In line with one of the philosophies at the heart of its brand’s key positioning, Swiss Watchmaker TAG Heuer announced its collaboration with AWG Founder Hassan Akhras at a breakfast event at Pascal Tepper in Dubai Media City.
The announcement came as no surprise seeing as Akhras is not only a prominent figure and influencer on the city’s watch scene but has also decided to take on a new challenge by competing in IRONMAN 2018, which comprises of cycling, running and swimming – three sporting disciplines that TAG Heuer is strongly involved with.
TAG Heuer has a strong link with cycling and this became evident after it unveiled its partnership with the BMC Racing Team last year and bore the title of Official Timekeeper of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi tour. The brand also has a long-standing association with prestigious marathons including the New York City Marathon, the Chicago Marathon and the Paris Marathon for which it has been the Official Timekeeper and Official Watch.
Swimming too is relevant to the brand and its Aquaracer collection is perfectly suited to the sport.
TAG Heuer’s partnership with Hassan Akhras will mainly focus on his preparation in the build-up to the much-awaited event next year, while he retains his primary job of watch blogger. This is just the first exciting phase of the journey that will see Hassan Akhras working towards an initial target of competing in IRONMAN 70.3 in Bahrain and Dubai.
TAG Heuer has come to be known with icons who all reflect the common values of mental strength, a disruptive attitude and ambition. Hassan Akhras, is in this sense, a perfect fit as his year of training will be replete with its fair share of trials and extreme #DontCrackUnderPressure moments that will test the boundaries of his endurance.
Undoubtedly the most special aspect of the upcoming IRONMAN 2018 challenge is its strong philanthropic angle as it will help in supporting child refugees in partnership with UNICEF. Hassan Akhras is keen on using his journey to raise awareness and this will be a message consistently reflected through his #changeyourstory and #aspiretoinspire hashtags. There will also be an open link for donations and separate activations that is open throughout the year.
Dear friends, today marks a new chapter in the AWG journey; IT is time to step up the game a notch and challenge myself to the next level whilst leveraging my social reach!! THe Journey to IrOnMan2018 begins with non other than the support of @tagheuerme as "a friend of the brand". I will be documenting this journey across all my social media platforms to share my experience with all of you, hoping this journey will be one of MOTIVATION, INSPIRATION and OPTIMISM. The challenge is also linked to supporting Syrian refugees with charity donations and activations all across 2017. The aim is also to be able to create a positive story and impact to #aspiretoinspire #dontcrackunderpressure and #changeYourStory ✌🏻 It's a thrilling moment and an amazing journey ahead with all of your support and positiveness ❤ | #AWGClub #AWGlifestyle
What makes things more exciting is the fact that Hassan Akhras, while being athletic, is by no means a professional athlete. In terms of training, he is being coached by GROWINGS coach Trace Rogers and will be taking some trips to Ras Al Khaimah and Khor Fakkan to train. He has participated in a pre-triathlon two weeks ago in Khor Fakkan and will also be gearing up for more trips and triathlons in Oman, Bahrain and Qatar to build stamina.
Speaking about this interesting partnership, Anne-Claire Richomme, Marketing Manager TAG Heuer Middle East, said, “Pushing boundaries and breaking rules are integral to our rich heritage and what Hassan Akhras is attempting to do with the IronMan 2018, is in that sense a perfect fit with our brand ideologies.”
Hassan Akhras too was extremely enthusiastic about having found a partner that supported him and said: “Since I decided to dedicate all of 2017 to the training and journey towards IRONMAN 70.3, I needed a partner that would share my vision, my goals and my beliefs. It also made complete sense that my main partner would ultimately come from the watch world as I am a collector and watch blogger.
“I was looking for a brand that believes in never quitting, never letting go under pressure, no hiding; an avant-garde brand. It was TAG Heuer that came to mind and I decided to pitch my idea to their team, hoping they would share my enthusiasm for this journey and get on-board. Fast-forward to a few weeks ahead and here we are announcing our official partnership for next year’s IRONMAN 70.3 Challenge Journey.”
