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In match number 37 of this European Cricket Series (ECS) Spain 2021, Raval Sporting will be up against Barcelona Gladiators in a Group C fixture. The Montjuïc Olympic Ground in Barcelona will continue to be the venue.Raval Sporting have had an inconsistent start to the season. They were comprehensively beaten by Minhaj (74 runs). The batting let Raval Sporting down as they could muster just 56/7 while chasing 131.They did come back strongly in the second game, hunting down 93 with eight balls to spare.On the other hand, Barcelona Gladiators were outplayed by Kharian in their first game.Barcelona Gladiators batted decently as they got 97 batting first but faltered with the ball and lost with 13 balls to spare. Thus, they will be looking to bounce back quickly.Squads to choose fromRaval Sporting: Gurwinder Sidhu, Amit Das, Karan Datta, Gaurang Mahyavanshi, Gurpreet Singh, Ishan Patel, Kishitij Patel, Manish Manwani, Muhammad Rizwan, Nandan Bathani, Naveen Kumar, Rohin Kumar, Yudhvir Singh, Lovepreet Singh, Numan Ali, Unnatkumar Patel, Davinder Singh, Sawood Masood, Sonu Jangra, Irfan Muhammad, Faizan Ahmad, Zain Abideen, Ravi PatelBarcelona Gladiators: Shahid Nazir, Ali Raza, Babar Basharat, Iqbal Muzzamil, Malik Nabeeb Iqbal, Mohammad Ur Rehman, Muhammad Ali Khan, Zahid Akbar, Usman Asghar, Harsoon Salik, Ihsan Ullah-Asda, Ameer Taimur, Muhammad Umar, Farooq Ahmed, Arslan Yousaf, Sagar Shahbaz, Nadeem Muhammad, Tahir Nawaz, Arslan Muhammad, Farhan Inayat, Amad Muhammad

Predicted Playing XIsRaval Sporting: Kishitij Patel (wk), Karan Datta (c), Davinder Singh, Manish Manwani, Amit Das, Muhammad Rizwan, Dawood Masood, Gaurang Mahyavanshi, Nandan Bathani, Sonu Jangra, Irfan MuhammadBarcelona Gladiators: Tanzeer Ur Rehman, Shahid Nazir, Arslan Muhammad, Babar Basharat (c), Haroon Salik, Sagar Shahbaz, Ali Zafar Khan, Nadeem Muhammad, Muhammad Umar, Ali Raza, Ihsan Ullah-AsdaMatch DetailsMatch: Raval Sporting vs Barcelona GladiatorsDate: February 17, 2021, 3 PM ISTVenue: Montjuïc Olympic Ground, BarcelonaPitch ReportThe track at the Montjuïc Olympic Ground in Barcelona has been an excellent one to bat on and batters have enjoyed these conditions. Teams have racked up big scores regularly and 110-115 has become the par score.There is not much on offer for the bowlers. Hence, a similar track is likely to be on offer for this game and the team winning the toss might want to bat first.ECS Spain Dream 11 Fantasy Suggestions (RAS vs BAG) Dream11 Team for Raval Sporting vs Barcelona Gladiators – ECS Spain 2021.

Fantasy Suggestion #1: Shahid Nazir, Karan Datta, Kishitij Patel, Haroon Salik, Amit Das, Davinder Singh, Tanzeer Ur Rehman, Arslan Muhammad, Ali Raza, Manish Manwani, Gaurang MahyavanshiCaptain: Arslan Muhammad Vice-captain: Kishitij PatelFantasy Suggestion #2: Shahid Nazir, Kishitij Patel, Ali Zafar Khan, Amit Das, Davinder Singh, Tanzeer Ur Rehman, Arslan Muhammad, Sonu Jangra, Ali Raza, Manish Manwani, Gaurang MahyavanshiCaptain: Tanzeer Ur Rehman Vice-captain: Davinder Singh
Published 16 Feb 2021, 18:25 IST

