward together in the future.”

Indonesia still has several chances to bring home other gold medals, National Sports Council (KONI) chairperson Rita Subowo said.

“It is quite hard for us [in all disciplines] because we are competing with host country world class athletes,” she said.

“We were really expecting gold from Llindswell because there were no Chinese athletes in the category. But, unfortunately the expectation was not realized as it seemed that Llindswell was under pressure,” she added.

Triyatno wins second bronze, ace Lisa loses out

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, GUANGZHOU, China | Tue, 11/16/2010 9:55 AM

Indonesia received another bronze medal at weightlifting after lifter Triyatno finish third in the men’s 69-kilogram category Monday.

However, ace lifter Lisa Raema Rumbewas’ hopes to shine for Indonesia were thwarted in the women’s 58-kilogram category.

The 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Triyatno lifted 143 kilograms at snatch and 178 kilograms at clean and jerk to finish third with a total of 321 kilograms at the Dongguan Gymnasium, 67 kilometers south of Guangzhou.

The 23 years old tried 143 kilograms at his first snatch but failed to lift 148 kilograms on his second and third attempt. In clean and jerk, he managed to lift 174 kilograms on his first attempt and 178 on his second but failed to lift 182 on his last attempt.

“I am not satisfied because in 2008 I was doing great lifting at the Olympic Games. In the clean and jerk I expected to lift 182 kilograms,” said Triyatno.

Kim Kum Sok of North Korea grabbed the gold medal with a total lift of 324 kilograms, and although Morteza Rezaeian managed to lift a similar 324 kilograms with Kim Kum-sok, his body weight is 31 grams more than the North Korean.

“It was my strong will that made me improve my performance. After the last World Championships, I was upset about the result. So, I worked much harder,” said Kim Kum-sok.

Kim was also surprised with Triyatno’s performance. “I expected the Indonesian athlete [Triyatno] to be my main rival because my total record was not good enough to win over him during the last world championship,” he said.

Iranian head coach Kourosh Bagheri is optimistic that his lifter can make up for the lost as he is younger than the gold medalist.

“[Rezaeian’s] body weight is a little bit heavier than Kim, althought they lifted the same weight. But he is just 21 years old and it’s his first Asian Games,” said Bagheri. “As his coach I will keep an eye on the 2012 Olympics Games. This time he lost the gold but it’s better than a bronze.”

During the contest, Bagheri spoke to and patted his lifter’s shoulder before lifting. This made some reporters curious. “He is young. As his coach, I always speak to him and make him concentrate during the competition. I patted his shoulder to make him relax and keep clear,” he explained.

In the women’s division, hope was on ace Indonesian lifter Lisa Raema Rumbewas to collect more medals for the women’s 58-kilogram class but she finished eighth in the group A contest, lifting only a total of 205 kilograms.

The 2004 Athens Olympics 58-kilogram category silver medalist was even a stroke behind her countrywoman Okta Dwi Pramita who lifted a total of 206 kilograms.

The 2000 Sydney 48-kilogram category silver medalist managed to lift 94 kilograms at snatch and lifted 111 in her third clean-and-jerk attempt, while Okta Dwi Pramita managed to lift 88 kilograms at snatch but lifted 118 in clean and jerk.

The final result for the women’s 58 kilograms waits upon the result of group B, which will be contested later in the evening, but even then Indonesian lifters miss out on medals as they were not at the top of group A.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thailand crushes Indonesian women’s team

The Jakarta Post | Mon, 11/15/2010 11:22 AM

A day after shocking 2006 Doha silver medalists India with a blowout victory in the first round of the women’s team event, the Indonesian women’s team fell 3-0 to Thailand at the Aoti Tennis Center on Sunday.

Indonesia’s first singles player Ayu Fani Damayanti lost to Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 6-3, 6-1 in the opening match of the tie. In the second singles match, Thai veteran Tamarin Tanasugaran saw off Lavinia Tananta 6-2, 7-5.

Indonesia’s doubles pair Yayuk Basuki and Jessy Rompies lost to Luangnam Nudnida and Varatchaya Wongteanchai in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, putting the tie beyond contention.

