Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:21 pm Post subject: Sports related issues
Ismaili athlete to compete for Tajikistan at Rio Paralympics
7 September 2016
When the Paralympic Games open in Rio today, the people of Tajikistan will be pinning all their hopes on Romikhudo Dodikhudoev.
The 26-year-old, who is due to run in the Men’s 100 metre and 400 metre Athletics events, is the country’s only athlete at the 2016 Paralympics. He wants his participation in the Games to be a source of hope for all people with disabilities in Tajikistan.
“My participation at the Paralympic Games is an indication that I have a strong spirit, that I am capable of achieving high goals, despite my physical disability,” says Dodikhudoev, whose friends call him Roma. “I want to show all the handicapped people that their physical disabilities should not stop them from achieving their goals.”
Since the age of five, Dodikhudoev has suffered from osteomyelitis — a bone infection that was once considered incurable. The International Paralympic Committee classifies him in the T45-47 category of the Running and Jumping discipline: “Upper limb/s affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement.” But he’s never let his physical constraints become a barrier.
Dodikhudoev’s interest in sport began at the age of 11 with a passion for football. Then a student at Dushanbe’s Boarding School #1, he dreamed of becoming an international athlete.
Hard work, the support of friends and an enduring love of sport helped him to succeed despite his physical handicap. When he was 14, Dodikhudoev played basketball with a team that would win repeated victories against even able-bodied athletes.
Recognising Dodikhudoev’s strength and speed, a trainer recommended that he represent Tajikistan on the international stage. In 2014 he took part in the Asian Para Games in Incheon, Korea, where he ran 6th in the 200 metre event and 7th in the 100 metre.
“Roma is a hard-working guy,” says Gairat Negmatov, his trainer. “Despite all the challenges with sports facilities and uniforms, he doesn’t miss his workouts.”
“In addition to that he has a regular job. He is an industrial-climber — he cleans high buildings.” He works a second job driving a taxi.
Dodikhudoev participated in 2015 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation World Games in Sochi, Russia and placed 4th amongst athletes from 44 countries. His achievements in Incheon and Sochi put him on the path to Rio.
Follow Romikhudo Dodikhudoev’s progress at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio as he competes in the Men’s 100 metre and 400 metre Athletics events.
Mayor Suggests London Could Eventually Host M.L.B. Games
Major League Baseball has hosted regular-season games in Mexico, Japan and, most recently, in Australia in 2014. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said he was interested in expanding baseball overseas.
Another possibility for future growth may be Europe. The Mets hosted the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, on Sunday, and he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before their game against the Minnesota Twins.
Khan told British reporters on Wednesday that the Mets’ owners were receptive to playing a game in London and that Manfred was interested in doing so, perhaps as soon as 2018. According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, the operators of Olympic Stadium, home to the West Ham United soccer club, talked with M.L.B. about hosting games next summer but ran out of time.
Will Women Play Major League Baseball? (And Not Just on TV)
The new Fox drama “Pitch,” about the first female pitcher in Major League Baseball, proclaims that it is “a true story on the verge of happening.”
The heavily promoted show, which premieres Thursday, already is drawing praise for its groundbreaking premise. But it also raises questions about just how true and how on the verge the story line really is. Could a female pitcher make it into the major leagues anytime soon? And if so, why hasn’t she yet?
From a scientific standpoint, the answer is yes, she can. While there are some physical obstacles to a woman’s pitching in the major leagues, they aren’t insurmountable. The larger challenges may be social and cultural, as girls struggle to find opportunities and acceptance in a traditional boys’ sport, and boys struggle with the social consequences of being struck out by a girl.
With a Single Baseball, Seeking to Connect All 312 Hall of Famers
From his pocket, Mr. Carhart pulled out a faded baseball with the words “The Hall Ball” written in black marker. He nestled it next to the flimsy grave marker and snapped a picture with his phone.
With that, Mr. Torriente became the 287th Hall of Famer that Mr. Carhart has paid homage to since he began his Hall Ball project six years ago.
