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  • LPP pools £1.3bn credit assets for London and Lancashire schemes

    first_imgThe launch of the credit fund – officially called LPPI Credit Investments LP – follows similar launches by LPP of private equity, infrastructure and global listed equity vehicles, all within the last 12 months.LPP said it planned to launch fixed income and total return funds in the near future.The partnership has £12.8bn of assets under management from its two founder pension funds. A third local authority fund, the £2bn Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund, has provisionally agreed to join LPP but has yet to invest significantly in the pooled funds launched so far.In a draft version of Berkshire’s annual report for 2016-17, the fund said it would be “uneconomic” to pool asset classes such as private equity and infrastructure due to transfer costs and “the inequality created by sharing future returns”. It said it would consider future investment opportunities as they become available.“[The pension fund has judged that initially liquid assets will achieve the most instant benefits from pooling,” Berkshire said. However, its only liquid assets were developed market, emerging market and frontier market equities, as of the end of March 2017. The Local Pensions Partnership (LPP) has launched a £1.3bn (€1.5bn) credit fund, the fourth such asset-pooling vehicle it has set up in the past 12 months.LPP – the collaboration between the London Pensions Fund Authority and Lancashire County Pension Fund – announced the launch this morning. The fund will pool the credit assets of the two founding pension schemes.The credit fund is a limited partnership structure and will be managed by LPP Investments, LPP’s in-house asset manager. In a statement, LPP said the fund would have a “long-term, buy-and-hold investment approach with a focus on reduced volatility and capital preservation”.Susan Martin, LPP’s chief executive, said the fund was “another example of how collaboration can benefit our shareholder funds by delivering not only sustainable long-term investment outcomes, but also cost savings through manager consolidation and an enhanced internal investment capability”.last_img read more

  • Ireland steadfast over Sexton

    first_imgIrish rugby chiefs have reacted angrily to claims throwing Johnny Sexton into RBS 6 Nations action against France after a 12-week concussion lay-off could prove “a big mistake”. Press Association Ireland have not previously made public the fact that they chose not to select Sexton for their first-round clash in Rome, which Joe Schmidt’s side won 26-3 last weekend. The intimation was that Sexton was simply not available as he completed the final week of his three-month absence. This statement claims otherwise, and is designed to assert the IRFU’s right to field Sexton this weekend, and prove an extra level of sensitivity to their approach. France spent the early part of the week volunteering their determination to throw the kitchen sink, as well as tree-trunk centre Mathieu Bastareaud, straight down Sexton’s channel at the Aviva Stadium. Captain Thierry Dusautoir and assistant coach Yannick Bru attempted to downplay such tactics in Friday’s press conference in Dublin however – and Ireland’s frustrations with outside commentary may just account for some of that carefully-orchestrated backward step. When Ireland’s scrum coach Greg Feek and Paul O’Connell addressed 47-cap Sexton’s return on Friday lunchtime, both men hailed his physical condition and mental fortitude. Feek believes it is “a credit” to Sexton that he is fully fit and itching for a Test return after his absence. “Johnny’s selected, he’s been keen to play and he’s fine,” said Feek. “We’ve got brilliant medical staff and strength and conditioning staff, and we all work together on that process. “Then the players themselves are involved in that. “When is the right time? What is the right game? That’s the big question-mark. “We felt this was it. He did everything he needed to do, so it’s a credit to the player to be available at this point as well.” Ireland captain Paul O’Connell hailed Sexton as “an incredible player”, who will cope with whatever France throw at him on Saturday. “Johnny’s a really good professional, he enjoys his training,” said O’Connell. “While he wasn’t able to train very hard in his earlier days of being out, he’s treated the break as a bit of a mini pre-season as well. “He’s been able to look after his hamstring and get a bit of weights done, and relax the mind a bit. “It’s great to have him back in the side: he’s an incredible player, and he’s very aware of how Joe (Schmidt) wants things done having worked under him for a long time. “I played in a team with Ronan O’Gara for many years where teams knew how important he was to us and always attacked the 10 channel. “It’s every team’s focus to attack the 10 channel, it’s where a team’s playmaker is and it’s part and parcel of the game. “France can attack us anywhere and attacking the 10 channel is nothing new.” Former France international Laurent Benezech has questioned Ireland’s decision to start Sexton against Les Bleus in Dublin on Saturday, following his three-month stand-down for suffering four concussions in one year. Ireland have defended the decision to select the Racing Metro fly-half all week, but were moved to issue a pointed statement on Friday night, “to clarify some facts”. Ireland have revealed for the first time that Sexton could have played against Italy last weekend – and by inference are aiming to highlight their careful handling of the British and Irish Lions fly-half. “Player welfare is the primary concern of the Ireland medical and management team,” reads the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) statement. “All of the medical experts directly involved in the management of Johnny Sexton are satisfied that he is fit to return to the field of play.” Irish bosses branded Benezech’s comments as “disappointing and inaccurate commentary”, explaining Sexton has remained free of any concussion symptoms for the last two months of his enforced three-month absence. Former France star Benezech told the Irish Times: “Ireland is in trouble as playing Sexton after what happened to him is a big mistake.” Sexton was stood down from action by independent neurologists instructed by the French Top 14’s governing body, and the IRFU has acceded to those wishes throughout his 12-week break from action. The IRFU statement continued: “Johnny was cleared to play on Thursday, February 5 by independent neurologists in France and Ireland, the FFR concussion review committee, the Racing Metro medical team, the Ireland medical team.” Ireland’s statement is a step rendered all the more unusual given the detail within it was not revealed or volunteered in a Friday lunchtime press conference, despite much discussion of Sexton’s situation. last_img read more

