Harvey Norman Promotion

first_imgThrough our TFA website and newsletter, NRL Touch Football’s major sponsor, Harvey Norman, has a new great deal for our members. Out now at Harvey Norman is their Stylish Smart Jewellery collection with exclusive pieces designed by Iris Apfel. Harvey Norman is offering a 10 percent discount off all Smart Jewellery pieces for all members of Touch Football Australia. For more information or to purchase your Smart Jewellery, please click here.Be sure to use the code ‘SMART10’ to redeem your discount. Stay tuned to the TFA website and newsletter for more great Connected Health and Fitness deals from Harvey Norman. Related LinksHarvey Norman Deallast_img

Winnipeg shelter partners with Fringe Festival to raise cash for programs

first_imgAPTN National NewsA play by a Winnipeg homeless shelter is being featured at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.The Siloam Mission hopes that by showcasing its theatrical skills, it can raise cash for programs.APTN’s Matt Thordarson reports.mthordarson@aptn.calast_img

BlackBerry shares up after profits beat expectations automotive sector grows

first_imgBlackBerry Ltd.’s shares soared Friday after its latest financial results topped expectations and it outlined plans for growth in autonomous driving, a push into health care and intentions to add significant engineering talent.The company beat expectations through growth in its enterprise software and services business, as well as in its fast-growing automotive division, John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and chief executive, said in an interview.“Transportation, especially when it comes to autonomous driven vehicles and connected car, that unit had done the best in the last quarter,” he said.The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said it earned US$43 million or eight cents per basic share in its latest quarter, more than double earnings of $19 million or four cents per basic share a year ago.On an adjusted basis, BlackBerry said it earned four cents per share for the quarter, beating the penny per share profits analysts on average had expected according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The company’s shares were up $2.20 or 16.6 per cent to $15.49 in late-morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.While overall revenue dropped to $210 million from $238 million last year, the automotive division saw 29 per cent revenue growth with more to come, said Chen.“It will continue to grow double-digit for the next couple quarters, so we think that is a big growth opportunity for BlackBerry.”The company recently announced a partnership with Ottawa-based technology accelerator L-SPARK to help small- and medium-sized businesses bring new products to market using its BlackBerry QNX automotive software.Chen said the company also plans to ramp up efforts in autonomous driving and other divisions.“You ask our own people, who are much more bullish than I am, they’re talking about adding a thousand engineers,” he said.“It’s going to be multi-years, I mean you can’t find a thousand engineers because there’s such high demand and short supply. But we do have the advantage that a lot of our development organization is in Canada, so we’re very closely tied to the university programs. So we’re going to hire a lot of engineers I’m sure.”But while technology development is ramping up on the automotive side, Chen said he’s more cautious than his colleagues as to when we’ll see fully autonomous vehicles take hold.He said the technology should be available and affordable in the next few years, but thinks infrastructure and policies on safety and other issues will push back a widespread rollout.“I’m encouraged for the future, I just think that most people think it’s going to happen faster than I think it will.”Companies in this story: (TSX:BB)last_img read more

City of Fort St John to hold Open House on Kin and

first_imgThe City says work on both Park Site Plans will be conducted at the same time for efficiency.Following the creation of both Park Site Plans, the upgrades will be included in future Capital Budgets for consideration.The Park Site Plans Open House will be taking place at the North Peace Cultural Centre on Tuesday, May 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for Kin Park and 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. for Surerus Park.For more information, and to provide input, you can visit letstalk.fortstjohn.ca. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John will be holding an Open House in regards to the future of Kin and Surerus Parks.According to the City, as part of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, it was identified that both Kin and Surerus are in need of upgrading.As part of the upgrading process, the City is seeking public input on the current state of the parks and what the future vision should include.last_img read more

