SMB set for PH Cup ‘3-peat’

first_imgChina counts sharp rise in coronavirus cases, 2 in Beijing MOST READ Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Read Next Yeoh, Vo top Asian Zone 3.3 chess tilt Prince Harry: ‘No other option’ but to cut royal ties Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos Trailing 0-3 and left as dead for all intents and purposes, the Beermen pulled off the first ever sweep of the last four games of a best-of-seven playoffs.June Mar Fajardo, who came out of sick bay to help the Beermen midway through the championship stage last year, has remained the biggest stumbling block for the Kings, who continue to miss their injured 7-foot center Greg Slaughter.The wide-bodied 6-10 Cebuano gives SMB an unstoppable scoring and rebounding threat as he pursues what looks like a sure fourth straight MVP award this year. And backing him up are crack guards Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot and forwards Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter who form what is easily the strongest starting five in the tournament.Fajardo was honored as the Best Player of the Conference before Game 4 and to show his appreciation for the support of his teammates, he asked all the Beermen to join him in celebration.ADVERTISEMENT 2 ‘bookies’ bet collectors held in Quezon Palace: Crisis over ABC-CBN franchise unlikelycenter_img Prince Harry: ‘No other option’ but to cut royal ties Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Beaten black and blue in the title series opener, 109-82, the Kings rallied to make it 1-1 with an overtime 124-118 decision after blowing a 26-point lead in the second quarter.But the Beermen quickly dispelled doubts on their bid to pull off the second all-Filipino title three-peat with a sizzling finish in a 99-88 Game 3 victory before routing the Kings anew in Game 4, 94-85, behind a fiery show of three-point shooting.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnThe league’s oldest franchise, SMB is gunning for a 23rd championship and the fourth in the last seven tournaments under Leo Austria, once a topnotch guard for the now defunct Shell franchise.While he is a long way from matching the leading 19 titles of coach Tim Cone of Ginebra, Austria owns a record achievement that is now popularly referred to in the league as the “Beeracle” in last year’s title series against the Alaska Aces. For all the never-say-die hype associated with Ginebra San Miguel, the Gin Kings now need a miracle to salvage the PBA Philippine Cup title series against the defending champion San Miguel Beermen.With two contrasting but nevertheless impressive victories last week, the Beermen surged to a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven championship playoffs against the highly popular Kings, who actually were lucky to avoid getting swept thus far.ADVERTISEMENT Beggar dead in Quezon hit-and-run incident LATEST STORIES Taal Volcano continues to emit steam, ash from weak explosions View commentslast_img read more