  • Other Sports Badminton’s Lee likely to delay cancer comeback again

    first_imgBut Zakaria said Lee looked likely to miss his home tournament and was now targeting the Sudirman Cup mixed-team event in China in May.”The probability of him not playing in the Malaysia Open is very high,” he told AFP.”I don’t think that he is fully recovered physically. He needs to train properly because Malaysia Open is a very premier event.”Fans should lower their expectations.”Lee, who has previously said he needs to get the all-clear from his doctors before returning to competitive play, will travel to Taiwan next week for a check-up, Norza added.The player still hopes to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but qualifying looks increasingly tough as other young Malaysian players are ranked above him. Nose cancer is perhaps the biggest blow suffered by Lee, who was banned after testing positive for a prescribed anti-inflammatory at the 2014 world championships. highlights New Delhi: Lee Chong Wei is likely to miss next month’s Malaysia Open and delay his comeback from nose cancer for a second time, an official said Thursday, as the badminton great struggles to make a full recovery. Norza Zakaria, president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, warned fans to “lower their expectations” for the 36-year-old former world number one. The three-time Olympic silver medallist has been on the sidelines since July last year when he was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer.He underwent a grueling programme of specialist treatment in Taiwan but opted not to retire and resumed training in January.Lee originally planned to play the All England Open in March but then delayed his return to the Malaysia Open, where he is the defending champion, in early April. Lee Chong Wei is likely to miss next month’s Malaysia Open.Norza Zakaria, president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, warned fans to “lower their expectations”.Lee Chong underwent a grueling programme of specialist treatment in Taiwan.  For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

  • Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp named manager of the year

    first_imgLIVERPOOL’s Jurgen Klopp has been named the League Managers Association manager of the year. Klopp’s team won the Premier League – the Reds’ first English top-flight title for 30 years.Emma Hayes recently won the FA Women’s Super League manager of the year award after leading Chelsea to the title.Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa won the Championship award after guiding his side to the title and promotion to the Premier League.In announcing Klopp as the winner on Sky Sports, former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: “It was thoroughly deserved.“The performance level of your team was outstanding. Your personality runs right through the whole club.“I’ll forgive you for ringing me at half past three in the morning to tell me you had won the league – thank you!”Klopp’s side amassed 99 points as they won the Premier League title by 18 points from second-placed Manchester City.“I’m absolutely delighted to be named the winner of the League Managers Association manager of the year award, for this wonderful Sir Alex Ferguson trophy, named after a man that I admire so much,” said Klopp.“It feels extra special to win this award because it is voted for by my fellow managers.“It’s an honour to be in the company of so many managers who have been named as LMA manager of the year before, including of course Liverpool managers like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Sir Kenny Dalglish and, in recent years, Brendan Rodgers.”He added: “I am here on behalf of my coaches. I’m OK as a manager but they make us a real special bunch of football brains.”The FA Women’s Championship manager of the year was Aston Villa’s Gemma Davies.Coventry City boss Mark Robins was the League One winner, while Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell got the League Two award.(BBC Sport)last_img read more

