The attention of the Ministry of Agriculture has been drawn to the Wednesday, January 27 editorial of the Daily Observer newspaper entitled “Was USAID/FED Setting Our Rice Farmers Up for Failure?” I wish to take this opportunity to address several factual inaccuracies you made. In particular, the editorial suggests that USAID/FED has not helped provide Liberian farmers with access to “harvesting, milling, packaging and marketing services.” In fact, during the past three years, USAID’s Food and Enterprise Development Program (FED) has helped establish 10 community rice mills, with plans for nine more in 2016. These facilities provide the approximately 50,000 local rice farmers who benefit from the program the capacity for threshing, drying, milling, and destoning their rice crops, as well as storing and marketing them. When all 19 facilities are operational, they will have the capacity to process approximately 29,000 metric tons of rice annually. No postharvest services were previously available in the six counties (Bong, Grand Bassa, Lofa, Margibi, Montserrado and Nimba) in which FED operates. USAID/FED has not only helped farmers with production and postharvest services, it has also helped create a market for local rice. Through links with FED’s farmers groups, one Liberian-owned mill, FABRAR Liberia, based in Kakata, procured 450 metric tons of un-milled rice valued at $180,000 from Lofa County farmers in 2015 alone.FED has also helped strengthen the market for locally grown rice by establishing “aggregators” who trade in rice. In a recent editorial the Daily Observer hailed one such example, Mr. John Selma in Lofa County. Mr. Selma began growing his business with a loan from a microfinance institution to purchase paddy rice from farmers which he then mills and processes for sale at one of the community rice mills established with FED support. More recently FED has linked Selma with another financial institution to underwrite his rice aggregating business. Due to Mr. Selma’s successful rice enterprise in Lofa County, the Daily Observer conferred on him its “2015 Man of Year”. The Daily Observer editorial also erroneously creates the impression of widespread loan delinquencies in loan repayments by farmers, especially in Lofa County. USAID/FED has helped established 723 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) that provide loans for smallholder farmers to purchase agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers and high yielding seeds, or to otherwise expand their farms and increase their yields. Lofa alone has 150 of these VSLAs. The repayment rate among the 723 VSLAs is 98 percent in the six counties served by USAID/FED, including Lofa. Our experience gained over the years demonstrates that the government of Liberia can best complement the work of FED and other such development partners and improves rice production and sale when it refrains from direct intervention in the market. Our main goal as a government and a people is to create an enabling environment that strengthens the private sector and taps the entrepreneurial drive of hardworking Liberian farmers.Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your editorial and correct its inaccuracies. Going forward, we invite you to visit the many innovative projects that the government of Liberia and its development partners are undertaking in the agricultural sector to see the scope of our engagement and to confirm the veracity of information prior to publication. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you need any information regarding the agriculture sector in Liberia. We will provide you relevant information to enable you write your independent editorials regarding the Liberia agriculture sector based on facts.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
0Shares0000LAGOS, Nigeria, June 11 – Nigerian police have freed international footballer Christian Obodo unhurt and without a ransom paid in a raid following his kidnapping in the country’s south at the weekend, authorities said Monday.“He has been rescued and we have five suspects in our net as a result of it,” Delta state police spokesman Charles Muka said. He said police staged a raid on Sunday night after trailing the kidnappers to their hideout.In addition to the five arrests, an AK-47 rifle was recovered, Muka said. The Italy-based midfielder was kidnapped by four men in Effurun in Delta state on Saturday morning near the oil city of Warri, where abductions for ransom occur regularly.He was abducted in front of a church, where he had gone to worship in his Bentley Continental car marked ‘Obodo 5’.His kidnappers had demanded a ransom of about $188,000.Delta state sports commission press secretary Timi Ebikagboro also confirmed Obodo’s release.Obodo, 28, is a Nigerian international midfielder who spent last season on loan at southern Italian club Lecce from fellow Serie A side Udinese.Kidnappings for ransom of expatriates and wealthy Nigerians or their relatives has occurred regularly in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, where Delta state is located, and occasionally elsewhere.The brother of Everton defender Joseph Yobo was kidnapped in 2008 and freed days later, while last year the father of Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi was also abducted in the central city of Jos before being freed after a police raid.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
