Book your place as Wings For Life World Run soars into Dubai

Denzil Pinto 30/04/2014
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Show your support: All proceeds go to the Wings of Life Foundation.

The 10km Wings for Life World Run takes place on Sunday at Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park in Dubai, and there’s still time to sign up for this unique event before registration closes on Saturday.

The Wings for Life World Run is an entirely new type of event. Encompassing 35 locations across the world, in which everyone runs at the very same time, it is a truly global adventure.

While it is only a 10km race, by running this year, you will be actively contributing in making a full run in Dubai a reality in the future, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the Wings For Life Foundation, which funds research into spinal cord injuries.

The run is organised by Chris Khouri, who was left paralysed from the chest down following a motorcycle accident in 2009, and he explained why he wanted to arrange a run in the UAE.

“When I heard about this run, my first question to myself was why was this run not being held in the UAE,” said Khouri. “Very spontaneously, I contacted the sporting community groups (in UAE) and see whether people would be willing to organise our own version of the run and see if there would be any interest in organising a 10km run.

“Within 24 hours of promoting the run on Twitter and Facebook, I had over 100 responses saying ‘yes we will absolutely take part in it’.

“I work for Cisco, and it happens to be one of the main sponsors for the Wings for Life World Run, and through them I came in touch with the Wings for Life Foundation – which has been founded by Red Bull. I told them that I’m planning a race with all benefits for the organisation and they gave me a lot of support. Thanks to them, Red Bull Middle East has been instrumental in supporting this event.”

The run begins at 6:00pm with the format being described as a unique running experience.

“A car chases the runners and every 15 minutes it increases its speed. Every time the car overtakes the runner, they will have to stop running. Whoever outruns the car the furthest wins the race,” said Khouri.

“The reason is that it’s at that time (18:00) we are running when the rest of the world is also running. We will be part of the global movement that will have more than 150,000 runners.”

With the run open to people aged 10 and over, Khouri explains why it’s worth taking part on Sunday.

“It’s a fun run. It’s not a competitive run. It’s a run for the family, It’s a run that will challenge themselves,” he said. “Yes it will be hard and yes you will be suffering. You will be in pain but it’s always worth remembering that you’re not the only one who is suffering. And do you want to give up, given that there are guys who can’t even run?

“It’s about the raising the awareness of disability among our society and the importance of an active lifestyle. There is no excuse for not having an active lifestyle and no excuse for giving up.”

Besides the run, there will be raffle prizes, a DJ station and food and beverage stalls at the venue. Entry fees vary from Dh50 to Dh500.

What: 10km Wings for Life World Run
Where: Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park, Dubai
When: Sunday, May 4 at 18:00
Contact: Register at www.premieronline.com (closes on Saturday, May 3)

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Financial problems deny Vietnam 2019 Asian Games

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Missing out: Vietnam won the bid to host the 2019 editions of ASIAD in 2012.

Vietnam said Thursday it had decided against hosting the 2019 Asian Games for financial reasons, and was exploring procedures to withdraw from staging the region's largest sporting event.

There was scant public jubilation when the communist country's capital was chosen in 2012 to host the showpiece competition and public sentiment has hardened against the move, with even tightly-controlled state-run newspapers criticising the move in recent weeks.

Vietnam will "quickly work with the Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) for measures to pull out from the hosting of ASIAD 18 in Hanoi", said a statement posted on the government's website after Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung convened a meeting to examine the issue.

Hanoi in November 2012 won the right to host the 2019 Asian Games, beating Indonesia's second city Surabaya after Dubai in the United Arab Emirates pulled out just before the vote. 

A lack of experience in hosting large sporting events and "difficulties in the country's socio-economic situation" were cited as reasons.

"Vietnam will apply for the hosting of ASIAD at an appropriate time," the statement said.

The victory sparked celebrations among Vietnamese officials, who said the decision would unlock millions of dollars in infrastructure investment. 

But with its economy in crisis, a decaying sports infrastructure and an uninspiring athletics record, public sentiment never swung behind the official campaign.

