Fit-again Fletcher raring to go

first_img The Scot has played more minutes (270) than any other member of the 26-man squad, which is an impressive feat considering what he has been through in the last few seasons. In 2011 Fletcher was diagnosed with chronic bowel disease ulcerative colitis. The debilitating illness left Fletcher “running to the toilet 10, 20, 30 times a day,” he explained recently. As a result, Fletcher has spent nearly two of the last three years on the sidelines. It is no surprise, therefore, that he is happy to be back to full fitness. “I don’t want to look back, but everyone knows I’ve been through a lot,” Fletcher said. “I have not had a pre-season for three years. “But now I am back in the gym and I am feeling the benefits from that. Press Association After three years of pain and frustration, Darren Fletcher’s road to recovery finally appears to be nearing its end. Fletcher captained Manchester United to their fourth and most impressive pre-season win on Saturday when they defeated Real Madrid 3-1 at Michigan Stadium in front of 109,318 spectators. With all the focus being on Louis van Gaal, the story of Fletcher’s return to the first-team has flown under the radar over the last fortnight. “I am getting stronger and hopefully I can get as fit as possible. “I am looking forward to the new season.” For a man who has dedicated the last 19 years of his life to Manchester United, last season’s seventh-place under David Moyes was hard to take. The midfielder and his team-mates want to prove that was nothing but a blip. “Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all finished above us last year so it was disappointing for us,” he said. “Next season we all want to show what we are capable of. “We have got a fantastic team spirit. We were talking about it the other night among ourselves. “We are all pulling in the right direction and we all want the best for Manchester United. “We realise some experienced players have gone and it’s up to us to come together and get us back up there.” It may just be pre-season, but the fact that three of United’s four wins on tour have come against some of Europe’s top clubs has given the squad optimism about the season ahead. Van Gaal must take credit for installing that confidence among the playing staff. The contrast between the atmosphere in the camp and the final weeks of Moyes’ reign could not be greater. The players are happy to undertake double training sessions under their new manager and they have adapted well to Van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2 formation. The players are smiling again. And so is the manager, who was happy to chat and pose for photographs with fans after the match in Ann Arbor on Saturday. “We are just enjoying it,” Fletcher said when asked about the difference between this season and the last. “The manager expects a lot from us and he thinks we have got the ability to do it. “He demands a lot, but the players have responded. “We are enjoying playing in a new system and under him.” There could be no finer way for Van Gaal to round off his first tour as United boss than with a win over Liverpool in the International Champions Cup final on Monday. It may be just another friendly on paper, but the rivalry between the two arch rivals makes the Miami showdown an enticing prospect. “It’s Man Utd v Liverpool. It doesn’t matter if it’s pre-season. We want to win,” said Fletcher, who is confident of overcoming a calf injury to play. Just like United, Liverpool have experienced a summer of upheaval, with star striker Luis Suarez departing for Barcelona. The Reds have registered wins over Manchester City, AC Milan and Olympiacos while in the US though so they will be confident of taking home the one million US dollar prize (£600,000) too. Liverpool will be without Daniel Sturridge as he has been sent home for treatment on a hamstring injury which kept him out of Saturday’s 2-0 win over AC Milan. “Dan has flown back to the UK,” Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said. “He had a really, really slight feeling in his hamstring. It’s nothing major.” last_img read more

Eight Uganda Golfers Hit Abuja for IBB Ladies Open Championship

first_imgOlawale Ajimotokan in AbujaThere is an international flavour to the 21st IBB Ladies Open Championship, with eight Ugandan and one Swedish players, leading the foreign players who have arrived Abuja.Among those already on ground are the President of Ugandan Ladies Golf Union (ULGU) Evah Magala, and the Lady Captain of the team, Anne Abeja. The Ugandans are coming for the third year running and have vowed to give good accounts of themselves by fiercely defending the Lady Gross title won by Magala last year.“I am ready for the tournament and I am here to retain my title,” boasted Magala.The ceremonial tee-off is to be conducted by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, at 6pm today at the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja.The ladies in the Handicap 0- 28 flight and veteran players within Handicap 0-36 flight category will hit the fairways on Friday.The tournament will end on Saturday.The Chairperson of the tournament organising committee, Maryrose Richard-Obioha, announced at a media briefing yesterday that Botswana will present two players, while the sole Zambian player is due to arrive today.A total number160 ladies will compete over three days and will constitute the bulk of the field of 260 golfers that will grace the tournament.Obiorah also stressed the tournament is listed on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) calendar. She added the organising committee will collate the scores, which will be sent to WARG, analyzed and used to rank the ladies.“We have never had anybody ranked from here. But I hope at the end of this tournament, some of the ladies will be ranked. And for the first time, Nigeria will be on the ranking as well,“ Obiorah said.Rachel Danjuma (IBB), Rita Izojie (Asaba) Evelyn Oyome (Benin) and Amina Wilfred (IBB) are some of the Nigerian competitors of note.In addition to the gross prizes for ladies and net prizes for veterans and gentlemen, there will be sponsors and auxiliary prizes.Lady Captain IBB Club, Dr Julie Acholonu assured that the ladies section will organise a tournament that will befit the status of the club and meet the expectations of the sponsors.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Scientists Study Invasive Species To Track Chemical Contamination In The Great Lakes

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisAlpena — Scientist from NOAA’s national headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland spent the week in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, working with their peers to gather the invasive zebra and quagga mussels.Since the 1980s, these invasive species have made their way into the Great Lakes, endangering other species along the way. However, the mussels that are reeking havoc are also helping these scientist identify other potential problems in the Midwest and in the Great Lakes.“They’re very good sentinel organism for monitoring the uptake or possibility of uptake of chemical contamination in any type of biological organism,” said Senior Scientist Ed Johnson.Zebra and Quagga mussels have been devastating to their own bivalves, putting several types of native mussels.The scientist are part of a national monitoring program called “mussel watch.” The program started in 1987 and helps track chemical contamination through bivalves, organisms with an enclosed shell like oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops. Their work in the Great Lakes began in 1992. With help from the members of the NOAA-Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, divers collected zebra and quagga mussels to examine their biology and study the biological responses to determine if certain variations of chemicals are causing problems for other organism in that habitat.“We as organisms respond in many ways similarly to stress, including chemical stress,” said Johnson. “Why take a salmon or a trout when you can take an invasive mussel that serves the purpose in many ways as a better tool for monitoring because they don’t move.”The mussels will be used as the a clean site reference. Next week, the team heads to Milwaukee to study chemicals coming from the river and waste water outfall. They will be looking for chemicals from pharmaceuticals, hormones, therapeutic drugs, etc.Funding for this type of research comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The work is also supported by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement which is a bi-national treaty between the United States and Canada.For more information of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, visit more information on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, visit    AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious Senior Center Working on New Greenhouse for Healthier Meal OptionsNext What’s Trending for June 8last_img read more