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Puerto Rico’s women’s basketball team inspires an island on the way to the Olympics

first_img Written by February 25, 2020 /Sports News – National Puerto Rico’s women’s basketball team inspires an island on the way to the Olympics Beau Lundcenter_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailTuelekZa/iStock(NEW YORK) — The Puerto Rico women’s basketball team is going to the 2020 Olympics and are making history in the process.The team has qualified for the Olympics for the first time ever, according to the International Basketball Federation. Although they lost to France in an 89-51 final at the qualifying tournament on Feb. 9, the team secured their spot after Brazil was eliminated by Australia.“It was an emotional moment … an exciting moment,” Tayra Meléndez, a forward on the national team, told ABC News about their triumphant win.The women’s basketball team has now become the fifth team in Puerto Rico’s history to participate in the Olympic games, following men’s basketball, baseball, women’s volleyball and women’s softball.Inspiring an IslandThe team’s victory is especially significant as the island continues to reel from recent deadly earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that rattled the island on Jan. 7, leaving one person dead, destroying several homes and leaving thousands without power. Residents on the island are also still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation in September 2017.“Hurricane Maria was big for us … it was hard. It was a time where everybody suffered on the island. It was really, really tough,” Gerardo “Jerry” Batista, the head coach of the team, told ABC News.“[We were] trying to bring some good news to the people of Puerto Rico. That was great for us … that was the goal, that was the motivation,” Batista said.Meléndez, 26, was born in Puerto Rico and later moved to Massachusetts with her parents. During her childhood, she recalls growing up on the island with her grandmother, who later passed away. Meléndez, who changed her jersey number in memory of her grandmother, said that she’s grateful for the chance to carry on her family’s legacy.“She loved Puerto Rico more than anything in this world … when I put that jersey on, it’s a reminder of everything beautiful that is that island,” Meléndez said.She said that despite all the obstacles that her fellow teammates have faced both “emotionally and physically,” every challenge has only brought them closer together as a team.“We are a family within each other,” Meléndez said.Supporting Women in SportsCoach Batista believes that the island’s commitment and investment into the team have played a major role in the team’s success. He said that Yum Ramos, president of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation, is among those supporters.Ramos, who was elected to the role in 2016 after serving as tournament director for the women’s professional league, said his administration has consistently ensured that the Puerto Rico women’s basketball team was made a priority.Not only did the team receive additional financial support, including new uniforms and increased salaries, but their financial support has now matched their male counterparts.For Ramos, his personal dedication to the team derives from his upbringing with his mom teaching him the importance of “treating women equally.”“We believe in them … and gave them everything they needed to be successful,” Ramos told ABC News.Meléndez, who was named director of Basketball Operations at Bryant University in Rhode Island last year, said she’s especially proud of how far the team has come considering the sacrifices that many of the players have made to play — including several of them also balancing other side gigs.“My advice to any young girl would be to love the process … love every minute of it. The good days and the bad days … [and] with time, you’ll see the results,” she said.The 2020 Olympics kick off on July 24 in Tokyo.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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IMSA, GRAND-AM enter agreement with DTM