Officials said hosting the 18th Asian Games could cost some $150 million and would require the construction of new sporting stadiums and an athletes' village.

But experts have said the real cost of the games, which were scheduled to run for 16 days, could have been far higher.

Vietnam's Olympic Committee initially proposing a budget of around $300 million which the government slashed due to the country's dire economic predicament.

Vietnam has been hit by falling growth as the effects of corruption and inefficiencies in the state-run sector ripple out into the wider economy.

A lingering banking crisis also threatens some of the country's key financial institutions.

In recent weeks, state-run newspapers and popular blogs have run stories and comment pieces urging the government to withdraw from the Games and spend the money on other priorities.

This year's Asian Games will be held in the South Korean city of Incheon in September-October.

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Prosecution cast serious doubts over Pistorius expert

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Adjourned: The Oscar Pistorius trial will break until May 5.

The prosecution on Wednesday derided a forensic expert hired by Oscar Pistorius, accusing him of being unqualified to testify and rubbishing his account of the circumstances in which Reeva Steenkamp died.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel sought to prove that forensic geologist Roger Dixon was out of his depth in testifying about the lighting, sound and physical evidence inside Pistorius's home.

Dixon, a university professor, told the court about the sound made by Pistorius's cricket bat hitting his toilet door, visibility in the star sprinter's bedroom and blood splatter.

Pistorius's defence team has argued that neighbours who testified to hearing "bloodcurdling screams" followed by gunshots were mistaken. If proven correct, the neighbours' account could punch a hole through Pistorius's claim he did not know Steenkamp was in the toilet.

Pistorius's defence team has tried to show that the noises were in fact Pistorius bashing a cricket bat against his toilet door after realising he mistakenly killed the model.

"Are you a sound expert, sir?" asked Nel. "Have you received training in decibels and sound?"

"Not specifically," said Dixon. He also testified that Pistorius's bedroom was so dark the athlete could not have seen whether Steenkamp was in bed.

When Nel asked the geologist about how he analysed the visibility in Pistorius's bedroom room at night, Dixon said: "My lady, the instruments I used there were my eyes."

"Are you a blood splatter expert?" said Nel. "I have received no training in blood splatter analysis," said Dixon, a former employee of the South African Police Service.

Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux is expected to call up to 17 witnesses to bolster the athlete's story that he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake, believing she was an intruder breaking into his upmarket home in a gated Pretoria community.

The Paralympic gold medallist has pleaded not guilty to intentionally killing the 29-year-old model and law graduate. He has also pleaded not guilty to three other charges connected with the reckless discharge of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition.

He stepped down from the witness stand on Tuesday, after a gruelling cross-examination at the hands of Nel.

Legal experts said Pistorius, who was evasive and argumentative on the stand, did himself more harm than good.

"I think it's a desperate man," said William Booth, a criminal lawyer based in Cape Town. "The more questions you ask somebody like Oscar, it could actually get worse."

A lot of reading

Earlier, the judge overseeing Pistorius's trial granted an adjournment from Thursday afternoon until May 5, citing scheduling concerns raised on behalf of the state.

The prosecution, with the backing of the defence, had asked for a delay because an assistant prosecutor is involved on another case and other members of the legal team had planned holidays.

"A private matter always poses a challenge, especially when it is a long-term matter," said Judge Thokozile Masipa. "For that reason it will take precedence.

"As well as the fact that counsel have made themselves available way beyond the time that was initially estimated."

Judge Masipa said she and her assessors will use the time to study the hefty record, which runs over 2,000 pages excluding the bail application.

"Much of the evidence is technical evidence from expert witnesses, there is a lot of reading to be done and my assessors and I will use the break to read the record," she said.

Taking into account Easter holidays, the adjournment is for seven working days, a period the judge said was "not unduly long" and could "hardly cause the accused prejudice."

The Pistorius murder trial has run far over the originally allotted time of three weeks. Roux indicated the defence may finish calling its witnesses by mid-May.

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