“We tried our best but we failed. But this does not mean this is the end,” said Yayuk, who won gold in the women’s doubles at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games and again at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games, and gold in the singles at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.

“I think the team has given their best but Thailand is obviously stronger than our team,” said Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng. “This is not the time to talk about the defeat but rather to find a solution to improve the country’s tennis performance.”

Tono Suratman, the head of Indonesia’s contingent at the Games, said the team’s defeat was disappointing.

“They finished second at the 2009 Laos SEA Games and that is why they were sent here. But unfortunately the result was far from our expectations,” he said adding that a thorough evaluation of the women’s team’s performance would be carried out ahead of next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Palembang, South Sumatra.

“Tennis really needs new blood. I was wondering why Yayuk [Basuki] was still playing at this event,”
he said.

— JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh

Eko wins bronze, eyes improvement at Olympics

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou | Mon, 11/15/2010 11:24 AM

Indonesian ace weightlifter Eko Yuli Irawan put up a brave fight to bring home bronze in the men’s 62-kilogram category at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou on Sunday.

Eko competed against lifters from North Korea and China at Dongguan Gymnasium, which is about a two-hour drive south from Guangzhou. Eko lifted 141 kilograms on his second attempt, but failed to lift 144 kilograms on his third and final attempt.

In the clean and jerk category, the 21-year-old former cattle farmer lifted 170 kilograms on his second attempt but failed to lift 177 kilograms on his third.

With a combined total of 311 kilograms, Eko finished short of pre-tournament favorite Kim Un-guk of North Korea, who lifted 317 kilograms, and Chinese lifter Zhang Jie who finished with a score of 321 kilograms.

“This is the best I can do right now; I thank God and all of the people who made me get this bronze medal and I hope my country will be proud of me,” Eko said after the contest.

Eko, who is younger than the top two finishers, said he still had a good opportunity to win medals in the future, and would train harder for the 2012 London Olympics, where he said the competition would be no harder than in Guangzhou.

“Because the competitors in my class [at the Asian Games] are the best in the world,” he said.

Kim Un-guk finished first and Zhang Jie second at the 2010 World Championships in Atalya, Turkey. Eko placed fourth.

Eko’s coach, Lukman, said errors had cost his charge. “Eko made a mistake in his last attempt in the clean and jerk, but so did many lifters. He lifted up the barbel but he put it in the wrong place — right at his neck — and this surely made it hard for him to breath and he actually blacked out.”

“This was just a technical mistake because he has lifted 180 kilograms again and again in training. He
was just not in good condition,” Lukman said.

However, he said, the two years until London was plenty of time for Eko to improve. “He is still young and growing up. As long as we support him with good nutrition and better training and world class tryouts, I believe he will make it in London.”

Lukman said Eko had no rivals in Southeast Asia, citing that he had dominated the SEA Games several times. He said that he therefore needed experience in world-class competitions to compete with others of his level.

Zhang Jie, who won gold in the multi event, said he was pleased he had avenged his defeat to Kim Unguk at the World Championships in Turkey.

“In Turkey, he [Kim Un-guk] outdid me because I had a little injury, but I can beat him. The three of us will meet each other again in the future so let’s see what will happen,” Jie said through an interpreter.

Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, who was present at the contest, said weightlifting should be given more attention in Indonesia so that it could become the second-most important sport after badminton. “The performance of our lifters at many events has proven something and there is no choice for us to give better support for them right now.”

Earlier in the day, Indonesian women’s lifter Citra Febriati topped group B in the women’s 53-kilogram class, lifting a combined total of 202 kilograms to finish ahead of Shu Ching Hsu of Chinese Taipei who lifted 196 kilograms and Aye Thanda Lwin of Myanmar who lifted 187 kilograms.

