Khairy Jamaluddin, Sports and Sodomy 2 Roadshow


February 23, 2015

Khairy Jamaluddin, Sports and Sodomy 2 Roadshow

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.malaysiakini.com

Khairy Jamaluddin, the UMNO Baru Youth Chief, is smarter than we credit him. The fiercely ambitious Oxford graduate is taking the initiative, showing UMNO Baru that he can lead.
Khairy Jamaluddin

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is facing his worst nightmare. His spectre is a Malaysian in an Australian detention centre. Khairy needs to prove that he will be ‘prime minister material’ if the top post becomes vacant.

Khairy is showing signs of being bored with his day job as Youth and Sports Minister. After Malaysia’s dismal performance in the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, Khairy’s focus should be on promoting and improving our performance in sport. He should engage more young Malaysians.

The Ambitious Shafee Abdullah

Proving that he has too much time on his hands, the Minister has instead organised a roadshow. His co-star is the lead prosecutor in the Sodomy 2 trial, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.  They are trying to convince the public that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s guilty verdict was a just one.

There is probably an ulterior motive to the roadshow. Shafee has his sights set on being the next Attorney-General, whilst Khairy is taking pole position in the race to be the Prime Minister.

To most UMNO Baru members, Khairy shows promise and this will probably upset Najib’s cousin Hishammuddin Hussein, whom many consider to be another potential Malaysian Prime Minister.

Hishammuddin’s credentials? He spoke English better than any of the government officials who gave press conferences for MH370. His popularity received a boost after photos of him were circulated, sitting in a cramped economy-class seat en route to a meeting in Australia.

Nevertheless, Khairy has other endearing qualities. He has political pedigree by virtue of his father-in-law, former PM Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Khairy’s English is heavily accented, unlike most of his peers. He was educated in Singapore (United  World College South East Asia) and England (Oxford), and spent his childhood globe-trotting as the son of a diplomat.

KJ-Askar-Wataniah

Appearance counts – Khairy wears bespoke suits, because he knows that to look good is half the battle, especially when impressing his design-conscious supporters. Most important of all, Khairy is a “real man”. The reservist in the Territorial Army  (above) underwent commando style training, and has obtained his parachute wings. When some tudung-clad Malay girls were hugged on stage by K-Pop performers, Khairy was dismissive and tweeted, “…I hope Malaysian girls return to tall, dark and handsome men and not pale, skinny and pretty men. Those are not real men.”

To his credit, Khairy did not ask the girls to be investigated, unlike some of his party members.

Has Khairy done enough?

At UMNO Baru’s last General Assembly in November, Khairy proved his racist credentials with his outburst against non-Malays, warning them not to question Malay rights. Despite his image of a tough guy, Khairy has a sensitive side to him. The traditional practice is for the UMNO Baru Youth leader to be given a ministerial role, but in 2009, Najib snubbed him. Dejected, Khairy hinted to reporters that he might go on study leave and not stand for election in GE13. Pigs can fly!

So, has Khairy – the Youth and Sports Minister – done enough to upgrade sporting facilities in schools, universities and public areas? How has he promoted a more healthy and productive lifestyle in our youth?

Has his ministry successfully discovered and nurtured young, sporting talents? Current stars like world squash champion Nicol David will eventually retire, and Lee Chong Wei is embroiled in alleged abuse of drugs. These – and other ageing stars – will soon have to be replaced. They do not have the qualities of Peter Pan, like some who are still members of ‘UMNO Baru Youth’ although middle-aged.

Does Khairy possess the political will to clean up doping and corruption in sports, especially in football? We need new faces and an injection of fresh, creative ideas to promote sports. Is Khairy afraid of getting rid of the deadwood amongst sports officials?

When will he persuade his party that racism in sports is bad? Before racism crept into the sports arena, there were sporting heroes from all the communities. Competition is healthy, and racism should also be avoided when selecting sporting officials.

