Vol. VIII No. 43 - Tuesday
October 27 - November 2, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


SPORTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Major badminton tournament gets underway

The Yara Bangkok Challenge 2009 Adventure Race

United’s Ferguson makes blood boil again

Vancouver flame lit in ancient Olympia

Major badminton tournament gets underway

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Chiang Mai’s Deputy Governor, Chumporn Saengmanee, presided over the opening ceremony for the “Victor-Chiang Mai-Bangkok Open 2009” badminton tournament on October 19 at the Gymnasium 1 in the Muang Chiang Mai Stadium.

HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s trophies await the winners of the tournament.

The competition, a jointly run event by Chiang Mai Municipality and the Sports Association of Chiang Mai, and sponsored by Victor Sports Inter Trade, was being held in honor of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 82nd birthday anniversary and featured approx. 2,000 badminton players from Thailand and overseas competing in 1,300 matches and in 31 categories. The tournament is approved by the Badminton Association of Thailand and the winners will all be awarded ranking points.
All the competitors will also receive panda dolls as souvenirs of the event which was due to conclude, Sunday, Oct. 25.

Chumporn Saengmanee, Chiang Mai’s Deputy Governor, officially opens
the “Victor-Chiang Mai-Bangkok Open 2009” badminton tournament.


The Yara Bangkok Challenge 2009 Adventure Race

Paddling the klongs (canals) of Nong Chok will be just part
of the Yara Bangkok Challenge 2009 Adventure Race.

Part of the Amazing Thailand Adventure Race Series, the Yara Bangkok Challenge 2009 Adventure Race will be held on November 14 and is a three to eight hour endurance race which takes teams of 2 participants through a 50+ km course of trekking, mountain biking, swimming, and paddling as well as some mystery tests.
Organizers this year expect to have more than 100 teams from around the world coming to participate.
“The reason Nong Chok has been chosen as the race venue is because the area has so much to offer to outdoor enthusiasts. The course travels through paddy fields, lakes, canals, temples, wooden bridges, bathing buffaloes, birds and villages trapped in time. The area offers the recipe for great adventure racing, a memorable experience and a wonderful voyage through the greenery and beauty of the Thai Countryside,” says race director Serge Henkens.
Anyone can participate as there are 2 different divisions: Adventure level is accessible to anyone with a minimum of fitness. This is a good introduction to the world of Adventure Racing and top teams are expected to complete the 45 km course in 3 hours.
Extreme level is for more experienced and stronger athletes, as this division requires more serious training. Top teams are expected to complete their 65 km course in 4:30 hours.
The race is open to anyone 14 years of age or older and each team must consist of two athletes.
For more details please take a look here www.ama-events.com or call 02 718 9581-2


United’s Ferguson makes blood boil again

John Leicester
Paris (AP) - So infuriating, so unnecessary. Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson stepped way, way out of line in accusing Premier League referee Alan Wiley of being unfit. In other workplaces, such abuse would be unacceptable - akin to yelling across the office that a colleague is a fat fool.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson speaks during a press conference in Moscow, Tuesday, Oct. 20. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

