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Tennis Star Maria Sharapova Suspended for Failing Drug Test

In March, Maria admitted that she tested positive for 'Meldonium', a drug that was banned only earlier this year, in 2016

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Maria Sharapova 2008 B&L Championship trophy. Image source:Wikimedia Commons
  • Maria Sharapova failed the Drug Test and will be banned from playing Tennis for two years
  • The drug ‘Mildonium’ was abused, the tribunal report said
  • Maria asserted that the drug abuse was unintentional, and she will appeal the CAS for support

Russian Tennis Star Maria Sharapova has been suspended for a period of two years by an independent tribunal for failing the drug test, says the International Tennis Federation.

This unfortunate development will mean that she will have to forfeit her title as the Quarter Finalist in the Australian Open this year, along with the prize money.

The ITF tribunal stated that Sharapova’s 2 year ban on playing the sport will be backdated to January 2016, thanks to her “prompt admission”. She had admitted in March that she tested positive for ‘Meldonium’, a drug that was banned only earlier this year.

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Sharapova at the Western & Southern Open, August 2011. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Sharapova at the Western & Southern Open, August 2011. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

However, she also asserts that she was doing so unintentionally. In a press conference in a downtown Los Angeles Hotel, she said:

“I did fail the test, and I take full responsibility for it. … It’s very important for you to understand that for 10 years, this medicine was not on WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency]’s banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine for the past 10 years. But on Jan. 1, the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I did not know. … I was given this medicine by my doctor for several health issues I was having in 2006.”

The tribunal did understand that Sharapova’s breach “was unintentional” because she “did not appreciate that Mildronate contained a substance prohibited from 1 January 2016.” Meldonium is the active ingredient in Mildronate. However, the decision read:

“[S]he does bear sole responsibility for the contravention, and very significant fault, in failing to take any steps to check whether the continued use of this medicine was permissible. If she had not had not concealed her use of Mildronate from the anti-doping authorities, members of her own support team and the doctors whom she consulted, but had sought advice, then the contravention would have been avoided.”

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It concluded: “She is the sole author of her own misfortune.”

In a Facebook post following the tribunal’s decision, Sharapova described the two-year suspension as “unfairly harsh.” Here’s more:

“While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension. The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

The Facebook Post has collected over 52,000 likes  (as of now) with very loyal and supporting comments from thousands of people all over the world. Trending Twitter hashtags like #BringMariaBack and #IStandForMaria also did their rounds on Twitter.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: saurabhbodas96

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  • Paras Vashisth

    The highest earning athlete in any female sport said that she had been found to have taken Mildronate – or Meldonium – which was prohibited. It is negligent for her and from that she might face future career problems.

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Family is the First Priority, but I have no Plans to Retire in the Near Future : Roger Federer

With the historical most of 19 Grand-Slam titles, the Basel-born tennis legend is considered to be the best ever player of the sport. But Federer himself feels reluctant to accept it.

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Roger Federer
19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. Wikimedia

Shanghai, October 17, 2017 :  Seeded second, Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer returned to the Shanghai Rolex Masters after two years and concluded the season’s penultimate ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament with his 94th career crown after a fifth consecutive victory over old foe Rafael Nadal in the final.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion chatted in an exclusive interview with Xinhua after Sunday’s match, saying he has no plans to retire in the near future, but for him family is the first at the moment.

“I know it (retirement) is sooner or later. I know I’m not 22 anymore, but I don’t have a date,” Roger Federer said, “If the body allows me to play, my family allows me to play, if the success is still there, if I’m happy to travel, I will continue. But the four things have to work, if one of the four doesn’t work, it maybe the time to stop. But for now, it’s ok.”

At the age of 36, the Swiss has already won a Tour-best six titles this season, including the successes in the Australian Open where he overcame Nadal in a tough five-setter and the Wimbledon Open where he defeated Marin Cilic in straightforward three sets.

