Thai premier, UN rapporteurs asked to prevent journalists being returned to Myanmar September 26, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Reporter dies from burn injuries in far-south bombings News to go further Organisation Receive email alerts ThailandAsia – Pacific Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Thailand Covid-19 emergency laws spell disaster for press freedom May 12, 2021 Find out more News August 21, 2020 Find out more News Reporters Without Borders is saddened to learn that local reporter Phamon Phonphanit died on 24 September from the burns he sustained in a series of three bombings on 16 September in the far-south town Sungai Kolok, where bombings are frequent. We offer our condolences to his family.Phamon, who worked for Sue Samut Atyakam, a local newspaper, had been sent to cover the first two bomb explosions and was badly injured when the third bomb exploded. He was taken to Yala central hospital, where he died eight days later. The toll from the three bombs now stands at six dead and 110 injured. ThailandAsia – Pacific Red alert for green journalism – 10 environmental reporters killed in five years RSF_en News June 12, 2020 Find out more
News June 17, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Sectarian violence in south declared off-limits for media July 29, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information Organisation Receive email alerts Although the media have been asked not to report the truth about these and other events of late, coverage of the clashes in Aluthgama has been posted on websites that are blocked in Sri Lanka but are accessible outside the country.Journalists were harassed and attacked and their equipment was smashed when they went to cover the clashes, in which dozens of people were injured and several were killed. Those attacked included Sunday Leader reporter Binoy Suriarachi, who was held hostage of several hours. His release was negotiated by Megara Tegal and Dileesha Abeysundara, two journalists who had gone with him to cover the clashes.“Censorship of the media’s news coverage by the authorities is outrageous but customary in Sri Lanka whenever problems with minorities arise,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “However, banning coverage of events will not prevent the information from getting out.”The clashes erupted after a gathering by Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force), a radical Buddhist group that is waging a campaign against the Moslem community. Participants attacked mosques and prayer houses.The long tradition of government censorship includes banning and blocking the websites of many newspapers. On 12 May, the Sri Lanka Mirror’s website joined the long list of blocked sites, which already includes the Tamilnet, Lankanews, Lanka news web and the Colombo Telegraph sites.Sri Lanka is ranked 165th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. January 13, 2021 Find out more The Sri Lankan authorities asked the local media not to cover the clashes between Buddhists and Moslems that erupted in the southern region of Aluthgama on the night of 15 June. A curfew was also imposed in an attempt to contain a situation described by the government as “tense.” to go further Sri Lanka: tamil reporter held on absurd terrorism charge News News Sri LankaAsia – Pacific Sri Lanka: RSF signs joint statement on attacks against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists Follow the news on Sri Lanka News Sri LankaAsia – Pacific RSF_en Sri Lanka: Journalist manhandled by notorious police inspector currently on trial July 15, 2020 Find out more
Carver was widely expected to be sacked after the Magpies’ eighth successive defeat at Leicester on Saturday left them two points above the Premier League relegation zone. In a chaotic aftermath Carver had suggested defender Mike Williamson had deliberately got himself sent off, then admitted: “There’s a chance they (the players) are just not listening to me.” John Carver will continue to lead Newcastle into the final three games of an increasingly calamitous campaign after surviving crisis talks at the club’s training ground on Monday. Fans reacted with astonishment to the club’s statement, with many taking to social media to express their fears that the decision to stay loyal to Carver could cost them their top-flight status. Mark Jensen, editor of the Newcastle fans’ magazine themag.co.uk, told Press Association Sport: “Just when you think things can’t get any worse the club put a feeble statement out saying it’s business as usual. “I personally don’t know a single Newcastle fan who thinks John Carver is the right man for the job, but if you talk about a change you have to question who in their right mind would want to walk into this total mess. “This has been coming for a long time – it is a carbon copy of last season when we had a few more points on the board, and the season before that we also nearly went down. “If other clubs continue to pick up points I think we will go down. I don’t think any fans have hope of getting any more points ourselves. If we stay up it will only be due to the shortcomings of others.” Press Association With speculation mounting, Newcastle were left in the unusual position of issuing a short statement in which they maintained that Carver would stay in charge for next week’s game against West Brom. The statement read: “Following the result at Leicester City on Saturday, there has been two days of frank dialogue with John Carver and senior players. “The outcome of those discussions is that the board, John Carver, his staff and players are absolutely focused on our current situation and the three hugely important fixtures that remain this season, two of which are at St. James’ Park. “All parties accept responsibility for the current situation but are determined, together, to ensure this club – your club – retains its Premier League status. “That is the only focus at this time.” Newcastle felt they were left with no option but to continue to support Carver after their preferred successor, Derby boss Steve McClaren, reportedly rejected the chance to step in for the last three games. McClaren saw his Derby side fail to make the play-offs on Saturday and it was widely expected he would make the move to St James’s Park, although even a summer move now appears in doubt. The latest twist in an increasingly sorry saga comes one day after Williamson issued a statement denying Carver’s accusations and making a series of apologies from which Carver’s name was noticeably absent.