His mission is to connect with all 312 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, living and dead, by putting the ball in the hand of every living member and visiting the grave of every deceased member, and taking a commemorative photograph.
He has already visited the grave sites or other significant locations for 227 inductees, he said, and has met 60 living members, including Mike Piazza, the Mets catcher who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in July.
Humera Azam from Hunza (GB) selected for U-16 National Women’s Cricket Team
Pamir Times is the pioneering community news and views portal of Gilgit – Baltistan, Kohistan, Chitral and the surrounding mountain areas. It is a voluntary, not-for-profit, non-partisan and independent venture initiated by the youth.
Islamabad: Humera Azam from the Hussaini village of Gojal Valley, District Hunza, has made the region proud by getting selected for the national Under-16 cricket team. Daughter of Muhammad Azam, a renowned player of the Shah Talib Sports Club, Humera is fourteen years old. She has studied at Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee School (Hussaini), and Al Amyn Model School (Gulmit), till grade 10th.
She developed interest in cricket at a very early age, getting her first lessons from her father. She used to play in her picturesque village with her cousins and friends. With unflinching support from her parents, Humera got selected in the Shah Talib Sports Club’s women team in 2015, and won the best player award this year during a tournament.
Muhammad Azam, Humera’s father, is a cricket player
She has now been selected by the Pakistan Cricket Board to represent the nation in the women’s Under-16 Cricket Team. She will be part of the team touring England in December this year.
Shah Talib Sports Club (SSC), created by the local youth, is a government registered club which promotes healthy extra-curricular activities for energetic youth of Hussaini Gojal and other villages of the region.
Many other players from the club have won honors; Wasim Akram, a member of the club, won Gold Medal in All Sindh Taekwondo Championship, Ali Rehman and Saeed Anwar represented Punjab University in swimming.
It is pertinent to note that Diana Baig from Hunza is part of the national women’s cricket team.
The youth of Gilgit-Baltistan, girls and boys, have great potentials to excel in all fields of life. Given the opportunity, they have proven their mettle in all walks of life, from education to sports.
Olympics History Rewritten: New Doping Tests Topple the Podium
After disclosures of an extensive, state-run doping program in Russia, sports officials have been retesting urine samples from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, in Beijing and London. Their findings have resulted in a top-to-bottom rewriting of Olympics history.
More than 75 athletes from those two Olympics have been found, upon further scrutiny, to be guilty of doping violations. A majority are from Russia and other Eastern European countries. At least 40 of them won medals. Disciplinary proceedings are continuing against other athletes, and the numbers are expected to climb.
Anyone looking at the record books for the Beijing and London Games might think them an illusion. Medals are being stripped from dozens of athletes and redistributed to those who were deprived a spot on the podium.
“The numbers are just impossible, incredible,” said Gian-Franco Kasper, an executive board member of the International Olympic Committee. “We lose credibility. Credibility is a major concern.”
Chapecoense Soccer Team’s Plane Crashes, Leaving Brazil Devastated
RIO DE JANEIRO — After climbing the ranks of Brazilian soccer, the team was on its way to face one of its biggest tests yet: a chance to win the final of the Copa Sudamericana, an international competition for South American soccer.
But over the mountains near Medellín, Colombia, the plane carrying the members of Chapecoense, a soccer team from a scrappy industrial city in southern Brazil, made an emergency call on Monday night after experiencing an electrical failure, the authorities said.
Moments later, it crashed into the mountains with 77 people aboard.
Only six people survived the crash, aviation officials said: three players, two crew members and a journalist who was accompanying the team. The rest were presumed dead, a devastating turn for one of the most remarkable success stories in the tumultuous, scandal-plagued world of Brazilian soccer.
SYDNEY, Australia — When young men loiter on street corners or in shopping malls throwing out insults or physically intimidating passers-by, we condemn their behavior as antisocial. When Australia’s top athletes do the same, we celebrate their “wit” and “spirit.”
Sporting prowess is the highest form of status for young men and boys in Australia, as it is in many other places. And in Australian sport there is no pinnacle higher than the national cricket team, which has won four of the last five world cups.
