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South Africans celebrate World Cup’s arrival

Kanthima takes top prize at Summit Green Valley

Six teams selected for national aerobic dance finals

South Africans celebrate World Cup’s arrival

Chiang Mai residents enjoyed the opening game of the World Cup 2010
at Chidlom Restaurant at JJ Market. World Cup fever has swept across
Chiang Mai as people flocked to their favorite bars, pubs and restaurants
to watch the match. The opening game saw South Africa draw 1-1 against
Mexico in the first ever World Cup to be held in Africa.

John Pye

Johannesburg (AP) - South African celebrations weren’t muted in any way by Mexico’s late equalizer as the hosts opened the World Cup with a 1-1 draw last Friday that ended years of debate over whether Africa would be ready in time to stage football’s marquee event.

The mood was tempered earlier in the day when news emerged that anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s great granddaughter was killed in a car accident on the eve of the tournament, sending the family into shock and mourning.

But as the sun rose over Johannesburg, so did the mood in the fan zones, downtown streets and dusty lanes, where the revelry and the gridlock started many hours before kick-off, despite the heavy security.

South Africa fans blow vuvuzelas following their teams 1-1
draw with group rivals Mexico. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Vuvuzela horns blared in Soccer City and across the nation and people danced in the streets, long before Siphiwe Tshabalala’s stunning goal in the 55th minute gave South Africa the lead over Mexico. Rafael Marquez’s equalizer in the 79th only briefly silenced the 84,490-strong crowd in the main stadium.

The crowd erupted when Katlego Mphela hit the near post in the 90th minute after getting clear of two markers, giving the game the climax it warranted: South Africa were only millimeters from victory in the first World Cup match on African soil, but Mexico earned a deserved draw.

“I believe the ice has been broken ... and I believe in the next match we will be even more confident,” South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. “We could easily have won the game. All in all at the end a draw is a fair result.

“We are still in the competition. This group is very tough.”

At the end of the day, all four teams in Group A have one point after France and Uruguay played out a comparatively dull scoreless draw.

Local organizing committee chief Danny Jordaan he couldn’t have asked for me.

“A capacity stadium, a host nation with a will to win, an incredible atmosphere and spectacular football,” Jordaan said. “It is just fantastic that the first goal of Africa’s first World Cup went to South Africa, we really couldn’t have written a better script.

Showing their support for the World Cup 2010, PR girls stroll through
Chiang Mai’s JJ Market on the night of the opening match, Thursday, June 11.

“Today we have established a template for every city and every town across South Africa to celebrate this World Cup.”

There was plenty of hype around France’s first Group A match against Uruguay in Cape Town, but it didn’t deliver much in the way of excitement.

France winger Franck Ribery and Uruguay striker Diego Forlan showed flashes of their potential, but the fear of losing the opening game stifled offensive tactics for much of the match.

An early goalmouth miss from France forward Sidney Govou and excellent save from Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera left Group A as wide open as possible.

While the loud, constant horn blowing has been a feature of South African football revelry, the national team’s goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was among the few who thought it wasn’t quite enough.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t blow a lot of vuvuzelas, but let’s hopes in the next game we’ll blow more,” Khune said. “There were not enough. It was more like a Mexico home game.

“Our advantage should have been the 12th player — the supporters blowing those vuvuzelas,” Khune said. “Let’s hope in the next game there will be more.”

The 91-year-old Mandela, who had campaigned to bring the World Cup to his nation despite skepticism it could be pulled off, mourned with his family and opted not to attend the match or the colorful opening ceremony that preceded it.

Mandela and his family “are torn up by the passing away of the child,” Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesman Sello Hatang said. Mandela would be at the ceremony in spirit, he added.

The former president’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and her two daughters, were at Soccer City. She was treated in hospital for shock hours earlier after being told of the death of Zenani Mandela.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote to Mandela, describing the girl’s death as “unspeakably tragic.” Mandela will “be with us in spirit for which we are incredibly grateful,” Blatter said, calling him a “most precious friend.”

The male driver involved in the one-car crash was charged with drunk driving, Johannesburg police spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said. The man could also face homicide charges, she said.

Police “found that he was drunk,” Mamonyane said. “He lost control of the vehicle and it collided with a barricade.”

Mexico goalkeeper Oscar Perez, right, fails to block the opening goal by South Africa’s Siphiwe Tshabalala, second from left, during the World Cup Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Friday, June 11. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)


Kanthima takes top prize at Summit Green Valley

Staff Reporters

The fifth and sixth rounds of the Chiang Mai Golf Festival 2010 championship took place over the weekends of May 29 and June 5 at the Gassan Lakeview GC in Lamphun and the Summit Green Valley golf course in Mae Rim respectively.

Pongsuwan Kanthima, left, the low gross champion at Summit Green Valley Country Club, receives his trophy from Songwith Itthipattanakul, the owner of Standard Tour.

At Gassun Lakeview it was a good day for Chanon Pal who was the overall Low Gross winner and he was joined in the winners’ enclosure by Natchanon Wongdao and Bandit Yosbute from the A Flight, Phothong Pipatpaibool and Mondob Saengchamnong from the B Flight, Therdsak Wichitampai and Thoranin Worawan from the C, and lady winners Asama Kanchanayanin and Saowanee.

One week later at Summit Green Valley, it was the turn of Pongsuwan Kanthima to take the plaudits and the Overall Low Gross score with a fine round of 72 playing off his Handicap of 7. Taking out the gross and net prizes in the A Flight were Prapas Thongkhamkhun and Sudsayam Chantarathit with scores of 76 and net 70 respectively.

Next in the B Flight, Charn Harnpitakul fired the low gross round of 83 and Pasith Rangsri took the net prize with a net score of 71. The C Flight low gross score was the 81 recorded by Sornsak Inthakhan and the net award went to Surapong Kamphirom with a 69.

Finally in the Ladies field Buranee Yavichai proved too hot for the competition as she came home with a gross 77 off her 15 Handicap and Satreerat Nilstorm was the net winner with another fine round of 68.

The seventh round of the Chiang Mai Golf Festival 2010 was due to take place this past weekend, June 12, at the Alpine Golf resort in Chiang Mai. The penultimate round will be held this coming weekend at the Star Dome Golf Club in Chiang Mai on Saturday, June 19. For more information go to www.chiangmaigolffestival.net.


Six teams selected for national aerobic dance finals

The winning teams from each category pose for a group photo with Chumporn Saengmanee, Deputy Chiang Mai Governor, and Tesco Lotus executives.

Nopniwat Krailerg

On June 6, Chumporn Saengmanee, Deputy Chiang Mai Governor, presided over the final selection round of the northern regional aerobic dance competition held at the Tesco Lotus Khamtieng branch in Chiang Mai. There were 45 teams in total in attendance, representing all the northern provinces.

The contest, which was jointly organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Tesco Lotus, was devised with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of exercise for good health and targeted 4 million people nationwide, with 230 teams to take part in the final competition in Bangkok for prize money totaling 1.6 million baht.

The competition was separated into three age categories; youth under 15 years of age, Open age category, and thirdly for people of 35 years and up. Two teams from each of these categories were selected, so making a total of six teams to be the region’s representatives.

The Star Angels and the Ban Wanghin School were the stand out performers in the youth category, as were the CM Sensation team and the Suan Chomnan team (from Phitsanulok) in the Open class. Lastly, the 35 years and up category winners were the Uttayarn Sawan (Nakhon Sawan) team and the Phitsanulok Sports Association.

These six winning teams will now go on to represent the northern region in the grand finals to be held on June 20 at the Nimitrbute Stadium in Bangkok.