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first_imgThe Liberia Young Women Initiatives (LYWI) over the weekend launched what they termed the “Trash Ebola Project.”LYWI is a group organized to respond to various issues across the country, including female protection and development, health care, counseling, getting children off the streets and dealing with sanitation problems.According to the group’s executive director Madam Catherine D. Nyenawo, the Trash Ebola campaign is intended ‘to rescue and save humanity from Ebola.’She noted, “If young Liberian women had never been in the frontline of making positive change in the country, now is the time that they must take the bull by the horn and make every positive effort to uphold the pride of the state.”Speaking over the weekend during the launch of the campaign at the United Methodist Church compound at 13th in Street Sinkor, Monrovia, Madam Nyenawo called on young people across the country to work hard to ensure that Liberia is safe from the deadly disease that has claimed many lives and ravaged families and the entire nation.She clarified that LYWI was not established to fight against Ebola but rather against ills in society, particularly those meted out against women and children.  Securing a brighter future for young Liberian women remains cardinal in this difficult period, she asserted.“We joined the fight against Ebola since the inception of the outbreak in the country, and we are proud of being a part of this effort.“Prior to the launch of the ‘Trash Ebola Project,’ the women have traveled throughout Liberia engaging quarantined communities, made contributions and offered encouragement through counseling.“We need over US$15,000 for what we have started. We have spent a little over US$5,000 in different communities in this Ebola fight,” Madam Nyenawo stated.Alfalit representative George S. Stewart, Jr. commended the young women for their initiatives, pledging his organization’s commitment to partner with them in whatever way his organization can support their efforts.For her part, the executive director of the Special Emergency Activity to Restore Children’s Hope (SEARCH), Madam Sundah G. Wilson, lauded the group for “taking a bold step in combating Ebola and other vices in the country.” SEARCH is a local non-governmental organization (NGO) catering to the needs of children.Madam Wilson on behalf of SEARCH, donated five buckets of Chlorox, five cartons of tide soap and a carton of sanitary pads for the young women to distribute in the various communities they visit. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgThe began Sunday afternoon after police went to a home to check on an elderly woman whom relatives hadn’t seen for days. The woman was found dead, and her car was missing, Sanders said. Later in the day, an officer spotted the car at a gasoline station, pulled the driver over and was shot in the arm, police said. The officer, whose wound was not life-threatening, returned fire and shattered the window of the car the gunman was driving. The car took off and reports began arriving about 10 to 15 minutes later of shots fired at the shopping center. The man pulled into a parking space and fired at the cars on either side of him, killing two people, authorities said. He fired more shots, wounding at least two people, and then went inside the mall, Sanders said. Police did not say how the elderly woman died or if the gunman was a suspect in her death. But they did say they believed the events were connected. The mall, one of the city’s busiest shopping centers, was shut down, and officers went through each store to see if anyone else might have been involved, Sanders said. KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A man driving a dead woman’s car shot a police officer, then opened fire in a parking lot and a mall Sunday, authorities said. The officer is expected to recover, but the gunman killed two other people and wounded more before he was killed, authorities said. The chaos ended when police shot the gunman to death outside a Target store in the Ward Parkway Center in south Kansas City, police spokesman Tony Sanders said. The gunfire sent shoppers and employees scurrying for cover. Target employee Cassie Bradshaw, 19, of Kansas City was in a break room with two other people when they first heard shots. Then, her co-workers saw a man in his 50s with a rifle “shooting everywhere,” she said. “It sounded like maybe firecrackers at first, but then they got louder and louder and louder, and it sounded like someone shooting a gun,” she said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_imgA Buncrana man has been jailed for three months for what a judge described as ‘an absolutely disgraceful assault’ on his partner.Francis McDonagh (20), of Earlsfort in Buncrana, admitted the assault which occurred on July 10 last year. A detective garda told Buncrana District Court that they received a 999 call on that date from the injured party.When they arrived they found the woman ‘badly cut, bruised, covered in blood with clumps of her hair on her clothes and on the ground.’The garda said that the woman said the defendant had assaulted her after a domestic dispute.The officer said he talked to McDonagh who was ‘upset’.The court was told McDonagh was in ‘an on-off relationship’ with the injured party.The defendant had 15 previous convictions.The judge asked the injured party. who was in