Make sure you don’t miss out on any of this week’s events in what is another busy seven days in the UAE sporting calendar.
And, there’s certainly something for everyone on offer this week!
From UAE National Sports Day to the Terry Fox charity run, there’s heaps of events going on that are not to be missed.
Are you attending or participating in an event this week?
Let us know!
Message us on Instagram, use #Sport360.
ABU DHABI TOUR CHALLENGE ITT 2017
Sunday, February 12
Grease your bike’s chain and get ready for Abu Dhabi Tour’s individual time trial challenge at Yas Marina Circuit.
Awards are given based on age groups and overall completion of the fastest lap at the famed venue.
There is also a special incentive for contestants in these knockout races since the top 30 riders overall and top five age groups, male and female, will be granted access to the front row to pursue the pace car.
WHERE: Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit
MORE INFO: abudhabitour.com
UAE NATIONAL SPORTS DAY
Thursday, February 16
Register for the UAE National Sports Day as event an organiser or as an individual, plus you can participate in many events scheduled all over the UAE.
This is a sports day of a national nature, involving aerobics as well as recreational, promotional, communal, educational and competitive activities, which epitomise the cohesion of community segments and reflect the intimacy, harmony and positive interaction among multiple cultures within the UAE.
WHERE: At venues all around the UAE
MORE INFO: uaesportsday.ae
SHARJAH 10KM OPEN RACE 2017
Thursday, February 16
The Sharjah Sports Council has revealed a new race: the first annual Sharjah 10km.
Starting at the Sharjah Islamic Bank, runners will make their way through Al Khan Corniche, overlooking the iconic Al Qasba Canal, before edging past the competition to reach the finish line. Water stations are available to contestants after every 3km.
Individuals successfully completing the entire distance will receive an official race shirt and medal, while winners will earn cash prizes depending on their podium finishes.
Male and female participants must be above the age of 15.
WHERE: SHARJAH ISLAMIC BANK
EMAIL: [email protected]
URBAN-ULTRA HAJAR 50 AND 100KM
Friday, February 17
Challenge yourself on this beautiful 50km or 100km trail run through the mountain passes, along jeep tracks, through boulder ravines and over spectacular sand dunes of Ras Al Khaimah.
It is a tough challenge and requires training, but generous cut-off times (24hrs overall) allow most physically fit, determined and well-prepared runners to get to the finish.
The course will take you on a multi-terrain adventure and take in approx 2500m of elevation over the 100km distance. Checkpoint five will be located at approximately 52km.
Make sure you are part of the only single-stage 50km and 100km trail run in the UAE!
WHERE: Ras Al Khaimah, Marjan Island, DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa
MORE INFO: urbanultra.com/?events=urban-ultra-hajar-50-100-2017
TRIYAS BY DAMAN ACTIVELIFE 2017
Friday, February 17
Aspiring and seasoned triathletes are encouraged to get on their marks as the TriYAS by Daman ActiveLife gets underway at Yas Marina.
One of the Middle East’s most beloved fitness events is back for its seventh edition.
The course will require registrants to first swim in Yas Marina before emerging from the waters to bike around the Grand Prix track. Once complete, contestants must cast their bikes aside, run towards the finish line and collect their medals.
Last year, TriYAS welcomed a record number of first-time participants – up almost 30 per cent on entries into the 2016 race. Organisers are expecting numbers to soar again for the upcoming edition.
WHERE: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
MORE INFO: yasmarinacircuit.com
UAE WOODEN POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Friday, February 17
Observe the very best ‘Shawaheef’ pilots go neck-and-neck at the Corniche Breakwater for the UAE Wooden Powerboat Championship.
Thanks to the Marine Sports Club, the city is the first in the Arabian Gulf to hold and organise world-renown powerboat races, comfortably gathering increasing numbers of attendees alongside a roster of seasoned riders with each passing edition.
WHERE: Al Marina, Corniche Breakwater
EMAIL: [email protected]
WALK FOR EDUCATION 2017
Friday, February 17
Tie those shoelaces and join thousands taking part in the ‘Walk for Education’ at Dubai Creek Park.
