I wanted Sydney to be the best ever, I wanted the Australian public to witness the world’s most elite Paralympic athletes doing what we do best – competing at our highest level. I had my first chance to show my home crowd what I could do on September 28, when I took part in the 800 metres demonstration wheelchair race in Olympic Stadium – on the same track I had driven around years earlier.
Qualifying had taken place prior to the Games so this was the final. I was so nervous – the only Aussie in the race. I remember entering the stadium to a sea of colour and noise, 110,000 people watching me. In the last 200 metres, as I raced into the home straight, all I heard and felt was the crowd bringing me home to win gold.
I will never forget my victory lap, I wish I had done two, nor hearing the crowd sing the national anthem with me when I was on the dais, knowing the voices of my parents and friends were among that chorus. Nothing beats that feeling.
Three weeks later, I lit the cauldron to mark the start of the Paralympic Games. My role in the Opening Ceremony was a surprise for all, including my family. I went on to compete in three events – the 800 metres, 1500 metres and 5000 metres. I had won gold in all three at Atlanta in 1996 and the pressure I felt to defend my titles was enormous. I put most of it on myself – but I knew the public wanted it as much as I did.
The 800m was my first event. There was a crash in the first 200 metres of the final, which I managed to avoid but I finished in second place. There were protests but the race was not rerun. I went on to win gold in the 1500m and 5000m.
Sydney proved a breakthrough for the Paralympics movement. How proud was I to be Australian when the Games came to life. The media and public embraced the Games. We were seen as athletes and respected as such, and people came and enjoyed it all, the pure sport that it was. Entire schools came to the Games and the noise was deafening in the main stadium but so welcomed. Sydney became the benchmark for all future Games and the movement has grown from the success of 2000.
Sydney was the Games with a difference – because it was on my own soil. My family have supported me throughout my career – I would not have begun wheelchair racing if it were not for that first come-and-try event I attended as a child – and I will always be grateful that my parents and sister had the chance to watch me do what I do best at those Games, and to experience my sport at its highest level.
I am still navigating that track at Sydney Olympic Park, now as a coach with the NSW Institute of Sport. I revel in being part of other athletes’ journeys and helping them achieve their goals, the way I achieved mine in Sydney 20 years ago. How lucky I was to be part of the 2000 Paralympic Games and to still reap the legacy those games left behind.
Authorities in New York quashed plans for a wedding that could have seen over 10,000 people gather in violation of COVID-19 measures, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
The Rockland County Sheriff”s Office made authorities aware of the huge wedding, which was scheduled for Monday in Williamsburg.
“We were told it was going to take place. We investigated and found that it might be true. There was a big wedding planned that would have violated the rules on gatherings,” Cuomo said at a press conference.
New York’s rules for stemming the spread of COVID-19 limit social gatherings to no more than 50 people. For religious events inside a church or temple, the limit is 33 per cent of its capacity.
Elizabeth Garvey, an adviser to Cuomo, told reporters that “more than 10,000 people planned to attend” the wedding.
“You can get married. You just can’t get a thousand people at your wedding. You get the same results at the end of the day. It’s also cheaper!” Cuomo said.
Local media reported the event was an Orthodox Jewish wedding.
New York was the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak back in spring, and the city has seen more than 23,800 related deaths.
It managed to bring the crisis under control through lockdowns, but in recent weeks the number of reported COVID-19 cases has risen.
Last week Cuomo ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in the worst-hit areas and limited the number of people who can be in places of worship to 10. Schools were also closed.
The governor said Saturday that these measures were already yielding results.
But there is no guarantee of win, as she battles to harvest votes in the conservative Inner South of Canberra — particularly against businessman Patrick Pentony.
Both are vying for the same, fifth seat. And both have to do it without looking like they are fighting at all.
Within Labor, the race is on to be the first loser.
Candidates Jacob Ingram, Maddy Northam and Judy Anderson have very little chance of picking up a seat in this election.
Yet Mr Ingram and Ms Northam in particular are campaigning extraordinarily hard, and seemingly spending significant money too.
Mr Ingram has sought to align his profile with the current Chief Minister as closely as possible, while Ms Northam is distributing leaflets prominently featuring an endorsement from federal Senator Katy Gallagher.
While both would of course like to be elected, realistically they are vying to come third among the Labor candidates.