Read more

Higher costs could force school bond project cuts

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The projects planned at each of the district’s 29 campuses were estimated to cost $186 million before the bond measure was approved, and the district relied on receiving an additional $41 million from the state. Since then, the cost has skyrocketed. “We need to prioritize,” school board member Greg Stratton said. “Changes have to be looked at unless we can cough up more money. … The board has to get to the nitty-gritty of what needs to be done at every school.” To make up the difference, school officials are considering selling off surplus property, although some support the idea more than others. Last year, the district requested appraisals on three parcels: the Wood Ranch conference center, an equestrian center south of Long Canyon and Walnut Grove Elementary School. The combined value is more than $10 million, with the closed campus alone worth about $6 million, Schultze said. Last week, the school board agreed only to pursue the idea of possibly selling the equestrian center and Wood Ranch conference center. Before anything can happen, an advisory committee must be formed to declare the assets as surplus. SIMI VALLEY – School officials are considering scaling back bond-related projects because of soaring construction costs that have put plans as much as $60 million over budget, school officials said. Voters approved a $145 million school bond measure in 2004, but because of cost overruns officials now estimate that the price tag to complete the laundry list of proposed projects is about $243 million. “About 80 percent of the projects should be done,” said Lowell Schultze, associate superintendent of business and facilities. To limit rising costs, construction will be compressed from a 10-year schedule to six, with completion by 2010. To be on the safe side, officials are now using an annual inflation rate of 14 percent, up from 4 percent. With the available funds, officials will first concentrate on priority projects, including fire safety, electrical and technology upgrades, as well as making sure all buildings are handicapped accessible, Schultze said. Other projects likely will have to be dropped from the construction list. “Whatever funding is left, we will work with the schools themselves to set up a priority list,” he said. “We’ll get a good handle on that as we go along.” So far, the district has spent about $17 million of the $145 million bond authorized by voters. Much of the work performed has been design-related. Modernization of Royal and Simi Valley high schools is now complete, and the expansion at Atherwood Elementary School will continue, including a new administration building, library and classrooms. Among the issues the district now faces is the Simi Valley High School stadium project. An all-weather track and artificial turf should be in place by September, but there isn’t enough money for more seats and a press box, as originally planned. Also, plans for Santa Susana High School have come in $1 million over budget; they include modernization of the campus, a multipurpose auditorium and more library space. School board member Carla Kurachi, who has been pushing for the sale of unused property, said now is the time to get rid of some of the district’s holdings. “We’re not in the real estate business,” she said. “Our job is to educate today’s children, and hanging on to property that costs us a bit of money every year is not very prudent.” Mike McCaffrey, chairman of the district’s bond oversight committee, said the group will continue to monitor how the money is spent. “We want to aid the district in stretching the dollars as far as we can,” he said. “The best way we can do that is to make sure they are spent in the most efficient manner possible.” Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 angie.valencia@dailynews.com 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

Read more

Top eight starts to a Premier League season – City, Liverpool, Chelsea and more

first_img 8. Liverpool 2008/09 – Won 8 Drew 2 Lost 0 – Points 26 – Goal difference +9 (Finished second in the league) – Click the right arrow above to see the best ever starts to a Premier League campaign… 6. Chelsea – 2014/15 – Won 8 Drew 2 Lost 0 – Points 26 – Goal difference +16 (Won the league) 3. Chelsea – 2005/06 – Won 9 Drew 1 Lost 0 – Points 28 – Goal difference +20 (Won the league) 8 2. Manchester City – 2011/12 – Won 9 Drew 1 Lost 0 – Points 28 – Goal difference +28 (Won the league) 8 With 10 games completed this season, Manchester City have officially had the best start since the Premier League began.Pep Guardiola’s side have been thrilling with their goal-laden performances in the English top-flight in 2017/18 and have dominated almost all their opponents and could have beaten Everton too – the only team they have dropped points against – had they not seen Kyle Walker sent off.It is perhaps unsurprising given the vast sums of money the club have paid for players like Walker but given they have also had injury and suspension issues it is an impressive feat.So which clubs have Man City beaten to top spot? Click the right arrow above to see the top eight starts to a Premier League season with 10 games gone… 8 8 8 5. Newcastle United – 1995/96 – Won 8 Drew 2 Lost 0 – Points 26 – Goal difference +18 (Finished second in the league) 8 8 8 4. Newcastle United – 1994/95 – Won 9 Drew 0 Lost 1 – Points 27 – Goal difference +19 (Finished sixth in the league) 7. Arsenal 2007/08 – Won 8 Drew 2 Lost 0 – Points 26 – Goal difference +15 (Finished third in the league) – Arsenal had a blistering start to the 2007/08 season but they crumbled under pressure 1. Manchester City – 2017/18 – Won 9 Drew 1 Lost 0 – Points 28 – Goal difference +29last_img read more

