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Football's 'Eternal great' Pele passes away

SAO PAULO, Dec 30: Pele, the legendary Brazilian soccer player who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest and best-known athletes in modern history, died on Thursday at the age of 82.

Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele was undergoing treatment, said he died at 3:27 p.m. "due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition."

The death of the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player was confirmed on his Instagram account.

"Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today," it read, adding he had "enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love."

Tributes poured in from across the worlds of sport, politics and popular culture for a figure who epitomized Brazil's dominance of the beautiful game.

The government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who leaves office on Sunday, declared three days of mourning, and said in a statement that Pele was "a great citizen and patriot, raising the name of Brazil wherever he went."

Bolsonaro's successor, President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, wrote on Twitter that "few Brazilians carried the name of our country as far as he did."

French President Emmanuel Macron said Pele's legacy would live forever. "The game. The king. Eternity," Macron tweeted.

Pele had been undergoing chemotherapy since he had a tumor removed from his colon in September 2021.

He also had difficulty walking unaided since an unsuccessful hip operation in 2012. In February 2020, on the eve of the coronavirus pandemic, his son Edinho said Pele's ailing physical state had left him depressed.

On Monday, a 24-hour wake will be held for Pele in the center of the field at the stadium of Santos, his hometown club where he started playing as a teenager and quickly rose to fame.

The next day, a procession carrying his coffin will pass through the streets of Santos, passing the neighborhood where his 100-year-old mother lives, and ending at the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis cemetery, where he will be buried in a private ceremony.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on his Twitter that Pele's rise from humble beginnings to soccer legend was a story of "what is possible."

Pele, whose given name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, joined Santos in 1956 and turned the small coastal club into one of the most famous names in football.

In addition to a host of regional and national titles, Pele won two Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, and two Intercontinental Cups, the annual tournament held between the best teams in Europe and South America.

He took home three World Cup winner's medals, the first time as a 17-year-old in Sweden in 1958, the second in Chile four years later - even though he missed most of the tournament through injury - and the third in Mexico in 1970, when he led what is considered to be one of the greatest sides ever to play the game.

He retired from Santos in 1974 but a year later made a surprise comeback by signing a lucrative deal to join the New York Cosmos in the then nascent North American Soccer League.

In a glorious 21-year career he scored between 1,281 and 1,283 goals, depending on how matches are counted.

Pele, though, transcended soccer, like no player before or since, and he became one of the first global icons of the 20th century.

With his winning smile and an aw-shucks humility that charmed legions of fans, he was better known than many Hollywood stars, popes or presidents – many if not most of whom he met during a six-decade-long career as player and corporate pitchman.

"I am sad, but I am also proud to be Brazilian, to be from Pele's country, a guy who was a great athlete," said Ciro Campos, a 49-year-old biologist in Rio de Janeiro. "And also off the field, he was a cool person, not an arrogant athlete."

Pele credited his one-of-a-kind mix of talent, creative genius and technical skill to a youth spent playing pick-up games in small-town Brazil, often using grapefruit or wadded-up rags because his family could not afford a real ball.

Pele was named "Athlete of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee, co-"Football Player of the Century" by world soccer body FIFA, and a "national treasure" by Brazil's government.

His celebrity was often overwhelming. Grown adults broke down crying in his presence with regularity. When he was a player, souvenir-seeking fans rushed the field following games and tore off his shorts, socks and even underwear.

His house in Brazil was less than a mile from a beach, but he didn't go there for some two decades because of fear of crowds.

Yet even in unguarded moments among friends, he rarely complained. He believed that his talent was a divine gift, and he spoke movingly about how soccer allowed him to travel the world, bring cheer to cancer patients and survivors of wars and famine, and provide for a family that, growing up, often did not know the source of their next meal.

"God gave me this ability for one reason: To make people happy," he said during a 2013 interview with Reuters. "No matter what I did, I tried not to forget that."

Brazil's CBF soccer federation said "Pele was much more than the greatest sportsman of all time... The King of Soccer was the ultimate exponent of a victorious Brazil."

Kylian Mbappé, the French star many view as the current best soccer player in the world, also offered his condolences.

"The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten," he wrote on Twitter. "RIP KING."

