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first_imgThe echoes of ceiling and standing fans intruded my mind as Judge Samson Jlue adjusted himself at the bench while his haunting eyes gazed at me. Unsure of what to say, I blinked twice—and then several more afterwards. My mild smile faded and I felt perspiration forming on my forehead.  “I regret to say that you are a dangerous man,” Judge Jlue said, adjusting his glasses on his nose. “James Boward, it is your actions, as far as the court is concerned, that make you a dangerous man and therefore,” the judge hesitated, and stared at me, “you deserve to die.” My stomach churned inside as my heart beat involuntary. My eyes felt heavy, because I could not understand the message readily well and my senses were fuzzy, for it was clear that I was a condemned man.  Seated beside me was my defense counsel, Emmanuel Jajay who had been with me through the one month that the case lasted. Now it was clear to me that I, James Boward, a former traveler, who had roamed across West Africa, and had visited at least two countries in the east in search of the golden fleece, Kenya and Tanzania included, was now a condemned man, as far as the judge had declared.  My blurry eyes felt heavy, and I grimaced to clear the vapor that made seeing difficult but I could only sweep my eyes across the courtroom to meet with eyes that stared me back, in mock emptiness.  Then I heard the judge, his voice more powerful that what he had used earlier to announce my death sentence, “The judicial system is established in our society to give those who are blatantly hurt justice, and those who have lost their lives through brutal means a sense of justice, though unaware.  “I wanted to give you another chance,” he continued and then hesitated, and I lifted my head to meet his gaze, with a bitter grin on my face. The courtroom remained quiet and family members of my late wife, sat across from me, with their eyes shooting through me.  “Rebecca Boward was a lovely woman, a woman whose love and care for you met resistance that ended in her murder,” Judge Jlue said.  Looking at me directly, he said, “I have no other alternative but to send you to meet your maker,” and he lifted a white handkerchief and mopped his forehead. My former wife Rebecca Boward’s lifeless body was found on February 2, 2014, one mile from our resident on Bushrod Island, Monrovia. I had not been able to find a job since I returned to Liberia from my personal adventures across the countries I mentioned earlier, after four years absence. Mrs. Boward was only twenty nine and we had two children, a boy and a girl who we adored very much.  My wife had secured a loan from a local bank on Bushrod Island in Monrovia and had begun to trade in items that were in vogue and needed by young women, those women of fashion. She further traveled to neighboring countries, including Sierra Leone, Cot d’Ivoire, Guinea, Togo and Ghana six months after the loan of U$10,000. 00 was received, and through her efforts, the family was doing fine. When the elections of 2005 came along, I had just returned from my aimless journey and after the loan was received, and profits began to flow into the family, I was able to measure arm with my colleagues in our community.  Though residing in a poor community, often times referred to as ‘slum’ I did not realize that the more we were successful and money was no longer a worry to feed and clothe my family, and the more we helped neighbors who always came for help, the more we were making enemies.    Without much thinking on that level, I became friendly to friends in the community and it was not too long when our problems began.  I had earlier told the court during the trial, that I loved Rebecca Boward so much that I did not have any reason to murder her. The night of her death, I had gone with friends to have a drink at a local drinking spot. I did not really know what happened to me, till I was awoken in the morning three miles outside the club by police officers, who later informed me that I was a suspect of the death of Mrs. Rebecca Broward, since as her husband, I was the first suspect or person of interest. You could imagine my shock and desperation especially so when my natural reaction to the violent death of my wife was termed by the prosecutor as an act to throw police away for a crime they claimed I had committed, though they could not prove any motive I had beyond reasonable doubt.  What shocked me was the evidence that at least three witnesses, all my former friends, testified that I had confided in them to murder my wife, and “make another journey like what I did before with the money she had made, that she had refused for me to have for the alleged journey.” What shocked me further was also the evidence about my finger prints that were found on a supposed murder weapon that police claimed they found beside the remains of the decedent.  Here I was, a condemned man and it was apparent that my wife’s family and even my own children would not forgive me.  Judge Jlue’s judgment against me was painful but my only disappointment was that neither the defense counsel nor the judge gave me a chance to examine in profound detail my cry of innocence.  Now, the judge seemed to relish on the final sentence that would send me, he said to meet my maker, to get justice for the decedent.   “James Boward, you deserve to be buried by your action against a poor woman who gave you two beautiful children.  “Since you did not care about her life, this court, with deep appreciation sentence you to die by hanging so that you can feel the pain of the life you destroyed.  “May the good Lord have mercy upon you, and if there is a chance to return to the world of the living and in this particular country, you may, if your sense of humanity returns, regard human life as the most important, a worthy gift that no human being has the right to take away from another,” Judge Jlue concluded.  Right away, three bailiffs rushed towards me and I could hear the echoes of silent tears of my former wife’s family, including her parents and her younger sister, who had resided with us, and who again had violently testified about how much love I had for them as a father to the Boward’s family.  Meanwhile, the judge offered me a chance to speak to the family whose daughter he said “you had barbarously destroyed” in her prime.  A microphone was brought closer to my mouth and with tears washing my chest with tears; I failed on three occasions to speak. But when I finally found my voice, the personal agony, my suffering for being away from my late wife for the last four years during travails abroad, came to me and I was like a child, whose mother was lost, as my dear Rebecca was.  “I find it difficult,” I said, my teary eyes directly at my in-laws, “that I am called upon to apologize to you when my heart is bleeding for the death and murder of the only woman who loved me without question since those responsible for her murder, are still out there to hurt others again.  “My heart bleeds for Rebecca, and like you and my two young children, I am without the one whose love and care made me to know the meaning of a good wife.” I hesitated to recollect my thoughts and since I was already a condemned man, I could only tell how I felt about the murder.  I could hear the echoes and murmurings and tears from the spectators, and it was apparent that at least some of them believed that I was an innocent man, but due to bad police work, I had been condemned.  “I’m as confused as you about the reasons that Rebecca died and since the law has condemned me, since you and everyone here believed that I killed the woman who made me who I am today, I am telling you from the bottom of my heart to forgive me.  “Rebecca’s death and the plot that brought me into it could be because of some of my past sins and therefore I want to plead to all of you to forgive me…” my voice broke and I could not continue anymore.  But surprisingly, the judge was not done with me yet, and he waited for me to regain my composure.   “Perhaps I did many wrongs that I am paying for today, and since I am sentenced to die, I am requesting all of you, particularly those who believe in my innocence to pray for me, and this is a request I am making from the bottom of my heart.” The reaction was natural and at one point I saw the judge wipe a tear that threatened to betray his stubbornness not to weep.  Turning to a corner where my two children stood, my daughter, that poor girl, who was daddy’s girl, lifted her head and when our eyes met said, “Daddy I love you,” and it was enough for the rest of the audience as many of the people broke down in tears.  Fighting back tears, I shouted between regret and disappointment, “Sweetheart I think I failed you as a dad. I always wanted to see you grow as a woman of purpose but daddy cannot do it, forgive me.”  By now there was no one in the courtroom whose eyes were not filled with tears. They were not weeping, as far as I was concerned, because they believed I was guilty, they were shedding tears because of what seemed like a bleak future that my two innocent children would face when I was finally put to death.  “I don’t blame you for your order for me to die;” I told the judge, “for the preciousness of life dictates that anyone who takes another’s life, his life too should not belong to him. But the only difference is that I would be put to death when I did not kill the woman of my life.”  “Thank you all,” I said, and lowered my body slowly onto the seat. Two bailiffs began to move towards my direction, and I instinctively stole a glance at my defense counsel, whose smile was that of disappointment. Suddenly, my daughter’s body surged forward, and crashed to the ground, and I yelled, “Please help my daughter, she’s fainted.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgSanchez previously coached Pumas UNAM to two Mexican league titles, played in three World Cups and was a five-time Spanish scoring champion at Real Madrid. He has even bigger goals as national team coach, striving for a World Cup championship. Sanchez said it’s important for all Mexicans to believe the team can achieve that goal if it’s going to come true. “We will build this belief that we can compete with the best in the world,” he said. “I need to convince all of you not to doubt. On the field, the players can’t doubt. If we doubt, we will fail. There’s a lot of talent in Mexican soccer. We must think positively, not negatively.