first_imgDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Exploring an opportunity that could additionally change the face, and the future, of road racing, GRAND-AM Road Racing and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Tuesday night announced a license and cooperation agreement with the Internationale Tourenwagen-Rennen (ITR e.V.), which administers DTM racing.The collective goal is a North American version of DTM, the popular German touring car series. Representatives from all three organizations gathered for the announcement during a press conference at the InterContinental New York Times Square Hotel’s Gotham Ballroom, an event highlighted by GRAND-AM founder Jim France and ITR Chairman Hans Werner Aufrecht signing the agreement. The earliest the new series would begin would be 2015, possibly running as part of United SportsCar Racing event weekends. United SportsCar Racing was announced March 14 as the name of the new series resulting from the merger of GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. IMSA will serve as the sanctioning body for United SportsCar Racing, which also was announced on March 14.“On the heels of our United SportsCar Racing and IMSA announcements, reaching this agreement adds to the momentum we’re experiencing right now,” GRAND-AM President and CEO Ed Bennett said.“The next steps in this process will involve further discussions with various automotive manufacturers, whose commitment to this concept is essential if a North American DTM-style series is to become reality.”If realized, a North American version of DTM would join the current Europe-based DTM and Japan-based Super GT platforms. DTM is administered by ITR e.V., Super GT by GT Association (GTA). ITR e.V. and Super GT agreed last October to a cooperation starting in 2014.“The new technical regulations and the formed partnerships represent — for the first time in the history of the sport — a global platform for the manufacturers involved,” said Aufrecht, “a platform offering them the opportunity to race — on the same technical basis and with the best global promoters as guarantee for a competitive and attractive platform — in the core markets of North America, Europe and Asia.“In addition to the six German and Japanese manufacturers — Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan and Toyota — which are already involved, the new cooperation quite obviously also offers a new and extraordinary field of activity for the American premium manufacturers such as Cadillac, Lincoln or Dodge SRT within the framework of future motorsport programs. Now, we have to inform and thrill them together with our new partner GRAND-AM/IMSA and encourage them to get involved.”Said GTA Chairman Massaki Bandoh: “The new partnership between the parties will further increase the value of DTM, GRAND-AM, IMSA and SUPER GT. This would be the opening of the doors for globalization of GT/Touring car races. We have to take this opportunity to cooperate with each other.”European automobile manufacturers responded optimistically to news of the agreement, acknowledging the importance of the U.S. market to their businesses and the direct link DTM-style racing would create with consumers. “This offers the opportunity to use the Audi RS 5 DTM in a premium race series not only in Europe but in Asia and North America too, in the future,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, Audi AG’s Board of Management member, technical development. “For Audi as a globally operating company, this development represents an exciting and interesting option.” Jens Marquardt, BMW’s motorsport director, said his organization “welcomes the planned cooperation between DTM and GRAND-AM/IMSA. It represents another important step on the way to the internationalisation of DTM. We as BMW are extremely open-minded, regarding these plans. The North American market represents the biggest market area for BMW in general — and the biggest market area for BMW M vehicles, too. BMW has got a great motor-racing tradition in the USA and therefore, we are truly happy about the prospect to also see DTM vehicles racing in the USA, in the future.” “For Mercedes-Benz, the U.S. represents the biggest market area worldwide,” said Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “We are particularly delighted about the long-term cooperation deal between DTM and GRAND-AM/IMSA. Thanks to the technical basis agreed upon, we will be offered the opportunity to use our DTM cars to also demonstrate the competitiveness of our brand on U.S./North American race tracks, in the future.” Sports car racing legend Hans Stuck, now the president of Germany’s motorsports governing body, Deutscher Motor Sport Bund (DMSB), considers the current DTM competitive environment a template for success.“If you want to hold motor-racing events in car nations such as Germany or the U.S., your grid must feature cars that have what it takes to fascinate the crowds,” Stuck said. “The technical DTM regulations that were developed by DMSB in close cooperation with the car manufacturers involved – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – combine this guideline with an extremely high safety level that also represents an international benchmark. We are delighted that these regulations will be used not only in Europe, in the future, but also in Japan and the U.S.” ___________________________________________________________________________________________Comments are currently unavailable. We’re working on the development of a NASCAR fan forum – please stay tuned. Alliance’s goal: North American version of German touring car serieslast_img read more

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Belgium’s Ogeo maintains growth, lauds ‘bricks and mortar’ strategy

first_imgOgeo Fund – a Belgian multi-employer, first-pillar pension fund – grew to €1.125bn in assets under management in 2015 and posted a return above the average for all Belgian occupational pension funds.The fund posted a return of 5.08% for 2015, compared with an average return of 4.48% for all Belgian workplace pension funds.It attributed its positive performance in 2015 to its real estate investment strategy.In a statement, it said: “The success of Ogeo Fund’s management model lies in its prudent approach, which prioritises ‘bricks and mortar’ rather than paper-based property investments, supported by a reinforced monitoring system and transparent governance.” Ogeo’s assets under management grew by 3.7% last year, to hit €1.125bn.It has grown year on year since it was founded, having had some €600m in assets in 2009 and last year passing the €1bn mark.As at the end of 2015, it had €620m in “overfunding”, up 8.2% on the amount of reserve capital it held in 2014.Ogeo is the fifth-largest Belgian “Organisme de Financement de Pensions” (OFP), the Belgian vehicle for occupational pension funds.This is based on 2014 rankings compiled by PensioPlus, the national pension association.Ogeo also has a second-pillar product, Ogeo Pension 2, giving its affiliated organisations the option of setting up workplace pension schemes for contractual staff and salaried employees in the private sector.Ogeo Fund has a large allocation to unlisted real estate, capped at 25% of total assets.Its property portfolio generated an average return of 5% in 2015.Stéphane Moreau, managing director at Ogeo Fund, said: “Following a turbulent year on the stock market, Ogeo Fund is pleased to have opted for the diversification of our investments and a property portfolio in ‘bricks and mortar’, which provides us with better protection against market fluctuations compared with most other Belgian pension funds.”In April 2014, the pension fund set up a SICAV, an open-ended investment company, “Ogesip Invest”, to group the listed assets of the various companies in the Ogeo scheme.Last year, it achieved a return of 3.88%, below the average for the Belgian pension fund industry.Ogeo noted that the vehicle did not invest in listed real estate and that the pension fund’s investments in private equity and direct property were housed outside the SICAV, which also has an above-average exposure to bonds.Emmanuel Lejeune, a member of the executive committee of Ogeo Fund, said the 3.88% return was in line with the risk profile assigned to the company when it was established. He added: “Ogesip Invest has shown that, by grouping together all the listed assets of the various affiliated companies of Ogeo Fund, these companies can benefit from reduced management costs, while having access to better performing and very diversified financial assets.”Some 65% of Ogeo’s total assets are invested via Ogesip Invest.last_img read more