Najib’s future is looking bleak and his problems are not caused only by his fiscal measures, his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the goods and services tax (GST), or the Sodomy II fallout.

Perhaps, this roadshow is to make Khairy stand out from the crowd and prove his worth. Both Najib and Khairy know that in the dog-eat-dog world of UMNO Baru, there are enemies around them and it is difficult to distinguish friend from foe. Najib is aware that his adversaries are circling him, like hyenas waiting for the kill. The stakes are high. No one can be trusted and people are watching their backs.

Is Khairy trying to justify Anwar’s conviction or is he trying to promote himself?

Anirban Lahiri wins 2015 Hero Indian Open


February 22, 2015

Anirban Lahiri wins 2015 Hero Indian Open

Anirban Lahiri wins 2015 Hero Indian Open.  (Photo - www.europeantour.com)

• His second European Tour International Schedule victory in his 41st European Tour event.

• Could move to just outside the 30 of the Official World Golf Ranking, from 39th.

• This is his second European Tour victory of the season, following the Maybank Malaysian Open.

• Becomes the second multiple winner of the 2015 season. They are: Branden Grace (Alfred Dunhill Championship and Commercial Bank Qatar Masters) and Anirban Lahiri (Maybank Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open).

• Wins his second title in the space of three tournaments.

• Graduated from the 2014 European Tour Qualifying School. Is the first Qualifying School graduate to record multiple victories the year after graduation since Branden Grace in 2012, who won the Joburg Open and then the Volvo Golf Championship. (The South African went on to win a further twice in that season).

• Joins Gordon Brand Jnr (twice in 1982), José María Olazábal (twice in 1986), Johan Edfors (three times in 2006) and Branden Grace (four times in 2012), as Qualifying School graduates to record multiple victories the year after graduation.

• Is in his rookie season on The European Tour. Is the third Qualifying School rookie to win twice the year after graduation, following Gordon Brand Jnr (1982), José María Olazábal (1986).

• Follows Gordon Brand Jnr (1982), José María Olazábal (1986), Stephen Leaney (1998) and Sergio Garcia (1999), as rookies to record multiple victories. (Leaney was a Challenge Tour graduate and Garcia joined as an affiliate member).

• Becomes the second Indian to record multiple victories in the same European Tour season, following Jeev Milkha Singh in 2006 at the Volvo China Open (April 2006) and Volvo Masters.

OTHER FACTS

• Began the day seven shots behind S S P Chawrasia. Would become the sixth winner this season to triumph after making up a final round deficit. He won the Maybank Malaysian Open after making up five shots with 18 holes to play.

• Becomes the 11th Indian victory in European Tour history.

• The first time since 2008 that India have recorded multiple victories in the same European Tour season. In 2008, India won three times.

• Has won his first two European Tour titles on Asian soil. The first player to achieve this feat since Andrew Dodt, who won the 2010 Avantha Masters and 2015 True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain.

• The first Indian to win the Hero Indian Open since Chinnaswamy Muniyappa in 2009.

• Becomes just the eighth different Indian to win the Hero Indian Open since the event was first played in 1964.

• The fourth time he has won at event at the Delhi Golf Club in a play-off. The previous three were the 2011 Panasonic Open India, 2012 and 2013  SAIL –SBI Open.

• Becomes the 49th victory overall by a Qualifying School graduate the year after graduation.

• Gains his 15th win as a professional.

* Thanks to European Tour.

India’s Aniban Lahiri is 2015 Maybank Open Golf Champion


February 8, 2015

India’s Aniban Lahiri wins 2015 Maybank Open Golf

Maybank Open Golf 2015

Anirban Lahiri’s early birdie blitz saw him snatch the  2015 Maybank Malaysian Open from Bernd Wiesberger of Austria in a dramatic finish at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

The 27-year-old golf professional from India birdied four of his first five holes and held his nerve down the closing stretch as a final round 68 gave him a 16 under par total and one shot victory.Lahiri’s maiden European Tour title comes just three months after coming through Qualifying School, and is all the more remarkable given he was outside the top 20 at the halfway stage.

