Twitter + posts Dean Strakahttps://www.tcu360.com/author/dean-straka/ ReddIt Equestrian upsets No. 1 Baylor, swept by Texas A&M at NCEA Championships Previous articleArlington Martin drops Paschal, Miracle sees beyond box scoreNext articleDisruptive behavior at bus loadings causes increase in alcohol violations Dean Straka RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Dean Straka is a senior journalism major from Lake Forest, California. He currently serves as Sports Line Editor for TCU 360. His passions include golf, God, traveling, and sitting down to watch the big game of the day. Follow him on Twitter at @dwstraka49 Facebook Facebook Fort Worth’s first community fridge program helps serve vulnerable neighborhoods Dean Strakahttps://www.tcu360.com/author/dean-straka/ Norrie climbs to No. 1 in national rankings Equestrian defeated in Big 12 Championship ‘Liters for Life’ student campaign raises funds for global water crisis Dean Strakahttps://www.tcu360.com/author/dean-straka/ printhttps://vimeo.com/144902156TCU’s chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) recently hosted its fifth annual Mr. ZTA pageant, once again drawing a standing room-only crowd to the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom for the event.The pageant, the chapter’s philanthropy event, featured fraternity teams competing for the title of Mr. ZTA through a series of contests including trivia questions, best swimsuit attire and best song performance or dance routine.The pageant has become a favorite among TCU students in recent years for its entertainment value, but the event’s purpose is much larger – to promote breast cancer awareness and education said Cady Roberts, the director of philanthropy for TCU’s chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha.Roberts said all funds raised from the pageant through the 75 dollar team entry fee and one dollar admission fee went directly to the Zeta Tau Alpha foundation, a national foundation aimed at supporting the event’s cause.“Money from the foundation goes to breast cancer education and awareness and also to programs for girls in our chapters to get advice and just different information about breast cancer awareness and education,” said Roberts.Roberts said the chapter also hosted a separate fundraiser at the Smoothie King on South University Drive that benefited the foundation. The total amount raised from the two events has not been announced.To promote the theme of breast cancer awareness and education, the chapter invited TCU faculty member and breast cancer survivor Jacque Lambiase to give a testimonial before the start of the event in addition to serving as a judge for the pageant.Lambiase, a professor of Strategic Communication, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, but as of now, she has shown no signs of tumor markers in recent blood tests.“I was flattered by the invitation because a lot of my students are members of this group, and it was really cool to come hang out with them in the evening and see what they do when they are not in the classroom,” Lambiase said.Lambiase added that it is special to see a group work so hard to raise support and awareness for a cause that is close to her.“Through all of my lifetime when I was their age nobody talked about breast cancer, nobody said anything about it, and you couldn’t even use the word breast in any kind of media,” Lambiase said. “Now everybody knows about it, everybody is supportive, and I think it makes the community bigger, better and stronger, and I think it is really great what they do.”Lambiase said she hopes her story with breast cancer will not only educate others about the disease, but also serve as an inspiration to those currently diagnosed with the disease or who have a loved one battling it.“There’s a real big community out there to help you, and there are great fundraising efforts like this one that have made a real big difference in the way women are able to get treatment,” Lambiase said. “I say have hope, go find a great doctor, and go take care of yourself.”For many people in attendance, Lambiase’s message hit home.Roberts said breast cancer is something close to the personal lives of many TCU Zeta Tau Alpha members. Roberts said 50 percent of ZTA members had their lives affected by breast cancer in some capacity.“I actually had everyone at chapter meeting raise their hand at chapter meeting if they had been affected by breast cancer just so everyone could keep that in mind when they’re making decisions and helping with our philanthropy,” Roberts said.Junior Caroline Green was one of those individuals, as her mother recently fought a victorious battle with breast cancer. Green’s mother was diagnosed with the disease in November 2014 but was quick to win the fight, going into remission in February and being declared cancer-free in June.Green said that it was inspiring to see her sorority sisters support her through her mother’s time of trial.“I didn’t know that it was in my path that my mom was going to have breast cancer, but I know that the Lord totally used that and Zeta for my benefit, and all these girls were just there for me no matter what,” Green said. “To see all these girls gather for just a great cause is so incredible.”Zeta members were not the only students at the pageant who had dealt with the hardships of the disease. First-year student Jake Donzelli, a member of the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) team that took home the title of Mr. ZTA, said his mother’s best friend died from breast cancer.“I don’t know…it’s so hard,” Donzelli said. “[The pageant] is really a good cause. They’re doing it for a good thing, and they’re raising a lot of money for it.”Roberts said the event is the perfect balance of fun while supporting a serious issue.“It’s so fun to just be in charge of our chapter to raise all this money for this event, but still everyone being aware that it’s for a philanthropy and it’s for a cause,” Roberts said.You can test your knowledge of breast cancer and its effects on the population in the quiz below.Close ReddIt Linkedin TCU social work majors go into the field to help support Fort Worth’s homeless Dean Straka Linkedin Men’s tennis clinches consecutive Big 12 titles with win over No. 4 Baylor Twitter Dean Strakahttps://www.tcu360.com/author/dean-straka/
