Calabar High’s head coach, Michael Clarke, is promising a high-class performance at home when the school hosts the inaugural McKenley-Wint Invitational Track and Field meet tomorrow.”We are really excited about the meet tomorrow and the guys are upbeat after training on the new synthetic track last Tuesday. They really want to do something special,” said Clarke.Clarke, who has coached three high school teams to top Boys’ Championships, is very confident that with the new track, it will be even harder for any team to wrest the title from them this year.”Training on the school campus is a great plus for the team and the institution as the boys will not have to travel away from school, and also, it has cut down on transportation costs as this money can go somewhere else in the programme,” he said. “It will be a family affair as we expect many past students to be present,” he continued.Calabar is the first local high school to have its own synthetic running track. The opening and dedication of the new track will take place today at a ceremony starting at 1 p.m. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller will be the main speaker at today’s function.
SHARJAH, UAE (CMC):West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, said his players will use warm-up matches against English County Warwickshire this weekend to ramp up their fielding arsenal in preparation for the T20 World Cup starting next week in India.West Indies start a two-match series against Warwickshire tomorrow at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, after thrashing Zimbabwe 2-0 in a similar series which ended here on Monday.”It’s a case of making sure that we get back to a standard where people are afraid of us in the field, and we have the players that can put that fear into other people in the field,” said Simmons.”I think we, as a unit, have to make sure everybody is doing their job and if we can get it to that stage by the 16th then people will be in for a shock.”The Caribbean side displayed solid batting in their confidence-boosting warm-up victories against Zimbabwe.However, Simmons expressed some reservations about their fielding, especially during their final match against the Zimbabweans where catches were dropped.”I think we need to make sure that we are in the field, that we are getting to the ball and we are hitting stumps and things like that,” he said.”We dropped a few catches today … but we got to make sure that we are doing everything right by the time we leave here.”UNBEATEN CENTURYThe former West Indies all-rounder says he was impressed with the unbeaten century stand for the first wicket between Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher, which led them to a 10-wicket victory against Zimbabwe on Monday.He says competition for Chris Gayle’s opening spot is healthy for the regional side.”This was a much better wicket than two days ago and they showed what they are capable of doing,” said Simmons.”They are both in a way fighting for a spot as Chris Gayle has to come in, so it’s good for them to show what they have and for us to know that if Chris is not there that we still have people who can do the job up top.”West Indies are also scheduled to play warm-up matches against India and Australia next week.
A financial framework “that stands out among corporate and airline peers” has helped Qantas gain a coveted credit upgrade by ratings agency Moody’s.Moody’s announced Monday that the Australian carrier’s credit rating has been upgraded from Baa3 to Baa2. Both ratings are investment grade.“While we expect Qantas’ credit metrics to remain fairly stable for the next 12-18 months, the upgrade reflects our greater focus on qualitative factors,’’ Moody’s vice president- senior credit officer Ian Chitterer said in the upgrade announcement. “This includes the unique traits of the Australian continent and airline market, Qantas Group’s strong domestic position, and diversification provided by the loyalty program.”We also factor in the reduction in credit risk through its hedging policy and financial framework. Working in tandem, they help to reduce earnings volatility and increase the predictability of management’s response to market conditions.’’Qantas earlier this month predicting another bumper full-year underlying pre-tax profit of $A1.35 billion to $A1.4 billion, making it the second highest in the airline’s history.The airline said it had seen an improving performance from its domestic operations and a “slight moderation” in the challenging conditions facing it in the international market.Its forecast compared to an underlying profit of $A1.53 billion and a net profit of $1.03 billion in 2015-16.In its decision to upgrade Qantas, Moody’s took into account the “unique” dynamics of the Australian market, including an airline duopoly with budget airline subsidiaries reducing the chances of a new domestic competitor and significant distances between cities.It noted Qantas had a domestic capacity share of 62 per cent and raked in 86 per cent of the available pre-tax earnings in the market.“With its greater scale, far higher margins and a significantly stronger balance sheet, Qantas is in a very strong competitive position,’’ it said.The upgrade also reflected the stable earnings of Qantas Loyalty, which accounted for about 20 per cent of group pre-tax eearnings in2016 with management predicting growth of 7 to 10 per cent for the next five years.Moody’s also liked the airline’s fuel hedging strategy because it reduced cash flow volatility and gave the business time to adjust fuel spikes.“Qantas’ publicly articulated financial framework stands out among corporate and airline peer,’’ Moody’s said. “The stipulation of maximum net debt levels and forward-looking nature of the framework will trigger pre-emptive actions in the event of sustained fuel-cost increases or operational weakness.’’The credit agency said a further upgrade was considered unlikely unless Qantas changed its financial framework to target a debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) ratio of around two times but this was not expected.It would look at a downgrade if that same ratio exceeded three times but it noted it was expected to remain below this level.