For a cricketing superpower, Australians have a poor on-field reputation. Mutually respectful competition has been replaced by ugly belligerence. Derogatory, threatening or racist remarks are not only a routine part of the Australian game, they have become a form of psychological warfare used to establish dominance over opponents.
The practice is called “sledging,” apparently drawn from the phrase, “as subtle as a sledgehammer.”
Sledging isn’t a problem only in Australia. It represents an ugly strain of male-to-male interaction that may be as common in American fraternities and English pubs as on Australian cricket fields.
There is a crucial difference, though, between dorm louts and playing-field bullies. Organized sports operate according to a set of commonly agreed rules and values. At their highest level, they represent an ideal version of society: a pure and fair contest between the best athletes a nation can produce.
That’s why international athletes exert such a powerful social influence on young people. In Australia, there are few more potent role models for young men than first-class cricketers.
For the sake of our boys and girls, it is time to stop celebrating abuse in cricket, or any other sport, and call it out for what it is: boorish behavior that tars the game, demeans its participants and diminishes our societies.
The male administrators, scouts and board members who control the game have a responsibility to establish a more respectful playing culture. Their young charges, at the peak of their fame and sporting prowess, are unlikely to change without pressure from above.
LONDON — Britain is shuddering from the revelation of yet another child sexual abuse scandal. What has shocked the nation even more profoundly this time is that it happened in soccer: the national game, a source of pride.
Special Olympics: Pervaz Ahmad from GB wins two silver medals as Pakistan shines in Austria
Islamabad: Pervaz Ahmed, an athlete from Gigit-Baltistan representing Pakistan at the Special Olympics in Austria has won two silver medals so far. Other members of team Pakistan have also shined, winning gold, silver and bronze medals.
Tehmeena and Hameez-ud-Din, siblings from Khanabad village of Hunza, are also part of the Pakistan Squad. Pervez belongs to Gojal Valley, Hunza.
Tehmeena has won 5th position in CC Cross Country 50M Race Classical, while Hameez has won 8th position in CC Cross Country 50M Race Classical.
Sabahat Tariq and Huzaifa Qazi have won gold medals for Team Pakistan, while Fatima Amir has won two silver medals.
Three other players have won bronze medals in various categories. Detailed Results Here
Amina Baig, one of the coaches of Team Pakistan
Amina Baig, a coach of the team, also belongs to Gilgit-Baltistan. Having a Masters in Physical Education, Amina Baig belongs to the Chipursan Valley of Gojal, Hunza.
Pakistan boosts golf, ice skating and ice hockey with sport fellowships
31 March 2017
A little over a year ago, the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Pakistan (AKYSBP) launched the Sports Fellowship programme, an initiative to improve the sports skills of Jamati youth. Led by an elite athlete and supported by local coaches, the training programme proved to be popular and successful ahead of the 2016 Jubilee Games.
This winter, during the holidays, the Youth and Sports Board expanded the programme to include golf, ice skating and ice hockey. Continuing the spirit of “One Jamat” — a defining Jubilee Games theme — two elite players from the Canadian Jamat volunteered their expertise to train aspiring Ismaili athletes in Pakistan.
Salimah Mussani, a professional coach and former elite golf player from Burlington, Canada engaged 55 eager participants in Karachi and Islamabad to improve their golf skills.
After graduating from Stanford University on a golf scholarship, Mussani took the sport up professionally in 2002. She competed on the LPGA and Futures tours, and won the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada in 2007.
“The opportunity to go to Pakistan and teach golf to men, women and kids of all skill levels and backgrounds was unique in itself,” says Mussani. “This opportunity was not all about golf but the unity of our Jamat, it was about merging diversity of culture and it was ultimately about the connection of spirit within the ethics of our faith.”
During the winter in the northern areas of Pakistan, the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board organises recreational activities such as mountain climbing, hiking, skiing, and ice skating. The harsh weather limits the choice of activities that youth have during their leisure time, so when AKYSBP offered a sports fellowship in ice hockey for the first time, it was well received.