court, whether she wished to address the court but the woman said she didn’t.A defence solicitor told the court that McDonagh was ‘known to gardaí’.He said that McDonagh was brought up in a household that could only be described as ‘not the most conservative household’ and said that it was ‘an abnormal regime’.He said the injured party and McDonagh had been together for about three years but the defendant had ‘a drug problem’ since he was 16-years-old.The solicitor said his client was ‘vehemently and fundamentally wrong’ and wished to apologise to the injured party.He said the incident was a result of McDonagh taking a drug concoction mixing Valium and prescription drugs.The court was told that ‘there was no excuse for him and none made’ and the solicitor said that his client had no memory of what happened due to the drugs.He said there would be no contact between the pair in the future and concluded that his client ‘hadn’t been given the best of chances.’Judge Deirdre Gearty said that the assault was ‘horrendous’ and could not be justified on any account.She added: “This is an absolutely disgraceful assault on this lady and then to try and ask the court to believe that he did not know what he was doing due to his drug addiction is disgraceful.’McDonagh was sentenced to three months in prison.Man who left partner bloodied and bruised is jailed was last modified: July 18th, 2018 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:attackbuncranadonegalFrancis McDonaghjailedpartnerlast_img read more

first_imgVIEWPOINT: BY PHILIP McFADDEN, DONEGAL ACTION AGAINST AUSTERITYAt the EU Leaders Summit in Brussels on 22nd November 2012, the Taoiseach said that there would be no bank debt relief for Ireland before the end of the year.Yet again Enda Kenny proves himself to be an incompetent negotiator. The ‘elephant in the room’ is the bondholders, and under this odious debt Ireland is drowning! In the years subsequent to the introduction of the euro, Irish banks and building societies, finding themselves with access to cheaper money, began to borrow by the billion.Those billions were loaned out by the major European banks and financial institutions and were in turn used by the Irish banks and building societies to fuel a property bubble that became more inflated with every passing year until eventually, in late 2007/early 2008, the bubble burst.In such circumstances what would normally happen is that the lender banks would take a hit or a ‘haircut’ – as it is known as in the banking industry – and move on to the next investment opportunity. This is how capitalism works. An intrinsic element of the business they’re in is making money from money.Not on this occasion. At the behest of the ECB/EU, what had been a system founded in risk/reward, profit-and-loss became simply profit-and-reward. In September 2008 our government was coerced by a legion of representatives from the Irish banks into blindly providing a ‘blanket bank guarantee’ (Brian Lenihan and Brian Cowen, then Finance Minister and Taoiseach respectively were told the total exposure was ‘only’ €5bn). Then, as that was expiring, it was the ECB strong-arming both Cowen’s government and then the Enda Kenny-led government that succeeded them into continuing to transfer that bank debt to public shoulders.Until now that bank bailout has cost the Irish people €69.6bn in direct input to the banks (NAMA’s €5.5bn contribution included). This is not the full story.Indirectly also we are continuing to bail out our banks and their failed bondholders. In 2012 the bonds paid by our banks amounted to a total of over €20bn; in 2013 it will be another €17bn; in the four years 2012/13/14/15, it will amount to over €55bn, money being bled on a weekly basis from a dying economy.Part of that comes from the bailout money but part of it we’re also paying, on an on-going basis, through the newly imposed bank charges, through the high interest rates, as we own every bank except Bank of Ireland, in which we have a large share.Meanwhile normal commerce is almost entirely suspended in Ireland, the banks we have so expensively ‘saved’ because – we were told over and over we needed a ‘functioning banking system’, are functioning only if you’re a bondholder. This was private debt – every cent of it. We, the Irish people, didn’t borrow it, had no liability for it. It was not our debt then; it’s not our debt now and will never justly be our debt. It was imposed on us without us ever having been consulted.We need to retrieve that money starting with the Promissory Notes –they should be destroyed. We must also stop paying the bank bonds – secured or not. The ECB must be informed that we’re not paying them a penny of any money we had to borrow to bail out our banks’Some would argue that we can’t do that as we now have a legal obligation to pay all of that money – which begs the question ‘where were they when all that odious debt was being imposed on us?’And if something can be imposed, then equally it can be ‘un-imposed’. The people are sick of this austerity and will not tolerate it anymore. The poor and the working poor have to bring Fine Gail/Labour to account. We have to react before it’s too late. Protest, write letters or e-mail your local government representatives. We, the people of Ireland, have to confront the Fine Geal/Labour government representatives. We should not forget that a Fianna Fail/Green government caused this mess.We have to