Read more

£55m signing out but starlet returns to start: Predicted Spurs vs Newcastle line-ups

first_img Is this how Newcastle could line-up against Spurs? getty images 5 5 Tottenham are set to be boosted by the return of Heung-min Son to their starting line-up when Mauricio Pochettino’s men take on Newcastle this weekend.The tricky forward has missed the first two matches of the campaign due to suspension, having been sent off against Bournemouth in the final match of last season. Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti Redknapp calls Son ‘petulant’, but Holloway says red card for Rudiger kick was ‘soft’ Argentine winger Erik Lamela scored and assisted in Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Premier League champions Manchester City last weekend and he will most likely keep his place.However, Pochettino revealed summer signing Tanguy Ndombele picked up a slight injury in that match which means he is unavailable for Sunday’s clash at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.Lucas Moura is another forward option available, with the Brazilian netting with his first touch from a corner in the match at the Etihad.Furthemore, Giovani Lo Celso could be handed his debut in the No.10 spot behind Harry Kane – although he will most likely have to to displace Christian Eriksen in the line-up to do so. Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship rookie error Sheffield United vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Liverpool vs Arsenal (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORTSwansea vs Birmingham (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2 LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta targets Getty Images – Getty deals Harry Winks seems to have cemented his place in the starting line-up and he will most likely partner Moussa Sissoko in the middle of the park. Eric Dier is also available and could feature, however.Kyle Walker-Peters looks primed to continue his spell in the team at right-back, as Juan Foyth is still sidelined with an ankle injury and Serge Aurier’s future at the club remains up in the air. stalemate on target LATEST Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman Bruce has a huge task to keep Newcastle up this season 5center_img latest Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update OFF FAREWELL 5 What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas Moura headed home the equaliser for his side against City Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximum are in contention to make the trip to London after being assessed.The Brazilian and Miguel Almiron will most likely lead the line, with both still searching for their first goal for the Magpies.DeAndre Yedlin and Andy Carroll are also unlikely to see much action before the international break, while Christian Atsu, Florian Lejeune and Jack Colback longer-term absentees. Matic one of two players for sale with ‘two Premier League clubs’ interested Pochettino will be hoping his side keep up their good start LIVE on talkSPORT Newcastle have had a torrid start to the campaign and this fixture provides the Magpies with another tough challenge.Steve Bruce will most likely stick with three at the back, with Paul Dummett, Jamal Lascelles and Fabian Schar holding the fort.Matt Richie and Emil Krafth could again be deployed on the flanks, with a midfield three of Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-Yeung and a return for Sean Longstaff in midfield, BIG PRESENTS UP TOP Ryan Sessegnon is also injured and yet to feature for the club, so Danny Rose will start the match with Ben Davies on the bench as cover.Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld have been Pochettino’s preferred centre-back pairing so far this campaign and there’s no reason why that would change.Skipper Hugo Lloris will assume his normal position between the sticks. 5 Man United transfer news live: Haaland ‘wants a change’, two players off in January Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever. Is this how Spurs could line-up against Newcastle? Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week Getty Images – Getty last_img read more

