UAE

Going Out: RAK Half Marathon - An elite field ready in Ras al-Khaimah

Denzil Pinto 10/02/2016
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Top gun: Zersenay Tadese is the reigning world half marathon champion.

The annual RAK Half Marathon returns on Friday and with a strong field competing, you can witness the action unfold for what will be a fascinating race.

Since being launched in 2007, the event, which has become one of the most popular sporting competitions in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, has gone from strength to strength, attracting thousands of competitive and community runners.

And with this year’s being the 10th edition, you can look forward to witnessing an exciting race.

Headlining the event is Eritrian Zersenay Tadese, the reigning world record holder and considered to be one of the greatest half marathon runners in history.

The 34-year-old’s personal best of 58:23 minutes came six years ago, but his time of 59:24m in his New Delhi triumph back in November shows he will be one of the contenders for the title.

Another athlete battling for a medal is Kenya’s Abraham Cheroben. The 23-year-old’s personal best came in Valencia when he clocked 58:14m and he will be a threat considering his 59:10m was the fastest last year.

He faces stern competition from compatriot Stanley Bigwott, who is no stranger to this course.

Back in 2013, the Kenyan finished runner-up and has gone sub 59 minutes, boasting seven major wins over the half distances including Paris and Philadelphia, while losing out to British distance running star Mo Farah at the Great North Run last September.

Across Ras Al Khaimah. Spectator points include start opposite City Hotel and Manar Mall Car Park.

Across Ras Al Khaimah. Spectator points include start opposite City Hotel and Manar Mall Car Park.

Another man returning to the emirate is 2014 runner-up Nguse Amsolom, who narrowly missed a medal at the World Half Championships in Copenhagen before tasting victory in Lisbon.

Throw into the mix former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang and the two fastest 10km runners in history in Leonard Komon and Micah Kogo then there’s plenty of quality throughout the leading dozen in the men’s elite race.

The women’s field is equally impressive. Previous races have seen female competitiors break the 67-minute mark including the fastest in the field, Priscah Jeptoo.

The 31-year-old and silver 2012 Olympic medalist, is as consistent over the half as she is the full distance, with top three finishes in all 10 of her major half marathon races including victory at the Great North Run in 2013 (in 65:45m) and in RAK in 2014 (67:02m).

The contenders: Kenyans Abraham Cheroben and Joyce Chepkirui.

The contenders: Kenyans Abraham Cheroben and Joyce Chepkirui.

Also taking to the streets is reigning world half marathon champion Gladys Cherono, who will be hoping to continue her rich vein of form in 2016.

She clocked run 2hrs, 20mins at the 2015 Dubai Marathon before winning the Berlin Marathon in 2:19:25, the eighth fastest time in history.

Cynthia Limo will be hoping to improve on her third-place finish, while Prague winner WorkneshDebele will be among a strong Ethiopian contingent.

They will be among the thousands taking part and with runners of all abilities competing, it promises to be an exciting affair for the spectators.

With viewing points at the start and finish – opposite to the City Hotel and the end of Manar Mall car park, you can witness the thrilling race for the entire 21.1km course that will see the runners go past RAK landmarks including Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Tower Links Golf Club.

Nasser Mradad, chairman of the executive organising committee, said: “From world records set by some of the world’s greatest distance runners to the personal victories of the recreational runners, whether completing their first half marathon or setting a new personal best time after months of training, every runner’s experience is now a part of the RAK Half Marathon’s history.”

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UAE

On the Radar: Gary Player Invitational, PSL, Xavi in Abu Dhabi

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From the Gary Player Invitational to the Pakistan Super League and West Asia Championship, there is an event to suit all interests.

GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Sunday and Monday, February 7 and 8

Golfing icon and nine-time major winner Gary Player will host the inaugural Gary Player Invitational UAE with an impressive field of well known personalities from the worlds of sport and entertainment.

Leading golfing and non-golfing celebrities from around the world join forces with local amateur golfers, and have raised more than $60 million (Dh 220 million) for charities together with The Player Foundation.

WHERE: Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
INFO: Gary Player Invitational

PAKISTAN SUPER LEAGUE
Monday – Saturday, February 8 – 13

The inaugural Pakistan Super League continues in Dubai and Sharjah with some of the biggest stars in world cricket in action, including Shahid Afridi, Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen.

The pick of the games this week sees Lahore Qalandars play the in-form Quetta Gladiators (Monday) and Karachi Kings take on Peshawar Zalmi (Thursday).

The tournament itself sees each team plays eight matches, with the top four teams from the round-robin stage qualifying for the play-offs, before the championship-ending game.