Ronaldo Hails Lionel Messi As Argentina Lifts FIFA World Cup Title

DOHA, Dec 19: It was Argentina who won the FIFA World Cup in Qatar by defeating France in the final on penalties but the echoes of the South American team's triumph were heard all across the globe. People in different parts of the world celebrated Argentina's win as if it was their own. The legendary Ronaldo Nazario also took to Twitter to hail Argentina and Lionel Messi's accomplishment, highlighting how grand the victory was La Albiceleste.

Though Brazil and Argentina are among the most fierce rivals in football, Ronaldo admitted that even Brazilians were happy seeing Messi finally lifting the World Cup.

"This guy's football throws any rivalry to the corner. I saw a lot of Brazilians - and people from all over the world - rooting for Messi in this electrifying final. A farewell worthy of the genius who, far beyond being a World Cup star, captained an era. Congratulations Messi!", Ronaldo wrote on Twitter.

Messi had tasted bitter defeat in the 2014 final against Germany but in his fifth and final World Cup, the 35-year-old finally emulated Argentina idol Diego Maradona by leading his nation to World Cup glory for the first time since 1986.

Tens of thousands of blue and white-shirted Argentina fans rose to salute Messi as he told them "We're champions of the world!" on the stadium microphone.

Later he told Argentine television: "Obviously I wanted to finish my career with this. I can't ask for any more. My career is coming to end because these are my final years. What more could there be after this?"

But he said he would continue with the Argentina squad. "I want to keep experiencing a few more matches as world champion," he added.

FIFA will be delighted with a pulsating final that capped one of the most controversial World Cups in history, with the Qatari organisers having to face persistent questions about the country's treatment of migrant workers and its laws on homosexuality.

Neutrals will be happy that Messi has finally won a World Cup. However, with his hat-trick -- and the Golden Boot for top scorer at the tournament with eight goals -- Mbappe surely showed he is ready to inherit the mantle of the world's best player.

Nous reviendrons, says Mbappe after FIFA World Cup final defeat

PARIS, Dec 19: Kylian Mbappe used just two words to describe his emotions about missing out on another FIFA World Cup title by a whisker. Mbappe took to social media a day after France lost to Argentina in the Qatar 2022 final and promised that the 2-time champions will only come back stronger.

Mbappe scored a hat-trick in the final against Argentina, becoming only the second man to do so in the history of the tournament. France looked down and out in the final after Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria strikes put them 2-0 ahead at half-time. Until the 70th minute, France did not have a shot, leave alone a shot on target but Mbappe breathed life into the contest by scoring from the post in the 81st minute.

Mbappe equalised with a stunning volley a minute later as the France fans at the Lusail Stadium went berserk. It was the Paris Saint-Germain star, who pushed the match to extra-time. Mbappe had to rescue France once again as he equalised from the spot after Messi put Argentina ahead in the first period of extra-time.

Despite his heroics, France lost 4-2 on penalties and missed out on the opportunity to become the third nation in the history of the World Cup to defend the title.

"Nous reviendrons (We will be back)." Mbappe wrote with a photo of his dejected self from the final on Sunday.

Mbappe won the Golden Boot award for the most number of goals scored at FIFA World Cup 2022. The PSG star scored as many as 8 goals and provided 2 assists in a stunning display.

Mbappe took his World Cup tally to 12 goals after having doubled his tally of 4 goals from France's victorious run in 2018. Mbappe also broke the record for most number of goals scored in World Cup finals, taking his tally to 4.

Messi Tastes World Cup Glory As Argentina Beat France 4-2 On Penalties

DOHA, Dec 17: Lionel Messi 'completed football' by winning his maiden FIFA World Cup title as Argentina defeated France 4-2 on penalties after the scores were tied 3-3 in extra-time.

Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick for France while Messi scored a brace. Angel di Maria was the only other scorer for Argentina. Later, Lionel Messi was also given the Golden Ball as he became the first player in history to be given the honour twice.

Lionel Messi To Retire, FIFA World Cup Final Will Be His Last Game For Argentina

DOHA, Dec 14: Lionel Messi has reportedly confirmed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup final will be his last game for Argentina. Messi was on target from the penalty spot, and also set up the third goal as Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in the first semi-final on Wednesday.

Messi, who has scored five goals in the tournament so far, also became Argentina's leading goalscorer in World Cups, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta (10) on the list. The 35-year-old has 11 World Cup goals to his name so far.