Read more

Photo of the Week: Stella Clair, Blue Water River Walk

first_imgWhen I was birdwatching last weekend, I spent time traipsing through the snow along the shoreline of the St. Clair River and found my way to the Blue Water River Walk near Desmond Landing in downtown Port Huron, Michigan. I was peering through my binoculars at the gulls and canvasbacks on the river when I spotted the back tail of what I thought was a whale sculpture. I was wrong. What I saw was the tail of Stella Clair, a 1,500 pound metal sturgeon sculpture, fabricated by South Haven, Michigan native Lou Rodriquez. Stella Clair is one of two pieces of public art installed at the River Walk last year to help tell the story of the area. Stella is a perfect choice for the River Walk. I learned there are almost 30,000 adult sturgeon at the mouth of the St. Clair River.Blue Water River WalkThe Blue Water River Walk is an almost one-mile stretch of St. Clair River shoreline open to the public that includes a pedestrian trail, restored railroad ferry dock, outdoor classroom, and habitat restoration area. Owned by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, I discovered the River Walk was the perfect spot for birdwatching. I also learned there are man-made reefs—tons of rocks, stones, and concrete—strategically placed along the shoreline to create a shallow water habitat for fish and wildlife. The reefs also protect the shoreline from the waves caused by passing boats. I’m planning a return trip to Port Huron this summer with my bicycle (the River Walk is part of the Bridge to Bay Trail system), so I can explore the River Walk when it’s not under two feet of snow. Wondering what those black dots are in the middle and upper right portion of Stella’s photo? Those are the gull and canvasbacks I was watching when I came upon Stella Clair. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedPhoto of the Week: Brants in Marine CityAre you interested in a detour along the St. Clair River, I asked my husband as we drove south from the Upper Peninsula last week. We had spent an extended weekend in the Upper Peninsula, birding and catching the beautiful fall colors along Lake Superior as well as some of…In “Michigan”Photo of the Week: Canoe Fan in Ann ArborI was on my way home from visiting the Peony Garden at the University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum this weekend when I decided to stop at Gallup Park. It’s been a couple months since I last visited Gallup, and I wanted to see waterbirds on the Huron River. Close to…In “Michigan”Weekly Roundup of Web Design and Development Resources: February 13, 2015In this week’s roundup of web design and development resources you’ll learn about a remote research webinar series, find out why the National Association of the Deaf is suing Harvard University and MIT, learn about the legal aspects of including third-party content on your site, and more. If you’re new…In “Web design & development links”last_img read more

Read more

Bit.ly Redesign Focuses on Sharing, Analytics

first_imgURL shortener bit.ly has unveiled today a number of changes to its website, many of which were announced when it made changes to its Pro service last month.The service breaks down the changes into four categories in a tour of the new site – shorten, share, track and manage.The company says that it has redesigned the site from the ground up and the “new release (which we’ve been affectionately calling fugu) provides enhanced features for searching through your links, more easily shortening links through a variety of means, and an increased emphasis on sharing your personal link feed with others.”Shortening links is as easy as it ever was – just cut and paste a long link and bit.ly gives a short and easily shareable link. Beneath the shortener, the site offers a history of links with a brief set of statistics and options for each.New sharing features, which now includes Twitter and soon Facebook, come primarily in the form of a new bit.ly sidebar. The sidebar makes it simple to share links using the service and offers instantaneous statistics on how many people are retweeting the same link and how many people have clicked on yours. For those of you who use bit.ly often, the tracking and analytics features may be your favorite new feature. The tracking section allows you to compare how links you share fare compared to that same link shared by everyone else using bit.ly. It also offers all of the standard statistics you might expect, such as referrer domains, locations and basic click data organized by different time periods.The final new feature, managing links, pulls all of these features together, providing you with a single page to examine all of the links you’ve shortened and shared using bit.ly and giving basic statistics on each. Bringing together heavier analytics with easier and more integrated sharing might be a smart move for the URL shortener, especially after much speculation in recent weeks that Twitter would be adding URL shortening to its ever-growing list of features. mike melanson Tags:#Microcontent#news#twitter#web A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoscenter_img Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…last_img read more