The results of the women’s 53-kilogram division must wait for the results of group A, which was to be contested in the late evening Sunday, by among others Chinese Li Ping and Jaroenrattanatarak of Thailand.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

RI men and women secure place in semifinals

The Jakarta Post | Sun, 11/14/2010 11:10 AM
Indonesia’s men’s and women’s teams secured a spot in the semifinals of the badminton event at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, after trailing the Taiwan teams on Saturday.
Veteran player Taufik Hidayat led the men, who have a bye in the quarterfinals, to a 3-0 win over Taiwan, while women’s team also defeated Taiwan 3-0.
Taufik returned from a late warm up to defeat Yu Hsieng Hsieh 11-21,21-8, 21-12, while doubles pair Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan defeated Chieh Min Fang and Sheng Mu Lee 21-19, 21-9. Second Indonesian singles player Simon Santoso also came from behind to defeat Hsuan Yi Hsueh 15-21, 21-15, 21-16.
In the women’s event, Ardiyanti Firdasari beat Shao Chieh Cheng 14-21, 21-11, 21-11 before doubles pair Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari came from behind to beat Wen Hsing Cheng and Yu Chin Chien 21-16, 16-21, 21-12. Maria Febe Kusumastuti wrapped up proceedings by beating Hsiao Huan Chen 21-19, 21-10.
“In the morning matches, both teams seemed to have tough opponents as they struggled to win
every game, but in the evening matches they played very well,” said badminton team manager Yacob Rusdiyanto.
“I’m very glad we beat because the Taiwan women’s team, because they were the favorites in their division.”
“The men also performed well, especially Kido and Hendra, who beat the Taiwan team that won in their last two meetings.”

Excel: Indonesian women’s doubles shuttlers Liliyana Natsir (right) and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari return a shot to Indian opponents Balana and Sawant in a qualifying round at the Tianshe Gumnasium at the Asian Games in Guangzhou on Saturday. Antara/Andika Wahyu Excel: Indonesian women’s doubles shuttlers Liliyana Natsir (right) and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari return a shot to Indian opponents Balana and Sawant in a qualifying round at the Tianshe Gumnasium at the Asian Games in Guangzhou on Saturday. Antara/Andika Wahyu

In Sunday’s semifinals, the men will face hosts China, who defeated Hong Kong 3-0, while the women meet Thailand, who beat Japan 3-1.
“China are of course favorites in the men’s event, but our women need to be careful against Thailand, which is quickly developing some very talented young players,” Yacob said.
Earlier in the day, the Indonesian women had secured a place in the quarterfinals after defeating India 3-2 at the Tianhe Gymnasium.
India led from the start with world number three Saina Nehwal defeating Firdasari 21-16, 21-17 and Indian pair Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Machimanda defeating Indonesian aces Greysia and Meiliana 21-17, 17-21, 23-21.
Nehwal, the first Indian woman to win a Badminton Super Series and the first to win a Commonwealth gold medal in October, needed only 30 minutes to stop world number 34 Firdasari. The new Indonesian pairing of Greysia and Meiliana lost to Gutta-Aswini and Machimanda in 44 minutes.
In the next two matches, world number 24 Maria Febe easily defeated Aditi Ajay Mutatkar 21-10, 21-16, while duo Liliyana Natsir and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari also expended little effort in dispatching Aparna Balan-Prajakta Sawant 21-11, 21-11.
In the decisive fifth match, Indonesia’s last hope Linda Wenifanetri faced little pressure from the relatively unknown Arundhati Pantawane, winning 21-9, 21-10.

— JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh

Indonesia picks up two medals on first day

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou | Sun, 11/14/2010 11:04 AM

Indonesia won two medals on the first day of the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, with Ivana Ardelia Irmanto’s silver in the wushu competition and Jadi Setiadi’s bronze in weightlifting on Saturday.

