The power of imagination

first_imgJustice MalalaSometime back I was asked, during a panel discussion on the 2010 Fifa World Cup, whether the South African national football team stood a chance of winning the trophy.Like everyone else on the panel, I laughed at the possibility and said we had better concentrate on other things, such as ensuring that we make this the best and safest tournament in the history of the World Cup. A win? No way, I said.The next day, a Sunday morning, I was sitting in my house when US swimmer Michael Phelps won his eighth Olympic gold medal of the Beijing Games. His win meant he beat Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven gold medals in a single mounting of the games.It was a phenomenal week for Phelps, and among the things he said that day were a few lines that stuck in my mind.“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination, and that’s something I learned and something that helped me,” he said.It was that word imagination that was key. A few weeks before my panel discussion I had lunch with South African football chief – and the man responsible for bringing the 2010 extravaganza to our shores – Danny Jordaan at his offices in the shadow of the impressive new Soccer City stadium just outside Johannesburg.The stadium will be the home of the final of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.Jordaan believes that imagination is what makes great things happen. He gave me the example of the South African Oscar Pistorius, the inspirational double amputee world record holder in the 100-, 200- and 400-metre sprinting events.Pistorius was born with congenital absence of the fibula in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles.Today, known as the “Blade Runner”, he runs with the aid of carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs. He has run in competition with able-bodied athletes and fights to run in the Olympics.“What did it take for Oscar to reach the levels he is at today?” asked Jordaan. “Over the years, from when he was young, what did he have to do to get himself up and to do what he has done?”The football chief said Pistorius had to imagine himself out of his disability and believe that he could not only run, but that he would win. It is this imaginative journey that has drawn him up and above the average man.“Imagination is a powerful thing. What kept Nelson Mandela and the rest of the people on Robben Island going? What were they thinking as year 20 of their incarceration came and went?“It was their imagination that kept them going, that made them achieve what they achieved. They imagined the impossible, and they achieved it,” said Jordaan.And so I wonder, what made Roger Milla, at the ripe old age 42 years and 39 days, dominate the 1994 World Cup and score against Russia? What made him become the anchor for his team and the darling of the world?Some analysts have said that South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup because they believed, after a pep talk from Mandela, that indeed they could do it. It is generally acknowledged that they were on a hiding to nothing, yet many say that imagination and self-belief pulled them through.Nelson Mandela himself once said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”Until 1994, when South Africans queued from the crack of dawn to cast a democratic vote for the first time in their lives, it seemed impossible that such a thing could happen. People like Jordaan say it seemed impossible that an African country would host the world’s greatest football showpiece. And now it will happen in 2010.I have to say that thesis of Phelps, Jordan and Mandela is persuasive. Can it work for our national team, though? We have just under two years to go to the 2010 finals.At the moment our team is a shambles, struggling to stand up to some of the weakest sides on the continent. But no one says a word about imagination, about what is in the heads of the team and what is in the heads of the nation. Perhaps if we believed that we can win, perhaps if our players started imagining themselves as winners rather than losers, perhaps we have a chance.Had I thought about that question at the panel discussion properly, this is what I would have said: For us and Bafana Bafana, it is time to be children again, to dream and imagine ourselves as winners.Justice Malala is an award-winning former newspaper editor, and is now general manager of Avusa’s stable of 56 magazines. He writes weekly columns for The Times newspaper and Financial Mail magazine, as well as a monthly media and politics column for Empire magazine. He is the resident political analyst for independent television channel e.tv and has consulted extensively for financial institutions on South African political risk. Malala was also an executive producer on Hard Copy I and II, a ground-breaking television series on SABC 3. Hard Copy I won the Golden Horn Award for best television series. Malala’s work has been published internationally in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Independent, Forbes, Institutional Investor, The Age and The Observer.last_img read more

Veteran DC-8’s new lease on life!