RwandAir, the national flag carrier of the Republic of Rwanda, has taken delivery of a new Airbus A330-200 to become the first airline in East Africa to deploy the aircraft type.The African carrier signed a firm purchase contract with Airbus for an A330-200 and A330-300 in September last year and the larger -300 is scheduled to join the airline’s fleet in November.Both A330s are powered with Rolls Royce Trent 772B engines and feature a three-class cabin layout. The A330-200 has 244 seats, including 20 fully flat business class seats, 21 premium economy seats and 203 standard economy class seats. The A330-300 will have 274 seats – 30 in business class, 21 in premium economy and 223 in economy class.The new Airbus widebody will “help boost RwandAir’s capacity to expand its wings globally,” according to airline chief executive John Mirenge.The A330 is RwandAir’s ninth aircraft and its first widebody. It joins a fleet comprising two Boeing 737-800NG, two Boeing 737-700NG, two Bombardier CRJ900NG, two Bombardier Q-400NextGen, all in dual class configuration.Rwandair began operations in December, 2002, as the new national carrier under the name Rwandair Express. Its purpose was to provide passenger air transportation to and from the country while building up Kilgali into an emerging hub for sub-Saharan Africa. It also has the concession to carry out airport ground handling at Kigali International Airport.In March 2009, the airline registered a new trademark “RwandAir” and launched a new phase of its development. Its network currently spans 18 destinations in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa and the Middle East following the launch on September 2 of flights to Cotonou in Benin. The three-times weekly service is tagged to the existing Kigali – Douala and Libreville routes.It will commence a new three-times weekly service to Abidjan, Ivory Coast on October 7. Flights to Abidjan will be tagged with Accra, the capital of Ghana. Both new routes are operated with Boeing 737-700 and -800 aircraft.“With the addition of these two destinations, RwandAir continues to fulfill its mission of connecting Rwanda with West Africa to build sustainable ties among sister African cities and enable trade and tourism between the two countries,” said chief operating officer Jean Paul Nyirubutama.The ariline’s only non-African destination for now is Dubai, but the A330s will allow it to expand its footprint and operate longer flights to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.RwandAir has not yet officially announced which new A330 long-haul routes it will launch, but it has indicated it intends to start flights to Mumbai in December. It also has mapped out Guangzhou as possible long-haul destination to capture part of the growing Africa-China market.Flights to Harare, Zimbabwe will come on line in January 2017.In May 2015, RwandAir joined the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) as a member airline, only five months after being IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certified.The African airline successfully renewed its IOSA certification with the enhanced IOSA process in June. Its current IOSO certification is valid until June 2018. It is also undergoing the certification process for the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) for which the completion is expected in the last quarter of this year.