"I feel very happy to be able to achieve this, to finish my World Cup journey by playing my last game in a final," Messi reportedly told Argentine media outlet Diario Deportivo Ole.

"It's many years for the next one and I don't think I'll be able to do it. And to finish like this, it's the best," he added.

After the semi-final win over Croatia, Messi urged his teammates to "enjoy" the occasion.

"Argentina are, once again, in the World Cup final. Enjoy it!" said Messi.

"We've been through tough situations, other very good ones. Today we're experiencing something spectacular."

Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez scored twice to take his tally of goals in the tournament to four in as many games.

Argentina arrived in Qatar as one of the tournament favourites but doubts crept in after they lost their opening group game 1-2 against outsiders Saudi Arabia. They were unbeaten in 36 matches before arriving in Doha.

The two-time champions will now take on either Morocco or holders France in the final, which will be played at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday.

Argentina beats Croatia 3-0 to reach World Cup final

DOHA, Dec 14: Argentina’s Julian Alvarez scored twice and earned a penalty converted by Lionel Messi as they swept past Croatia 3-0 on December 13 and into the World Cup final where they will face either holders France or Morocco at the weekend.

While all eyes were on Argentina captain Messi and his fifth bid to win the one major trophy eluding him, it was Alvarez who stole the show, earning the penalty and scoring once in each half including after a scintillating 50-metre run.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Holds 'Amazing Thailand' Golf Roadshow in Delhi

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Nov 13:

With all Covid-related restrictions having been lifted, Thailand is now fully open for international tourists, according to Ms Pattarat Hongthong, Ambassador of Thailand to India.

Addressing the delegates at a Golf Roadshow at the Qutab Golf Course here, Ambassador Pattarat Hongthong said “We thank all Indian partners who have been working closely us for many years and supporting Amazing Thailand. Thailand is fully opened and ready to welcome guests from India returning to Thailand once again.”

The Ambassador informed that both visa on arrival and pre-applied visas were now easily available. She said Thailand is now fully geared up to welcome tourists and we have already seen the numbers climbing towards pre-Covid times.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Vachirachai Sirisumpan, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) New Delhi Office, said “Thailand has welcomed almost 7 lakhs Indian tourist from January to October during the year 2022. Due to proximity and direct connectivity between two country and we see many golfers starting visit to different part of Thailand from Chiang Mai to Phuket.”

Mr. Vachirachai Sirisumpan also informed that international travellers to Thailand were no longer required to show proof of vaccination or ATK test results.

He said a longer length of stay was being offered, signalling the completion of the kingdom’s full reopening to international tourism.

He informed that Thailand has introduced new 10-year long-term resident visa for foreigners.

The TAT Director said that Thailand now grants visa extension for tourists to stimulate upcoming high season. Effective from October 1 this year until March 31, 2023, the tourists from countries/territories entitled for a visa exemption and visa on arrival to Thailand would be given extension from 15 days to 30 days.

TAT Director said that Thailand also has Amazing Golf facilities at more than 250 golf courses throughout the country. One can find golf courses by the sea, by the mountains, by the lakes, inside the cities even besides the airports. These top quality courses offer reasonable green fees and friendly caddies.

From the beach resorts in the south such as Phuket to the mountainous surroundings in the Chiang Mai, north of Thailand or the bustling cities of Bangkok and Pattaya, there are golf courses to suit every preference, he added.

Mr. Vachirachai Sirisumpan said Amazing Thailand is also a shopping paradise and one can discover Thai gastronomy that ranges from street food to Michelin Star.

More than 100 golf travel specialists from India attended the Golf Roadshow held at the Qutab Golf course and Delhi Golf Club. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) along with SLW, partners of the Thai Golf Pass programme, hosted the two-day Golf Roadshow.

Mr. Songkiet Artorngit, Clubhouse Manager, Red Mountain Golf Club and Palm Golf Club in Phuket and Mr. Sila Nuttakarnnik, Marketing Manager, Riverdale Golf Club and Bangkok Golf Club in Bangkok, gave presentations on four of the leading golf destinations of Thailand.

The event in both the golf courses had a networking Golf event followed by a prize distribution Lunch and a Lucky draw wherein the winners got a Chance to play at Some of the attending Golf Courses in Thailand.

England wins second ICC T20 World Cup

MELBOURNE, Nov 13: Ben Stokes and Sam Curran starred as England edged Pakistan by five wickets to win the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday and become cricket’s first dual white-ball champions, holding both the 50 and 20-over titles.