A sensational ten under par 62 on Saturday gave him a chance, but in-form Wiesberger appeared a clear favourite when he started the day two shots clear of Alejandro Cañizares and five ahead of the eventual winner.

The Austrian, who climbed into the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50 for the first time by finishing sixth, third and fourth in the three Desert Swing events, even birdied the first two holes on Sunday – both courtesy of eight foot putts.

Wiesberger at Maybank 2015 Golf Open

But, after laying up at the par five, Wiesberger (above) chunked his third into the water at the fifth and ran up a double bogey seven to blow the title race wide open.

After converting from 18 feet at the first and a par the second, Lahiri, who already had five titles on the co-sanctioning Asian Tour, tapped in at the third, holed from ten feet at the fourth and pitched to six feet at the fifth for a hat-trick of gains that left him just one behind.

With the breeze picking up, Wiesberger was happy to head to the turn with a run of pars, and it was enough to restore his two shot advantage as Lahiri did well to escape the ninth with a bogey after almost finding water off the tee.Lahiri reduced the gap to one again with a birdie from 12 feet at the tenth, and although Wiesberger paid the price for missing the fairway at the 12th, where there was just one birdie all day, up ahead Lahiri dropped a shot from the sand at the 13th – where there were no birdies on Sunday and the field were a collective 31 over par.

Wiesberger did well to salvage his four there after driving into the trees, but paid for another errant tee shot at the 14th when he failed to get up-and-down from behind the green.The Austrian did manage to rescue par from a green side bunker at the 15th, but Lahiri rolled in a 40 foot putt from off the green at the 17th to snatch the outright lead for the first time and, although Wiesberger birdied the 16th from inside five feet, he made a mess of his approach to the next to hand the shot straight back.

Lahiri found sand at the last but scrambled par and, when Wiesberger left his 20 foot birdie effort agonisingly short, the World Number 73 was confirmed as champion – with a place in the game’s top 50 and a potential Masters Tournament invite among his rewards along with the €439,796 winner’s cheque.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in just yet,” said Lahiri. “But I’m pretty sure when it hits home it’s going to be a really happy moment for me.

“I think I’ve got a bad habit of making it hard for myself, but I’m happy I got over the line, as ugly as it was towards the end. The Masters is definitely one of my targets. I don’t know how far I’ll move up, but I’m pretty confident now with this win I should have a pretty good chance.”

Of Saturday’s 62, he added: “In hindsight that was one of the most crucial rounds of my career and it’s fantastic when you play well at the right times.”A fourth top-ten finish in a row moves Wiesberger into the top five on The Race to Dubai, but the 29-year-old was left to rue the errors in his closing 74.“It hasn’t quite finished the way I intended to,” said Wiesberger.

“After the hiccup on five, I didn’t hit it anywhere near as good as the last 15 rounds. It’s tough to say, but it is what it is and unfortunately I beat myself out of it today.

“I hit a bad lay-up, flew a lot on the downhill lie and my mind wasn’t there; I hit a bad shot and needed to miss it long and take par and get on with it. It’s disappointing.

“I just didn’t trust my swing enough which was good the last couple of weeks. It’s still a good week, and congratulations to Anirban who played a lovely round today. I will try again.”

alejandro-canizaresSpain’s Alejandro Canizares

England’s Paul Waring and Spain’s Cañizares were also over par for the day, but finished tied for third on 13 under, while the anticipated challenge of defending champion Lee Westwood never materialised after the former World Number One double bogeyed the second en route to a round of 75 and share of fifth

http://www.europeantour.com

Belated Happy 85th Birthday, Mr Palmer


December 21, 2014

Belated Happy 85th Birthday, Mr Palmer

ArnoldPalmerMedalOfFreedom

Belated Happy 85th Birthday, Mr Palmer.You are still active and looking good.

