New Letterkenny bridge remains main priority for Councillor Brogan

first_imgEvery effort must be made to fast-track the construction of a new a bridge across the River Swilly from Ballyraine to Bonagee, according to Letterkenny-based councillor, Ciaran Brogan.At a meeting of Donegal County Council in Lifford on Wednesday, councillors were informed that their role in the Ten-T Project will be to vote on the variation of the development plan later this yearCouncillor Brogan said “The Ten-T project includes the provision of a bridge across the River Swilly which is, without question, the most needed piece of infrastructure that will be developed in our lifetime,” he added. “I believe that every effort needs to be made to prioritise the new bridge from Ballyraine to Bonagee. This is the shortest piece of infrastructure in the overall plan, but one which will have the largest impact on the flow of traffic in Letterkenny.”He added that the long delays being experienced by motorists in and around Letterkenny on a daily basis highlights the urgent need for the provision of a new bridge.“The benefits of a new bridge will alleviate traffic in and around Letterkenny and will open a gateway to the North and West of our county,” Cllr Brogan said.“The addition of a second bridge over the River Swilly will result in quicker access to the employment centre on the Business Park Road which employs around 5,000 people. It will also vastly improve the journey times from so many other parts of the county, including the Fanad and Rosguill peninsulas and from West Donegal,” he added. “This is a project that will benefit Donegal and the entire North West region. Our tourism sector will also benefit greatly from the construction of a new bridge. Given that we don’t have a rail network, I am calling on the government to pledge the necessary funds to develop the new bridge.”New Letterkenny bridge remains main priority for Councillor Brogan was last modified: April 27th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BallyraineBonageebridgeCllr Ciaran BroganRIVER SWILLYlast_img read more

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Le secteur automobile en Afrique du Sud

first_imgLe secteur automobile de l’Afrique du Sud est un moteur turbo general pour la fabrication et l’exportation de vehicules et de composants. Le secteur represente environ 10% des exportations du secteur industriel d’Afrique du Sud, ce qui en fait un element essentiel de l’economie.Avec une production annuelle de 535 000 vehicules en 2007, et une augmentation attendue a 630 000 en 2008, l’Afrique du Sud peut etre consideree comme un contributeur mineur a la production mondiale de vehicules qui a atteint 73 millions d’unites en 2007.Mais localement, le secteur automobile est un geant qui contribue a environ 7,5% au produit interieur brut (PIB) du pays et employant environ 36 000 personnes.La gouvernement a identifie le secteur automobile comme un secteur essentiel de la croissance dans le but d’augmenter la production de vehicules a 1,2 million d’unites d’ici 2020 tout en augmentant de façon importante la quantite nationale.CroissanceInvestissementFord, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, VW …Le Programme de Developpement du Secteur AutomobileLes avantages concurrentielsLes fabricants de composants pour voituresUn choix immenseCroissanceL’Afrique du sud a ete l’un des marches automobiles les plus performants du monde au cours de ces dernieres annees. Les nouveaux chiffres de ventes de voitures ont atteint des records pendant trois annees successives, de 2004 a 2006. en 2006, les ventes ont augmente de 14,4% juste en dessous de 650 000 unites, generant un revenu de 118,4 milliards de rands.Les ventes ont chute de 5,4% en 2007 et devraient reculer encore en 2008 car les taux d’interet et les prix plus eleves font ralentir les depenses.Cependant, des programmes importants d’exportation devraient permettre de conserver le dynamisme de l’industrie locale. Les exportations de vehicules etaient aux alentours de 170 000 unites en 2007 et l’Association Automobile Nationale d’Afrique du Sud (Naamsa) espere une augmentation a 285 000 unites en 2008. C’est une croissance extraordinaire, surtout lorsqu’on la compare avec 1997 lorsque le nombre d’unites exportees etait en dessous de 20 000.L’Afrique du Sud exporte actuellement des vehicules vers plus de 70 pays, principalement le Japon (environ 29% de la valeur du total de ses exportations), l’Australie (20%), le Royaume-Uni (12%) et les USA (11%). Les destinations africaines d’exportation comprennent l’Algerie, le Zimbabwe et le Nigeria.InvestissementDe nombreuses multinationales utilisent l’Afrique du Sud pour sous-traiter des composants et assembler des vehicules pour les marches locaux et etrangers.De 2000 a 2006, les investissements du secteur dans les infrastructures de production et d’exportation ont quadruple, de 1,5 milliard de rands a 6,2 milliards de rands avant de ralentir a 3 milliards de rands en 2007. Les investissements en capital devraient se situer autour de 4 milliards de rands en 2008.La plupart ont ete des investissements etrangers, les societes meres de fabricants de voitures locaux developpant leurs activites locales pour ameliorer la capacite de production, les installations d’exportation et les infrastructures de financement.Tous les grands fabricants du pays ont lance des programmes d’exportation importants au cours de ces dernieres annees, le dernier (enjanvier 2008) etant celui de la societe Ford Motor d’Afrique du Sud.Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, VW …FordEn janvier 2008, la Societe Ford Motor d’Afrique australe a annonce des projets d’investissement de plus de 1,5 milliard de rands pour developper ses activites en Afrique du Sud pour la production des pickups compacts derniere generation de Ford et du moteur diesel Puma.La branche locale du geant automobile americain a declare que l’investissement commencerait en 2009 et serait reparti entre son usine d’assemblage de Silverton a Pretoria et son usine de moteurs de Struandale a Port Elizabeth, la plupart des vehicules produits etant destines a l’exportation.General MotorsGeneral Motors South Africa, base a Port Elizabeth dans la province d’Eastern Cape, vend les marques Chevrolet, Opel, Isuzu, Saab, Cadillac et Hummer. En 2005, la societe a remporte un contrat de six ans pour assembler et exporter le Hummer H3, ce qui a eu pour consequence un investissement de 100 millions de dollars dans son usine de Struandale.GM South Africa construit un nouveau centre de conversion et de distribution de vehicule de plusieurs multi millions de rands et investit 481 millions de rands dans ses activites, modernisant ses installations de production et d’outillage en 2008.Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz South Africa fabrique des vehicules Mercedes-Benz et Mitsubishi dans son usine de fabrication de East London dans la province d’Eastern Cape. Le siege de la societe se trouve dans la province de Gauteng, d’ou les marques Mercedes-Benz, smart, Maybach, Mitsubishi Motors, Freightliner, Western Star et FUSO sont vendues et financees.Mercedes-Benz SA a recemment investi environ 2 milliards de rands pour moderniser son usine de fabrication et produit aujourd’hui des versions avec conduite a droite ou a gauche de la derniere Classe C de Mercedes-Benz pour les marches nationaux et a l’exportation.ToyotaToyota South Africa a recemment entrepris un programme de modernisation et de relativisation de 2,4 milliards de rands. Son usine de Prospecton, juste au sud de Durban, est aujourd’hui l’usine Toyota la plus avancee d’un point de vue technologique en dehors du Japon et est capable de produire environ 220 000 unites par an.En tant qu’usine de production globale, Toyota South Africa s’est transforme de simple fournisseur en une base d’exportation efficace pour fournir des vehicules aux marches en Europe et en Afrique. La societe, qui exporte vers plus de 40 destinations, declare qu’elle s’attend a exporter environ 140 000 unites en 2008, soit presque 60% du total des exportations automobile de l’Afrique du Sud.VolkswagenVolkswagen South Africa se trouve a Uitenhage pres de Port Elizabeth dans la province d’Eastern Cape. En 2007, la societe a fete son 56eme anniversaire en Afrique du Sud, et son 2,5 millionieme vehicule sorti de sa chaine de production. C’est un leader local du marche des passagers, representant environ 21% de toutes les nouvelles ventes de vehicules.De 2000 a 2008, Volkswagen South Africa a investi environ 6 milliards de rands dans de nouveaux modeles, un nouvel atelier de peinture et une nouvelle usine d’assemblage de camions et de bus.Le Programme de Developpement du Secteur AutomobileLe catalyseur de cette croissance phenomenale a ete le Programme de Developpement du Secteur Automobile (MIDP) du gouvernement. Lance en 1995, le programme doit fonctionner jusqu’a son arret progressif en 2012.Le MIDP a favorise les exportations en permettant aux fabricants automobiles locaux d’inclure les valeurs du total des exportations dans le total de leur contenu local, et leur permettant ensuite d’importer la meme valeur en produits hors taxe. Cela a permis aux fabricants automobiles de se concentrer sur la fabrication de certains vehicules ou pieces destines a l’exportation tout en important d’autres modeles.Le MIDP offre aussi une indemnite de capital production aux fabricants de vehicules qui investissent dans des usines et des equipements en leur remboursant 20 % de leurs depenses de capital sous la forme de credit a l’importation et aux taxes sur une duree de cinq ans.Le gouvernement prevoit d’introduire un successeur au MIDP qui cherchera a ameliorer la chaine de valeur nationale. Le