Join us Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for live news and analysis when the Warriors and short-handed San Antonio Spurs battle at Oracle.In theory, the Warriors (37-15) should have an easier time dealing with the Spurs after their coach, Gregg Popovich, decided to rest stars LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. The “load management” tactic that LeBron James employed against the Warriors on Saturday night.The Spurs (32-23) are in the second game of their annual month-long road trip due to the …
26 November 2013Dylan Girdlestone, riding for the South African national cycling team, won the Tour of Rwanda on Sunday, finishing just over two minutes ahead of Team MTN-Qhubeka’s Louis Meintjies, with Metkel Eyob of the AS.BE.CO Cycling Team in third.It was a tough final day of racing for the South African team as they defended the yellow jersey under pressure from Team MTN-Qhubeka, with Louis Meintjies and Johann van Zyl leading the chase for Africa’s first Pro-Continental team.Team MTN-Qhubeka had led the Tour in the early going, but then lost general classification leader Jay Thomson to an illness which forced him out of the event.Sunday’s seventh and final stage finished with a five-lap circuit race through the streets of downtown Kigali and Algeria’s Azzedine Lagab took the honours after attacking on the foruth climb to drop a group of three other riders. Initially, his gap was 20 seconds, but Lagab continued to push hard and eventually took the stage win by a minute and 40 seconds.Progression to the titleGirdlestone, however, had done enough to finish in yellow and claim the title. He had previously finished third in 2011 and second in 2012.Hendrik Wagener, Cycling South Africa’s Road Commission Director, was pleased with the victory. “The national team rode a calculated race and achieved their goal amidst tough competition. As a federation, we are very proud of the national team’s achievements, especially since they do not always race as a unit throughout the season,” he said in a statement.“They worked well together and delivered the results. We are also extremely proud of our Pro-Continental team, Team MTN-Qhubeka, who provided a strong race after a long season abroad.”Local favouriteThe Pro-Continental team proved to be very popular with Rwandans because of the presence of local favourite Adrien Niyonshuti in their ranks. Riding his first race of the season, he provided the home fans with something to shout about by finishing fourth on the final stage and ninth overall.MTN-Qhubeka led the race through Jay Thomson on the first and second stages, and then through Louis Meintjies after three stages, following the withdrawal of Thomson.Girdlestone in yellowGirdlestone, who had been 16 seconds off the lead at the start of the fourth stage, took over the leader’s yellow jersey after stage four, which was won Johann van Zyl of MTN-Qhubeka, who recorded his first individual win as a professional. It was MTN- Qhubeka’s 16th victory of the season.While Girdlestone finished second to Van Zyl on the stage, he managed to gain two minutes and 26 seconds on Meintjies, the previous yellow jersey wearer, which gave him a two minute and 26 seconds lead over Meintjies in the general classification.The MTN-Qhubeka star, a silver medal winner in the under-23 road race at the UCI World Championships in September, managed to pull back only nine seconds over the remaining stages as Girdlestone fought hard to take the victory.GENERAL CLASSIFICATIONDylan Girdlestone (Cycling SA) RSA 20:35:55Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) RSA +02’01”Metkel Eyob (AS.BE.CO Cycling Team) Eri +02’20”John Njoroge (Kenya) Ken +03’39”Aron Debretsion (AS.BE.CO) Eri +4’20”Jean-Bosco Nsengiyumva (Rwanda Karisimbi) +4’52”Getachew Atsbha (Ethiopia) Eth +5’26”Bereket Yemane (AS.BE.CO) Eri +5’52”Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka) Rwa +6’35”Azzedihne Lagab (Algeria) Alg +7’05”
17 February 2014 The 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon produced excellence, intrigue and adventure as Andy Birkett and Sbonelo Zondi sped to a dominating victory in the men’s race and Abbey Ulansky and Robyn Kime held off Abby Adie and Anna Adamova for the women’s win. The hard preparation work put in by Birkett and Zondi was well rewarded as the pair won all three days of the 120 kilometre marathon, which takes place between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. With luck working against them, the duo had finished fourth and third respectively in the 2013 Dusi, which was contested in singles (K1s), but within two weeks they had teamed up to win the Non-Stop Dusi and smash the record by over 17 minutes. Not long after that they announced their intention to take on the 2014 Dusi together, and it paid off as they turned in a faultless and spectacular performance.‘A really special feeling’ “The whole journey has been amazing. I’m super chuffed, especially with our discipline over this last year, and it’s a really special feeling to have won,” an elated Birkett said after claiming his fourth Dusi title. “It almost feels like this is the first Dusi I’ve ever won because of the whole change in start procedure here on day three and the finish is a really amazing experience.”