Salman Hashimi is hoping his Elite Squash March tournament title is just the start of more trophies to come in the UAE after moving permanently from Pakistan last year.
The 21-year-old enjoyed much success playing in his homeland as well as abroad, reaching a career high of No2 in the Pakistan junior rankings as well as 16th in the senior category.
A remarkable achievement especially considering he did it without the backing of a sponsor. Eager to test himself on a more competitive stage, he moved to Dubai 12 months ago.
Since then, the only way has been up. He is now a coach at Elite Squash, passing on his knowledge as well as playing in various competitions across the Emirates.
Friday’s 11-9, 11-6 victory over Tony Gumbrell at Emirates Golf Club was the third time he reigned supreme in the country and he hopes it’s a sign of things to come.
“This is my first tournament I have won since I’ve joined Elite Squash and it was an amazing exp-erience for me,” said Hashimi, a former runner-up in the Doha Junior Open.
“It was a great competition to be part of. It was difficult because there were some strong players and it meant I had to play some tough games but it was nice to come through. This victory will give me good confidence for the rest of the tournaments that I will play in,” added Hashimi, whose next competitive outing will be in Abu Dhabi in four weeks’ time.
Other winners in the tournament were Abdulbasit Khan and Seif Sameh. Khan claimed the Group B prize after defeating Kareem Bibi 2-0, while Sameh maintained a 100 per cent winning record, including a triumph over his brother Zein, to top the round-robin Group C.
In the ladies event, Andrea Wilkins held off Sandra Albinson in straight games to win 11-9, 11-9.
In the beginners’ level, Karima Al Kaisa was playing the sport for the first time and came away with the trophy after winning 11-8, 11-9. In the Under-11s, Kairav Banerjee took home the top prize after heading the group with 43 points while Serag El Din Ahmed settled for runner-up spot.
The competition, which attracted more than 40 participants across the adults’ and children’s categories, was the first of three in this season’s Elite Squash series. The remaining events are set to be held in June and October.
Elite Squash CEO Neil Young was pleased with the performances he saw in the series opener.
“It went really well and there were exceptional displays from all the participants,” he said. “It was a good way for the coaching clients to see their progress in competitions.”
A total of 3,550 participants from 56 companies put their talents on display across several team and individual sports at the largest Dubai Corporate Games yet.
Chalhoub Group’s 13 medals, including 10 gold, earned the company bragging rights as the overall winners of the 12th edition, held this past Friday and Saturday at American University in Dubai.
Other major companies to take part included Al Tayer, Pepsi Co, Choueiri Group, Nestle, Mars and Dubai Duty Free.
The 56 companies competed in team sports like basketball, volleyball, football, cricket, dragon boat and tug of war, while individual employees shined in athletics and fitness events.
Jelena Tustic of Chalhoub Group not only enjoyed being part of her company’s team success, but played a significant role in earning the overall title by contributing with four gold medals.
She reached the top spot on the podium in the Ladies 100 metre sprint, the Ladies 1500m and the gruelling Ironwoman, while also contributing in the Relay 4x100m Mixed.
The success wasn’t all that unfamiliar for Tustic, who said she’s used to winning four to five medals at the Corporate Games, but earning all gold easily marked her biggest achievement.
It was also a case of unfinished business for Chalhoub Group after settling for second place behind Al Tayer last year.
“The first year when I started the running team, it was more ad hoc,” Tustic said. “Then we started to build it up. Based on experience, we focused on building up teams we didn’t have. We had a swimming team for the first time this year and we won three medals, so it really does help us to see the potential our employees and colleagues have.”
Another company that impressed was Dubai Duty Free, who racked up four gold medals, including a double in volleyball.
Coach Mohammad Sagheer saw his players triumph in both the Men’s Volleyball final and the Mixed competition.
“It was very good. We were expecting to face the defending champions from last year, Al Tayer, but we got Pepsi and it were good games,” Sagheer said.
“The Corporate Games include all the major sports, everything. For us, Dubai Duty Free, we like to participate in all the games and it’s a good experience for us. Hopefully next year we’ll do even better.”
Aside from the bragging rights, medals and trophy, Tustic believes the Corporate Games truly help build important camaraderie
“I like the Corporate Games because I think it’s the best team-building that any company can have,” she said. “The bonds you make among the people and the team-work, it’s absolutely amazing. I think any company can benefit from participating.”
Sport360 brings you the ultimate guide to this week’s sporting events in the UAE.