To grab property woman and lover bump off her parents

first_imgNew Delhi: To grab the parental property, a woman with her paramour hatched the dramatic plot to kill her parents by smothering them to death in Outer Delhi’s Paschim Vihar area. Police have found that the daughter was the main conspirator who mixed sleeping pills in their parent’s tea and later killed them with her lover.An investigator told this newspaper that the daughter during interrogation showed no remorse for killing her parents. “The duo hatched the plan to grab a property owned by the elderly couple at Deepak Vihar’s Nilothi extension. Roughly the cost of property estimated at Rs 50 lakh,” police said. Police identified the accused as Davinder Kaur alias Sonia (mastermind) and Prince Dixit alias Vikram. The investigation agency said that the accused wanted to sell the property so they have contacted few property dealers. “They wanted to flee Delhi at the earliest,” police said. The case came to the limelight on March 8 around 4.30 pm after information was received to police that a female body was found in the drain near village Sayed in Nangloi. “Apparently, it seemed that the deceased was murdered by someone and the dead body was thrown into the drain,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) Seju P Kuruvilla. During the investigation, the body was identified as that of Jageer Kaur (47). On further enquiry, it was found that her husband Gurmeet Singh was also missing. During the search on March 9, a male body was found by the police team which was later identified as Gurmeet Singh. “During questioning, the statements of Davinder Kaur were found to be suspicious and contradictory with the facts and circumstances. After sustained interrogation, she finally revealed that she herself was involved in the murder of her parents,” said the DCP. Davinder told police that she had left her husband and was in the relationship with Prince Dixit for the last one year. “Davinder and Dixit wanted to grab the property at Deepak Vihar in Nilothi extension so the duo hatched a conspiracy to kill her parents and grab the property,” the officer said. Jageer Kaur left for Jalandhar on February 10. “On February 21, the accused intoxicated her father by mixing sleeping pills in his tea. At night, Dixit came to the house with two more people and smothered Gurmeet Singh to death. “They then packed the body in a suitcase and threw it in a drain near Sayed Nangloi village,” he added. Dixit fled to Lucknow the next morning along with the two other accused, the officer said. Dixit was informed a day before that Jageer Kaur would return Delhi from Punjab on March 2. “He came back to Delhi with one of his friends. The same day, her daughter gave sleeping pills to her mother and once she fell asleep, Kaur was smothered to death by the accused duo who then disposed of the body in the same drain after stuffing it inside a suitcase,” Kuruvilla said adding that Gurmeet was a carpenter by profession.last_img read more

Sweatproof your makeup this season

first_imgSummer is full of wonderful things – but melting makeup, smeared eyeliner, and super-sticky lipstick are not among them. Here one need to adopt best tips for keeping makeup looking fresh and pretty, even when the weather is working against you. So here is the checklist of skin care habit to adopt in this summer to prevent melting makeup. Slather the sunscreen Skipping the sunscreen is a cardinal sin on any given day. But the effects of it are even harsher on days when the sun is at its brightest. Look for sunscreen with SPF 30 at least and make it a part of your daily skincare routine before you step out of the house. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainHack to ensure you apply sunscreen everyday is to find a moisturiser that has a generous amount of SPF in it. Apply It generously not just on the face but also neck, arms, and chest or any part of the body that may be exposed to the sun. Scrub with care It’s during warmer months that your skin need exfoliation the most. Gentle exfoliation during the warmer months saves you from clogged pores and removes blackheads and whiteheads, which in turn gives your skin a chance to breathe. As with any skincare product, it’s best to scan the label beforehand for red flags such as fragrances and alcohol. For sensitive skin, explicators with micro-beads work best. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma Award Lighten the lotion Moisturisers don’t have to be banished to the back ends of your beauty drawer with the dawn of spring. In fact, using light, water-based moisturisers will keep your skin soft and nourished during these months. This holds especially true for these with sensitive skin as water-based moisturisers get absorbed easily and don’t leave a tacky layer behind the same theory applies to body lotions. Using oil- or glycerin-based body lotions can cause acne on your back and upper arms bringing your noodle strap top dreams to a resounding halt. Chuck out your old make-up We all have a soft corner for that limited edition blush or that perfect shade of lipstick we bought a few years ago even though our minds tell us to bin it. But you need to start listening to your logic and follow the expiry dates.This includes filtering the stash and getting rid of lipsticks that smell wired, foundations that have separated and blushes that have damaged bristles. (inputs by Yashu Jain, MD, Mattlook cosmetics)last_img read more

Rural slump to slow FMCG growth to 1112 in 2019

first_imgMumbai: The fast-moving consumer goods industry is likely to grow at a slower pace of 11-12 percent in 2019, almost 2 percentage points lower than in 2018, primarily driven by the steeply falling rural demand due to the lingering farm distress, says a report. The industry is also expected to grow at 12-13 percent in the June quarter, market research agency Nielsen said in a report Wednesday. The sector grew at 13.6 percent in the first quarter. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalBut there is a softening of volume growth to the tune of 100- 200 basis points, still helping to grown in double-digits in the first half. More importantly, the second half will see more strain leading to high single-digit growth, it said. The volume growth which peaked in 2018 to 11 percent is expected to be healthy but lower at 8.5-9.5 percent in 2019, the report added. It said this is not surprising as similar fall is seen in the economy as a whole which grew at a lower 6.6 percent in the December quarter, against an expected 6.8 percent. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostInflationary pressure is also seen mounting in recent months from a little over 2 percent in January to 2.9 percent in March 2019, the report added. While there is only a slight drop in urban volumes, there is a significant softening of demand trend in rural markets which has been dampening the overall industry growth from the third quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019. Historically, rural markets has been growing 3-5 percentage points faster than their urban counterparts and the recent slowdown in rural growth has brought growth rate closer to the urban level, the report added. The overall drop witnessed in rural growth is majorly driven by slowdown in packaged food category, it noted.last_img read more