Many people are wondering how could a player make such accomplishments at such an age. One of the reasons is that the veteran has learned to be more flexible and made a smart schedule during the season.

“For me, I have come to realize that sometimes less is more. Today I think when I take enough rest, feel hungry and have the fire, then it’s the one I can play my best. I want to make sure I’m happy to be on the court and happy to do press. It’s like if I do too much, the fire is like Juuuu… it goes away. So for me, the family is my priority and then the rest,” Federer explained.

With the historical most of 19 Grand-Slam titles, the Basel-born tennis legend, Roger Federer is considered to be the best ever player of the sport. But Federer himself feels reluctant to accept it. In his opinion, being the ever best is not only about Grand Slams. “Like Bjorn Borg, he only went to Australia once or twice because it was during the Christmas, and he was happy at home instead of travelling.”

“I worked extremely hard to have a great career, and sometimes have chased records. But you know, it’s hard to judge who is the best of all time, you see Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Rod Laver, Rafael Nadal, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras. There are so many players did fabulous things, so I tried my best with my career. I didn’t expect myself playing maybe this well at this age. I’m happy with what I achieved, and hope I can keep going,” Federer continued.

Although trailing 14-23 in his previous meets against the current world No.1, Federer is sparing no efforts to narrow the margin as he has defeated Nadal five times in a row, of which four came in this season. It seems that the eight-time Wimbledon Open champion has found ways to beat the 10-time French Open winner.

“I think I’m serving consistently better. I get easier power ever since I switched to the bigger racquet. I feel I’m connecting better on the backhand and I’m serving good,” Federer said of the change of game style which proved to be helpful for him, “I think it was hard for me to consistently just keep on attacking with the backhand, but now it seems almost not a problem.”

“But that’s no guarantee, he is gonna keep working. Rafael is a great player and extreme difficult to play against, because he can use his left hand do everything. But what I see is to win the title, not so much beating Rafael, but of course beating him is more special,” he added.

The glory on Sunday was the second time that Federer has lifted the trophy at the tournament, with the previous one in 2014.

Prior to the tournament, Federer got a chance to take the subway in Shanghai which left him deep impression. He said he was very used to the public transportation when he was at young age in his home country Switzerland.

“Shanghai is a great tournament, I hope I can come to play every year if my body allows. And I’d like to bring my family to, not just Shanghai, China in general. It’s such a diverse, interesting country with so much rich history that I’d like to visit more,” Roger Federer said.

Looking to the future of the Tour, Federer also talked about some young players whom in his opinion have the potential to be the next legends, such as Denis Shapovalov, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios.

“(To be the legends), you need hardwork, passion, and a good team, good training facilities, and being able to withstand pressure, and understanding the Tour, making it like the second home. It takes a little bit more time, but they are doing great. It’s nice to see these young talents in the Tour, and they make tennis a better place and exciting for fans,” Federer said. (IANS)

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Hindu American Olympic Medal Winner Rajeev Ram says Hinduism taught him control on the court

Rajeev attributes his success to his parents who taught him the Hindu values that translated onto the tennis court

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Representative set of the Olympic medals. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Rajeev attributes his success to his parents who taught him the Hindu values that translated onto the tennis court
  • His parents, who are involved in the local Hindu community didn’t care whether he won or lost his tennis matches as a child but ensured that he controlled his temper
  • In time, he found out that keeping calm could not only make him morally better but could also improve his scores

August 23, 2016: When people from a tiny community that exist in a massive land distinguish themselves and reach the zenith of success, they become role models, symbols of hope to all those who aspire to make history. A small Hindu community of the US has brought out prodigies in every field, creating a name for themselves. The Hindu Americans have produced successful entrepreneurs, and scholars and also those who excel in the professional realms of sports.