nouveau programme, qui durera jusqu’en 2020, se centrera sur l’ajout de valeur tout en etant coherent avec les obligations multilaterales de l’Afrique du Sud. Cela prendra probablement la forme d’un financement de la production.Le Ministere du commerce et de l’Industrie declare que ce nouveau programme de financement aura pour consequence plus d’emplois ainsi qu’un developpement durable du secteur. Le programme financera la production et des plans d’investissement qui « ont pour objectif d’atteindre un volume minimum de production pour chaque plateforme de 50 000 unites par an dans un delai raisonnable.Les avantages concurrentielsLe secteur automobile de l’Afrique du Sud offre un certain nombre d’avantages concurrentiels d’interet international. Cela comprend un competence imbattable en termes de cout sur de faibles volumes, des couts d’outillage concurrentiels et un degre eleve de flexibilite de fabrication.Le secteur local possede egalement un bon acces aux marches de l’hemisphere sud et de l’Afrique et offre des equipements de production pour la conduite a droite.Le secteur sud-africain beneficie de plusieurs technologies uniques comme le verrouillage differentiel pour les vehicules de piste, la technologie du soudage d’aluminium pour les radiateurs et la capacite a concevoir des pieces comme les purificateurs d’air et les climatiseurs qui sont en mesure de faire face au temperatures elevees et a la poussiere de l’Afrique.Les equipements de production de rang mondial du pays sont associes a des matieres premieres et une electricite peu cheres ainsi qu’a des infrastructures de transport et de telecommunications stables.Le Centre de Developpement du Secteur Automobile et le centre de test Gerotec pres de Pretoria constituent des equipements de niveau mondial pour la recherche, les tests et la formation.De nouvelles opportunites d’investissement sont creees pour le secteur par l’introduction d’accords de libre-echange avec l’Union Europeenne et la Communaute de Developpement de l’Afrique du Sud ainsi que la Loi de la Croissance et des Opportunites Africaines du gouvernement americain.Les fabricants de composants pour voituresIl existe plus de 200 fabricants de composants pour voitures en Afrique du Sud et 150 autres qui fournissent le secteur sur une base non exclusive. Le secteur des composants a un chiffre d’affaires d’environ 50 milliards de rands, soit environ 2% du PIB du pays et s’attend a une croissance solide car le potentiel d’exportation continue a augmenter.L’Afrique du Sud a exporte 30,3 milliards de rands en composants automobiles en 2006, une augmentation de 32% par rapport a 2005. Les convertisseurs catalytiques sont toujours les composants automobiles les plus exportes, representant environ la moitie des exportations de composants.Les autres exportations principales sont les moteurs, les silencieux et les pots d’echappement, les radiateurs, les roues et les pneus, les housses de siege de voiture et cuir, les autoradios et les systemes de sonorisation et les essieux, surtout pour les camions.L’Allemagne, l’Espagne, le Royaume-Uni, les USA, la France et l’Afrique subsaharienne sont les principales destinations des exportations de pieces automobiles de l’Afrique du Sud.Un choix immenseIl existe 1390 « etonnantes » variantes de voitures, vehicules de loisir et vehicules utilitaires dans les salles d’exposition sud-africaines d’apres un rapport du site Web commercial Fin24.com.Le choix disponible a plus que double au cours de ces 10 dernieres annees. En 1997, peu apres le retour d’alfa Romeo, Renault et Chevrolet en Afrique du Sud, et lorsque les premiers locaux ont eu un avant-gout de Mahindra, SsangYong, Dacia, Kia, Hyundai, Daewoo, Saab et Subaru, il y avait 37 fabricants proposant 595 modeles differents.Depuis, Bentley, Cadillac, Citroen, Dodge, Maybach, Mini, Proton, TVR, GWM, Lexus et Tata ont installe des concessionnaires en Afrique du Sud, soit de façon independante, soit en alliant leurs forces avec des distributeurs etablis et des societes de leur groupe.Cependant, malgre les nouveaux venus, la majorite des acheteurs sud-africains ont tendance a choisir des marques connues et etablies comme Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Mazda et BMW. Ces marques representent encore plus de 80% des nouvelles ventes de vehicules dans le pays.Derniere mise a jour de l’article : Aout 2008SAinfo reporter. Sources (sites en langue anglaise) :National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SANational Association of Automobile Component and Allied ManufacturersDepartment of Trade and IndustryGeneral MotorsMercedes Benz South AfricaNissan South AfricaToyota South AfricaBusiness DayEngineering NewsFin24last_img read more

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Hopes of a peaceful Sudan poll