15 February 2010 Decorated names that do not need a second mention hold various individual records for the Fifa World Cup. The legendary Pele holds the record for being part of a World Cup winning team: he collected three winner’s medal, in 1958, 1962 and 1970. Diego Maradona has the most World Cup appearances as captain, with a tally of 16 matches. Cameroon’s great striker, Roger Milla, remains the oldest man to have played in a World Cup: when he turned out for his country in 1994, he was 42 years and 39 days old. Thulani Ngcobo, who is on the terraces every time South African Premier Soccer League club Kaizer Chiefs plays, will seek to join these football luminaries in the Guiness Book of Records when Africa hosts its first Fifa World Cup in June and July. The 29-year-old has vowed to break the individual record for watching the most matches in a single tournament after winning a competition held by Fifa partner MTN, which was looking for South Africa’s number one fan.‘One in a lifetime opportunity’ “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and I am very confident of succeeding in being the best fan of not only this historic World Cup but also in the world,” said Ngcobo, who will be going to 38 matches during the World Cup as the winner of the competition. Ngcobo said he will be out to better the present world record of 20 games, and gave an insight into his calculated schedule. “I have lined up 38 games that will begin with the opening match when Bafana Bafana play Mexico and end with the final on 11 July.” The South Africa Kaizer Chiefs supporter views the opportunity to break the world record as the second biggest development in his lifetime romance with football. “Nothing can beat the day South Africa won the right to host this World Cup, not even this competition. It was not only a victory for my country but for the whole African continent, and I remember celebrating like there was no tomorrow when we won the 2010 bid. “We are a poor continent, and most of us football fans would have died without attending a World Cup match. However, with it here, we can show off our love for this great game while we also get the opportunity to see the best football talents in the world showcase their skills,” said Ngcobo.2010 benefits ‘already visible’ The Tshwane/Pretoria-based fan points out that the World Cup benefits in his country are already visible. “Our road networks and airports have undergone a major facelift. A lot of job opportunities have been created for our people.” However, his face beams when he talks about the football facilities that have been built in preparation for the international football feast. “We will have enough football pitches for our football matches. Nothing irritates me more than being told that a match has been postponed or shifted to make way for rugby. I specifically remember some time ago, when the Telkom Cup final was moved at the last minute from Ellis Park [in Johanneburg] to Mafikeng because the venue had been taken over by a rugby match. Those days are now gone.” Ngcobo, who claims to watch as many as four matches per week, believes eclipsing the 20-match record would be a stroll in the park. “My sponsors have arranged two matches per day, which is really easy to achieve, given that logistics such as transport and accommodation have also been well planned and are also sponsored.”Rewriting the history books With that taken care of, he intends to enjoy all his matches, and has already picked his favourites. “The opening game will obviously be very emotional for me. I cannot wait to see the spectacular opening ceremony and cheer on Bafana Bafana as they kick off the tournament against Mexico. Like me, they will also re-write the history books in that moment. “The final will be even more special as I will also be celebrating fulfilling this challenge at the magnificent Soccer City Stadium.” Besides, the opening game, Ngcobo highlighted the exciting prospect of watching Brazil, Italy, France, Spain and Cote d’Ivoire in action. “A few years back, I could only dream of seeing players like Lionel Messi, Kaka, Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Ronaldo kick a soccer ball.” Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committee
The Living Beehive, which represents aself-sustaining ecosystem, is a dome-shaped structure that draws onthe architecture of a traditionalZulu beehive hut.(Image: Kevin Joseph) The roof and exterior walls are coveredwith a living layer of foliage.(Image: iKind Media)MEDIA CONTACTS • Lungi ShangeThe Communications Firm+27 11 463 7550RELATED ARTICLES• Waste gives Such artistic inspiration • Soweto building on award shortlist• Top green rating for SA building• Bee fence keeps elephants outWilma den HartighA sustainable architectural installation, designed to get people talking about how healthy ecosystems can help communities cope with climate change, was unveiled at the Durban Botanic Gardens as part of the COP17 climate change conference.The installation has been described as one of the most stimulating exhibitions at the COP17 expo.The Living Beehive, which represents a self-sustaining ecosystem, is a dome-shaped structure that draws on the architecture of a traditional Zulu beehive hut.Traditional Zulu beehive huts, known as iQhugwane, are efficiently-designed homes which use natural and sustainable materials. They are warm in winter and cool in summer, with built-in ventilation.South Africa needs new ideas to deal with the challenges of a changing climate. This installation shows how traditional knowledge and natural resources can inspire modern innovation to find solutions to climate change.The Living Beehive was created from a