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What about Eaton?

FOOD for thought.

Usain Bolt took a combined 30 seconds to claim his two Olympic titles in Rio.

For men’s decathlon gold medallist Ashton Eaton (pic), it has taken him two days, 10 events, 2,110m of running and a whole heap of throwing and jumping to win just one medal.

That’s a true Olympian.

American Eaton won his second straight Olympic decathlon gold medal, tying the Olympic record and in the process becoming the first person since the great Daley Thompson in 1984 and just the third person to retain his title.

Eaton amassed 8,893 points in the gruelling 10-discipline event to tie Czech Roman Sebrle’s record set at Athens 2004.

It extends his remarkable unbeaten streak that stretches back to his triumph at London 2012, twice setting new world records along the way.

France’s Kevin Mayer won silver with a national record of 8,834 points while Canada’s Damian Warner took bronze (8,666 points).

Eaton, twice world champion, won two of the 10 events — the long jump and 400m — and finished second to Warner in the 100m and 110m hurdles.

It adds to the bronze medal his wife, Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton, won in women’s heptathlon.

“Can I do three in a row? Maybe you should ask Daley,” Eaton said. — Lloyd Green

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Nothing left to prove

WHAT on earth are we going to do without him? In races we’ll be saying “What if Bolt was there?”

The book of superlatives has run out of words for Jamaican Usain Bolt who yesterday morning gave the world a moment — exactly 19.78s — we will never forget.

The great man hit gold in 200m we all expected he would with absolute ease. The magnitude: To win one Olympic gold is incredible. To win three successive gold medals is mind boggling.

With that came the end of an era of the greatest sprinter who has now won the 100m and 200m at three consecutive Olympics.

His action might only last nine or 19 seconds but people remember it for much, much longer. Now, without him the sport has to find the future.

“I don’t need to prove anything else. What else can I do to prove to the world I’m the greatest?

“I’m trying to be one of the greatest. Be among Ali and Pele. I hope after these Games I’ll be in that bracket,” he later
told media.

Was it the last time he ran 200m?

“I don’t know. I said when I come to the championships in London next year it would be 100m and that’s it.

“My coach has a way of trying to convince me, but personally I believe this is my last one,” he told BBC.

“I’m getting older, I’m not as young and fresh but I’m excited I got the gold and that’s the key thing.

“I focus on what I need to do because if I don’t, there’ll not be a Usain Bolt.”

“I wanted a faster time but my body wouldn’t respond.

“I guess age has taken its toll. I really wanted to go faster. It would have helped to have someone faster than me coming into the straight,” he told NBC.

Will the 4x100m be his final Olympic event?

“Yeah, definitely.”

Canadian kid Andre de Grasse, who took the silver and finished with a bronze in the 100m, served notice he might be the man most likely to fill the big man’s huge shoes (see next page).

Great Britain’s Adam Gemili said he was “heartbroken” to finish fourth, three-thousands of a second behind third placed Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, both of whom clocked 20.12s.

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Revenge not on Brazil minds

RIO DE JANEIRO — The chance to make history by winning Brazil’s long-awaited first football gold medal will override desire for revenge insists Brazil coach Rogerio Micale ahead of the final against Germany at Rio’s Maracana.

Germany inflicted the worst defeat in Brazil’s history in a 7-1 World Cup semifinal mauling just two years ago.

The expectations of the host nation are placed on star forward Neymar delivering gold having missed that infamous clash in Belo Horizonte through injury.

But with no player who took to the field two years ago set to start, Micale insists his group of young stars can only look to the future rather than be burdened by the sins of senior teams gone by.

“That was the World Cup team. This is the Olympic team. Neymar never played that match,” said Micale.

“The final has nothing to do with that match. It is a different time, different game, different players.”

Micale’s men overcame a difficult start to the competition with 0-0 draws against modest opposition in South Africa and Iraq, drawing boos from fans and fierce criticism in the media.

However, since then they have scored 12 goals without reply in three straight wins, including a Neymar-inspired 6-0 thrashing of Honduras in the semifinals.

“We have gone through so much already during the tournament. There were strong challenges, questions and doubts,” added Micale.

“We have nothing to do with our history. Let’s do our final match and concentrate on our game.”

Micale, who also led the Brazil under-20 side to the World Cup final last year, hopes a team not only boasting Neymar, but wonder kids Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City and the sought after Gabriel Barbosa will rekindle the “essence” of flair in Brazilian football.

“We cannot forget our essence, which is to get the most out of the individual characteristics of our players to break the opponents.

“That is why so many European teams come to get our players in South America.

“If you look at the offensive trio of Barca (Lionel) Messi, (Luis) Suarez and Neymar that shows we have something.”

Yet, Micale lauded the continuity of the German system which has brought through another stellar group of young players just as World Cup winning heroes like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski have retired from international football.