By Kenneth EzagaToday in Abuja key players in the sports industry will take to the stage at the Nigerian Economic Summit to articulate the nationwide economic and socio-cultural impact of sports. Listening will be an audience comprising the leading lights in the nationâ€™s public and private sectors.The local sports industry has struggled for attention and investments since the turn of the century, but recent developments suggest that things may be changing. Less than a fortnight ago the Nigerian football hierarchy also met with the national economic management team headed by the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. It is the first time there has been this level of engagement between the leading sports players and the nationâ€™s top economic brains. Hopefully they find common ground as sports have an almost infinite power to add real gross value to the GDP of nations. The economic bounce at the weekend in Uyo when the Super Eagles clashed with Zambia to seal their 2018 World Cup place, tells a story that can be replicated every weekend in towns and cities across the country. There was increased business for airlines, hotels, food outlets, beverages, local transportation, media, banks and more.It has to be more than mere coincidence that the worldâ€™s leading economic giants are countries that also invest heavily in sports. Indeed, of the top seven finishers at the Rio Olympics in 2016 â€“ the USA, England, China, Russia, Germany, Japan, and France, six were among the globeâ€™s seven largest economies. Africaâ€™s leading economy, South Africa, is also by far the biggest investor in sports on the continent.In fact, IEG, the global authority on sponsorship, says sports events hold the largest market share of global sponsorship dollars, accounting for a whopping 66%, followed by entertainment and attractions which accounts for a mere 11%.There are different reasons why progressive countries prioritise sports: one is the industryâ€™s ability to create jobs across a broad spectrum of society, and the other is its power to unify nations locally while inspiring immense national pride on the international stage. The latter can be seen in the never-ending battles for superiority among leading nations like the United States, Russia, China, and others. Some dub this the â€˜sports arms raceâ€™.Letâ€™s quickly examine how a sports culture creates wealthier societies. First, by helping to unify a people sports aggregate their strengths and inspires passion to achieve much more together than in polarized societies like Nigeria. Secondly, sports help people lead healthier and more disciplined lifestyles. Healthy and disciplined people achieve more at school and at work.Ours is a country in dire need of a sustainable sports culture. It is surprising that sports does not have a place in the governmentâ€™s 2017-2020 economic recovery and growth plan. Early post-independent Nigeria was different, we had a rich sports culture. This was reflected in governmentâ€™s massive investments in the industry in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, the majority of the sports assets we have as a country today was built during that time, and at the time our facilities could compete with some of the best in the world. Back then our economy was also strong and it can be argued that domestic sports played its part as they were popular and generated a lot of economic activity.While most countries transformed their sports industries from the mid-1990s, ours lost critical support, leading to most of the facilities becoming rundown and outdated. Virtually all our stadiums, including the recently-built ones, are lacking the contemporary spectator-engagement facilities commonplace around the world today. In reality Nigeria is still some distance from handing sports entirely to the private sector, so government must continue to lead. Government leading the industry, however, is not entirely the same as government doling out free money to unprofessional crony administrators. There is a need for policies that encourage symbiotic public-private sector partnerships.In this regard we must applaud the recent bold efforts of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to shore up support for domestic sports. The ministerâ€™s call for local brands sponsoring foreign sports to pay a 30 per cent tax on their investment value for the development of the local alternative is a brilliant example of how government can, and should, lead. Some countries have even tighter controls over protecting their local industry. Only recently Chinese authorities sanctioned their football clubs paying lavish sums for foreign players to pay 100 per cent tax on any such contract, for the development of the local game.Some think that government should stop supporting sports financially under the mistaken notion that that is what happens in the developed nations. For all the financial success of English football, for instance, the British government still provides up to 30-40m pounds (N14-19b) to the FA to support the development of the local game every year. Hear the UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch threaten the FA with the withdrawal of financial support in 2016 over slow reforms: â€œWeâ€™ve made it clear that all sports governing bodies have to reform their governance codes,â€ she told BBCâ€™s Sportsweek. â€œThe FA is not excluded from that and, if they donâ€™t, they wonâ€™t get public funding. Itâ€™s as simple as that. I could not be more clear about how I want to see governing bodies perform. The FA gets between Â£30-Â£40â€‰million of funding and that can go elsewhere.