get radical, we have to get vocal, we have to protest for our rights.By paying the bondholders we are destroying the HSE, home help service and child benefit. As a result of paying the bondholders our rural schools are being closed down, our rural Garda stations are being closed down and our rural libraries are being closed down. Paying the bondholders will lead to the centralization of the Coast Guard service which will jeopardise the lives of our already demoralized fishermen.We do not need Germany and France to tell us we are a ‘special case’. This is patronizing and shallow rhetoric. We don’t need ‘improved terms and conditions’. This is odious debt which will be passed on to several future generations – annual reparations for a private war between private banks. We need a debt ‘write off’ and we need it NOW.VIEWPOINTS ARE WELCOME FROM ALL SECTIONS OF OUR COMMUNITY. YOU CAN LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW OR EMAIL INFO@DONEGALDAILY.COMVIEWPOINT: ‘ENDA KENNY GETS IT WRONG AGAIN’ – DAAC was last modified: November 23rd, 2012 by BrendaShare 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:VIEWPOINT: ENDA KENNY GETS IT WRONG AGAINlast_img read more

first_imgBy all accounts, nearly $200 million will have been raised and spent on Nov. 8 special-election measures before it’s all over, with most of the attention going to Proposition 75, the measure dealing with union political contributions. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s campaign, which has raised more than $34 million, has now gone to a relatively cheap way to campaign with an Internet cartoon commercial. The animated spot at www.joinarnold.com, shows union bosses pulling up to a schoolhouse and, literally, shaking down a teacher for contributions. It ends with the car pulling away and an estimate of how much the unions have raised to oppose Schwarzenegger. Opponents to the governor have launched their own effort, with e-mail blasts talking about the “Millionaires for Prop. 75,” and listing various corporate contributors to the Schwarzenegger reform effort. The governor also is doing selective interviews around the state with reporters who are not based in the Capitol to try to get his message out. On Thursday, in Burbank, he scheduled a series of brief one-on-ones to blast the unions. But he also stepped on his own message with the announcement of his plans for a new initiative campaign for next year’s ballot. City Councilman Jack Weiss got more attention than he expected – or perhaps wanted – last week when he went after one of the sacred cows of politics: proclamations. Weiss called for a review of what the council could do to speed up its Friday meetings, which often take upward of two hours for presentations from council members to citizens, city workers and various dignitaries. “It’s not that these people don’t deserve it,” Weiss said. “I just wish we could do it more quickly.” But Weiss’ colleagues let him know they were not pleased at being held up to ridicule. “Thirty-seven minutes late,” new Councilman Bill Rosendahl noted of the time Weiss walked into council chambers. “If we started on time, maybe we would be done earlier.” Weiss reluctantly agreed. “That’s all our fault,” he said. Weiss’ staff also chose to save him additional embarrassment when they canceled a presentation he had been scheduled to make to a youth group. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is proving he believes in family values – at least when it comes to his appointments. He has appointed the husband-wife team of Nick and Sylvia Patsaouras to the Board of Water and Power and Airport commissions, respectively. Also, he named Barbara Yaroslavsky, wife of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, to the Commission on Children, Youth and Their Families. Last week, he named the wife of another supporter to the Children, Youth and Their Families panel by nominating Bobbie Parks. She is the wife of Councilman Bernard Parks, who provided a key endorsement in the mayor’s election campaign. The state Senate race between Councilman Alex Padilla and Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez, D-San Fernando, continues to heat up. Even though the primary election will not be held until June, the two are going at it hot and heavy with dueling press releases over who’s raising the most money or who is winning the endorsement war. Both campaigns also are looking for whatever weaknesses they can spot in the other. Padilla’s people have been making jokes about an incident in Sacramento in which Montanez supposedly tossed some red wine on a lobbyist who said he was supporting Padilla. Montaez’ aides dismiss the incident, saying it was a personal dispute that the Padilla folks were blowing up. By the time the election comes around, there could be more than red wine being spilled. Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 rick.orlov@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week She began the season splitting time with senior Meghan Hartwyk, but Ramos who noted that veteran goalies Hartwyk and junior Tara Gotthardt have been extremely supportive has now started 13 consecutive matches, including each of the 49ers’ four Big West Conference contests. She has seven shutouts this season for No. 25 LBSU (11-3-1, 3-1) to help the team to a program-record eight thus far, but possibly one of her and the team’s finest moments came in one of the four games they have allowed two or more goals. Against defending conference tournament champion Cal Poly at LBSU two weeks ago, the 49ers trailed 2-1 at halftime when Ramos had trouble holding the ball after a Cal Poly chance in the box, and the Mustangs pounced on the loose ball to score. While it was the type of soft goal that no team wants to allow, the 49ers held firm from there and eventually won 4-2 to begin a sweep of the weekend games that ended with them ranked in the top 25 for the first time ever. “That could have been a backbreaker for us mentally, but they got themselves together,” said coach Mauricio Ingrassia of his young 49ers, who host UC Davis in nonconference action today at 3 p.m. at George Allen Field. “I was more proud of Liz that day than I was in any of the shutouts.” Ramos first met Ingrassia the summer before her senior year at Bakersfield’s Liberty High School, when she was invited to be part of the Olympic Developmental Program team he coached, and attended ODP camp in Idaho. She met some of her future LBSU teammates there, including freshmen Sara Baca, Kim Silos and Tiffany Vaught, and it was her first ODP camp among players who had been in the program for years. “I was so excited, like ohmigod, I can’t believe I’m going, but then I was so scared and nervous,” Ramos said. “And Mauricio, he just knows what he’s talking about, he knew a lot of the girls, so I didn’t want to mess up and have him be like, ‘Why is she here?” I just didn’t want to look bad, he just really intimidated me, I don’t know why.” So, why would anyone in their right mind want to play goalkeeper? “I don’t know, I don’t know why anyone would want to be a goalie,” laughed Long Beach State freshman keeper Liz Ramos. “Anyone on the field can make 50 mistakes in a game, but it won’t show as much as if I accidentally whiff a ball and it goes in. Any little mistake that I make is a goal. I kind of like that pressure now, but it used to get to me a lot, when I used to make little mistakes and feel really bad after a game. But now I’ve learned a lot from all the games that I’ve played, and it’s fun to me now.” It takes a special type of person to put on that jersey. To don those funny gloves, to stand there all alone, trying to sort out all the chaos as half the players spend the entire game trying to beat you, to make you look foolish. To be the last line of defense, to know that while the opponent has to get through 10 of your teammates before even approaching you, the only thing most of the people in the stands will see is whether the easiest player to spot, the one in the long-sleeve shirt that’s a different color from the rest, makes a mistake or not. center_img Following the camp, Ingrassia made his recruiting pitch to Ramos, and she committed at the end of September 2004. Now, after playing forward well enough in high school to score 16 goals as a junior while playing goalie for her club team, Ramos is goalie for a nationally ranked team. “Sometimes as a goalie, you can just have those amazing games, where it’s like 4-0, your team (routs) the other team, and you come off the field like, ‘I didn’t have to do anything today,” ” Ramos said. “The defense I think has been doing amazing this year, I haven’t had to do a lot of stuff, so it’s been good. But you get that one chance, and either you do it or you don’t.” One chance, to either be the unsung hero or the possible goat. So why would anyone want this job? “I think you just have to have the mentality, I don’t think it’s anything you can pinpoint,” LBSU goalkeeper coach Wendi Whitman said. “You have to be willing to be courageous, and willing to take responsibility, because obviously a lot depends on you. Obviously, she has the physical tools, but also the ability to come in and set the tone for your team is important back there.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ron Grayson Burns and his family have diversified their farm and are now raising conventional and organic corn, soybeans and wheat in Union County. The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins found out more as he visited with Burns, who works at Farm Credit and his brother Austin, who works for JD Equipment, when they’re not in the field. Their dad, Ron and family friend, Steve Wiant were also at the farm running three planters to make up time in this delayed planting season.last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We sprayed the last field of corn so that is done. We do have some 360 Y-Drops for our sprayer and we have a couple of fields that we may go back in and add N later. We are going to test to see if we need to put more N on. We did not have a lot of N down early so I don’t think we lost a whole lot early in the season.This week we are going to be getting ready for wheat harvest. I am not sure we will quite be ready to run anything this weekend, but definitely within two weeks. It looks like it is at least a week or 10 days ahead of schedule. It is still hard to tell how the quality will be, but it seems like a really good wheat crop. We’ll bale all of the straw and we bale some for the neighbor.We used to have a double-crop deadline of July 10 to get all of the beans in, but it seems like we have been able to push that later. We’ll try to plant double-crop beans up until July 18.For wheat harvest, it is kind of a rush there for a couple of weeks. We run three small square balers. Most of our straw is sold out of the field so we don’t have to mess with putting it in barns.We plant the beans in the evening or at night while we’re baling. If we didn’t have such a good market for straw, we’d just plant the beans after the wheat because the prices are looking better.We have been really spotty with the rains. We could definitely use some rain this week. There was a little replanting of beans around here. We replanted 16 acres of beans we spotted in. Now we could use some rain.last_img read more