  • F-M among top AA football contenders; CBA aims for return to glory

    first_imgF-M went 6-3 a season ago and reached the sectional semifinals before eventual champion Cicero-North Syracuse stomped them 46-7.  Meanwhile, CBA, with a young roster, went 1-7, facing trials on and off the field.As always at F-M, the energy level is high, and with a combination of a solid returning cast and some intriguing newcomers, the Hornets have a reason to think beyond just contending for a league or sectional title.“We’re always in the fight,” said head coach Paul Muench. “But we’ve got to make some better moves at the end of the year to take it to the next level.” Zak Conley takes over at quarterback for the Hornets. Already a standout defensive end, Conley will go both ways, with his throwing and running ability augmented by having a capable backup in Alex Dauksza.F-M isn’t worried about its skill players since it returns three running backs – Ethan Page, Evan Welling and Jack Nucerino – that made big contributions in 2018 when other backs got injured.Jordan Leuze also returns as the Hornets’ top receiver, helped by Mike Mason, Andrew Koester and sophomore Gordie Means. Also, both goalies on F-M’s lacrosse team – Ben Hammond and Jack VanValkenburgh – have taken up football and could catch passes, too.And the Hornets should have a terrific front line, often running behind left tackle Charlie Gadsden and left guard Caleb Pulver. Dan Sokolovic could line up at right tackle or guard, flanked by center Jake Fiorito and Matt McDonald.Will Duncanson, a key member of F-M’s unlikely sectional Class AA championship baseball team last spring, will help anchor the defense at outside linebacker, saying he knows the key to his team’s success.“If you do everything you can and work (hard), you can beat anybody,” said Duncanson.Sawyer Dereszynski is given the extremely tough task of trying to replace Tim Shaw at middle linebacker, flanked by Nucerino and sophomore Jake Poruczek.Hammond joins Conley, Means, Pulver and Jake Dobricki on the defensive line, while Leuze is a top returning cornerback, aided by a rotation that includes VanValkenburgh, Mason and Will Richardson. Welling and Nate Macrae are the starting safeties.Not far away, at CBA, the sting of 2018, and all that took place, has fueled every returning player in purple and gold.“They understand what needs to get done and are focused on it,” said head coach Casey Brown.Thus, veteran players can run warm-up drills and exercises before the coaches even take the field, veterans and newcomers alike focused on bringing the Brothers back to prominence.Much will be put on quarterback Travis Ward. The 6-foot-3 junior had a busy summer, said Brown, whether it was in the weight room or in summer camps as far away as Arizona, all of it focused on mastering the Brothers’ multifaceted offense.While throwing to the likes of Jack Szatkowski, Cam Harris and Aries Davis El, Ward can have a fair amount of confidence in his ground game since Jason Boule, Cade Bacon and highly-touted sophomore Jamar Ballard could all start in the backfield.Yet the big question for the Brothers is who will start up front. Other that Will Laun at center, nearly every other starting spot is up for grabs, and their development might hold the key to CBA’s entire season.There’s less questions on the defensive side, with Harris and Ashton Dean set to cause havoc at defensive end while Boule, Ballard and Szatkowski lead the way at linebacker. Davis El has an offer from Brigham Young University and leads a talented CBA secondary where Bacon lines up at safety.So much will be told before F-M and CBA meet up. The Hornets get fellow AA contender Liverpool in the Kickoff Classic Friday night as, at Alibrandi Stadium, the Brothers challenge a C-NS side that lost many top players from its 2017-18 championship run.Brown is optimistic that the Brothers can reclaim the winning form to which so many have grown accustomed. “We have to be smart with what we have,” he said. “But (the  players’) level of focus and enthusiasm is contagious, and there’s a purpose and drive.”Muench said F-M’s chance at ending an 18-year sectional title drought hinges on trusting his players to utilize their unique talents in pressure situations.“Instead of running a system, the key is to play to those strengths and be creative,” he said.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story On the night of Sept. 13, football teams from Fayetteville-Manlius and Christian Brothers Academy meet up on the Hornets’ home turf, renewing their infrequent, yet intense, rivalry.By the time the Hornets and Brothers are done with their gridiron clash, both will have a good idea of the things required of them to achieve their respective ambitions.They arrive in 2019 from different viewpoints, though.center_img Tags: CBAF-Mfootballlast_img read more

