World shocked as tennis No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, 25, retires at the peak of her game

Agencies
March 23, 2022

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Australia's world number one Ash Barty has retired at the age of 25 and at the peak of her game, citing the fulfilment of her tennis goals and fatigue with life on the Tour.

She quits with 15 titles, less than two months after winning the Australian Open, her third Grand Slam singles triumph following Wimbledon in 2021 and the 2019 French Open.

"I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself ... I don't have that in me anymore," she said in a video posted on her Instagram account on Wednesday.

"I don't have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level any more. I am spent."

It marks Barty's second retirement from the sport, having walked away from the game as a teenager in late-2014 after becoming disaffected by the Tour.

She returned in 2016 and rose rapidly up the rankings, earning global acclaim for her brilliant tennis and fans' affection for her unfailing good sportmanship and laid-back demeanour.

She spent a total of 121 weeks as world number one and appeared destined for more success in the game's biggest tournaments.

However, she never made any secret of her dislike for the touring life and her battles with homesickness.

"Ash Barty the person has so many dreams she wants to chase after that don't necessarily involve travelling the world, being away from my family, being away from my home, which is where I've always wanted to be," she said in the video.

"I'll never, ever stop loving tennis, it's been a massive part of my life, but I think it's important that I get to enjoy the next part of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete."

'What a player'

Barty suffered depression on the Tour after turning professional as a teenager, leading her to quit and briefly reinvent herself as a professional cricketer in her home state of Queensland.

When the Covid-19 pandemic halted elite tennis in 2020, she took nearly a year off from the game to spend time with family rather than rejoin the circuit after it resumed.

"I know I've done this before, but in a different feeling," she said.

"I'm so grateful for tennis, it's given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down."

She bows out having earned almost $24 million in career prizemoney and as a national hero having ended a 44-year wait for a home winner at the Australian Open in January by beating American Danielle Collins in the final.

As the second Aboriginal Australian to win a Grand Slam title, following in the footsteps of the great Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Barty has also become an idol for her country's Indigenous population
Barty's bombshell triggered tributes from players and officials.

"Happy for @ashbarty, gutted for tennis," said Briton Andy Murray. "What a player."

WTA boss Steve Simon said Barty always led by example "through the unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship she brought to every match.

"With her accomplishments at the Grand Slams, WTA Finals, and reaching the pinnacle ranking of No.1 in the world, she has clearly established herself as one the great champions of the WTA."

Her retirement echoes Justine Henin's decision to quit in 2008 as a 25-year-old world number one with seven Grand Slam titles. Henin came out of retirement in 2010, inspired by fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters' comeback.

2005 US Open champion Clijsters retired in 2007 at the age of 23 but returned after a two-year hiatus to claim another three Grand Slam titles.

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News Network
May 12,2022

Bengaluru, May 12: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said his Cabinet will today decide on promulgating an ordinance to give effect to a controversial law against religious conversions.

The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly in December last year. It is pending passage in the Legislative Council, where the ruling BJP is one short of majority. 

“Because the Assembly and Council got prorogued, we are placing a proposal to promulgate an ordinance in the Cabinet today,” Bommai told reporters. 

The controversial bill aims to prohibit religious conversion by way of marriage or inducements such as free marriage, employment among others. 

The bill proposes imprisonment of 3 to 5 years with a fine of Rs 25,000 for “forced” conversion. Converting a minor, woman or an SC/ST person will attract a jail term of 3 to 10 years, with a Rs 50,000 fine. Mass conversions will attract 3-10 years of jail time, with a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.

Under the proposed law, any person wanting to convert into another religion must intimate the authorities one month in advance.

Karnataka will become the ninth state to enact the anti-conversion law. 

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News Network
May 15,2022

Udaipur, May 15: The Congress on Sunday announced wide-ranging organisational reforms to make the party battle-ready for the next round of assembly and Lok Sabha polls, stressing on wider representation to those under 50 years of age and enforcing 'one person, one post' and 'one family, one ticket' rules with riders.

In its Udaipur Declaration adopted after deliberations at the 'Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir', the Congress also decided to set up three new departments -- public insight, election management and national training.

The party announced enforcing the ‘one family, one ticket’ rule with exception to being made only when another family member has been working in the party for at least five years.

The party also decided that no person should hold one party position for more than five years to give opportunities to new people.

The party has also decided to provide 50 per cent representation to those below 50 years of age at all levels of the organisation.

The Congress president will set up an advisory group from among Congress Working Committee (CWC) members to deliberate on political challenges, the party announced.

In her concluding address, Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced that a task force will be set up to initiate the organisational reforms.

She said the Congress will launch a 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' from Kanyakumari to Kashmir beginning on Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.

The party will also launch the second phase of its 'Jan Jagran Yatra' at the district level from June 15, she announced.

The Congress held the three-day conclave in Udaipur in the backdrop of a string of electoral defeats and dissent in the party for the past many years.

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News Network
May 12,2022

Lucknow, May 12: Singing of the national anthem "Jana Gana Mana" has been made compulsory at all madrasas in Uttar Pradesh from Thursday, an official said here.

The Registrar of the Uttar Pradesh madrasa Education Board, SN Pandey, also issued an order to this effect to all the District Minority Welfare Officers on May 9.

According to the decision taken in the board meeting on March 24, the singing of the national anthem at the time of prayer at all madrasas across the state has been made mandatory, he said.

He said regular classes at the madrasas began on May 12 after the Ramzan holidays, and the order came into effect on the same day.

The order said that before the commencement of classes, the national anthem will be sung by teachers and students from the upcoming academic session in all recognised, aided and non-aided madrasas in the state.

The District Minority Welfare Officers have been tasked to ensure compliance with the order.

General Secretary of Teachers' Association Madaris Arabia, Diwan Sahab Zaman Khan, said that till now at madrasas, usually Hamd (praises to Allah) and Salam (salutations to Muhammad) were recited before the start of classes.

The national anthem was also sung in some, but it was not compulsory. "Now it has been made mandatory," he added.

The order comes after the state's Minority Welfare Minister Dharampal Singh last month emphasised teaching nationalism at madrasas.

Minister of State Danish Azad Ansari had also said that the government wants the madrasa students to be "full of patriotism".

At present, there are a total of 16,461 madrasas in Uttar Pradesh and 560 of them receive government grants. 

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