The sports ministry has recommended names of nine woman athletes for the Padma Awards viz., Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri. The names of the winners will be announced on the eve of Republic Day, next year. This is the first time that all nominated names are of women players. These players are inspiring the current generation with exceptional performance across the international sports arena, while bringing tons of pride to the country. In a world dominated by poisonous patriarchy, their ascent to the top has been far from easy – several odds had to be overcome and many more stigmas dismantled, before receiving recognition that was anyway due. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuBoxer MC Mary Kom has been recommended for the country’s second-highest civilian honor Padma Vibhushan. If the Padma Awards committee confers this honor on Mary, she would be the first woman player in the country to earn this distinction. She has already received the Padma Bhushan in 2013 and Padma Shri in 2006.Recently crowned world champion, shuttler PV Sindhu has been recommended for Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest honor. In 2017 too Sindhu’s name was proposed for Padma Bhushan but she missed the final cut. In 2015, she was awarded the Padma Shri. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersAt the same time, the sports ministry has sent the names of seven other women players for the Padma Shri Award. These include wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis star Manika Batra, women’s T20 cricket captain Harmanpreet Kaur, hockey captain Rani Rampal, shooter Suma Shirur and twin mountaineers Tashi and Nungshi Malik.MC Mary Kom Record six-time world champion 36-year-old MC Mary Kom is one player who has never bowed down to the vagaries of age. She refused to join the league of women players who retired after childbirth and has, in the process, become the icon of Indian women’s boxing. Now a mother of three, Mary is still raining punches on her opponents in the boxing ring. In 2014, she became the first Indian woman player to win a gold medal in the Asian Games. Miraculously, she achieved the same feat at the Commonwealth Games, four years later, in 2018. India’s very own Meethoi Leima (great or exceptional lady) had also won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. She co-authored an autobiography titled Unbreakable with Dina Serto (published in 2013). Mary’s unbreakable sporting spirit also drew the silver screen’s attention and a successful Bollywood adaptation of her life soon followed. Mary Kom is also actively involved in various social welfare causes. She has helped many girls enter the boxing world and is also an animal rights activist and supporter of PETA. PV Sindhu PV Sindhu scripted history when she became the first Indian player to win a gold medal at the World Championship after defeating Japan’s Naomi Okuhara within an astounding 38 minutes at the final of BWF Badminton World Championship 2019 in Switzerland. Before this, she has already won two silver and two bronze medals at the World Championship. In 2013, for the first time, Sindhu made her mark in the world badminton arena after winning a bronze in the World Championship. She became a household name after winning the silver medal a Rio Olympics, 2016. She rose to a career-high ranking of number 2 in April 2017. With earnings of $8.5 and $5.5 million in 2018 and 2019 respectively, she featured in the Forbes’ list of ‘Highest-Paid Female Athletes’. Vinesh Phogat Hailing from a successful family of wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat became the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in both Commonwealth and Asian Games of 2018. She is the first Indian to be nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards. She won a bronze medal at World Championship recently and also qualified for Tokyo Olympics. She is the fourth Indian woman wrestler to win a medal at the World Championship. Harmanpreet Kaur T20 captain and all-rounder Harmanpreet is the first woman to score a century in women’s T20 International for India. Her knock of 171 against Australia at the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup is now a part of record books. Harmanpreet led India to their sixth straight Asia Cup crown in 2016, without dropping a game. In July 2017, she became the second Indian to feature in the top-10 of ICC Women’s ODI Player rankings after Mithali Raj. She became the first Indian cricketer, male or female, to be roped in by a foreign T20 league. She signed with WBBL team Sydney Thunder in June 2016 and won the franchise’s Player of the Tournament award for her all-round show in the debut season. She also became the first Indian to sign with Surrey Stars for the second edition of ECB’s Women’s Cricket League. Rani Rampal Recently, star forward Rani Rampal was named the captain of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team for the England tour. She first stepped on to the hockey turf at a tender age of six. She went on to make her debut in the senior Indian Women’s Hockey team at the age of 14 as its youngest player. She is considered one of the best women hockey players in the world and is also well-known as a striker who often doubles up as mid-fielder, Rani was a member of India’s Hockey Team when it qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after 36 years. She had scored the winning goal. Manika Batra Manika Batra brought India’s women’s table tennis out of the shadows of men with her record haul of four medals, including two golds, at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in 2018. It was followed with a bronze at 2018 Asian Games. Currently ranked 47th in the world, she is the only Indian to receive ‘The Breakthrough Star Award’ by International Table Tennis Foundation. Suma Shirur Suma Shirur is a former Indian ahooter who used to compete in the 10-meter air rifle category. One of the architects of India’s shooting revolution, she is now helping construct a new generation as the High-Performance Coach for the junior rifle team. She won one each of a bronze, silver and gold medal for India in the Commonwealth Games. She has also won a bronze and a silver medal in the Asian Games. Tashi and Nungshi Malik Tashi and Nungshi hold the Guinness Book World Record as the first twin sisters to climb Mount Everest. Additionally, they are the first twins to scale the Seven Summits – Mt Everest, Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Elbrus, Mt Aconcagua, Mt Carstensz Pyramid, Mt McKinley, and Mt Vinson Massif. They are also the world’s first twins, and youngest women to complete the Explorer Grand Slam and the Three Poles Challenge.