Morocco Caucus At US Congress Strongly Supports Moroccos Autonomy Plan For

first_imgWashington-  The “Morocco caucus” at the US Congress reiterated firm support to the Moroccan autonomy plan for the Sahara and recalls the US administration “unchanged position” on the issue.In a letter to US president Barak Obama on the eve of a working visit to Washington by HM King Mohammed VI (Nov.22), the caucus stresses the utmost importance that this issue has for Morocco, calling the US chief executive to seize the “opportunity” of the Moroccan king’s visit to “reaffirm the US unchanged policy of support to a settlement based on large autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.The Moroccan autonomy initiative put forward by Morocco in 2007 remains “the best framework for a negotiated political solution,” says the letter which also insists “it is one of the few issues enjoying wide consensus both at the House of Representatives and the Senate”. Of Morocco-US relations, the congress members recall that Morocco, the first nation to recognize the United States of America, is “a friend country and a solid partner in North Africa”, sharing “our values and aspirations for the region. As such, the letter goes on, “given the current juncture at the regional level”, relations with Morocco have “a capital and strategic importance”.The Morocco caucus also urges for seizing the opportunity of HM the King’s trip to Washington to consolidate “strategic relations” with Morocco to face “common challenges in North Africa and the Sahel region”.last_img read more

The Sumo Matchup Centuries In The Making

Hakuho and fellow sumo wrestlers train. Tim Foley Snatch Hakuho from his peak, shove him into your DeLorean and send him into any point in the past — including the 1790s — and he will almost certainly be a favorite to stay in the ring, on his feet, against any human or human-like god-giant that he runs into. We know this.But considering his unprecedented domination of his competition, his broad skill set and, yes, even his controversial willingness to push boundaries in pursuit of victory, he can likely match any sumotori legend for legend as well. The shikiri (pre-match ritual) takes several minutes. The wrestlers clap to attract the attention of the gods, lift their hands to show they are unarmed, stomp the ground to scare away demons and throw salt in the ring to purify it. They repeatedly crouch as if about to start the match and then stand up after a few moments of glaring at each other. When they are finally ready, they creep toward their starting stance.There is no bell. The match starts with a tachi-ai (initial charge), which generally happens the instant the opponents are set.Harumafuji lunged from his crouch, low, exploding toward Hakuho in an effort to take control of the bout early. Instead, he caught a quick palm to the face — and then air. His momentum carried him clear out of the other side of the ring, like he’d tried to bull-rush a ghost.The match had lasted one second.Kisenosato scowled and walked out of the ring area. Commentators didn’t quite know what to say; one of the English announcers let out a long “hmmmmm.” The crowd booed its champion.This is not normally how a match of this scale plays out. Side-stepping an opponent’s charge is legal but considered beneath the dignity of top sumotori. The move is known derisively as a henka (変化), which translates to “change” or “changing,” while connoting the root “strange” (変). That it would be used by an all-time great in one of the most consequential matches of his career was strange indeed.With all Hakuho has accomplished, his greatness is unquestionable, but his legacy is an enigma. It is already beyond being measured by wins and losses, or even by yusho (tournament wins) or sansho (special prizes), so incidents like this now take on particular importance. But judging him by heel turns would be reductive. The best way to measure Hakuho’s legacy is to pit it against legend.Enter thunder and lightning. The final match of the 2016 Haru Basho — one of six professional sumo tournaments held each year — was a day-15 championship-deciding showdown between the sport’s top yokozuna.1Yokozuna, 横綱 (literal: “horizontal rope”), means “grand champion.” Named after the decorative rope that yokozuna wear during their ring-entering ceremony. Officially recognized as the highest rank in 1909. Hakuho, the White Peng,2Hakuho (白鵬) translates literally to “White Peng.” Peng is a mythological Chinese bird described in Zhuangzi as being so large that “his wings are like clouds draped across the heavens.” the dominant force in sumo over the past decade, was 13-1 in the tournament and hadn’t lost since his opening match.If he could beat rival Harumafuji — himself a winner of seven Grand Tournament championships — Hakuho would win a record 36th Emperor’s Cup, about the equivalent of a 24th major in tennis or golf.3Since 1926, the winner of each honbasho (official tournament) has received the Emperor’s Cup. There have been six honbasho per year since 1958. If he lost, he would have to wrestle again (almost immediately) in a tiebreaker against 13-2 ozeki4Ozeki, 大関 (literal: “great barrier”), means “champion” and is presently the highest rank besides yokozuna. (Before 1909, yokozona was a ceremonial title and ozeki was the highest rank.) Kisenosato, who was waiting ringside. Tegata are collectible autographs featuring a wrestler’s name and handprint. The one on the left is allegedly Raiden’s; on the right is Hakuho’s. These are not necessarily to