first_imgSouthern Sudan is set to become Africa’s new country. (Image: Final Gear) Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has vowed to recognize the new state. (Image: Centre for American Progress) MEDIA CONTACTS • Mustafa Biong Majak Koul Director General of Information Southern Sudan Government +249-922-260-000  RELATED ARTICLES • ‘Wild’ plans for two Sudan cities • Pact offers hope for Darfur’s young • Glimmer of hope in Sudan • Zimbabwe moves forwardBongani NkosiSudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s recent visit to the country’s south region is being seen as a possible sign that the upcoming referendum will be peaceful, and its outcomes will be accepted by the different parties.It’s all systems go for the January 2011 landmark referendum, which is expected to result in Southern Sudan becoming a country of its own. The predominantly Christian population there is in favour of breaking away from the Arab-dominated north.Thousands of citizens have to return home to take part in the vote. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 400 000 Southern Sudanese have travelled back from camps for displaced people in and around Khartoum, while others have returned from exile in neighbouring countries.The referendum, which will take place over seven days from 9 to 15 January, is an outcome of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005. This ended a two-decade-long war between the north and south.Al-Bashir visited Southern Sudan’s capital Juba on 4 January, just five days before voting kicked off, and was warmly welcomed by the region’s President Salva Kiir. International media reported that the visit was seen as Al-Bashir’s farewell to the region.Al-Bashir, who’s wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, vowed to “congratulate and celebrate” with the south should its people vote for secession. He will recognise a new Southern Sudan state, he promised.There had been fears that Al-Bashir’s government would not support the breakaway, as the south is important to the broader country’s economy. About three-quarters of the country’s oil reserves are located there.Although unity between the two regions is desirable, Al-Bashir’s Khartoum-based government will respect the outcome of the referendum, the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported.“Imposing unity by force doesn’t work … We want unity between the north and the south, but this doesn’t mean opposing the desire of the southern citizen,” said Al-Bashir.Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who’s in Sudan at the moment, was encouraged by Al-Bashir’s visit to the south.Mbeki, who’s highly active in the Sudanese negotiations as chairperson of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel, said Al-Bashir has show that he’s committed to the peace process.“Speaking in Juba, President Bashir displayed once again his commitment to the CPA and his qualities of national leadership,” Mbeki said in a speech at the University of Khartoum on 5 January.“There is no greater test of statesmanship than to accept, in a graceful, generous and humane manner, the decision of those of your people who have the opportunity to choose secession.“President Bashir’s Juba speech demonstrated that he, and the Sudanese leadership, are rising to the occasion, meeting the challenge of the exercise of self-determination by the Southern Sudanese.”Credible referendum predictedVoter registration has been completed and any remaining challenges regarding this will be dealt with through the courts before the final list of eligible voters is published, according to the UN.More than 3-million people have registered for the poll, with 51% of the portion being female.The UN panel tasked with monitoring the referendum is confident of a smooth voting process. “Based on our observations so far, we believe that a credible referendum can take place,” said the panel’s head Benjamin Mkapa, according to a UN statement.“The eyes of the world will be watching this referendum, and we hope that all the hard work that has gone into preparing for it will culminate in a vote that is smooth, transparent and a credit to all,” added Mkapa, the former president of Tanzania.The panel also includes António Monteiro, Portugal’s former minister of foreign affairs, and Bhojraj Pokharel, a former chairperson of the Election Commission of Nepal. The UN appointed the trio to ensure a credible referendum on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.It has been facilitating talks with opposing parties and other authorities, and encouraging them to resolve problems and disputes, the UN said.International and local observers About 3 000 observers from different parts of the world will travel to Southern Sudan to monitor the referendum. The Carter Centre, established by former US President Jimmy Carter, will lead a 100-strong observation delegation, which will include respected figures like former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.The African Union will also send in a team of observers.