Pascal Pape: Facing Jamie Heaslip is not a problem

first_img France’s bullish lock was banned for 10 weeks for his crude challenge on Heaslip in Ireland’s 18-11 RBS Six Nations victory on Valentine’s Day. The 35-year-old may not play again in the Six Nations if he retires from Test rugby as planned after the World Cup, but will lock horns with Heaslip again in Sunday’s Pool D decider in Cardiff. Stade Francais second row Pape intends to focus on guiding France to a victory that would line up Argentina in the quarter-finals and leave Ireland facing New Zealand. “It’s not a concern for me, or for him probably,” said Pape when asked about renewing hostilities with Heaslip. “I don’t know how to take the question, it’s not important for me. It wasn’t a problem.” Pape pleaded guilty to the offence and had his ban reduced by five weeks for showing remorse, tweeting Heaslip to apologise. Leinster loose-forward Heaslip accepted the apology by responding to Pape on social media, showing humility despite a nasty injury. “I apologised, he accepted that and we moved on,” said Pape. “I’ll just work hard for the team. “There are plenty of engagements and collisions in matches. I expect fierce competition with lots of physicality but no problems.” France fly-half Frederic Michalak vowed not to fret too much about hounding Johnny Sexton, admitting he would let attack-dog flanker Thierry Dusautoir worry about that instead. Les Bleus have unashamedly placed a target on Sexton’s back this week for the third time in succession. Philippe Saint-Andre’s men know that to stop Sexton is to stop Ireland, and will again send freight-train centre Mathieu Bastareaud straight down his channel at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday. “He’s a great player, he’s had two years in France so I’ve played against him a number of times,” said Michalak of Sexton. “I’ll concentrate on the French team though, I can’t worry about him particularly – I’ll leave that to Thierry!” France will play their first World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium since their superlative 20-18 victory over New Zealand in the 2007 quarter-finals. The French clung on at the death with the All Blacks squandering numerous chances to drop for goal, desperate not just to win but to do so in style. Dusautoir scored a try and set a World Cup-record 38 tackles in a monumental shift in that last-eight battle, but downplayed any chances of a repeat performance against Ireland on Sunday. France have failed to beat Ireland in their last four meetings and even the inspirational Dusautoir admitted he would not put any big money on Saint-Andre’s men. “Eight years has passed since that great match here, so a lot has changed” said Dusautoir. “It’s not a quarter-final, it’s not the same, but it’s massively important for us. “We’ve got to front up to Ireland in order to succeed. We’ve got to play our best rugby to win but we can’t be thinking about repeating the past, it’s a different scenario. “It’s true that we haven’t beaten Ireland in four years but we had two draws, that I remember well. And the two defeats were very close. “I hope that tomorrow we will have the arguments to win the game. I wouldn’t gamble on the French team but I think we can change the story tomorrow on the pitch.” Pascal Pape remains unfazed by facing Jamie Heaslip for the first time since kneeing Ireland’s number eight in the back in a challenge inflicting fractured vertebrae. Press Associationlast_img read more

