IN PICS: Seven sports personalities on 100 'Most Influential' list

Sport360 staff 21/04/2017

Barcelona's Brazilian superstar Neymar, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James were among seven sports figures named Thursday in Time Magazine's annual list of the world's most influential people.

Polarizing NFL free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick also appeared on the list that included pioneers, artists and leaders.

Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein, 2016 Olympic gold-medal gymnast Simone Biles and Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Conor McGregor were also on the list of 100.

An appreciation written by England icon David Beckham calls Neymar "a once in a generation type of footballer".

Beckham also lauds the 25-year-old forward's humility and his ability to cope with the expectations heaped on him as the talisman of the national team in football-mad Brazil.

Brady collected his fifth Super Bowl ring in February after helping the Patriots overcome a 25-point deficit in the third quarter to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime of Super Bowl 51.

"But Tom's real achievement is that he willed himself to be (the best)," US talk show host Conan O'Brien wrote of Brady.

James was instrumental in helping his team rally from a 3-1 series deficit to stun the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

"By making good on his pledge to bring a championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers and by investing in the promise of future generations through his foundation, LeBron James has not only bolstered the self-esteem of his native Ohio but also become an inspiration for all Americans -- proof that talent combined with passion, tenacity and decency can reinvent the possible.

"Poetry in motion, indeed," wrote Rita Dove, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former US poet laureate.

Kaepernick's initial refusal to stand for the national anthem as part of his protest for racial injustice led others around the NFL to follow suit, but some have speculated it has made him less attractive to some NFL teams despite his talent.

"I thank Colin, for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate," Kaepernick's former coach Jim Harbaugh wrote.

"I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story."

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Going Out: Get in the mix wiith darts professionals in Dubai

Jay Asser 18/04/2017
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Hit the mark: Through DPME's tournaments.

Dart Players Middle East (DPME) are hitting the bullseye by bringing the sport to new heights in the UAE and there are multiple ways to get involved this month.

With the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters coming up next month, DPME are holding an amateur qualifier to give two people a chance to play on finals night ahead of the professionals.

There’s also an end-of-the-month tournament taking place on Saturday, April 29, for competitive players to show their skills in a single knockout for both men and women.

While darts may not be the most popular sport in the region, there are plenty of people who love the game and DPME are doing everything they can to offer even more opportunities for all.

“We started off as a darts team around a year ago now, with just a group of people who would be interested in playing,” said DPME club secretary Ross Hampton.

“There’s obviously a big expat base over and a lot of people come over from different countries who enjoy the social side of it and the competitive side as well. So we tried to put together a structure so everyone can do that.”

Now, with the amateur qualifying, darts will become even more prominent in the region as players will vie, through four qualifiers in the coming weeks, to get on the same stage as the pros on the finals night of the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters, held on May 24 and 25.

If you think you have what it takes, head down to Irish Village in Garhoud, Dubai, on either Friday, April 21, Friday, April 28, Friday, May 12 or Friday, May 19. Entrants may only apply once and the final two competitors standing will battle it out on at the final, while also earning a meet and greet with the pros at the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters press conference and signed memorabilia.

There is no entry fee and participants of any gender must be at least 16 years of age.

“We’re just really trying to grow the darts scene,” said Hampton. “We’re trying to get the UAE more known in darts and the players over here on a more bigger stage, which is where this tournament comes in.

“We’ve been trying to get the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) affiliated. One of our big targets is to get local representation up on the stage for the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters. It’s the only one in the series that doesn’t have local representation. This is what we’re really trying to push for and what they’ve given us is a great opportunity.”

You can also take part in the DPME Masters Series Singles Darts Tournament, held at Jebel Ali Recreation Club on Saturday, April 29, or by joining the Wednesday social league.

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Tweets of the Week: Garcia hailed, #bedforawayfans eases pain

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Sergio Garcia

Surely the feel-good story of the year? Sergio Garcia is one of the best golfers in the world, but it felt like he was destined to never win a major.

That all changed in Augusta where the Spaniard, 37, won the Masters after 74 previous failed attempts to win a major – on the day Seve Ballesteros would have turned 60. Vamos Sergio.

And here are the best Tweets from the Week.

BEAUTIFUL GAME

Borussia Dortmund fans shrugged off the team’s bus being bombed to show solidarity with their Monaco counterparts…

Meanwhile, there was of course a less friendly tone to the evening, with BVB defender Marc Bartra injured in the blast…

The NBA past and present paid tribute to Russell Westbrook, Russian teen Daria Kasatkina steered to her first WTA title and Greg Van Avermaet eats the pavement…

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