UAE

Outgoing coach Javier Aguirre confident Al Wahda will continue to improve in the future

Denzil Pinto 21/05/2017
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Javier Aguirre has declared he will always be a fan of Al Wahda and is confident the club will continue to thrive when he finally leaves this week.

The Mexican was given a final farewell by the management on Sunday after two years in charge of the Abu Dhabi side.

During his stint, the 58-year-old won the Arabian Gulf Cup in his maiden season before guiding the side to their second President’s Cup and first in 17 years after a 3-0 victory over Al Nasr on Friday.

But that wasn’t enough for the former Atletico Madrid and Japan boss to earn an extension to his deal, which expires this month yet Aguirre, who shook hands with every journalist prior to the press conference, insists the foundations are laid to build on this success.

“I’m really proud of the players at the team,” he said, where he received a memento from the club for his services. “Fourteen of the 25 players have come from our second team and that means the big work is beginning to pay off at our academy.

“There is a very young first-team today and there is good base for them in the next four to five years for sure. They will be playing in the Arabian Super Cup and AFC Champions League which is a good challenge for them. I’ll be a fan of Wahda  and wish the club all the best.”

In his two seasons in charge, the club failed to mount a serious title assault in the Arabian Gulf League after finishing a distant third and fifth behind champions Al Ahli and Al Al Jazira.

He admits he did some mistakes during his helm but was unsure how he would like to be remembered at Al Nahyan Stadium.

“I have done my job as hard as I could. I know I made a lot of mistakes and that many fans did not like me. But I’m proud to have been here and I’ll take these good memories with me. These two or three days will be unforgettable for me.”

Aguirre will now assess his options on where his next managerial job will be but for now, taking rest and enjoying time with his family remains his priority.

“I already have offers but from tomorrow I will rest first. I need to take my time, I worked 12 years in La Liga and in four  World Cups either as a head coach or an assistant. There is a lot of pressure being a coach but I need to stay calm for a couple of months and then I will see.

“I feel I can give more and more of my experience, expertise but now I have nothing. The only idea I have is to take rest.”

For club president Ahmad Al Rumaithi, he paid tribute to Aguirre for his services. “It’s a management decision to part ways with the manager. Fans will support the manager whenever he wins but will rise against him when he doesn’t deliver. We all know that. It’s not an easy decision to take when you win a major title but it’s not one person’s decision.

“We have high regard for Aguirre and we appreciate the work he had done with us for two years. It is unfortunate we have to go different ways but it’s all done in the best interest of the club.

Aguirre is almost certain to be replaced by ex-Al Hilal supremo Laurentiu Reghecampf although Al Rumaithi insists talks over the new manager is still on-going.

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UAE

Adi wins third consecutive title at India Club UAE Open Badminton Tournament

Denzil Pinto 20/05/2017
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Imam Adi in action.

Imam Adi is making a habit of winning at the India Club UAE Open Badminton Tournament after the Indonesian won his third consecutive men’s singles title on Friday night.

The 21-year-old entered the court at India Club as the man to beat having stood top of the podium since 2015 and the Dubai-based player lived up to his billing, winning 2-1 (13-21, 22-20, 21-5) over compatriot Dea Adi Rangga.

He was one of four champions that came out on top on the final day of the 40th edition of the tournament. Following in his footsteps were Tanisha Crasto and Ketan Chahal (Mixed Doubles), James Varghese and Febriani Kusumawati (mxed doubles veterans 45+) and Chahal and Jaffer Ebrahim (men’s doubles).

For Adi, it was a far from an ideal start as Rangga drew first blood by taking the first game 21-13. That was the perfect wake-up call for Adi and he began to show why he was two-time defending champion to lead 11-10 in the interval.

An enthralling rally – that lasted more than 15 shots – was won by the eventual champion, who later levelled the tie.

It was all one-way traffic in the third with every shot won by Adi, who coaches at Dubai’s Prime Star Academy, applauded by the crowd before he wrapped up the victory. While it brought a smile to Adi’s face, he immediately delayed his celebrations to pose alongside his beaten opponent with the Indonesian flag.

Winning smiles: The victors show off their silverware.

Winning smiles: The victors show off their silverware.

“He’s a great player and we’ve known each other for a long time,” said Adi, who also won a 32-inch television as well as the trophy.

“It was a great match to win because I didn’t get the best of starts, but I gradually found my game to win and it’s really special to win my third title. I hope to achieve this again next year, although the competition is getting harder every year.”

For 14-year-old Crasto, she added to her women’s and Under-15 singles titles by retaining the mixed doubles crown.

The women’s final had been scheduled for Friday but was instead played on Wednesday evening after runner-up Negin Amiripour had booked her return flight back home to Iran later that night. Crasto made the most of the advantage of the extra rest by teaming up with Chahal, who had to battle through the pain barrier.