scale. Raiden’s hands are said to have been 9.4 inches from palm to tip. Fish scales of greatnessThere is perhaps no more intricate ritual among sports fans than debating the relative merits of greats across eras.Over time, athletes get stronger, faster and better-trained, and benefit from accumulated institutional knowledge. NFL kickers, for example, have been getting better at a nearly constant rate for 80-plus years. So we have meta-debates about whether athletes should get more credit for dominating the competition in an earlier, top-heavy era or for excelling in a mature sport with a broader talent pool. For example, who’s the more impressive outlier, Dan Marino or Peyton Manning?If we want to imagine athletes from different times competing, do we assume they would have enjoyed all the advantages and disadvantages of the comparison era, or do we focus on strict time-traveling scenarios? And, crucially, in time-traveling scenarios, are you bringing present-day athletes into the past, or are you snatching past legends and bringing them to the present?From what we know about his career, Raiden won more often than Hakuho on a bout-by-bout basis. Yet though Raiden’s career was longer in years, it was short on matches. Here’s every Makuuchi division sumo career for comparison: Raiden, on the other hand, was well above average in height, weight and BMI. At 6-foot-6, he was just about 6 inches taller than his typical opponent, and his 373-pound weight gave him an 80-pound advantage. But there’s an important factor here: Relatively speaking, Raiden isn’t that much bigger than Hakuho. Raiden was about an inch and a half taller and 25 to 35 pounds heavier. Hakuho, by virtue of being less massive than many opponents, is especially strong and/or skilled for his size. In other words, because of the size difference across eras, Hakuho has the advantages of a smaller, more agile fighter without the disadvantage of being that much smaller than Raiden.Note that this is a minor variation from the standard “people get better over time” argument, because it applies relative to their era. It’s not only that Hakuho has been as dominant as he has been in a likely tougher era, but also that his dominance is a product of qualities (strength/speed/skill) that also would be likely to advantage him against Raiden. Tournaments grew in size, length and quantity throughout the 1900s, and in 1958, sumo adopted the current structure of six grand tournaments per year (one every two months), with 15 matches each. Both Raiden and Hakuho are clearly the top wrestlers in their given eras, but how good are they relative to how good we expect top wrestlers in their eras to be?For this chart, I’ve plotted historical win percentages for wrestlers ranked ozeki or higher, with the number of years they competed at those ranks represented by bubble sizes: Raiden’s career — like Hakuho’s — didn’t pass without controversy. It’s said that on account of Raiden’s dominance, some of his favored techniques were at least temporarily banned from the sport. And for reasons that appear to be lost to history, he was never awarded the title yokozuna. The Yokozuna Stone at the Tomioka Hachiman Shrine — home of the first professional sumo tournament — has the names of every yokozuna inscribed on it, plus one: the “peerless rikishi”6Rikishi, 力士 (literal: “powerful man”), means professional sumo wrestler. Raiden.This is the burden of Hakuho’s dominance: He is no longer competing with his peers; he’s competing with the peerless. The highest-ranked sumo wrestlers like Hakuho wear the yokozuna rope during dohyo-iri (the ring-entering ceremony). Tim Foley Hakuho — born Monkhbatyn Davaajargal and given the shikona Hakuho Sho — is the son of a six-time Mongolian wrestling champion and Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling. Despite his pedigree, Hakuho was an undersized sumo prospect — weighing only 137 pounds when he started training at age 15 — and almost went unrecruited. Although he would eventually reach 6-foot-4 and competes at around 330-340 pounds today, he is lighter and thinner than the majority of his opponents. Taller, heavier wrestlers win (a little) more often — hence sumo wrestlers tend to be, well, big. But the relationship between size and success isn’t nearly as strong as you might think, and it gets weaker if you control for division and era.7In a regression to win percentage per tournament using height and body mass index (we use BMI instead of weight because height and weight are highly correlated) as variables, the r-squared produced is around .05 (meaning, roughly, that about 5 percent of the variance in tournament results can be explained by the height and weight of each wrestler alone), which, again, weakens as you control for division and era. However, the sample sizes are large enough to pick up meaningful trends.For this chart, I’ve compared the relative importance of height and weight for predicting top-division wrestlers’ win-loss rate in a given tournament. Values above 2 are roughly “significant” for a given five-year period.8I ran regressions for each year over a rolling five-year period and recorded the t-value (strength of stat divided by standard error) for “height” and “BMI.” Also, each bubble is colored to show how many “wins above replacement ozeki” (WAROZ) each wrestler would be expected to win over the course of their career, based on their win percentage relative to their era and projecting as if they’d wrestled 90 bouts per year as healthy wrestlers do today. By this metric, Hakuho