Ivana won silver in the women’s nanquan/nandao all-round wushu competition in the morning while lifter Jadi Setiadi won bronze in the men’s 56-kilogram class later in the day.
In the snatch, Jadi managed to lift 120 kilograms on his first attempt, but failed to lift 123
kilograms on his second and the third try.
“In the snatch, he equalled the result of Myanmar’s Phyo Pyiae Phyo but Jadi weighs 4 grams more so he needed to lift more in the clean and jerk in order to win bronze. It was really psychological warfare between the coaches and lifters of the two countries,” Indonesian weightlifting manager Sony Kasiran told The Jakarta Post.
In the clean and jerk, Jadi twice lifted 146 kilograms in his first and second tries before lifting 151 kilograms in the last try to win bronze, while Phyo could only lift 145 kilograms in his first try and failed to lift 150 kilograms and 151 kilograms in his second and third tries.
“We were very grateful to everybody that had helped us to get this result. We are so happy because from the beginning there was no pressure on us to win any medals.
“Jadi was really lucky because he had just recovered from a knee injury in both legs and a few days before our departure, he complained of discomfort in his wrists. He could only manage 140 kilograms at a tournament in Turkey,” Sony said.
First bronze for Indonesia: Indonesian weightlifter Jadi Setiadi reacts after successfully lifting an overall 271. 48 kilograms in the men’s 56-kilogram weightlifting event at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Saturday. Jadi seized Indonesia’s first bronze medal with his lift. Reuters/Mick Tsikas First bronze for Indonesia: Indonesian weightlifter Jadi Setiadi reacts after successfully lifting an overall 271. 48 kilograms in the men’s 56-kilogram weightlifting event at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Saturday. Jadi seized Indonesia’s first bronze medal with his lift. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

The gold medal went to China’s Jingbiao Wu who lifted 133 kilograms in the snatch and 152 kilograms in the clean and jerk to break the Asian Games record in the men’s 56-kilogram category with a total lift of 285 kilograms.
The silver medal went to North Korea’s Cha Kum-chol who managed to lift 128 kilograms in the snatch and 148 kilograms in the clean and jerk.
Sony said his lifters were a lot more relaxed at the event because there were no specific targets the Indonesian Sports Committee (KONI) or the Youth and Sports Ministry had given them.
“They set no expectations, even for mainstays such as Eko [Yuli Irawan] and Triyatno. The most important thing is that they do their best at the event,” Sony said.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Rio Haryanto, RI’s first F1 driver?

Matheos Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 11/08/2010 10:39 AM

After finishing in the top five at the end of the GP3 season, teenager Rio Haryanto will soon become the first Indonesian to try a Virgin Racing Formula One car.

During the Nov. 16 test drive at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, the 17-year-old will be one of
the youngest drivers to ever take a test drive on the FIA official Formula One racing circuit. The GP3 champion Esteban Gutierrez enjoyed the same privilege last year along with Tim Sauber when he was only 18.

“The most important thing for me in this test drive is not to be the fastest, but how to gain experience from this rare opportunity,” Rio told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

“What I need is the experience because everything will be very different, especially the force and the aerodynamic system of the car. I am happy there is no pressure for me to be the fastest. Besides, this is not the decisive moment to be or not to be in a Formula One race. It will take a while to move up to Formula One,” Rio said.

But Rio cannot hide his enthusiasm.

“For sure, the finest moment for me in 2010 was not when I won in Istanbul. It was when I got this chance,” he said.

The prestigious prize was offered by the Virgin Racing team at the beginning of the season to the driver who finished highest in the GP3 Series in a Manor Racing car.

Rio is now a member of the UK’s Manor Racing along two British teammates, James Jakes and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, all of whom have finished not only with the best results among their team members, but also in the top five overall leaders. For his results, Rio was granted the rare opportunity after finishing third in the first GP3 Europe Series race in Monza, Italy, on Sept. 12, 2010.

“The good thing with Manor is we keep linking with Virgin F1 cars. It’s not the world best F1 car, but it still a Formula One car, and I’m sure next year the Virgin F1 will be better,” Rio’s manager Piers Hunnisett said.

Rio came to the series having dominated the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Championship with 11 wins and 14 podiums with the Meritus Racing Team.

Before departing for the GP3 Series in Europe earlier this year, Rio had set a top 10 target, but surprisingly closed the season in the big five from a pack of 30 drivers that took part in the 2010 series.

In Europe, Rio continued his winning streak this year by winning the GP Turkey on May 30, finishing fourth in Valencia, Spain, on June 27, runner up at Silverstone, England, on July 10 and third at Monza, Italy, on Sept. 12.

Rio, who was born in Solo, Central Java, on Jan. 22, 1993, amazed Virgin Racing team principal, John Booth, who is also the founder and the principal of Manor Racing.

“Rio’s achievements are truly great, I do not doubt it, but I didn’t think he could reach this level this soon,” Booth said after the latest Italian GP, as reported on Rio’s official website.