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Mike Tyson comeback fight postponed

first_imgMike Tyson’s comeback against Roy Jones Jr has been postponed, according to RingTV.com.Tyson, aged 54, and Jones Jr, 51, were due to meet in an exhibition bout on September 12, but it has been pushed back to November 28. Heavyweight icon Tyson retired 15 years ago, but still plans to step back into the ring.The California State Athletic Commission, who are licensing the bout, previously told Sky Sports: “The (CSAC) is licensing the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr match scheduled to take place in Los Angeles as an eight-round exhibition match.“In this match, the referee will have the authority to stop the fight if it strays outside the boundaries of a competitive boxing exhibition.“Mr. Tyson and Mr. Jones Jr will have to submit all CSAC medical tests for fighters over 40 as well as CSAC’s emergency regulations that have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.”Jones Jr told Sky Sports that the exhibition would be “extra-competitive” and expects to face: “The same old Mike – he will be powerful. Power is the last thing to go. He won’t have lost his power or explosiveness. “You’ve seen the videos he has put out – he has been powerful and explosive. He’s not going to lose it and you’ve got to know that.“Now, it may not last for more than five rounds but he’s not going to lose it.“You may have to dance around him for four or five rounds or try to survive, however you find it best to do that. Then you can fight him.“I’d better get myself in the best shape that I can.“It never worries me – I love challenges. Something impossible or something I shouldn’t do? That’s what I love to do. Anything you tell me I can’t or shouldn’t do is what I want to do. “That’s who I am. That makes me happier than anything.“If I was fighting somebody I’m supposed to beat, I would probably be nervous. But because I’m fighting somebody that they think I don’t have a chance with, I’m not nervous. This is what I love, this is what I feel for.“For me, it’s a one-off. But if it turns out good or he hits me so hard that I don’t get my lip back, then we might have a rematch!“I bring speed and power, he brings explosiveness and power.”RelatedPosts Mike Tyson beats up seven prostitutes Mike Tyson to face Roy Jones Jr Klitschko drills Holyfield in gym —Tags: Comeback fightmike tysonRingTV.comlast_img read more

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Women’s volleyball heads to Washington

first_imgSophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier and the Women of Troy will travel north to face Washington and Washington State. Photo by George Lydakis | Daily TrojanThe No. 19 USC women’s volleyball team (15-6, 7-3 Pac-12) will travel to the Pacific Northwest to kick off the back half of its Pac-12 schedule. Head coach Mick Haley’s squad will face No. 14 Washington (16-5, 6-4 Pac-12) and Washington State (13-9, 2-8 Pac-12) this weekend. It’s the third consecutive week the Women of Troy have held the No. 19 spot in the AVCA poll.“When you play on the road in the [Pac-12], it’s very difficult to get wins,” Haley said. “So we need to steal some wins on somebody else’s court.”The Pac-12 is one of the toughest conferences in the nation for women’s volleyball, with half of its teams currently ranked in the top 25. The Women of Troy own a 6-3 record on the road, two of the losses coming from conference games. USC is 6-1 at home on the season. On the team’s road matches this past weekend, USC was swept by Colorado but came back with a five-set decision against Utah despite missing offensive powerhouse sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier.In Lanier’s absence, senior opposite hitters Brittany Abercrombie and Niki Withers spearheaded the Trojan offense. Together, they combined for a total of 56 kills through the weekend, each putting up 28 kills. Junior outside hitter Alyse Ford also chipped in nine kills in the win against the Utes.Last time the Huskies and Trojans met, USC pulled off an upset with a straight sweep (25-20, 25-21, 28-26) over then-sixth ranked Washington at the Galen Center. On the road, the Women of Troy have not fared as well against the Huskies. They are 1-9 in their last 10 visits to Seattle; however, USC holds the advantage over Washington State in Pullman, boasting a 7-3 record in the same span. To prepare for the difficulty of road matches, Haley is focused on getting his team comfortable and focused. Stealing road wins for the Women of Troy will be vital if they want to remain within the top three of the conference. Right now, they find themselves a spot above the Huskies, so a win against them on Friday would be key.To beat Washington, the Women of Troy will have to limit senior outside hitter Carly DeHoog. She is Washington’s offensive go-to with 227 kills on the season, averaging 2.95 kills a set. Last time she faced USC, she put up 15 kills. The key to the Trojans’ victory was holding everyone else in the Huskies’ offense to seven or fewer kills. With a day break after their match in Seattle, the Women of Troy will square off against the Cougars. USC will face another high-powered pin attacker in Taylor Mims. The junior outside hitter has 321 kills on the season, averaging 3.87 kills per set. To say Washington State leans on her would be an understatement. Mims has 158 more kills this season than McKenna Woodford, another junior outside hitter. To put her numbers in perspective, Lanier has 290 kills on the season, just 34 more kills than Abercrombie. But before setting a gameplan for the Washington schools, Haley said the Women of Troy have been focused on themselves and working with new players in their lineup.“We’re really spending a lot of time on ourselves, quite honestly — we’ve got to basically be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Haley said. “We’ve got some new people that we’ve got to get in a comfortable situation. We’re just trying to get a little bit better in every position.”last_img read more

