Guests of TAG Heuer gathered at the Westin Mina Seyahi to honour the UAE’s growing cycling community, following a month of success with the Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour.
The UAE has dedicated cycling tracks, kept in pristine condition, allowing riders to reach their full potential. The Al Qudra cycling track is purposefully built only for riders, and at more than 150km long, it offers riders a place like no other to get on their bike.
And at this year’s Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour events, fans were able to get up close and personal with the professional riders, and their equipment in the villages, where the bikes were on show and fans learned more about the sport.
TAG Heuer’s celebration evening showcased a documentary following ‘the Zebras’, a group of riders assembled in the UAE. Anne-Claire Richomme, TAG Heuer Middle East Marketing Manager, said, “The reason we chose the Zebras is because they are a true representation of the cycling community in the UAE. The Zebras’ appetite for cycling doesn’t end with their group rides, as they also participate in local and international amateur races throughout the year.”
The event was also a chance for the Swiss watchmaker to showcase their new Connected Modular 45 timepiece, a digital watch combining Swiss luxury watchmaking and Silicon Valley Technology creating his and hers smartwatches.
The range is suitable for sport by being both durable and waterproof, with interchangeable straps so the same timepiece can also be worn with a suit and tie. Google and Intel collaborated in the engineering of the watch to allow users to connect their smartphone via Bluetooth to listen to music while exercising, as well as reading emails and messages from the watch-face.
The interface is also fully customizable – you can change the hands to match the straps, or change the dials, which appear on screen. Options available range from a daily step-counter to current exchange rates and even boarding passes.
There are 11 modules available to choose from, which can each be changed to fit a choice of ceramic, titanium, leather or rubber straps.
Richomme added: “TAG Heuer has been involved with cycling since 1946 and in 1985 the brand ventured into the world of professional cycling with the Heuer Skil SEM team. From 1986 to 1990 the brand involvement continued with team KAS TAG Heuer and the American 7-Eleven cycling team.
“Therefore tonight was a great opportunity to showcase our involvement and dedication to the sport in the region at both professional and amateur level. It was also a great chance to close the cycling season after the success of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours.”
For the first time in Asia and the Middle East, the UAE is preparing to host the World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship which will take place this weekend.
To be held from March 2-4 at the Mubadala Arena, Abu Dhabi, the event will see more than 700 players from 40 countries.
The World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship is one of the key international events on the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation’s calendar. The competition is dominated by two categories: the Under-18’s and U-21’s with 51 players making up the UAE squad.
Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, president of the Jiu Jitsu International Federation, said: “This is one of the most important world sport championships. The future of any sport relies on its youth.
“Therefore, the JJIF values this Championship for its active role in raising awareness about the importance of Jiu-Jitsu and fostering its position on the international sports arena.
“The UAE’s hosting of this Championship is testament to its leading position and international capabilities within Jiu-Jitsu ability to organise local and international championships. We are confident in the UAE’s capacities to host this event in accordance with the highest global regulatory levels and standards, despite the large numbers of participants expected to arrive in such a short period of time.”
Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Thailand, Austria, Vietnam, Turkmenistan, Iran, Ukraine, Hungary, Sweden, Morocco, Spain and Russia are among the nations that will be competing.
Abdulmunem Al Hashemi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, president of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union and senior vice president of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, declared the nation is looking forward to welcoming Asia’s best.
He said: “Hosting this event in Abu Dhabi crowns a long journey of hard work and dedication, and it coincides with the Year of Zayed, which represents a great opportunity for the UAE to adhere to the noble values instilled by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan.
“The World Youth Championship will display all the hard work undertaken by the UAEJJF and its strategic partners in cooperation with the JJIF, to strengthen the country’s status as a global hub for hosting world sporting events.”
He added: “The hosting of this Championship in the UAE is a new breakthrough for the global sport, and is a proof of our position in supporting and enhancing the presence of this sport amongst the next generation.”
For Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, CEO of the UAEJJF, and secretary-general of the Asian and International Federations, he believes the championship being held in Abu Dhabi is proof that the sport is growing.
“The World Youth Championship is the newest international addition on Abu Dhabi’s calendar of Jiu-Jitsu events,” he said.
Absolute Championship Berkut rolled into the UAE last weekend wowing MMA fans in a first-rate event held at Dubai Sports City.
The Russian-based promotion promises fight quality over glitz and glamour on their cards and certainly backed that up in front of a near capacity crowd at The Dome.
The night’s main event saw Polish welterweight Aslambek Saidov overcome Brazil’s Roan Carneiro. Saidov dominated for long periods and now moves to 22-5, further enhancing his credentials in the division. Carneiro is a UFC veteran with notable wins over Rich Clementi and Mark Munoz, and is another notch on the belt of the Polish fighter.
In the co-main event of the evening, British fighter Luke Barnatt took the spoils thanks to a second-round stoppage of Maxim Futin.
It was ‘Big Slow’s’ first venture into the light-heavyweight category and it took him time to settle. Despite Barnatt having an eight-inch height advantage, Futin got on the inside at will in the first stanza, landing well especially with the overhand right. As the fight went on, former UFC man Barnatt started to find his range and connect. A flurry of punches and elbows eventually saw the referee stop the bout at 3.27 in round 2.
Post-fight, Barnatt spoke of his disappointment at his performance, but happiness to get the win under his belt.
The crowd in Dubai was vociferous throughout but even more so than when the card’s Afghan fighters were in action – and one was involved in the fight of the night.
Baz Mohammad Mubariz won via unanimous decision against Scotland’s Iain Feenan in the lightweight division.
Mulbariz got the best of the first round with an aggressive striking style and intense forward pressure which had the Scot on the back foot from early on. Feenan was dropped with a solid right hand but managed to recover from a barrage of shots from the top to see out the round. Feenan established himself in the second and damaged his opponent with some strong work on the feet and ground.
In the end it was Mubariz’s physicality and durability which won the third round and the nod from the judges. Elsewhere, Abdul-Rahman Dzhanaev pulled out a stunning finish in the final seconds of his clash with Brazilian, Leandro Silva.
The Russian looked certain to claim a decision win, but sunk in an armbar forcing a tap with less than 10 seconds of the fight remaining.
In an extensive card there were also wins for Islam Isaev, Ramazan Kuramagomedov, Francisco de Lima Maciel, Narek Avagyan, Josiel Silva, Ahmed Wali Hotak, Khusein Sheikhaev, and Shoaib Yousaf.