That is because if Mr Barr retires during the next term — either because Labor has lost the election, or he simply tires of being Chief Minister — they would take his place in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
If Kurrajong is predictable, Brindabella in the south would seem downright dull.
The Liberals are all but assured of the same three seats they have won for the past two elections, and Labor will take its two.
The Liberals’ Nicole Lawder, Andrew Wall and Mark Parton can probably afford to sleep easy on election eve.
For Labor, incumbent MLAs Mick Gentleman and Joy Burch have been in the Assembly for 16 years and 12 years respectively — making them some of the most senior and established candidates seeking election in the ACT.
Yet Labor candidate Taimus Werner-Gibbings is busting his gut down in Tuggeranong seeking a Labor seat.
His only hopes are that Labor can turn back the blue tide in the south, and win a third seat for Labor alongside Ms Burch and Mr Gentleman, which is a very big ask.
Or, he plans to pinch a seat from the senior MLAs.
Most seats have a high-profile candidate running from each party, who is bound to collect most of the first-preference votes.
In Ginninderra, Yvette Berry will probably dominate the Labor vote. In Yerrabi, Alistair Coe will consume a huge slice of the Liberal vote.
The other candidates know that, and know they cannot do much about it (except hang around long enough in politics, and do a good enough job, to eventually become that person).
They will always tell voters they would really like a first-preference vote. But if not, just vote for the major candidate — and please, make me your number two.
The Hare-Clark system of distributing preferences is terrifyingly complex, and fully-known only to a handful of people with lots of time, patience and love for numbers.
But when the computer eventually spits out a result, the final order of candidates is determined by tiny slices of votes sent in all sorts of directions, determined by who voters number where on their ballot paper.
Voters of course spend most time thinking about who they will give their first preference vote to.
A lot of candidates would like them to spend just as much time deciding who they vote for after that — as it matters, a lot.
The Cats’ performance was one of a side completely on its game, totally in the zone and perfectly in sync. They owned the ball — 251 uncontested possessions to 109 — and used the width of the Gabba effectively to pick their way through the lethargic Pies.
Early in his coaching career, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley measured his players against the traits and values of the outstanding Magpies team of the late 1920s dubbed the Machine.
On Saturday night it was their opponents who were “Machine-like”, with an array of contributors and an insatiable hunger to win the ball.
Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins and Patrick Dangerfield, who played predominantly forward, combined for eight goals, both benefitting from the Cats’ midfield dominance.
Dangerfield could have been playing in a jacket and tie — he was all business — and there were no histrionics even after two outrageous banana goals from the pocket.
If Geelong can replicate its semi-final performance, Brisbane will have a serious game on its hands in their preliminary final.
The Tigers rattled the Saints early with an explosive start and scored multiple goals from stoppages, which is not typically the Tigers method.
In the lead-up to the game, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick motivated his players with the story of former world featherweight champion boxer Willie Pep, who overcame adversity — including a plane crash in 1947 — and was regarded as one of the greatest defensive fighters of all time.
When quizzed in the post-match media conference, Hardwick naturally defended his side and claimed playing “on the edge” was the reason the Tigers had made four consecutive preliminary finals.
But what is playing on the edge?
In my view, the Lynch incident had nothing to do with playing on the edge. It was minor but nevertheless an unnecessary cheap shot.
ABC Grandstand expert commentator and former Richmond midfielder Brett Deledio also felt Lynch crossed the line.
“What do you expect us [the media] to do, Dimma [Hardwick], just gloss over it and say that’s acceptable so the next kid can go and do it, or a kid in the Auskick can go and put his knee into someone’s head?” Deledio said on air in response to Hardwick’s comments.
“[Lynch] plays the game tough, there’s no doubt. He crashes packs and brings the ball to ground against two or three blokes but these little ones, it doesn’t show that you’re brave to rub someone’s head into the ground or put your knee into someone.”
Lynch not getting the message
Lynch is becoming a repeat offender.
He has also been involved in questionable off-the-ball incidents with Sam Collins and Michael Hurley this season and was fined for misconduct after he whacked a prone Alex Witherden in the back of the head in Carrara in round 10.
Collingwood premiership player Luke Ball told ABC Grandstand that the incident involving Lynch and Howard was minor in isolation but the Richmond spearhead is skating on thin ice.
