President Mugabe commissions the expanded Victoria Falls airport

first_imgZimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Friday commissioned the expanded airport at Victoria Falls built using a $150m loan from China.The country’s president asserted the importance of the upgrade to tourism in Zimbabwe noting that the renovation could turn the airport into a regional tourist hub if aggressively marketed.The new airport means international tourists can now fly directly to Victoria Falls, a major tourist attraction and a World Heritage site, the president said.“This airport signifies exciting times for aviation and tourism sectors and paves way for Victoria Falls town to become a tourism hub for SADC and the rest of the African continent,’‘ President Mugabe is quoted to have said.He urged people to “keep the airport tidy, clean, and let’s not mess it up with litter thrown everywhere,” the state-owned Herald newspaper reports in a live blog of the event.The president also said China’s financial aid showed the “enduring friendship” between the two countries.The Chinese Embassy’s Charge D’Affairs who represented the country’s ambassador said, ‘‘I’m grateful to attend this completion ceremony, a milestone in our bilateral relations … it shows the enduring friendship between China and Zimbabwe. This landmark project means a lot for both our countries.’‘The airport was opened in 1966 as a regional airport and work on the new expansion began in 2013. It is expected to be able to handle up to 1.5 million passengers each year.With the current expansion, bigger aircrafts like the 747 Boeing will be able to land at the 60-meter wide, 4km long runway, the state owned Herald newspaper reports.The expansion was done by China Jiangsu International and financed through a $150m loan from China Export Import Bank.last_img read more

Baker Mayfield wins best college athlete at the ESPY Awards

first_img Ashley Bastock LOS ANGELES– Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield won the award for best college athlete at the 2018 ESPY Awards.During the 2017 season, Mayfield had a 70.5 completion percentage, passing for 43 touchdowns and 4,627 yards. Following his season, the Browns selected Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.Shortly after Mayfield won the award, the Browns tweeted out congratulations to their rookie QB:Congrats, @bakermayfield! ?#ESPYS2018— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 19, 2018 Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation’s Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42center_img Related Topicslast_img read more

