WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LATEST STORIES UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Potts out to fulfill promise to grandfather by joining PBA Draft Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC To reach Bacolod, the team traveled for almost 30 hours by bus to Muscat, Oman, where it took a two-hour flight to Doha, Qatar. The next leg of the journey was a nine-hour flight from Doha to Manila, before they jumped on another short flight to this bustling city. “We are struggling from all the traveling,” admitted Yemen’s Ethiopian coach Abraham Mebrato Gebreselassie. “Even from the capital Sana’a to Oman was a very tough journey for us because that was by bus. Its because Sana’a airport is closed that’s why we traveled such a long way.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutExcept for a few players who ply their trade in Oman, Gebreselassie’s squad doesn’t have the benefit of playing in a local league since it has been stopped two years ago because of security concerns brought by the civil war in the country. But Gebreselassie said these challenges serve as a motivation as they clash with the Azkals in a crucial Group F clash in Asian Cup Qualifying. Having been based in Sana’a for the past eight years, handling the country’s Under-22 and Olympic teams, the Ethiopian knows the importance of qualifying for the Asian Cup as a means to unite the country. Cedelf Tupas/INQUIRERBACOLOD CITY – Yemen harbors dreams of reaching the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 2019 in the United Arab Emirates, but playing matches in the qualifying stage should already count as a victory in itself considering the trouble its team has to go through just to represent the strife-torn Arab nation in the competition. The Yemenis arrived in this sugar-producing province last Saturday night for their clash with the Philippines on Tuesday at Panaad Stadium, after traveling for almost three days from the capital Sana’a, whose international airport has been closed since 2015 due to security reasons.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Read Next “We had to face all these problems, but we will do our best to win tomorrow’s match,” he said. “We’re very thankful to be here. We want to make history (by qualifying for the Asian Cup) because it the people of Yemen love football.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding UP clawed back from a 21 points down, 69-48, with Paul Desiderio capping off an 18-5 run that cut Adamson’s lead down to just eight, 74-66, with still five minutes left. The Falcons, however, responded with a 12-0 run near the end of the game to rebuild a 20-point lead, 86-66, with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAnd as the Falcons secured their semifinals spot, head coach Franz Pumaren said they had already settled into the reality that they are one step closer to their title aspiration.“Our mentality is Final Four mode already,” said Pumaren. “During this stretch, every game is a learning process for us, a learning experience for us.” “In the time that we made run, I didn’t call a timeout, for me that’s one way of trusting my players, one way of making them feel that they should rise above the challenge.”Sarr led the way for the Fal ons with a 25-point, 17-rebound double-double while Jerie Pingoy had 15 points, eight assists, six steals, and zero turnovers.Desiderio led the Fighting Maroons with 20 points while Javi Gomez de Liaño had 10 points and 10 boards.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAdamson University locked up the third seed after withstanding a late fightback by University of the Philippines, 86-70, in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The Soaring Falcons rose to 9-4 record while the Fighting Maroons dropped to fifth with a 5-7 record, a full game behind fourth seed Far Eastern University, which booted University of the East out earlier.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next LATEST STORIES QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort View comments CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Tropical Depression ‘Quiel’ enters PAR PLAY LIST 03:47Tropical Depression ‘Quiel’ enters PAR00:50Trending Articles01:29DOH kicks off nationwide polio vaccination drive01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Free tickets to Alab Pilipinas season opener Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa
RAIN OR SHINE 90 — Tiu 18, Daquioag 16, Belga 13, Yap 13, Ahanmisi 9, Almazan 6, Ponferrada 6, Borboran 4, Norwood 3, Cruz 2, Nambatac 2, King 0.MERALCO 84 — Canaleta 24, Hugnatan 13, Amer 8, Lanete 8, Dillinger 7, Newsome 5, Baracael 4, Caram 4, Faundo 4, Hodge 4, Tolomia 3, Ballesteros 0, Salva 0.Quarters: 26-21, 45-39, 65-66, 90-84. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Coach Caloy Garcia didn’t hesitate to address the elephant in the room, saying that he’s just glad that though some of the players found themselves in those rumors, the Elasto Painters were still able to come out with the win.“We all know the issue regarding those players, but I told them that we just have to be professional about it and put in the effort. We want to repay the owners and the way to do it is to get the win,” he said.Meralco has now lost five of its last six to fall to 2-5.Nino Canaleta paced the Bolts with 24 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while Hugnatan got 13 markers, four boards, and three dimes in the defeat.The Scores:ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ UAAP 80 Volleyball Preview: Ateneo comes out ‘stronger’ after offcourt issues Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netChris Tiu secured Rain or Shine’s 90-84 escape from the tight grip of Meralco for its first back-to-back wins in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.The charismatic point guard scored six of the Elasto Painters’ last nine points in the final 2:17 and finished with a team-best 18 points, seven assists, and three rebounds to propel his side to a share of the fourth spot with TNT at 4-3.ADVERTISEMENT AFP official booed out of forum 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Read Next View comments Ed Daquioag also unfurled 16 markers and three steals against the team which drafted him back in 2016, while Beau Belga registered a double-double of 13 points and 13 boards in the triumph.Mark Borboran broke the 79-all deadlock in the final three minutes before Tiu went to work and established the 86-79 lead with 52.8 seconds remaining.