  • Charismatic Burke dominates tennis court

    first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoIt’s 10:40 on a Friday morning. In fewer than four hours, Caitlin Burke will face a tough Iowa State opponent on the tennis court. But for now, her mind is focused on the pet ferret her roommates recently purchased.”I get home and they’re in [my roommate’s] room. They’re setting up this huge cage. … They bought a tent, a small little tent for the ferret to go in, a hammock for it to lay on. They had all these toys for it,” Burke says. “I am just saying, ‘Oh my gosh. I cannot believe you guys just bought this. Do you know how bad ferrets smell? And they’re not that cool.'”A day later, her roommates came to agree. The pet, named for singer Kanye West, now resides with Jeremy Sonkin, the top player on the men’s tennis team.”He brings it everywhere with him,” Burke laughingly explains. “It just sleeps in his coat pocket all day long.”The laugh is infectious, and it pleasantly accompanies the seemingly constant grin of the Badger women’s tennis team’s ace. Even when game time comes around and Burke has shed her Wisconsin sweat outfit in favor of a team uniform, she is still all smiles until she takes the court.Then things turn serious. In the day’s doubles meet, Burke will help deliver a victory on the first court with a duo of punishing aces against the regional opponent. And when matters turn to the singles game, she is all business, shutting down the Cyclones’ Jill Palen 6-1, 6-1 in one of the day’s fastest matches.Winning is nothing new for the standout athlete, though.”[S]he got to the point where she was about 14, and she got so good that I took her to the national championships in the summer and she got to the semi-finals,” her father Patrick fondly recalls. “It was a part time job just finding people for her to hit with everyday. And by the time she was 16, there weren’t too many people that could hit with her.”In high school competition, it would seem that no one that could hit with her. Burke finished out her secondary days with a perfect 108-0 record, having never even lost a single set of play.Badger teammate Kaylan Caiati can attest to that perfect record, having only lost three high school tennis matches herself. Each of them came at the hands of Burke.But there is no animosity between the two.”I’m the closest with Kaylan, just because she’s my roommate and we’ve grown up knowing each other for a really long time,” Burke comments of her teammate.The feeling is mutual, as Caiati radiates when the topic of Burke is raised.”We’re competitive when we’re on the court, but that’s it. … When we’re off in our apartment … it’s totally different. We act just like anybody else, not like two opponents on the tennis court,” Caiati said. “She’s very fun, always making me laugh. She has a very outgoing personality, and that’s what I like about her.”It’s now 11 a.m. on game day and Burke slips into the back row of a campus lecture hall, ready to take in a 50-minute session on weather and climate. The professor opens by giving a local news-style forecast and the tennis star scribbles down notes.When not copiously recording the day’s lesson, Burke twirls her pen on her left index finger. Though she proudly wears a yellow “Live Strong” bracelet on her right hand, she is a southpaw. And that has its benefits on the tennis court.”It’s definitely an advantage in tennis — being a lefty,” Burke said. “A big advantage with the serve, especially.”Who will be the victim of that serve in just a matter of hours?”Couldn’t even tell you her name, to tell you the truth,” Burke comments, unfazed by the prospect of taking on someone with whom she is thoroughly unfamiliar.Over the years, she has taken on a lot of people and, given the nature of women’s tennis, the scouting has never been stellar. Before rising to the No. 32 national collegiate ranking she currently enjoys, Burke began playing consistently around the time she was in the fourth grade, and her father recollects his daughter’s quick rise with a grin typical of the family.”I took her out when she was 5, 6, 7 … she was terrible. So when she was about 9, I said, ‘Caitlin, you want to go play some tennis.’ Started feeding her balls. Every ball on the strings — every ball perfect,” he said. “And within about a year, she was the top tennis player in the state in the girls’ 10s.”By the time college rolled around, Burke had accumulated the aforementioned flawless high school record and could more or less have her pick of schools. But the Cedarburg, Wis., native ultimately opted for the University of Wisconsin, electing to stay in state and close to home.”I visited North Carolina … Notre Dame, Northwestern, Tennessee and [Wisconsin]. And I just loved it here,” Burke said. “Went to a hockey game, a football game. … My family lives close by. All my cousins went here.”Having that family nearby makes a difference too. When the Badgers are playing at home, various branches of the Burke family tree will inevitably form a cheering section in the stands robust enough to intimidate any opposing player. For the final day of competition in the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team National Indoor Championships, the top singles court would be standing room only for those showing up late.”My other cousins who live in Minneapolis came up last weekend to watch. My brother, my sister, [my brother’s] girlfriend, [my sister’s] boyfriend, they all came — we probably had 15 people from my family here last weekend,” Burke recollects.And then there are her parents, a perennial constant in the Wisconsin stands not just for home matches down I-94, but for seemingly anything commutable in the region as well.With each of those matches, Burke has grown better and better, more adept at the college game. It has never been much of a secret that she was in line to claim the squad’s top spot for this, her junior season, but that didn’t stop the route to the top from hitting one minor, premature bump.It was April 1, 2005, when the Badgers ventured into State College, Penn. to take on the Nittany Lions. Then-team ace Katie McGaffigan had been in a slump and Burke was proving dominant on the second court. Head coach Patti Henderson made the switch, placing the Cedarburg native at the top of the lineup card prior to the match beginning.Then the perfect storm hit. A prolonged doubles point seemed to suck the life out of both Big Ten teams, as the late-afternoon match slowly moved into the evening. With dawn creeping, the outdoor facility shifted from sunlight to stadium lighting, something practically unheard of in the college tennis world. And during that lengthy doubles contest, the temperature plummeted. Suddenly it was dark, Burke — like everyone else — was showing the signs of exhaustion, the air was far chillier than it seemingly ever is for a tennis match and the newly anointed Badger ace was to take to the top court, which also happened to be the rare collegiate grand stand court, meaning the match would be fought in a pit with lengthy back-courts and creeping shadows.”The conditions were tough playing outside, being dark and windy,” Burke commented as she stretched after the match. “I tried my hardest.”Nearly a year later, sitting in a restaurant on State Street and working her way through a bagel sandwich, Burke chooses almost identical words to describe that fateful evening at Penn State.”It was freezing. … It was a huge stadium court, whereas normally I have a fence behind me. So I was playing way far back. … It wasn’t the nicest conditions. It was windy, it was pretty cold and dark out,” Burke comments. “I was playing under lights. I had never done that.”After a second, equally bizarre interlude at the top spot 48 hours later in Bloomington, Ind., Burke would return to the second spot for the duration of the season, proving dominant behind McGaffigan who emerged from her slump and ended her college career with some impressive victories.Today Burke is back on top and, this time, in command. Her only losses on the season have come to top-25 opponents. And, as her father notes, even those matches have been close enough that the Badger star has every right to eye All-American status.”You beat somebody that’s really good and it really affects your ranking,” he says. “So she’s a big win away from moving up.”This past weekend, Burke met Northwestern’s Cristelle Grier, formerly the top ranked player in American women’s college tennis, in what proved to be an epic battle of spin-heavy shots, games stalled at deuce and hard-won break points. The Badger ace ultimately lost the match 6-4, 7-5, but it was an impressive display against an opponent who may well be laying claim to one of the greatest college tennis careers in recent history.Henderson may summarize Burke’s rise the best, “She’s certainly grown. She’s grown as a person. She’s grown as a tennis player. And she’s grown into taking aspects of the leadership role among the team, too.”Moreover, Burke keeps growing. And since she is still only a junior that leaves seemingly endless possibilities for the relatively young tennis star.”I can’t imagine stopping after college. In two years, it would be weird to think about being done. I definitely want to try to play after,” Burke says. “It would be fun to try a few pro tournaments, see how they go … it doesn’t hurt to try. I think it would be fun.”last_img read more