first_imgThe controversy and violent protests against the period film Padmaavat dominated conversations on and off stage on the second day of the Jaipur Literary Festival on Friday, with filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj and Nandita Das voicing support for director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.“There’s a gun to our heads. If you have to curb your thoughts, how can you be called a democratic, and free society?” Mr. Bhardwaj said in a conversation after his session, ‘Revolutionary Poets: On Hamlet, Haider and Shakespeare’s Ability to Speak Truth to Power’.The filmmaker, who has adapted three of Shakespeare’s plays to make the trilogy, Maqbool, Omkara and Haider, said, “When the Supreme Court says a film should be released and it is not released, then if it is not chutzpah (on the part of the Karni Sena), then what is it?”In defianceMore than anger, Mr. Bhardwaj expressed a sense of defiance when asked about the climate of censorship. “This is the best time for artistes. When they try to strangulate us, we will scream. It is time for us to scream,” he replied to huge applause from the audience.Recounting his experience of filming Haider,based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet that he set in Kashmir, Mr. Bhardwaj said he had a less difficult time shooting the film in Kashmir than after the film was made. “I was called an anti-national. That hurt more,” he said.Later, on being asked if the film industry had any plans to counter the stifling of creative thought as a collective, the filmmaker said, “We are not warriors that we will fight. What we want to say, we say through our films. We have no power; we are not taken seriously, and only considered as a glamour industry.”Role of state“I hope the state becomes more powerful to stop the violent protests. The protesters are getting away with breaking the law. That’s the scary part. No one has the right to violent protests. How will this country run if the system is not being respected?” Mr. Bhardwaj said.Later actor Nandita Das, speaking about her upcoming film on writer and poet, Sadaat Hasan Manto, said neither self-proclaimed custodians of culture nor the censor board should be allowed to decide what people should watch.“The whole concept of the censor board is faulty. How can a handful of people decide what the nation wants to see?” Her decision to make a film on Manto, a champion of free speech, was precisely with the intent to trigger a conversation on a subject so relevant to India today, she said.Speaking at a press conference here on the protests, Congress leader Salman Khurshid said, “If there is dissent, there must be opportunity to express that dissent. But they must remain within the four corners of permissible limit of free expression. We are all in committed to free expression, not free oppression.”last_img read more

first_imgFor Indian sports fans in Qatar, the last day of the 2006 Doha Asian Games was for celebrating with the bronze medal-winning Indian women’s hockey team. However, they were amazed to learn that six of the team members were all from one place: Shahbad Markanda near Ambala in Haryana. The,For Indian sports fans in Qatar, the last day of the 2006 Doha Asian Games was for celebrating with the bronze medal-winning Indian women’s hockey team. However, they were amazed to learn that six of the team members were all from one place: Shahbad Markanda near Ambala in Haryana. The ‘Super Six’ of Shahbad. Ritu Rani, Suman Bala, Surinder Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Jasjeet Kaur and Joydeep Kaur.were only outdone at the September 2006 World Cup in Spain where seven of its girls had donned the Tricolour. Ritu, 14, was the youngest in that event.STARS ARE BORN: The Super Six WORLD AT HER DOORSTEP: Surinder Kaur is the teams Goal Machine of Shahbad at the ground where they learnt how to be championsShahbad Markanda is today called the ‘Sansarpur of women’s hockey’ a reference to the village near Jalandhar which produced 14 hockey Olympians between 1932 and 1980. In the patriarchic milieu of Haryana’s Jatland, notorious for the second-worst sex ratio among all states, the girls have not only put the sleepy town of 30,000 on the country’s hockey map but also given it its most celebrated claim to fame. The girls have also effected a turnaround in the socio-economic status of their families by winning huge financial rewards.Indeed, the non-descript town’s emergence as the powerhouse of women’s hockey is an instructive lesson for Indian hockey bosses on how to nurture young talent at the grassroots level. The credit for scripting such a trail-blazing success story goes to intrepid hockey coach Baldev Singh. Adopting a hands-on approach combined with hard work, Baldev has single-handedly made hockey the defining leitmotif of this town.STANDING TALL: Suman Bala built a three-storey house with her cash rewardsHockey legend Pargat