â€To be fair the Nigerian government already invests a bit in sports, but there is a need to not only significantly increase the investment, but to professionalize this support. Governmentâ€™s investment must be made more transparent, with clear targets set that should drive enterprise. The economic team must see this as key to its plans for a post-oil economy. There is no better way to engage our exploding population of poorly-educated, poorly-skilled and unemployed youth. From the grassroots through schools and the professional class, this can create direct jobs for many like athletes and sports competitors; coaches and scouts; umpires, referees, and other sports officials; entertainers and performers; gaming and sports book writers and runners; agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes.More people will be off the streets and working; earning wages and boosting purchasing power. To get some perspective on this, in 2012 when South Africa was thinking its football future, then CEO of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Robin Petersen showed how football alone engaged three million people. According to the Brand South Africa website, Petersen was at the time â€œlooking at new ways to fund development, so that the 330 local football associations, the 20000 clubs and the three-million players in South Africa, as well as schools, will become a breeding ground for new talent.â€That figure would probably be closer to 15 million players in Nigeria. Government would do well to mandate giant parastatals to invest in sports. Behemoths like the NNPC, CBN, NCC, NIMASA, NPA, FAAN, should be made to invest a billion or two in the industry annually. Many of these organizations waste billions in corporate gifts like diaries, calendars, branded items, etc. Put the money in sports and put more Nigerians to productive work. Major private firms, especially our conglomerates and banks, should also be encouraged to do same through tax rebates and protection from unscrupulous administrators.2019 is around the corner and this government can expected tough questions about how their programmes have directly affected the lives of the common man. Sports will be a great way to create a â€œfeel goodâ€ factor while putting many to work in a short time. It will also be a great way to unite the country. 1n 1995 Nelson Mandela turned to sports to try and heal his countryâ€™s deep divisions. Now more than ever Nigeria needs to borrow a leaf from the great leader.*Ezaga is a marketing communications professional, promoter of the Nigerian Tennis Majors and a THISDAY on Saturday columnist.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
SC Villa 0-0 Onduparaka (Onduparaka win 4-3 on penThe drama and upsets in the traditional knock out competitions continued in the Uganda Cup as defending champions SC Villa and Lweza were eliminated by FUFA Big League sides on Sunday.But it wasn’t a day fully on shocks as KCCA and Vipers strolled to the last four.Meanwhile, as KCCA, Entebbe and Vipers await a semi-final draw, Onduparaka will host Busia in the round of 16 with Soana lurking in the quarters.FULL STORY: UPL co ug (CLICK HERE) Share on: WhatsApp UPL co ugUGANDA CUPQuarter finals ResultsBright Stars 0-1 KCCAVipers 2-0 Hope DovesLweza 2-2 Entebbe (Entebbe win 9-8 on pen)Round of 32
Leading 19-14 after one quarter, the second-quarter onslaught put the Storm up 48-23.Southridge continued its dominance of the Kootenay reps to open a 76-37 advantage after three periods.The 6’9” Hughes led all scorers with 31 while Dominic Clayton added 14 and Matthew Andreou had 13.Josh Matosevic led the Bombers with 19 points while Grade 11 forward Vinnie Watson had 15 and point guard Robbie Dixon 13.Matosevic, Watson and Dixon each had six rebounds.LVR shot 38 percent from the field to 48 percent for Southridge.LVR now prepares to meet Duchess Park Thursday — a team Phelan says brings a different look than Southridge.“(Duchess Park) won the Fulton tournament in Vernon we were at . . . they have a pretty good squad with a balance of size and quickness,” Phelan explained.“They have a couple of key players, one who plays for the UNBC Junior Wolves team and another a provincial team player so they’ll be a tough matchup for us.” The L.V. Rogers Bombers got an up close look at one of the favourites at the BC High School AAA Boy’s Basketball Championships Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre.Hunter Hughes scored 31 points in 16 minutes to power top-ranked Southridge Storm of Surrey to an 88-58 victory in opening round action at the 16-team provincial tournament.The Storm now meet Mark Isfeld of Courtney while the Bombers drop into the consolation round to play Duchess Park of Prince George Thursday at 10:45 a.m.“We had an okay first quarter, kept it close and were only down five,” said Bomber coach Jeremy Phelan.“But in the second quarter we just broke down and they out scored us 29-9 to pull away.”“(Southridge) had a hot guard (Dominic Clayton) . . . none of our guys couldn’t cover,” Phelan added.