leads all with 182 WAROZ (and counting), with second-place going to Tachiyama (who had 115 wins and eight ties in 128 bouts between 1909 and 1918) at 175. Raiden finishes eighth with 143 WAROZ.Here we can see that top ozeki winning a huge percentage of their matches seems to have been almost expected hundreds of years ago. This is consistent with a number of things we know about sumo tournaments back then: With less focus on “winning,” they were a bit more like exhibitions. And we know that opponents were sometimes literally picked out of the crowd.11This is how Raiden’s mentor, Tanikaze, got his start. Hakuho, however, competes in an environment in which losses for top-level wrestlers are considerably more common than they were in Raiden’s time, but he has maintained an extremely high win percentage nonetheless.Behold the henkaYokozuna face a lot of pressure to retire the instant they start to decline. It’s considered dishonorable to hold the rank of yokozuna and not be among the best in the sport.12When a maegashira (the fifth-highest rank in sumo) beats a yokozuna, it is called a kinboshi (“gold star”) and earns the maegashira a special bonus payment — which they receive every tournament for the rest of their career. So a yokozuna sticking around past their prime is literally costly to the sumo association. So although we’ve made the argument that Hakuho might have an advantage over Raiden in both prowess and résumé, recent events raise a third, more fraught point of comparison: legacy.After Hakuho’s win by henka at the Haru basho, Mark Buckton of The Japan Times — a former amateur sumo wrestler who has covered professional sumo for 18 years — called for the White Peng’s exit. Addressing Hakuho directly, he writes:At its lowest ebb, following the hazing death of Tokitaizan and former yokozuna Asashoryu feigning injury the only yokozuna worth his salt in both performances on the dohyo and behavior off it was yourself.True, you are still the best there is in a mawashi.And that is how you should be remembered.Not as a man who resorts to a final day henka against a fellow yokozuna, on his way to yusho No. 36.Go now and you go in true Japanese fashion, falling on your sword for that Day 15 performance so unworthy of your name.In a phone interview, Buckton said that he thought Hakuho’s henka was disgraceful and that he was confident most Japanese sumo fans felt the same way. He said he believes the move was akin to an act of desperation — Hakuho sees his skills slipping and is resorting to dirty tactics in a last-ditch effort to stay on top of a sport that isn’t merely competitive exhibition but has its roots as a martial art in Shinto.That’s fair enough. But for cold-blooded empiricists obsessed with win-maximization, this may all seem strange. If henka aren’t banned, not using them is just bad game theory, right?Unfortunately, henka are hard to analyze with data. They aren’t considered a winning move themselves, and only winning moves are recorded. Hakuho’s win was scored as a tsukiotoshi (“thrust down”). What even constitutes a henka is not clear-cut — particularly in instances in which they fail.However, what little evidence we have suggests that they work. Lon Howard of Sumo Fan Magazine attempted to crowd-source some henka data by having readers nominate matches that contained possible henka and then asking the readership to vote on whether they actually were. Overall, the possible henka led to victory 63 percent of the time; among a subset of moves that voters were certain were henka,13Attempts with agreement and 10 or more votes. that figure rises to 92 percent.Although that data isn’t conclusive, it makes sense. If you’re playing rock-paper-scissors and your opponent does nothing but throw rock for 250 years, throwing paper may be very effective.Stigma-based policing of the sport’s standards is defensible. Normalizing the henka might fundamentally change the sport’s dynamics too much, but outlawing it may create a havoc of gray areas. But such a defense should anticipate that sternly discouraging the move may not prevent its selective employment by a wily rikishi with a New England Patriots-style commitment to winning.In a tear-soaked post-match interview, Hakuho appeared to express regret for the tournament ending the way it did. But he did not clarify his side-step’s strategic underpinnings, such as whether it was planned, or a response to something he saw while the wrestlers were getting set, or a reflexive reaction to Harumafuji’s charge itself.But regardless of premeditation, consider the story told on the faces of the competitors: A quarter-millennium of Sumo evolutionHakuho vs. Raiden isn’t a story of a sport that has stayed the same for hundreds of years, allowing us to make clean, crisp comparisons between the two champions. But it isn’t a story of a sport changing every couple of years either.Although there have been significant structural changes — like the setting of tournaments at 15 matches long, the introduction of tiebreakers, and the treatment of yokozuna as an official rather than ceremonial rank — the sport is always fundamentally about knocking the other guy down or getting him to step out of the ring first. Many trends happen over decades or centuries, caused by whims of history that can be hard to pick up in a data set.But some simple metrics — like wrestler height and weight — can tell a pretty interesting story. And to understand how Raiden and Hakuho match up with each other, it helps to understand how they compare physically to their eras. Raiden