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It has been more than a year of inaction for Roger Federer now. He last played at the Australian Open 2020, where the Swiss maestro saw a straight-set loss against the Serbian Novak Djokovic. It was a tough series for him where he had to test his physical limits in 2 five-setters.  The 20-time grand slam champion later in the same year underwent double knee surgeries. All of this kept him away from the tennis court even after various countries lifted lockdown and the sport made a much-awaited return. However, the latest news is a big positive for the Federer camp. Martina Navratilova reflected on the comeback of Roger Federer The Swiss great will make his return to the ATP Tour at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Also, the latest development suggests that he can then play an ATP 500 tournament in nearby Dubai.  In a recent interview, a jovial Martina Navratilova learned the news and reacted with some humor. The 18-time women’s Grand Slam champion expressed, “I think he just wants to stay in Burj Al Arab again, but amazing! “It’s great to see Roger back, it’s about time for him sitting for over a year. So I’m glad he’s healthy and playing again.”  That he is coming back with an ATP 250 will ensure that he does not have to put too much pressure on himself for advancing deeper in the event. Prior to this, there were headlines that alleged Roger was fit enough to return for Australian Open 2021 and that he decided against it because of family reasons. Can the Ninjafed make a successful return? Roger Federer gestures to the spectators before hitting signed tennis balls into the stands during the 2019 Hopman Cup. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Well, it might be an ATP 250, but it has participation from some of the best ATP players. The 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, the ATP Cup 2021 hero Andrey Rublev, and of course King Roger himself will stay in the highlight of the event. Apart from these names, there are six players from the Top-20 that’ll make the competition juicier. From Roger’s Swiss companion Stan Wawrinka to Roberto Bautista Agut, Gael Monfils, and others, it will not be an easy draw for the legendary 39-YO. However, the rusty Federer is also the mighty Federer, and he has always dominated all the aforementioned names with his stinging play. Also notably, his participation in the Dubai event will depend on how his body reacts to the Qatar event. The event will kick off on March 8th and the world will cheer for the arguable GOAT. READ MORE- Why is Roger Federer Considered the GOAT?

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Romelu Lukaku leads the Serie A Team of the Week following his excellent performance for Inter at home to Lazio.Antonio Conte’s men secured a vital 3-1 home victory which allowed them to leapfrog Milan into top spot in the table and into pole position to claim the Scudetto.Lukaku (8.4) played a part in all three goals, initially scoring from the penalty spot before earning his second with a flashed right-footed snapshot past the goalkeeper from the edge of the box which was only given after VAR Intervened.His best moment of the match was arguably his assist, though, as he showed devastating pace, power, and determination to barge down the right wing, leaving Marco Parolo for dead before setting up Lautaro Martinez for a tap in.Lorenzo Insigne (7.4) and Domenico Berardi (7.9) join the big Belgian in the front three after scoring for Napoli and Sassuolo respectively. The Napoli man converted from the penalty spot as the Partenopei defeated Juventus 1-0.Another Sassuolo player features in our XI in Manuel Locatelli (7.6), who completed 88/96 attempted passes and had more touches of the ball than any other player in this round of fixtures with 125.Jordan Veretout (7.8) scored two goals from midfield as Roma beat Udinese 3-0 with relative comfort.Making up the midfield three is Fiorentina’s Erick Pulgar (7.7), who won an impressive 11/15 duels, albeit in defeat against Sampdoria.One of the most surprising results of the weekend saw Spezia defeat league leaders Milan 2-0. Simone Bastoni (7.7) scored one of the goals and slots in at left-back.Gianluca Mancini (8.1) and veteran defender Kamil Glik (8.0) feature in the centre of our defence.Berat Djimsiti (7.8) had 108 touches of the ball and completed 83/94 attempted passes for Atalanta.Napoli understandably had to weather a storm of sorts against Juve, but had Alex Meret (8.2) in goal to rely on as he made six saves to earn his clean sheet bonus.Serie A TEAM OF THE WEEK

