TOTW: Sport stars flock to UAE for relaxation

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The holiday season will soon descend.

It’s December, which means the festive season has begun. But in the UAE, this time of the year also means sportsmen and women from across the globe descend on the Emirates, whether for some much-needed R&R or to train for the upcoming sporting season.

Keep an eye out for your favorite athlete the next time you go out.

Boris Becker bid farewell to Team Djokovic, Zaza Pachulia is in awe of Klay Thompson, Lukas Podolski hung out with Nico Rosberg while David Villa was named MLS MVP.

The UAE sports community mourned the loss of Abu Dhabi Sports presenter Hamad Al Ibrahim. May he rest in peace.

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Top 10: Biggest Instagram boost in 2016

These stars dominated Instagram this past year.

With money, fame and success comes fan following. Sport stars are celebrities in today’s world and whatever they do is placed under increasing scrutiny thanks to the internet, social media and their enormous worldwide reach.

Footballers, basketball players, tennis or cricket stars and Olympic athletes all have their own set of fan followers.

Sports stars have become brands on their own, social media their tool to promote associations, increase endorsement deals and shape their image within the media.

It also gives us insight into their lives away from the pitch, and a Leo Messi photograph with his son Thiago, or a photo of Cristiano Ronaldo working out in the gym, is bound make followers go gaga.

Nowadays, the race to see who the better athlete is includes who has the most followers and likes.

And our friends over at Instagram have been sharing with us some of the athletes who staked their claims through social media this past year, including this piece on the athletes that gained the most followers in 2016.

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On this day in 1992: South Africa win first ODI at home

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Hansie Cronje starred for South Africa.

South Africa recently enjoyed a clean sweep in the one-day format against Australia and on this day 14 years ago, it was all smiles for the Proteas in their first ODI at home.

India were the opponents in Cape Town with Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble all featuring. But the tourists were bowled out for 184 in 49 overs with the late Hansie Cronje the pick of the bowlers with figures of 5-32.

The hosts made it difficult for themselves in the run-chase but reached their target with six wickets in hand in the last over.

The match saw Kepler Wessels, who scored 43, become the first man to be given out by the video umpire in an ODI match.

More memorable events on this day:

1939: MLB legend Lou Gehrig is elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

1978: New York Islanders’ Mike Bossy scores his first hat-trick of his NHL career

1980: Ivan Lendl wins all his matches as Czechoslovakia clinch the Davis Cup, courtesy of a 4-1 victory over Italy in Prague.

2015: Hosts India beat South Africa by 337 runs in Delhi to seal the Test series 3-0.

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