combination of traditional beehive hut construction techniques, modern day materials such as industrial steel, and indigenous plants.A work of artThe 17-metre wide and nine-metre high installation is a beautiful work of art. The frame was built using high-tech steel, while a walkway through the interior of the dome enables visitors to experience the integration of infrastructure and the environment.The roof and exterior walls are covered with a living layer of foliage such as forest and wetland plants, as well as indigenous grasses typically found in grasslands in KwaZulu-Natal.Creepers are suspended in dense mats down the sides of the dome to allow just enough air to circulate into the cool interior.At the event, deputy minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi said that the Living Beehive is an example of nature and people working together.“By recognising the importance of built and ecological infrastructure, and by bringing together natural and man-made design, the Living Beehive shows us the possibilities for job creation, service delivery and economic growth in a truly green economy,” Mabudafhasi said in a statement.Statistics provided by the Durban Botanic Garden indicate that more than four-million rural South Africans depend directly on healthy ecosystems for their livelihoods.Greater efforts to conserve and restore natural landscapes can provide more opportunities for job creation and the development of biodiversity-based industries and jobs.A living legacy projectThe Department of Environmental Affairs and the UN Industrial Development Organisation jointly funded the Living Beehive project.The South African National Biodiversity Institute, the eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust are responsible for implementing the project.The installation is permanent and will remain in the botanical garden as a COP17 legacy project.Mzansi’s Golden EconomyThe Living Beehive is one of many art, culture and heritage events at the COP17 conference.As part of the arts and culture offering at this year’s climate change conference, Arts and Culture minister Paul Mashatile launched the department’s new strategy for the arts, culture and heritage sector.The new strategy, known as Mzansi’s Golden Economy, highlights the sector’s contribution to economic growth, job creation and social cohesion.The Department of Arts and Culture has also organised a series of events to flaunt South African identity and highlight the gravity of climate change.The events will demonstrate how artists can contribute to fighting poverty, job creation and skills development, with minimal damage to the earth.
11 September 2013 South Africa’s first mobile agricultural laboratory, one of the most technologically advanced in the world, will be a major boost for the country’s emerging farmers, enabling them to have their water, soil and animals tested on their doorstep. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) spent R3-million on the development of the laboratory, which was recently launched by non-governmental organisation Mobile Agri Skills Development and Training (MASTD) at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport outside Nelspruit. “The benefits of the lab are numerous and include bringing conformity assessment support closer to emerging farmers, giving them access to a testing facility that will help them in their farm planning and crop production,” Seda spokesperson Beverley Kgame said this week. Project manager Kevin Gambaran said the lab, with its cutting edge-range of equipment, “is definitely the most advanced agricultural laboratory in the country, and we are very proud to launch it after years of hard work”. In addition to laboratory facilities, the 20-metre Scania truck unit hosts a training facility with high-tech electronic equipment and a comprehensive one-stop support centre for small, medium and micro enterprises within the agriculture industry. Two high-definition television screens on the outside of the truck relay what is going on inside, and all laboratory equipment, barring the air-conditioners, are run with solar power. “There is an interactive training room on board and a top-of-the-range computer where research and analysis can be furthered,” Gambaran said. MASTD chairman Mathews Phosa said the laboratory would “strengthen MASTD’s hand in accelerating the growth of emerging farmers into commercial producers and beyond”. The truck adds to a fleet of MASTD vehicles which visit projects and deliver seedlings and mechanisation to farmers across the country. MASTD managing director Lynette Bezuidenhout, who leads a team of 30 full-time professionals at the NGO, said the lab would also be used for educational purposes. “The plan is also to support rural schools by taking the laboratory unit to them and demonstrating experiments by using the television screens, making students aware of basic agri-science and showing that agriculture is a worthwhile profession.” Bezuidenhout said more than 300 people were involved in the construction of the laboratory, which was hand-created and custom-made. Phosa, the former premier of Mpumalanga province, said that such developments were vital for South Africa’s economy given the dwindling number of commercial farmers in the country. “Many African and East European countries continue to lure farmers with extremely lucrative contracts. More worrying is the fact that the average age of our commercial farmers is 62. It is clear that the future of food production and rural job creation lies with South Africa’s 2.5-million emerging farmers.” Phosa added that since MASTD’s inception in 2005, the organisation had made significant inroads in uplifting emerging farmers through its business incubation system. “Last year alone, MASTD was instrumental in establishing 286 new SMMEs, creating more than 400 jobs,” Phosa, adding that the goal would be to establish laboratories in all nine provinces. Source: SAnews.gov.za