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Mia Mottley Praises Owen Arthur as a Stalwart for Regional Integration

first_imgIn the 2008 general election, his party was defeated by the Democratic Labour Party .Arthur stepped down as party leader, but remained the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Saint Peter. He subsequently returned to lead the BLP in 2010, but he was replaced as party leader after the BLP lost the 2013 general election. BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Barbados government on Monday praised former prime minister Owen Arthur for his significant and meaningful contributions to the political as well as the socio-economic development of the island as well as the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM). “I was with Owen in Jamaica when he signed in 2006 with tremendous pride the instruments that brought the CARICOM Single Market into existence. He was brimming with pride,” she said, recalling also how the former prime minister had ‘set out to and did master the art of politics. “His work will continue as we continue those preparations and will be built upon,”, Mottley said, adding that the coronavirus (COVID019) had severely affected his last assignment as the chair of the board of directors of the financially-strapped regional airline LIAT. “Indeed it was on this platform where duty met politics and policy in the national interest that he and I, we would anchor our most recent relationship and I thank him for meeting me here in the last 18 months. Barbados is observing three days of national mourning in his honour. CMC Arthur lead the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to victory in the 1994 general election and won general elections again in 1999 and 2003. “Despite being associated with party politics, in the last two years he freely offered advice and direction across the political divide,” the party added. He served as prime minister on three occasions between September 1994 to January 2008. He was Leader of the Opposition in Barbados from 1 August 1993 to 6 September 1994; and from 23 October 2010 to 21 February 2013. The main opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in extending condolences, noted “as the longest-serving leader, who presided over a period of expansion for Barbados, he deserves his place rightfully alongside other noted nation-builders.center_img “I asked him to serve in a number of key areas including in a jobs and advisory council, this came in the last year after he helped this government in the forging of a new industrial policy and in a review of the international trade options small island developing states as we prepared ourselves to be the smallest country to host an UNCTAD Assembly. “It was with a heavy heart that he and his board recommended the liquidation of LIAT (1974) Limited. Owen was conscious that he made the decision to increase Barbados’s participation with LIAT at the turn of the century…but that the scale of the impact of COVID and the state of the company as it is today would make that task virtually out of our reach and certainly as Barbadians given all that we now had to face with COVID.” She said he worked assiduously “to make this the new standard for political mobilisation and representation for all and we all followed”. Arthur, an economist, had been hospitalised earlier this month after suffering heart related complications. She told the nation that the late prime minister had discharged his duty “with distinction,” adding “he shall remain in that pantheon of Caribbean leaders and on behalf of the government and people of Barbados, we say thank you to Owen Seymour Arthur and to his family for service to a grateful nation and to a proud people”. In an address to the nation, marking the death of Arthur at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Mottley said her late colleague’s passion for the development of the region “coincided with his responsibility as the lead prime minister in CARICOM for the single market and single economy. “But he never in so doing compromised his economic training and his commitment at all times to sound policy. It was his hallmark. Owen from the earl 1990s moulded a new class of politicians in this country, and changed in many ways how those representatives would serve to better meet the changing needs…as they served their constituencies”. Mottley said Arthur was indeed the “man for all times” who never lost the thirst for public policy and that his counsel, especially on the Barbados economy “was rendered to all governments. Mottley said Barbados, and indeed the Caribbean is poorer for Arthur’s death, adding “his intellect was larger than life, his love of country as constant as the Northern Star,” she said.last_img read more

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