Facilitated by elite Canadian ice hockey player Omar Kanji, the programmes in Hunza and Karachi drew over 130 participants, including some from Gilgit and Ishkoman-Puniyal.
Born in Thornhill near Toronto, Kanji is a goalie who played for Upper Canada College before moving up to the NCAA level while attending Cornell University on a sports scholarship. He was also associated with the Tulsa Oilers for a season, and is a banker by profession.
“I cannot emphasise how thankful I am to have received such an incredible opportunity to teach and work with the youth in Pakistan,” said Kanji at the end of the coaching session in Hunza. “It will never cease to amaze me how naturally talented and gifted the youth in the country are. The sheer improvement in the kids' skating, puck handling, and shooting abilities that I witnessed over the two weeks are beyond impressive.”
The first sports fellowship was in athletics and took place in Karachi in December 2015. It was led by Myra Nur Lakdawala, Pakistan’s national record holder in the ladies 3,000-metre run. Lakdawala earned a sports scholarship and is studying English with a minor in Philosophy and pre-law at the University of the Pacific in the United States.
By accessing professional talent from the global Jamat, AKYSBP has been able to diversify the programme so that Pakistani youth gain exposure to sports that are not traditional to the country.
Mombasa hosts Africa-wide Unity Games this weekend
13 April 2017
Mombasa, 13 April 2017 — Every two years, the Ismaili communities of East Africa come together for the Unity Games, a festival of sport. This year, the Games will include Jamats from all over the entire African continent.
Between 13 – 16 April, more than 700 Ismaili athletes will compete in 19 sports, and will be cheered on by hundreds of fans travelling to Mombasa from their home countries of Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The Unity Games will also host a series of non-sporting events, bringing the community together as one united African Jamat.
Most sports and social activities will take place at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa. Evenings will feature themed entertainment, offering experiences of Swahili and other cultures as well as the Mombasa beach life.
An African Unity Games Village will provide a space where athletes can relax between competitions. Special early child development programmes will be offered to little ones, and the Seniors’ Committee has planned activities for the young at heart.
The Unity Games will officially be inaugurated at an opening ceremony on Friday, and will close on Sunday evening.
Legendary polo player Shah Gul Aziz has passed away
Gulmit: Legendary polo player and community leader Shah Gul Aziz breathed his last today after living a life full of adventure, leadership and glory. He was laid to rest today in his native town, Gulmit. A large number of people attended the funeral prayer.
Late Shahgul Aziz was widely known across Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral for his mastery of polo. He started playing polo in 1954, and participated in all major regional tournaments, representing PWD, Gilgit Scouts, Northern Scouts, Gilgit Police and Team Gilgit. More often than not he used to be adjudged ‘best polo player’ of major events. He retired from the game in 1992.
After retiring from polo, he got engaged in social activities in his area. He was serving the community as Aala Numberdar till his death.
Unity Games Kenya 2017 opens with fanfare and excitement
The Aga Khan Band Mombasa at the opening of the 2017 Africa Unity Games.
Ismaili Council for Kenya
The first ever all-Africa Unity Games commenced with energy, excitement and fanfare at Mombasa’s Aga Khan Academy. The Kenyan and Ismaili flags, along with the Aga Khan Band Mombasa, led a procession of athletes representing 11 teams organised around major city and regional centres of Mwanza, Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nairobi, Zanzibar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, and Uganda.
The Jamats of all nationalities were welcomed by the President of the Ismaili Council for Kenya, Nawaaz Gulam and the Chairman of the Council’s Mombasa Committee, Aman Kurji. They reminded all those gathered of the spirit of the Unity Games and the unity of our global Jamat.
Representative athletes, referees and regional team coordinators took an oath on behalf of all their teams to abide by the ethics of Islam, which guide the Games.
Acrobats entertained the audience, and the event ended with the symbolic lighting of the Unity Games Torch. The flame had journeyed to the major Jamati centres across the continent, exploring the richness and diversity of the countries we all hail from on this beautiful continent.