The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa is one organisation educating the public on how we can care for the environment. (Images: WESSA, via Facebook)For more than 90 years the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) has helped start and support wildlife conservation programmes across South Africa, and works to get the public more involved in caring for the planet.Wessa initiates many environmental efforts, many of which it also supports.These include the Eco-Schools programme run by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Developed to teach schoolchildren about caring for the environment, the programme is aimed at ensuring the future survival of South Africa’s ecosystems.Wessa is also involved in environmental skills development programmes for to individuals, corporations and the government. Its wide range of education courses help address the shortage of skills needed to drive the green economy.Wessa, through its Rhino Initiative, appeals to the public to help them combat poaching in South Africa.THE WESSA RHINO INITIATIVEOne of the biggest nature conservation issues in Africa is rhino poaching. The slaughter of our rhinos has led to the steady decline in rhino numbers in the wild. Without the support of the public, these magnificent animals face extinction.This is why Wessa, through its Rhino Initiative, appeals to the public to help them combat poaching in South Africa.Established in 2010, the initiative’s aim is to raise funds and awareness among South Africans in the hopes of changing attitudes towards conservation – to ensure the animals are still around for generations to come.If you want to help Wessa save rhinos in South Africa, visit the Wessa Rhino Initiative website for details on how to donate to the cause. You can also contact Chris Galliers, the initiative’s unit leader, on 033 330 3931 or 079 504 4296, or at [email protected] INVOLVED WITH WESSAIf you or anyone you know shares Wessa’s passion for nature and want to help them, have a look at their get involved page.The page has details on how to volunteer your time at Wessa’s projects and donate money to help them with day-to-day expenses.You can also get in touch with the organisation on 011 462 5663 or via email at [email protected] The contact details for their other offices across the country are available on their contact us page on their website.WESSA’s wide range of education courses help address the shortage of skills needed to drive the green economy.PLAY YOUR PARTAre you playing your part to help improve the lives of those around you or the environment? Do you know of anyone who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.
Unesco’s World Heritage Committee has included South Africa’s ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape on its list of world heritage sites.The ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape is inscribed as a world heritage site in July 2017. (Image: Francois Odendaal Productions, via Unesco)Priya PitamberSouth Africa’s ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape in the Northern Cape has been inscribed as a world heritage site.The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Committee also inscribed two other sites from Africa – in Eritrea and Angola – during its 41st session in Krakow, Poland.‡Khomani Cultural Landscape inscribed as world heritage site by UNESCO at its 41st session. See » https://t.co/0QEVWv6738 pic.twitter.com/uUe656SpUe— Environmentza(@environmentza) July 12, 2017“The decision that was taken today marks a long-awaited historical moment for us, the ‡Khomani San, and all other San/Bushman communities,” said Dirk Pienaar, a ǂKhomani community member, addressing the session.He said it was an acknowledgement of universal value and importance. “This listing will thus provide a foundation for us to continue to preserve, protect and practise our ancient culture and traditions with minimum threat of extinction within the current society.”What it isThe ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape is located at South Africa’s border with Botswana and Namibia in the northern part of the country. It falls within the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.The landscape covers an area of 959,100ha, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs.“The ǂKhomani and related San people are unique in that they descend directly from an ancient population that existed in southern Africa some 150,000 years ago,” said the department. “[They are] the ancestors of the entire human race.”This area, with its abundance of red dunes, had changed minimally since the Stone Age. The ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape had been home to people who learned to survive in the extreme desert because of their knowledge of the land, said the department.“They [the ǂKhomani San] developed a specific ethnobotanical knowledge, cultural practices and a worldview related to the geographical features of their environment,” said Unesco. “The ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape bears testimony to the way of life that prevailed in the region and shaped the site over thousands of years.”Other sitesAngola’s Mbanza Kongo and Eritrea’s Asmara were the other African sites inscribed as world heritage sites.Mbanza Kongo, said Unesco, was the political and spiritual capital of the Kingdom of Kongo, one of the largest states in southern Africa from the 14th century to the 19th century. When the Portuguese arrived, stone buildings were added. “Mbanza Kongo illustrates, more than anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa, the profound changes caused by the introduction of Christianity and the arrival of the Portuguese into Central Africa.”