SA in tough Davis Cup loss to Lithuania

first_img7 April 2014 South Africa suffered a heart-breaking 2-3 loss to Lithuania in their Euro Africa Group 2 second round Davis Cup tie at the Irene Country club outside of Centurion on Sunday, having led 2-1 heading into the final day’s play. The advantage was with the home team after Jean Andersen and Raven Klaasen won the doubles on Saturday to give them the lead, and an enthusiastic crowd was on hand to cheer them on, but it wasn’t enough as the Lithuanians staged a strong fightback. Friday’s reverse singles had been shared, with Ricardas Berankis beating Jean Andersen 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 and Rik de Voest running out a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 7-6 (7-4) winner over Laurynas Grigelis.Thriller In Sunday’s first match, Berankis defeated De Voest 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 in a three- and-a-half hour thriller. Berankis, who was ranked 67th in the world last year in May before suffering an injury, worked the South African number one hard on his way to a crucial victory. De Voest put up a big fight, in what was his 20th and last Davis Cup rubber for his country. He will be retiring from tennis later this year.‘Emotional’ “Berankis was the quality player out there today,” De Voest said afterwards. “Walking onto court, I really felt emotional, knowing that this was my last match for my country, but with the unbelievable support from the crowd, I was able to put my nerves behind me and focus on the task. Unfortunately the win wasn’t to be and Ricardas was just too good and solid today.” De Voest had a big chance to get ahead in the tenth game of the fourth set when he held three break points, but he failed to capitalise on them. “Things may have been different if I had broken in that tenth game,” he admitted.Tactical change After the Berankis victory, the tie was level at 2-2. South African captain, John- Laffnie de Jager then made a tactical change and named Ruan Roelofse for the final rubber instead of the originally nominated Jean Andersen. Although Roelofse has limited Davis Cup experience, De Jager felt his big game could upset the rhythm of the Lithuanians. Unfortunately it did not go well for the 24-year-old South African, and although the powerfully-built Roelofse put up a gallant effort, he went down to Laurynas Grigelis 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 in just over three hours.Chances Roelofse certainly had his chances. He was up a break in the third set at 4-2 and had he capitalised on that advantage, it could have been a different ball game. “Yes I had my chances and when I look back it upsets me I didn’t take them, but overall I felt I played a good game and did myself and South Africa proud,” he said afterwards.Credit to Lithuania A disappointed De Jager said that all credit should go to Lithuania for coming to South Africa and taming the altitude and putting up a really good performance. “The Lithuanians must be applauded for their effort. It is never easy playing away from home but they arrived early, worked hard, and adapted well by the time the tie started,” De Jager said. He also praised for his team, saying: “My team and squad overall gave their best and put in a real good week. I am proud of them. Now we need to regroup and work hard for 2015.” After the defeat, South Africa will remain in Euro/Africa Group 2 for 2015. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Mandela bust unveiled outside Parliament

first_img29 April 2014 The unveiling of the bust of a smiling Nelson Mandela outside the National Assembly in Cape Town underscored Parliament’s commitment to uphold the legacy of the former statesman, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday. Zuma unveiled the 2.28 metre-high statue of former president Mandela on Monday as part of the country’s Freedom Day celebrations, marking 20 years of democracy. Mandela, who passed away in December last year, was South Africa’s first democratically elected president. The bronze bust on a granite plinth is opposite the steps of the National Assembly in Cape Town, and has Mandela looking towards the gates of Parliament. Zuma also used the occasion to launch the 20 Years of a Democratic Parliament programme.‘In Tata’s footsteps’ The statue showed how far South Africa’s democracy had come: “The unveiling of this bust confirms that our Parliament, which was once a symbol of white domination, has now been transformed into a progressive institution that upholds the values of unity, equality, freedom and the dignity of all South Africans,” said Zuma. “By unveiling this statue, Parliament is declaring that we will continue to walk in Tata’s footsteps, that we will continue to draw lessons and inspiration from his exemplary life and that we will continue to honour his memory,” he said. Zuma paid tribute to former president FW de Klerk, who was at the unveiling. As the last president of apartheid South Africa, De Klerk had put the country first and had played a pivotal role in averting a disaster in South Africa, Zuma said. “Through him we were able to make a breakthrough to create the conditions for our new democracy.”‘Celebrate democracy’ Zuma also used the occasion to urge South Africans to vote in the general election, which will be held on 7 May. “May the spirit of Tata Madiba continue to inspire us all as we continue to build a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, one nation, and one people . we urge our people to come out in their millions to celebrate democracy and freedom by casting their votes.” The unveiling ceremony, which was attended by the Mandela family members, was followed by a mass thanksgiving and prayer meeting at the Good Hope Centre. Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