Tokyo 1964, Japan’s miracle Olympics that paved way for 2020

first_imgTokyo: Yoshinori Sakai was born in the most painful conditions imaginable: in Hiroshima, the same day the atomic bomb was dropped. Nineteen years later, Sakai symbolised Japan’s recovery after World War II by lighting the 1964 Tokyo Olympics flame.The final relay of the torch by Sakai was one of the biggest moments of the games’ opening ceremony, which lifted the collective self-esteem of the country after years of hardship and which now serves as a landmark for Tokyo 2020.“If you think what Japan was like in 1945 and then you think in 1964, the first Asian nation pulling off arguably the most challenging logistical exercise in the world at that time, the Olympics. It was an amazing accomplishment,” Roy Tomizawa, author of ‘1964 – The greatest year in the History of Japan’,” told Efe news in an interview.Tomizawa said that after the war the West portrayed the Japanese as suicidal and fanatical soldiers, but in 1964 they discovered an open and modern Tokyo that had skyscrapers, a country that broadcast the Olympic Games globally for the first time in colour, and inaugurated the first high-speed railway line in the world.“It was a major feeling of accomplishment for the Japanese. They felt perhaps that they were welcomed back to the global community,” the author added, and said that Sakai lighting the Olympic flame was seen as a very powerful moment.Even Emperor Naruhito, who at that time was only 4 years old, said during a press conference on his 60th birthday that those games was his first encounter with the world and during which – due to the atmosphere and cooperation among the sportspersons of different countries – became a foundation for his sense of global peace.The title of the best Olympics of all times is disputed. Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded it to Barcelona 1992, but then did the same with Sydney 2000. Decades before, American magazine “Life” had already given the honours to Tokyo 1964.“What’s the definition of greatest Olympics ever? It’s unfair to compare Olympics, but there is no doubt that the 1964 Tokyo Olympics was great,” Tomizawa said.On the sports field, during the Tokyo 1964 games, Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila was crowned the men’s marathon champion for the second time, and American Bob Hayes won gold in the 100-metre race after levelling the then record of 10.0 seconds.Former Soviet artistic gymnast Larisa Latynina, who had been successful in the two previous games, claimed two gold, two silver and two bronze medals and became the first Olympian to win 18 medals, a record which was broken 48 years later by swimmer Michael Phelps.Japan managed an exceptional third place in the medals table after the United States and the Soviet Union. One of its most outstanding sporting moments was the gold medal win by the Japanese female volleyball team in defeating the Soviet team, leading to euphoria in the host country.Some of the venues built for the 1964 events, such as the iconic Yoyogi National Gymnasium, designed by architect Kenzo Tange, will be used in this coming Summer Olympics in the so called “heritage zone,” set apart form the new constructions in the Tokyo Bay area.The newly built National Stadium was constructed on the same location as the original venue that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies in 1964, the legacy of which is symbolized in a replica of the Olympic torch placed at the front of the facade, next to Japan’s Olympic Museum.For Roy Tomizawa, Tokyo 2020 cannot imitate the context or environment of the 1964 games as these Olympics are “different” and this time they do not seek to recover from difficulties but about “rebranding the nation” and “telling the rest of the world – if they were not aware – that Japan is a wonderful country,” Tomizawa said.During the 2013 selection process of the Olympics 2020 venue, Japan opted to present the games as the recovery from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.The Olympic torch will begin its journey on Japanese territory from Fukushima prefecture – slammed by the 2011 nuclear disaster – but Tomizawa feels that the concept of the Olympics as a rebound event is no longer emphasized as there is no need. Other stratum of the Japanese society believe that Tokyo 2020 could be a symbol of the opening up of a homogeneous society towards different races and sexual identities.Irrespective of what Tokyo 2020 means for Japanese society, the 1964 games left a legacy of overcoming difficult times and, according to Tomizawa “the desire to be included in the global community as friends and allies,” which regarded the event as an example of “Japan at its very best.” IANSAlso Read: Japan confident of hosting Tokyo Olympics despite CoronavirusAlso Watch: Rapido Captains become jobless from Satuday! Expressed their pain before THE SENTINEL DIGITALlast_img read more