Tameemon. Explore 250 years of sumo data Hakuho trains in 2014. See more: A History Of Sumo, an interactive graphic by FiveThirtyEight showing centuries of sumo wrestlers, and The Sea of Crises, a 2014 Grantland article on sumo and Japanese culture.CORRECTION (May 13, 5:30 p.m.): An earlier version of this article included a photograph that was incorrectly described as portraying Hakuho. It has been replaced with the correct photo. Hakuho and Harumafuji one second after the start of their bout in March. Kyodo The growing international talent poolIf a hypothetical tale of the tape across a couple of centuries is a little too abstract for you, consider that the dramatic shift in the balance of power in sumo’s demographics that has been taking place of late also has implications for our matchup.Before 1972, no non-Japanese wrestler had ever won a basho. The first was Takamiyama, a Hawaiian sekiwake (the third rank, behind yokozuna and ozeki) who otherwise had a relatively undistinguished career as a sumotori. But he then founded the Azumazeki stable — one of the regimented groups of wrestlers who live and train together and to which all active rikishi belong. There he recruited and trained Chad Rowan — a former high school basketball all-star from Hawaii — who took the shikona Akebono, became the first non-Japanese yokozuna and won 11 Emperor’s Cups.Today, international wrestlers have taken over the sport. In January 2016, then-31-year-old Japanese ozeki Kotoshogiku won his first tournament. This might have been an unremarkable event, except that it was the first tournament won by any Japanese wrestler since January of 2006. Of the 58 tournaments in between, 56 were won by Mongolians; the other two were won by a Bulgarian (Kotooshu) and an Estonian (Baruto).Here’s how this has played out since 1970: Note that Japan’s share of champions will improve by at least a tick in 2016, while Mongolia’s will decline, after the country’s three-year stretch of winning all the tournaments.Mongolia has had all this success with only a small fraction of the sport’s wrestlers — around a quarter of those in the top (Makuuchi) division and less than 5 percent of those who compete overall. This likely is because the Nihon Sumo Kyokai (the sport’s governing body) limits each stable to one non-Japanese wrestler, so the standards for foreign prospects are extremely high.This carries some likely implications:Most obviously, the non-Japanese pool of sumo talent is likely growing faster than the number of slots for non-Japanese talent. This probably advantages Hakuho’s strength of competition in our matchup because it implies that he could be the best of a much bigger talent pool than sumo wrestlers of the past. It also implies that while the non-Japanese wrestlers make the talent pool stronger than it was, limited roster slots for them keep it weaker than it could be.On the other hand, the sumo talent from Japan may be declining. Sumo requires major physical (putting on weight) and time (years of non-stop training) commitments. Sumotori lead rigid and structured lifestyles year-round, the potential for fame and fortune isn’t that great, and Japan has an advanced economy that may afford better opportunities to athletic Japanese youth.But even a relatively weak Japan today could be stronger than a relatively strong Japan more than 200 years ago. The population of Japan is now about five times the size of what it was when Raiden was active, making the pool of potential sumotori that much richer.10Moreover, the talent pool back then may have been even smaller relative to today’s than the population numbers suggest, as the vast majority of sumo wrestlers used to come from just the Hokkaido prefecture. This painting of sumo wrestlers by Utagawa Kuniteru II, shown in full on the lower right, is from 1867. In the closeup views at left and top right, Raiden, who is without a yokozuna rope, is pictured among several of the top-ranked wrestlers. The basic style and structure of banzuke have gone unchanged for hundreds of years. The one on the left, from 1796, lists Raiden as the top-ranked ozeki in the West division. On the right is a banzuke from 2012 that lists Hakuho as the top-ranked yokozuna in the East. The average height of sumo wrestlers appears to have declined between the mid-1700s and late 1800s but has been rising fairly steadily since.9Yes, according to the data, there was a wrestler in the late 1700s who was (allegedly) 7-foot-4. He was an ozeki named Shakagatake and had several (winning) appearances in the 1770s before dying at age 26. There is art depicting him as a giant.In the latter half of the 20th century, this upward trend has been aided by the arrival of non-Japanese wrestlers, who have tended to be tall. Note the non-red dots on the charts; they tend to be well above the overall trend.For BMI, we see a similar rise for all rikishi, but with a clear divergence between the tall and heavy Americans and the tall but relatively slender Mongolians.The American (green) wrestlers, all from Hawaii and of Pacific island ancestry, have tended to be huge — both tall and hefty for their height — and had a pretty good run for a while between 1989 and 2002. Konishiki won a few tournaments and then yokozuna Akebono and Musashimaru solidly contended for top honors (becoming the first two non-Japanese yokozuna in the process).But the Mongolians — who have had four yokozuna — tend to be less hefty than their Japanese counterparts, defying the trend of the past 50 years.Compared with the other top-level sumo