Sports also commenced, and athletes played with vigour and passion. We look forward to some great Games ahead!
Lahore April 21, 2017: The Women National Selection Committee headed by Mohammad Ilyas has selected 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup, 2017 to be played in England from June 24, 2017 to July 24, 2017. Pakistan Women’s team will feature in two warm-up matches against West Indies and Australia on June 20 and 22, 2017, respectively before the start of the mega event. The selected players are:
Pakistan Upsets India to Claim Its First Cricket Champions Trophy
ONDON — Pakistan’s players embraced, delirious, while grabbing stumps from the ground as mementos of a remarkable day. Their national team secured a scintillating upset on Sunday, defeating India, the defending titlist, to win its first International Cricket Council Champions Trophy.
Pakistan, the eighth and lowest seed in the 18-day tournament, beat India, its fiercest rival, by 180 runs.
“We wanted to inspire the nation,” said Mohammad Hafeez, a Pakistan batsman. “Millions of people waited for that — we’ve been waiting for a moment like this.”
Cricket in Pakistan has always been “a little blip of chaos to the straight lines of order,” as Osman Samiuddin wrote in the book “The Unquiet Ones: A History of Pakistan Cricket.”
Afghanistan and Ireland Are Poised to Join Cricket’s Elite
LONDON — The International Cricket Council plans to award Test status to Afghanistan and Ireland in a vote this week, adding the countries to the elite group of 10 nations that play the five-day format that is considered the sport’s highest level of competition.
If approved, Afghanistan and Ireland will be the first new Test countries since Bangladesh’s promotion to the sport’s most exclusive club in 2000. Both could play their debut Test matches next year.
Test cricket is still widely regarded as the summit of the sport, even as its popularity has been usurped by the faster, flashier version of the game known as Twenty20. The addition of two new nations hints at a new attempt by the I.C.C., cricket’s global governing body, to expand the Test game rather than use Twenty20 alone to increase the sport’s global profile.
We Are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance
Genetic engineering will bring us new Bolts and Shaqs.
The general adoption of gene editing technology will give this search a tailwind. Individual choices by parents are likely to increase the overall frequency in the general population of variants that boost athletic ability. This will gradually increase the population average, and enhance the extreme tail of ability. An increase in the average by one standard deviation (for example, 3 inches in male height, or 15 points in IQ), makes an individual at the 1 in 1,000 level (a 6-foot-7-inch male in the U.S. population) more than 10 times more likely.
Freeman Dyson speculated that, one day, humans would use genetic technologies to modify themselves for space exploration—making themselves more resistant to radiation, vacuum, and zero gravity, perhaps even able to extract energy directly from sunlight. Insertion of genes from entirely different species, like photosynthetic plant genes, brings a whole new meaning to the term GMO: Speciation seems a definite possibility.
Human athletic ability might follow a similar trajectory. The nature of athletes, and the sports they compete in, are going to change due to new genomic technology. Will ordinary people lose interest? History suggests that they won’t: We love to marvel at exceptional, unimaginable ability. Lebron and Kobe and Shaq and Bolt all stimulated interest in their sports. The most popular spectator sport of 2100 might be cage fights between 8-foot-tall titans capable of balletic spinning head kicks and intricate jiu-jitsu moves. Or, just a really, really fast 100m sprint. No doping required.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Russia’s Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound.
Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals.
That was the punishment issued Tuesday to the proud sports juggernaut that has long used the Olympics as a show of global force but was exposed for systematic doping in previously unfathomable ways. The International Olympic Committee, after completing its own prolonged investigations that reiterated what had been known for more than a year, handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history.
The ruling was the final confirmation that the nation was guilty of executing an extensive state-backed doping program. The scheme was rivaled perhaps only by the notorious program conducted by East Germany throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
Now the sports world will wait to see how Russia responds. Some Russian officials had threatened to boycott if the I.O.C. delivered such a severe punishment.