18Duplicate the composition and practice recoloring each composition to get different results. 9Duplicate the first shape layer (the one with 12 copies) and adjust it to where the keyframes line up with the duplicated (24 copy) layer. 2Set the points to 3 and the scale to 100. Set keyframes on the position of the polystar path, the scale of the transform of the polystar path, and the overall transform scale. 6Add a repeater to the shape. Set the copies to 12 and rotation to 30. 10Set the rotation of the Layer 3 to 15. Have any tips for making these fireworks even better?Share in the comments below. 5Easy ease all the current keyframes and in the graph editor adjust the keyframes so that the majority of the motion happens at the beginning of the shape layer. 4Move forward 10 frames. Set a keyframe for the position to 0,300. and set a keyframe for the transform: polystar scale to be 0,100. 3Adjust overall scale to 0,0 and the transform polystar scale to 50,0. 16Color and stylize each individual shape layer. 14Easy ease your keyframes and smooth the position so it slowly rises to it’s place. 11Create a new rectangle for the “rocket” set the size to 960,3. 13Move the playhead to the point at which the fireworks explode. Set the keyframes to: size 0,3 and position 0,0. 15Offset the explosions so they look like they happen after the rocket reaches it’s peak. 8Change the copies of the new layer to 24. Set the rotation to 7.5. In this Premiumbeat exclusive tutorial we show you how to create shape based fireworks in After Effects.The following shows how to make some awesome shape based fireworks in After Effects. The tutorial covers:Shape RepeatersThe Graph EditorKeyframing4th Grade MathAlthough this tutorial is specifically designed to show you how to create fireworks, shape modifiers are a great tool for any motion graphic artists to learn – these concepts can be applied to any number of motion graphic situations. If you are wanting more info about using shapes to enhance motion check out our post on secondary animation.More of a reader than a watcher? Follow along with the step-by-step tutorial below. Click any image for larger view. 17Drop the comp into another comp. 1Create a new composition. Add a polygonal shape layer with no stroke and a white fill. 7Duplicate the layer and offset the keyframes by a few frames. 12Set start keyframes for the size and position of the rectangle. Size to 0,3. and Position to -960,0.
There are ways to speed up your sales process; many—if not most—are unhealthy. You can rush through the process, not giving the conversations your client needs the appropriate time and attention. You can speed past some of the necessary outcomes, as if they are not important, mistakenly believing the choice of action doesn’t come with a cost. You can allow your prospect to dictate the process, skipping steps, and avoiding doing what they need to to make a good decision. There are ways you can create velocity in your sales results.While velocity is important, it isn’t most important. The prize for the most important belongs solely to “winning.” It never makes sense to trade time when doing so increases the likelihood of a loss, yet this is what many do, often attempting the new one-call close. There are better ways to speed up your sales results, and doing so requires you shift your focus from trying to “cheat” the process (the sales conversation) to a more strategic and healthier choice.Speed Up New OpportunitiesIf you want to accuse salespeople of not doing something as fast as they should, you need to look much earlier in the sales cycle. What happens too slow in sales is the creation of new opportunities (real opportunities, not contacts, and companies that engage without any genuine interest or any commitment to change). Too few opportunities is often the result of too little prospecting. Weeks with little or no prospecting means the time passed without the salesperson creating new opportunities. You lose velocity when you create an opportunity in the future that you might have created sooner.Imagine you are required to make twenty outbound attempts a day. In the course of the week, you make one-hundred calls, and you create two new meetings that result in a new opportunity. With no change in your strategy or your approach, you decide to make forty outbound attempts and create four new meetings that result in four new opportunities. These two additional opportunities have been pulled forward in time by a week.Note: Forty dials may require you to leave as many as thirty voice mail messages. The reason you can make many more calls than you needed if you are required to prospect at all, is because you don’t get to talk to too many people. Prospecting now means campaigns and pursuit plans, not sporadic calls made without a plan or intention.Sales managers often ask their salespeople to close deals