SACRAMENTO – After 23 years in various elected offices representing Los Angeles, controversial and outspoken Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg will end her public career later this year, at least as an elected official. Goldberg says she wants to return to education, and with Los Angeles Unified School District looking to pick a new superintendent by this fall, she says she’s considering applying. If not that, she says, she’s thinking just as hard about returning to inner-city teaching. “In some fashion, I want to address the achievement issue of low-income kids and literacy skills, but I’m not sure what that capacity should be,” Goldberg said in a recent interview. “Maybe I should go back to being a teacher – that was my best job and my favorite job by far.” She has fought for measures to ban American Indian school mascots, shorten school textbooks, lengthen the school year for low-performing schools and protect transgenders’ rights in the workplace. But her stances have drawn ire from conservatives, who say her beliefs represent political correctness and liberalism to the extreme. Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan clashed with then-Councilwoman Goldberg often, and at one point declared she “should be ashamed of herself” for making what he felt were untrue statements about him and his proposal for business tax reform. Today, Riordan has softened his view somewhat. “Personally, we got along,” Riordan said. “We were just ideologically (on) very opposite sides of a lot of things. “But on constituent matters in her district, she had a strong staff, and our two staffs worked well together. She hugged me on my last day as mayor.” Still, he sees Goldberg as an uncompromising ideologue. “You just couldn’t get her to accept something less than 100 percent of her ideology.” Mike Spence, president of the conservative grass-roots group California Republican Assembly, called Goldberg a “socialist” who wants to micromanage people’s lives and is “wrong on almost everything.” “She’s been a committed and articulate advocate for everything we oppose,” Spence said. “I wish there were more people on our side that were as dedicated as she was to advancing her agenda.” Steve Frank, publisher of a conservative political newsletter, said if Goldberg does apply to be LAUSD superintendent, “I think it’s a perfect match – a failed legislator with a failed system being controlled by a failed city.” As a legislator, Frank said, Goldberg was a “radical leftist” who has stood for more taxes and less freedom. “Any opportunities to raise fees or business taxes, she voted for them. Anything to harm the businesses in her community and the whole city, she voted for it. She does not believe in the free market. She believes in the government market.” Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick, a liberal who served with Goldberg for almost eight years on the City Council, said she considered Goldberg a friend and an ally. “She was passionate about the issues that she believed in. She was a very effective fighter for them. She was extremely forthright in my dealings with her, which is hard to find in politics. There wasn’t a lot of subterfuge and doubletalk. It was, say it as it is.” As a legislator, Goldberg said she has had 39 bills signed into law, including domestic partnership rights, water recycling and relief for school overcrowding. In 2003, Goldberg was among a group of Democrats caught in an open-microphone gaffe talking about political strategies to possibly hold up the state budget vote in order to convince voters to support a proposal to lower the voting threshold for budgets. They talked about creating a crisis to draw public attention, and noted that the timing was better because it was not an election year. The group was having what they thought was a private discussion in a committee room, but a microphone was left on, allowing the press and many others in the Capitol to hear them plotting strategy. When she was informed that the microphone was on, she was heard exclaiming “Oh, s–” before the sound was cut. Republicans distributed a transcript of the remarks. Today, Goldberg says she doesn’t regret that discussion at all. She said her words were misinterpreted. “They made it sound like I was trying to make up a crisis. When you’re $17 billion short, ladies and gentlemen, you’re in a crisis. I don’t retract the statement I made at all.” Goldberg, the City Council’s first openly gay member, has been with her partner Sharon Stricker for nearly 27 years. Stricker is executive director of a nonprofit organization that runs arts and literacy after-school programs in Los Angeles middle schools. The two, who live in Echo Park, participated in a marriage ceremony last year when San Francisco was allowing gay marriages before the courts halted the practice. They have one adopted son, who is now married and living in San Diego. Goldberg says she enjoyed the nonpartisan politics of the City Council and the school board more than the partisan atmosphere in Sacramento. “When I first got here, the Republicans were the meanest bunch of people I ever worked with in politics,” Goldberg says. “I mean mean-spirited, not just philosophical differences. It was like, find a way to make it a personal attack if you can. … That’s gotten a little better. But it’s still about winning points and not solving problems. “I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished. … I feel that I have made it clear to people you can be in office and still have your integrity intact. “So I leave quite happy. And I’m happy to leave.” email@example.com (916) 446-6723160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesGoldberg says that while many people have approached her about applying to succeed Superintendent Roy Romer, she has had no official discussions with the district. One thing is sure: Even if the state or the city of Los Angeles extends term limits, she doesn’t plan to run for elected office again. “On the whole, I’m very proud of my record,” said Goldberg, D-Los Angeles. “I’ve always looked out for the underdog, which for me is the most important thing to do. The well-off and well-connected look out for themselves, and have plenty of people who look out for them.” The 61-year-old often-controversial lawmaker has served as an LAUSD board member, Los Angeles City Council member, and for the past six years as a state legislator. During that time, she has drawn fire as she gained a reputation as an unabashed champion for ultra-liberal causes, styling herself as an advocate for homosexuals, the working poor and education in low-income communities.