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutReynel Hugnatan, who was just three points short from joining the PBA’s 25,000-points club, got the Bolts at their closest at four, 84-88, with 26.1 ticks left, but was denied by the cool free throw shooting from Tiu and Borboran down the stretch.It was a huge conquest for Rain or Shine, which found itself embroiled in trade talks over the past week. NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES
Man who told immigrant to go back to country asked to write essay Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NBA: Pachulia’s family receives death threats after Leonard incident Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes LATEST STORIES Lillard, Anthony lead Blazers over Thunder Hornets beat Pistons for 8th straight time Read Next View comments SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in polo “I do feel like I can still play. But that’s not what is going to make me retire or not. It’s about how I feel. If I want to go through all of that again. It felt like they wanted me to retire. Like they were giving me sort of a celebration night.“And of course, I’m getting closer and closer. There is no secret, for sure. It’s getting harder and harder. But I always said that I wanted to let it sink in for three weeks, four weeks, whatever, and then I will sit with my wife and see how it feels.”Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he would not rush Ginobili into making a decision.“If he decides he’s going to play again that’s up to him,” said Popovich. “Manu is a grown man. He’ll figure out what is best for him and his family.”Ginobili meanwhile said whatever his choice — playing on or retiring — he would be happy.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF READ: Warriors set 12-0 record for 3rd straight trip to NBA FinalsBut the veteran guard, who turns 40 in July, said he planned to let the dust settle on his latest season before deciding on his future in the NBA.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingGinobili said he felt as if the San Antonio crowd were bidding him farewell, but was adamant he could still continue to play at the highest level.“I felt more energetic, more needed, more useful to the team, so I ended up feeling better than the way I started,” Ginobili said. “I have to choose between two truly wonderful options,” Ginobili said.“One is to keep playing in this league at this age, enjoying every day, playing the sport I still love.“The other one is to stay at home, be a dad, travel more, enjoy my whole family. I have a wonderful family and spend time with them.“Whatever it is, it’s two unbelievable options. So there is no way I can be sad, because whatever I decide, it’s going to be great.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala, left, Shaun Livingston, rear, and JaVale McGee, right, challenge San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili, center of Argentina for control of the ball during the first half in Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Monday, May 22, 2017, in San Antonio.LOS ANGELES—San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili said Monday he would take his time before deciding on his future after an emotion-filled defeat to the Golden State Warriors.The 39-year-old Argentine star, a veteran of four NBA championship-winning Spurs teams, left the court to a resounding ovation as San Antonio’s season ended with a 129-115 loss in Texas.ADVERTISEMENT 250 enrolled at phony school arrested in immigration scam
Richa MishraEmbarrassment piled on India ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Games with three swimmers, two of them part of the country’s team for the mega-event, flunking dope tests in New Delhi on Sunday.Richa Mishra, adjudged the best female swimmer of the 64th National aquatic championship in Jaipur along with fellow CWG teammate Jyotsana Pansare and Amar Muralitharan, tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a stimulant banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency this year.Intended to be a nasal decongestant, it is marketed as a dietary supplement.Swimming Federation of India Secretary Virender Nanavati confirmed the development and said both Richa and Jyotsana will be withdrawn from the team if their ‘B’ samples also turned out to be positive.”We have been informed by the National Anti-Doping Agency about the three swimmers failing dope tests. Their samples were collected during the National Championships in Jaipur,” Nanavati told PTI.”They can ask for a ‘B’ sample test but that is their individual decision. We will see what happens after that procedure is completed. If the ‘B’ samples of Richa and Jyotsana also test positive they will be withdrawn from the team. I can’t say whether we will have the replacements,” he said.Of the three who have been caught in the doping net, Muralitharan had earlier flunked a dope test in 2003 as well but was cleared later that year.”All three of them have tested positive for methylhexaneamine,” said the CWG Tournament Director (Swimming) Rakesh Gupta.Richa won three