Meagan was on holiday in Hawaii, when she got this last message two weeks before Hughes’ death.A close friend of Phillip Hughes has made public the last text message he sent to her before he died in a Sydney hospital two days after getting hit by a cricket ball.Hughes had met Meagan Simpson, 26, three years ago in a Sydney pub and became good friends ever since. “We were at his favourite pub in Sydney, The Palace at Breakfast Point… he tried to pick me up and told me he was a banker. I didn’t know who he was at that point,” Meagan told Daily Mail.Meagan was on holiday in Hawaii, when she got this last message two weeks before Hughes’ death. After their first meeting at the pub, both of them bonded over late night phone calls, coffee and shopping trips. Meagan, who works as a sports coach for AFL team the Giants was probed by players in her team, about how she knew Hughes.Hughes had met Meagan Simpson, 26, three years ago in a Sydney pub and became good friends ever since. “They said ‘he’s an Australian cricketer’. I felt like a silly bugger. But that was him being humble,” Meagan said.”We had both been through pretty bad breakups; neither of us wanted to start anything new and didn’t want to hurt each other.”He said ‘I really want you in my life forever’ and we just became friends,” Meagan explained.Meagan is still to come to terms after the loss and said she still questions what Phillip saw in her that first night they met. She described Phillip as “the best friend anyone could ask for”.advertisement”He was always there when you needed him and that says a lot when someone is so famous and when he has so many other things going on. Whenever I needed him he was there,” Meagan said.”He was cheeky and funny and always made you laugh. He just had a genuine interest in you and invested time into our friendship. I still don’t know how I got so lucky to have him as a friend; obviously he saw something in me, she added.
Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra is on a short break after clinching a quota place for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Munich last month. When he wrote on Twitter bang in the middle of the Incheon Asian Games in 2014 that he was going to be a “fun shooter” there was a huge sense of disbelief.As a man of few words, it’s difficult to read Bindra. Yet, deep down the shooting world knew it would be tough for the 2008 Beijing air rifle gold medallist to stay away from the ranges. Since the time he saw shooting as a competitive sport for the first time at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Bindra has been hooked to the sport.”I have been in the sport for two decades and I won’t be doing it if I wasn’t enjoying it,” Bindra told Mail Today on Saturday.There are times when you speak to Bindra and get the impression he doesn’t want to talk too much about what he does on a day-to-day basis. He is a private man and there is only one success mantra he has – train hard with complete focus.Ask Bindra to compare the previous four Olympics he competed in – Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London – and he is prompt in replying “there is risk now.”The word “risk” may sound hard to comprehend but what he means is that the pressure is always there.”Athens and Beijing was different,” he says, meaning he could soak in the pressure more easily.advertisementBut within a minute, Bindra admits he takes these “risks” as he enjoys it on a daily basis. Being away from home and spending hours at the ranges can be boring and tiring. Prior to the Munich World Cup, he trained abroad for five weeks and despite suffering from back trouble, sealed India’s fourth quota place for the Rio Olympics.Asked about the big day in Rio next year, Bindra said being in the air rifle competition was like “jumping into fire for two hours.”For those not familiar with shooting as a sport, that’s the atmosphere in the indoor hall where over 50 marksmen stand in a freeze frame, squeezing the trigger gently and then seeing which innermost ring is hit on the target.In India, Leander Paes keeps talking about possibly playing in his seventh Olympics. Leander was a bronze medalist in 1996 at Atlanta while Bindra won an individual gold for India for the first time 12 years later.In Bindra’s case, he knows if he is going to be present in Rio, it’s not just for statistics.He believes he has a chance to win an Olympic medal once again, though coming back to “risk” he said “a Formula One driver” takes more risk in his life daily!
