Top Six: From golf's glamour girl Spiranac to Royal Federer

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What was your favourite Sport360 story of the week?

Each Sunday, we will be looking back at the six most popular articles over the past week on Sport360. From interviews to videos and opinion pieces, these are the stories you loved the most.

1) DUBAI LADIES MASTERS ON THE RIGHT PAIGE

Instagram golfing sensation Paige Spiranac landed in Dubai last week to much fanfare as she made her professional debut at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. Many slammed the decision to invite her as a shallow move by tourmanent organisers but Joy Chakravarty explains why her inclusion was justified. FULL STORY HERE

“There may be question marks about her ability, but there’s no doubt Spiranac connects with the Millennials – the demographic every organiser is trying to entice.”

2) TENNIS ROYAL ROGER FEDERER BACK IN DUBAI

Swiss legend Roger Federer is back in Dubai to play in the International Premier Tennis League (ITPL) for the UAE Royals. He sat down with Sport360 to talk in depth about his season, his love of the UAE and his memorable battles with Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. WATCH FULL VIDEO HERE

3) MAGIC McGREGOR DRAGGING UFC INTO THE MAINSTREAM

Ahead of Conor McGregor’s incredible 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo, Alex Rea speculated that a victory for the inimitable Irishman would bring UFC well and truly into the mainstream. Is he right? FULL ARTICLE HERE

“McGregor goes beyond simple self-assurance. He knows he is a combat sports god – a perfect storm of skills, personality and circumstance. A blend that creates a box-office superstar.”

4) TIME FOR UNITED TO PLAN FOR LIFE WITHOUT LVG

Louis van Gaal has endured a miserable couple of weeks with Manchester United. The clock is ticking and Matt Monaghan thinks LVG’s time at Old Trafford is nearly spent. Is it time to turn to Pep Guardiola or Carlo Ancelotti? FULL ARTICLE HERE

“To stick with the Dutchman into 2016-17 would be an unacceptable dereliction of duty from a current Man United hierarchy prone to error.”

5) SHARJAH – A BASTION OF CRICKET IN THE GULF

Sharjah’s record-breaking cricket ground has hosted more ODIs than any other in the history of the game; Sport360’s Barnaby Read explored the history of Sharjah Cricket Stadium with character who has been there from the start, head curator and keeper of goats Mohammed Jameel. FULL ARTICLE HERE

“Sharjah pre-dates its Dubai and Abu Dhabi siblings by 27 and 22 years, in that time creating a culture and identity unlike any other in the UAE.”

6) TOP TWITTERATI OF 2015

From Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement to Cristiano Ronaldo’s apology, we took a look at the eleven most retweeted global athlete tweets in 2015. But which do you think was No. 1? FULL ARTICLE HERE

Let us know what your favourite article of the past seven days was using #360fans on Twitter or Instagram. 

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#360fit: Winter's No1 budget sport

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Paddle boarding is a highly accessible sport and can be done alone or with friends.

Paddle Boarding is this winter's No1 budget water sport in the UAE. Find out where you can join in the stand up paddle boarding craze and the benefits of taking part in the awesome past time.

– #360fit: Yoga vs Pilates – which one is right for you?

– #360fit: Which protein powder builds muscle faster?

– #360fit: A Guide To Sports Nutrition & Supplements
– #360fit: How you can benefit from having a life coach

One of the fastest growing water sports in the UAE is paddle boarding. It’s an easy sport to pick up and can offer you a new found freedom being out in the open ocean with nothing but the breeze in your hair and the sound of the ocean in your ears. Paddle boarding is also very friendly on your wallet and won’t put a major dent in your bank balance.

Beyond being ‘’fund friendly’’ paddle boarding offers a whole range other benefits:

FUN

According to the StandUp Journal, the Hawaiians pioneered stand up paddle boarding for fun! It goes all the way back to the 1940’s, but in the past few years has become really popular. A session of paddle boarding in almost certain to de-stress you and put a huge smile on your face. It’s a highly accessible sport and can be done alone, with family, spouses, or friends. No matter who you do it with your guaranteed to have an amazing time out on the water.