Pushed to extremes, such disrespect for those who do their best to officiate football but will never be as infallible as robots leads to referees quitting the game in droves. At worst, it leads to the horrors inflicted on match officials such as He Zhibiao in China and Prakong Sukguamala in Thailand.
Prakong reportedly needed 50 stitches and broke a finger last year after an entire team, Kuiburi FC, punched and kicked him for sending off three players in a match to decide promotion to Thailand’s second division. Police fired warning shots to disperse the mob, reports said.
Only sprinting like a gazelle saved He from an almost certain beating after he red-carded three players in a chaotic July 26 playoff between the cities of Beijing and Tianjin. Tianjin player Zhao Shitong, who chased the referee across half the field before pushing him to the ground, was subsequently banned for life.
Ferguson can’t be blamed for such hooliganism, especially in Asian leagues with a history of match-fixing and official corruption.
But as the world’s most famous working football manager, his words and actions echo in all corners of the footballing globe. Like it or not, he and other managers in football’s top tiers are role models. They hurt football with their constant gripes about on-field decisions that go against them, perpetuating the poisonous notion of referees as incompetent whipping-boys at best, enemies at worse. And it is not just Ferguson, although he is the undisputed master of this dark art.
Aug. 16: Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, asked about the officiating in a 2-1 loss to Tottenham, removed his glasses from his pocket and pointed to them. The clear message: referee Phil Dowd is blind.
Aug. 29: Alan Pardew of Southampton, now struggling in League One after dropping out of England’s top two flights, says referee Carl Boyeson “robbed us.” ‘’I’m struggling to remember a referee who is as bad as him,” said the former Reading, West Ham and Charlton boss. “I feel as sick as I’ve felt as a football manager.”
June 24: Hull manager Phil Brown is fined for describing referee Mike Riley’s performance as “disgraceful” in a 2-1 FA Cup loss to Arsenal. “We’ve not been beaten by Arsenal - we’ve been beaten by the referee and the linesman,” he said.
To imagine that such incessant attacks on the integrity and competence of match officials doesn’t trickle down to lower levels of the game is naive. What fans see on television on Saturday is often repeated in their own matches on Sunday.
Last year, in launching a campaign to root out unacceptable behavior, the Football Association said 7,000 referees in England quit football every year because of abuse from players and the sidelines. There’s been progress but more is needed. Serious assaults on referees declined by 10 percent last season but more than 500 still reported being subject to physical abuse.
“Football reflects society,” says Dermot Collins, who manages the Respect campaign. “Somehow we got to the point where players felt they had the right to offer a running commentary right through the game.”
Ferguson did offer qualified apologies for his untruthful claim that Wiley, whom he has often criticized, “just wasn’t fit enough for a game of that standard” after the Premier League champions managed only a 2-2 draw against Sunderland on Oct. 3. Ferguson explained that his legendary temper got the better of him because he was disappointed by his expensive team’s poor play.
Feeble, really.
“Akin to going to work, having a bad day, coming home and kicking the dog,” says Alan Leighton of the Prospect trade union, which represents most of England’s 19 full-time professional referees, including Wiley. The union wants Ferguson to be banned for several matches. A disciplinary commission that can issue a warning, a fine, a touchline ban or worse will hear the case in coming weeks or months.
Ferguson, although clumsily voiced, did actually have a point in suggesting that football must ensure that referees keep pace with the fast modern game. A report on this issue in March from the associations that represent managers and players made sobering reading. Hard to argue - especially after referee Mike Jones’ blunder last weekend in awarding a goal against Liverpool that deflected off a beach ball - with the report’s recommendations that there needs to be more professional referees and far better selection, evaluation and training of match officials.
But such wisdom got lost in Ferguson’s tirade.


Vancouver flame lit in ancient Olympia

Nicholas Paphitis
Olympia, Greece (AP) - The flame for the Vancouver Olympics was successfully lit by the sun’s rays in an ancient ceremony last Thursday, heralding the start of the torch relay for the 2010 Winter Games.

Greek actress Maria Nafpliotou, dressed as a high priestess, holds up the Olympic flame during a ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, at the temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia, Thursday, Oct. 22. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

The sun shone just enough over the fallen temples at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics for a Greek actress in a pagan priestess’ white gown and sandals to focus its rays on a silver torch using a concave mirror.
The flame will burn at the Feb. 12-28 Vancouver Games, following a torch relay across Canada and a shorter run in Greece.
“More than just a sporting event, the Games offer us a unique moment to serve the cause of humanity and celebrate the human spirit,” Vancouver Organizing Committee CEO John Furlong said.
Bad weather disrupted the meticulously choreographed ceremony for the last three Winter Olympics - Turin, Salt Lake City and Nagano - and officials had to use backup flames kindled at rehearsals.
In addition to good weather, last week’s ceremony also benefited from a lack of protesters this time, even though Vancouver relay officials had been worried that activists would be on hand to protest against seal hunting in Canada.
Ahead of the 2008 Beijing Games, pro-democracy and Tibetan activists protesting China’s human rights record unfurled a banner in Olympia’s ancient stadium during the lighting ceremony, and tried to stop the torch relay in several cities around the world.
The protests led the IOC to scrap international torch relays, and dozens of police were stationed at the archaeological site Thursday.
IOC president Jacques Rogge said the Olympic torch conveyed a global message “of friendship and respect.”
“The Olympic torch and flame are symbols of the values and ideals which lie at the heart of the Olympic Games,” Rogge said, as hundreds of spectators looked on from the stadium’s grassy banks.
Greek giant slalom skier Vassilis Dimitriadis, 31, was the first torchbearer to run out of the ancient stadium after accepting the flame from Nafpliotou. After an eight-day journey across Greece, the torch will be handed over to Canadian officials at the restored ancient Panathenaean Stadium in Athens on Oct. 29.
It will reach Canada on Oct. 30 for what organizers say will be the largest ever national relay, starting in Victoria, British Columbia, and involving 12,000 torchbearers.
Furlong said the Vancouver organizing committee wanted “to be sure no Canadian is denied the right to dream and celebrate.”
Over 106 days, the relay will span Canada, being flown as far north as the Alert forestry station in Nunavut, which at some 800 kilometers (500 miles) from the North Pole is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world.
Although cauldrons were lit during the ancient games, held in Olympia from 776 B.C. to 394 A.D, the torch relay is a modern addition to the Olympics. It made its first appearance during the 1936 Berlin Games, and its Winter Games debut was at the Innsbruck 1964 Olympics.



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