  • Syracuse looks to prevent Duke from getting revenge in ACC championship game

    first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CHESTER, Pa. — In order to win the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Syracuse will try to do what Duke couldn’t do last season against the Orange: win twice.The Blue Devils annihilated SU, 21-7, in the teams’ regular season matchup last season, but the Orange countered with a 16-15 win just over a month later.The roles are now reversed. Syracuse beat up on Duke 19-7 on March 22, and will try to avoid the same fate they delivered to the Blue Devils last season.“We know first-hand how that works,” attack Kevin Rice said. “…We know they have that same revenge and mindset on their brain.“We’ve got a little bit of that too because last year we came up short in the (ACC) championship game.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHaving beaten the Blue Devils over a month ago, No. 3-seeded SU (10-2, 2-2 ACC) is set to play No. 4-seeded Duke (11-4, 1-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in PPL Park for the conference tournament championship.While Syracuse and Duke have only been conference opponents for two seasons, Sunday’s game will be the teams’ fifth matchup in three years. Rice said the championship game will be more about the players’ mentalities than X’s and O’s, and head coach John Desko echoed his senior captain’s message going into the winner-take-all game.“Mentally we’ll have to get past our win in the Dome,” Desko said. “They’re a much improved lacrosse team from what I saw this afternoon, I think they’ve been steadily improving all year long.”Desko said his team plans to look at the Blue Devils’ improved faceoff unit in its short practice on Saturday and in film review. The Orange dominated the X in the regular season matchup, allowing SU to neutralize Dukes’s top offensive threat, midfielder Myles Jones.Syracuse pitted senior midfielder Peter Macartney against Jones, who often had his shooting angles cut off by Macartney and was forced sideways instead of straight ahead. When Jones did get an open shooting lane, it was Bobby Wardwell in net who was the stopgap, making 11 saves and allowing only two goals in 48 minutes.Wardwell, though, made it clear that his previous success means nothing substantial on Sunday.“You’ve kind of just got to forget that game that we played them,” Wardwell said.Syracuse will have its 9-8 ACC semifinal win against North Carolina fresh in its mind when taking the field on Sunday. It’ll be the team’s second game in three days, the shortest stretch between games that SU has endured all season.Duke’s situation is similar, but the Blue Devils did play four games total in two consecutive weekends to open up the season. The one-day break between games during the ACC tournament is traditional, but not a common practice teams tend to prepare for during the season.“Everybody’s got bruises and bumps and you’re used to maybe a full week or four days to rest,” Rice said. “But you’ve gotta know that both teams played a tight game and everyone’s going to be banged up.”While the Orange has little experience this season to draw upon on such a short stretch between games, SU’s core of fourth- and fifth-year players certainly have more of it.The veteran group is advancing to its fourth consecutive conference tournament championship, sending a clear message to younger contributors that the stretch is as much about being resilient as it is being the most talented team in the conference.“It’s the team that can look within themselves and pull out and go back to all the conditioning you’ve done,” Rice said. “Just find whatever reserves you’ve got left to push through it.” Comments Published on April 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm Contact Connor: cgrossma@syr.edu | @connorgrossmanlast_img read more

  • Tiger Woods: I can win the Masters

    first_imgTiger Woods believes his game is in good enough shape to win the Masters – and end a seven-year wait for his 15th Major title.Woods – whose 14th Major was the US Open in 2008 – strolled up to his second shot at the short par-four third hole and routinely hit a 35-yard pitch shot at the pin that finished about eight feet from the cup to cheers at Augusta National.It was only a practice round with old friend Mark O’Meara on the Monday of Masters week, but it gave hope that the four-time winner of the green jacket might still be capable of Major championship magic.Routine for the Woods of old, but full of drama for those who have cringed at the startling loss of short-game control that sent the former world number one into a self-imposed exile since he withdrew after 11 holes at Torrey Pines on February 5.”I’m on the better side of it now,” Woods told reporters when asked how he had fared with his chipping during his 11 holes of practice on Monday.”I felt like I had to get my game into a spot where I could compete to win a golf tournament. “And it’s finally there.” Woods only announced last week that he would compete in his first Masters since 2013 after missing last year while recovering from back surgery.The pressure is on him after a two-month absence from the PGA Tour that followed an abysmal stretch in which his best finish in six official events was 69th at the British Open, dropping his ranking to 111th.But Woods, of course, is no stranger to pressure and if the touch has returned to his short game, he could burst back to prominence at the year’s first major starting on Thursday.–last_img read more