wrestlers who have been active during his career, Hakuho, at 6 foot 4, is about 3 inches taller than average, but his top tournament weight (in our data) of 340 pounds is 5 pounds lighter than average (putting his BMI well below par). Before Hakuho (born in 1985), before Taiho (born in 1940), before Hitachiyama (born in 1874), before Jinmaku (born in 1829), before the United States of America (born in 1776), there was Raiden.A legend of Japan’s Edo period, Raiden set a standard for greatness in the sport that would last hundreds of years. With centuries separating the two legends’ careers, Raiden vs. Hakuho may be one of the most time-bending sports comparisons imaginable.Fortunately, we have data.The visual history of sumoAs far back as the 18th century, a banzuke listing each wrestler’s rank in the hierarchy of professional sumo has been made before each honbasho (official tournament), often with elaborate detail. Some have visual guides to the various wrestlers and act as a kind of program to the events; others resemble intricate box scores. These collectibles have preserved vital information about which wrestlers were involved in each tournament, including their shikona (ring names), ranks (seedings) and hometowns.Banzuke are the backbone of sumo stats-keeping; other information such as tournament and match results that are gathered from historical newspapers or books all tie back to them. Alexander Nitschke (a German sports data nerd) has a website called Sumo Reference where he has combined banzuke information with other sources of tournament data — including by hand-parsing thousands of lower-division match results for years — to make the most comprehensive sumo data set on the internet. It includes tournament results for most contestants going back to 1761 and individual match results for bouts back to mid-1909. He has let us use that database for this article.Below is a chart that outlines the entire recorded history of Makuuchi division (top-level) professional sumo, from the 1761 Fuyu (winter) Basho through the now-infamous 2016 Haru (spring) Basho. Before around 1900, height and weight had a fairly tenuous relationship with winning. It has gotten stronger in the past century, but size advantages have never been much of a guarantee of success. For a modern example: In the 1980s and 90s, Konishiki — an ozeki who topped 600 pounds — often faced off against Wakanohana, a future yokozuna who was an inch or so shorter and more than 300 pounds lighter. Konishiki went 2-8 against him.Sumo styles can broadly be broken down into two types: Oshi-sumo, or “thrusting” style, and Yotsu-sumo, or “grappling” style. The former is about brute force and pushing your opponent out of the ring; the latter is more about forcing your opponent to the ground or using their momentum against them.As one might expect because of their sizes, Raiden preferred the Oshi-sumo style, and Hakuho the Yotsu. The trade-off for height and weight is pretty basic: Being big makes a wrestler harder to move, but less agile; being small can make it easier for a wrestler to maneuver but leaves him vulnerable.In the 20th century, there appears to have been a period in which larger-than-average wrestlers were more successful than they had been in the past (or are today), at a time in which the average wrestler was growing larger than ever.In this chart, I’ve plotted the height and BMI for each of the top-division wrestlers for each tournament, colored by country of origin: Hakuho has won 36 grand tournaments, more than any other professional sumo wrestler in history. TIM FOLEY Although the discipline of sumo wrestling may have existed in various forms for well over a millennium, it isn’t the sport stuck in time that it is sometimes made out to be. It has experienced controversy throughout its history. In the 17th century, the unseemly practice of samurai wrestling each other for money was banned, only to be brought back with official sanction and standardized rules.The first known professional tournament was held in 1684, and the first sumo organizations began issuing written rankings in the mid-1700s — just in time to document the rise of sumo’s most legendary figure.Raiden was born Seki Tarokichi in 1767 — about 100 years before the Edo period ended — and competed under the shikona of Raiden Tameemon. Raiden is a combination of “thunder” (雷) and “lightning” (電) and translates roughly to “thunderbolt.” Mentored by the first non-posthumous yokozuna, Tanikaze, Raiden was a legend trained by a legend. He went undefeated in 24 out of the 35 tournaments he entered, and despite a much shorter tournament structure that had no method for breaking ties, Raiden finished with the most wins outright in 17 tournaments and tied for the most wins in 11 more. As there were no official tournament winners until 1909, none of these are considered official “yusho” or tournament wins, but no one would top 28 tournaments (officially or unofficially) for more than 150 years.The Thunderbolt was an absolute monster among men — 6-foot-6 and 373 pounds — large enough to physically overpower opponents of the day. His top-division win-loss record of 254-10 (96 percent) is easily the best in recorded sumo history.5If you adjust for draws, which have essentially vanished from the sport these days, Raiden’s effective win percentage drops to 93. But the gap between him and his closest competition grows, with no other wrestlers reaching 90 percent. Hakuho has won 85 percent of his upper-division matches, leading modern-era wrestlers. read more