One of the fastest growing water sports in the UAE is paddle boarding.

FITNESS

This simple to learn water sport is not only fun, but it is also a great workout that will torch calories without you even feeling as though your exercising. The average person will burn 500+ calories per hour! It’s also awesome for upper body and core strength due to the pulling and twisting motions that the paddler is engaged in.

FOCUS

Perhaps one of the best benefits of going paddle boarding is the meditative state that you will experience. The smell and sound of the ocean, the soothing rhythm of the waves, and just being out on the water are enough to make you feel calm and relaxed.

LOCATIONS

Below are some of the BEST locations in the UAE that you can hire paddle boards on a budget:


Paddle boarding is awesome for upper body and core strength.



Article provided by: Nutrition Souq

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Marin on the verge of early exit at Dubai World Superseries finals

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Early exit: Carolina Marin.

Carolina Marin, the world champion, the BWF player of the year, and the favourite to win the Super Series finals for the first time, was pushed to the edge of the exit on Friday after a second surprising defeat in two days.

The Spaniard’s 21-9, 21-15 loss to the half-overlooked but highly mobile Japanese player Nozomi Okuhara left Marin’s survival depending on Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying achieving an improbable first win of the week against former world number one Saina Nehwal.

– Finals: Chen Long begins title defence in style
– INTERVIEW: Marin determined to crown a memorable year

– Badminton: Players of the Year revealed ahead of Dubai

And yet Marin’s debut in the tour’s flagship event started satisfactorily two days ago with a tidy victory over Tai.

It went very oddly wrong however when she missed a game point in the first game yesterday against Nehwal, her far-from-fit predecessor as number one, and slid to a defeat that sounded as though it was as unexpected to her opponent as to anyone else.

It soon became even worse today against Okuhara, who took the lead straight away, dominated the first game, resisted Marin’s fightback from a four-point deficit to 11-11, and finished as confidently as if she had expected this outcome all along.

Certainly in the slow conditions the result was less of a surprise than it seemed. Marin’s formidable smash hardly ever found the floor, and after one long rally which she nearly won several times but somehow never quite did she ended flat on her back on the floor.

That dramatic moment, at 13-11, also seemed significant.

The Spaniard’s point-winning screams of celebration grew fewer while Okuhara’s movements became ever quicker and, after completing her third win of the week to become an unexpected semi-finalist, Okuhara claimed she expected to play even better.

But there was a wait of several hours before that probability, along with Nehwal’s fate, could be confirmed.

A few moments later Ratchanok Intanon joined Okuhara in the semi-finals.

The former world champion from Thailand was able to create many more openings than Marin had, and enterprisingly squeezed out a 21-14, 21-19 win against Wang Shixian, the former world number one from China.

The other Chinese player, Wang Yihan, the former world champion, had already qualified in this group, with two tough three-game wins, one of which was against her compatriot, the other Wang. 

The best known Chinese player here, the defending champion Chen Long, completed an unbeaten three-match sequence in his group with a 21-14, 21-17 win over Jan Jorgensen, the world number two from Denmark.

Both had already qualified for the semi-finals and according to Chen “enjoyed themselves out there.”

That did not however prevent him from accelerating impressively from a 10-13 deficit to win the first game, and producing another well-timed surge of five points out of six in the middle of the second game to ensure control of the match. He looks an odds on favourite.

Earlier the tournament saw the premature exit of one famous player, but in the process lost two pairs of Olympic champions, when Zhao Yunlei withdrew with a knee injury.

Zhao, a winner gold medals in women’s and mixed doubles at the 2012 London Olympics, had struggled through four matches in the two doubles events with her partners Tian Qing in the women’s and Zhang Na, before deciding to call it off for the week after two wins and two defeats.

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