“We are impatient. We think we have to start at zero as soon as something goes wrong.

“We look for scapegoats. There is no chance for continuity.

“We are playing against a team with the same coach for three years. He saw the players mature and the next coach will follow the same line, method, it is a process.

“We want the last six months of Germany, but we don’t want the last 12 years of work they’ve done.” — AFP

Chelsea bid to continue solid start

WATFORD — Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will pit his wits against a familiar face on Saturday as his side travel to face a Watford side coached by fellow Italian Walter Mazzarri.

Conte was recruited by the Stamford Bridge hierarchy partly because of his reputation as a determined and demanding coach, qualities he demonstrated with Italy and Juventus.

The 47-year-old’s animated reaction to Diego Costa’s late winner on Monday in their Premier League opener against West Ham United confirmed that whatever happens during his first season in charge, Conte will lead from the front as he attempts to reverse the decline of last season.

His impact has already been felt, with Costa and Eden Hazard in particular responding positively to the new man’s methods, if that first game is anything to go by.

Centre-back Gary Cahill is clear Conte’s arrival has brought changes in the wake of last season when Jose Mourinho oversaw a disastrous first half of the campaign before Guus Hiddink helped steady the ship.

“He’s added spirit, he’s added organisation and a lot of discipline,” Cahill said.

It will take more than passion, hard work and an energetic celebration or two to steer Chelsea back into title contention although given how badly a league-winning team lost its way last year to finish 10th, creating a new, winning mentality is right up there on Conte’s to-do list.

The manager, though, is also keen to strengthen the squad and hopes to add Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku before the end of this month.

Dinamo Zagreb keeper Eduardo also appears to be on his way to west London with the arrival of the Portuguese likely to trigger the departure of Asmir Begovic.

Mazzarri oversaw a creditable opening-day 1-1 draw at Southampton in his first game in charge since being installed as successor to Quique Sanchez Flores.

Like Conte, Mazzarri does not believe his squad is complete and the club is stepping up its efforts to bring in Sunderland centre-back Younes Kaboul and Juventus winger Roberto Pereyra.

Pereyra is believed to be on the brink of signing a five-year deal and the business could even be concluded in time for the Argentina international to face Chelsea.

They will be without Ben Watson, however, after the midfielder was sent off at St Mary’s just 12 minutes after appearing as a substitute. — AFP

Leicester, Arsenal to bounce back

LEICESTER — Following opening-day defeats, champions Leicester City and Arsenal, last season’s Premier League top two, will be desperate to get their campaigns in gear at the King Power Stadium today.

Three months on from their fairytale 5,000-1 title win, Leicester were stunned 2-1 by crisis club Hull City last weekend, while injury-depleted Arsenal were run ragged by Liverpool in a 4-3 home defeat.

With Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea winning their first games, it has left both teams playing catch-up, but Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri refuses to panic.

“Our strength is the same. We have good spirit and work well on the training ground,” said the Italian.

“We won’t change our mentality. We are strong and we believe. We have to do everything right then accept what is our destiny,” said Ranieri.

Leicester’s opening result could scarcely have been more chastening, as they lost to a Hull team who are currently without a permanent manager and who were able to select only 13 fit senior players.

The days that have followed have yielded more positive news, however, with Mahrez following the lead of Vardy, captain Wes Morgan and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel by signing a new four-year contract.

Arsenal did the double over Leicester last season, inflicting two of their three league defeats with a 5-2 away win and a last-gasp 2-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger’s men were the only team to win at the King Power over the course of the campaign, but the Frenchman is aware that Leicester’s pace on the counter-attack makes them uniquely dangerous opponents.

The challenge will be exactly the same,” said Wenger, whose side are unbeaten against Leicester in 21 encounters stretching back to November 1994.

“The challenge for them is to do well again and to show that last year was not a one-off,”said the Frenchman.

Arsenal were missing several first-team players against Liverpool and Wenger’s starting XI remains difficult to predict.

With centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Gabriel absent, he has indicated he may “gamble” on the match fitness of Laurent Koscielny, after young pair Calum Chambers and Rob Holding had to fill in against Liverpool.

Koscielny has not played since Euro 2016 and both his France team-mate Olivier Giroud and Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil are in the same boat.

Where Arsenal have several holes in their squad, Leicester are at full strength and will welcome back centre-back Robert Huth from suspension.

Huth sat out the trip to Hull, with Luis Hernandez, a close-season signing from Sporting Gijon, taking his place alongside Morgan. — AFP

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Pochettino looks to Eriksen

LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is planning to further strengthen his squad during the remaining weeks of the transfer window and expects Christian Eriksen to commit his long-term future to the club.

Pochettino is attempting to bring together a group of players capable of coping with the demands of playing in the Champions League and improving on last season’s third-place finish.

Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace to White Hart Lane presents Pochettino’s side with the opportunity to get their campaign up and running following the opening day 1-1 draw at Everton.

The Argentinian admits there is still business to be done, although he insists that does not include the possible exit of Juventus target Eriksen.

The 24-year-old Danish international playmaker has two years left on his current contract and Pochettino sees the player as someone he intends to build his side around.

“He is very happy here and we are happy with him and we will see what happens in the next few weeks,” Pochettino said.

“He has two more years on his contract and it is only a question of time before he agrees a new contract.”

Midfielder Nabil Bentaleb’s future is far less certain with Pochettino admitting he would be willing to allow the Algerian to leave.

He insists Clinton N’Jie remains part of his plans despite suggestions he could be used as part of a deal to bring in Marseille’s Georges-Kevin N’Koudou.

“Bentaleb is not in my plans but Clinton is in the squad and is at the club,” said Pochettino.

“We will try to to bring more players in. We hope to sign one, two or three players – or maybe no-one. It depends on what will happen.”

Hugo Lloris, the Spurs keeper and captain, will be missing from the line-up after picking up a hamstring injury at Everton that is set to keep the France international out for four weeks.

“It’s always difficult when your captain is not on the pitch. It will always be difficult but we trust in Michel (Vorm, the second-choice goalkeeper) and I think he did well in the pre-season,” said Pochettino. — AFP

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Klopp hopes Mane man is back

BURNLEY — Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is relieved Sadio Mane’s freak training ground injury will not keep him out for long with the forward possibly in contention for today’s trip to Burnley.

The Senegalese international, a £30 million (RM158 million) buy from Southampton, was taken to hospital after landing awkwardly on his shoulder in an accidental challenge on Wednesday morning.

Initial fears were Mane, who scored on his debut in last week’s thrilling 4-3 win at Arsenal, had dislocated his shoulder and might require a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

But the problem proved to be nothing more than a muscle impact injury and Klopp has yet to rule him out of the game at Turf Moor.

“It was a challenge between two players in the air, and when coming down Sadio fell on his shoulder,” said Klopp.

“It’s not serious. I have no idea if he could be available this weekend but I don’t think it will take a long time. At first it wasn’t too good but now all is okay.”

Klopp is likely to be further boosted for the game against the newly-promoted Lancashire club with James Milner and Daniel Sturridge available.

Milner could step in at an unfamiliar left-back role although Klopp reacted angrily to criticism aimed at Alberto Moreno following his performance at Arsenal and his tackle which led to conceding a first-half penalty.

“We came to the situation where Alberto could have done better, and that’s right, but. I cannot be interested in criticism from other people,” said Klopp.

Klopp’s opposite number Sean Dyche is likely to give a debut to the club’s record signing Belgian international midfielder Steven Defour, who joined from Anderlecht this week for £7.5 million (RM39.4 million).

“In the Premier League world, the numbers that get bandied around for us seem really small,” said Dyche.

“For us it’s a big thing to spend millions of pounds. For others it’s just like ‘park that, let’s move on and get another one in’. That’s the vast difference in the market.

“Liverpool, for example, their cheapest player will be more expensive than our record signing. We know there are no guarantees, but Leicester proved otherwise last year.” — AFP

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Celebrating 58 years of sisterhood

PETALING JAYA — It was an evening of enthusiastic chatter, occasional squeals and robust laughter as more than 300 Assuntarian alumni, former and current teachers, and spouses gathered to celebrate the school’s 58th anniversary.

Held at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Puchong, the evening’s guest-of-honour was the school’s founding principal Datin Paduka Enda Ryan.

Among those present were students from the classes of 1964 to 2010, with the class of 1988 boasting the biggest turnout of about 40 people.

Former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz was spotted catching up with 20 friends from her class of 1964.

“Assunta gave me a great education and Enda was awesome,” said Zeti, who now spends time with her grandchildren.

LP Lim (Lim Sew Kwe), 68, served as principal from 1999 to 2003. Asked if it was challenging to following in the bubbly nun’s footsteps, she said “it was a tall order”.

“But since I had been a Geography and English Language teacher under Sister, I picked up many points including to always appreciate my staff and to err on the kind side.”

Upper secondary History and Bahasa Malaysia teacher Aishah Rani, 71, said it was her first alumni dinner and she was looking forward to catching up with former colleagues, students and Ryan.

Jacqueline Klassen from the class of 1978 said she attended school reunions regularly and kept in touch with former schoolmate via social media.

“It’s nice to reminisce about the good old days,” she said.

The hall burst into cheers when Ryan made her entrance before singing the Negaraku.

From the class of 1992, Rachael Philip and Christina Alphonsa said it was their first alumni gathering and they were thrilled.