The row is symptomatic of a wider problem. As prize money and sponsorship deals get bigger, so do the incentives for coaches and athletes to find ingenious ways to cheat. But the agencies charged with stopping doping lack independence and money. The rules they are supposed to enforce are riddled with loopholes. The result is a system that looks tough on doping, without uncovering much of it.
There would be a lot to find. Though Russia’s institutionalised doping is probably an outlier, individual doping is rife throughout elite sport. In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, WADA found nearly 2,000 violations, across 85 sports or disciplines and 122 nationalities. Athletics, cross-country skiing, cycling and weightlifting have all suffered repeated scandals. Sports less dependent on simple brawn and endurance, such as baseball, cricket and football, were once thought to be at little risk from doping; no longer. Even animals are at it. Last year four dogs who ran in the Iditarod, an annual long-distance sled-dog race in Alaska, tested positive for a banned opioid painkiller.
Last year, more than 111 million people—about a third of the U.S. population—watched the Super Bowl. The numbers will likely be similar on Sunday: Devout football fans, and those watching their first N.F.L. game all year, will feel the thrill and pull of watching the two playoff finalists, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, face off.
Among the two-thirds of Americans who won’t be watching, some will be no doubt be wondering what anyone gets out of the spectacle. It’s true, in an evolutionarily sense, it may not be obvious what the attraction is: Sports cost time and energy with no clear or direct survival payoff for the players—ditto for the spectators. So what’s the point? Well, it’s also true, in an evolutionary sense, that sports showcase human nature. Here are five reasons why we watch and play sports.
TOKYO — The violent hit to the defenseless quarterback came from behind, after the first play of a game between two storied college football teams. Ordinarily, the illegal tackle would have simply drawn a severe penalty.
But it happened in Japan, where the play — and what led to it — has touched off nationwide examination of deep-rooted cultural dynamics, including what the Japanese call “power hara,” or harassment by those in power who force underlings to do things against their will.
When asked to explain his actions, the linebacker who crushed the quarterback, forcing him from the game with injuries to the back and knee, delivered an answer that made many recoil: his coaches told him to do it.
Nearly three weeks have passed since the notorious hit and debates about “ame futo,” as the sport is known here, have consumed Japan. The hit was captured on video and has been shown on a seemingly continuous loop in a country where football barely registers. The linebacker has been suspended, the coach of the team from Nihon University has resigned, schools have canceled their games against Nihon, and a national conversation about the inherent dangers of the game and its place in Japanese society is at a full boil.
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Cricketer Imran Khan Is Rising to Top of List of Athletes Turned Politicians
The former cricket great Imran Khan is on the verge of becoming prime minister of Pakistan. Innumerable jocks have turned into politicians around the world, starting from the high school quarterback who is elected class president. But the confluence of all-time great athlete and head of government represented by Khan is rare.
If you don’t follow the sport, you might not know that Khan was not merely a garden-variety professional athlete, but was probably the greatest cricketer ever from Pakistan, a country where cricket is by far the dominant sport. He is also one of the sport’s best ever all-rounders, players who can both bat and bowl well. Now on the cusp of the top office in the land, he is looking for a rarely achieved double.
Afghan Women’s Soccer Team Accuses Officials of Sexual Abuse
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government is investigating allegations that players on the women’s national soccer team were sexually and physically abused by male coaches and officials, including the head of the Afghan soccer federation, officials said on Tuesday.
President Ashraf Ghani said in a closed-door speech to the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee on Monday that he had ordered the investigation into the Afghanistan Football Federation in response to a report in The Guardian last week whose revelations he called “shocking to all Afghans.”
FIFA, the world body regulating international soccer, is conducting its own investigation.
The scandal has prompted the team’s principal sponsor, the Danish sportswear company Hummel, to withdraw its support. “The documentation presented to us is not only an indication of gross misconduct and abuse of power by the A.F.F. officials, it is in direct contrast to our values,” the company’s chief executive, Allan Vad Nielsen, said in a statement. “We have no other choice but to cancel the sponsorship.”
The accusations focus on Keramuddin Keram, the president of the Afghanistan Football Federation, which governs both men’s and women’s soccer, as well as other male officials from the federation.
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