first_imgIn her prime in the late 1960s and 1970s she plied the North Atlantic for Alitalia hauling the rich and famous along with holiday makers.Today – 45 years later – she is still working as an atmosphere testing vehicle for her new owner and carer the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).Where once there were luxurious seats with passengers being served champagne and caviar today she is crammed with scientific equipment.NASA’s Douglas DC-8, the most rugged commercial aircraft ever built, can be found wherever there are extremes of weather in the Arctic, Antarctic, Iceland and Australia during the cyclone season or just around the US flying through thunderstorms and hurricanes.Read: I am having an affair.During the month of August, NASA’s DC-8 completed flights in Florida aimed at collecting data on high-altitude crystals for the High Ice Water Content (HIWC) mission.High ice water content can be found within large convective storms and can result in aircraft engines losing power or not functioning properly. Researchers will use the data to develop technology that can be used on-board commercial aircraft to avoid high ice water content conditions and provide a safer flight for passengers.The video gives an inside look at the HIWC mission, including research done in and around Hurricane Danny, as well as a look at the instruments being used on-board the research aircraft.Researchers and pilots on-board worked with satellite information from the ground to find regions of high ice water content within the convective systems.The month before in July the DC-8 was based in Kansas City to chase thunderstorms and Alan Bavley and photographer Allison Long from the Kansas City Star went along for a ride.Alan Bavley reported thus; “The radar screens in the jetliner show massive storm systems around Wichita and Dodge City growing and beginning to merge.Any commercial aircraft in the area have already diverted. But this DC-8 heads right between the storms. Then it flies circles around them.“Everybody is trying to get away. We’re going towards it,” flight navigator Walter Klein says. “They’re thinking, ‘What’s wrong with these guys?’”No thrill-seekers here. These storm chasers are on a scientific mission. They’re trying to figure out how to better predict a little-examined peculiarity of summer weather on the Great Plains: its enormous, and often ferocious, night-time thunderstorms.The voluminous data they’re gathering — information that may take years to analyse — will be used to improve computer models to better foretell where night-time storms will occur and how much rain will fall. More precise predictions would better warn the public about flooding and could help farmers decide when to plant or harvest.“There’s a lot of uncertainty about when these storms are going to form, if these storms will form and where they will form,” said Richard Ferrare, NASA’s chief scientist on the mission.Right now, the bull’s-eye for a storm prediction may be the entire state of Kansas.“We want to shrink that,” he said. Read Alan’s full story here.last_img read more

HC issues notice over defective VVPAT, EVMs

first_imgActing on a petition filed by the Congress, the Gujarat High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat over defective EVMs and VVPAT units detected during checks held before the Assembly polls.The Congress had demanded that defective Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail units be sealed and not used during State polls scheduled to be held on December 9 and 14.The party said that around 7% of the 70,182 VVPAT units were found to be defective during first-level checks ahead of polls.A Division Bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice A.J. Kogje issued the notice and asked the ECI and the CEO to submit a response by November 13.last_img read more

New sanctions loom as WADA confirm Russia misses doping deadline

first_imgMOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks open new year with a bang “With its suspension from the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the Russian Olympic Committee has served its sanction,” wrote Bach.WADA personnel travelled to Russia in December but were unable to extract all of the promised data.WADA said at the time its team could not complete its mission “due to an issue raised by the Russian authorities that the team’s equipment to be used for the data extraction was required to be certified under Russian law”.With WADA waiting and the December 31 deadline looming, RUSADA chief Yury Ganus asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene to stave off another ban that put Russia “on the brink of the abyss”.However, the Kremlin said RUSADA’s concerns about new sanctions were “without foundation.”ADVERTISEMENT BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion WADA said the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) will now consider the next step in the long-running saga at a January 14-15 meeting.The end-of-year deadline was set in September, when WADA lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), paving the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports after a report which uncovered a state-sponsored doping programme in Russia.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionWADA’s confirmation of the missed deadline came as US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart described Russia’s return to the sports fold “a total joke and an embarrassment”.However, in his New Year message, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach insisted sporting superpower Russia had been sufficiently punished. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES FILE – In this file photo taken on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, Russian National Anti-doping Agency RUSADA head Yuri Ganus leaves the office in Moscow, Russia. The head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency has asked President Vladimir Putin for help in getting key doping data released to World Anti-Doping Agency inspectors. Ganus in a letter released Thursday. Dec. 27, 2018 appealed to Putin to reverse the decision and allow to hand over the data to WADA inspectors. Ganus warned that the refusal to do so would hurt Russia’s efforts to clean up its sports from doping.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)Russia faced the possibility of renewed sporting sanctions on Tuesday when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed the country had missed a December 31 deadline to hand over data from its anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.“I am bitterly disappointed that data extraction from the former Moscow Laboratory has not been completed by the date agreed,” said WADA president Craig Reedie.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue View comments PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH 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 Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening – ‘WADA being played by Russians’ –Reedie added on Tuesday: “WADA has been working diligently with the Russian authorities to meet the deadline, which was clearly in the best interest of clean sport. The process agreed by WADA’s ExCo in September will now be initiated.”That process will now see the independent Compliance Review Committee meet on January 14 and 15 to examine the developments before a recommendation is made to WADA.That could lead to RUSADA again being declared non-compliant.Tygart said Russia missing the deadline should come as no surprise.“In September, WADA secretly moved the goal posts and reinstated Russia against the wishes of athletes, governments and the public,” Tygart said. “In doing this WADA guaranteed Russia would turn over the evidence of its state-supported doping scheme by today.“No one is surprised this deadline was ignored and it’s time for WADA to stop being played by the Russians and immediately declare them non-compliant for failing yet again to meet the deadline.”Last month, the governing body of world athletics (IAAF) said they were maintaining Russia’s ban from track and field over the state-backed doping controversy.Russia’s athletics team was barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and also missed the IAAF World Championships in London a year later.A number of Russian athletes, however, have been granted permission by the IAAF to compete as neutrals after meeting the exceptional eligibility criteria, essentially demonstrating that they have come through transparent anti-doping testing.The IOC lifted its ban on Russia at the end of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Later Tuesday, the athletes commission of the UK Anti-Doping Agency called for Russia to be declared non-compliant.“The Russian state need to prove unequivocally that they have learned from the biggest doping scandal under WADA’s watch,” said a statement.“And that they will be committed to a drug-free, transparent regime across international sport.“Otherwise WADA..must now declare RUSADA non-compliant.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more

