Top squash players head to Dubai for ATCO PSA World Series Finals

Nick Watkins 18/05/2018
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Stretch: Marwan ElShorbagy in action

The countdown has begun to the ATCO PSA World Series Finals, as the best squash players get set to go head-to-head in Dubai.

In the five-day competition, supported by the Dubai Sports Council, players compete in a best-of-three group stage as they battle it out for a place in the knockout rounds. As well as the championship title, players are competing for a share of the Dhs1,175,408 ($320,000) prize money, which is split equally between the men’s and women’s events.

To qualify for the tournament, which takes place at Emirates Golf Club between June 5-9, players must finish in the top eight on the PSA World Series standings. Qualifying points are up for grabs at all eight World Series tournaments throughout the 2017/18 season.

Defending champion, England’s Laura Massaro has qualified with a third consecutive title in her sights while Camille Serme (France), Nouran Gohar (Egypt) and Sarah-Jane Perry (England) make up the final three spots in the top eight. New Zealand’s Joelle King is also on her way to compete in Dubai for the first time.

Fan favourite: Camille Serme

Fan favourite: Camille Serme

In the men’s line-up, 2016 champion Gregory Gaultier’s second round win in the British Open will see him return to Dubai. Former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad is still in contention to secure a place in the tournament despite losing in the second round in Hull, UK.

Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy, Marwan ElShorbagy, Ali Farag and Tarek Momen, along with Simon Rosner (Germany), have all sealed their spots in the men’s competition. The complete line-up will be confirmed following Sunday’s British Open final.

Tickets for the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals can be purchased at www.dubai.platinumlist.net with prices starting at Dhs55. More information on both the PSA World Series and the PSA World Tour, can be found at www.worldseriesfinals.com

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Queensland and Australia legend Cameron Smith announces shock retirement from all representative games

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Cameron Smith has announced his retirement from all representative Rugby League

Cameron Smith has announced his retirement from representative football after winning 56 caps for Australia and playing 42 State of Origin matches for Queensland.

The 34-year-old Melbourne Storm hooker, who led the Kangaroos to a successful defence of their World Cup title in December, says he made the decision for family reasons.

“The responsibility of playing for your club, state and country all in one season eventually proved a balance too difficult to strike,” Smith said.

“It was getting more difficult to be away from my wife and children.

“My eldest one now being 10 years of age, there are things with my family and school that I am now missing out on.

“That is a big commitment and a sacrifice for myself to make but also a bigger sacrifice for my family.

“When you get your children asking why you can’t be in attendance at some of your events, that is not a great feeling.”

Playing for Australia: (L to R) Cooper Cronk, Mal Meninga, Cameron Smith and Darius Boyd.

Playing for Australia: (L to R) Cooper Cronk, Mal Meninga, Cameron Smith and Darius Boyd.

Australia coach Mal Meninga said: “Cameron is a wonderful captain, both in the way he plays on the field as well as the way he carries himself off the field.

“He has been an outstanding representative of the Kangaroos’ values in the green and gold. He is highly competitive and highly respected but above all that he is a great person.

“Obviously he will be missed but what he has done over 56 matches for the Kangaroos as well as during his time with the Maroons will leave an important legacy for future players and future leaders.”

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said: “Cameron will retire as one of the greatest ever representatives of both the Kangaroos as well as the Maroons.

“He will also be revered as one of the greatest captains.

“What he has achieved over such a long period of time for both Australia and for Queensland is simply phenomenal.”

Meanwhile, Fiji will replace Lebanon in the 2018 Pacific Test Invitational at Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney, on Saturday, June 23.

The Cedars withdrew from the tournament for political reasons so Fiji, who have resolved their own World Cup pay dispute, will line up alongside Tonga, Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

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A Red Bull athlete's guide to ensure you can soar in Ramadan

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Wake Up: Omeir Saeed is a wakeboarding star in the UAE

A change in your eating and sleeping patterns doesn’t have to affect your health and fitness routine. Here, Red Bull wakeboard athlete Omeir Saeed’s gives his dos and don’ts during Ramadan.

Don’t skip Suhoor

Suhoor is basically like breakfast where you should eat something filling. I don’t like to eat too much so early in the morning though, so usually I have a sandwich around 03:00 as bread stops me getting hungry. Skipping this meal makes fasting during the day extremely difficult.

Do avoid salty food

Your body needs nutritious food, not junk, so ensure you don’t eat a lot of salt or fried foods because it’ll just make you thirsty, without benefitting you throughout the day. Instead, you should eat plenty of rice, beans or oats as they release energy slowly keeping you going for longer.

Don’t over indulge

The temptation after going all day without food is to just stuff yourself as soon as you can. It’s important to break your fast slowly. Start with some dates, as they’re a good source of vitamins, minerals, energy, sugar and fiber. I’ll also eat soup or rice and drink Arabic tea.

Do drink a lot of water

It’s really important to drink a lot of water before Morning Prayer because it’s going to get you through the next 12 hours. I leave it as late as possible before I drink at least two litres, at around 03:45, to make sure my body can cope without food for the day ahead.

Don’t miss sleep

Our resting patterns are a bit disrupted during the month of Ramadan but you should always ensure you don’t miss out on sleep. I just change the hours I rest. So I’ll sleep around 01:00, wake around 03:00 to eat and pray then sleep again until about 10:00.

Do go to the gym

Try working out for around 45 minutes in the evening, around 17:30 during Ramadan. As a wakeboarder it’s important for me to be in the gym to keep my body fit, but also I need to work the cables later on in the evening, around 22:00, just to keep the body active.

Don’t forget to exercise

It’s easy to use Ramadan as an excuse to not get fit because your normal routine is disturbed so be smart with when you workout. Find the energy to exercise an hour or so before you eat because your body will be craving food after a workout.

Do keep up energy levels

Before I go wakeboarding, especially during the holy month, I’ll drink a can of Red Bull before I hit the water to give me enough sugar to boost my energy levels. As an athlete it’s important that I’m still able to perform at a high standard even with a lack of food and water.

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