Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hari Kondabolu makes America laugh about America again

Even though Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu was born in Queens, xenophobes frequently tell him to go back to places like Iraq, Afganistan, and Libya. "Whatever nation our country is bombing, I'm told to go back there at the worst time to go back," he says. But in Denmark, during a particularly awful performance, he was told to go back to America. Maybe that was a sign of how bad things have gotten here in the States, or maybe it was a sign that Kondabolu had finally proven himself as a Mainstream American Comic (Kill Rock Stars), the sarcastic title of his new album.

Kondabolu's comedy is politically observant—he's not getting on a soapbox and forcing his beliefs on the crowd, he's just starting a conversation about topics he thinks the entire country should be talking about, like health care, sexism, and racism. And it seems like he has successfully contributed to activist efforts through his comedy—an image on the comic's Tumblr shows a protest sign featuring a joke from his first album, Waiting for 2042: "Telling me I'm obsessed with race in America is like telling me I'm obsessed with swimming while I'm drowning."

On Mainstream American Comic Kondabolu contends with his distaste for Bobby Jindal and the phrase "all lives matter," but without ever getting too serious. And among the album's lighter moments he tells a story about getting a photo taken with Joe Biden just for the social media likes; breaks into a Doc Brown impression (the only one he's got); and discusses the dissonance between the phrase "nocturnal emissions" and the act it describes ("Nothing is more mainstream American than a come joke!" Kondabolu declares). It's this combination of his political point of view and casual silliness that makes Kondabolu the important new kind of everyman comic America needs.

Anand Tummala: Former Delhi Ranji crickter and USA National team player

Anand Tummala (born 21 October 1978 in Vuyyuru, Krishna district Andhra Pradesh, India) also known as T. Anand, is a cricketer for the United States.

Anand first appeared in the United States national cricket team as an all-rounder in 2011 in the Etihad T20 Cricket Tournament hosted by Cricket Canada in King City, Ontario (11–13 August 2011). 

Anand made an impression with his debut bowling figures of 3 over, 1 maiden, 10 runs & 2 wickets against arch rivals Canada. Anand bowled exceptionally well against Trinidad & Tobago in the second match with figures of 2 for 24 in 4 Overs.

Anand went on to be part of USA Cricket Team in the historical K.A. Auty Trophy (2 day match, played on 15 & 16 August 2011, held at Toronto Cricket, Skating & Curling Club which dates back to 1844 between USA & Canada.

Anand’s performance in the K.A. Auty Trophy was excellent with match bowling figures of 25 overs, 97 runs, 3 maidens and 3 wickets. Anand scored 88 runs in the match with 63 being his highest in the second innings which almost won the game for USA.

Anand also played First-class cricket in India (Ranji Trophy) for Delhi in 2001-02 & has also played Premier league cricket in Gwent, Glamorgan, UK. He completed his Schooling from Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, New Delhi & College from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University.

Anand also acquired his Level I and level II cricket coaching certifications from the England & Wales Cricket Board during his stay at the University of Wales, Newport where he completed his MBA in 2007.

Anand was appointed Coach & Captain for the University of Wales, Newport Cricket team & also went on to be signed as Senior Coach & Player for Croesyceiliog Cricket Club in South Wales Premier League (Gwent, Glamorgan), UK.

Anand has also worked closely with Bishan Bedi (former Indian team Coach & Captain) while he represented Bishan Bedi Cricket Coaching Trust teams in England & Australia.

Anand now plays for North Atlanta Cricket Club in the Atlanta Georgia Cricket Conference (AGCC). He has also represented South East Region of USA where he has performed exceptionally well.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Normal city names Mandava Rao Citizen of the Year

NORMAL (IL)– The Town of Normal named Mandava Rao its Citizen of the Year Thursday night during its annual Appreciation Reception.

Mayor Chris Koos said to say Rao is active in the community is an understatement.

“He has founded and helps to lead numerous organizations, including the Central Illinois Cricket Association, For a Better Tomorrow, and the local chapter of the SEWA – a group guided by the principal: Service beyond self,” Koos said.

Rao moved to Bloomington-Normal from India 16 years ago. He said he stayed here because he fell in love with the community.

“I love this community a lot,” said Rao. “And everybody is cooperative, that’s what I have seen. Wherever I go, with any organization, yes, they are positive with me.”

Rao added the award came as a complete surprise. Koos said Rao lives a life that proves actions speak louder than words.

Friday, July 15, 2016

One for the future - Ruthvika Shivani Gadde

If we consider the cycle between London 2012 and Rio 2016, then there are several achievements that Indian badminton can pride itself about.

One among those is the emergence of a very talented and confident group of Women’s shuttlers, who have shown that they can match up against the best in the world.

PV Sindhu’s rise was rapid, but over the course of time, a certain level of inconsistency had creeped into her game that made slightly vulnerable against the top shuttlers. But with just under a month to go for Rio, the lanky player seems to be steadily getting back into her groove.