As the name implies, the Walk for Education is an event which will see thousands of UAE residents take to Dubai’s Creek Park in a walk to amass funds for children from developing countries.
Family-friendly activities will be available to members of the public once the main walk is complete.
WHERE: Bur Dubai, Creek Park
MORE INFO: dubaicares.ae
M1 RUN DUBAI 2017
Saturday, February 18
How fast can you climb 700 stairs? Sign up for the M1 Run and find out.
The Media One Hotel dares participants to once again climb its 700 stairs.
The top three men, women and teams who successfully make it to the hotel’s 42nd floor, will earn prizes worth more than 90,000 AED. There is also a raffle draw valued at an estimated 100,000 AED.
WHERE: Media One Hotel, Dubai
MORE INFO: mediaonehotel.com
Saturday, February 18
Attend the Terry Fox run in Dubai and raise money for the cancer research foundation.
Each year, Dubai remembers cancer victim Terry Fox, whose tenacity and zeal for life – as well as his persistent fundraising – were an inspiration.
Members of the public are encouraged to bring their friends and families, and continue the Canadian’s mission: to support funding for researching a cure for cancer. Participants can opt to complete the full 8.5km course however they wish, be it walking, wheeling, riding or running.
WHERE: DUBAI FESTIVAL CITY
MORE INFO: terryfox.org/InternationalRun/dubai_run.html
The eight-division world champion was initially thought to be travelling to Brisbane’s Suncorp stadium on April 23 to take on the Australian.
However, according to his Canadian adviser, Michael Koncz, the pair will now clash in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai with Pacquiao’s official social media channels posting a message today saying: “See you in UAE for my next fight”.
Speaking to Gulf News in Abu Dhabi, Koncz said: “It took us a while to get this deal together. There was a lot of confusion whether this is going to happen here in the UAE.
“I’m here with full authority and power. I have been the marriage counsellor for Manny and we have developed a relationship.
“I’m involved in all aspects of what he does. We have executed the agreement in the morning and 100 per cent the fight will be here in the UAE.”
There was some confusion though with Horn’s camp later claiming they still expect the bout to be held in Brisbane.
Pacquaio’s Top Rank promoter Bob Arum suggested a deal with Horn’s promoter, Duco Events, had been struck to see the 38-year-old take on the unbeaten Australian in front of an expected crowd of 50,000.
“Manny Pacquiao’s exclusive promoter is (Las Vegas-based) Bob Arum and we have been working together for many weeks to have the fight at Suncorp Stadium,’’ said Duco’s Dean Lonergan in a report on the Courier Mail.
“The only person authorised to promote Manny Pacquiao is Bob Arum. Until Bob Arum tells me differently we are continuing with that aim of having the fight at Suncorp Stadium on April 23.”
According to the Courier Mail, Horn leaves on Monday for a three-day tour of North Queensland to promote the Suncorp fight and the 29-year-old added that he would take on Pacquiao in “Antarctica” if he had to but hoped the fight would be “a huge event” in Brisbane.
Koncz, though, apologised to the Australian government and fans for the last-minute change in plans, saying: “I was aware Bob was talking in Australia about hosting the fight there, but it is fine with us.
“I told Bob to go ahead but don’t close it. When Bob said it will happen there I asked him ‘what are you talking about?’ A promoter works for the boxer but the boxer doesn’t work for the promoter.
“We have had a successful bond with him, but Manny is the boss. I told him ‘why are you speaking to the media when it is just a backup plan?
“I don’t have control over what Bob says, he talks a lot of stuff and I apologise to the people of Australia, their government there for all the confusion and also the fans here in the UAE.”
Pacquiao made a successful return to the ring last November after a brief stay in retirement to focus on his duties as a senator in the Philippines House of Representatives. He earned a unanimous decision win over Jessie Vargas to begin his third reign as WBO welterweight champ while Horn is unbeaten in 17 fights.
Business as usual as Jeff Horn still planning to fight Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp April 23. Bob Arum is Pacquiao's promoter not Michael Koncz— Grantlee Kieza (@Kieza_cmail) February 12, 2017