PDC World Series of Darts returns for third year in Dubai

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Peter Wright (L) and Michael Van Gerwen (R) at the 2014 Dubai Darts Masters

Eight of the world’s top darts players are to return to Dubai this year for the third annual Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters – which will be played on May 28 & 29 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium as the first leg of the PDC’s World Series of Darts.

– Van Gerwen defeats Wright to win 2014 Dubai Darts Masters title
– #Quiz360: WIN dinner for two at Media Rotana

Michael van Gerwen, the reigning Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters Champion, will head the field of eight players who will compete in the knockout event. Van Gerwen will be joined by seven world-class rivals in competing in the two-day event at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.

Making his debut at the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters is new World Champion, Gary Anderson. Anderson rose to prominence in January by claiming the World Championship title in London, beating Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in a closely contested final.

“I am very much looking forward to coming to Dubai,” said Anderson.

“Having just won the World Championship for the first time, I can’t wait to arrive with the other players and be able to play for such a great title. I’ve heard that the crowd and atmosphere are great in the Dubai Tennis Stadium, and I look forward to vying for the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters title to add to my World Championship!”

The greatest player in darts, Phil “The Power” Taylor is also back in Dubai and will be joined by five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis, eight-time major title winner James Wade, former BDO World Champion Stephen Bunting and former World Championship finalist Peter Wright.

The players will initially compete in four knockout quarter-final matches on Thursday May 28, before the semi-finals and final are held on Friday May 29 to determine the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters champion and the winner of the $200,000 prize fund.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free said: “As title sponsors of the Dart Masters, we are very pleased to support this tournament for the third time. The tournament provides the crowd with a unique opportunity to see eight amazing players compete in an outdoor arena.  PDC and the team have worked incredibly hard to stage this tournament and there is no doubt it will be a huge success again.”

“The Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters has been a very positive development in augmenting the exposure of darts in both Dubai and across the Middle East,” said PDC CEO Matt Porter.

Having signed exclusive Media Partnership deals, Darts fans in Dubai will now get to see the best players in darts live, in addition to the live television coverage of PDC events on Dubai Sports TV & OSN.

Porter added: “Darts fans in Dubai will now get to see the best players in darts live both in the stadium and on television. With players from 21 countries having competed recently in William Hill World Darts Championship, we at the PDC see the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters as an important stepping-stone in the sport’s worldwide growth.”

The General Release of tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters are on sale now and will be sold at AED 180 for one night, or AED 299 for both nights. Exclusive early bird season tickets to cover both days sold at AED199 (AED 99 for Thursday 28 May Only / AED 139 for Friday 29 May Only) are on sale until 31st March.

Tickets will be sold through Irish Village (www.irishvillage.ae) and Timeout Tickets (www.itp.net/tickets). 

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Croatia’s Goran Colak beats defending champion Branko Petrovic to win Fazza Championship

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Goran Colak and Veljano Zanki receive their prizes at the end of a thrilling Fazza Championship for Freediving.

The Fazza Championship for Freediving 2015 concluded on Saturday with an exciting finish, bringing with it some unexpected results and new names to the diving circle.

In the Professionals category, Goran Colak from Croatia clocked a time of 8 minutes and 36 seconds to wrest the title from last year’s champion Branko Petrovic after the latter was disqualified on grounds of negligence to safety. Veljano Zanki from Croatia finished a close second at 8 minutes and 4 seconds.

– #Quiz360: WIN dinner for two at Media Rotana

– Dubai International Boat Show organisers target No1 status

“Winning the title is a wonderful feeling and it is quite impressive that Dubai is not just a modern city but also tries to preserve its heritage through championships like these,” said an ecstatic Goran after his victory.

A surprising turn of events came with Natalia Molchanova from Russia finishing third to become the first ever lady freediver to be in the top three rung of the Fazza Championship.

Goran Colak of Croatia came out on top in the professional category.

Hamad Saaed Fareej finished first in the GCC and UAE Nationals category and created a new record, relegating three-time Fazza champion Nasser Abd Khalfan to the second place. In the Juniors category, 12-year-old Ahmad Ali Al Zarooi finished first to take home the trophy.

Hamad, who works with Abu Dhabi Police, said that the training sessions and the endless hours of practice helped him in the day’s victory.

“I strongly urge all Emirati divers to participate in this championship to explore your true potential,” he added.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment of the day involved what happened to Branko Petrovic. Post the semi-finals, all eyes were on the world champion and previous Fazza winner. The 28-year-old from Serbia was off to a promising start in the semi-finals as he set a new Fazza record in the ‘Professionals’ category, clocking in at 10 minutes and 27 seconds.

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Middle East crowned champions at Gaelic World Games in Abu Dhabi

Jay Asser 8/03/2015
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The Middle East sides dominated the GAA World Games final.

The Middle East dominated the Gaelic Athletic Association World Games finals with both the men’s and ladies sides lifting the trophy at Zayed Sports City yesterday.

– #Quiz360: Win dinner for two at Media Rotana
– Middle East teams battle it out at Galeic World Games

In an all-Middle East showdown for the men’s GAA World Games final, Middle East 2 edged Middle East 1 for a 25-18 result.

The two teams went back-and-forth in the first half, settling for single points on shots over the crossbar.

Middle East 2 upped the pressure in the second half to pull ahead, netting two goals for three points apiece in the final minutes to claim the title.

“Shocked and drained,” Middle East 2 captain Joe Melia said of the victory.

“It felt like quite an open game of football when we were out there. It could have gone either way up until the last minute or two.

“This nine-a-side format comes down to small little details that can go right or wrong. We spoke yesterday about having team unity. We’ve come together from different clubs in the Middle East and tried to build a team spirit. I think it stuck to us in the second half and certainly in the latter stages when both teams were getting tired.”

Earlier, the ladies Middle East squad defeated Australasia 19-17 with a thrilling comeback.

Australasia got off to a fast start and it looked to be a long day for the Middle East as they trailed 13-8 at half time. But with the breeze at their back and urgency at a high in the second half, Middle East found their rhythm and clawed back.

The turning point came midway through the second half when Middle East captain Una Harkin rose to the challenge and buried a penalty goal to even the scores.

“My nerves were wrecked and I was absolutely panicking,” Harkin said. “But it was just think of a corner, put it in the corner you want it to go and that’s where it went.”

From there, the Middle East tacked on another goal with four minutes remaining to go up two and held the lead to complete the fight back.

“We knew because we had played them before and beaten them, there was no reason why we couldn’t do it again,” Harkin said.

“We came out in the second half and we just put our heart into it. We played our game, played the hand-passing game, worked the ball and just put it in the goal every time. It worked for us. Once we started playing what we know, we ended up winning.”

The finals concluded the inaugural GAA World Games, held in Abu Dhabi over the weekend.

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