Vol. VIII No. 40 - Tuesday
October 6 - October 12, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


SPORTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Prem student wins Mercedes Trophy in Rayong

Alonso under pressure to win Ferrari title

Samba! Rio wins right to host the 2016 Olympics

Prem student wins Mercedes Trophy in Rayong

Joy Huss
Traveling south from Chiang Mai to Rayong’s Green Valley Golf Club, three players from The Prem Golf Academy’s Team Elite made their debut appearance at the highly-acclaimed national junior golf competition known as “The Mercedes Trophy” held 26-27 September, 2009. Thirteen year old Chayutpol (Smart) Kittirattanapaiboon, was the surprise winner of the Class B2 division to beat over forty other players from around Thailand in his age group.

Chayutpol (Smart) Kittirattanapaiboon (left) receives the Class B2 division winner’s award at the Mercedes Trophy golf tournament held in Rayong.

Returning competitors to this tournament took notice of Smart’s steady play throughout the two-day event where he held the lead on both days. All players between the ages of thirteen and eighteen were expected to play from the back tees on Rayong’s naturally hilly and undulating course.
Besieged with seasonal rainy and windy weather conditions, this already difficult course was a challenge to be reckoned with for any golfer. Smart’s short game skills was what proved to be the factor that set him apart from the other junior golfers during this event where he completed an impressive 80-78 (158) final score, winning the Class B2 division trophy by just one stroke.
The Mercedes Trophy will be sponsoring five more two-day events throughout the year at a number of championship golf courses located in the Bangkok area. Top qualifiers from these events will compete in The Masters’ Final which will host international junior golfers from around the world, with the top Thai finishers in each age category winning a trip to an international event overseas to be named later.
The Prem Golf Academy’s Team Elite will gain a tremendous amount of experience and confidence through the rigors of traveling and playing new golf courses. “Our team knows that fun and learning is the key to their success,” says Spike Collier, Director of Golf at the Prem Golf Academy.


Alonso under pressure to win Ferrari title

Chris Lines
Suzuka, Japan (AP) - New Ferrari signing Fernando Alonso already feels under pressure to deliver the Italian team a Formula One title.
Ferrari confirmed last Thursday that Alonso would leave Renault and join the team for 2010 on a three-year contract. There had been a previous agreement - made public Thursday - for him to join in 2011, but he will arrive a year early, ousting current driver Kimi Raikkonen.
“There will be a pressure to win titles,” Alonso said from Suzuka, site of last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso of Spain has signed a 3-year deal to drive for Ferrari, beginning in the 2010 F1 season. (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)

“At Ferrari it is not enough to win one race per year or anything like that. The pressure will be there to be champion again. In the next three years hopefully I can win one at least.”
Alonso will partner Felipe Massa, creating a potential headache for the team as it seeks to placate two drivers who will feel they should be the natural No. 1 within the Maranello outfit. But Alonso foresees no problem.
“It will work,” Alonso said. “Felipe we know is a great driver, a quick driver but also a good personality. He will be absolutely fine.”
Alonso had a fractious relationship with Lewis Hamilton in their one season together at McLaren in 2007, when the team did not give preference to either driver. The Spaniard said he had learnt from that experience.
“It will not happen again,” Alonso said. “This is a very different history. I am also more prepared than I was two years ago. It will be fine.
“Ferrari is more important than any driver in the car. It doesn’t matter if you are quicker or slower than your teammate - the Ferrari people want to see a red car in front of the other cars, it doesn’t matter which driver is driving.”
After announcing the deal, both team and driver revealed they had agreed in the last off-season that Alonso would sign with Ferrari for the 2011 season. The Italian team had reached a settlement with Raikkonen in recent days, so were able to bring that date forward.
The move, the biggest in the sport since Michael Schumacher signed with Ferrari in 1996, had the blessing of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
“It’s good for Fernando, good for Formula One, good for Ferrari,” Ecclestone said. “It’s looking good isn’t it. Next year will be a good year.”
Ecclestone also said Massa would be able to hold his own against Alonso.
“If he handled Kimi, he should be able to handle Fernando,” Ecclestone said. “They’re the same type of driver aren’t they. He’ll be alright.”
The Alonso signing was a bold statement by Ferrari of its intention to return to the pinnacle of Formula One, having not won the drivers’ title since Raikkonen in 2007.
“His contribution will be very important to bring Ferrari back to the level where it has to be, to fight at the top,” team principal Stefano Domenicali said.
“As chairman (Luca di) Montezemolo said recently, all the great champs want to come to Maranello sooner or later.”
Alonso will see out the rest of this season with Renault, where he won both his world titles. However his spell ends in disharmony after team principal Flavio Briatore received an indefinite ban and chief engineer Pat Symonds a five-year sanction for their role in Nelson Piquet’s deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
Renault said that a replacement driver would be named this week. BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica is thought to head the list of candidates.
Raikkonen was widely tipped to return to his old team McLaren to partner Hamilton, with out-of-contract Heikki Kovalainen to make way.
“We’ll see him in a good car,” Ecclestone said. “It’d be good to see him in a McLaren wouldn’t it.”
It was a rapid fall from grace for the Finn, who was Ferrari’s undisputed top driver after claiming the 2007 title, but was eclipsed by Massa in 2008.
“I’m sure that (Raikkonen) will remember this time together with us as one of the most beautiful times in his career, just like we will remember him with affection and admiration as a driver with such extraordinary talent and such an honest, transparent and loyal man deserves,” Domenicali said.


