Embed from Getty ImagesBristol City boss Lee Johnson confirmed after leaving Luke Freeman out against Cardiff that the decision was taken because of doubts over the player’s future.West London Sport recently revealed that QPR had made a move for the 24-year-old winger, whose Robins contract expires at the end of the season.That offer was rejected and City have offered him a new deal, leaving Rangers to consider their options.One of those options is to try to sign Freeman on a pre-contract agreement for the end of the season, as City have indicated that they do want to sell.However, Johnson appeared to suggest after his team’s 3-2 home defeat against Cardiff that Freeman’s time at Ashton Gate could be up unless he agrees to sign a contract extension – and that a decision needs to be made soon.Johnson told his club’s website that Freeman’s omission “had everything to do with the contract situation.”Embed from Getty ImagesHe added: “The objective remains that we want Luke to stay and sign the contract, but there always comes a tipping point.“Luke has two good clubs interested in him. One is closer to home; the other is one where he has made his name, improving year on year and where he is loved by the staff, players and fans.“The contract remains there for him to sign but he hasn’t yet. In a derby I just felt that I couldn’t risk having anyone out there who may not have been committed.“I’m not for one minute saying that Luke is not committed, but there’s clearly a lot going through his mind at the moment.“We still live in hope that he’ll sign the contract but we can’t leave that on the table forever. We have to do what’s right for Bristol City first and foremost.”He has to make a decision and do that reasonably quickly.”See also:QPR still eyeing deal for Bristol City’s Freeman Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch) x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Weighing in at more than 3.5 tons, the new statue of Nelson Rolihlala Mandela unveiled on Monday 16 December 2013 at the Union Buildings shows the father of the nation stretching out his arms.The Nelson Mandela statue at the Union Buildings in Pretoria is one of South Africa’s national heritage sites. (Image: South African Tourism)Brand South Africa reporterA nine-metre-tall bronze statue of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on the Day of Reconciliation, bringing to a close the official 10-day mourning period for the much loved former state president, who died at his Johannesburg home on 5 December 2013.President Jacob Zuma, who oversaw the proceedings of Monday 16 December 2013, said the Mandela statue would act as a constant reminder for the nation to maintain Madiba’s values of unity, reconciliation, compassion and ubuntu.“The statue will forever remind us of Madiba’s towering vision and stature. It will remind us of his commitment, his leadership and his dedication to the struggle against apartheid. It will forever remind us of his commitment to an improved quality of life for all,” he said.Here is a collection of interesting facts about the new Mandela statue:The R8-million statue at the Union Buildings was commissioned in June 2013.It is 9-metres high, the tallest figurative bronze sculpture of Mandela. The tallest memorial is Marco Cianfanelli’s steel construction at the capture site near Howick in KwaZulu Natal, which is 9.48-metres tall. Cianfanelli’s sculpture commemorates the arrest of Mandela in 1962.Made out of bronze, the statue weighs 3.5 tons. The stainless steel armature inside the statue weighs an additional 800kg.The “wingspan” of the statue – from fingertip to fingertip – is eight metres.It was initially commissioned by the National Heritage Council, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, as part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of the Union Buildings, South Africa’s seat of government, in Pretoria.The statue is situated at the Union Buildings, the same place where Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994. Zuma has since declared the Union Buildings a national heritage site.South African sculptors André Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren were responsible for creating the statue. The artists are part of a stable of sculptors who have been working on various projects for the government’s Long Walk to Freedom project.In the past Prinsloo and Janse van Vuuren worked together on the sculptures of Chief Langalibalele and Dr Abdullah Abdurahman.According to Prinsloo’s site, the sculptors considered various poses like the Raised Fist Salute, but in the Spirit of Reconciliation the current open arm pose was suggested. This was approved and accepted by the client.The project was overseen by Dali Tambo, the son of struggle veteran Oliver Tambo, who was a close friend of Mandela’s. Tambo is the chief executive of Koketso Growth, which managed the project on behalf of the NHC.The project received final approval in mid-July 2013, giving the artists just four months to complete the giant statue. “We finished it in record time,” Prinsloo said in an interview with IOL.The statue was cast in 147 pieces at four different foundries before it was assembled in Cape Town.Metal work and engineering was carried out with assistance from the Knight brothers at Sculpture Casting Services Foundary in Cape Town. The legs and arms were cast by the company’s branch in Nottingham road in KwaZulu-Natal and transported to the site by flat-bed truck.It took three weeks to complete constructing the giant statue with a complementary team of 35 workers, Prinsloo said.The statue shows a smiling Mandela, with his arms stretched out and his hands open, as if to embrace the nation. “You will notice that in all the statues that have been made of Madiba, he is raising his fist and at times stretching it. That derives from the slogan of the ANC,” Zuma explained at the unveiling. “This one is different from many. He is stretching out his hands. He is embracing the whole nation. You shouldn’t say this is not Madiba because we know him with his one [raised] hand.”The design was approved by a committee including Paul Mashatile, the minister of arts and culture, Tambo, and representatives from the National Heritage Council, Prinsloo said.Prinsloo told Brand South Africa that the artists considered his open arms not only as a gesture of reconiciliation, but also one of bestowing a blessing. “Mandela is looking down on the people in front of him, blessing them.” It is also in the spirit of the hymn, God bless Africa, he said.The Mandela statue stand where a figure of former prime minister James Barry Hertzog used to stand. Hertzog was prime minister from 1924-1939. “Following an exhaustive consultation process, and in the spirit of reconciliation that our country has become renowned for, the representatives of Hertzog agreed that his statue be relocated to another spot in the Union Buildings in order to make way for Madiba’s statue,” Zuma said.