If Rajiv Ouseph couldn’t stop smiling after leading his country to European team silver, the draw for the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships would have helped.Fresh from claiming his seventh straight singles title at the England National Badminton Championships, Ouseph carried his winning streak on to the continent.After leading his squad to the final, the skipper held up his end of the deal, winning the opening match of the final, but England were ultimately beaten 3-1 by Denmark.Nevertheless, it was the first time England have managed to finish second in the competition, having picked up bronze two years earlier.To keep his hot streak going, Ouseph will need to maintain his form and then some in Birmingham after landing a tough draw.The Commonwealth Games silver medallist faces China’s seventh seed Du Pengyu in round one and should he progress top seed and two-time winner Lee Chong Wei is waiting in the same quarter of the draw.It would be understandable if Ouseph’s sweet dreams about his silver had turned into sleepless nights, but the 27-year-old admits he expected nothing less.“It’s obviously going to be very difficult,” he said.Ouseph is in good form.“The men’s singles is probably the toughest event, it’s very Asian dominated and there are players there who are very strong but it’s an opportunity to do well in front of the home fans and generate an interest in badminton.“They can help you if you’re struggling a bit. I’ve had a few instances where that has been the case and pulled me through so hopefully that can happen again.”While the draw ensures Ouseph must hit the ground running in Birmingham to ensure his stay is not a brief one, he can at least take heart from his previous meeting with Pengyu.Ouseph won their only match in straight games when the pair met in November and admits confidence is high.“You know it is always a tough game whoever you get as it is the best players in the world,” he added.“It is supposed to be a tough event so you have to expect that challenge and I’m looking forward to it.“It’s one you always look forward to it, it’s a big year and this is another important event.”“I’ve been a bit up and down. I have some good performances in the last 12 months but I’ve also had some disappointing ones. If I can bring my level consistently higher then I’ll be in a good place.”Tickets for the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at the NIA in Birmingham are available at www.allenglandbadminton.com or call the box office on 0844 444 9994.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill to provide up to 10% reservation to Jammu and Kashmir’s economically weaker sections in jobs and educational institutions.The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, an official statement said.The approval “would pave the way of extending the benefit of reservation of up to 10% for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in educational institutions and public employment alongside existing reservations”, it said.The Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon as the proposed legislation could not be brought before the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly which has been dissolved. The State is under the President’s rule.The 10% quota Bill to economically weaker sections was introduced through the 103rd Constitution Amendment in January. This will be in addition to such reservation available in the Central government jobs, it said.
Svetlana Podobedova won Olympic gold for Kazakhstan by the narrowest of margins on Friday, edging out Russia’s Natalya Zabolotnaya in the women’s 75kg weightlifting by virtue of lighter body weight. Podobedova and Zabolotnaya both broke the Olympic record with totals of 291 kg, with the Russian setting down a new Olympic best of 131 kg in the snatch and Podobedova setting a new Olympic record of 161 kg in the clean and jerk. Podobedova was born in Russia and represented that country until she was stripped of her 2006 world junior title for doping, after which she switched allegiance to Kazakhstan. “I am grateful I could compete. In 2008 Russia didn’t allow me to go to Beijing but Kazhakstan gave me a chance. I started training for this slowly, and this gold is for Kazhakstan,” she said. “I just wished for it so much. I have been working towards this all my life.” Official results show the total Olympic record awarded to Zabolotnaya, who only joined the Russian team last week after Oksana Slivenko withdrew with injury. Belarusian lifter Iryna Kulesha was a distant third with a total of 269 kg. Podobedova’s victory brings Kazakhstan its fourth gold of the games and third in women’s weightlifting, after Zulfiya Chinshanlo won the 53kg category and Maiya Maneza took victory in the 63kg event.
UK media and telecoms regulator Ofcom plans to commandeer additional spectrum to cope with an expected spike in demand during the London Olympic Games this summer.Ofcom expects demand for wireless spectrum to double during the games, fuelled by the increasing use of wireless technology by broadcasters, walkie-talkie systems, talkback systems and timing and scoring systems.The regulator has built a dedicated spectrum assignment system to ensure that spectrum is used efficiently, with minimum interference. Ofcom will also deploy additional radio engineers, including engineers from other European countries, to identify and deal with interference problems.Ofcom’s plans to ensure that communications continue to function during the games include the unused parts of the broadcast spectrum – including frequencies formerly used for analogue broadcasting –under its control, as well as spectrum allocated for sale by auction for next-generation mobile services and unlicensed spectrum used for WiFi.The regulator also plans to borrow spectrum temporarily from government agencies including the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, the Civil Aviation Authority and other bodies.Ofcom’s chief operating officer, Jill Ainscough, said: “The UK’s airwaves are already among the most intensively used in the world. The London 2012 Games will significantly increase demand. Ready and prepared for this challenge, Ofcom recognises that there is no room for complacency. We are working behind the scenes to make this capacity available, to ensure that this demand is met.”
The UK video sector grew by 10% in 2018 taking the total market value to £2.34 billion, according to the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE).The Greatest ShowmanThe BASE figures, based on data from the Official Charts Company and Futuresource Consulting, indicate that 63% of consumers now choose to rent or stream film and TV content, while 37% of category value generated by people choosing to buy and own content either on disc or download.Despite what BASE described as a “challenging broader high street trading environment,” 59% of transactional spend was still for the physical formats of DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.The growth of digital transactional also “surpassed all expectations in 2018,” reaching a total market value of £400 million. Electronic sell-through film sales grew 36% year-on-year with The Greatest Showman establishing itself as the largest digital release to date, selling in excess of 770,000 digital copies since April.Overall, The Greatest Showman was the biggest-selling title of the year, shifting in excess of 2.68 million copies, with 72% of those sales coming from physical formats.Game of Thrones led the 2018 TV charts, with The Complete Seventh Season selling more than 160,000 copies, including box sets, to top the disc chart. Overall franchise sales totalled more than a quarter of a million copies, according to BASE.“The UK transactional digital video exceeded expectations in 2018, cementing its position as a global leader in this sector,” said Futuresource Consulting’s principal analyst for entertainment, David Sidebottom.“Electronic sell-through movies have excelled throughout the year, as consumers become increasingly familiar with the concept and service provider competition fuels purchases. iVoD (movie rentals via online services) has also witnessed increased momentum in 2018, growing by over 20%, with an additional 4 million smart TVs and media streamers in UK homes helping drive uptake.”BASE chief executive, Liz Bales, said: “The third consecutive year of growth in the video category underlines the fact that audiences remain engaged with a broad variety of home entertainment content and format options. This serves as a testament to the innovation and energy that continue to drive the home entertainment category even as the high street retail environment presents clear challenges in some areas.”“Today’s customers enjoy a multitude of options when it comes to keeping themselves entertained and clearly continue to find a huge amount of relevance in the video category which, more flexibly than ever before, caters to every need; whether that is watching on the go, building a digital library or securing the absolute best viewing experience premium formats now guarantee.”