individual gold medals with one meet record (200m individual medley) during the Nationals, while Jyotsana clinched a gold in the 100m backstroke event in Jaipur.advertisementThe latest doping scandal comes within a few days of six wrestlers and two athletes testing positive for the same banned substance.That list included this year’s Arjuna awardee Rajiv Tomar, along with fellow grapplers Sumit (74kg), Mausam Khatri (96kg), Gursharanpreet Kaur (women’s 72kg), Rahul Mann (60kg) and Joginder Singh (120kg).Shotputter Sourabh Vij and discus thrower Akash Antil had also failed dope tests.Days before this, net-ball player Megha Chaudharay had also tested positive for a banned substance. Things are surely going to go down to the wire: HooperIndia’s failure to ensure that all the Commonwealth Games venues and the athletes’ village comply with safety provision norms could jeopardise the organisation of the event, according to CGF CEO Mike Hooper, who said the organisers have allowed “things to go down to the wire”.Acknowledging that lot of work still needs to be done, Hooper said that they are yet to receive confirmation from the Organising Committee that the village or any of the venues are structurally safe and sound and that failure to do so could place one or two sporting events in danger.Thousands of athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations will start to arrive from September 16 to take up residence in the Games village and to start training at the venues.”Things are surely going to go down to the wire. It’s a battle against time. If the Organising Committee failed to provide the safety certifications on time, if we can’t get the documentation of the Games village and the venues on time, then a particular event or so may be in trouble,” Hooper said.”Whether it’s about venue safety at Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium or any other stadium, clearly we are all aware of the CVC report last month and implications of that report suggests sub-standard materials and fabricated case results. That’s a matter of concern to us.”Despite many promises made by the government agencies to deliver the documentation to validate and verify all the buildings standards have been met, fire safety certificates have been issued, we (CGF) still have not been able to get them and that still remains a cause of great concern to us,” Hooper told a TV channel.”You can’t occupy the venue unless you have building completion certificates. People are due to arrive at the Games village from September 16. They can’t occupy the Games village unless the building certification is not there. They can’t go to the venue unless venues certification is not there,” he said.
The stand-in Indian captain Gautam Gambhir on Saturday described his match-winning unbeaten 126 as a special ton as it has helped India clinch the five-match one-day international (ODI) series against New Zealand in Vadodara.”All hundreds are important. This was probably special because it helped us win the series. Moreover, it is always important to be back amongst runs, especially after having a series of low scores against your name,” said Gambhir, who is leading the side in place of rested regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.Gambhir, who hit his second successive century to steer India to a nine-wicket win over New Zealand in the third ODI here, said it was important not to give the Black Caps any chance to bounce back in the series. With his superb centuries, Gambhir is also back to form after a lean patch.”It was important for us not to give any opportunity to New Zealand to come back into the ODI series and wrap it up here itself,” said Gambhir after India take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.Gautam Gambhir celebrates after scoring fifty during the third ODI against New Zealand in Vadodara. Photo by APGambhir scored an unbeaten 126 off 117 balls to help India chase down easily the target of 225 set by New Zealand with 10.3 overs to spare in the one-sided encounter. He had also starred in India’s eight-wicket victory in the second ODI in Jaipur, hitting an unbeaten 138 off 116 balls.Praising the bowlers for their efforts to restrict the Kiwis to a total of 224, Gambhir particularly singled out Zaheer Khan (2/31) and Munaf Patel (1/28).advertisement”Zaheer is a quality bowler. His presence always boosts the side. He set the game for us straightaway today after coming back from an injury, as he sent back Brendon McCullum (0) and Ross Taylor (4) early. Then spinners also did a good job,” said Gambhir.”Munaf has been very economical in all the matches so far. He has been doing well in the Ranji also and he is carrying on that confidence into these matches also, which is a great sign.”Two more inconsequential matches to go with the fourth game to be played in Bangalore, followed by fifth tie in Chennai, Gambhir is not ready to lower his guard.”We always took it as a three match ODI series and are happy to win it 3-0 but now we would like to target it 4-0 and then 5-0 because it is important to have as many wins as possible in your pocket before the tour of South Africa,” said Gambhir.Vettori wants to bounce backNew Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said his side would now have to fire up to register face saving victories in the remaining two games.”We still got to fire. It is very important to bounce back. I think the top-order must stand up and contribute because in the sub-continent it is important for the batsmen to score if you want to win matches here. Hopefully, in the next two games we will be able to do that,” said Vettori.Vettori hailed the Indian team and said that somebody like Gambhir in the top order always makes it easy for any side.”It was really tough after we could put on only 224 runs on board today. Had we managed a score of 240-250 we could have thought to have posed some challenge but India played exceptionally well and Gambhir in the top-order simply ran away with the match,” added Vettori.- With PTI inputs