Hosts Belgium secured a thrilling 4-0 win over India in their Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final match at the Brasschaat Municipal Park here on Friday to book a place in the final,.For Belgium, Florent Van Aubel scored a brilliant hat-trick while Tanguy Cosyns scored one to steer the team to the final.The hosts got off to a cracking start to the match firing a goal in the second minute of the first quarter. It was a smart play by the hosts. Jasjit Singh with a weak tackle made it easy for Van Aubel to score just at the start of the game.After conceding a goal, India counter-attacked well and Satbir Singh got a golden chance to level the score. He only needed to tap the ball on to an open goal, but Belgium stopper Vincent Vanasch came up with a stellar save.Cosyns netted the second goal in the eighth minute for the hosts. India stopper Sreejesh stopped the drag flick but the rebound landed in front of Cosyns, who uncovered in time by the Indian defence and fired one past Sreejesh to help Belgium take a 2-0 lead.In the second quarter, India pressed on as Satbir stole the ball at the edge of circle and fired one in on the run, but Belgium stopper Vanasch again came with a good stop.The second half saw India putting up a better fight and if it was not for Belgium goalkeeper Vanasch, they would have at least pulled a goal back.advertisementAt the start of the third quarter, skipper Sardar Singh ran well as he managed to dodge a couple of Belgian defenders but once again, was guilty of holding on to the ball a bit too long and his attack in was blunted.In the 40th minute, Jasjit put his body on the line of the attacker and gave away a penalty corner. Van Aubel found the net for the second time in the 41st minute to take Belgium to 3-0.In the dying minutes of third quarter, India earned a penalty corner but Manpreet Singh lost a chance to score.The final quarter saw Belgium on more attacking mode as a shoddy Indian defence helped Van Aubel find the net for the third time to score a hat-trick and take Belgium to 4-0.
Philippe Coutinho is capable of great things at Liverpool and can play the role that Steven Gerrard played for the Premier League side, according to former Brazil international Kaka.Brazilian Coutinho underlined his worth at the club scoring a sensational 25-yard strike in the 86th minute of Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Stoke City on Sunday to seal a 1-0 win.”I have been a big admirer of Coutinho and he can be a very important player for Liverpool and Brazil,” Kaka, who plays for Major League Soccer side Orlando City SC, told the Mirror.Also read: Stoke deserved a point against Liverpool, says Huges”There will be a lot of expectation on him with Liverpool fighting to get back into the Champions League, but I know that he can handle it.”One great player doesn’t make a team, but you can build a team around one great player, and I believe he can be that player,” he added.Like the Brazilian, Gerrard has also moved to MLS where he plays for Los Angeles Galaxy and Kaka believes Coutinho is ready for a bigger role at Liverpool.”Coutinho is a humble guy. He won’t talk about being able to replace a legend like Steven Gerrard, and the truth is nobody could ever replace him, but with Gerrard gone they do need somebody to step up — and he can do that,” Kaka said.
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
New Delhi, Sep 20 (PTI) IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Swedish home furnishing major IKEA, says it will strengthen its activities to support children, youth and women in India. The foundation has been active in India since 2000 and has contributed 168 million euros to programmes run by its different partners targeting children and women in 19 states so far. “Since 2010 a quarter of our donations went to programmes in India (EUR 94 million) and I can say that India will continue to remain a focus area for us,” IKEA Foundation Communications and Strategic Planning Head Jonathan Spampinato told PTI. Globally, the foundation had made grants totalling 420 million euros since 2010. “Today, the IKEA Foundation supports projects that change attitude towards child labour, provide education and support children,” Spampinato said adding the aim was to help families break the cycle of poverty. “We also fund programmes to empower women,” he said. Elaborating the foundations strategy, he said: “Our goal in India is to help children and youth, primarily the ones living in extreme poverty, who are deprived of the opportunities available to most children in the rest of the world.” On the challenges in the country, he said: “In India there are 130 million children living in poverty – so we have a long journey ahead.” The IKEA Foundation works through its selected partners in India. It has partnered with organisations such as Unicef, Save the Children, Landesa, Pradan among others. PTI AKT RKL MR MKJ