Cantona involved in bust-up with Neymar’s dad after United beat PSG – reportsCantona involved in bust-up with Neymar’s dad after United beat PSG – reports
Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City gameday cracker Cantona was at the Parc des Princes with his friends SORRY Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update huge blow The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 2 Neymar and his dad attend a PSG game in 2017 LATEST MOST READ IN FOOTBALL Eric Cantona was involved in a furious bust-up with Neymar’s dad after Manchester United beat Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night, according to reports.Marcus Rashford’s stoppage time penalty sent United through to the quarter-finals after they claimed an incredible 3-1 win at the Parc des Princes. 2 whoops Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ latest REPLY Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Neymar was left fuming on the sidelines and even posted an obscene message of abuse on social media after the game.And it seems as though there was a heated altercation after the final whistle concerning his father as well.According to RMC Sports, Neymar Sr and his friends had to be dragged away from the box where Cantona and his friends were sitting.The former United striker and his friends reportedly made provocative gestures to the Brazilian contingent. tense Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? revealed Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion Neymar Sr was sitting in the company of Daniel Alves’s friends and Marquinhos’s brother and needed to be held back by PSG security services.Cantona headed down to the dressing room to take pictures with the team and his former boss, Sir Alex Ferguson.Meanwhile Neymar Jr was not present at this point having decided to go down to pitch level to watch the climax of the thrilling game.
Pochettino gives Lloris update and tries to explain Spurs’ horror show at BrightonPochettino gives Lloris update and tries to explain Spurs’ horror show at Brighton
Mauricio Pochettino admits the early signs are ‘not good’ regarding Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris’ horror injury during the 3-0 defeat to Brighton.The goalkeeper was stretchered off and taken to hospital after landing awkwardly on his left elbow as Neal Maupay opened the scoring for the Seagulls in the third minute.talkSPORT understands Lloris, who appeared in total agony, needed morphine to numb the pain.“The news after game wasn’t good,” Pochettino told talkSPORT. BT Sport Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti Liverpool transfer news live: Star man wanted by Real Madrid, Mbappe latest and more stalemate LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS “Through the website we’ll update and explained what happened. But of course, it’s not good news. I think he has suffered a big issue.”The injury came after Lloris made yet another howler, dropping the ball on his goal-line and allowing Maupay to nod into the empty net.Brighton youngster Aaron Connolly then piled more misery on Pochettino by scoring on his first Premier League start either side of half-time.Following the 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich at home in the Champions League on Wednesday, the trip to the Amex continued a week from hell for Spurs. Poch is having a torrid time at the moment Lloris looked in serious pain What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas 2 AFP or licensors latest Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman appointed targets Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff statement rookie error Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship “To concede after three minutes and lose your captain was a massive impact for the team and we never found a way to change the dynamic,” Pochettino added.“After the 7-2, when you need to recover your best feeling and recover your confidence, after three minutes that was a massive impact that the team didn’t come to terms with.”Asked if the current situation represents his toughest challenge at Tottenham, Pochettino said: “Yes, but not in my career.“It’s a challenge to change the dynamic now. We are in a difficult moment but the most important thing is to have a clear idea about what we need to do and know we need time to change the negative dynamic.” BIG PRESENTS UP TOP on target 2 Spurs have now lost more games than any Premier League team in 2019 (11) while their winless run on the road extended to ten games with Saturday’s defeat.But a defiant Pochettino dismissed any suggestion that he has lost control of the dressing room.He said: “That is not a question from me. Of course I feel that we are all together, no doubt.”