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Chelsea have been drawn against Atletico Madrid in the Women’s Champions League last 16 while Manchester City face Fiorentina.WSL leaders Chelsea will come up against a familiar face in Toni Duggan with the England international helping Atletico knock Manchester City out of the tournament at the same stage last season.
Emma Hayes’ side have been in stunning form over the past year, going on a record-breaking 33-game unbeaten run which was only recently ended by a shock home defeat to Brighton.Meanwhile, Gareth Taylor’s City side will also play their first leg at home, against a Fiorentina side that finished second in Serie A last season but is off the pace this term, lying fourth and 16 points off pacesetters Juventus.Holders Lyon, who have won a record seven titles and made it five in a row last season, face Norwegian side Brondby.
First legs are scheduled to be played between March 3 and 4, with the return fixtures expected to take place between March 10 and 11.

Image:
Manchester City were knocked out of the competition at the Round of 16 stage by Atletico Madrid and Toni Duggan last season

Full draw as follows:
Wolsburg (GER) vs LSK Kvinner (NOR)Barcelona (ESP) vs Fortuna Hjørring (DEN)Rosengård (SWE) vs St. Pölten (AUT)BIIK-Kazygurt (KAZ) vs Bayern München (GER)Manchester City (ENG) vs Fiorentina (ITA)Sparta Praha (CZE) vs Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)Lyon (FRA) vs Brøndby (DEN)Chelsea (ENG) vs Atlético de Madrid (ESP)More to follow….Watch the Women’s Football Show on Friday at 6pm on Sky Sports Football.

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The update has expanded what is given away. Now, there are Daily Freebie tickets for Flip & Go, the super-successful new format introduced in January 2021. It has also undergone some changes since its launch, with GGPoker increasing the frequency and adjusting the buy-ins as well as the maximum number of stacks for purchase.

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How the GGPoker Daily Freebie Promotion Works

The operator has seen unprecedented growth in 2020 to become one of the leading online poker platforms for tournaments and cash games. GGPoker has achieved that with a plethora of promotions, innovations, and high-profile partnerships. Their continued success has led to a record $7.5 million in promotions given away in February 2021.

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As a mixture between a Flipout and regular tournament, Flip & Go was launched on January 12, 2021. However, it only took a few days for the first tweaks to be made. Initially slated to take place once every hour, it was soon increased to once every 30 minutes.

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Serena Williams came through a huge test of her Australian Open title credentials to beat Simona Halep in a high quality quarter-final and reach the last four at Melbourne Park for the ninth time; The 39-year-old American will next face Naomi Osaka for a place in Saturday’s final

Last Updated: 16/02/21 10:31am

Serena Williams defeated Simona Halep to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open