“The referendum is a critical step in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” Carter said in a statement. “We hope this process will help the people of Sudan work for a peaceful future, regardless of the outcome.”Former US Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is said to have already arrived in Southern Sudan. The European Union is expected to deploy 110 observers from its 27 member countries.Russia said it will relocate four helicopters from Chad to Sudan to help the UN guarantee security during the referendum, according to an Al Jazeera report. China will also send a team of observers.last_img read more

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Brand South Africa partners with BARSA Aviation Summit

first_imgCollaborate – Innovate – Disrupt: Propel to 2020. This was the dialogue that buzzed among aviation professionals at the 2019 Board of Airline Representative of South Africa (BARSA) Aviation Summit on Thursday 28 February 2019.The one-day BARSA Aviation Summit sees high-level government and private sector representatives across aviation, business and tourism come together for collaborative discussions on advancing the aviation industry. Approximately 100 delegates participated in the Summit that took place at Inanda Club in Sandton, Johannesburg.A major theme in conversations on the ground and on social media was technology and its disruption of the industry. There is an unrelenting need to develop and upskill citizens in order to stay abreast of the advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.Brand South Africa’s GM for Research, Dr. Petrus De Kock presented a session on aviation as an enabler of the Nation Brand that helps to shape the reputation and competitiveness of the country.BARSA Chief Executive Officer, Ms. June Crawford told Brand South Africa that this year, BARSA is largely focused on collaborating with the greater tourism industry. “International and local airlines help to promote South Africa and to raise brand awareness”, said Crawford.The day was broken into various thought-leadership sessions, led by industry experts and cabinet ministers. One of the sessions welcome a panel discussion on “Strengthening Partnerships Between Airlines and the Travel Industry in order to Embrace New Technologies for Continuous Industry Improvement”.Delegates could also download the official event app, BARSA Summit, on their mobile phones for live interaction while the event was running.The aviation industry is a vital contributor to the South African economy and society which adds significant value to the overall Nation Brand reputation.last_img read more

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Robot may be “game changer” for crop growers, breeders

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A semiautonomous robot may soon be roaming agricultural fields gathering and transmitting real-time data about the growth and development of crops, information that crop breeders — and eventually farmers — can use to identify the genetic traits in plants likely to produce the greatest yields.A team of scientists from the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois is developing the robot in partnership with researchers from Cornell University and Signetron Inc.Inspired by the autonomous rovers used to search collapsed buildings and other dangerous environments, the agricultural robot is propelled on continuous tracks, or miniature tank treads, which enable it to navigate through dry or muddy fields. Researchers guide it using GPS and a laptop computer.Traveling between the crop rows, the robot uses hyperspectral, high-definition and thermal cameras, weather monitors and pulsed laser scanners to capture phenotypic information — such as the stem diameter, height and leaf area of each plant — and assess environmental conditions, such as the temperature and moisture content of the soil.The robot stores the data in its onboard computer and transmits it in real time to the grower’s computer. Scientists use the data to create a 3-D reconstruction of each plant, develop predictive models for the plant’s growth and development, and estimate the biomass yield for each plant and the entire plot.“Immediate access to the data is very important for crop breeders in the U.S.,” said Girish Chowdhary University of Illinois agricultural and biological engineering professor. “It’s very important for them to see and visualize the data. If the data are available to the breeder quickly, then they can make actionable decisions” that enhance production.Although the researchers currently are using the robot to assess fields of energy sorghum, a crop used in biofuel production, they say the robot would perform equally well with other tall-growing row crops such as corn and wheat, and possibly with soybeans before the plant canopy closes.The robot is a “game changer” for both crop scientists and farmers, automating the labor-intensive phenotyping processes of farming and crop development, said Stephen P. Long, the director of the project and the Gutgsell Endowed University Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at Illinois.