Food and Wine First Look: Cider Bar at Canada PavilionFood and Wine First Look: Cider Bar at Canada Pavilion
The item on the right that looks like a salad at a quick glance is actually the caramel-apple popcorn. The popcorn is sweet with a slightly apple/slightly caramel flavor. The drink on the left is the frozen apple pie. Overall, the drink tastes good, but it really could use a spoon because there’s so much graham cracker. The slush underneath is apple flavored, so it does end up tasting like an apple pie, only frozen.Also in the space, you can get a little taste of maple syrup–simply delicious, of course. If you like it, you can purchase some of the maple syrup there.In addition, the space also houses the Apple Orchard Wine bar, which offers a variety of wine and a small cheese plate. Share This!The Canada 360-degree Circlevision is currently being redone, and so the theater for it is vacant space. That’s a perfect place to set up an indoor location for Food and Wine festival, however.Inside the pavilion you can find the Cider Bar booth, which has (no surprise), a variety of ciders to purchase, plus some sweet treats. Between the Cider Bar, Wine Bar, and air conditioning, this will be a popular place to come and hang out during the festival, even though the offerings are limited. Even better, you can certainly use the lean rails as “tables” for your cider flight. What do you think of this space? Love it or leave it? Let us know in the comments.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS—A loose alliance of 500 scientific organizations has declared 2009 the Year of Science and is hoping the effort will lead to a spate of projects to put science and technology in reach of the public. This week, the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) kicked off an outreach campaign here at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology to encourage more scientists and their organizations to promote a public understanding of science.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)COPUS’s roots date back to a 2006 workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation to discuss threats to the study of evolution. The participants quickly realized “it wasn’t just evolution that was being shortchanged, it was all of science,” recalls workshop organizer Judy Schotchmoor of the University of California, Berkeley. The organization has grown from the 20 groups it started with in April 2007 to a network of more than 500, including government agencies, associations—including ScienceInsider’s publisher, AAAS—museums, research institutes, the National Academy of Sciences, even the Banana Slug String Band, which puts science concepts to music.The effort also features a Web site, understandingscience.org, aimed at teachers and others. It explains key scientific concepts in words and cartoons, corrects misconceptions, and features scientist profiles, student activities, lesson plans, and teaching tips.Researchers are grateful for the help. “We now have a great network for disseminating information to the public,” says Eduardo Rosa-Molinar, an integrative biologist at the University of Puerto Rico. But some wonder how necessary another science advocacy organization is. “It’s a bit confusing,” says Haruhiko Itagaki, a neurobiologist at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.
Yangon (Myanmar), Mar 24 (PTI) Pankaj Advani today defended his Asian Billiards Championships title in style by demolishing his practice partner B Bhaskar 6-1 in the summit clash here. With this win, Advani remains the reigning Indian, Asian and world champion in billiards for 2017-18. Indias Amee Kamani won the Asian Womens Snooker title by blanking her Thai opponent Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan 3-0. This is Advanis 11th gold medal at the Asian level of cue sports. His continental billiards title tally has gone up to seven, in addition to the back-to-back Asian Games gold medals in 2006 and 2010, one 6-red snooker title and a snooker team gold. After losing the first frame, thanks to a well-crafted 100 by Bhaskar, the rest of the match saw Advani punish his opponent for every mistake made with a frame-winning break. Advani left the spectators mesmerised with top quality billiards as he scored a deadly barrage of breaks in the final consisting of 102, 83, 94, 96 and 99. Advani scored heavily in the fourth and fifth frames, not allowing Bhaskar to put a single point on the board. These two frames appeared to be the turning point of the tie as it kept Bhaskar away from the table while Advani grew from strength to strength, making him invincible from that point on. There were spirited attempts thereafter of a comeback from the eventual silver medalist Bhaskar but Advani was in no mood to let his lead and title go. He completed the proceedings with a world-class 99 break to seal the match and championship yet again. Bhaskar is yet to win an Asian title.advertisement “This Asian crown is special as it comes just before the Padma Bhushan ceremony (April 2). I got to defend my title from last year plus got to play the final with my sparring partner and dear friend Bhaskar as we bring back both gold and silver to our country and our state Karnataka,” said Advani. Results: Advani (India) beat B Bhaskar (India) 6-1: 24-100 (100), 102 (102)-6, 101(83)-59, 100(94)-0, 101(96)-0, 102-40, 101(99)-51. Amee Kamani (India) defeated Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan (Thailand) 3-0: 49-11, 83-46, 72-24. PTI PDS PDS
Jonny Wilkinson: ‘It took a few years for the pressure to really build. And then it exploded’Jonny Wilkinson: ‘It took a few years for the pressure to really build. And then it exploded’
