105-year-old super grandma sprints to new 100m record

News Network
June 21, 2022

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45.40 seconds. That's the new record set by the 105-year-old Rambai in 100m at the inaugural National Open Masters Athletics Championships - conducted by the Athletics Federation of India - that concluded in Vadodara on Sunday.

"It's a great feeling and I want to race again," said the grand old lady of Indian athletics who clinched a golden double in sprints - the 100m on June 15 and 200m on Sunday in 1 minute, 52.17 seconds. Her next target is to take part in international tournaments. She is planning to apply for a passport.

Asked why she didn't compete at a much younger age, the centurion from Haryana laughed: "Main to taiyar thi. Lekin, mere ko koi mauka hi nahi diya, (I was ready to run but no one gave me a chance)."

Rambai smashes Man Kaur's record

The inspirational Rambai, who was born on January 1, 1917, ran alone in Vadodara as there was no competitor above 85 competing in the meet. She had entered in the Above-100 category. She finished the 100m race to loud cheers from hundreds of spectators - slowing down just before the end and then ambling across the finish line - to break the record of Man Kaur, who became famous after winning the 100m gold at World Masters at the age of 101. Kaur had finished the 100m in 74 seconds.

Rambai became the star of the meet and was busy posing for selfies and photographs with other competitors. Rambai's granddaughter Sharmila Sangwan, who also competed and won medals in Vadodara, said: "I took her to Delhi on June 13 before reaching Vadodara after an RT-PCR test. We are returning home now. I'll drop nani at her village, Kadma, which is around 150km from Delhi, in Charkhi Dadri district."

Debut last year in Varanasi

Sharmila said her entire family was into sports. "A few of our family members serving in the Army have competed in national-level events besides participating in Masters athletic meets. My grandmother first competed last November when I took her to Varanasi. Then she participated in events in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala. So far, she has won more than a dozen medals. She is a natural" Sharmila added: "Before that she only ran in the fields of Kadma. She has begun wearing running shoes and tracksuits only now. Earlier, she used normal shoes."

Rambai couldn't stop laughing when asked about her winning mantra. "I eat churma, dahi and doodh," she said. "A pure vegetarian, nani is particular about having about 250 grams of ghee daily and 500gm of curd. She also drinks 500ml of pure milk twice a day. She likes bajre ki roti (flat bread made of millet) and doesn't eat much rice," Sharmila said.

According to Sharmila, her grandmother's secret to success and strength is her diet and unpolluted atmosphere in the village. "My nani works a lot in the fields. On a normal day she runs 3-4km. Most of the food she eats is grown in the village," she said. 

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News Network
November 20,2022

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Some of the best football players will be in action at the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will be held across eight magnificent stadiums in Qatar from November 20 to December 18.

The Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 will see 32 teams from five confederations compete for the biggest prize in football. The teams have been divided into eight groups of four (A to H) and only the top two teams will advance to the knockout stages.

As many as 64 matches will be played during the course of 29 days, also making it the shortest 32-team FIFA World Cup in history. 

Except for the first two days, four matches will be played each day during the group stages. Each of the 32 teams will play three matches in the group stages before the knockouts begin with the round of 16 (pre-quarterfinals) on December 3. 

Hosts Qatar will kick off the 2022 World Cup against Ecuador in Group A at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on November 20. Defending champions France will play their first match against Australia at 12:30 AM IST on November 23 while five-time champions Brazil will start against Serbia at 12:30 AM IST on November 25. India is 2 hours 30 minutes ahead of Qatar.

The semi-finals will be played on December 14 and 15, both at 12:30 AM IST, while the final will take place at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on December 18.

This will be the first time that a country from the Middle East will host the FIFA World Cup and consequently, the first edition being held outside the typical June-July window earmarked for the quadrennial showpiece. 

FIFA World Cup 2022 schedule

All times are in Indian Standard Times (IST).