“It was silly, in isolation you wouldn’t want him missing [matches] for that,” Ball said.
“The coach has backed him on it and the players on it [and] has spoken of the best teams playing close to that line. He wouldn’t want to cross it next week, though, in a prelim final.”
The ancient Indus Valley Civilisation was located in present-day Pakistan and northwestern India on the plains of the Indus River. Evidence obtained during archaeological excavations show a flourishing civilisation existed in this area around 5500 BCE.
A study by an Indian-born American scientist has revealed that the Indus Valley Civilisation possibly declined due to shifting monsoon patterns linked to climate change.
In an article published in Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, Nishant Malik, Assistant Professor at the School of Mathematical Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology revealed a new technique he developed to show how shifting monsoon patterns potentially triggered the fall of the Indus Valley Civilisation, a contemporary civilisation to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age.
Malik worked out a method to study paleoclimate time series, sets of data that shed a light on past climates through indirect observations. Researchers were able to develop a record of monsoon rainfall in the region for the past 5,700 years by measuring the presence of a certain isotope in stalagmites from a cave in South Asia.
“Usually the data we get when analysing paleoclimate is a short time series with noise and uncertainty in it. As far as mathematics and climate is concerned, the tool we use very often in understanding climate and weather is dynamical systems”, Malik said.
While there’s plenty of theories about how the Indus Valley Civilisation met its demise, varying from earthquakes to invasion by nomadic Indo-Aryans, scientists from Malik’s team believe that the explanation is much simpler — climate change.
Until he came up with his approach there was no mathematical proof, however, his research showed that just before the Indus Valley Civilisation’s decline there was a significant shift in monsoon patterns. The pattern subsequently reversed course right before decline, which, according to the scientist, lilely means that the civilisation’s ultimate fall was caused by climate change.
“We identified a transition in monsoon dynamics, indicating a possible connection between climate change and the decline of the Indus Valley Civilisation”, reads the abstract of the research study.
It has listened to the World Health Organization (WHO) and increased the sophistication of its public health interventions, meanwhile observing the resurgence of infections in countries determined to restore the pre-COVID normal.
Businesses and schools reopened under strict operating procedures mandating temperature screening, social distancing, sanitiser provision and check-in registration.
Testing has been expanded and tracing apps unified. Masks were made compulsory in enclosed public spaces.
Text alerts and enforcement activities have continued to reinforce the need for vigilance.
It also benefits from decades of experience responding to unanticipated virus outbreaks and managing endemic diseases like dengue – for which the vigilance of governments and citizens is a feature of everyday life.
Malaysia’s recent decision to extend its recovery MCO (RMCO) until end 2020 is the latest example of its pragmatic approach. The government will not rush reopening while new clusters continue to be unearthed and a small minority of residents flaunt the rules.
It highlighted the WHO’s expectations of a prolonged pandemic and the risk of “super-spreader” outbreaks in taking a safety first approach.
The announcement has been met with little fuss among Malaysians, welcomed by medical experts and divided economists over the economic consequences.
As an economist, I have serious concerns with the popular health versus economic characterisation of pandemic responses and have previously argued that complementarity is a better objective.
Economists arguing for a wholesale reopening not only fatally downplay the economic consequences of a health catastrophe and disregard human behaviour, they also ignore statistics showing economic recovery in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell 17.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, its worst quarterly performance since the Asian Financial Crisis. It provides a frightening but entirely expected headline given around 55 per cent of the economy was locked down throughout April and only gradually reopened thereafter.
But the monthly figures provide cause for optimism – with April (-28.6 per cent), May (-19.5 per cent) and June (-3.2 per cent) roughly tracking Malaysia’s progressive lifting of various MCO measures; with two-thirds of June under the RMCO arrangements.
Remarkably, Malaysia’s industrial production index for June was down just 0.4 per cent year-on-year despite strict operating procedures, labour shortages in growth sectors (like medical supplies) and the free-falling global economy.
Trade too had its worst quarterly fall (15.1 per cent) since the Global Financial Crisis, but the rebound in June and July was strong. Exports were 5.3 per cent higher year-on-year while imports fell 7.2 per cent.
Deferred trade from earlier months may account for some of the recent boost, but Malaysia’s increasing trade surplus is indicative of its resilience vis-à-vis its trade partners.