MS Dhoni lauds Team India for ‘perfect game’ against England

first_imgIndia won the 4th ODI by 9 wickets to clinch the series 3-0 against EnglandIndia captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels his side played a “perfect game” today as the visitors thrashed England by nine wickets in the fourth One-Dayer to take an invincible 3-0 lead in the five-match series here.Opting to bowl, India first restricted England to a modest 206 and then overwhelmed the target in 30.3 overs to record their third consecutive victory in the ODI series at the the Edgbaston, in what turned out to be yet another lopsided contest.”Considering the first game, our performance only got better,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.”There is a tendency to lax after win, but we only got better and today was a perfect game,” he said.”The seamers bowled in the right areas and it was crucial because I thought it wouldn’t turn much. The fast bowlers set it up, because they took wickets and when the spinners came the batting was under pressure.”Dhoni praised young Ajinkya Rahane, who came in to open the batting in place of injured Rohit Sharma and scored his maiden ODI century with a 100-ball 106-run knock.Opening the innings, Rahane and an woefully out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan (97 not out) put on 183 runs for the first wicket to set the platform for the victory.Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan added 183 runs for the first wicket against England”The openers, if they can face 10 to 12 overs, it gives us a platform. It was good to see Dhawan back in form. Rahane was always someone who was third in line for the opening slot and he has made the most out of it. He is a good timer which makes it slightly easy for him. It’s a spot that suits him.advertisementRohit is a very talented guy and we are not making any decisions (on opening) as yet. I feel a lot of credit goes to the seniors I played under and the youngsters,” Dhoni said.England captain Alastair Cook feels India outplayed the hosts in all departments of the game.”A very tough day. The sport turns change so quickly. It is frustrating not to play to your potential,” he said.”We were going to bat first anyway. India certainly batted better, fielder better, and bowled better. It is always tough to lose three games in a row and in a manner that we lost,” Cook said.England captain Alastair Cook feels India outplayed the hosts in all departments of the gameCook said with the 2015 World Cup a few months away, England need to pull up their socks to be a contender for the coveted trophy.”There is a World Cup a few months away and you have to show you are hungry. We just need to look at ourselves and improve. There is potential but we need to improve,” he said.He also praised Moeen Ali for his attacking 67 off 50 balls in terms of adversity.”Moeen batted very well. He was the only guy to have a good day today. We are pretty clear on the personnel we need, but if people do not sore runs, or take wickets.. they certainly have the potential.. They need to turn up,” Cook said.Man-of-the-match Rahane, on his part, credited his bowling mates to set up the series-clinching win for India.”Feels really great when you get a 100 and the team wins.Credit goes to the bowlers as well for setting up the match,” he said.”I was batting well after the first few games and I was focussing to stay there. Really happy for Dhawan, the way he batted was special. We just wanted to enjoy the game. It’s a great challenge to open, you have to prepare your mind,” he signed off.last_img read more