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Olympic VIPs will be whisked around London in 4,000 BMWs: Report

LONDON:The 2012 London Olympics is being promoted as the “greenest” Olympic Games in history but a row has erupted after it emerged that thousands of VIPs will travel to events here during the sporting extravaganza in a rather more luxurious style.

BMW

is to ship 4,000 brand-new luxury vehicles in from Germany to escort dignitaries and officials in a move described as “lunatic” by critics, The Daily Mail reported.

The enormous fleet will include more than 3,000 BMW 3 and 5 Series saloons. Parked end to end, this would equate to a ten-mile tailback.

“Most of the athletes will be staying in the Olympic Village and won’t need to travel to events, so the BMWs are really for the politicians and dignitaries.

“Four thousand vehicles seems lunatic when we have such a good public transport system. I can understand a few officials need secure transport but 4,000? Shipping new cars in from Germany is also extremely bad news for the environment,”Jenny Jones, a member of the London Assembly for the Green Party was quoted as saying by the daily.

Caroline Pidgeon, who chairs the London Assembly Transport Committee, said the BMW fleet went against the ethos of the Games.

She said: “As we were promised that the 2012 Games would be the greenest Olympics ever to take place, only electric vehicles should have been considered.

“Electric vehicles are not only quieter, but far less harmful to people’s lungs.

“The 2012 Games should have been a big boost to the growth of electric vehicles in the UK, but instead we have vehicles which merely add to London’s serious air pollution”.

BMW has donated the fleet as part of its sponsorship deal with London 2012. The firm will sell the cars after the Games on the second-hand market.

Despite heralding its green credentials, BMW has admitted that only 200 of the 4,000 vehicles will be electric cars.

A BMW spokesman was quoted by the daily as saying that the car firm was chosen by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games based on their ability to provide a fleet of perse vehicles which could meet the 120g/km CO2 emissions threshold as set by them.

“However, a substantial proportion of the fleet will be the diesel models. The fleet of vehicles which we will supply will achieve this threshold and the Games will provide the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our efficient diesel and electric vehicle technology”, he said.

Sports Authority of India to ensure intensity doesn’t drop for athletes returning to training

NEW DELHI: With a view to ensure no reduction in training intensity of the Olympic Games-bound athletes, Sports Authority of India has amended the quarantine regulations for those returning to its centres from various competitions. In partial modification of the Standard Operating Procedures issued on September 11 and December 3 last year, SAI has ensured that athletes returning to national camps at the nodal sports body’s training centres are able to continue training without compromising safety.

In a statement, SAI said the measure has been introduced to ensure that athletes are able to maintain continuity in their training programme.

The athlete will be able to resume his or her training routine, except that he or she will be kept away from athletes who remained in the bio-bubble for the first seven days and until he or she returns a negative RT-PCR test.

With six months left for the Tokyo Olympic Games and domestic and international competition resuming, athletes have or will begin competing in various disciplines to either gain qualification for the Olympic Games or secure competitive exposure.

“Asking them to quarantine themselves for seven days each time they return to base from a competition would adversely affect their training as they seek to maintain their periodisation cycle,” SAI said in a statement.

SAI has told the heads of all its training facilities that athletes returning from various competitions should be housed in a separate hostel or block of hostels till their RT-PCR test is negative at the end of seven days so that athletes do not come into contact with those who remained in the bio-bubble.

The heads of all SAI centres and the coaches have been instructed to draw up a proper schedule so that athletes returning from competition can use the field of play, gym and sports science facilities to ensure continuity of training, but without compromising the safety of those athletes who remained in the respective centres.

Similarly, all centres have been advised to make separate dining arrangements for athletes returning from competition till their RT-PCR test report becomes available.

In places where it is not possible to create a separate dining area, they will make a detailed schedule to prevent the mingling of such persons with those who stayed back in the camp.

Hockey legend Keshav Datt dead

Two-time Olympic gold medallist in hockey, Keshav Datt, died on Wednesday due to age-related ailments.

Datt

was 95.

The former centre halfback died around 12.30 am at his residence in Santoshpur, Kolkata.

Datt had donned the national jersey in the 1948 London Games, where India won the first gold post Independence, and the former centre halfback won his second Olympic gold in Helsinki 1952.

“We are all very sadden to hear about the legendary halfback Keshav Datt’s demise early this morning. He was the lone surviving member of the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games and today truly feels like the end of an era,” said Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam in a statement.

“We all grew up listening to incredible stories of their memorable outings for independent India at the Olympics and they went on to inspire generations of hockey players in the country.

“Hockey India mourns his demise and on behalf of the Federation I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also offered her condolences.

“The world of hockey lost one of its true legends today. Saddened at the passing away of Keshav Datt. He was a double Olympic gold medal winner, 1948 and 1952. A champion of India and Bengal. Condolences to his family and friends,” Banerjee tweeted.

An integral part of the Indian team, Datt also captained the Mohun Bagan hockey squad from 1951-1953 and again in 1957-1958.

As a Mohun Bagan player he won the hockey league six times and Beighton Cup three times in a span of 10 years.

He was conferred with the Mohun Bagan Ratna award in 2019, becoming the first non-footballer recipient of the honour.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Avinash Sable betters own national record but misses steeplechase final

India’s Avinash Sable shattered his own 3000m steeplechase national record but failed to qualify for the final despite clocking a better time than the top three in another heat race of the Olympic Games here on Friday.

The 26-year-old Sable clocked 8 minutes 18.12 seconds in heat number 2 to finish seventh and better his earlier national record of 8:20.20 that he set during the Federation Cup in March.

But he was unlucky to miss the finals cut as only the top-three finishers from each heat are automatic qualifiers. The top-three from heat number 3 ran in slower time than him.

Fifteen athletes — the best three in each of the three heats and the next six fastest athletes across all the qualifying heats — qualify for the final.

Sable ended seventh best across all the qualifying heats and 13th overall.

Germany unveils logo for soccer’s Euro 2024 tournament

Germany has unveiled the logo for soccer’s 2024 European Championship during a ceremony with a light show in the stadium that will hold the final.

Some guests and media were invited to Berlin’s Olympiastadion for the UEFA launch, though no fans were present on a damp evening in the German capita on Tuesdayl.

The logo features an outline of the Henri Delaunay Cup — the bulbous tournament trophy — set on a colored oval outline that resembles the Olympiastadion’s roof. It features colors from the flags of UEFA’s 55 member nations, set in 24 slices around the trophy to represent the 24 teams that will ultimately qualify for the tournament in Germany.

Organisers said the brand will promote a tournament where persity is celebrated, and everyone should feel welcome. The tournament’s slogan “United by Football. Vereint im Herzen Europas” — or “United at the Heart of Europe” — is meant to convey a message of togetherness and inclusion.

Logos for each of the 10 host cities — Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart — were also presented with each featuring a famous local landmark. Berlin’s, for example, features the Brandenburg Gate.

“From now on, the tournament has a brand identity which reflects the ambition we have together with the host association and host cities,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.

The tournament is due to be played in June and July 2024 with the match schedule to be confirmed next year.

Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, with the final held in the refurbished Olympiasstadion. The stadium was originally built for the 1936 Olympic Games hosted by Nazi Germany.

West Germany also hosted the World Cup in 1974 and the European Championship in 1988.