The labour market is also showing signs of recovery after unemployment jumped almost 2 per cent to 5.3 per cent in May.
It is too early to declare May the peak, even though unemployment fell to 4.9 per cent in June alongside slight improvements in the participation rate and overall employment levels.
The early returns under the RMCO’s “new normal” appear promising and don’t immediately support calls for further reopening. After all, if the economy can operate at close to normal currently then why risk further relaxation?
Yet the counterargument, that low infection numbers remove the need for restrictions altogether and the economy would fare even better without the safety brace, remains popular.
THE CATASTROPHIC COUNTERFACTUAL
A greater appreciation of health and economic interlinkages can inform this debate.
Malaysia’s 17.1 per cent headline GDP loss was about the same as Italy’s (-17.3 per cent). Italy suffered an earlier, devastating outbreak, recording 34,800 more deaths than Malaysia over that three-month period.
It may seem crude to put a value on lives lost but policymakers do when considering road safety, social impact assessments and insurance valuations. There is no Malaysian or international standard value of a statistical life (VSL), with those used in developed countries ranging from US$2 million to US$10 million.
Using a US$5 million VSL for illustration, 34,800 deaths equates to over US$174 billion – or almost double Malaysia’s first quarter GDP. The counterfactual benefit of lives saved – at 200 per cent of GDP – dwarfs the 17.1 per cent lost.
Government policies need to keep citizens vigilant in what may prove a lengthy battle against COVID-19. Examples around the world suggest Malaysia’s safe approach of retaining the RMCO is prudent.
Europe’s emerging infection resurgence exemplifies concerns with lockdown fatigue and the dangers of unquarantined tourism.
Australia’s experience highlights how quickly the virus can spread in a community that hasn’t fully embraced “new normal” behaviours.
Vietnam demonstrates the dangers of enthusiastically encouraging domestic tourism.
It is in this context that the RMCO arguably serves its greatest purpose – in providing an ever-present reminder that behaviours – like social distancing, personal hygiene, wearing masks, limiting and registering movements and transferring activities online – must stay.
It imposes penalties on those who do not comply – including businesses that may otherwise revert to risky practices to save costs and boost turnover.
It limits international travel to essential and safer pursuits and allows foreign citizens to stay (and in some cases re-enter) and contribute to Malaysia’s recovery.
The Malaysian government takes its public health responsibilities seriously. “The government will continue striving to curb the spread of the pandemic and urging the people to adopt the new normal, including complying with the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOP) in their daily lives,’ Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said earlier in August.
ARRANGEMENTS CAN BE FINE-TUNED
This is not an argument that the RMCO settings have been perfected and should remain indefinitely, though confidence would benefit from clearer guidance on measures that must stay in the foreseeable future.
An important feature of Malaysia’s reopening has been its deliberative dynamism; adjusting carefully as circumstances change and after standard operating procedures have been developed.
Activities such as live entertainment, clubs and crowds at sporting events remain banned, whereas partial re-openings have been achieved overseas under strict regulations.
These arguably involve lesser risk than unrestricted interstate travel – which has played a prominent role in super-spreader events both in Malaysia and globally.
Even then, single-destination interstate travel for essential reasons can be managed at low-risk.
Measures prioritising safety (quarantine and testing), duration (long-term purposes) and criticality (work/medical/family) instead of travel bans based on specific borders can help carefully open the travel envelope.
Looking ahead, critics have rightly asked whether support will be extended alongside the RMCO, particularly for sectors that remain closed or face bleak prospects for as long as the pandemic persists.
Just as the RMCO provides the legal foundations supporting the health response, the stimulus measures and forthcoming budget underpin the economic.
Without detailed information on the implementation of stimulus measures, it is hard to determine how much of the June/July recovery was dependant on government support.
As Malaysians mark “Rumah Merdeka” – the pandemic friendly version of Independence Day – their collective sacrifices and achievements to date deserve quiet celebration and greater recognition.
But as the resilient, humble people and their underestimated political and bureaucratic leadership recognise, the battle is far from won.
The downfall of Anthony Seibold has been tragically swift.
Less than two years ago, Seibold was named Coach of the Year at the 2018 Dally M Awards in his maiden season as an NRL coach with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Broncos quickly earmarked him as their best option to replace Wayne Bennett, and after an awkward transition Seibold was touted as the man to lead the Broncos to their first premiership since 2006.