Ashok Mohan ChakrabortyIAS officer Ashok Mohan Chakraborty retired as chief secretary of West Bengal on April 30, 2010. Soon after, he sought permission from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the cadre controlling authority for the IAS, to join the Essar Group. After taking the advice of the state,Ashok Mohan ChakrabortyIAS officer Ashok Mohan Chakraborty retired as chief secretary of West Bengal on April 30, 2010. Soon after, he sought permission from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the cadre controlling authority for the IAS, to join the Essar Group. After taking the advice of the state government and other agencies concerned, the DoPT gave him approval to join as resident director on October 7, 2010. Chakraborty rules out any impropriety. “There is no question of any conflict of interest since the government, before giving permission to any officer, looks in to all these factors. I had to wait for five months to join Essar,” says Chakraborty.Click here to EnlargeAccording to DoPT sources, there is a queue of officers who have sought permission to join private companies after retirement without completing the mandatory cooling-off period from the date of retirement. Using Right to Information Act, India Today has accessed a list of around 100 such bureaucrats who, since 2001, have sought permission to join private sector jobs. Until January 1, 2007, the mandatory cooling-off period was two years from the date of retirement. It was reduced to one year after hectic lobbying by IAS officers.According to the All India Service Rules, “A pensioner shall not accept any commercial employment before the expiry of one year from the date of his retirement, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.” There is no need to seek permission from the DoPT after the cooling-off period is over or if an officer resigns from the service.advertisementP.V. BhideClick here to EnlargeTake the case of P.V. Bhide who retired as revenue secretary only on January 31, 2010. The DoPT has given him permission to join five companies – NOCIL Ltd, Heidelberg Cement India Ltd, Tube Investment India Ltd, L&T Finance Ltd and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Some more applications are under consideration. Bhide believes there is nothing improper about joining the private sector soon after retiring. “Why should there be conflict of interest? There is no conflict unless we share government secrets,” he says. “I have run a fertiliser company while I was in the public sector. The private sector will now utilise my experience.” Bhide adds, “I can still work but the government does not need my services. Therefore, I chose to join the private sector.”Naresh DayalClick here to EnlargeNaresh Dayal, who held the post of secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, retired on September 30, 2009. Soon after that, he filed an application for permission to join GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health-care as a non-official director. He got permission on May 21, 2010. “I have handled every government assignment efficiently. Here in the private sector, I will do the same,” says Dayal.Other officers who joined private companies before the end of their mandatory cooling off period include 1973 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officer Ajay Shankar who, after retiring as secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on December 31, 2009, joined Tata Tea as a director. The DoPT gave him approval for the job on May 25, 2010. Anil Baijal, a 1969 batch Union Territory cadre officer retired as secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development on October 31, 2006. He was given permission to join the Infrastructure Development Finance Company as advisor and chairman of its PPP initiative on June 22, 2007.While some officers join private sector after retirement, others choose to join after taking voluntary retirement. Ashok Kumar Khurana, a 1976 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officer, took voluntary retirement in November 2007 while serving as additional secretary in the Union Ministry of Power. He was granted approval to join JPSK Sports as vice-chairman in April 2008. O.P. Arya, a 1975 batch officer of Uttarakhand cadre, took voluntary retirement in May 2008. He joined the JP Ganga Infrastructure Corporation Ltd as its CEO after getting permission from the DoPT in January 2009. These officers are getting salary between Rs 10,000 per sitting as director and Rs 1.70 crore per annum.The list would be even longer if it were to include officers who have taken permission only from state governments for post-retirement jobs. Officers below the rank of secretary who have been working continuously for three years in a state government are only required to take permission from the state government concerned, not the Central government.At the Centre, the DoPT, which reports directly to the prime minister, has been liberal in granting such permissions. According to sources, only four officers have been denied permission since 2005.Not all former IAS officers are pleased with this new wave of post-retirement jobs in the private sector. Says N. Gopalaswami, a retired IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre and former chief election commissioner, “This one-year cooling-off period is not enough. This should be at least three years or even five years. These officers must not be allowed to join companies whose work has been related to the government job of that particular officer.”advertisementThe reality, as this exhaustive list shows, is quite the opposite.