Necker Island used to be a little-known destination until Richard Branson stumbled across this speck of paradise way back in the 1970s. And, to put it succinctly in his own words: “I had no idea where they were located or that they were actually called the British Virgin Islands,” the billionaire entrepreneur wrote in a blog about purchasing Necker Island. Adding, “But one Thursday in 1978, I was told that they existed and that I could potentially own one.” Also Read – Oman – Beauty with an addressRichard Branson, known the world over as a billionaire business tycoon with an outlandish lifestyle, gave his very best to grab this little speck of paradise. So, when the realtor invited him to visit Necker Island, Branson arrived in quick time and met the realtor who demanded a whopping $6 million, way beyond Branson’s reach then. As the negotiations dragged, Branson put in $100,000 – that was the highest he could afford, the realtor was displeased and naturally, Branson was on his way back to the UK. Also Read – CANADA: A traveller’s delightHowever, as fate would have it, one year later, the owner of Necker Island still couldn’t find the right buyer and was anxious to sell the island in quick time. Branson recollects those pre-buying moments thus: “Virgin Records was in a much better position than it had been a year before, so I quickly agreed to a purchase price of $180,000.” Leaving behind those murky days of negotiations, debates and parleys. Today, Richard Branson’s secluded island retreat is the world’s most exclusive hideaway for celebs and business moguls. With India on course towards becoming a superpower, times are only getting better. What can be more promising than the fact that Indian travel agents are now receiving calls for islands that can be hired! They are quite prepared to pay up to $322,000 a week for 25 guests. The bonhomie with India Inc is well reflected – courtesy the gesture of Richard Branson-owned Virgin Hyperloop to construct a super-fast transportation system in India that would connect Pune with the new airport in Mumbai in 25 minutes flat. Necker Island offers not just sea, surf and sand; it offers a sleek peek into the mysterious luxury and opulence of the rich and the famous when on holiday. From Nelson Mandela to Princess Diana, Necker Island has played host to some of the most celebrated mortals. As you touchdown on Necker Island, the feeling of being in good fortune is most predominant. A bewildering array of wildlife – Flamingos, Scarlet Ibis vying for attention along with tortoises that are massive in size – dot the landscape in abundance. The in-house wildlife squad – experts with years of experience with wild fauna have meticulously incubated a one-of-its-kind Flamingo Breeding programme – 54 new baby chicks and 28 parent Flamingos thrive in the congenial Flamingo-friendly environ especially created by wildlife wardens. So, today, when you step inside this piece of paradise, you are likely to be greeted with the sight of mother Flamingos sitting on eggs and waiting with bated breath for the birth of the new denizens of Necker Island. Richard Branson’s commitment to wildlife conservation is legendary and his passion for protecting endangered wildlife species like the Madagascar Lemur is well-known. So, don’t be taken aback at the sight of Baby Lemurs, all recent additions to Necker Island – guests are welcome to feed Baby Lemurs. Apart from Lemurs, other resident species include Stout Iguanas, Parrots, Macaws, Cockatoo, Geckos and what have you! For many visitors to Necker Island, the ethereal sight of a compact team of Ibis, airborne and flying like angels over the island, is forever etched in their memory. The climate in Necker Island is blessed with highs of around 28°C in January to highs of tentatively 35°C in July. Necker Island, with its longstanding commitment to community, has chosen to participate in the innovation nonprofit, Pack for a Purpose. It offers visitors with a chance to contribute in-kind to the local community. It goes without saying that when you put aside some space in your baggage and earmark that space for carrying essential provisions for schoolchildren or even medicines that aren’t easily available in Necker Island, you are indeed making a huge impact on the lives of the local community.”The September 2017 Hurricane Irma, which many believe to be the most devastating in the Atlantic Ocean in terms of wind speed, left its mark at Necker Island as well. Devastation apart, Hurricane Irma cost the exchequer a whopping $77.2 billion and the process of rebuilding wasn’t easy either. However, when you have a philanthropist like Richard Branson, the turnaround too is quick. Necker Island is Branson’s brainchild, his pet project and so, the newly refurbished island retreat looks even more stunning than before with king-sized bedrooms, all with attached balconies and bunkrooms that are spacious enough to accommodate up to six children. The cynosure of all eyes, the Master Suite, comes with an attached jacuzzi and an airier sundeck that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Great House, which has been redone opulently and expanded hosts a total of 11 sumptuously-appointed bedrooms that ensure the resplendent comfort and rejuvenation. A new addition to the retreat is the Balinese-style house – Leha Lo that can easily accommodate two adults, while the Bali Hi complex that comes with an exclusive plunge will be introduced soon. From now onwards, the Great House, equipped with freshwater infinity pools, secluded hammocks, tennis courts and a bewildering array of water sport options ranging from scuba diving to