But according to the Courier Mail the shadow of Bennett lingered, making Seibold “somewhat paranoid”.
He was intent on removing any reference to the mastercoach at Red Hill and removed Bennett-scripted slogans from the gym.
Seibold oversaw a modest 2019 season in which Brisbane narrowly qualified for the finals despite recording more losses than defeats before bowing out of the NRL premiership with a humiliating 58-0 loss to the Parramatta Eels.
Since that record defeat, everything that could go wrong for Seibold, seemingly has.
Ahead of the 2020 season, Seibold sacked Darius Boyd as captain and anointed Alex Glenn as his replacement — after the New Zealand forward had considered leaving the club months earlier.
Roster mismanagement also proved critical as Kodi Nikorima, Jaydn Su’A and Patrick Mago were let go from the Broncos, only to unearth career-best form at other clubs.
Seibold’s dependance on Melbourne Storm halfback Brodie Croft as a chief playmaker did not pay dividends either.
The coronavirus lockdown threw the entire sporting world into disarray, but the Broncos in particular struggled to regroup following the hiatus.
Whether it was due to fitness or inability to integrate the new set restart rules, Brisbane quickly became a laughing stock.
The Broncos have only recorded one victory in their last 13 encounters, and have comfortably conceded more points than any club in the NRL this season.
On average, Brisbane’s opponents have scored 31 points per game, while the struggling club has only managed 14 per game themselves.
The NRL powerhouse is now a favourite to claim the wooden spoon — it’s hardly fathomable.
As suggested by The Courier-Mail, Seibold had a tendency to over-complicate his strategies, which left players perplexed. The Brisbane roster struggled to embrace the complex plans, a significant reason for Anthony Milford’s dip in form.
Cracks slowly started to appear in Seibold’s relationship with his players, and the issues were blatantly clear in July. After suffering six consecutive NRL defeats, Brisbane captain Alex Glenn revealed the squad had opted to dictate preparations themselves, because the players “weren’t having fun at training”.
So disjointed was their trust in the coaching staff, the players were taking matters into their own hands.
Seibold was also reluctant to budge on his methodology — according to NRL.com, several Broncos players claimed their coach had repeatedly ignored advice, determined his strategies would eventually come together.
An emphasis on notepads sessions was also made a mockery of, and as revealed by NRL.com, centre James Roberts spent one session repeatedly jotting down his signature instead of taking notes.
On-field performances — or a lack thereof — were only exacerbated by countless off-field controversies.
Earlier this month, Seibold was forced into a 14-day quarantine after choosing to leave the squad’s bubble to attend to a family matter. Meanwhile, salacious rumours circulated on social about the Broncos coach, who was forced into hiring lawyers.
Soon after, 10 Brisbane players were then caught breaching the league’s strict biosecurity protocols to enjoy a few beverages at a pub, and the club was heavily sanctioned.
Brisbane young gun David Fifita eventually had enough, signing with the Gold Coast Titans for the 2021 season. Eighteen months ago, Broncos fans would have laughed at the suggestion, but now it appears to be an understandable move.
“The role as coach of the Broncos is one of the most high-profile and high-pressure in Australian sport, and Anthony has performed admirably since starting in late 2018,” Broncos chairman Karl Morris said on Wednesday.
“But the levels of scrutiny – some of it bordering on hysterical, if not slanderous in recent times – have placed a heavy burden on Anthony and his family.
“As a Club, we have endeavoured to support Anthony and his loved ones through all of this.
“But at the end of the day only Anthony can understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Broncos Coach, and live with he highs and lows of the role.”
Sunshine Coast resident Jayne Brown says she is angry that Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young “has gone against, in my opinion, the best neurosurgeon in the world and his recommendation for his patient.”
My brain is a fucking mess and I hate it. Everything that I love turns into one of the only things that makes me feel alive, whether it’s talking to my friends or playing D&D. I don’t have any healthy coping mechanisms and I genuinely don’t know how to feel alive without relying on a hobby. I know that therapy is probably the only answer but all of my therapy experiences have been negative, so I feel like I subconsciously reject the idea of it and believe therapy makes things worse. I just…. don’t know what to do.