PREMIUMAll England kick offs with intensified battle for Tokyo spots

first_imgGoogle Linkedin COVID-19 or not, the oldest badminton tournament, the All England, will kick off on Wednesday, and players will be keen to secure Olympic points before qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 end next month.Indonesia’s mixed doubles pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja is on a mission to gain as many points as possible, especially because some other tournaments prior to the Birmingham tournament, like the German Open, were cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.Hafiz and Gloria currently sit in 8th place in the Race to Tokyo ranking. Their position is not safe yet, as their lead in points over other pairs, such as Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai and Hong Kong’s Tang Yung Man and Tse Ying Suet, is narrowing.Indonesian mixed doubles coach Richard Mainaky explained where the bar was for Hafiz and Gloria at the All England to keep their Olymp… Log in with your social account Forgot Password ? all-england Hendra-Setiawan-Mohammad-Ahsan Hafiz-Faizal-Gloria-Emanuelle-Widjaja badminton Tokyo-Olympics COVID-19 LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Topics : Facebooklast_img read more

Ivica Zubac works his way back into Lakers’ rotation

first_img“He held Dwight to 30 that night!” a good-natured Walton teased on Monday. “We won. I think it might have been our first road win of the season last year but he was good. He was good.”Zubac’s return to Philips Arena on Monday, however, came as the second-year center has worked his way back into the rotation. After the Lakers’ 123-104 victory over Atlanta, Zubac has now logged double-digit minutes in four straight games after appearing in just 13 of the Lakers’ first 52 games.“This is what I’ve been doing for my whole life,” Zubac said. “When you’re not playing you’re not feeling good because this is what I’m doing my whole life. Now, when I’m finally in the rotation, everything else feels much better.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I think everybody should get paid no matter what,” Zubac said. “If they are making money (for) that team in Europe or a college in the USA, they should get paid. For sure. That’s their right. I don’t know, I just think it’s not fair to the players to not get paid.”He also believes that “basketball-wise, it’s better to play overseas because you’re playing against guys who are physically more (developed). They can get you prepared for the NBA more than guys your own age.”Fifteen months ago, Zubac wondered just how ready he was for the NBA, as he sat in front of his locker at in Philips Arena, trembling as he studied the scouting report on Dwight Howard.Before scoring 10 points in 16 minutes on Monday in his first game back in Atlanta, Zubac recounted the conversation when Luke Walton told him he would make his first career start against the Hawks. He remembered the nerves he felt the whole day and the sleep he did not get the night before.“As soon as I stepped on the floor,” Zubac said, “everything was gone.” Walton acknowledged Zubac endured “some frustrating times” this season but that those are “part of the learning process.”Zubac started 11 games as a rookie and was penciled in as the starter before the Lakers traded for Brook Lopez, signed Andrew Bogut and ended up playing Julius Randle at center.“I think part of the success he had at the end of his rookie year, he probably thought it was going to be a much bigger role this year for him.”Whatever hard feelings there might have been, Zubac seems to be over them.“Life is much better,” he said.A PAYER’S PROGRAM?Arizona basketball is such a close community that when Walton, who played at the Pac-12 powerhouse from 1999-2003, assembled his Lakers staff he hired no fewer than four assistant coaches with Arizona ties.Walton, Jesse Mermuys, Jud Buechler, Miles Simon. All were shaken this weekend when their alma mater suspended head coach Sean Miller amid a federal investigation that, according to ESPN, caught Miller on a wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to secure a commitment from star freshman DeAndre Ayton.But unlike other members of the Bear Down brethren, Walton declined to weigh in on Miller’s job security.“It’s unfortunate,” Walton said. “Obviously I’ve got a lot of love for my program. … I feel like Sean’s done a lot of good things, too. It’s a little early to be judging so harshly. It’s a tough job and obviously if what is said is true, that’s a mistake that he made.”Milwaukee Bucks guard Jason Terry, who play at U of A, tweeted that the program needed to “clean house.” Walton, who played under Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson, said he was not the person to decide whether Miller should lose his job.Despite his ties being to an earlier generation at the school, Walton remains close to the Arizona program.“Sean’s done a great job of reaching out to former players,” Walton said. “I don’t get back anymore because the only time we can go is in the summer. And Tucson in the summer is a little hot for me, but it’s been a great relationship with them even since Coach Olson’s left.” ATLANTA — Ivica Zubac has been paid to play basketball since he was 16 years old, three years before the Lakers brought him to the NBA.He has followed with interest as top-flight college programs navigate a scandal in which players, including Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, reportedly received money from an agent while in college.Zubac heard from his American teammates on Croatian and Serbian pro teams about “good time they had in college” and on Monday he acknowledged a desire to have experienced it.But there were more practical matters influencing his decision to stay in Europe.last_img read more