“I feel honoured to have been asked to work on a statue of Madiba who have actually gone through a lot during his lifetime,” Prinsloo said in an interview with SAnews.“After serving 27 years in prison, Madiba walk out smiling and fully embracing everyone including those who had locked him up in jail. He was not angry and never thought retaliating, so a nation, I think this statue must always remind us to embrace each other.”This article was originally posted on 17 December 2013.Sources: Fotoman Photography, IOL, André Prinsloo Scuplture, and South African Government News Agency.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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After surprising everyone with their stellar performance in the Commonwealth Games, the Indian athletics contingent received a sobering blow on the penultimate day of the Games after 20km woman race walker Rani Yadav tested positive for a banned substance – 19 Norandrosterone – and was provisionally suspended.Yadav, 20, from Benares, had finished sixth in the 20km walk on Saturday. “The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) can now confirm that the ‘A’ sample of Rani Yadav, a competitor in the women’s 20 kilometre road race on October 9 was found to contain 19-Norandrosterone, a prohibited anabolic agent under category S1 of the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) list of prohibited substances and methods,” a CGF statement said.The statement added that Yadav had been “provisionally suspended from the Games” and would have to attend a CGF provisional hearing. Reacting to the latest dope smear on Indian athletics, organising committee secretary Lalit Bhanot said: “It is a difficult situation.It is unfortunate that an Indian athlete has tested positive even though we took all the necessary precautions.” The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) termed Yadav’s positive dope test as ‘unfortunate’, and released statement saying: “NADA will continue its work towards dope free sports in India.”The chief coach of the Indian athletics contingent, Bahadur Singh, said the incident came out of the blue. “What hurts me more is that even after we carried numerous out-of-competition tests to ensure that none of the athletes were on dope, Rani Yadav tested positive,” he told MAIL TODAY.He said, “It is a disgrace for us and especially after all the accolades the athletes received for their splendid performance in this year’s Games, this comes as a huge dampener. But we will abide by the CGF’s decision. Their call on the matter is going to be final. But the revelation definitely brings our morale down.”advertisementRani is the third athlete to test positive at the Delhi Games. Nigerian sprinters Osayemi Oludamola and Samuel Okon were suspended after testing positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.Past positiveRani Yadav, who tested positive for 19-Norandrosterone, isn’t the first Indian athlete to be caught for the drug. In September, netball player Megha Chaudhary tested positive for the same anabolic agent but was let off by an anti-doping disciplinary panel, which attributed the positive result to contraceptive tablets that Chaudhary had taken.
A day after the proposed National Sports Bill was rejected by the cabinet, Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Wednesday hit out at the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) saying that the cricket board needs to be more accountable in its functioning.Maken said the proposed bill was intended to make sports bodies more transparent and efficient and was in no way an attempt to take control of these National Sports Federations.”I wouldn’t want to say what happened in the cabinet meting yesterday, I just like to reiterate the sport ministry’s stand and my stand. We are in no way trying to control the sports federations or sports bodies,” Maken told reporters in the national capital.”We don’t intend to have our own representatives in any way in any of the managements of these sports bodies, we don’t want to direct them, whether they would like to take Ajay Maken as one of their members or some of others MPs or ministers,” he said.Maken said he was particularly disappointed with the opposition to the bill by cricket administrators and said federations need to be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act for greater accountability.”We just want transparency and efficiency in their functioning, since they are sending teams outside India representing the country, they should be answerable to all Indians through RTI (Right to Information). Their accounts should be known to public through RTI, after all they are using government funds and sending teams, so we want them to be accountable to the citizens of India through RTI,” he said.advertisementMaken said that for example people would like to know for how much did the BCCI get the land for the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi or the ground at Dharamsala.”The BCCI should point out what provisions are intrusive in nature and which clauses will have government control. We will remove all that but they should not oppose 25 per cent representation of sports persons in the Executive Board and the RTI,” Maken said.”Secondly, they should have age restrictions, after all in bureaucracy, we have 60 years as age of retirement, in judiciary it is 65 and in others it is 62-63, we have kept the age limitation at 70 years for sports federations,” he said.Explaining the nuances of the bill, Maken said having sports persons in administration is a step towards transparency.”What we are saying is that 25 per cent of the executive body should constitute of sports persons of the same game, we are not saying govt will appoint that 25 per cent.”What we are saying is that sports persons who have played at the national level, they should among themselves select, elect sports persons who should represent 25 per cent of their executive body,” he said.”We want to give more power to sports persons, we want them to be transparent in their accounting and entire process, we want them to be answerable to the citizens of India because after all they are sending teams which is representing India as a nation,” he added.The cabinet had rejected the bill on Tuesday with ministers such as ICC President Sharad Pawar, Mumbai Cricket Association chief Vilasrao Deshmukh and J&K Cricket Association head Farooq Abdullah opposing it.The Ministers felt that the bill was seeking to control rather than facilitate the development of sports and had raised objections on the age and tenure restrictions.