faster, but they don’t ask them to create deals more quickly, and many are unwilling to hold them accountable for prospecting at all.There is every reason to pull results forward in time. You get the revenue sooner, and your client receives the better outcome they need faster.Slow Down Your ProcessLet me make this point abundantly clear; revenue now is better than revenue later. A client getting the result they need today is better than three weeks from now. There is no reason to take more time than is necessary to win a deal, but you also shouldn’t try to cheat the process.You cannot go faster than your dream client can go, even though you know the destination and the way there. When you try to speed things up, you leave your contacts behind, creating a gap they can’t close by themselves. Since your client can’t catch up with you, you have to go back to where they are and give them what they need to move forward.Here’s an example: you have a couple of discovery meetings, your contacts love your ideas, and they are excited. However, you haven’t had a chance to tailor the solution to them and their company, nor have you discussed the investment. They ask you for a proposal and pricing, and you provide it. Then, crickets. They go dark, leaving you chasing ghosts. Because you did not collaborate on the solution and didn’t help them build consensus within their company and teams, you eventually hear, “We decided to go another direction.” (For more on these commitments, see The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales)An interesting metric is how many hours of conversation it takes to win a deal. If an average deal for some imaginary company takes ten hours to win, with the low end being six, why would you try to make the sale in an hour or two? Maybe you don’t know better and believe the deal to be more transactional than it really is, or perhaps you are trying to fast. It might also be that you are allowing your client to go faster than they should if they want to make the changes they have been working on with you.Speeding Up by SlowingThe way to speed up your process is to acquire the necessary commitments, linking them together without allowing much time between meetings. If you can shorten the distance between the meetings locked safely on your calendar, you can build velocity. You slow your deals by leaving meetings without established next steps and a date for the next meeting. Like cheating the process slows your progress, long periods between sessions can also kill your momentum.If you need to speed up the acquisition of deals, it may be because you have too few opportunities to allow you to spend time helping your client with their decision, without your having to try to drag them along at a pace they cannot possibly maintain.Speed up the creation of opportunities and gain the commitments that speed up the time it takes to win deals—and produce better results for your clients. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now
Tribe-based organisations in Nagaland have sought a settlement of the protracted Naga political issue within the three-month period Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set in July.This was the crux of Friday’s discussion between 16 groups, including two church organisations, and Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who is also the interlocutor in the peace process primarily involving the extremist Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM).Leaders of the tribe-based organisations who attended the meeting declined to disclose what transpired at the meeting. But a representative of one of the largest tribes said it could be wiser to sign the deal soon and work on the ‘Naga national flag’ and ‘constitution’ later.Mr. Ravi also told the groups that the government was keen on an early settlement.The Nagas are divided on these two demands. While the NSCN-IM has been adamant about the flag and constitution, rival outfits clubbed as the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) say settlement should ideally come before these two demands.The Centre is unlikely to accede to the two demands in view of the Kashmir development, though there are speculations in Nagaland that the Framework Agreement signed in August 2015 factored in the flag and the constitution.The NSCN-IM had a few days ago accused Delhi of tweaking the clauses of the agreement to deny the Nagas an honourable solution. The outfit also said the Centre was trying to divide the Nagas through bribes and other means.The Forum for Naga Reconciliation has meanwhile asked the rebels to refrain from mudslinging. “This is only harming the Naga society and making us more vulnerable to further division… We encourage NNPGs and NSCN-IM to meet, address all outstanding differences through dialogues and explore finding a common ground,” it said in a statement.