Jos Buttler’s side held Pakistan to 137-8 in front of a partisan 80,462 fans at a heaving Melbourne Cricket Ground, with player-of-the-match Curran bagging 3-12 and Adil Rashid chipping with 2-22.

In reply, England slumped to 49-3 in the sixth over as they struggled to get any momentum against a fiery pace attack, with boundaries hard to come by.

But Stokes (52 not out) and Moeen Ali (19) used their experience and cool heads to guide England to 138-5 with six balls to spare, climaxing a riveting tournament that spanned 45 games over nearly a month.

The victory added to the 50-over title England won in 2019, building on the legacy of former captain Eoin Morgan, who retired this year after transforming the team into a white-ball juggernaut.

It was England’s second T20 crown after tasting success in 2010, joining the West Indies as the only two-time winners since the tournament’s inception in 2007.

The game was billed as a showdown between Pakistan’s attack and England’s top order, and Shaheen Afridi bowled danger man Alex Hales in the first over of the run chase.

But that only fired up Buttler who smashed two boundaries off Naseem Shah.

Phil Salt, playing in place of the injured Dawid Malan, didn’t last, making just 10 before pulling Haris Rauf to Iftikhar Ahmed.

The ball was swinging and seaming and the menacing Rauf claimed the key wicket of Buttler just as he was getting in, edging to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan on 26 off 17 balls.

The runs dried up and Harry Brook needed treatment for a blow to his elbow but he soldiered on as they reached 77-3 at the halfway point of the innings, compared to Pakistan’s 68-2.

Brook came undone on 20 against the spin of Shadab Khan, holing out to Afridi as he tried to get the scoreboard moving.

It came down to needing 41 runs off the final five overs.

Stokes relieved the pressure with a four and a six off Ahmed and there was no stopping them with the England all-rounder hitting the winning runs.

400 Juniors From 75 Schools Participate In Hyundai National Interschool Golf Tournament

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Nov 4: National Interschool Golf Tournament, sponsored by Hyundai Motor India Ltd. in association with the Indian Golf Union and GolfPlus Monthly Magazine, saw more than 400 Juniors from 75 plus schools participating in India’s biggest junior golf tournament.

The tournament was intended to nurture and encourage young golfers across India and provide them a platform to exhibit their golfing talent.

Commenting on the announcement of the winners of the National Interschool Golf
Tournament, Mr. Tarun Garg, Director (Sales, Marketing & Service), Hyundai Motor India Ltd., said “We are glad to associate with the National Interschool Golf Tournament and felicitate the stars of the tournament. Our aim is to foster more and more young golfers who can represent India on the world map.”

Tarun Garg said “Our association with Indian Golf Union is a concrete step towards building future golf champions. We congratulate all winners and participants for the exemplary fervour and passion they exhibited. As a brand offering premium mobility solutions to our young and dynamic customers, we hope to bring forth fresh golfing talent and establish a strong connect with India's youth.”

The tournament’s qualifying rounds took place in five metropolitan cities across India namely, at the Panchkula Golf Club, Poona Golf Club, Noida Golf Club, Golden Greens Golf Club, and Prestige Golfshire in Chandigarh, Pune, Noida/Delhi, Gurgaon, and Bengaluru, respectively, from October 21 to November 2, 2022.

The finals were held at the Prestige Golfshire in Bangalore on November 3. The top eight scorers out of 80 finalists were awarded. The winners received an
interactive session and a masterclass by World Renowned Indian Golfer and 2020 Arjuna Awardee, Aditi Ashok.

In Category A Girls Aditya Tyagi of Delhi Public School, Nerul, Navi Mumbai, was the winner. And in Category A Boys Anvitha Narender of St. Joseph's Boys' High School, Bangalore, was the winner.

In Category B Girls, Keerthana Rajeev of Legacy School, Bangalore, and in B Boys category, Manoj S of the Great Eastern International Public School, Bangalore, were the winners.

In Category C Girls, Aysha Gupta of Modern School Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, and in category C Boys, Julius Martinaitis of Stonehill International School, Bangalore, were the winners.

In Category D Girls, Aida Thimmaiah of I Can , The learning Curve , Mysore and in category D Boys, Aditya Tiwari of Army Pubic School, Pune, were the winners.


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