Tickets are still available via the link below.

VENUE: Dubai International Cricket Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
WEBSITE: Pakistan Super League

TALISE ROOFTOP URBAN YOGA
Monday, February 7

Urban Yoga.

Urban Yoga.

An invigorating 90 minutes yoga class hosted by Talise Fitness & Urban Yoga Dubai. Held on the terrace of Jumeirah Emirates Towers overlooking the Dubai city lights, it’s the perfect way to escape the daily grind.

– Members price early bird price = 50 AED (booking and payment required)
– Members price = 70 AED (booking required)
– Non-members early bird price = 85 AED (booking and payment required)
– Non-members price = 99 AED (no booking required)

WHERE: Jumeirah Emirates Towers
INFO: Urban Yoga 

ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – AL JAZIRA VS AL SADD
Tuesday, February 9

Xavi.

Xavi.

Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi is standing in the way of Al Jazira’s 2016 AFC Champions League hopes as the two sides lock horns at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Can Al Jazira put their poor run of domestic form behind them and beat Al Sadd?

WHERE: Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
INFO: Al Jazira

WEST ASIA CHAMPIONSHIP
Friday, February 12

The West Asia Championship gets back into the swing of things with an exciting fixture list, which sees Abu Dhabi Saracens travel to Dubai Exiles and Doha face Bahrain.

INFO: Fixture list

ARABIAN GULF LEAGUE
Friday and Saturday, February 12 and 13

The UAE premier football league resumes with five matches this weekend. The pick of this round of fixtures is third-placed Al Nasr at home to Al Wahda.

Fresh from a victory over Al Wasl, Al Ahli will be hoping to close the gap on leaders leaders Al Ain to when they face Sharjah away.

INFO: AGL

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UAE

UAE Ladies National Team win gold in Bahrain

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The 2016 Ladies GCC Golf Championship Gold Medal Winners.

The UAE Ladies National Team won gold in the Team Category at the GCC Golf Championship, held at the Royal Golf Club in Riffa, Bahrain.

It was the first ever top medal claimed by the UAE Ladies on a course designed by golf legend Colin Montgomerie.

After recording the best two scores from each of the three rounds, the ladies collected a team score of 559 and also dominated the podium in the individual category, finishing first, second, and third.

Commanding the way and winning gold in the Ladies Individual Category was Reema Al Heloo.

Reema has had an impressive season so far with wins at the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF) Order of Merit and in National Monthly Medals. Reema fired rounds of 93-100 and an impressive final round of 87 for a championship total of 280.

“My short game and especially my bunker shots were working well for me this week. On the last hole (a par 5) of the final round, I had a bunker shot that I played perfectly which left me with a tap-in-birdie. This is my biggest victory, and it feels special to win a GCC event. It’s great knowing that my coaches, family, and country are proud of me,” said Reema after receiving two gold medals.

Winning the Silver Prize in the Ladies Individual Category was Dr. Rabab Al Haj, who completed rounds of 93-96-92 for a total of 281. Rounding off the Ladies Team and finishing in third place in the Individual Category was Tara Al Marzooqi. Tara shot rounds of 99-98-94 for a total of 291.

“I am honored to be apart of this historic victory,” said National Team Coach Greg Holmes.

“The Ladies have worked extremely hard and thoroughly deserve the gold, as well as the clean sweep in the Individual Category. I hope that this is a reflection and a catalyst for the growth in talent for the ladies’ game. We are looking forward to many more successful outings.”

The UAE Junior (15 & under) National Team finished in fourth position for the championship with a total of 444. Winning gold in the Team Category for the Juniors (15 & under) was Bahrain with a Team score of 506. Qatar finished in second and Saudi Arabia finished third.

Leading the way and finishing in seventh place in the Individual Category for the UAE was Rashed Al Emadi. Rashed had rounds of 91-96-98 for a championship total of 285.

Coming in ninth place in the Individual Category for the Junior Team was Obaid Al Heloo, who enjoyed rounds of 98-96-112, totalling 306. Finishing off the Junior Team was Khalid Al Mutawa and the golfer finished in eleventh position in the Individual Category with rounds of 118-108-112 for a total of 328.

The Ladies and Junior National Teams will be back in action next weekend at the UAE Presidents Cup at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

These players will also keep their games in shape by playing the EGF Order of Merit, UAE Club Events and National Monthly Medals over the next few months.

The 2016 Senior & 18 Under GCC Golf Championship will take place in Qatar during the last week of February and into the first week of March.

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