Group stages

Sunday, November 20

Group A: Qatar vs Ecuador - 9:30 PM IST

Monday, November 21

Group B: England vs Iran - 6:30 PM IST

Group A: Senegal vs Netherlands - 9:30 PM IST

Tuesday, November 22

Group B: United States vs Wales - 12:30 AM IST

Group C: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia - 3:30 PM IST

Group D: Denmark vs Tunisia - 6:30 PM IST

Group C: Mexico vs Poland - 9:30 PM IST

Wednesday, November 23

Group D: France vs Australia - 12:30 AM IST

Group F: Morocco vs Croatia - 3:30 PM IST

Group E: Germany vs Japan - 6:30 PM IST

Group E: Spain vs Costa Rica - 9:30 PM IST

Thursday, November 24

Group F: Belgium vs Canada - 12:30 AM IST

Group G: Switzerland vs Cameroon - 3:30 PM IST

Group H: Uruguay vs South Korea - 6:30 PM IST

Group H: Portugal vs Ghana - 9:30 PM IST

Friday, November 25

Group G: Brazil vs Serbia - 12:30 AM IST

Group B: Wales vs IR Iran - 3:30 PM IST

Group A: Qatar vs Senegal - 6:30 PM IST

Group A: Netherlands vs Ecuador - 9:30 PM IST

Saturday, November 26

Group B: England vs United States - 12:30 AM IST

Group D: Tunisia vs Australia - 3:30 PM IST

Group C: Poland vs Saudi Arabia - 6:30 PM IST

Group D: France vs Denmark - 9:30 PM IST

Sunday, November 27

Group C: Argentina vs Mexico - 12:30 AM IST

Group E: Japan vs Costa Rica - 3:30 PM IST

Group F: Belgium vs Morocco - 6:30 PM IST

Group F: Croatia vs Canada - 9:30 PM IST

Monday, November 28

Group E: Spain vs Germany - 12:30 AM IST

Group G: Cameroon vs Serbia - 3:30 PM IST

Group H: South Korea vs Ghana - 6:30 PM IST

Group G: Brazil vs Switzerland - 9:30 PM IST

Tuesday, November 29

Group H: Portugal vs Uruguay - 12:30 AM IST

Group A: Netherlands vs Qatar - 8:30 PM IST

Group A: Ecuador vs Senegal - 8:30 PM IST

Wednesday, November 30

Group B: Wales vs England - 12:30 AM IST

Group B: IR Iran vs United States - 12:30 AM IST

Group D: Tunisia vs France - 8:30 PM IST

Group D: Australia vs Denmark - 8:30 PM IST

Thursday, December 1

Group C: Poland vs Argentina - 12:30 AM IST

Group C: Saudi Arabia vs Mexico - 12:30 AM IST

Group F: Croatia vs Belgium - 8:30 PM IST

Group F: Canada vs Morocco - 8:30 PM IST

Friday, December 2

Group E: Japan vs Spain - 12:30 AM IST

Group E: Costa Rica vs Germany - 12:30 AM IST

Group H: South Korea vs Portugal - 8:30 PM IST

Group H: Ghana vs Uruguay - 8:30 PM IST 

Saturday, December 3

Group G: Cameroon vs Brazil - 12:30 AM IST

Group G: Serbia vs Switzerland - 12:30 AM IST

Round of 16

Saturday, December 3

Group A winner vs Group B runners-up - 8.30 PM IST

Sunday, December 4 

Group C winner vs Group D runners-up - 12.30 AM IST

Group D winner vs Group C runners-up - 8.30 PM IST

Monday, December 5 

Group B winner vs Group A runners-up - 12.30 AM IST

Group E winner vs Group F runners-up - 8.30 PM IST

Tuesday, December 6 

Group G winner vs Group H runners-up - 12.30 AM IST

Group F winner vs Group E runners-up - 8.30 PM IST

Wednesday, December 7 

Group H winner vs Group G runners-up - 12.30 AM IST

Friday, December 9 

Quarter-final 1 - 8.30 PM IST

Saturday, December 10 

Quarter-final 2 - 12.30 AM IST

Quarter-final 3 - 8.30 PM IST

Sunday, December 11 

Quarter-final 4 - 12.30 AM IST

Wednesday, December 14

Semi-finals 1 - 12.30 AM IST

Thursday, December 15

Semi-final 2 - 12.30 AM IST

Saturday, December 17

Third place match - 8.30 PM IST

Sunday, December 18

Final - 8.30 PM IST

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News Network
November 14,2022