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN JOSE Hugo Sanchez is still taking shots at Ricardo La Volpe even though he now has La Volpe’s old job of coach of the Mexican national team. Sanchez was in the Bay Area to promote a March 28 exhibition against Ecuador in Oakland. Sanchez has coached two games since being hired in November, a 2-0 loss to the United States last month and a 3-1 victory over Venezuela in San Diego last week. The game against Ecuador will be his fourth, following his home debut against Paraguay on March 25. With European-based players available for those two matches, Sanchez plans to use the games to help determine his roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and Copa America tournaments this summer. Mexico is in the same group with Ecuador and defending champion Brazil in Copa America. “As a coach, I have to use these games to prepare for the cups,” he said. “I will watch these games to see which players will step up and can fit in with the team, and which players can wear the national shirt. Some players play well for their clubs but not for the national team.” center_img Considered by some the greatest player in his country’s history, Sanchez was a constant critic of La Volpe’s before replacing him last November. Sanchez did not like the fact that Mexico had an Argentine-born coach and he also said it was “an insult to Mexican soccer” when La Volpe used naturalized citizens. “There is a profound feeling that because I am Mexican I will give my complete heart. Some people only give for their pockets,” Sanchez said Monday through an interpreter. “I think this is a 100 percent improvement. Being Mexican, we understand what we like and what we don’t like. Nobody likes a lack of respect. I treat players as humans and with respect.” last_img read more


first_imgBarcelona secured a European and domestic treble after a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Juventus in the Champions League final in Berlin.The Catalans deservedly went ahead almost instantly through a fine team goal, capped by Ivan Rakitic’s composed finish, before Alvaro Morata equalised just after the break.Luis Suarez pounced on a mistake by Gianluigi Buffon to restore the Spanish side’s lead with a quarter of the contest remaining, before Neymar fired home in injury time to put the result beyond doubt.Luis Enrique’s charges duly became the first side in history to win ‘the ultimate treble’ twice and gave Xavi Hernandez, who was handed a second half cameo as a substitute, a fairytale ending on his final Barcelona appearance.The La Liga champions started the final showcasing why they were many people’s favourites, and took just four minutes to move ahead in typically sumptuous style.Neymar attracted several Juventus players with some dazzling footwork, before playing a clever reverse pass to the on-running Andres Iniesta, who duly found Rakitic to steer home.Arturo Vidal, whose early booking saw him on thin ice after several needless fouls, had the Italian side’s best opening of the first half but fired over after a swift counter attack instigated by Morata.The Catalans, in truth, perhaps should have been further ahead before the half-hour mark, but Buffon brilliantly denied Dani Alves before Suarez fired inches wide.Suarez then found the shot-stopper in inspired form after half time, with the 37-year-old palming away the Uruguayan’s effort after another quick break.Ten minutes into the second half, Juventus grabbed a foothold. Stephan Lichtsteiner’s rampaging run led to an opening for Carlos Tevez, whose snapshot forced a fine low save from ter Stegen, but Morata tapped in the rebound to level proceedings.Just as the Italian side seemed to have stemmed the tide, Barcelona restored their lead. Messi, who Juventus had kept quiet for the majority, fired in a fierce low effort which Buffon could only palm to Suarez, who slammed in his 25th of the season.Barcelona were convinced they should have had a third almost immediately, but Neymar’s effort was disallowed after his header inadvertently flicked off his hand.Paul Pogba spurned the Old Lady’s best chance of an equaliser, heading over from a corner after towering above the tiring Barcelona defence, before Iniesta made way for Xavi to a rapturous ovation.With Juventus throwing caution to the wind, Barcelona sealed victory with yet another dynamic breakaway, as Neymar exchanged passes with substitute Pedro before firing home with the final kick of the game Barcelona 1last_img read more


first_imgHull City captain Curtis Davies has urged the club to hand Mike Phelan the managerial reins on a permanent basis.After a shambolic pre-season in which Steve Bruce departed as boss amid boardroom uncertainty and they failed to make a single signing, the Tigers headed into their Premier League opener against Leicester with just 13 fit senior players and with few tipping them to produce a result against the champions.But they put their off-field troubles aside as Phelan, placed in caretaker charge following Bruce’s departure, led them to a shock 2-1 victory at the KCOM Stadium.The 53-year-old, Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man at Manchester United for five years, is now desperate to be given the job full-time – and Davies believes he should be handed the chance.Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the defender said: “He has been brilliant with the lads.“He has constantly tried to keep us informed on what is going on in terms of what he knows. And the main thing is he said he wants the job. “It is a job that a lot of people would steer clear of at the moment if I’m honest, but he has put his name in the hat and he wants the job. That is what we need right now.“We need someone who wants to guide us, who wants to lead us and wants to be part of this team.”Despite their winning start, Davies is no under illusions as to the size of the task the promoted side face this season in trying to remain in the Premier League.And he admits the squad desperately needs strengthening before the transfer window closes next month.“We want some help,” he said. “We want some quality players in to stay in this league. We didn’t do the hard work of 46 games of a Championship season to throw it away.“We have worked hard, got here, so give us some help and get some players in.”last_img read more