Serena Williams turned back the clock to make it through to the Australian Open semi-finals where she set up a blockbuster clash against Naomi Osaka.
Williams made it through to her 40th Grand Slam semi-final after gaining revenge for her Wimbledon final loss to Simona Halep.Halep produced a sensational performance to stun Williams 6-2 6-2 at the All England Club in 2019 – one of four Grand Slam finals the American has lost since winning her 23rd singles title in Melbourne four years ago. Williams began this match with a determination to ensure there was no repeat and powered her way to a 6-3 6-3 victory. Williams gained revenge for her Wimbledon final loss to Halep Williams, who mixed 24 winners with 33 unforced errors over the contest, has not won a major since her seventh Australian Open triumph in 2017 and next faces in-form Japanese third seed Naomi Osaka with a place in the final on the line.In her on-court interview, Williams said: “I definitely think this is the best match this tournament and obviously I had to go up against the number two in the world. I knew that I had to do better and that’s what I did, so I’m excited.”The quality of the second set did not match the first, with Williams making a host of unforced errors, but Halep could not take advantage. The best I have seen @serenawilliams play in years! Movement and defensive skills were impressive. Huge semifinal vs @naomiosaka. Whoever wins this one in my opinion goes on to win the title.— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) February 16, 2021 Osaka will not be so generous in what will be a first Grand Slam meeting between the pair since their notorious US Open final in 2018, when Williams received a game penalty for verbally abusing umpire Carlos Ramos and Osaka’s first major title was accompanied by deafening boos and whistles.Since then the Japanese player has won two more major titles and is unbeaten on the biggest stage since last year’s Australian Open. 52 – Chris Evert44 – Martina Navratilova40 – Serena Williams37 – Steffi Graf Williams (left) receives congratulations at the net from Halep Williams shot out of the blocks on Tuesday, moving into a 2-0 lead with a combination of extreme power and incredible angles.Halep fought back to level but Williams forged ahead again and confidently served out the set.The 39-year-old, who is once again two matches away from finally equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 slam singles titles, made a shaky start to the second set, spraying unforced errors as Halep moved into a 3-1 lead.But the Romanian was unable to find the level to put doubts into Williams’ mind and the 10th seed finished the match with a run of five games in a row. For Halep, who reached the semi-finals last year and was losing finalist in 2018, it was back to the drawing board as she looks to add to her two Grand Slam titles at the French Open and Wimbledon.Don’t forget to follow us on skysports.com/tennis, our Twitter account @skysportstennis & Sky Sports – on the go! Available to download now on – iPhone & iPad and Android

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There could be an interesting battle in the Europa League on Thursday evening, as Manchester United and Real Sociedad meet in Turin in the first leg of their round of 32 clash.

Europa League Preview
Manchester United would have been disappointed to drop into the Europa League after strong showings in their first two Champions League group stage fixtures. However, defeat against RB Leipzig in the final group stage match left the Red Devils in third place in their group. Their route for European glory hasn’t been made any easier after being drawn against La Liga side Real Sociedad. However, United will be optimistic regarding their chances, as there have been strong showings by the side over the past 12 months. Their away record is certainly outstanding, as they haven’t lost a domestic game on the road for over 12 months. United will be looking to finally break the mental block that they have endured over recent seasons when it comes to semi-finals, as they have lost their last four across the Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup.

Sociedad will not be an easy game for the Red Devils, as the Spanish side have once again been able to find their best form. For a long time, Sociedad looked certainties to finish in a Champions League spot this season, and when the draw was made for this stage of the Europa League, they were sitting in the top two. After a patchy run of form, Sociedad have been able to rediscover their best form over recent games, as they have picked up two wins on the bounce. That is the kind of form that they will need to come into this game with to stand the best chance of progression.
Real Sociedad vs Manchester United Head To Head
This will only be the third time that Manchester United and Real Sociedad have locked horns. They last met in the 2013-14 Champions League campaign, with United winning once and drawing the game that was played in Spain. United’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford came courtesy of an own goal from Martinez Berridi.
Real Sociedad vs Manchester United Prediction
Avoiding defeat in the first leg of a European tie is always the pivotal factor when it comes to knockout football. United will be happy to come away from Spain with a draw, and that also wouldn’t be the worst result for Sociedad.
Make sure to bet on Real Sociedad vs Manchester with 22Bet!