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EMIRATES OPEN POLO CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 – DAY 5-11
Monday, March 20 to Sunday, March 26
The Emirates Open Polo Championship is regarded as one of the region’s most important polo events.
Fifteen editions have accomplished more than solely showcasing the pinnacle of talent in the UAE and region, with the tournament gathering together professionals and amateurs alike to help surge the sport’s popularity.
The latest iteration is set to welcome more than 3,000 spectators in attendance as the UAE finds time-long rival, Saudi Arabia obstructing its path to glory.
With more multiple exhilarating programmes and activities projected, the event will open for the general public who decide to observe history in the making.
WHERE: Abu Dhabi, Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club
MORE INFO: grpc.ae
EMIRATES AIRLINE T20 – DAY 1 & 2
Thursday, March 23 & Friday, March 24
Pakistan Super League finalists Peshawar Zalmi and Lahore Qalandars, Lancashire Lightning (2015 T20 Blast winners), the MCC Emerging England XI, Birmingham Bears (2016 RL Cup Winners) and Durham Jets will feature in the star-studded Emirates Airline T20 Tournament, which takes place on March 23-24 in Dubai.
The Emirates Airline T20 event provides fans with an opportunity to revel in top-notch cricket action while also catering to more casual fans with an array of beverages, family activities, entertainment and competitions for audience members to enjoy.
For the first time in tournament history, it will be hosted at the impressive, world class Dubai Sports City ICC Academy.
WHERE: DUBAI, Dubai Sports City, ICC Academy
MORE INFO: emiratest20.com
SHARBATLY FRUIT BIG STINKER 2017
Friday, March 24
Ever fancied a mountain climb before? Urban-Ultra will test contestants through a 540m mountain ascent and descent. Utilising a traditional marking system involving pink dots, GPS won’t be required.
The venue and vistas offer family and friends a great – albeit tiring – retreat away from raucous city life.
WHERE: Ras Al Khaimah, Khatt Springs Golden Tulip Hotel and Spa
MORE INFO: urbanultra.com
5 STAR AQUATHLON – FINAL RACE
Friday, March 24
Daman’s Activelife 5 Star Aquathlon marks its Emirates Palace comeback.
Jovial participants will be asked to dive headfirst and pursue an open water lagoon swim before emerging to run through the idyllic Palace grounds.
Not up to the task? Spectators are equally welcome to delight in the picturesque backdrop and bear witness to all the action surrounding the luxury hotel.
Kindly collect your swim caps and body marks no later than 5:30am.
WHERE: Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace
MORE INFO: gulfmultisport.com
DESERT WARRIOR CHALLENGE AJMAN 2017
Friday, March 24
One of the UAE’s most prized obstacle course events returns as the first Desert Warrior Challenge of 2017 summons participants to Ajman’s Al Zorah Golf Club to tackle a selection of obstacles.
Designed to test mental fortitude, endurance and teamwork, the event invites members of the public – from young children to seasoned athletes – to face myriad challenges by employing different tactics whether it be running, jumping, carrying, climbing or sliding towards the finish line.
Warriors can expect brand-new obstacles including “Warrior Zip” and “The Chimney” – with DWC spicing up the repertoire to offer an entirely different experience from previous editions.
While the fan favourite “Marine Madness Zone” will make its comeback to keep contestants cool and wet, younger warriors can also rise up to the occasion by signing up for the 5km“Fearless” and 1/2km “Junior” categories in a day families regardless of skill and fitness level are sure to remember for years to come.
WHERE: Ajman, Al Zorah Golf Club
MORE INFO: desertwarriorchallenge.com
Friday, March 25
The martial arts reality-style TV show Enfusion Live lands on Emirati soil to host contestants from across the planet who will keep one eye on their opponent as they vie for glory and the ultimate cash prize. Dedicated in its mission to enhance kickboxing talent, particular female, each new season offers a new competition with new fighters of various weight category to grace the centre stage.
Supported by the Fatima bint Hazza Cultural Foundation and Al Shiraa Stables, Enfusion will be held in Abu Dhabi as kickboxers and muay thai fighters battle it out at the Yas Beach Club where fashion shows, pop ups, food trucks, live music and pool access will be available in tandem after the main fight.
WHERE: Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Yas Beach Club
MORE INFO: enfusionlive.com
BAHRAIN MTB BIKEFEST
Friday March 24
Thanks to a partnership with TriLife, Boost Bahrain are proud to announce the Gulf nation’s first-ever MTB Bikefest. This event invites cycling enthusiasts to revel in the mountain biking action, with access to rugged trails and routes at the Rashid Equestrian Centre.