first_img Bale spotted on Real bench doing ‘bottle flip challenge’ as he Bernabeu exit Champions League live reaction: Liverpool, City, Chelsea and Spurs learn fate Real Madrid were beaten 5-1 by bitter rivals Barcelona last weekend Madrid’s faithful have weighed in on the debate through a Marca poll, in which they voted Bale as their worst performing player of 2018/19 so far.The Welshman has netted just four goals this season and, despite a positive start with Karim Benzema, the pair have since gone off the boil. REVEALED Gareth Bale has fill the incredibly big void left by Cristiano Ronaldo in the hat The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star Thousands of pro-Catalan protesters make their voice heard before El Clasico Eden Hazard vows to go back to Chelsea when he’s done at Real Madrid Latest Real Madrid News WARNING ROWDY Real Madrid ‘offer’ Isco to Chelsea in bid to ‘make room’ for Tottenham star El Clasico Champions League Super Computer: Will Liverpool, Chelsea, City and Spurs qualify? France’s Benzema has been voted third worst by the Madrid supporters, with club legend Sergio Ramos currently sitting in between him and Bale in second.The full top ten (with current voting tallies) is listed below. All of Lionel Messi’s incredible records against Real Madrid ahead of El Clasico PREDICTED 2 2 REAL DEAL g.o.a.t How to watch Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Stream, channel, kick-off time, team news lack of bottle Real Madrid supporters believe Gareth Bale is the player most to blame for their horrendous start to the season.The Galacticos currently sit ninth in LaLiga and sacked manager Julen Lopetegui on Monday as a result, however their fans don’t hold the Spaniard solely responsible. return Pogba-Bale swap deal would be ‘mistake’ as Man United ace linked with Real Madrid 1. Gareth Bale – 56,000 votes2. Sergio Ramos – 53,000 votes3. Karim Benzema – 46,000 votes4. Raphael Varane – 40,000 votes5. Marco Asensio – 36,000 votes6. Luka Modric – 23,000 votes7. Toni Kroos – 18,000 votes8. Isco – 17,000 votes9. Thibaut Courtois – 16,000 votes10. Marcelo – 15,000 voteslast_img read more


first_imgMayfair High girls volleyball bounced back from it’s first Suburban League loss in more than 10 years on Friday with a 25-18, 24-26, 25-19, 25-13 victory against Artesia. Senior outside hitter Jill Sorem had a huge match both offensively and defensively. She tallied 21 kills and had 16 digs to lead the Monsoons (9-8, 6-1). Senior outside hitter Katie Bos added 10 kills and 15 digs to lead Mayfair. Last week, Cerritos upset Mayfair, who had more than 100 consecutive league wins. La Mirada 3, Norwalk 1 Junior outside hitter Julie Reich had 11 kills, senior outside hitter Katrina Rosales had nine kills and four blocks as the Matadores (9-4, 5-2) won 24-26,25-9, 25-25, 29-27 in Suburban League play. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week La Mirada plays host to Artesia at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Cerritos 3, Bellflower 1 The Dons are still on a mile high after taking down Mayfair last week. Senior setter Kelsey Fong registered 25 assists, and senior outside hitter Kristy Trimble recorded 13 kills as the Dons (8-6, 7-0) defeated the host Buccaneers in four games by the score of 25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 25-14 to remain undefeated in the Suburban League. Carson 3, Washington 0 center_img Senior middle blocker Mary Laupepa had nine kills and three aces and senior middle blocker Kori Willis had eight kills and two aces as the Colts (8-2, 5-2) won easily by defeating the Generals 25-9, 25-8, 25-10 in Marine League play. San Pedro 3, Narbonne 0 Junior setter Samantha Taylor had 25 assists, five kills and five digs to lead the Pirates to a 25-15, 25-12, 25-14 victory against the visiting Gauchos in Marine League play. Senior libero Jenny Miller recorded 21 digs for San Pedro (14-0, 7-0) Junior middle blocker Alex Bubica had seven kills, 11 digs and five blocks. With the loss, Narbonne drops to 12-2 overall and 5-2 in league competition. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_imgMeralco import Stepheson quickly puts loss to Ginebra behind Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes An injured man is assisted as a body lies covered at the National Stadium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Sunday, May 28, 2017. Thousands of soccer fans trying to force their way into a stadium for a championship match stampeded in panic when police fired tear gas Sunday, and several were killed in the crush and over a dozen others were injured, authorities said.(AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Thousands of soccer fans trying to force their way into a stadium for a championship match stampeded in panic when police fired tear gas Sunday, and at least four people and an unborn fetus were killed in the crush and 25 others were injured, authorities said.A spokesman for University Teaching Hospital told The Associated Press that the victims died from suffocation and multiple broken bones from being trampled. The fetus died when its mother suffered severe injuries, spokesman Miguel Osorio said.