The pair have happy memories after their triumph 12 months ago and it was the same outcome as they piled more misery on men’s singles runner-up Rangga and Kusumawati by prevailing 2-1 (21-18, 24-26, 21-18) Castro, who studies at Indian High School, Dubai and Delhibased Chahal, 23, had to be at their very best in a match that could have gone either way.

It was halfway through the first game when Chahal suffered a recurrence of pain to his left knee which saw action briefly stopped. But the break seemed to be a blessing in disguise as he and Crasto took the first game.

Kusumawati and Rangga forced a decider and while the level of play raised another notch, it was Crasto and Chahal who were left celebrating.

“It was a lot of pain for me but there was no way I wanted to give in as it was the final,” said Chahal, who also won the men’s doubles title with Ebrahim after a 2-1 (21-12, 17-21, 21-15) win over Akbar Basri and Rangga. “It was a tough game and they really pushed us but playing with Tanisha really made things easier, she’s an awesome player.”

There was something to smile about for Kusumawati, who claimed the mixed doubles veterans crown with James Varghese by 21-15, 21-9 against Dinesh Nair and Dilisuci Desuari Sela.

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UAE

Du tough mudder returns in Dec 2017

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Du Tough Mudder, the world-renowned obstacle course challenge and leading active lifestyle brand, will return to the Middle East from 8th-9th December 2017.

Following the success and high demand from the inaugural event in Dubai in December 2016, du Tough Mudder will return once again for thousands of new and returning Mudder to escape the ordinary and face the ultimate challenge of physical strength, stamina and mental grit.

Registration opens on the May 17 at 3pm at www.toughmudder.ae for a special 72 hour ‘Early Bird’ priority window for du customers to take advantage of a special discounted price. General release will follow on Sunday 21 May at 12 noon.

Taking place on the grounds of the Hamdan Sports Complex, du Tough Mudder, which is organised by IMG in partnership with du and Tough Mudder, Inc. and in cooperation with Dubai Sports Council, is an untimed and team-orientated challenge with larger than life mud-drenched obstacles designed around the values of courage, personal accomplishment, teamwork and fun.

Known as ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’ with its multi-distance courses, du Tough Mudder guarantees you will cross the finish line with more friends than you started with and be part of the 2.5 million Tough Mudder participants around the world who are part of Mudder Nation.

For 2017, du Tough Mudder will introduce a selection of new obstacles over the coming weeks while signature 2016 obstacles return for 2017.

du Tough Mudder 2016_F2U7730

Among those returning are Arctic Enema 2.0 (a head-first plunge into ice cold water), Electroshock Therapy (the infamous final obstacle on the Tough Mudder Full which requires a muddy sprint through dangling electric wires charged with over 10,000 volts of electricity) and the Block-Ness Monster where Mudders will have to work together to push, pull and roll their way through 60 feet of slick, rotating barriers in a waist-deep water pit, putting team to the ultimate test on this fun and challenging obstacle.

For the younger thrill-seekers, we warmly welcome back du Mini Mudder, the 1.5km obstacle course mud run giving kids aged 7-13 the chance to work as a team and experience the excitement of adventure.

“We are proud to bring du Tough Mudder back to the Middle East.” said Abdulwahed Juma, Executive Vice President – Brand and Corporate Communications, du. “Our focus in the UAE is to bring the best experiences to our customers, by adding life to life.

Tough Mudder is a globally acclaimed challenge which our customers loved last year; we look forward to attracting even more participants this year.”

Greg Sproule, Managing Director of IMG Middle East, said: “This challenge has united millions of active, fun-seeking individuals across the planet and we are thrilled to bring this incredible experience of du Tough Mudder back to the Middle East in partnership with du and in cooperation with Dubai Sports Council.

We are also taking great steps this year to even further enhance the participant experience for 2017. With its challenging obstacles, du Tough Mudder is the ultimate adventure that requires teamwork and camaraderie and will leave you with life long memories.”

H.E. Saeed Hareb, the Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council said, “The Dubai Sports Council is keen to support any event or project which motivates UAE residents to enrol in sports and various fitness activities, helping to promote a healthier lifestyle.

We are thrilled to support the return of du Tough Mudder which attracted thousands of sport and outdoor activity enthusiasts from all walks of life.

With the return of this global event, Dubai is proving that it’s an important sporting hub within the GCC and across the globe.”

Will Dean, CEO & Founder of Tough Mudder, said, “It was amazing to see how Dubai embraced du Tough Mudder last year and we’re thrilled to be returning later this year. With the introduction of a new obstacle – the Augustus Gloop – together with our epic team-driven obstacles we will create the ultimate life-changing adventure for thousands of new and returning Mudders of the Middle East.”

So, grab your friends and colleagues and sign up now for this adrenaline pumping challenge and experience a life-changing adventure.

For more information visit www.toughmudder.ae or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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