  • Upper West plot Brong Ahafo scalp in latest Airtel Rising Stars blockbuster

    first_imgUpper West Region is all fired up for this weekend’s Zone 3 Airtel Rising Stars competition which is being hosted at the Wa Sports Stadium.Local media in the region is advertising the competition with a Wa-centric attitude saying the time has come for Upper West to also qualify for the Airtel Rising Stars finals.”Brong Ahafo has always qualified for the finals. The people of Wa should come out in their numbers to push the Upper West kids. This is the way our football can succeed. This is the way our children can also be seen by the rest of the country,” said Sule Adam, a popular sport journalist in the Upper West regional capital.Aside doing the region proud, the Regional Football Association has added reason to ensure the organization is flawless.“You know Kwasi Nyantakyi, the President of the Ghana football Association is from Wa. We have to do him proud by making sure that this competition which is close to his heart has good patronage here.”We are very proud of the GFA president and we want him to be proud of us too,” said Adolf Abubekar Kassim, the chairman of the Regional Juvenile Committee (RJC) of the Upper West Region. Meanwhile Brong Ahafo has a stated agenda of thwarting the plans of the hosts. Their team has been in camp for weeks and feels sharp enough to wrestle qualification for the national finals which will be hosted in Sunyani.“We are the hosts of the national finals. We are off course confident that if we win in Wa , our region can actually become the national champions of this year’s Airtel Rising Stars,” said Amponsah Agyemang, the Brong Ahafo Region’s juvenile committee chairman..Already Western Region’s boys and girls teams have qualified for the national finals. Eastern Region’s boys team and the Ashanti Region’s female team have also booked their tickets to the finals. After Wa, Airtel Rising Stars moves to Tamale which will feature the Upper East and Northern Regions. The train heads down south to Denu in the Volta Region for the competition between the Voltarians and Greater Accra Region.The winners of all five zones then head to Sunyani for the national finals scheduled to take place on the 29th and 30th of August. Airtel Rising Stars is a collaborative effort between the Ghana Football Association and African telecoms giant, Airtel. It aims at tapping into the potential of all young talented footballers in the country and setting them on the path of greatness.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

  • Mercedes’ Hamilton tells Ferrari to shape up

    first_imgFILE PHOTO:  Lewis HamiltonBaku, Azerbaijan | AFP | Lewis Hamilton has warned Ferrari to shape up and mount a serious title challenge after his Mercedes team swept the first four races of the season.The defending five-time world champion, who finished second behind his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, said the Italian team need to fight back hard to stay in contention to avert a similar Mercedes procession in next month’s Spanish Grand Prix.“Until they start to perform at the level we are now, then this is how it’s going to be,” said Hamilton, who slipped a point behind championship leader Bottas on Sunday when Mercedes collected a record season-opening fourth straight one-two.“We definitely didn’t expect to have this level of performance, but I am glad we do … I think the team is out-performing itself. They’re going to have to pick it up if they want to fight us.”Ferrari’s four-time champion Sebastian Vettel finished third and his team-mate Charles Leclerc fifth.“He is right,” said Vettel, who has not tasted victory since last year’s Belgian Grand Prix. “We need to pick it up. We need stronger pace. It is as simple as that. “It’s like a Rubik’s cube where you have to have everything in the right order. We have a good car, but we’re not using it to get the results we should be getting.”Ferrari’s optimism after dominating pre-season testing in Spain seems a distant memory after Sunday’s race and they badly need to rediscover their elan in Catalonia.Hamilton said he also wants a new display unit in his cockpit after losing time in a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) period, falling from two seconds behind Bottas to 3.6 seconds.“It’s all fine margins,” said Hamilton. “Valtteri did a better job in qualifying, which put him in pole position. Then, at the start, another fine margin for him, which I will have to work on…”“There’s some things to fix on the dash to make sure it doesn’t happen again -— just technical stuff, nothing major… But again it’s all part of the fine margins that make the difference.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more