New premier train for the Mumbai-Goa route

first_imgSoon, train passengers travelling between Mumbai and Goa may be spoilt for choice: cuisine curated by celebrity chefs, tea and coffee vending machines and individual LCD screens. Railways will unveil a new premier train service between Mumbai and Goa in June with state-of-the-art facilities, called the Tejas Express. Comprising executive class and chair cars, Tejas coaches will be equipped with 22 new features, including fire and smoke detection and suppression systems and the improved aesthetics. The seats of Tejas Express coaches equipped with LCD screens.  | Photo Credit: PTI The 20-coach Tejas Express will also have automatic doors and secured gangways for all coaches, a first for the Indian Railways. Currently automatic doors are operational in Metro trains only, while gangways, corridors between coaches, are not closed from the sides.After the Mumbai-Goa run, the Tejas service, which was promised in the budget, is likely to be pressed on the Delhi-Chandigarh route.Since Tejas will be a new premier class train, there will be facilities like tea and coffee vending machines, magazines and snack tables, said a senior Railway Ministry official. There will also be water level indicators in bio-vacuum toilets, sensorised taps, and hand driers.Besides choicest cuisine curated by celebrity chefs, there will also be wi-fi facilities and toilet engagement boards.The train’s interior colour scheme will match the exterior to give the passengers a feel of world class travel.The LCD screens meant for entertainment purpose will also be used for disseminating passenger-related information and safety instructions, the official added.Tejas coaches will also have integrated braille displays, digital destination boards, and electronic passenger reservation charts.Catering service will be part of Tejas fares like Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.The aim is to provide comfort to passengers in the inter-city journeys, the official said.last_img read more

J Lauritzen Hires Additional Bulk Carriers

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: J. Lauritzen Danish shipping company J. Lauritzen has chartered additional bulk carriers as it expects dry cargo market improvements for the remainder of the year.“During the first quarter of 2018, additional bulk carriers were taken on long-term time-charter in anticipation of further dry cargo market improvements,” Mads P. Zacho, CEO of Lauritzen, said.Specifically, a total of six Handysize bulkers were taken on charter with options of extension as well as of purchase, J. Lauritzen said in its quarterly update.In 2017, seven Handysize bulk carriers were taken on medium-term, up to two years, time-charter with options for extension.The company also said that in Q1 2018 two gas carriers were reflagged to the Danish International Register of Shipping (DIS) and became the first J. Lauritzen owned gas carriers under Danish flag since 2003.During the first quarter of this year, J. Lauritzen recorded a negative EBITDA of 6.2 million, against a negative EBITDA of USD 7.4 million in the same period of 2017.“After the typical seasonal weakening at the beginning of the year, dry cargo markets picked up towards the end of Q1. The market for small gas carriers enjoyed the normal seasonal support, particularly the smallest size segments,” the company said.“Lauritzen Bulkers is well positioned for the expected dry cargo market improvements during the balance of the year. However, our core fleet of owned and long-term time-chartered bulk carriers committed in previous years are not expected to reach break-even until 2019,” J. Lauritzen added.In Q1, the average number of controlled bulk carriers were 83 compared to 82 in Q4 2017, while the average number of operated gas carriers reached 32 compared to 32 in Q4 2017, according to the company.last_img read more