‘A dream come true’ “At last! This is a dream come true for me,” exclaimed Zondi, who became the second black winner of the iconic canoe marathon, following in the footsteps of Thulani Mbanjwa, who claimed the honours in 2008 with “Dusi Duke” Martin Dreyer. Both Zondi and Mbanjwa are products of the very successful Change a Life Academy development programme at Nagle Dam, outside of Pietermaritzburg, which is headed up by Dreyer, a seven-time Dusi champion.Given up hope Birkett and Zondi led by almost 10 minutes heading into the final day and tellingly, when Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocke chose run over the Burma Road portage, rather than risk the paddle through the Graveyard, Molweni and Island rapids, it signalled that the second placed crew had given up hope of catching the leaders. McGregor, a three-time flatwater marathon world champion, and Mocke, one of the world’s leading surf skiers, gave it their all but could not stay with Birkett and Zondi on the race’s taxing portages, and even on the water Birkett and Zondi were a match for them. Cam Schoeman, a former doubles (K2) flatwater marathon world champion, teamed up with Czech star, Jakub Adam, one of the world’s elite flatwater paddlers, to take third place. It was a remarkable performance from Schoeman, who had to deal with a shoulder ligament injury, while Adam became the first international paddler in the 63 year history of the Dusi to stand on the podium.Women’s race In the women’s race, Ulansky and Kime were pushed all the way by Adie and Adamova and by the time they reached Durban only a minute and seven seconds separated the two leading boats. It was a women’s record ninth win for Ulansky (nee Miedema), a South African who now lives in Canada, and a fifth victory for Kime, with three of those being achieved with Ulansky. For Adie, it was an unfortunate sixth runner-up finish, while Adamova, the sister of Jakub Adam, became the first international to stand on the women’s podium.‘Over the moon’ “We are over the moon to make it three in a row,” Ulansky smiled afterwards. “Robs and I have paddled together for a while and formed a great partnership, and this year was more challenging for us as, number one, we had stronger competition and, number two, we have had other commitments, so we weren’t as strong as we wanted to be, but we had great fun and really worked hard,” said Ulansky. “We tried so hard and it’s a little disappointing to have come so close and not been able to win it, but we worked really hard, and in the end it wasn’t quite enough,” Adie commented. Third place went to sisters Tamika and Bianca Haw. Still in school, Bianca had finished fifth in the K1 race in 2013 and only three weeks before the 2014 Dusi had won gold in the women’s junior race at the African Continental MTB Championships in the Western Cape.An adventure The Dusi, however, is about a lot more than the elite paddlers. For the vast majority of the field it is an adventure: for former Natal flyhalf Graeme “Gudgie” Dixon, who paddled his 40th consecutive Dusi and his second in succession with his daughter; for people like brothers, Brad and Rowan White, who took time away from their families to team up for a second time; for people like Bob Harvey and Tony Ferguson, who missed a takeout and went downstream on the river, where no boats go, and who were rescued by helicopter after a four-hour wait. Behind the elite paddlers, the true heart of the Dusi beats strongly, with camaraderie, which one could almost term a tradition, the order of the day. It is seen not only in the paddlers, but in the army of volunteers that make it possible to host a 120-kilometre race over the course of three days in some extremely testing conditions and over challenging terrain.A place they treasure For many of the competitors, the Valley of a Thousand Hills, through which the race passes, has become a place they treasure and a place in which the Dusi organisers, Natal Canoe Club, has over the years paid back the residents by building schools and sports fields, and looking after the vegetation and river. Within the hearts of many Dusi veterans, there beats a love of this beautiful piece of Africa. On the rivers making their way to the Indian Ocean and over the steep hills many internal barriers are broken and many stories, which will last a lifetime, are experienced. There is something about the adventure that grabs those who have taken on and finished the Dusi. It remains more than a canoe marathon, it remains a definitive South African experience.
India coach Gary Kirsten on Sunday paid rich tribute to Sachin Tendulkar for scoring a historic 50th Test ton in Centurion, describing him as professor of batting.Terming Tendulkar’s feat of scoring a half century of centuries as incredible, Kirsten credited his unmatched success to his sound technique, ability to play almost all the shots in the book and diligent preparedness.”It is an incredible feat. It must be a special one and he deserves it. He has the techniques to play almost all the shots in the book. He is the professor of batting,” Kirsten said, praising Tendulkar on becoming the first cricketer to score 50 Test tons here.”The key to his success is his approach to the game, his humility to learn and try to do better all the time. He diligently prepares for every match. For him, a Test match begins two days earlier, preparing for it. I am privileged to have associated with him for the last three years,” Kirsten said.”His success at the top level under the huge expectations in India is remarkable. It is quite different in India than other countries and the adulation he got there is amazing. At any time, Tendulkar will be surrounded by 300 people,” he said.Kirsten said despite the seniormost player in the team, Tendulkar was the one who spends most time at the nets and faces maximum number of balls.”He wants to face the maximum number of balls at the nets. You will not see him play a loose shot at the nets. He is focused all the time, he wants to do better all the time,” said Kirsten.advertisement”He has been phenomenal this year. I think he is playing better than ever. He is enjoying his cricket at present,” he said.The former South African opening batsman said despite his personal achievements, Tendulkar was a perfect team-man who wants to do his best for the team’s cause.”He is a perfect team-man and he always gives his best every time he goes out to a cricket field. He has been a huge motivational factor in the side in the past three years I have been associated with the team,” Kirsten said.About India staring defeat in the Test, Kirsten admitted South Africa are in a strong position.”We have a lot to work tomorrow. South Africa are in a strong position. But let us see what happens tomorrow. May be there is help from rain also,” he said.”But, the players have done well in the second innings.They have shown we can also play on equal terms. The strong batting display in the second innings will boost the confidence of the players in the series,” he added.- With PTI inputs