Ray Maota Nyasha Matonhodze, featured here, inthe Louis Vuitton 2011 Fall/WinterCampaign, shot by world renownedfashion photographer, Steven Meisel.(Image: SA-People.com) Matonhodze, seen here: in her EliteModels portfolio photo.(Image: Elite Model Management Paris)MEDIA CONTACTS• Elite Model Management Paris+33 1 4044 3222RELATED ARTICLES• Young SA golfer swings to success• Elizabeth Arden’s new SA face• South African actresses make it big in Hollywood• Young writer to publish 18th bookZimbabwean-born Nyasha Matonhodze, 16, is turning heads on high streets across the world after being chosen as one of the faces of Louis Vuitton’s 2011 Autumn/Winter campaign.Matonhodze, who was one of the finalists in the UK Elite Model Look in 2009, had been toying with the idea of modelling since she was 12, but was eventually convinced after watching the TV show America’s Next Top Model.“Since I was 12 I have been tall and thin, so I would always get the whole ‘you should be a model’, but I never really developed a serious interest about it until the TV show America’s Next Top Model,” said the five-foot 11 (180cm) teen.“Seriously, that’s when it all changed for me. Everything I wanted was pretty much based on that show.”The Zimbabwean beauty follows in the footsteps of pop queen Madonna and movie star Scarlett Johansson, who have both previously represented the French fashion label.The 2011 campaign visuals were shot by world-renowned fashion photographer Steven Meisel at a disused aerodrome in Brooklyn, New York, inside a vintage Rolls Royce.“It didn’t actually hit me until I was sitting in a Rolls Royce with Mr Meisel. He is a wonder to work with – he and Marc Jacobs made me feel beautiful,” said Matonhodze.Marc Jacobs is Louis Vuitton’s creative director.“My eyes filled up with tears and I thought ‘Lord you are lucky’,” Matonhodze added.Zimbabwean rootsMatonhodze was born and raised in Zimbabwe by her grandmother until she was eight years old.“I was raised in a very cultural, traditional household. It’s very different to the British culture where my mom lived. I moved to England when I was eight, so I do still have memories of Zimbabwe – like falling asleep in the sand, bathing outside, the warmth of the sun and just the way of living,” she said.Matonhodze’s last visit to Zimbabwe was in 2009.“Moving to England, I saw their perspective on Africa and what they think it’s like, and it’s completely the opposite. I went back to Zimbabwe three years ago and it’s so lovely; they’re happy with who they are and their traditions. I love going back home,” said Matonhodze.She credits her mother as her inspiration, who at the age of 18 went to live and work in London.“She was a single mother at 18 who moved to London without knowing anyone. She’s always worked hard and seeing her overcome so much in life has been an inspiration for me.”Matonhodze also credits her father for instilling a Christian way of life in her.Catwalk and magazine appearancesMatonhodze has walked for various fashion houses and appeared in several glossy magazines since her recruitment into Elite Model Agency in 2009.She was the feature in Wonderland magazine in November 2010 and recently appeared on the covers of LOVE, V, Harper’s Bazaar and Teen Vogue magazines.In 2010 she walked for Louis Gray, Loewe, Jonathan Saunders, Ungaro and Louis Vuitton, and so far in 2011 she has walked for Halston, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Ungaro, Loewe and Louis Vuitton.Not so much of a ‘discovery’ Matonhodze is quick to point out that she wasn’t “discovered” at a shopping centre as gossipmongers say. She says her parents went with her to an agency when she was 14 to enquire about modelling opportunities.“My discovery wasn’t so much of a discovery. At 14 my mum and my stepdad went into Elite Models to see if I could actually model.”In a recent interview in New York magazine Matonhodze said: “If you’re not strong-minded, modelling can knock your confidence quite harshly. Every day you’re judged on your looks, and more so today you’re judged on your personality.