“For producers, it’s going to accelerate the rate at which we can improve the genetic material. We can now select material much more rapidly and select many more plants as well, so we can eventually deliver to the farmer a far more productive bioenergy crop,” Long said.“One of the big advances of the last few years is that we can now determine the complete DNA blueprint of each plant. But how do we use that? What we need is to be able to describe a plant as it grows. You could do that perhaps with an army of people, but now the robot can do all of that for you. We can combine the phenotypic information about how the plant’s performing with the genetic blueprint and identify the combination of genes we need to get the best plant possible,” Long said.Chowdhary, whose research focus is field robotics, is modifying the robot’s current design to reduce its width so it can maneuver more easily between crop rows. He also plans to install a sensor system for detecting and avoiding obstacles.To reduce the production costs associated with the robot’s current metal and track construction, Chowdhary’s team is exploring the feasibility of producing some of the components via 3-D printing.“We are targeting a cost to the breeder of $5,000 to $10,000, which means we will have to get the manufacturing cost significantly below that,” Chowdhary said. “An agricultural robot that costs just $5,000 is a totally new concept. Agricultural equipment today typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bringing the cost of our robot below $5,000 will be in itself a significant achievement for our team.”Unlike the robots used in factories, agricultural robots must be weather resistant, Chowdary said. The underlying technologies — the algorithms, the mechanical design and the human-robot interaction devices that provide robustness — are useful in many other industries, including defense, surveillance and scientific exploration.The team expects to have a prototype built within two years and begin manufacturing thereafter, with the goal of having the robot on the market by 2021.The robot project is funded with a $3.1 million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture program, a unit within the U.S. Dept. of Energy.last_img read more

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London Olympics: India wins more medals than Beijing 2008

first_imgRINGSIDE VIEWSome setbacks, some triumphs at London Walk the TalkBefore the Olympics, K.T. Irfan, India’s 20-km walker, had to ask Malayalam star Mohanlal to buy him a pair of shoes for the event.Now that he’s finished 10th in a field of 50, he’s become a star. Kerala Sports Minister K.B.,RINGSIDE VIEWSome setbacks, some triumphs at LondonWalk the TalkBefore the Olympics, K.T. Irfan, India’s 20-km walker, had to ask Malayalam star Mohanlal to buy him a pair of shoes for the event.Now that he’s finished 10th in a field of 50, he’s become a star. Kerala Sports Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar met Irfan in London and appears to have agreed to fund his training expenses from now on. But will he walk the talk?No Excess Baggage A group of officials from the Athletics Federation of India reached London but could not enter the Olympic Stadium. They had to watch the games on LED screens in an open area.”Please tell us what happened to (discus thrower) Krishna Poonia,” said one official. Perhaps they ought to have stayed on in India.Bouts of Joy An Olympic medal has changed everything for boxer M.C. Mary Kom.The bronze medallist’s popularity is at an all-time high in London, with journalists at the main press centre,Excel Arena and even in TV commentary booths raving about her performance.End of the Road Tennis has been a huge letdown for India at the Olympics, considering Leander Paes got the nation its first ever singles medal in 1996 at Atlanta. Some retirements are likely. Mahesh Bhupathi will probably be the first to go. But where is the next generation? By S. KannanIn Bhiwani Junction, a lively account of India’s boxing revolution, Vijender Singh talked about his first reactions being at the Olympic Games in Athens, aged 17. “Yeh hota hai world ka sports… main dang reh gaya (So, this is what global sport is about. I was stunned).”In this athletic panorama, unmatched in scale and significance, both dazzling and daunting, where does India stand? How did we do in London 2012?advertisementComparing India’s medals tally to those stacked