Sport in the UAE has come to a halt as a mark of respect to Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, who died of a heart attack on Saturday.
Three days of mourning have begun in the Emirates after the 34-year-old’s death.
He was laid to rest at Bur Dubai’s Umm Hurair cemetery on Saturday night a process that saw a trio of Arabian Gulf League matches moved to Monday, with other events such as the semi-finals of the inaugural Dubai International Junior Basketball and final day of the Sheikha Hind Women’s Sports Tournament also being postponed.
“Today, I lost a best friend and a childhood companion, my dear brother Rashid,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. “You will be missed.”
Sheikh Rashid, a graduate of the UK’s Sandhurst Military Academy, was a prominent and successful sportsman, winning individual and team endurance golds in the equestrian events at the 15th Asian Games in 2006. He was also an accomplished horse racing enthusiast, owning Zabeel Racing International and leading the individual owners list an unprecedented five times with more than 428 wins.
His interest in sports extended to the UAE Olympic Committee, for whom he was chairman from 2008-12. He was a founding member of Dubai Sports and Cultural Club, acting as chairman until his brother Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took up the position in 2005. He was also known to be a keen football fan, with Manchester United his team of choice.
“With our believing hearts, we would like to offer our deep and honest condolences to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,” Dubai Sports Council tweeted.
Al Ain had been scheduled to host Sharjah in the AGL, while Al Shabab were due to meet newly-promoted Dibba Al Fujairah and Al Nasr slated in to face Al Wasl in the Bur Dubai derby. Those games will go ahead on Monday at the original kick-off times, meaning Al Ahli’s home clash against Al Dhafra will be moved to 20.15 GST.
Al Ain and UAE superstar Omar Abdulrahman led the football tributes to Sheikh Rashid, tweeting an Islamic prayer: “May God forgive him and bless his family and may heaven be his home.”
— Al Ain FC – EN (@alainfcae_en) September 19, 2015
The upset extended to non-Emiratis, with Ahli boss Cosmin Olaroiu stating: “It’s a very tough moment, sometimes football comes second place in life. But we have to continue with our job, which is the match with Al Dhafra.”
Al Nasr chairman Marwan bin Ghalita extended his club’s commiserations, saying: “God gives and takes and all we have to do is thank him. May he forever be blessed by heaven.”
Possibly the greatest ever feat in modern Olympics – that of winning the 5,000m, the 10,000m, followed by the marathon – was accomplished by Czechoslovakian Emil Zatopek, who was born on this day in 1922.
Not only did Zatopek win the three most grueling races in the 1952 Helsinki Games, he was actually taking part in a marathon for the first time, and he was in Helsinki defying doctor’s orders, having suffered severe gland infection two months before the Olympics.
The victory was extra sweet for Zatopek as his wife, Dana, won the javelin gold on the same day when he won the 5,000m.
The Bouncing Czech’ lost some of his best years to World War II, but dominated from 1948 until 1954, setting 18 world records over various distances including every record from 5,000m to 30km, and won four Olympic golds and one silver.
1922: Dana Zatopek, former Czech javelin thrower, winner of the 1952 Olympic gold medal and wife of the legendary Emil Zatopek, also born on this day in the same year (93).
1963: David Seaman, former England, Arsenal and Manchester City goalkeeper (52).
1977: Akash Chopra, former India Test opening batsman and now a respected commentator and columnist (38).
Sport360 picks out the highlights from the sporting Twittersphere with Novak Djokovic, Flavia Pennetta, Serena Williams and Virat Kohli all featuring this week.
Novak Djokovic gave his best “This is Sparta” impression together with Gerard Butler, the star of the movie ‘300’, after defeating Roger Federer to win the US Open.
— Jelena Djokovic (@JelenaRisticNDF) September 14, 2015
Tennis world salutes Flavia Pennetta
Flavia Pennetta had the ultimate mic-drop moment as she announced her retirement during her victory speech at the US Open. The world was in shock and raced to send in their congratulations. Looks like her boyfriend, ATP player Fabio Fognini managed to get his hands on her trophy as well.
— Rena (@_irenka23_) September 13, 2015
@flavia_pennetta congrats I’m so happy you won. You deserved it. I am also happy for the rest of your life’s journey. I will miss your smile
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 12, 2015
Wow!! @flavia_pennetta talking about finishing off in style!! Couldn’t happen to a nicer person! Congratulation and happy retirement
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) September 12, 2015
That smile so well deserved!!
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) September 12, 2015
— Sabine Lisicki (@sabinelisicki) September 12, 2015
Drake faces the heat
After Serena Williams was stunned by Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals, the Twittersphere blamed rapper Drake, who was in her box during the match, for the world No1’s loss.
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) September 11, 2015
— Karen (@runitupdamiddle) September 11, 2015
Drake is the Jessica Simpson to Serena’s Tony Romo. #BlameDrake
— Madelyn Burke (@MadelynBurke) September 11, 2015
Drake the curse bruh. First Kentucky NOW Serena.
— Neiman Marcus (@_MHooks) September 11, 2015
Virat Kohli announced he is coowner of the UAE Royals tennis team in the IPTL which prompted Sachin Tendulkar to ask him if he could play for him. Meanwhile, Djokovic shows us his softer side and gets words of love from Entourage actor Jeremy Piven.
Not sure you have what it takes @sachin_rt paaji!
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) September 11, 2015
We love you brother! Get after it and enjoy… https://t.co/jypaVccAlT
— Jeremy Piven (@jeremypiven) September 11, 2015