Read more

Yobongo Adds Photos, Bringing Chat Closer to the Real World

first_imgTags:#Location#mobile#web Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement jon mitchell The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Related Posts center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Since its launch at South By Southwest Interactive this year, Yobongo has been a quiet startup. It hasn’t made best-thing-since-sliced-bread pronouncements or it’s-the-x-of-y elevator pitches; it has just quietly kept working on its simple promise to, in the words of co-founder David Kasper, “help people communicate with new people around them.” It’s a promise that sounds overly simple until you see what Yobongo does. And today, the location-aware chat service for the iPhone has announced an update worth a thousand words.Yobongo users can now add photos to the conversation. The app creates mobile chat rooms based on location, allowing users to chat with real people nearby, even people whom they’ve never met before. With Yobongo 1.4, they can now snap (or upload) a picture of where they are, and it will be instantly uploaded into the chat room. With messaging and photo sharing services rolling out from everymajorplayer, these features seem to strike at the heart of the iPhone’s functionality. But Yobongo stands out from this crowd, because its purpose is to help people meet and discover each other. “We started Yobongo to help people make new connections and communicate more efficiently,” says CEO Caleb Elston. “Now we are going to help people communicate even more emotion.”When you shoot a photo in Yobongo, you get the native camera view, and you use pan and zoom to frame a square shot. You can also upload an existing photo from your library. Yobongo doesn’t store the location data for your photo, it just uploads the image into the chat room and saves the full-size version to your phone. Photos are displayed collapsed in the chat, and they expand with a tap. If somebody gets creepy, users can flag photos. Once an image reaches a certain number of flags, the preview is blurred. Yobongo stores the photos so that users can browse the conversation and see them, even if they weren’t online in the moment.To identify participants, Yobongo displays avatars, real names, short bios, and a small profile space asking what a user is currently pondering. The smoothly designed user experience feels almost native on the phone. Using Yobongo already felt personal, and the addition of photo sharing will bring everyone in the chat closer together, whether they’re comfortable with that or not. Yobongo makes it okay to talk to strangers, because, if it works as intended, they won’t be strangers for long.The Town HallOne reason Yobongo has been so quiet, though, is that the service is only available in a few key areas. Yobongo is currently only open in San Francisco, New York City, and Austin, since its SXSWi debut. If you run the app from anywhere else, it displays a screen that lets you vote on Facebook and Twitter for your community to be next. On July 27, Yobongo held a “town hall,” allowing eager iPhone users outside of its three pilot cities to try the free service for the first time.Participants in the town hall were eager to learn when and where Yobongo will launch next. Co-founder and CEO Caleb Elston said they had “no timeline to announce now,” but that the team is “committed to getting the Yobongo experience to more people.”Elston said they held the town hall in order to “get feedback from users about the Yobongo experience, answer any questions they may have, and give people a sneak peek of how the app works currently.”He found that interest was “an order of magnitude bigger than we anticipated,” which actually caused capacity issues that delayed the event for a few minutes.It was an interesting choice to call the event a “town hall,” since it was actually a special exception to the service’s local limits, and participants were from all over the United States. Members of the Yobongo team asked how users liked “chatting with people from all over.” The consensus was that the experience was personal enough that it felt almost local.Even though the participants were divided up into multiple chat rooms, which Yobongo does automatically to keep the chats from getting flooded, the team, including both co-founders, floated between rooms and was responsive to questions and comments from everyone. I asked Elston if he saw any overarching themes between rooms, since I was only able to participate in one. He said, “People were talking about Yobongo, their day, the tech news of the day, recent movies they saw, their desire for coffee,” in other words, a perfectly normal day on Yobongo.Making ConnectionsYobongo wants to serve a local purpose, which is why it has targeted big, dense cities with high iPhone penetration first. Many town hall participants were from rural areas and wanted to know how the service’s definition of “people nearby” would affect them.Elston said the team was using the town hall to explore those kinds of questions themselves.“As we think about expanding to more places,” he said, “we want to ensure there are people to connect and communicate with, and so the strictness of ‘nearby’ is important to understand and test.”Other participants asked about possible business models, and the team, while not offering specifics, was open to the conversation. Town hall participant Michael Stancil asked, “If I’m a local pizza shop, could I sponsor a channel within a 5 mile or so radius of my shop?”Kasper replied, “That’s definitely a possibility.”Talking to StrangersYobongo’s insistence on talking to strangers does not appeal to everyone, but I found the experience quite natural and enjoyable. One of Yobongo’s most distinguishing offerings is its potential to turn nearby strangers into real-life friends. I asked town hall participants about their views on using Yobongo to meet people in person, and the responses were unanimous. Brent Byington said it was “exactly the point! Love it!”In considering where and when to launch next, Kasper said the key factors were population density, iPhone penetration, and the number of votes on Twitter and Facebook. Kasper said they’re thinking about revealing the vote standings soon.Yobongo is free, it’s different, and it challenges our comfort zones. If you’re an iPhone user, download the app, and if you’re outside of the pilot areas, vote for the privilege of trying it (especially if you’re from Portland, Oregon). Other social apps are designed to keep bringing you back in. Why not try one designed to draw you out into the world?Do you like the idea of chatting with new people nearby? What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

