Following the success of last year’s Autism Golf Challenge at the Els Club Dubai, the event has returned to the region with a double helping in 2016.
The third Autism Golf Challenge event of the year in the UAE will take place at Arabian Ranches Golf Club and a place in the Els for Autism Grand Finale hosted by Ernie Els in Las Vegas, Nevada is up for grabs.
The event will bring together a large number of regional and international corporates to play and network at these one day golf tournaments that also include a dinner and auction.
ARABIAN GULF LEAGUE (Thursday, Friday and Saturday)
The UAE’s premier football league moves into its second round with an exciting fixture list, which sees Al Nasr at home against Al Ahli and Al Ain away to Emirates Club.
There is a full schedule of fixtures, with matches being played across Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2016
URBAN-ULTRA NIGHT REBEL
Urban-Ultra’s Night Rebel is a challenging night time run for everyone to get involved in.
The course is 100% gravel jeep track and rocky wadi bed with short sharp climbs and undulations. There are no hotels nearby, so your options are driving to and from the site for the event or camping once you are finished.
(No campsite is allocated but you are free to find yourself a place to pitch your tent, there are plenty of lovely areas).
The International Golf Junior Championship is set to become the leading junior golf tournament in the Middle East attracting to players from across the GCC and also Europe.
As the event continues to grow, the tournament plans to operate and further expand globally. The first qualifying rounds will take place on September 24 ahead of the main event on November 14, 15 and 16.
The UAE wrapped up its Rio 2016 Paralympics campaign with a bang as Noura Al Ktebi captured the silver medal in the F32 shot put late on Saturday.
A day after Sara Al Senaani became the first Emirati female to make the podium at any Paralympic or Olympic event by claiming F33 shot put bronze, Al Ktebi joined her compatriot in the history books by going one better in her event.
The 23-year-old, who had placed sixth in the F32 club throw a week earlier, grabbed the silver medal in the shot put with a 4.70m throw.
Tunisian Maroua Brahmi scooped her second gold in Rio with a throw of 5.76m, while Australian Louise Ellery took bronze with 4.19m.
Al Ktebi’s triumph means the UAE extended its record medal haul to seven in total - three more than the previous record tally amassed in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
In Rio, powerlifter Mohammed Khamis Khalaf and wheelchair racer Mohamed Al Hammadi each won one gold, while Abdullah Sultan Al Aryani snagged three silvers in shooting, to go with the two medals earned by Al Senaani and Al Ktebi.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of these Games for the UAE is the fact that those seven medals were claimed by a squad that only had 18 competitors in total.
It’s also marks the first time medals were won across three different sports at a single Games.
Al Hammadi’s gold was the first for the UAE in an athletics event at the Paralympics while Al Aryani is the first Emirati to win three medals at the same edition.
UAE Paralympians have long outperformed the nation’s Olympians who have managed to win just two medals in total since debuting in 1984.
The situation was no different throughout each season, where the North African would always edge the Emirati at any Grand Prix they collided in.
For someone as fiercely competitive as Al Hammadi, constantly watching Ktila whizz past him was a tough pill to swallow.
In Rio, the 29-year-old Sharjah native finally turned the tables on Ktila and came out on top, taking a historic gold in the 800m, and smashing the Paralympic record twice en route.
It was the UAE’s first Paralympic gold in athletics and a long overdue triumph for Al Hammadi over his talismanic rival.
“What happened did not come out of nowhere… I spent so many years competing and working so hard,” an emotional Al Hammadi told Sport360°.
“After so many years trying to beat Ktila – an athlete who is incredibly strong – I have been doing everything trying to find a way to beat him. It hasn’t been easy.
“The last few metres were unbelievably tough and when I finally beat him, it was such an incredible feeling, it’s just indescribable.
“To claim the first ever athletics gold medal in the UAE’s history at the Paralympics… To set a new Paralympics record in qualification and then smashing it again in the final…
“I promised the UAE that I will break the record and get the gold medal and I have fulfilled both promises.”
Fierce rivals: Al Hammadi (l) and Ktila.
The look of disbelief on Al Hammadi’s face when he crossed the finish line said it all. And he was in tears when he listened to the UAE national anthem during the medal ceremony.
In London, the Paralympic Committee had opted to include the 100m and 200m events in the T34 category but in Rio, organisers decided to shake things up by offering the 100m and 800m.
Al Hammadi knew that the 800m would provide the best opportunity to try and beat Ktila. The Emirati was better in the middle distances than the sprints and the 800 was the only race in which Ktila did not hold the world record.
Ktila had stormed to gold in the 100m last Monday in Rio, while Al Hammadi missed out on the podium, placing fourth in the final.
Al Hammadi refused to let that distract him from his 800m target two days later though.
“I was always focused on the 800, more than the 100,” he admits. “I entered the 100 to compete but I had my eyes on gold for the 800. I didn’t let the 100 disappointment get to me. I wanted to challenge myself and it really motivated me.”
Al Hammadi says he was positive throughout his preparation period and had a plan.
“I was so determined to beat Ktila. The Paralympic record was under his name, so I had to get to his time to try and beat him. That was the goal, to just be able to smash that time. Once I realised I was capable of doing that, I got myself in a very optimistic frame of mind and I was really betting on myself to get that 800m gold.”
Asked if he already has his eyes on Tokyo 2020, Al Hammadi gave a sarcastic laugh and said: “Let me celebrate this huge achievement first. It’s my first gold and I plan on enjoying it. I will decide on Japan later.”
The UAE took a massive step forward in Rio, capturing a record medal haul, sending a record number of athletes, and witnessing an Emirati woman getting on the podium for the first time.
Al Hammadi believes the bronze and silver medals won by Sara Al Senaani and Noura Al Ktebi in shot put, as well as the UAE squad’s collective achievements must be capitalised on.
“Sara’s bronze and Noura’s silver are a huge motivation for UAE women,” he says.
“In the next few years, there will be more medals from UAE women. I believe this is a good omen.
“People thought that our sport is easy, but it is not. Look at we have managed to achieve in Rio. We are all in different sports and disciplines, and we have worked so hard.
“It took me so long trying to beat one man. That’s how difficult our sport is. It’s challenging, it’s prestigious, and I hope people finally value what we are doing, and understand what we’ve accomplished and that they can finally support us. What we have achieved is unprecedented.
“Now it’s important to see how we can capitalise on what we’ve achieved, and take more steps forward.”