There are three categories: “Oasis Run” (15km), “Mirage Race” (30KM) and a “Rock Slide” option for seasoned riders, who wish to put their skills to the test. Don’t leave the children at home, let them partake in the bonanza with the “Dune Bugs” race – a safe, mud-splattering 1-2km course for aspiring mountain bikers.
Face helmets and body armour must be donned at all times.
WHERE: Manama, ashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club
MORE INFO: facebook.com/boostbahrain
AESGC MEN’S OPEN – DAY 1
Friday, March 24
The Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club welcomes returning golf aficionados to its grounds as the 2017 AESGC Men’s Open gets underway. Attracting participants from across the UAE and neighbouring GCC nations, the competition follows a 36-hole individual stroke play format.
Amateur men with valid handicap certificates are eligible to sign up for the tournament, but must declare the required documents prior to the first round or upon registration. In case the tournament ends with a tie, a playoff will start on the first hole to decide the winner. All other ties shall be decided by count back.
The field is limited to 96 players and handicap ballet will determine the final field if need be.
WHERE: Al Ain Equestrian Shooting & Golf Club
MORE INFO: aesgc.com
MANCHESTER CITY ABU DHABI CUP – DAY 1
Friday, March 24
Ever dreamed of enduring a training session on grounds trodden by some of the planet’s most famous football stars? Wait no further.Supported by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Etihad Airways, the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup gathers serious football fans to the capital as they try their luck in a two-day competition. The grand prize is a free flight en route to Manchester’s Etihad Campus.
The tournament, open to U-10s,U-12s and U16s, is expected to host more than 800 young players, but a single team will be considered worthy of the trip to England.
Aside from the football-crazed atmosphere, the “City Village” at Zayed Sports City will provide live entertainment, food and activities for attendees.
Since its extravagant beginnings in 1996, the Dubai World Cup has congregated the finest trainers, horses and riders, orchestrating action-packed horse races.
Winners successfully concluding their effort for the top spot have since been awarded the mouth-watering prize pool of $10m for their exploits. This time around the world richest horse race befittingly held at the Meydan Racecourse offers spectators nine nail-biting races – eight thoroughbred and a single purebred Arabian.
American stallion California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Art Sherman triumphed as undisputed victor 12 months ago. But with the cash pool raised to $30m and no horse accomplishing an elusive double in the race’s history, guests can expect another edition of hotly-contested stallion galloping.
WHERE: DUBAI, Nad Al Sheba, Meydan Racecourse
MORE INFO: dubaiworldcup.com
AL WATHBA CYCLE RACES
Saturday, March 25
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, cyclists will congregate for an entire afternoon of pedalling action in Al-Wathba, just outside the capital city. The races adhere to the Sports Council’s mantra of encouraging residents to engage in the discipline and adopt an overall healthier lifestyle.
The Al-Wathba Cycle Races are an excellent option for proficient riders, albeit recreational or unaccustomed to group-riding techniques, to hone their skills in a social setting.
The format allows riders to be reseeded in accordance to their ability and skill as riders. As fitness levels improve, cyclists will find themselves progressing and riding alongside athletes at the same level, similar to a competitive time trial event.
Presented by Daman ActiveLife, Abu Dhabi is once again set to become an island-style paradise and amass crowds, surpassing the number of attendees during last edition of The Color Run. Combining colour, positive vibes and catchy tunes, new and returning entrants will experience the all-new “Tropicolor Zone” –be bathed in sweet scents as they make their press through the 5km course at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Since its inception in 2012, The Colour Run has deserved its worldwide recognition, featuring in over 200 cities and 40 countries every year. It is arguably the most distinct, exhilarating running event in existence. The 2017 edition is the fourth iteration in Abu Dhabi and 11th in the Middle East.
WHERE: Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit
MORE INFO: thecolorrun.ae
EARTH HOUR LOVERUN
Saturday, March 25
Kicked off by WWF, Earth Hour is a global environmental movement where citizens of the world are asked to switch off their lights for an hour (20:00 local time). Remaining on the premise of energy conservation, I Love Running have built on this concept by devising the LoveRun.
Held at the Jumeirah Lake Towers Park, participants are instructed to lace their trainers and wear sports equipment, before engaging in a luminous 2km run in the dark.
Goodie bags, cold refreshments and entertainment will be available to all individuals at the venue.
WHERE: Dubai, Jumeirah Lakes Towers Park
MORE INFO: premieronline.com/action/download.php