Singh, director of Punjab sports department, regularly cites Baldev’s accomplishments to motivate coaches, calling him an “instructor worth emulating”. Since 1992, the coaching centre established and run by Baldev, now the deputy director of Haryana sports department, has produced as many as 26 international women hockey players.all hailing from the Shri Guru Nanak Pritam Senior Secondary School (SGNP) in the heart of this chaotic town. While local girls form more than half of the Indian Railways team, they make up virtually the entire women hockey squads of Haryana in all categories. Such has been Shahbad’s dominance that there is not a single women’s hockey tournament, at the state or national level, in which they haven’t triumphed in the last decade. “We have stopped counting the tournaments our girls have won,” says Manmohan Singh, vice-80 president of the school management.”The victory streak has whetted their hunger for success.”advertisementBALDEV SINGH, HOCKEY COACHIncredibly, hockey was alien to Shahbad’s predominantly Punjabi community until the mid-1980s when Baldev, himself an accomplished player at the university level, first set up a coaching centre at the local Arya School. Among the first lot of players, three.Sandeep Kaur, Bhupinder Kaur and Sanjiv Kumar.made it to the international level. Impressed with his coaching credentials, SGNP persuaded him to run the hockey centre at the school in 1992. Until then, the all-girls school had no tradition of the game.WORLD AT HER DOORSTEP: Surinder Kaur is the teams ‘Goal Machine’Baldev discovered it would be a double challenge. First, getting the girls to play and then, moulding them into professional players. After much persuasion of parents, he took 20 girls, all less than 10 years old, under his wing. Next, they fashioned a playground for themselves by clearing an uneven stretch of land of bushes and hedges in the backyard of the two-and-a-half acre school. All the trainees came from poor socio-economic strata. Surinder’s father, for instance, was a farm labourer. “I then didn’t even know what hockey was,” recalls Sukhdev, now the proud father of an international player nicknamed the ‘Goal Machine’.A hard taskmaster with an uncanny knack of spotting talent, Baldev set about honing their precocious skills. For the first two years he set a rigorous regimen of seven hours a day, without any holiday or break. Of the initial lot, eight dropped out, unable to cope with the pressure. But the rest shaped into talented players, and nine of them later went on to play at the international level. Surinder was the first, participating in the 1998 Asian Games. Prior to that, the team had tasted its first major success in the 1993 Nehru Girls’ Hockey (under-17) Tournament where it emerged second.THE WIZARD: Talent-spotter Baldevs tough regimen has worked wondersThe turning point, however, came in 1994, the year the local team won a prize money tournament. Its impressive winning spree at the national level earned the players a windfall of scholarships from the Sports Authority of India and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). The financial spin-off not only boosted the players’ confidence but also changed the attitude of parents over the years. Suman’s father was a humble farmer till she earned nearly Rs 40 lakh in cash rewards in eight years. Her family has built a three-storey home in place of a brickand-mud dwelling and sent her younger brother to college in Australia. Then there is Surinder. Her family was living in a one-room shanty when she started playing hockey in 1993. Today, they own eight acres of land, a house and a dairy with a dozen cattle. Her latest gift to her parents before she left for Doha was a DTH dish antenna. Meanwhile, offers of lucrative deals from coaching centres in other states and jobs from the Railways and SAIL have started pouring in. “The victory streak has whetted their hunger for success,” says 57-year-old Baldev.INSPIRED: Young girls in Shahbad are now inspired to take up hockeyOn a roll all these years, the Shahbad juggernaut has been steadily gaining momentum. Consider this. In 2006, it won the All India Sub-Junior Tournament, the National Championship of Schools and the National Senior Women’s Hockey Championship, wresting the title from the Railways after 19 years. The Haryana team has also romped home in the All India Nehru Hockey Tournament (under 17) nine times in the past 13 years. Besides, it has been making a clean sweep of the prize money at Surjit Memorial Hockey Tournament for the past several years. “Now, the organisers have stopped inviting us,” says Suman in jest.While the international players are now treated as local idols, their success has inspired parents to initiate their daughters into hockey. The coaching centre at present has 60-odd trainees-the youngest being sixyear-old Reet. “Hockey has lifted the status and esteem of the girls,” says principal Surinder Kaur. Baldev, too, has set his sights high despite the lack of regular sponsorship and the callousness of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). The IHF, he says, “failed to recommend a single Shahbad girl for the Arjuna Award despite the team’s sterling performance and has never used my services at the national level”. Clearly, the goalposts have shifted, but tragedy is, the organisation entrusted with promoting the sport poses the toughest hurdle.advertisementlast_img read more