KAZAN, Russia (AP):One prominent swimming coach called it “irresponsible”. Another labelled it a “business decision”.World governing body FÈdÈration Internationale de Natation (FINA), meanwhile, placed the onus on the International Olympic Committee (IOC).Whatever the factors at play, the bottom line for swimmers is this: They’ll be competing until or after midnight at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.Finals will begin at 10 p.m. local time – about four hours later than swimmers are used to. To compensate, what are usually known as ‘morning’ heats will begin at 1 p.m.”We will prepare for it, but it’s a pretty irresponsible decision that has been made,” Australia head coach Jacco Verhaeren told The Associated Press.The schedule will suit the North American television audience with Rio one hour ahead of New York and four ahead of the US West Coast. It also suits Asia, where late-evening events in Rio happen in the morning the next day and may extend into the early afternoon.EUROPEANAUDIENCEAudiences in Europe, however, will be virtually shut out.”We said no. But it’s not us who decides,” FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu said before Sunday’s end of the World Championships, which had a more traditional 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. schedule. “It’s an IOC event and we have to respect it. We have to adapt. … Television is very important for everybody.”The schedule will be toughest on multi-event swimmers and, medallists. After post-race interviews, a news conference and a doping test, competitors might not return to the athletes’ village until the early hours of the morning.”Normally at two, three in the morning in the athletes’ village there’s a skeleton staff and there’s not a lot of (food) choice,” said Cameron van der Burgh, the South African hoping to defend his 100-metre breaststroke title in Rio.FINA is working to ensure that swimmers will be lodged on the top floors in the village to avoid disturbances and let them sleep later than other athletes.TEMPORARYPOOLS”The quality of food, availability of food and transportation will be assured,” Marculescu said. “And there will be two temporary pools in the village for training. … We are trying to facilitate as much as possible.”Swimming won’t be the only sport with late start times in Rio. Beach volleyball, volleyball and basketball games are also slated to run past midnight.The swimming schedule brings to mind the morning finals at the 2008 Beijing Games, enabling Michael Phelps’ record haul of eight golds to be seen live in prime time on NBC in the United States.”Who knows what will happen in 2020?” said John Rudd, coach of Lithuanian breaststroke standout Ruta Meilutyte. “At least we know and we’re not being told about it six weeks before. Plenty of time to prepare.””Sport is also a business,” Rudd added. “Everyone has to make sensible business decisions, as well as sensible athlete decisions, and there’s a balance there. Whether they got the balance right, that’s a matter of opinion. But for this sport to survive, we’ve got to take money where it is.”
Prayagraj: Former Union Minister and BJP leader Chinmayanand, who was arrested on Friday on charges of intimidation and sexual harassment of a law student, is now facing more trouble from his peers. The Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the highest decision making body of saints, is all set to extern Chinmayanand from the community. ABAP president, Mahant Narendra Giri, said after a meeting of the council on Saturday that it had been decided to extern Chinmayanand from the saint community. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework “A formal meeting of the Akhilesh Bhartiya Akhara Parishad will be held in Haridwar on October 10 and this decision will get the seal of approval from the general body,” he said. Mahant Narendra Giri further said, “Chinmayanand has accepted his misdeeds and there could be nothing more shameful for the saint community. He will be externed until the day he is exonerated from the court.” Chinmayanand is presently the Mahamandaleshwar of the Maha Nirvani Akhara. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen The 73-year-old religious-cum-politician leader will now lose this position too, if he gets thrown out of the saint community and will not be able to prefix ‘Sant’ or ‘Swami’ to his name. Chinmayanand has also been a key player in the Ayodhya movement. He participated in the Ram temple movement and was a frequent visitor to Ayodhya. Chinmayanand, along with Mahant Avaidyanath (guru of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath), formed the ‘Ram Mandir Mukti Yagya Samiti’ . Other saints like Ramvilas Vedanti and Ramchandra Paramhans also joined the movement afterwards. He also became the convener of the Ram Janambhoomi Andoloan Sangharsh Samiti on January 19, 1986. Chinmayanand was arrested from his Mumukshu Ashram in Shahjahanpur on Friday and sent to 14-day judicial custody after a month-long drama that began with a video posted on the social media by the alleged victim about sexual harassment by him. In 2011, Chinmayanand was also accused of rape by an inmate of his ashram, who claimed that he had sexually exploited her on several occasions. She lodged an FIR in this connection but no action was taken against Chinmayanand, mainly because of the political clout he enjoys.
Kabul: Afghanistan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory Monday over incumbent Ashraf Ghani in the weekend’s presidential election, far ahead of the release of any official results. The move is likely to stir political tensions across Afghanistan and brings to mind the election Abdullah and his top rival Ghani bitterly contested in 2014 that sparked a constitutional crisis and prompted US intervention. “We have the most votes in this election,” Abdullah said at a news conference, without giving a basis for his assertion. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report”The results will be announced by the IEC (Independent Election Commission), but we have the most votes. The election is not going to go to a second round.” Abdullah’s announcement comes even before the IEC has finished tallying turnout from Saturday’s election, with hundreds of polling centres still unreported. Preliminary results are not due until October 19, and if the leading candidate doesn’t secure more than 50 percent of the vote the top two will run off in a second round. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsAlmost immediately, senior IEC official Habib Rahman Nang slammed Abdullah’s announcement as premature. “No candidate has the right to declare himself the winner,” Nang said. “According to the law, it is the IEC that decides who is the winner.” Abdullah, who is seeking the presidency for the third time after losing in 2009 and 2014, said his team would “make the new government”. Without giving details, Abdullah also mentioned reports of “some government officials” meddling in the election process. His remarks follow the release on social media of several videos purporting to show election workers stuffing ballots in favour of Ghani. The IEC’s complaints division head, Zuhra Bayan Shinwari, said the panel had so far received 2,569 complaints. Previous Afghan polls have been marred by widespread allegations of systemic fraud, so the stakes are high for the IEC, which has promised a clean process this year with rigorous steps to curtail cheating. Commentators suggested the videos of apparent ballot stuffing could either have been made by rivals trying to discredit Ghani, or else produced as proof that the rigging had actually been carried out.