Arnold Palmer PutterIn my book, you are the greatest golfer of my generation. And because of you, I learned to play golf and because of you as my inspiration, I am at 75 still at it with undiminished passion, going for broke on the course, never giving up because in golf if you think you can win, you will likely overcome the odds and turn defeat into victory.–Din Merican

Golf: Thailand Open 2014–Lee Westwood wins


December 14, 2014

Golf: Thailand Open 2014–Lee Westwood is the Champion

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/2014/12/14/westwood-wins-thailand-golf-championship/20392333/

Lee Westwood--Thai Open Champion 2014Lee Westwood-Thailand Open 2014 Champion

CHONBURI, Thailand (AP) — Englishman Lee Westwood won his second Thailand Golf Championship with a one-stroke victory over Australian Marcus Fraser and Martin Kaymer of Germany at the Amata Spring Country Club on Sunday.

The 2011 champion was in a three-way lead with Fraser and Kaymer on 8 under with two holes to go but the German bogeyed the 17th while the Australian missed an easy par putt on the 18th, giving Westwood, who was watching in the clubhouse, the victory.

Westwood came back from two straight bogeys at the start of his final round to fire seven birdies for a 67 and an 8-under 280 total.

Lee-Westwood swings at Thailand Open 2014“I didn’t start well and I knew I needed to shoot good scores,” Westwood said. “I played some really good shots and made a couple of safe putts, hit a lot of fairways.

“This win is more special than in 2011 as then I was having a big lead,” added Westwood, who has won eight Asian Tour titles.

Overnight leader Marcus Fraser (right), who started the day with a Marcus Frasertwo-stroke cushion, carded five birdies against two bogeys for a 281 to finish joint-second along with U.S. Open champion  Martin Kaymer.

The result assures Fraser of an entry into the British Open as one of the four leading players at the Thailand Golf Championship who had already qualified.

“That’s why I came up here to try to do – get one of those spots at the (British) Open at St Andrews next year so it’s great, I’m excited. I played there in 2005, the first major I ever played, and was jumping out of my skin on the first tee. But hopefully I will be a bit calmer next year,” said Fraser, who has not won an Asian Tour title since victory in Korea four years ago.

Apart from Fraser, Australian Scott Hend, who finished fifth with a 284, American Jonathan Moore in joint-sixth with a 285 and India’s Anirban Lahiri, also joint-sixth, took the remaining three berths.

Despite finishing at 6 over 294, American Davis Lipsky finished the year as the top player on the Asian Tour with total prize money of $713,901.

Harrington ends drought at the BRI Indonesia Open 2014


December 7, 2014

Wilson Golf’s Ambassador Harrington ends drought at the BRI Indonesia Open 2014

http://www.rte.ie/sport/golf/2014/1207/665176-victory-in-sight-for-harrington/

Volvo Golf Champions - Day TwoPadraig Harrington ended a four-year victory drought with a two-shot win over Thailand’s Thanyakon Khrongpha at the Indonesia Open.

The triple major champion had not won a full field tournament since lifting the 2010 Johor Open title on the Asian Tour but a level-par 71 in his final round was enough for him to end that wait.

Harrington had taken a four-shot lead into the final day’s play but a double-bogey by the Irishman on the seventh hole handed Khrongpha the initiative.

Harrington fought back to level the score before Khrongpha scuppered his chances by finding water on the 18th hole.

“I had a bad break on the 18th hole when I hit my tee shot and it rolled to the edge of the hazard,” Harrington told reporters after the round.

“I was about to chip my ball sideways to the fairway but when Thanyakon hit it into the water, there was no point to take a chance. So I went back to the fairway and hit my six iron for my best shot of the week.”

Harrington said he hoped the win would spur a return to winning ways. “Winning is a good habit to have. It gives you a lot of confidence and I need that confidence,” the world number 385 said.

“I didn’t start too well but I came through and I got the win. This win brings a lot of confidence to my game and hopefully it will show up next year.”