sailing will offer the discerning visitors with a holiday they will treasure forever. Necker Island is also much sought after as a wedding destination. With multiple locations to choose from and each one offering unique panoramic attributes, the choice is never easy. The Western part of the island with its sandy stretches can easily accommodate up to 200-plus guests and with the boom of the great Indian wedding industry, now a billion-dollar industry – the lure to conduct surreal weddings in Necker Island must be pretty strong. According to Guarang Shah, one of UK’s leading wedding planners: “The average Indian couple will spend one-fifth of the money they make in their entire lives on the event and some weddings have been known to cost millions of Pounds. The events are getting more and more extravagant, which means couples are opting to travel to exotic destinations for nuptials.” The best part of travelling to Necker Island, notwithstanding the fact that the retreat has played host to legendary names, can be home to mere mortals too! To sum up in the words of Richard Branson: “Necker Island is my home and favourite hideaway. I invite you to explore this idyllic island paradise for yourself and to be inspired by its beauty. I hope someday to be able to share it with you”. And share, he does……..
Pune: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is a strong critic of the Modi-led government, on Sunday said the prime minister deserves respect when he visits foreign countries as India’s representative, but when he is in the country, people have the right to question him. On the row over a common language for India, the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala said he was in favour of a three-language formula (promoting multilingual communicative abilities). Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework He was speaking at a session organised by the All India Professional Congress in Pune district of Maharashtra. “The prime minister deserves respect in foreign countries as (there) he is a representative of our nation. But when he is in India, we have the right to ask him questions,” Tharoor said. On the issue of one common language in the country, he said the BJP’s ideology of promoting Hindi, Hinduism and Hindustan is “dangerous” for our country. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen “We need to carry on the three-language formula,” he said. Amid a heated debate over his remark that Hindi should be a common language, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said he has never asked for imposition of Hindi over native languages in the country but advocated its use as the second language, He criticised the ruling BJP over incidents of mob lynching, saying they are an “insult to Hinduism and Lord Ram”. “There is no difference among people (of different communities) living in Kerala. Then why it is happening in Maharashtra,” he said. Even Maratha warrior king Shivaji Maharaj had people from different communities under his rule. But he instructed everyone to respect each other, he said. The BJP’s idea of Hinduism is a “political ideology” and does not have any connection with Hinduism, the Congress leader said.
New Delhi: Former India batsman Yuvraj Singh has claimed that the team management let him down towards the fag end of his international career and he could have played another World Cup after the 2011 heroics if he had enough backing. “(I) Regret that I couldn’t play another World Cup after 2011. There was hardly any support from the team management or people around. If that support was there then may be I would have played another World Cup,” Yuvraj told ‘Aaj Tak’ channel. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju “But whatever cricket I played it’s on my own. I never had any godfather.” Yuvraj, who retired fom the game earlier this year, reiterated that he was ignored despite clearing the mandatory yo-yo test for fitness. He said instead of just trying to find ways to get rid of him, the team management should have been “upfront” in their communication regarding his career. “I never thought that I would be dropped after being the man-of-the-match in 2 games out of the 8-9 I played after the 2017 Champions Trophy. I got injured and I was told to prepare for the Sri Lanka series,” the left-hander recalled. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters “Suddenly I had to go back and prepare for the yo-yo test at the age of 36. Even after I cleared the yo-yo test, I was told to play domestic cricket. They actually thought that I wouldn’t be able to clear the test due to my age. And that it would be easy to decline me afterwards. “I think it was unfortunate because a guy who played international cricket for 15-16 years, you need to sit and tell him upfront. No one told me and no one told Virender Sehwag or Zaheer Khan either,” added Yuvraj. Despite the feeling of being letdown, Yuvraj said he has no regrets about quitting the game and feels his retirement timing was right. “There were plenty of things on my mind. I felt that the World Cup has started, the team has moved forward. I wanted to play some cricket out of India. Life was not going forward, it was stressful. “I was just wondering when to retire. I got married a few years before so I wanted to focus on my life. The end of my career became a bit of burden for me,” he said. “If I wanted to play a league outside India then I had to retire and I thought it was the perfect time. Things were not going in the right direction so I thought it was the perfect time for younger guys to take the team forward and for me to hang my boots,” he added.