Regarding ambitions to reach the higher levels of racing, such as Formula One, manager Piers Hunnisett said Rio still has a lot time to make his dream come true.

“Everything is possible. The Abu Dhabi test is quite a big jump. I don’t want to introduce anything and [make him] lose confidence. He is only 17, so he is naturally getting stronger. He is still growing — the brain, the muscles. I don’t want to push him too hard too soon,” Hunnisett said, adding that it normally takes three to four years on every stage along the way to Formula One.

“Worst case — 10 years, although some drivers take longer than that. Narain Karthikeyan, an Indian racer, took almost 14 years to get to Formula One, and even Mark Webber took six or seven years, I think,” Hunnisett said.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tak perlu "mujizat" untuk mengakui kebesaran Allah

Mengapa kita hanya melihat hal-hal yang extraordinary sebagai perwujudan kebesaran Allah? Mengapa kita hanya merasa Allah exist dalam kehidupan manusia kalau ada hal yang dianggap mujizat. Kita memang selalu mengharapkan mujizat untuk mengakui kebesaran Allah. Kalau ada langit terbelah, tsunami, penampakan dst, dst barulah mulut kita komat-kamit mengakui kebesaran Allah.
Mujizat itu bukan hanya hal-hal yang extarordinary tetapi hal-hal yang kecil, yang kita anggap sederhana dan given tetapi sebenarnya kalau kita sendiri tak mampu secuilpun mempunyai kuasa atasnya. Masih bisa bangun pagi dan bernapas saja itu sudah suatu mujizat yang luar biasa.
Jangalah cuma bersyukur kalau bisa "berhasil" membuat ini atau itu, tetapi bersyukurlah kalau Allah masih memberi kesempatan untuk hidup dan melakukan hal-hal yang nampaknya sederhana.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Larissa lagi!

Paraguayan fan Larissa Riquelme celebrates after Paraguay beat Japan during a South Africa 2010 World Cup soccer match as they watch the game in a big screen in the downtown square of Asuncion, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Paraguay moves on to the quarter finals.(AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
A Portugal supporter holds up a scarf before the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and Portugal at the Green Point stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Fans react after Spain scored during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and Portugal, as they watch on a large screen outside the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Millions of people worldwide are following the World Cup soccer tournament which is been held in South Africa, and broadcast to a diverse community of football fans. Spain won 1-0. (AP Photo/Arturo Rodriguez)

Caption 1: Spain's David Villa celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and Portugal at the
Caption 1: Spain's David Villa, center back, scores the opening goal past Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo, center front, during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and Portugal at the Green Point stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
<img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 347px; height: 400px;" src="" alt=""
Caption 1: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo sits on the pitch during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and Portugal at the Green Point stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Caption 1 : Japan's Yuichi Komano, leaves their hotel in Centurion, South Africa, Wednesday, June 30, 2010. After Japan was defeated by Paraguay 5-3 on penalties Tuesday, after a 0-0 draw in their round of 16 World Cup soccer match. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Caption 2: Japan head coach Takeshi Okada, right, comforts Japan's Yuichi Komano, left, following the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Paraguay and Japan at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Paraguay advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time with a 5-3 victory over Japan in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Caption 1: Japan's Yuichi Komano (left) Japan's Yuki Abe (center) and Japan's Makoto Hasebe (right) react following the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Paraguay and Japan at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Paraguay advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time with a 5-3 victory over Japan in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Caption 1: Japan players line up for penalty shootouts during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Paraguay and Japan at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Caption 2: Japan players react during penalty shootouts at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Paraguay and Japan at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Paraguay advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time with a 5-3 victory over Japan in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Valdez tahu bagaimana rasanya

Valdez memulai karir dari kemiskinan yang luar biasa. bahkan pernah jadi gelandangan..(see story bellow) dia tahu bagaimana rasanya...lihat saja bagaimana reaksinya terhadap para pemain Jepang...perfecto humano...