“Singing Negaraku made me feel like we were back in school,” said Philip.

During her opening speech, Irish-born Ryan read out names of teachers and parents of students who had recently passed on before observing a moment of silence.

The singing nun, as she was fondly called, went on to perform a song she composed for the 50th alumni dinner with an updated list of teachers’ names.

One of the evening’s highlights was an appeal to raise RM75,000 needed to purchase 30 sets of overhead LCD projectors for all the classrooms. This is to provide a more interactive style of teaching especially for students who learn differently.

Pat Lu and her class of 1978 starting the ball rolling by collecting RM2,500 (the price of one LCD set) and by the end of the evening, RM10,642 was raised.

To contribute RM10 (or more), sign-in with your Facebook account or visit www.100percentproject.org/en/smkassuntalcdprojectors.

Organising committee head Deborah Nonis, in her welcome speech, thanked her committee and the guests for attending.

“It is great we have an alumni connecting generations of Assuntarians. Any time someone needs help or advice, a phone call or now days, a post on our social media sites brings a flood of information, connections and links.

“As Assunta gets older and more generations are produced, I hope the alumni will remain relevant to younger Assuntarians who come out to serve as loyal citizens of Malaysia and the world.”

Singapore-based Nonis said, even as moody teenagers, past students had deep-rooted loyalty to Ryan and her merry band of teachers. She hoped a similar allegiance would foster among new principals, teachers and students to keep the Assunta spirit alive.

Former teacher Veronica Narayanan retired in 2005 after serving the school for 27 years.

Having taught English Literature, English Language and General Paper, she is currently writing English Literature guides for secondary school.

“While Enda is a magnetic pull to be here tonight, I also have my ties. I keep in touch with students and teachers via Facebook and it’s great to catch up.”

Chew Mei Ling, class of 1987, drove all the way from Singapore to attend the gathering.

“I had a health scare from over working and my best friend was diagnosed with a critical illness earlier this year. This made me realise the importance of making time to relax and meeting with loved ones,” she said.

Former assistant principal Annie George, 85, said she always attended the gatherings “to see old teachers and students”.

After three rounds of raffle draws, each class took group pictures with Ryan, before she sang the school song to end the evening.

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Record-setting hunt

ALOR STAR — The participation of 1,166 people in a mixed treasure hunt challenge has earned an entry in the Malaysia Book of Records for the Largest Mixed Hunt in Malaysia.

The hunters, four to a team, participated in two categories: by car and train.

There were 140 cars in a convoy and the rest of the participants, some 640 of them, took a chartered ETS train, boarding at KL Sentral and alighting in Alor Star.

The two-day interstate simultaneous train/drive hunt made stopovers in Ipoh and Penang, wrapping up with a walking hunt in town.

The hunt ended in time for an open air Fiesta Alor Star at the Darul Aman Stadium.

The “Race to Fiesta Alor Star” was organised in conjunction with Tone Group’s sixth anniversary and part of the company’s annual regional celebration.

The town was selected as an end point of the hunt in support of the state government’s Discover Kedah 2016 initiative.

Participants in the record-setting event were users of Tone prepaid from all over Malaysia. About half of them were from East Malaysia.

The top team walked away with RM10,000. A grand prize of a Proton Saga FLX Plus worth RM40,000 was also given away in a lucky draw.

In this collaboration with KTM Berhad, the rail company also created a first of their own.

To ferry the 640 passengers, KTM linked two train sets to make it a “couple set” stretching almost 1km in length.

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Hands dirty for eco awareness

GEORGE TOWN — Although they had to get their hands and feet dirty with mud, some 100 pupils were happy to plant mangrove saplings in Sungai Acheh, Nibong Tebal recently.

The pupils from SK Tanjung Tokong, SJK(T) Azad and SJK(C) Hun Bin took an hour to plant around 500 saplings of bakau minyak and bakau kurap.

The enthusiastic group was briefed by Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies senior lecturer Dr Chee Su Yin before they started.

The initiative was led by E&O Berhad and supported by the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies, state Forestry Department, Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association and Consumers’ Association of Penang.

E&O organised the event under its “Think Green” community education programme.

E&O Property (Penang) Sdn Bhd general manager Zawawi Yusop said the event was an extension of the group’s mangrove replacement planting effort initiated on May 23.

“We are happy to see the responsiveness of the Tanjung Tokong schools towards our mangrove replacement planting initiative.

“We hope that through this exercise, these young schoolchildren will gain first-hand awareness of mangroves and in the long-term, nurture a sense of eco-consciousness among them.”

Zawawi said the company was grateful to the programme partners who had provided technical knowledge in briefing the children as well as facilitating the planting process.

Also present was Penang Forestry Department (Development) deputy director Yusof Abd Rashid.

The students, teachers and volunteers were later treated to lunch.

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