There have been many Hindu Americans who have represented the US and become Olympic champions. Mohini Bhardwaj, the silver medal winner gymnast in 2004, and Raj Bhavsar who won bronze in 2008 in the same field are a few to name. When Rajeev Ram stood on the Olympic podium to receive his silver medal in tennis doubles in Rio 2016, not only did he become a new role model for the Hindu American children, but he also became the new face of a local Hindu community he belongs to, mentioned the Washington Post.

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Rajeev attributes his success to his parents who taught him the Hindu values that translated onto the tennis court. The Washington Post quotes Ram, “Part of the Hindu religion teaches- more so than anything else, your control of your mind — your self-control, basically. Obviously, your body’s going to do what your mind tells it to do. If you can have that inner control, a sense of peace, your body’s going to follow.” This self-control generally refers to one’s mastery over his moral and ethical choices. Ram has taken his practice to the next level by achieving mastery of his body.

Rajeev Ram, Image source: Twitter
Rajeev Ram, Image source: Twitter

Rajeev’s parents, who are involved in the local Hindu community didn’t care whether he won or lost his tennis matches as a child but ensured that he controlled his temper. In time, he found out that keeping calm could not only make him morally better but could also improve his scores.

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So when the people abroad are able to inculcate the principles of Hinduism and transform themselves into amazing personalities, it is sad that back home in India which is the motherland of Hinduism, people are unable to harness the best athletes and send them to the Olympic Games.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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World Record: Meet the 96 year-old Shigemi Hirata, World’s Oldest College Graduate of Japan

Shigemi Hirata received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Design from Kyoto University at the age of 96 years and 200 days

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Shigemi Hirata Image Credit: japantimes.co.jp
  • Hirata was born in Hiroshima on 1 September, 1919 and has four great-grandchildren
  • He served in the navy during the Second World War and worked as a security guard in a Takamatsu hospital after the war until he got retired in 1980s
  • 100-year-old Japanese woman, Mieko Nagaoka, became the world’s first centenarian to complete a 1,500-metre freestyle swim, 20 years after she took up the sport

JAPAN: A 96-year-old man in western Japan has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for breaking all the records and becoming the oldest college graduate according to the World Record Academy. Shigemi Hirata, a resident of Takamatsu, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Design from Kyoto University at the age of 96 years and 200 days. It took him 11 years to earn the degree of his ceramic arts course.

“My longevity is something like destiny. I am blessed with people (I have met).”

Hirata was born in Hiroshima on 1 September, 1919 and has four great-grandchildren. He served in the navy during the Second World War and worked as a security guard in a Takamatsu hospital after the war until he got retired in 1980s. In 2005, when he was 85, Hirata enrolled in the university’s correspondence study program to enhance his skills in pottery, which he took up when he became a pensioner. He occasionally attended classes at the university’s campus in Kyoto though most of his studies were done at home. He is something of a celebrity on campus.

Shigemi Hirata Image Source: Indiatimes
Shigemi Hirata Image Source: Indiatimes

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Hirata, after becoming the oldest man to earn a graduate degree is not done with setting the records. “My next goal is to live until 100,” he said, before cracking a joke. “If I’m still in good shape at the time, I will consider going to graduate school,” said Hirata.

Japan’s lively pensioners regularly set eye-popping records as the silver-haired generation enjoy longer and healthier lives.

100-year-old Japanese woman, Mieko Nagaoka, became the world’s first centenarian to complete a 1,500-metre freestyle swim, 20 years after she took up the sport.

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Hidekichi Miyazaki, dubbed “Golden Bolt” after Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, set a record by finishing a 100-meter sprint in just 42.22 seconds at the Kyoto Masters Athletics Autumn Competition at the age of 105.

There were nearly 59,000 centenarians in Japan in 2015, according to government figures — which means 46 out of every 100,000 people is 100 or over.

According to NHK World report of 2015, the number of Japanese aged 65 or older has risen to a new record of about 33.8 million people, or 26.7 per cent of the population.

– by Pashchiema, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

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