University of Hawaii reaching out to Japan

first_img GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES RELATED PHOTOS McMackin is a respected football coach in Hawaii and is well regarded nationally. The 64-year-old defensive guru, who enters his second season at the helm this coming season, has worked extensively at the college and professional levels.The veteran coach, who has been known as a great recruiter as well, seemed energized and excited to be a part of this new, but ongoing enterprise.“This year, we’ve got an Australian kid and a Samoan kid, best athlete in Samoa,” McMackin said.“And later on, we’ll get a Japanese kid and a Western Samoan kid. That’s going to be one-third of our recruiting. In five years, we will get a pretty good team. And that’s the beauty of Hawaii. It’s multicultural over there.”Certainly, McMackin, who has had a colorful coaching career, including stints with Stanford University, the University of Miami and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, doesn’t underestimate the ability of Japanese football players.He was the 49ers’ linebackers coach from 2003-05 and learned about this by observing Masafumi Kawaguchi, one of the best players from Japan who was invited to the team’s preseason training camps in 2002 and ’03.“I’ve had an experience to coach the 49ers and (Kawaguchi) was there, and there is huge love for the sport in Japan,” he recalled. “Every day after the practice, there were 50 to 60 Japanese sports media.McMackin thinks Japanese players could make an impact at wide receiver in his team’s run-and-shoot offense. Also, he believes soccer players could turn out to be good kickers as well.McMackin’s faith and trust in Japanese players is genuine.Japanese players who won McMackin’s favor wouldn’t even try out for the team, according to Donovan. Instead, the veteran coach would encourage them to walk on.“If they do very, very well, then eventually they can earn scholarships,” said Donovan, a former All-WAC offensive lineman at UH.The UH athletic department won’t limit its search for quality athletes to just football. Other sports, including basketball, baseball and volleyball, are also under consideration.For the university, Donovan said, this will be a long-term commitment, and it won’t consist of only players. The university is considering inviting Japanese coaches and cheerleaders for exchange opportunities — examples could include coaching clinics and cheerleading events.In mid-April, the university invited several Japanese high school and college football coaches, including Doshisha University and Kobe University, to its campus in Manoa for a coaching clinic led by McMackin and his staff.It was intended to introduce them to UH and its football program, and to cement relationships with each other before pursuing athletes from Japan.* * * * *The University of Hawaii is planning to hold a similar clinic, this time for basketball, sometime during the summer.From the Japanese side, a sports management company named SES Inc. is collaborating with the university as a liaison for the school and organizations in Japan.Kozo Suzuki, president of the company, said that the project can become an innovation for the Japanese amateur sporting scene, which has suffered massive damage from the ongoing global recession, including big setbacks for industrial leagues and clubs.Suzuki said the merit of the program doesn’t just offer Japanese athletes opportunities to perform, but also provides chances for them to think about their long-term careers, including after their retirement as athletes.Since it takes more time to learn English, Suzuki said that it’d be more ideal for athletes to travel to Hawaii at an earlier time. So realistically, UH will focus on bringing high school athletes to Hawaii after graduation.“It gives more options for these high school athletes after their graduation,” he said.“As corporate sports are declining, these athletes have anxieties that they may not be able to survive by just playing sports. So it offers them a chance to earn a college degree abroad (while playing sports) and it helps them when they enter Japanese companies in the future.“By doing so, they learn how to think about sports and its ties with communities. It’s a long-term plan.”Suzuki said that he has been approaching numerous high schools that have many students who had grown up abroad, so they wouldn’t face a language barrier.Yet according to him, UH is even considering the establishment of a new program for student-athletes from Japan to help them pass necessary examinations, such as TOEFL and SAT in order to make the transition smoother for them.Financially, Suzuki revealed that Japanese athletes could receive scholarships offered by Japanese-American communities.“While there are many Japanese-Americans over there, as the generations are aging, they have fear that their ties with Japan are fading,” he said. “That is why they’re willing to cooperate in this project.”This ambitious plan has just been started, and they are in no rush to complete it. But they are hoping that it will eventually become irreplaceable and valuable for both Hawaii and Japan.“Coach Mack and I are very hopeful that we can get one or two American football players from Japan in the next few years,” Donovan said. “We will continue to work at it.“We are also hopeful that we can get a few athletes in our other sports — maybe baseball, softball, volleyball and/or men’s and women’s basketball.” And so UH quickly — and naturally — shifted its focus to nearby nations such as Samoa, Australia and New Zealand to explore different sources of talent.In recent times, however, UH has turned its attention to Japan, with which Hawaii shares strong cultural ties (about one-third of its population is comprised of Japanese-Americans).The UH, a Western Athletic Conference school in the NCAA, is not going to work on this latest project superficially.Athletics director Jim Donovan and head football coach Greg McMackin traveled to Osaka and Tokyo to make inquiries about this from late February to early March. This fact-finding mission demonstrated their earnest efforts.At the outset, McMackin made a speech before members of the Kansai American Football Coaches Association (KAFCA) about his coaching philosophies.Donovan spoke about how collegiate athletic programs are organized the next day. Donovan and McMackin’s conviction that the project was worthwhile deepened after they actually came to Japan and gauged reactions.“It’s real positive for us, because, from our recruiting standpoint, in the States, (there are) 48 contiguous states and us (Hawaii), but our population is so limited and there is not much recruiting going on there in general,” Donovan told The Japan Times in Tokyo.“So it’s only natural for us to say there are other great athletes around the Pacific that nobody else really pays attention to.” New challenge: University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin (left) and UH athletics director Jim Donovan are helping the school develop stronger connections to Japan and work to bring quality Japanese athletes to the university. | KAZ NAGATSUKA PHOTO * * * * * The University of Hawaii athletics department is trying to build a bridge to Japan through sports, hoping it shines as brightly as a rainbow.Due to its far-flung location in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, the University of Hawaii has had a slight disadvantage in recruiting top-notch athletes from the U.S. mainland. Expanding horizons: The University of Hawaii is looking to Japan as a source of untapped talent as they compete at the highest level of college athletics. | SES PHOTO IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5last_img read more

Alex Ovechkin Named NHL’S First Star for Week of Dec. 10-16

first_imgHe is now the leader in goals for the season with twenty nine goals in thirty two games. He also has a career high fourteen game point streak.  On Decemeber 11th against the Detroit Red Wings, Ovechkin earned his twenty first career hat trick in Washington’s 6-2 win. It would be only three days later and the very next game, that Ovechkin earned his twenty second hat trick in a 6-5 shootout win on the road, against the Carolina Hurricanes. This was Ovechkin’s second back to back hat tricks, as he accomplished this achievement in the first two games on the 2017-18 season. In Washington’s third game of the week, Ovechkin earned his seventh goal of the week, during the second period of the Caps matchup against the Buffalo Sabres. He would go on to score the game winning shoot out goal and Washington won 4-3. The NHL announced today that Alex Ovechkin was named the First Star Of The Week for the week ranging from Dec. 10-16. In only three games he scored seven goals and back to back hat tricks. Ovechkin led his team to a 3-0-0 perfect week and five game winning streak.center_img The NHL named Winnipeg Jets Mark Schiefele second star with five goals and eleven points.  Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres  earned third star with five goals and nine points this week. Please follow and like us:last_img read more