Samba! Rio wins right to host the 2016 Olympics

Brazilians celebrate after Rio de Janeiro won the nomination to host the 2016 Olympic Games at the Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Friday, Oct. 2.
(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

John Leicester
Copenhagen (AP) - The 2016 Games are going to Rio de Janeiro. Finally, South America gets an Olympics.
In a vote of high drama, the bustling Brazilian carnival city of beaches, mountains and samba beat surprise finalist Madrid, which got a big helping hand from a very influential friend.
Chicago was knocked out in the first round - in one of the most shocking defeats ever handed down by the International Olympic Committee. President Barack Obama’s last-minute hop to Denmark didn’t swing the games Chicago’s way. He came, saw, charmed but did not conquer. Even Tokyo, which trailed throughout the tight race, did better - eliminated after Chicago in the second round. On Rio’s Copacabana beach, where the city will hold beach volleyball in 2016, the party was heading into the night. In Chicago, there was bewildered silence.
Rio spoke to IOC members’ consciences: the city argued that it was simply unfair that South America has never hosted the games, while Europe, Asia and North America have done so repeatedly.
“It is a time to address this imbalance,” Brazil’s charismatic president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, told the IOC’s members before they delivered their verdict. “It is time to light the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country.”
The final result was decisive: Rio beat Madrid by 66 votes to 32. Chicago got just 18 votes in the first round, with Tokyo squeezing into the second round with 22. Madrid was leading after the first round with 28 votes, while Rio had 26.
In the second round, Tokyo was eliminated with just 20 votes. Madrid got 29, qualifying it for the final round face-off with Rio, which by then already had a strong lead, with 46 votes.
Beating three rich, more developed nations that had all previously held the games represented a giant, morale-boosting coup for Brazil, an emerging nation bounding up the ranks of the world’s biggest economies but which still has millions of people living in poverty. Rio is known as much for its crime-ridden slums as for its stunning natural beauty.
Silva, a bearded former union leader, disappeared into a huge group hug with the joyous Rio team after IOC president Jacques Rogge announced the city’s name. Football great Pele had tears in his eyes. Silva wept into a white handkerchief at a post-victory news conference. Brazil will now hold the world’s two biggest sporting events in the space of just two years: in 2014, it is organizing the World Cup.
The slap to Chicago was such that some IOC members were left squirming. The Windy City’s plans for Olympic competition along its stunning Lake Michigan waterfront had long made it a front-runner and earned support from the highest possible level - Obama himself. His wife, Michelle, flew in two days before the vote to butter up IOC members, an essential part of the selection process. And Obama himself flew in Friday morning.
IOC members had seemed wowed, posing for photos with Mrs. Obama and taking souvenir shots of the president with their mobile phones. But, in the vote, Chicago was shunned.
“Either it was tactical voting, or a lot of people decided not to vote for Chicago whatever happened,” IOC member Gerhard Heiberg said. “Nobody knows, but everybody is in a state of shock. Nobody believes it. I’m very sorry about it.”
Rio’s bid, while high on romance, is not without risk. Because of Rio’s high crime and murder rates, security will be a constant issue in 2016. Preparing Rio for the Olympics will cost billions of dollars - money that critics said could have been better spent on tackling the city’s social problems.
But the lure of that untapped frontier proved too strong for the IOC.
“There was absolutely no flaw in the bid,” said Rogge.
Added Heiberg: “We have sent out a message that we want to go global.”
Now, Africa and Antarctica are the only continents never to have been awarded an Olympics.
Madrid’s surprising success in reaching the final round came after former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch made an unusual appeal for the Spanish capital, reminding the IOC’s members as he asked for their vote that, at age 89, “I am very near the end of my time.”
Samaranch ran the IOC for 21 years before Rogge took over in 2001.
Obama himself only spent a few hours in the Danish capital and left before the result was announced. Former IOC member Kai Holm said the brevity of his appearance may have counted against Chicago.
The short stopover was “too business-like,” Holm said. “It can be that some IOC members see it as a lack of respect.”
Senior Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper surmised that Asian voters may have banded together for Tokyo in the first round, at Chicago’s expense.
“I’m shocked,” Gosper said. “The whole thing doesn’t make sense other than there has been a stupid bloc vote.”
He worried that the shock exit could do “untold damage” to the already testy relations between the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee. They had recent flare-ups over revenue sharing and a USOC TV network.
“To have the president of the United States and his wife personally appear, then this should happen in the first round is awful and totally undeserving,” Gosper said.
Added Dennis Oswald, another member: “It was a defeat for the USOC, not for Chicago.”
The biggest bloc of voters on the IOC - 46 - are Europeans. The IOC’s last two experiences in the United States were bad: the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics were sullied by a bribery scandal and logistical problems and a bombing hit the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Obama had held out the enticing prospect of a Chicago games helping to reconnect the United States with the world after the presidency of George W. Bush. He told the IOC earlier Friday that the “full force of the White House” would be applied so “visitors from all around the world feel welcome and will come away with a sense of the incredible diversity of the American people.”
Now, Chicago can only rue what might have been. And Obama’s gamble of expending his own political capital on the bid failed.
“He didn’t do too much,” French IOC member Guy Drut said.
He grumbled that the USOC’s financial disputes with the IOC were still unresolved. And he said White House security unnerved some IOC members.
“This morning the city was closed because of Barack Obama,” Drut said.
The last U.S. city to bid for the Summer Games, New York, did scarcely better. It was ousted in the second round in the 2005 vote that gave the 2012 Games to London.
Tokyo did better than many expected by reaching the second round. It had offered reassurances of financial security, with $4 billion already banked for the games. But the fact that the Olympics were held only last year in Asia, in Beijing, handicapped the Japanese capital’s bid.



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