Read more

Why Pluto is a frigid prison for nitrogen ice

first_imgAll planets lose a small portion of their atmospheres to space, if individual gas molecules get hot enough and reach escape velocity. Before NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft swooped past Pluto last July, scientists thought that the dwarf planet’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere was eroding into space at a rate of 1027 molecules per second. But data from the encounter show that the atmospheric escape rate is in fact four orders of magnitude lower, because of a cooling effect high in its atmosphere, scientists report today in Science. One explanation is that a surprisingly thick layer of smoglike haze particles (bands shown above) act as coolants, absorbing and emitting solar energy that would otherwise heat up nitrogen gas molecules in the atmosphere. Another possible explanation is hydrogen cyanide, an efficient coolant that was recently detected in Pluto’s atmosphere by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile. Regardless of the mechanism, the cold, dense atmosphere could help explain why Pluto has held onto features like the Sputnik Planum, the pool of mostly nitrogen ice at Pluto’s “heart.” If the newly calculated escape rate has held steady over the solar system’s 4.56-billion-year history, Pluto would have lost the equivalent of only 6 centimeters of nitrogen ice—although the rate may have been higher in the past because of variations in Pluto’s orbit and tilt. The cold, compact atmosphere also explains why a surprisingly small amount of it collides with the solar wind, according to another study published today in Science. In addition to the studies of the atmosphere and the near-space environment, three other studies are published today in Science. One focuses on Pluto’s geological features, including the idea that two mountains are actually cryovolcanoes that once spewed ice. Another focuses on the chemical compositions of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. And a third paper examines Pluto’s four smaller, irregularly shaped moons: Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra.last_img read more