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Chennai: India captain Virat Kohli said Tuesday his side showed more “grit” and “determination” to thrash England in the second Test, playing down complaints about the difficult pitch.
With local hero Ravichandran Ashwin claiming eight wickets in the match and scoring 106 in the second innings, India completed a 317-run victory inside four days in Chennai.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel claimed a five-wicket haul on his Test debut as England were out for 164 while chasing an unlikely 482 on day four.
Some said the Chennai pitch, which crumbled from nearly the first day, was not fit for a Test.
But England made no public complaint and Kohli rejected the criticism and said his side played a “perfect game”.
“I think our application with the bat was outstanding,” said the India captain.
“The conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application and grit and determination to battle it out.
“We didn’t panic out there looking at the hard turn and bounce on that pitch.”
Kohli highlighted that India scored 600 runs over two innings despite the conditions, and winning the toss made no difference.
“So if you put up that kind of batting performance and you string in those important batting partnerships then we know that our bowlers are going to do the job.”
England ‘outplayed
England captain Joe Root conceded that his side were “outplayed in all three departments this week” and had to learn quickly before the third Test in Ahmedabad.
But he added: “I would say it was a challenging wicket. I do think that it was an important toss to win.”
England, he said, now have to be “honest” and learn quickly to adapt to conditions in India.
England, struggling since the opening day, kept losing wickets after resuming on 53-3 on day four.
Root departed for 33 soon after lunch, falling to Patel.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav joined in to finish off the innings, taking Moeen Ali after he smashed 43 off 18 balls.
The last wicket partnership of 38 between Ali and Stuart Broad, unbeaten on five, was England’s highest of the match.
England, who have been resting and rotating players, said Ali would be returning home after the Test.
Ali had coronavirus in Sri Lanka but recovered to take a total of eight wickets in the second Test against India.
Ashwin’s five wickets to help bowl out England for 134 in the first innings in response to India’s 329 set the tone for the host’s dominance.
England conceded a lead of 195 and then struggled on a pitch that offered turn from day one.
“This wicket was very different to the one we played on in the first game,” Ashwin conceded, but he added that the wickets had not fallen from the balls he expected.
“It was the mind of the batsmen that got us wickets.”
Opener Rohit Sharma hit an attacking 161 to set up India’s big innings after they won the toss and elected to bat first.
Sharma’s seventh Test century and his first against England raised the pitch of the returning Indian crowd — present in a stadium for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
Kohli made 62 in the second innings, putting on a key 96-run seventh-wicket partnership with Ashwin on day three.
Both sides need to win the series to take the second place in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand later this year.
The third Test — a day-night match — will begin in Ahmedabad on February 24.
Authorities have not said if fans will be allowed into the world’s biggest cricket stadium — with a 100,000-plus capacity — for the game.
Read: England thrashes India by 227 runs in first Chennai Test
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As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.

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FILE PHOTO – PSL chairman Philip Ella Juico during the 2020 league opening. TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.net
Despite encountering turbulent times, the Philippine Superliga is in the process of engaging a new television partner in GMA 7.
PSL chairman Philip Ella Juico announced Tuesday at the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum that league officials look forward to forging an alliance with the Kapuso network since breaking up with TV5 has become inevitable.
“We remain as strong as before and even stronger now because the teams that we have are very committed. As we speak today, we are starting negotiations with GMA 7 as our new TV partner,’’ said Juico.
Once the deal has been sealed, GMA 7 will air the league’s beach volleyball tournament starting Feb. 26, featuring eight teams in a bubble tournament in Subic Bay, Zambales.
Juico said the PSL currently has four teams—Sta. Lucia, F2 Logistics, Chery Tiggo and a guest squad in Petro Gazz—while the league is seeking to add two to three more teams as soon as the GMA 7 partnership has been finalized.
He added Generika, Petron and Marinerang Pilipina took a leave from the league and reports have it that Cignal has decided to move ship to the Philippine Volleyball League.
“If Cignal is joining the other league, we have no other sensible reason to stay at TV5. We have to adjust to the reality of the situation and the signs of the times,’’ said Juico during the weekly forum backed by Smart, Go For Gold, Milo, San Miguel Corporation, Braska and Pagcor.
But while the PVL has gone professional under the supervision of the Games and Amusements Board, the PSL, which decided to move the projected March opening of its indoor volleyball to a later date, has opted to remain non-professional.
“Our board, our team owners, the ones who are still with us really want to stay non-professional. We realized that there is really no room for two professional (volleyball) leagues in this country,’’ said Juico.
“What good will that do to Philippine sports development? It doesn’t make strategic sense. Why do we have to move up if there is already a (pro) league there? We’ll just stay here where we are happy and have created a niche,’’ added Juico.

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