Return home feeling like ‘Groundhog Day’ for transfer

first_imgFor college freshmen, adjusting to the academic and social life is a challenge. It’s their first semester away from home, learning the college schedule and still finding time to hang out and meet new friends. For first-year college athletes, combining the rigors of practice with adjustment away from home can be a difficult transition.For University of Wisconsin women’s soccer player Sheri Ferron the adjustment has been doubly difficult — she’s had to go through the adjustment period twice. And the second time has been the charm for the sophomore.Growing up 70 miles east of Madison in Brookfield, Ferron decided to play soccer further from home to become more independent. Although Wisconsin did make a recruiting try for her, Ferron settled on the Big East school Seton Hall, located 14 miles from New York City in South Orange, New Jersey. Although the Pirates went 7-7-4 last season, Ferron did not enjoy her time in the Big East as she was barely utilized by the Seton Hall coaching staff, playing in only 13 games and scoring a single goal. After their season had concluded, Ferron knew that this wasn’t the right place for her and requested a transfer.”I got my release between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year,” Ferron recalled. “I knew that I wanted to look at other schools. So when my release became official in February, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I knew Seton Hall wasn’t a good fit. I looked at mainly Wisconsin, UW-Milwaukee and Northwestern, but had really no clue.”Despite her displeasure in New Jersey, Ferron learned a lot in her first year of collegiate soccer and knew that the skills she picked up would help her tremendously for whichever team she chose to play for next.”I learned a lot while I was there and obviously it wasn’t a good situation for me, I wouldn’t take it back because I learned so much about myself,” Ferron said. “I learned a lot about what I want out of a team and what a good team was made out of. I didn’t find that [at Seton Hall]. A lot of that team aspect has become really important to me.”When head coach Dean Duerst learned of Ferron’s decision to transfer, he gave his recruiting pitch another shot at landing the talented ball-striker. This time, he knew that Ferron wanted to be closer to home and play a style that incorporated and depended on a team-first aspect rather than the player’s individual talents. With that thought in mind, Duerst made the push for Ferron to come to Madison.”I thought she would be a great fit in our system and the way we play,” Duerst said. “I had known her for awhile. We tried to get her to see the idea of playing at Wisconsin, being from Wisconsin, and it’s not back in the Milwaukee area where you are from. With the two of us having very good phone conversations, we’re happy she came.”Senior midfielder and team captain Kara Kabellis was thrilled as well, citing the fact that although Ferron would be new to the Wisconsin system, she already had the conditioning, work ethic and games under her belt and could step right onto the field and become a factor.”Knowing you’re having transfers coming in, you know that they have had experience at the college level,” Kabellis said. “It’s reassuring that they have some time under their belt, they know the demands of it and what to expect. Sheri has excellent work ethic, smart on the ball and fits in well with us.”Although she had finally chosen a school and settled in once again, the nerves where definitely there during the first week of team workouts in the summer. Not only was she nervous about fitting in with an entirely new squadron of top-tier players, Ferron was really worried what would happen if this situation also didn’t work out for her.”During that first workout, I had a lot of reservations about ‘What if this doesn’t work out like the last time,'” Ferron said. “I was really nervous about it. With any campus, transferring is a huge risk and the negatives are always in proportion to the awards. It just happens that it worked out awesome.”The one thing that made the transition easier for Ferron was what her new head coach had told her: that the Badgers run an offense that incorporates a healthy dose of skill combined with creativity for the betterment of the team. While at Seton Hall, Ferron found herself unable to showcase her skills in a system that was entirely one-dimensional. When she finally started practicing with the Badgers, she quickly began to adjust and excel on the field. “[Wisconsin has a more] fun style of soccer than just kick and run,” Ferron said. “I like playing creative soccer and to play with the players around me. I like to take people on and that’s something that Duerst stresses and something I am trying to do more. Because [not only] does he like it but it helps the team a lot.””With how we’re playing and our personnel, she works well with Taylor [Walsh] and Allison [Preiss] up top in terms of combining and movement with those guys,” Duerst said. “One of her greatest assets is timing and being in the right place at the right time. Her timing is really good within her system.”Through 15 games this season, Ferron has had some of the best timing of all the Badgers. Ferron is second on the team in goals (4) and points (12) and leads the team in assists (4). What stands out among Ferron’s stats is that her four goals have come on only nine shots for a astronomical .444 shooting percentage. While Ferron has only started games half the season, she routinely finds herself in the right place at the right time.”Players only need a few chances,” Duerst said. “She is in and around at the right time and it only takes a touch. She’s found a knack for finding the right area to get it by the keeper. She’s actively touching the ball. We call those players finishers. You don’t need to be the big shooter and rip off the powerful shot to find a way to get the ball in the net. It really boosted the team in terms of production when she began getting those goals.”Her success can also be contributed to her work ethic, as Ferron has put in a lot of time developing her game in terms of frustrating the opposing defense and finding her teammates on the field. “She’ll work hard and pressure the defense with the other forwards,” Kabellis said. “She sees the game really well, and she knows running off the ball where everyone is. She’s learning how to play with everyone and is adjusting really well.”Although she has only been playing with her new team for three months, Ferron looks like she’s been playing with the Badgers for years, developing that connection with the senior forwards that have led to a solid season thus far. For someone who thought she didn’t want to be a Badger, things have certainly turned out well for the Wisconsin native.”I like being close to home and it’s nice to have my family come to games,” Ferron said. “It’s obviously very different than where I was last year. They were only able to come to one or two games. When we play in Milwaukee and around the Midwest, they can come and watch me play.”Wisconsin was [always] a better fit for me,” Ferron added. “I really never pictured myself here but then I started learning about it, it seemed like a good fit for me.”last_img read more