interviews He has heard about how Kearnan Myall opened up about his own mental health problems in a recent interview with the Guardian. He knows there are a lot of players out there going through the same things he suffered with himself. Anxiety, depression, angst. “The guys I was playing with when I started came from the amateur era, and they definitely had a better sense of balance because they had the grounding of working in an office one day and playing rugby the next,” he says. “They knew that the same guys they were working with in that office might be there in the crowd watching them play, so they understood that it was supposed to be for fun and entertainment.”Wilkinson thinks the sport needs to find a way to recapture some of that spirit. The stigma of discussing mental health is being broken down, “but we have to get beyond that beautiful beginning where we’re all talking about it, and sharing our experiences, we have to get to a point where we’re asking: ‘What next?’ It can’t all be about ‘dealing’ and ‘coping’ and ‘managing’ with mental health. Because that path ends with you crawling out the other side of your career, thinking about how life gets so much harder as you get older.”He feels as if he spent years trying to fight his depression with “another Six Nations Championship, or some more caps, or titles, or points. ‘Surely,’ I told myself, ‘that will keep you off my back?’ It doesn’t. It’s never enough.”• Jonny Wilkinson was speaking as the ambassador of a new mental health campaign launched this month by health insurer Vitality. Share on Pinterest Read more Twitter Robert Kitson “I spent my career surviving the pressure I put on myself,” Wilkinson says. “When you get to the end you look back and you say ‘what did I do with my career?’ I survived it. Well if you had told that to me when I was 20 I would have smacked myself.”But Wilkinson won a World Cup, four Six Nations and the Heineken Cup, twice. He scored more points in Tests than any other Englishman. “Look,” he explains, “there’s guys who made the World Cup squad and never got picked who are as happy as anything, and there are some guys that played in the final and won it who are utterly miserable.”Wilkinson knows. He was one of them himself. “I lived a huge amount of my career thinking I was going to achieve joy through suffering,” he says, “but all I did was create a habit of suffering. I lived for those beautiful moments of being in the zone during the games, and I told myself they were the result of the ridiculous suffering I went through and the sacrifices I made. So I told myself I had to suffer more, because that was the way I was going to get back into the zone.” Facebook Pinterest Support The Guardian Old instincts of World Rugby are preventing a true global union England rugby union team Share on LinkedIn It is October 2011, and a 32-year‑old Jonny Wilkinson is playing in his fourth World Cup, under Martin Johnson in New Zealand. “I was a shell of the player I’d been when I was 20 years old. I’d had 12 years to work and grow and build and in all that time all I’d managed to do was take the bright shining light of my potential and turn it into this dim, weak, being.”Wilkinson has always suffered with anxiety, “but when I was younger it was 50-50, half of me was loving the game, half was worrying about what would happen if it went wrong. And as I got older that ratio became 70-30, then 85-15, and it left so little space for joy.”There are lessons here. Wilkinson was the prototypical superstar of professional rugby in this country, and his experiences foreshadow the mental health crisis the game is only just beginning to address. Stop the suffering and ditch the lip service to mental health in sport Jonny Wilkinson says of England’s World Cup triumph: ‘There are some guys that played in the final and won it who are utterly miserable.’ Photograph: Tom Shaw – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images The Wasps forward Kearnan Myall has spoken about his mental health problems and the pressures of being a professional rugby player. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images Share via Email Since you’re here… Rugby union Read more Topics Jonny Wilkinson … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. It is October 1999, and a 20-year-old Jonny Wilkinson is sitting on the edge of a bed in Clive Woodward’s hotel room in Paris. Woodward has just told Wilkinson that he is dropping him to the bench for England’s World Cup quarter-final against South Africa at the Stade de France that weekend. Woodward has chosen instead to play Paul Grayson, who is eight years older and has a dozen more caps. “I remember it so well,” Wilkinson says now. “I looked at Clive and I said: ‘Mate, I think it is a great idea, I think he is a brilliant player and the team will go brilliantly with him. I’m young. My time will come.’”Wilkinson wonders what happened to that 20-year-old, and what he would have thought of the player he grew into. “I look back now, and I can’t believe the maturity I had then, how free I was, compared to the player I became, so wrapped up in my own self-importance and reputation.” In 2003 “my anxiety was at a peak, and then it paid off, we won the World Cup, so I was like: ‘Bring on the joy!’” It never came.So Wilkinson just kept punishing himself. “I’d allowed that World Cup to become a defining moment, it gave me the proof I needed that I was doing everything right, so it reinforced this idea that I needed to destroy myself physically and mentally. It took a few years for the pressure to really build. And then it exploded.”Wilkinson does not enjoy revisiting those memories, like the time he found himself sinking to the bottom of a swimming pool and screaming to himself underwater, or the moments he spent shivering in a toilet cubicle in the minutes before kick-off, scared stiff and desperate for someone to talk to. Share on Twitter Reuse this content Mental health Twitter Share on Messenger Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp Facebook