Clemson wide receivers and Ohio State secondary a tale of strength vs

Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams (7) catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Deshaun Watson against North Carolina State at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C., on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Credit: Courtesy of TNSSCOTTSDALE, Ariz — Ohio State redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett versus Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson is without question the main card in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31. But one of the primary matchups is OSU’s surprisingly dominant secondary against Clemson’s star-studded receiving corps.When Clemson lost the national championship game to Alabama last season, 45-40, the Tigers were without wide receivers Deon Cain and Mike Williams. This time around, the two are healthy and have been nightmares for defenses all season. Williams has caught 84 passes and gained 1,171 yards with 10 touchdowns. Cain has 32 catches for 621 yards and nine touchdowns.The maturity of both Williams and Cain has made the difference in Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s mind. He said that Williams and Cain are in the midst of their most productive season with the Tigers.It’s been great for (Deon Cain) to have Mike (Williams) there. It’s been great for Mike to have a guy like Deon there,” Swinney said. “For us to be able to roll those two guys in and out, it’s been a tremendous amount of production. If you just look at the production at that position and the amount of touchdowns, they’ve been a heck of a combination.”OSU’s secondary has statistically been one of the best in man coverage situations. Aside from the 19 interceptions and seven touchdowns off interceptions, cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley have excelled at defending the pass when put on an island. The Buckeyes rank fifth in the country with just 164.5 yards passing allowed per game.At safety, redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker and junior Damon Webb have been OSU’s security blanket. The two are responsible for seven of the team’s 19 interceptions and four of the seven pick-sixes — Hooker with six and three, respectively. OSU is second in the nation in yards allowed per passing attempt at 5.4.“They’re a great group,” Williams said. “They have guys that attack the ball in the air like receivers. They have hands like receivers. That’s probably one of the biggest differences.”Tigers’ tight end Jordan Leggett, who is third on the team with seven receiving touchdowns, said that OSU’s man coverage is challenging, but having four or five guys that have to be accounted for in the passing game gives the upper hand to Clemson in his eyes.“You just can’t leave (Williams) on an island with one of your corners because he’s going to win that matchup nine times out of 10,” Leggett said. “It’s just a matter of how (OSU) wants to play us. Whatever they do, they’re leaving someone else on an island with someone else. And any of our guys that we have here, they’re going to win that matchup no matter what.”Cain said that the receiving corps that has five guys with 30-plus receptions — Hunter Renfrow with 29 — has had so much success due to the play of Watson and the Clemson offensive line. The Clemson receiving corps has been able to win one-on-one matchups all season. The same can be said about OSU’s secondary. On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, the two teams’ strengths, like they have all season, could define whose season ends and whose continues.“We have a lot of good, talented guys in our receiving corps and they have a lot of good DBs that can match up with us,” Cain said. “It comes down to who wants to win and who makes the best competitive plays. That’s what this game is going to be.” read more