#Angola– The ruins of a 16th century cathedral (built in 1549) at #MbanzaKongo, said to be theoldest church in sub-Saharan #Africa. pic.twitter.com/5Vjws5ZHDs— Africasfacts (@africasfacts) July 17, 2017Asmara, 2,000 metres above sea level and the capital of Eritrea, became a military outpost for Italy, its colonial power. After 1935, the city went through a massive construction project. “It is an exceptional example of early modernist urbanism at the beginning of the 20th century and its application in an African context.”South Africa already has eight world heritage sites: Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa, Maloti-Drakensberg Park (Transboundary with Lesotho), Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Vredefort Dome, Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, Robben Island Museum, iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas.A great recognitionIn her acceptance speech, the director-general of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Nosipho Ngcaba, said South Africa was committed to supporting efforts of economic development in the area, contributing to job creation, enhancing tourism experiences, and contributing to skills development.Pienaar said the community would continue to respect their culture and pass it on to future generations.“Conservation for us is not a planned action or a buzzword to use to impress when needed,” he said. “It is [not] a choice but a way of life that is instilled within all San people from a very tender age.”He also gave thanks to the elder community members, including “Oupa Dawid Kruiper and Ouma Una Rooi, who died sadly whilst fighting for our cause”.Source: Unesco, Department of Environmental AffairsWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Saurav Ghosal is on a high. The country’s leading squash player is going through the best phase of his international career. The 24-year-old reached the quarter-finals of the British Super Series this month, in the process becoming the first Indian to do. Not only that, he stretched reigning world champion Amr Shabana to five games in the Hong Kong Open in July.Saurav Ghosal is going through best phase of his career.Speaking to Mail Today, after his first practice session at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in the Capital, Ghoshal said he was happy with the conditions.”It is the first time that I have stepped on to these courts. It was a very good feeling. In terms of lighting and other factors, these courts are comparable to the best in the world. The ASB courts, which are used on the Professional Squash Association ( PSA) circuit are also being used in this competition,” he said.At the same time, Saurav cautioned that there were minor things that needed to be done.”Well they are some minor glitches which can be sorted out. These glitches occur in most tournaments so it is nothing surprising,” he said.About the level of competition at the Games, Saurav said it was going to be a tough one. “We have the likes of Nick Mathews ( world No. 3), James Willtstrop (No. 6) and Peter Barker (No. 7). It is going to be a very formidable one,” he said.Speaking about his performance this year, Saurav, who’s ranked 26th – his best ever so far – said that his good showing was due to his self- belief and conviction.advertisement”When you have the belief that you can beat the top players then it becomes that much easier for you to win against the leading players,” he said.He came up with a couple of sterling performances this year. In May, he stretched former world champion and current world No. 3 Amr Shabana to five games at the Hong Kong Open. “That was one of the best matches I have played this year. Initially, I had some blues playing against Amr. He is my idol and here I was up against him,” he conceded.But once he got over the blues, Saurav matched the Egyptian shot for shot. ” In the end, what separated him from me was just a couple of crucial points which he won,” he said.Thereafter, Saurav came up with his terrific performance at the British Super Series event – one of the top ranked events on the PSA circuit in September. The Indian made it to the quarterfinals where he lost to Englishman James Willstrop.”I was extremely satisfied with my performance at this event in Manchester. It was the first time I made such a progress in a tournament of such a magnitude,” he said.Saurav feels his decision to base abroad – in Leeds, England – has got him the desired results.”Initially, I had some hesitation.But then five years down the line, I am convinced that I made the right decision. The competition in England is very tough. In fact, I am practicing with Willstrop almost on a daily basis,” he said.SAVOURS ASIAD BRONZESaurav has very vivid memories of the bronze medal won at the Asian Games in 2006. ” I have very fond memories of Doha. The most unfortunate part was that my opponent in the quarter- finals happened to be my good friend Ritwik ( Bhattacharya). It ( the bronze) was my first major medal at the international level and I will treasure it for the rest of my career,” he said.Meanwhile, national coach Cyrus Poncha was satisfied with the way his wards shaped up during the two practice sessions.”They arrived from Chennai only on Saturday afternoon and got a feel of the courts today. I am happy with the way they were hitting the ball,” he said.