Rain and wet outfield denied both the teams any play in the third and final T20I at Eden Gardens, but Indian players found a funny moment by conveying a ‘very very special’ message to a former cricketer.It was VVS Laxman’s blue shirt with bird prints that caught the players’ attention while the stylish Hyderabad batsman was seen in a discussion of a pre-match show.Led by Harbhajan Singh, all the other players posed for a photograph with a placard reading, ‘Laxman, we love your shirt’. The third T20 match between India and South Africa in Kolkata was called off on Thursday without a ball being bowled. This happened last night, team India’s message to @VVSLaxman281 at Eden Gardens. pic.twitter.com/Z42pwf2foS&; Cricketopia.com (@Cricketopia) October 9, 2015
The iconic Sachin Tendulkar was an expected pick for the No.4 slot while Sourav Ganguly was preferred in the leadership position in Australian spin legend Shane Warne’s greatest Indian Test XI.Warne, who has been naming his preferred XIs from different countries on his facebook page, turned his attention to India in the latest post. The criterion for selection was that Warne must have competed against the selected players.Not surprisingly, cricket’s highest run-scorer Tendulkar was Warne’s choice for No.4 spot in his side. The opening slots went to Virender Sehwag and Navjot Singh Sidhu followed by the ever-dependable Rahul Dravid at No.3.Tendulkar, who scored a whopping 15,921 runs with 51 hundreds in 200 Tests, was hardly a surprise. But Warne said that he was in a dilemma about whether to go for VVS Laxman or Mohammad Azharuddin for No.6 position.”This was the hardest team to select as I played against a few legends at the end of their careers like Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Ravi Shastri, Manoj Prabhakar as well as current players like Zaheer Khan too,” Warne wrote on his Facebook page.”The Indian side I’ve selected is a very strong one & would be tough to play against. The hardest position to select for me was the No. 6 spot between my great friend VVS or Azharuddin.”The maverick bowler said that it was this confusion which prompted him to name a 12-strong squad for India. “Hence I named 12 and would choose the 12th man on the day!,” he said.advertisementAlso making the cut in Warne’s squad were legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev and current limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.Dhoni has not played international cricket against Warne but made the cut owing to the IPL face-offs between the two.Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Javagal Srinath formed the bowling attack of Warne’s line-up.Warne’s Greatest India Test XI Virender Sehwag, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin, Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Javagal Srinath (VVS Laxman 12th).
India have lost the bilateral ODI series against Australia after their bowlers and lower-order batsmen misfired in the first four matches, but Virat Kohli is determined to end the campaign on a a high.The 27-year-old with two fifties and two successive hundreds is the leading run-scorer (373) in the series. But he said the personal milestones mattered little when the team kept losing one game after the other.Ahead of the final ODI against Australia at the Sydney Crickeyt Ground tomorrow, Kohli said it hurt when the team lost despite playing well but reiterated that his team-mates were determined to finish off well.”It hurts when you play well and (still) lose,” Kohli told the media today. “I still feel like a club cricketer and want to win every game.”Kohli has tried his best to win every game for India. He was involved in a double-century stand with Rohit Sharma in Perth, added century stands with Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan in Brisbane and Melbourne before rattling up a 212-run partnership with Dhawan in Canberra – on the last occasion, India were cruising along on a record chase of 349 but lost nine wickets for 46 runs in a space of 12 overs.India need to win the last match of the series if they have to retain their second spot in the ICC ODI rankings and Kohli said the team was motivated to put up a good show tomorrow.But it could easier said than done given India’s fragile middle-order. Barring Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, the others have not been up to the mark. To make matters worse, the consistent Ajinkya Rahane will miss tomorrow’s match after splitting the webbing on his right hand on Wednesday.advertisement”The guys are motivated and they want to win badly. Just need a bit more experience to close games in our favour,” Kohli said.But the experience won’t come overnight. Manish Pandey, who is certain to replace Rahane, will need to grab this opportunity with both hands and show that he belongs.Kohli also lauded team director Ravi Shastri for his “massive contribution.””Ravi Shastri has helped me more as a batsman and never interfered with my captaincy,” he said.