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Banyana star aims at success

first_imgFresh from the University of Johannesburg‘s triumph in the inaugural Varsity Football competition, Amanda Dlamini speaks about her decision to relinquish the national captain’s armband and her work in the development of women’s soccer.In March, the Banyana Banyana midfielder gave up the captaincy, after two years at the helm, to focus on her own game and her tertiary studies.“It was one of the toughest decisions I had to make regarding my footballing career. It’s something that needed to be done for me to be content with myself, my game and my studies.”Higher education was a priority, said the third-year Road Transport Management student, even for those young women carving out a career in professional sport. “Women’s sport still lacks the sponsorship needed to make a good living. So should anything happen, such as a career-changing injury, one should be able to continue having a full life through your chosen field.”Dlamini is currently back home in Harding, KwaZulu-Natal, while she completes a module via correspondence, and plays for Durban Ladies in the Sasol provincial league.She has already made 66 appearances for the national squad and notched up 21 goals in the process.HIGHLIGHTUniversity of Johannesburg and Banyana Banyana midfielder Amanda Dlamini in action during the inaugural Varsity Football series (Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA)The highlight of her tenure as captain was leading the first ever Banyana team to qualify for the Olympic Games in 2012.She hopes to still be an integral part of South Africa’s plans to qualify for the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup and their quest to win the African Women’s Championship.Earlier this year, this sporting role model established the Amanda Dlamini Girls’ Foundation, which aims to inspire young girls from rural areas to pursue their dreams.“As a rural girl, I know how it feels to be isolated from all sporting activities. Because I have experienced these challenges, I felt the need to go out there and motivate these young girls not to give up, no matter what.”As part of the programme, Dlamini shares her footballing experiences and some of the challenges that female athletes face. She said the emphasis was on balancing education and sport, providing coaching in life skills and football.“We offer career guidance and teambuilding exercises. There’s also something called ‘my sacred space’ – which is where I tell them about my upbringing and relate to them and answer one-on-one questions.”Dlamini, who scored two goals in UJ’s 6-0 drubbing of Tshwane University of Technology, believes it was depth of experience that gave her side the edge in the Varsity Football competition in September. Although the presence of past and present national players like herself, Noko Matlou and Disebo Mametja had no doubt strengthened the side, she preferred to focus on the entire unit.“We work as a team and shy away from focusing on individuals. We work very well as a unit and not as a group of stars. We are always mindful of complacency and therefore work hard at training sessions to complement the massive talent we have in our squad.”ADDING VALUEThe 25-year-old said the Varsity Football series had added great value to the game by ensuring constant competition and providing a visible and equal platform for women’s football.“This shows that women’s sport as a whole is on the rise and being taken seriously.”Dlamini’s greatest ambition is to one day have her own football academy for women. According to her, her own start was slightly less auspicious, following her cousin and brother to the fields where they played.“One day I was asked to play because they were a man short and I grabbed that chance with both hands. At first it was just a hobby – little did I know the only little girl playing with boys would one day get this far.”last_img read more

Japanese researchers using particle accelerator to breed salt resistant rice

first_img RIKEN ion beam technology used to create brewing yeast (Phys.org) — Japanese researchers at the Riken Nishina Centre for Accelerator-Based Science have been using their particle accelerator to cause mutations in rice for over two decades with the aim of breeding rice that is more resistant to saltwater. Up to now their results have been limited; just one new salt resistant rice variety has been created and it faced mixed reactions regarding taste. But now, because of the tsunami in that country last year that contaminated a lot of farmland with seawater, efforts there have picked up and researchers are reportedly coming close to developing a whole host of new saltwater resistant strains. Explore further Cambodia, Kratie: A worker is removing the rice seedlings. Image: Wikipedia Citation: Japanese researchers using particle accelerator to breed salt resistant rice (2012, May 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-05-japanese-particle-salt-resistant-rice.htmlcenter_img The idea isn’t all that novel, breeding new varieties of plants has been done for centuries. What the researchers at the accelerator facility are doing is speeding up the process. All breeding is based on mutations that occur in plant cells. Those mutations that create positive results in plants are favored over those that don’t. Over time successive generations result in plants that are ever closer to what is desired. With the particle accelerator, the research team at Riken, led by Tomoko Abe, fire an ion beam at grains of rice, creating a huge variety of mutations in their genes; afterwards the grains are planted and tested to see which are more resistant to saltwater. Those that are go through testing and are sometimes bred with other varieties with the hope of finding the perfect mix of salt resistance and good taste. In so doing the team is able to create new strains of rice in just a few years that normally would take decades using natural mutation methods.Developing strains of rice that are resistant to the salt in seawater is important, not just for Japan, which saw yields drop by over half in areas where the sea inundated farmland, but for many other countries in the world as well. With both rising populations and ocean levels, land that is occasionally flooded by the sea could be made useable if strains of rice can be developed that are able to grow there.The researchers at Riken have already developed strains that see yields drop by just twenty percent when inundated with seawater, and are hoping to improve that number as more research continues. They expect to see fully resistant rice strains as soon as four years from now. © 2012 Phys.Org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more