Read more

Girl power

first_imgPrashanti, Akanksha and Pratima are a formidable part of the national basketball teamGoing against the flow is not easy. When it comes to uncharted territories, it becomes even more challenging. So when we came across six remarkable women-all of them confident, talented, accomplished, and pursuing unusual careers-we knew we had,Prashanti, Akanksha and Pratima are a formidable part of the national basketball teamGoing against the flow is not easy. When it comes to uncharted territories, it becomes even more challenging. So when we came across six remarkable women-all of them confident, talented, accomplished, and pursuing unusual careers-we knew we had to write about them, just so you know who you share the city with.At first glance, there seems to be nothing out of the ordinary about these three women. They are young, they enjoy movies, music and hanging out with friends. And they like the odd, guilt-ridden helping of junk food. Of course, they’re also slightly taller than the average woman-that’s where the ordinariness ends. Prashanti, Akanksha and Pratima Singh are members of India’s national women’s basketball team. The same team that’s doing phenomenally well at international meets. They also happen to be sisters.”Actually, there are five of us,” says Prashanti. Eldest sister, Divya, is a coach. Second is Priyanka, who was part of the national team, and is now pursuing her MBA from the US (where she plays for her university). Prashanti, 25, qualified for the national team in 2003, and is now the team captain. Akanksha, 21, entered the team in 2007. And Pratima, 20, is the recent entrant into the senior team and captain of the junior team. “We’re thinking of forming our own team, the five of us,” jokes Prashanti.”Mom can be our manager! For the sisters who grew up in Varanasi, basketball “just happened, and they ended up living together in Delhi, and training for hours everyday to represent Delhi nationally and India internationally. When they play together on court, their combined on-court wizardry leaves many an opponent stunned. The Singh trio look forward to playing league basketball after the recent agreement signed between the Basketball Federation of India and IMG Reliance. “The IPL seems to be benefiting others sports as well,” Prashanti says.advertisementFor now, though, the three sisters are off to Indore to train for the upcoming Asian Games. Come to think of it, there’s nothing usual about them at all.Sharma enjoys riding on the DND Flyway and going on weekend trips to Jaipur on her bikeWhether it’s a cold winter morning or a sultry summer morning, her passion for motorbikes knows no bounds. While most of us would like to sleep late on a Sunday morning, this is not so in the case of Ambika Sharma. “Once, my neighbour asked me if I was preparing for some competition. He was not ready to believe that I do this just for the love of biking,” says this 31-year-old.Work keeps her busy during the week but the weekend sees her on a Honda CBR 1000 RR Fireblade, her current machine. “Biking gives me a lot of things-freedom, solace and not to forget, tons of fun. It takes up most of my ‘me’ time, she says. And, she says, “When the weather is favourable, I don’t mind riding to office on my bike, especially if it’s a Friday or a Saturday.”Sharma’s interest has surprised almost everyone who’s met her. “I have come across a series of shocked faces, and I am yet to come across a man who will be comfortable being the pillion with a woman rider,” she says. Nevertheless, she is a member of an all-male biking group, GODS. “They have got used to my eccentricities, but they never give up an opportunity to pull my leg about the big hoop earrings under the helmet or the pink socks under the riding boots.”All of this is nothing strange for Sharma. Coming from a fauji family, ‘You cannot’ was not a term that her parents ever used. In fact, she was introduced to bikes quite early in life. “My father taught me how to handle one even before my feet could touch the ground.”Malik share a love for green spaces and international travelFor Sharma, her dreams are always evolving. “I own my current dream machine, but I would love to own a Goldwing or a Busa sometime in the future,” she says.She has always been around the game. Her father plays golf six days a week, while her mother plays at least once a week. But Shalini Malik took her love for the sport further. “I started learning golf when I was 15 and I just stuck to it,” says this 35-year-old international golf referee.It has been a long and phenomenal journey for Malik- from a keen player to an international referee now. “The game got me free university education in the US. I got to travel to the most amazing places and meet incredible people. In fact, I was the first girl to go from India on a golf scholarship. But today there are many girls from India playing there at the elite level. “Women’s golf has definitely gone to the next level. I think within the next five years we will produce some serious contenders on the international field.”advertisementFrom playing in the Dubai Ladies Masters which is one of the finest events on the European tour and on the other side the experience of playing at the Pro Am of St. Tropez which is all about glitz and glamour, she has come a long way indeed.RamasamyThis computer engineer with an MBA never found the cushy corporate world as interesting as inhospitable jungle environs. “I was always into landscape photography. And then gradually I started clicking birds and other wildlife. And I realised this is where my heart lay,” says Rathika Ramasamy, wildlife photographer.Heavy camera equipment, extreme weather conditions, lots of travel-which means staying away from family-Ramasamy happily embarked on an uncomfortable journey, leaving her flourishing corporate career behind. “It was not easy, but I always believed in doing uncoventional things. I have to carry six to seven kilos of weight on my own, but the sheer joy of being with nature, and photographing birds, makes me forget everything.”Ramasamy has been to all the national parks but Bharatpur National Park remains her all-time favourite. “I go there every month, but during November and December, when the migratory birds come to India, I visit every week. It’s like a second home to me. But what she cannot forget is spotting a frogmouth, an endangered bird species, at Salim Ali Sanctuary. “There are only two frogmouths in India, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted one.”Ramasamy has also been to national parks in Tanzania and would like to go there again. “I visited the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro. It was amazing. And no matter how much you complain about the parks here, Ramasamy feels there is more scope for adventure in Indian national parks.”You don’t really have to spend long hours there, since there is such an abundance of fauna, whereas in India you have to really work hard to find the animal and get your shot.”last_img read more

Read more