above us is neither conclusion or consolation. Comparing India’s performance to Games gone by offers a clue but only if studied with dispassionate assessment.The biggest bonus from London 2012 is that for the first time, India’s challenge extended across several disciplines whose athletes travel with optimism as opposed to the cumbersome baggage of hockey and tennis.London was the first time that Indians had qualified well in time and in large numbers-11 shooters, eight boxers, five weightlifters to name just a random lot of competitors-with reasonable financial support and expertise working for them. India had to win more medals than Beijing 2008. This time instead of wailing over bad luck, vegetarianism and unfortunate genes, India had maths on its side. In Rio 2016, the more the contenders, the more the medals. It’s that simple.If every Games must be treated like a staging post to understand where our sport stands, London is proof that a slow tectonic shift has taken place in India’s Olympic sport.In Sydney 2000, medal prospects had largely been centred around hockey, tennis and women’s weightlifting, with Pullela Gopichand-yes, him, Saina Nehwal’s sagely guru-offering an outside chance at the badminton event. The surprise: Boxer Gurcharan Singh coming within 14 seconds of a semi-final spot, beaten on countback, left weeping on the ring.In Athens 2004, India’s hopes floated around hockey, tennis (again), athletics through long jumper Anju Bobby George and shooting. Three Indian shooters made the finals, Rajyavardhan Rathore won the country’s first silver. The first-mover advantage enjoyed by women’s weightlifting had by then been politicked and doped itself out of contention. The surprise: Archer Satyadev Prasad going toe to toe in the quarter-final against the world No.1, defeated by a single arrow.Saina NehwalIn Beijing 2008, the hockey team didn’t qualify and tennis moved offcentre. The contenders now came from shooting, boxing and badminton. Abhinav Bindra’s gold broke a glass ceiling, Vijender Singh’s bronze opened boxing’s floodgates. The surprise in Beijing came from Sushil Kumar’s repechage wrestling bronze. Nehwal hurt so badly after her quarter-final defeat that she swore to return to the Olympics, a better, stronger, tougher competitor. When she won her quarterfinal against Tine Baun in London, no wonder she tossed aside her racket and just pounded the court with her bare hands.Going into the 2012 Games, along with Nehwal, the shooters, boxers and wrestlers had given themselves the best chance. Once again, three shooters made the final-in a dream Games it would have been five-but two won medals. Of eight boxers, the first to make the medal rounds was its lone woman contestant, M.C. Mary Kom, the gumshield-mom. The performance of six of the seven men must sting or boxing will slide.advertisementThe surprises from London come from race walker K.T. Irfan who broke the national record in the 20km walk, shooter Joydeep Karmakar who finished fourth, badminton braveheart Parupalli Kashyap and discus thrower Vikas Gowda, the first Indian man in an Olympic athletics final after Sriram Singh in 1976 and the first in a men’s field event after Henry Rebello in the 1948 triple jump.Mary KomThe sports where the noise ended up louder than the news were hockey, tennis and archery. The archers say they need a mental trainer, hockey will hold on if its young players can find something to fight for in the World Series Hockey and tennis must first rid itself of the Paes-Bhupathi saga that now looms like those Tom and Jerry cartoon shadows.It is the governors of these sports who must now play a role or their sport will slide out of Olympic significance in India. Of the three, archery must have the most agile response to underachievement, because it stands to lose the most. Hockey will lean on history and tennis will always have its niche following.Until now, India’s genuine athletic performers, particularly those without resources, had zero safety nets. Gursharan abandoned the Army for a professional career in the US, Prasad was quickly forgotten. London has shown Indian Olympic sport that the only way to succeed is to change its old-style game.Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar had been shooting only for nine years before he won silver in his sport’s biggest event. It was a medal won through order and method. Neglect that by displacing genuine athletic achievement from the top of the food chain and a sport only reduces its Olympic relevance in India. In real terms, say, if the bosses in Indian archery do not make winning a medal in Rio their only priority, everyone might as well just toss aside their bows and arrows. As Vijender Singh said, yeh hota hai world ka sports.-The author is senior editor at ESPN cricinfo.last_img read more

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