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP The stampede happened at Gate 11 of the National Stadium in Honduras’ capital as fans tried to push their way into the jammed venue to see the game between Motagua and Honduras Progreso, officials said.A police statement said the match appeared to have been oversold. It said the stadium, which has a capacity of 30,000, was already full while crowds of fans were still outside brandishing tickets. People became angry when they couldn’t enter and began forcing their way in, the statement said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingAbout 600 police officers were guarding the stadium and used water cannon and tear gas trying to push back the crowds.Motagua won the game 3-0, but club president Eduardo Atala tweeted afterward that “there is nothing to celebrate with what happened outside the stadium.” Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV MOST READ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast LATEST STORIES BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds View commentslast_img read more


first_imgMOST READ Lebedev’s successful voluntary defense saw him move to a 30-2 career record, with one no-contest, as he bounced back from defeat in December to fellow Russian Murad Gassiev. Lebedev lost the IBF version of the title to Gassiev on that occasion, but his WBA title wasn’t on the line.Flanagan, who had never previously fought outside Australia, drops to 22-5.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Federer, Djokovic wonder if Wimbledon courts can improve Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games FILE – WBA cruiserweight world champion Denis Lebedev and his coach Freddie Roach, back to a camera, celebrate their victory after beating IBF cruiserweight champion Victor Emilio Ramirez during their IBF and WBA Super World cruiserweight title fight in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)YEKATERINBURG, Russia — Russian boxer Denis Lebedev won by unanimous decision against Australia’s Mark Flanagan on Sunday to retain his WBA super world cruiserweight title.Lebedev was in control of the fight throughout, dictating a slow pace and relying on his counterattacking skills. He knocked Flanagan down in the ninth round.ADVERTISEMENT View comments El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena LATEST STORIESlast_img read more


first_imgEngland coach Steve Cooper on Wednesday said they deserved to get all three points and qualify for the quarter-finals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup despite letting Mexico comeback and score two goals after being 3-0 up before the hour mark.England rode on goals from Rhian Brewster, Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho to take a healthy lead before Diego Lainez pulled two back in the space of seven second-half minutes.England have six points from two outings and play Iraq at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.2?? wins from 2?? and the #YoungLions are through to the #FIFAU17WC knockouts with a game to spare ??? https://t.co/pddvOtWTv2- England (@England) October 11, 2017″I don’t think we should forget how good we were. To go 3-0 up against a really strong opposition like Mexico. We have played some outstanding football. Looked very dominant with our positioning,” Cooper said at the post match press conference.”We were worthy of going 3-0 up and we missed going further up by missing chance. About conceding the two goals late on, that can happen with young players. We will look and learn from it. Everything we do is a learning opportunity but we did not crumble. We did not concede that third goal.”We did not completely lose 3-0 and got six points from two matches. That is the outcome. So I won’t lose sight of how well we played for an hour. Right in the way we want our England teams to play,” he added.advertisementEngland won against Chile in their opener by a handsome 4-0 margin.Cooper brought Manchester United forward Angel Gomes at halftime replacing the impressive Callum Hudson-Odoi.Asked if that was a tactical move, he said: “I am quite comfortable in playing the 21 boys we have. We were doing managing energy levels and managing legs. Little bit tactical as well. But really happy with Callum and Angel. It actually went to plan.”FIFA Photo On the weather, the coach said it was not a problem for them despite it being warmer than the last game.”It was definitely warmer today but we dominated for an hour and credit to the boys they played with a lot of heart. They make sure we got three points which overall we deserved,” he said.”I don’t think one player went down with cramps. We were running till the end. We are pleased with the fitness levels. Tournament football is about being resilient,” he added.England have highly-rated individual players like Sancho, Hudson-Odoi, Gomes and Foden. Cooper said he is aware of “players who can make a difference” but reiterated it’s about the squad.”We know we have got players on the pitch who can make a difference but I think you can make a difference anywhere on the pitch. Some of the connection of the boys in terms of getting into areas is brilliant.”Cooper said the team has loved being in Kolkata and would do some charity work before leaving as a way of “giving back.””It’s a luxury to qualify after two games in a tournament like this. We are not going to be naive enough to think we have topped group already. We have absolutely loved being in Kolkata.”The people at the training ground and hotel and support have been brilliant. We are going to do some community work tomorrow. We are going to schools and just want to be visible in the local community. The local people have been so welcoming so we want to give something back.”last_img read more