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Home to gleaming skyscrapers and upmarket shopping malls, World Cup host Qatar is also a conservative Muslim country deeply attached to its customs and traditions.

Here are some of the cultural conventions football fans should know when visiting the gas-rich Gulf emirate, which, like other Arab nations, prides itself on its hospitality.

In public places, it is customary to stand up when greeting others, particularly the elderly, as a sign of respect.

When men are greeting Qatari women, it is best to wait for them to take the lead before reaching for a handshake. Some prefer to avoid physical contact with members of the opposite sex, often for religious reasons.

By the same token, Qatari men might not always offer a handshake when meeting women.

Instead of a handshake, Qataris often place their right hand over their heart as a warm gesture of greeting.

Public displays of affection, including kissing, should largely be avoided. Holding hands, however, is generally accepted.

While use of English is ubiquitous in a country that is 90 percent expat, a knowledge of basic Arabic greetings and expressions of gratitude is greatly appreciated by Qataris.

If you are lucky enough to be invited into a Qatari home, remember to take off your shoes before entering the house.

When sitting with your legs crossed -- in any setting -- it is considered rude if the soles of the feet are facing the host.

It is common for Qataris to eat by hand from large communal plates placed on the floor -- a dining etiquette that dates back to Bedouin desert culture.

And it is important to accept offerings by Qatari hosts, as turning them down could be taken as an offence.

Qatar shares the Gulf passion for Arabic coffee, which is prepared by roasting coffee beans then boiling them with cardamom and saffron.

The yellowy, tea-like brew is poured out of traditional, long-spouted "dallah" pots into miniature cups and often served with dates.

The dallah, a cultural symbol across much of the Gulf region, is even erected as a monument in public spaces.

When served to guests, it is customary for hosts to try the coffee first, to test for taste.

Guests must always drink with their right hand. The coffee keeps coming until you wave your cup to signal you have had your fill.

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News Network
November 26,2022

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Four-times champions Italy are not in this year's World Cup in Qatar, marking the second time in a row that the 'Azzurri' will miss the tournament. Here's what you need to know about the European Champions' failure to qualify:

How did Italy's World Cup qualification campaign unfold?

* Italy were drawn in Group C of the UEFA World Cup qualification round along with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

* The pressure was high on coach Roberto Mancini and the squad as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years earlier.

* They started with three consecutive wins against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania before taking a break for the European Championships last year.

* After winning the tournament, they drew twice in a row to Bulgaria and Switzerland, before claiming a 5-0 win at home against Lithuania.

* With two games left, Italy appeared to be in pole position to secure qualification, but drew 1-1 with Switzerland to leave both teams on equal points before the last round.

* Four months after their Euro 2020 success, Italy's 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland meant Switzerland finished top of their World Cup qualifying group after a win over Bulgaria, sending Mancini's side to the playoffs.

How did the World Cup playoffs unfold for Italy?

* Italy were on course to meet Portugal in the deciding playoff tie, but they missed out on the World Cup finals after losing 1-0 at home to North Macedonia thanks to Aleksandar Trajkovski's last-gasp strike.

* North Macedonia progressed to the final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Portugal, who claimed the World Cup spot.

Why did Italy not qualify for the World Cup in 2018?

* Italy finished in second place of Group G in the qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

* They then failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 home draw in 2017 by a defiant Sweden, who booked a place at the finals in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate win.

* The Italians, who had not missed the World Cup since the 1958 finals in Sweden, saw Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and captain Gianluigi Buffon all declare their retirement from the national team right after the game.

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