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Ireland’s Healy cited; Nadal wants time; Mancini and Lotus under pressure

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Ireland’s Healy cited; Nadal wants time; Mancini and Lotus under pressure | Thaiger
Ireland’s Healy cited for stamp on England’s Cole
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Ireland prop Cian Healy has been cited for stamping on England’s Dan Cole during a maul in the first half of their 12-6 Six Nations championship loss in Dublin on Sunday, tournament organizers said yesterday.

Healy contravened Law 10.4 (b), which states that a player “must not stamp or trample on an opponent.”

The Ireland player will appear before the tournament’s disciplinary committee in London tomorrow.

Ireland lost winger Simon Zebo for up to 10 weeks with a broken foot sustained in the bruising loss to England while three members of their starting pack picked up knocks.

Give me more time before judging me, says Nadal
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Rafa Nadal’s worst defeat on a clay court for nine years offered ammunition to the naysayers but the Spaniard says his recovery from knee injury should be judged over time.

The seven-times French Open champion’s narrow loss to Argentine world No. 73 Horacio Zeballos in Vina del Mar on Sunday was rightly regarded as a shock as Nadal’s defeats on clay over the past eight years can be counted on two hands.

Even those rare reversals have come against players of the calibre of Roger Federer and, most notably Novak Djokovic in 2011 and the last time he lost to a player outside the world’s top 20 on clay was five years ago in Rome when former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero got the upper hand.

You have to go back to Palermo in 2004, before Nadal had won his first French title, to find the Spaniard losing to one of the game’s journeymen, Frenchman Olivier Mutis who was then ranked outside the top 100.

Zeballos, who had never won a title before, played admirably but Nadal was clearly not firing on all cylinders despite reaching the final without dropping a set.

The analysis began immediately afterwards with all eyes focused on Nadal’s movement for signs of the left knee problems that meant he had not played since a shock defeat at Wimbledon last year to Lukas Rosol.

Worryingly for Nadal’s million of fans, the 26-year-old openly admitted the knee was still causing him pain.

“The knee is still bothering me, but you have to face adversity with the best possible face and look forward to keep working and enjoy what I like the most, to play tennis,” world No.5 Nadal said on the ATP website.

Whether or not the pain is just the result of not playing competitively for so long, or something more serious, remains to be seen but Nadal was clearly relieved that he could compete at a high level in the nine matches he played in six days, including doubles.

“A week ago we didn’t know how the body would respond,” the 11-times grand slam champions said.

“At least now I know we can compete at a certain level. I think that was a positive week.

“I will try to keep improving my physical sensations day by day, which is the most important thing because I don’t feel that my tennis level is bad. I need more time on court.”

Nadal’s defeat was only his fifth in 41 clay court finals with the others coming against Federer and Djokovic.

“I was two points away from winning the title, but I said from first day that the result was not the most important thing, although I would’ve liked to win,” he said.

“To win four matches in a row is good news for me.”

Nadal moves on to Sao Paulo this week for an indoor clay court tournament and after a week off completes his south American comeback in Acapulco, Mexico.

Those two tournaments may offer a more reliable guide as to the chances of Nadal reaching peak from in time for the European clay court swing in which he did not lose a match last year.

Lotus confident 2012 test problem will not recur
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Lotus are confident next week’s second pre-season test in Barcelona will see no repeat of the failure that halted the Formula One team’s efforts at the Spanish track a year ago.

Then, as this year, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean had looked quick in the first test in Jerez only for an unexpected problem with the chassis to surface when they got to the Circuit de Catalunya.

The team had to pull out of that 2012 test and return to the factory after Grosjean had done seven laps.

“We had a problem last year because we designed a single joint poorly. We had created a suspension mounting which was capable of withstanding the loads if it had been made absolutely perfectly,” technical director James Allison explained on the team’s website (www.lotusf1team.com) yesterday.

“However, that style of joint was very difficult to make accurately enough to get repeatable performance from each chassis.”

The joint on the chassis used in Jerez last year was fine but the one on the second car taken to Barcelona was slightly different and failed.

“Once we realized our error we redesigned the joint,” said Allison. “On the (new) E21 (car) we’ve paid particular attention to this area so we’re not expecting any repeat dramas.”

Lotus were quickest with Grosjean and Raikkonen on Wednesday and Friday respectively in Jerez last week. Raikkonen, third overall in the championship last season, had been quickest on day one at the southern Spanish circuit last year.

Allison said the new car looked both competitive and reliable.

Pressure piling on under-fire Mancini at pedestrian City
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Manchester City have one realistic chance left for a title and should they fail in the FA Cup at the weekend against second-tier Leeds United, manager Roberto Mancini will find himself under even more scrutiny.

Already criticized for his blaming of players and refusal to support those who have had a bad game, the Italian knows that with their Premier League chances all but gone Sunday’s clash with Leeds is vital to his survival.

A lack of movement in the transfer market by City pre-season and in January have exposed Mancini’s league title holders this term, highlighted by another failed Champions League campaign.

A 12-point gap to make up on leaders Manchester United after a 3-1 defeat at lowly Southampton on Saturday led Mancini to blast his team’s poor performance and players performing “without strength and personality”.

“When you play football and you are a top player, you should take your responsibility, always,” Mancini was quoted as saying in The Telegraph newspaper.

“It’s not always the fault of the manager. The players should take responsibility.”

Key performers last season, goalkeeper Joe Hart and midfielder Gareth Barry, both made horrendous errors at the weekend to gift the hosts their second and third goals.

Even their imposing midfield engine Yaya Toure, back from the African Nations Cup, was well below his best, while fellow midfielder Javi Garcia had to play at centre back against Southampton such is City’s lack of strength in depth.

Few City fans would argue with their manager’s assessment that Saturday’s abysmal loss was the side’s “worst game in two or three years maybe.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and Kolour events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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