first_img(Eds: Updating with Arjuna Awards recommendations) New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and world champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu were Monday jointly recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, while star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was among 20 sportspersons picked for the Arjuna Awards. Besides Chopra, other prominent names recommended for the Arjuna Awards were junior world champion sprinter Hima Das and Asian Games gold-medallist middle distance runner Jinson Johnson, cricketer Smriti Mandhana, hockey players Manpreet Singh and Savita Punia, multiple Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manika Batra and Asian Games doubles gold-medallist tennis player Rohan Bopanna. These recommendations are subject to approval by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. Once ratified by him, President Ram Nath Kovind will present the awards on September 25 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Kohli will become the third Indian cricketer after the legendary Sachin Tendulkar (1997) and the talismanic former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2007) once the sports ministry officially accepts the committee’s recommendation. “Yes, Virat Kohli and Mirabai Chanu’s names have been recommended by the awards committee,” a top source told PTI on condition of anonymity. It is learnt that India’s top male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth was also in Khel Ratna contention for his good show in the Super Series Circuit last year but lost out to the 24-year-old Chanu, who is the reigning world champion in the 48kg category. Asian Games gold-medallist boxer Amit Panghal was discussed but the committee decided against against recommending him due to a failed dope test back in 2012, a source told PTI.advertisement Former Asian Games bronze-medallist and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Satish Kumar was the lone boxer to get the Arjuna honour this year. Three shooters — Ravi Rathore, Ankur Mittal and Shreyasi Singh — also figured in list of 20 recommended sportspersons while there were two from para-sports — Ankur Dhama and Manoj Sarkar. This year’s award ceremony was postponed to September 25 from the usual August 19 National Sports Day event due to clash of dates with the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia. The Khel Ratna awardees are entitled to a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh, while the Arjuna winners are given Rs 5 lakh. Kohli, the world’s No.1 Test batsman as per the ICC rankings, has been in stupendous form for the past three years and missed out despite nominations in the years 2016 and 2017. The 29-year-old currently has 6147 runs in 71 Tests with 23 centuries and 9779 runs in 211 ODIs, including 35 tons. With a combined 58 tons in international cricket, he is second only to Sachin Tendulkar (100) in the list of India’s top century-scorers in international cricket. The BCCI has been nominating Kohli for the Khel Ratna for the past three years but in 2016, it was given to Sakshi Malik, PV Sindhu and Deepa Karmakar for their good show at the Rio Olympic Games. Last year, the Khel Ratna was awarded to former India hockey captain Sardar Singh and para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia. Kohli is one of those rare sportspersons, who has received Padma Shri award (2017) before Khel Ratna. This year, Kohli was a favourite after having led India to victories against England and Australia at home and away wins against West Indies and Sri Lanka. The Indian team has also won limited-overs series in South Africa under Kohli’s leadership. He is a member of the 2011 ICC World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy winning team. He also led the team to the finals of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Kohli has also been the recipient of ICC’s ‘ODI Cricketer of the Year’ in 2012 and 2017 along with the sport’s highest honour — the ICC Cricketer of the Year. Kohli has won the Indian Cricketer of the Year on five occasions. He ended the recent England series with a phenomenal 593 runs even though it was not considered in the selection cycle. For Chanu, the award comes as a massive morale-booster as she is currently recovering from a lower back injury, which forced her to skip the Asian Games in Jakarta. She is the current Commonwealth Games gold-medallist and India’s only medal hope in weightlifting going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Recommendations: Virat Kohli (cricket) and Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting). Arjuna Award Recommendations: Neeraj Chopra (Athletics); Jinson Johnson (Athletics), Hima Das (Athletics); N Sikki Reddy (Badminton); Satish Kumar (Boxing); Smriti Mandhana (Cricket); Shubankar Sharma (Golf); Manpreet Singh (Hockey); Savita (Hockey); Ravi Rathore (Polo); Rahi Sarnobat (Shooting); Ankur Mittal (Shooting); Shreyashi Singh (Shooting); Manika batra (Table Tennis); G Sathiyan (Table Tennis); Rohan Bopanna (Tennis); Sumit (Wrestling); Pooja Kadian (Wushu); Ankur Dhama (Para athletics); Manoj Sarkar (Para badminton). PTI KHS SSC PDS PM PMadvertisementlast_img read more