Indian ace Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina crashed out of the women’s doubles semi-finals at Wimbledon after going down in straight sets to Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in London on Friday.The fourth seeded Indo-Russian due went down 3-6, 1-6 to the second seeds Peschke of the Czech Republic and Srebotnik of Slovakia in a match that lasted for an hour and five minutes.Sania, who lost to Virginie Razzano of France in the first round of women’s singles, entered the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles with Rohan Bopanna.Sania and Vesnina committed as many as five unforced errors compared to their opponents’ two and that proved to be their undoing. To add to their troubles, Venina failed to return well and Sania struggled on her serve. The second set was a horrific experience for the duo as their rivals totally dominated and finished it off in 27 minutes.In the pre- quarterfinals, sixth seeded Sania and Bopanna downed unseeded Czech Republic’s Martin Damm and Renata Voracova 6- 3, 6- 0. They will next meet Australian Paul Hanley and Su- Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei in the quarter- finals.Result:Katarina Srebotnik/Kveta Peschke (SLO/CZE x2) bt Sania Mirza/Elena Vesnina (IND/RUS x4) 6-3, 6-1
Raja Bell calls himself a ‘journeyman’ basketball player, and his travels have now brought him to India for the first time. And the National Basketball Association (NBA) star is eager to see the talent pool in the country.”I am very interested in seeing what the talent level in India is like. I’d love to have an opportunity to work with some of the younger kids, because that is my passion. Kenny Natt (India’s national coach) was an assistant coach when I played with the Utah Jazz, so to see the work he’s doing with the national team here is very exciting,” Bell told Mail Today on Friday.”I want to be able to hop into some of those drills and just see where basketball is in the country.”Asked what the secret behind his very ‘Indian’ first name was, Bell said: “It’s not through heritage, though my mother was fully aware of its meaning. My father’s name is Roger, and in the Virgin Islands (when he was born), he was called ‘Raja’, so my mother read up on it, liked it and gave me that name.”With the Olympics just around the corner, the US team is once again the favourite to win a gold medal, but Bell believes the day isn’t far when it will be challenged every step of the way.”Basketball isn’t in its infancy as an international sport, but it is far behind sports like football and cricket. If the NBA can come into these countries and create a fan base, things can progress pretty quickly,” Bell said.advertisement”I don’t think the lack of a challenge is upsetting. We have a league with the best players in the world, and when you can take the best of best from that, the US expects to win gold. Teams from other countries do give us a run for our money, and we have had to do a better job of late of trying to create a ‘team’, rather than a bunch of superstars.”Bell has bounced around the league in his 12-year career, playing for six different teams, some of which have been genuine championship contenders, and others cellar dwellers.But the 35-year-old shooting guard, who went undrafted out of the unheralded Florida International University, has made a name for himself as a defensive specialist who can knock down three-point shots with ease, and is proud of his achievements.”I have exceeded my own expectations, and made a career out of playing in the NBA. Now I just want to add a championship; that would be the final accomplishment. I want to play a role on a championship team,” said the man who has been an NBA All-Defensive Team selection twice.Bell recently agreed to a buyout of his contract with the Utah Jazz, which leaves him free to explore the free agent market, and his destination is likely to be a ready championship contender like the Miami Heat or the Los Angeles Lakers.Superstars like Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis have taken paycuts to be able to play with these teams next season, and Bell admits this is creating a ‘haves and havenots’ scenario in the league.There is also the issue of team and fan loyalty, but Bell believes the players are just being pragmatic.”Some of our players are taking a more business-like approach, exercising their rights to make that happen. This is a big part of why we were locked out last season. It does create an imbalance in the league, but if you look at the finals last season, it makes for good drama,” Bell said.”Teams like Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers were the best in the league in terms of talent, and they have addressed issues on their rosters and got better. So the other teams will have to raise their games to challenge them for the title. Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey) Nets have a chance, and teams like San Antonio are always in the mix because of the way they are coached.”