Caption 1:
Paraguay's Nelson Haedo Valdez, right, consoles Japan's Yuichi Komano, center, after he missed a shootout penalty during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Paraguay and Japan at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Paraguay advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time with a 5-3 victory over Japan in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Caption 2: Paraguay's Nelson Haedo Valdez, foreground right, comforts Japan's Yuichi Komano, center back, following the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Paraguay and Japan at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Paraguay advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time with a 5-3 victory over Japan in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Paraguay’s Valdez takes tough road to Cup

Martin Rogers

Soccer has provided Nelson Valdez with wealth, success, an impressively swanky home in an upscale suburb of the German city of Dortmund and a chance to shine on soccer’s biggest stage of all.
But before the big pay checks kicked in and World Cup dreams came true, the beautiful game also gave Valdez a makeshift place to live and an escape from homelessness.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Child rescued from Haiti rubble is orphaned again

Rukmini Callimachi
Associated Press/Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Time was up, not 10 minutes into the visit. The social worker went to pull the 3-year-old orphan out of the arms of the woman he calls "Momma."

The boy turned his face and dug his hands into her clothes. He kicked his legs. He screamed as they carried him away.

Tamara Palinka covered her mouth to hold back the sobs. The 37-year-old Canadian volunteer aid worker did not know when - or if - she would get another glimpse of the child she was desperately trying to adopt.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dunga's way, more sombre than Samba

Brian Homewood


Dunga is the Portuguese name for Dopey, the smallest of Snow White's seven dwarfs, but for many people it would have been more appropriate if Brazil's coach had been named after Grumpy.
Real name Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri, Dunga often seems as if he would be more at home with a dour European team rather than the flamboyant five-times champions, who many neutrals look to for World Cup inspiration.
Uzbek refugees who fled from Kyrgyzstan seen in a refugee camp on the border at the Uzbek village of Erkishlok, Tuesday, June 15, 2010. Many thousands of refugees have fled the pogrom that began last week in southern Kyrgyzstan. (AP Photo/Anvar Ilyasov)
Uzbek refugees seen in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, near the border with Uzbekistan, Monday, June 14, 2010. Some thousands of refugees have fled the pogrom that began last week in southern Kyrgyzstan. (AP Photo/Faruk Akkan,CHA
An Uzbek soldier directs Uzbek refugees in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh while waiting to cross the border into Uzbekistan, near the border with Uzbekistan, Monday, June 14, 2010. Some thousands of refugees have fled the pogrom that began last week in southern Kyrgyzstan. (AP Photo/Faruk Akkan
Ethnic Uzbeks gather near the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in southern Kyrgyzstan, on Saturday, June 12, 2010, trying to seek refuge in Uzbekistan from mobs of Kyrgyz men attacking the minority Uzbek community. The country's second-largest city, Osh, slid into chaos Friday when gangs of young Kyrgyz men armed with firearms and metal rods marched on Uzbek neighborhoods and set their homes on fire. Thousands of terrified ethnic Uzbeks were fleeing toward the nearby border with Uzbekistan.(AP Photo/D. Dalton Bennett)

South Korea supporters pose for photos before the World Cup group B soccer match between Argentina and South Korea at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, June 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

South Korea head coach Huh Jung-moo, left, shouts instructions to his players as Argentina head coach Diego Maradona, right, looks on during the World Cup group B soccer match between Argentina and South Korea at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, June 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Argentina's soccer team coach Diego Maradona kneels while speaking to a journalist after a practice in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, June 15, 2010. Argentina play in group B of the World Soccer Cup. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Deva ju Piala Dunia

Argentina head coach Diego Maradona reacts as South Korea head coach Huh Jung-moo, is seen in background at right, during the World Cup group B soccer match between Argentina and South Korea at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, June 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Referee Frank De Bleeckere from Belgium, center, shows a yellow card to South Korea's Lee Chung-yong, left, as Argentina's Nicolas Burdisso, right, gets up during the World Cup group B soccer match between Argentina and South Korea at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, June 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

The June 2, 1986 file photo shows Spanish referee Victoriano Sanchez, center, showing the yellow card to South Korean player Jung-Moo Huh for fouling Argentina's Diego Maradona, left, during the first half of the Football World Cup match between South Korea and Argentina in Mexico City. Argentina defeated South Korea 3-1. 24 years later both face each other again as coaches of the national soccer teams of Argentina and South Korea playing their soccer World Cup group B match on Thursday, June 17, 2010 in Johannesburg. (AP Photo