Jeff Horn, left, of Australia and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines fight during their WBO World welterweight title bout in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, July 2, 2017. Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight world title to Horn in a stunning, unanimous points decision in the Sunday afternoon bout billed as the Battle of Brisbane in front of more than 50,000 people. (Photo by TERTIUS PICKARD / AP)BRISBANE, Australia — Manny Pacquiao won’t box Jeff Horn in a rematch of their WBO world welterweight title fight this year because the Filipino senator will be busy with government duties.Pacquiao’s unavailability for a proposed Nov. 12 bout was announced Friday by Australian promoters of the fight.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Read Next Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Perpetual takes NCAA Shooting Stars crown UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC The WBO said in a statement then that three of the five independent judges who scrutinized the bout awarded it to Horn, one awarded it to Pacquiao and one scored it a draw.The review concluded that Horn won seven rounds to Pacquiao’s five. The fight took place before 51,000 fans at an outdoor stadium in Brisbane. LATEST STORIES Horn beat Pacquiao in a contentious unanimous decision in Brisbane on July 2. Pacquiao at the time said he wanted a rematch.“On behalf of the Philippines government, he (Pacquiao) will be part of a delegation that will visit China in the middle of his proposed preparation period for the fight,” local promoter Dean Lonergan said. “Pacquiao is committed to fighting again in 2018 and a rematch with Jeff Horn for the WBO world welterweight title.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAmerican contender Jesse Vargas, a former world title holder, could possibly take Pacquiao’s place for a fight later this year against Horn, the promoters said. Pacquiao beat Vargas in a unanimous decision last November in Las Vegas.A week after his loss to former schoolteacher Horn, Pacquiao said he still disagreed with the unanimous decision that resulted in him losing the welterweight title, despite an independent re-scoring of the fight confirming the unheralded Australian’s win. Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony PLAY LIST 00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ
S. KannanThe day every sports fan on the continent has been waiting for has finally arrived. Athletes from every nook and corner of Asia will stretch every sinew to try and gather glory for themselves and their countries as the 17th Asian Games get underway in Incheon on Friday.The profile of the Games has gone up several notches since New Delhi hosted the first event in 1951. Such is the standard and intensity of the Asiad these days that some world records could take a beating.Track and field, swimming, shooting, boxing, baseball, weightlifting and wrestling are events which will generate a lot of excitement in their respective arenas dotted across this port city, which is an hour and a half away from the South Korean capital, Seoul.Athletes with posters supporting India.If the opening ceremony at the 2010 Asian Games was a visual delight as giant laser shows and high decibel fireworks lit up the Guangzhou skyline, there is no suspense before Friday’s opening ceremony as the Incheon organisers have sought to keep costs in check and have kept the fuss to a minimum.The Songdo Convensia, where the main media centre is located, is in the heart of the city and next to it is the Incheon University, where students are busy with academics just a day before the Games.”I don’t think I will be going for the sporting events. This time, events have not been publicised much,” said Kim Rae.The real action in the fortnightlong sporting extravaganza will be in 36 disciplines, of which India will be competing in 28. Being the hosts, South Korea will try and maximise their medal chances but the Chinese are in no mood to relent.advertisementIn Guangzhou four years ago, China towered above the rest of the field with 199 gold, 119 silver and 98 bronze for a tally of 416 medals. South Korea had then won 76 gold, 65 silver and 91 bronze for an aggregate of 232 while Japan was third with 48 gold, 74 silver and 94 bronze.There has been no looking back for China since. With their economy booming, funding for sports has not been a problem for athletes. Today, the world marvels at their systematic training programmes, where huge emphasis is on modern methods and applying sports science.India finished fourth in the charts in Guangzhou with 65 medals (14 gold, 17 silver and 34 bronze). At that time, India had trained hard for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and managed to continue the good form into the Asian Games. Similarly, India did fairly well in the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games, clinching 64 medals, and that will serve as a psychological boost.This time around, there is no scope for pessimism, though standards in Asia in almost every sport have gone up.Comparisons with China and South Korea can never be avoided in a multi-discipline extravaganza, but as a sporting nation, India still does not have the culture to produce champions by the dozen.Those who did well in Glasgow will not necessarily do well in Incheon as there is a huge difference in standard. In sports like wrestling and weightlifting, winning gold will be very tough even as fierce competitor Yogeshwar Dutt and company hold a lot of promise.Hockey used to be India’s traditional strength but times have changed. Only a gold medal can restore faith in the ‘national game’. There is a lot of buzz in the air about boxing. Glasgow was disappointing for the pugilists and if they have to make a mark here, they will have to compete very hard.If one were to pick some gold medal prospects for India in Incheon, it won’t be a tough call. Beijing Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra is gunning for his first Asiad gold, pistol shooter Jitu Rai is in superb form and rising shuttle star P.V. Sindhu, fresh from her recent bronze medal at the World Championship, can again bother the [email protected]