A few other players also developed during this phase and among those who has blossomed during the end of this cycle has been Ruthvika Shivani Gadde.


In 2014, Ruthvika first burst onto the international scene when she clinched the Women’s Singles title at the Tata Open and then in 2015, won the Bangladesh intrnational.

The 19-year-old has been hovering around the circuit, but for sure has found her big break in 2016 with two major achievements.

The first of those came in February when pitted against Sindhu in the South Asian Games Gold medal match, she showed maturity beyond her years to defeat her fellow countrywomen and win the prized medal.

Those exploits certainly didn’t go unnoticed among the selectors and the coaches and Ruthvika found herself being picked as the third Singles player, ahead of the likes of reigning national champion PC Thulasi, Tanvi Lad etc to travel to Kuala Lumpur to feature in the 2016 Thomas and Uber Cup.

The big win

After India had thrashed Australia and Germany 5-0 and lost narrowly 2-3 to Japan, they were drawn to face Thailand in the quarterfinal stage of the competition.

They didn’t begin the tie in the most auspicious of manners, as Saina Nehwal lost in straight games to Ratchanak Intanon.

Sindhu then won her match against Porntip Buranaprasetsuk and when Jwala and Ashwini pulled off an impressive win in the third tie, the pressure, was unexpectedly on the Thai to take it into a decider.

However, they would have fancied their chances of taking the rubber to the 5h match, since an inexperienced Ruthvika was up against World No.25 Nitchaon Jindapol, an opponent ranked 78 places above her.

What transpired in the course of the next 25-30 minutes, took not just the crowd by surprise but also the entire Indian badminton fraternity y surprise as a nerveless Ruthvika showed little panic and pulled off a superb straight games win, impressing even Saina seated in the stands to ensure that India, against the odds, won the tie 3-1 and , but even more crucially sealed a spot in the semifinals of the competition, confirmed themselves a second consecutive Uber Cup medal.

Although she didn’t get an opportunity to play in the semifinal against China as India lost the tie 3-0, she had showed enough to the fraternity to indicate that a new star was on the horizon, if not born already.

Ruthvika’s performance in the competition got her praise from nine-time national champion Aparna Popat, who said that her victory against Jindapol would give her a lot of confidence and wished that it would serve as a breakthrough for her.

"She played that match under huge pressure, and she managed to pull it off. But that's how a junior would want to ease into the top, play the third Singles, win a vital match for the team.It gives you a lot of confidence.

“Yes. I think that’s how a youngster gets their breakthrough and I am hoping that this could be a breakthrough match for Ruthvika, it gives her the confidence that when she plays seniors and international tournaments, she can come up with such type of performance” Popat said.

The shuttler in an interview to Sportskeeda said that it was a humbling experience for her to be a part of a team that had the likes of Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta etc and to get the country across the line in the quarterfinal is an achievement that ranks quite high for her.

"To be part of the Indian contingent that boasts of the likes of Saina Nehwal, Ashwini Ponnappa, Jwala Gutta is humbling. Playing an important role in a nation’s victory has to rank really high in terms of its importance," she said.

Just like after London 2012, India found a fine batch of shuttlers, here’s hoping that after Rio 2016, we find a similar group again with Ruthvika being the torch bearer.

Harika edges Humpy in tie-breaker to bag Chengdu GP chess title

Winner Dronavalli Harika (C) on the podium with Koneru Humpy & Ju Wenjun

India's Grand Master Harika Dronavalli held on to her nerves on a nail-biting final day to capture the coveted Fide Women's Grand Prix chess title Chengdu - China on Thursday.

Harika, playing with white against Russia's Olga Girya, had to dig deep to pull off the much needed draw to win the title, her maiden career GP title.

Harika finished on seven points in the round robin tournament featuring the world's top 12 players to be crowned the chess queen in Chengdu.

It was a grand day for India as the other Grand Master Koneru Humpy too rounded off her campaign with a victory to also finish on seven points. Harika, however, was declared winner for finishing with a better tie-break record in the tournament.

It was a nerve-racking day for Harika as the pressure got to her and she ended up making mistakes.

"I was in a winning position," she said shortly after the win. "But I felt the pressure and couldn't play my best game. I am extremely happy as this is my first Grand Prix title."

Olga kept her at the table for 62 tense moves before finally accepting the draw. The triumph adds a bounty to her points tally and should see her qualify for the World Championships later this year.

Harika couldn't help but get emotional as the national anthem was played at the Chengdu arena to celebrate her victory. "I felt numb and exhilarated as I listened to the national anthem," she recollected.

The 25-year-old began the Grand Prix on a positive note, winning her first two games and jumping into the lead. She had to settle for four draws after that and even slipped to the second position.

She sprang back to the top of the table in the seventh round, when she beat compatriot Humpy. She played calmly and smartly in the remaining four rounds to earn draws and go on to win the title.