Martin Kaymer’s team of seasoned professional golfers were crowned winners of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Invitational after an enthralling day of golf at the award-winning Yas Links Golf Club.
Played out in a Ryder Cup four-ball format, Kaymer’s side beat Luis Figo’s Celebrity Team 8-6.
The +7 handicap was not enough to stop an impressive 14-strong professional team from securing victory against their celebrity counterparts for the second year in a row under the new rules instated in 2017.
The field was packed with household names and internationally renowned talent as Real Madrid legend Figo captained the Celebrity Team alongside returning players Peter Schmeichel, Ruud Gullit and Dwight Yorke. Alessandro Del Piero and Trevor Stevens were the fifth and sixth footballers to feature, whilst the line-up was bolstered further by the inclusion of cricket legend Brian Lara, Welsh rugby union scrum-half Mike Phillips, Olympic champions Sir Matthew Pinsent and Roland Schoeman and Finnish Formula One star Heikki Kovalainen.
From the world of entertainment came pop sensations Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy, who together make up Boyzlife, along with actor James Nesbitt.
The celebrities were tasked with taking on some of the biggest names in European golf. Captained by Ryder Cup legend Martin Kaymer, the professional team included Ladies European Tour stars Holly Clyburn and Camilla Lennarth.
Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the first Emirati golfer to turn professional, also featured alongside Pablo Larrazabal and Gary Stal, who have both previously won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships.
Kaymer said: “It’s been a brilliant day, aided by perfect conditions ideal for playing great golf. The team worked together really well and we managed to secure a tough victory against some really strong opposition.”
Yas Links also played host to the Amateur Championships on Friday, which allowed the celebrities to get to grips with the course.
🔸 Gary Stal pic.twitter.com/qnCCifYrRD
— Abu Dhabi Invitational (@ADInvitational) January 13, 2018
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Both on and off the course the new format Abu Dhabi Invitational has been a resounding success. We were honoured to have such an incredible group of celebrities and sporting stars competing against a great line-up of professional golfers. A special thank you to all our VIP guests, who have flown in from all around the world for this unforgettable Abu Dhabi experience, and to our amazing tournament host Yas Links.”
Howie Roberts, General Manager of Yas Links, added: “It was an absolute pleasure to host the Abu Dhabi Invitational for another year and witness the great feedback we have had from some of the world’s greatest names in sports about the course and the incredible golfing experience at Yas Links.”
In addition to the top-class sport on offer, the event also raised a substantial sum for its chosen charity: Cancer Patient Care Society – Rahma.
For many of the UAE’s jiu-jitsu national team members, 2018 is shaping up to be an important year given the sport make its debut at the Asian Games in August.
And for Zayed Al Kaabi it’s no different. The 27-year-old has big ambitions of making an impact in Jakarta and is stepping up his preparations with this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
Competing in the Under-94kg brown belt division, Al Kaabi will be hoping to go all the way at the Mubadala Arena in the capital and prove he has what it takes to reign supreme in Indonesia in eight months time.
“I just want to give 100 per cent and prepare myself for the Asian Games in 2018 which is my main goal and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship in April,” he said.
“I have to prepare well and fight strong in every fight that I compete in because they all count now. I want to improve every day so I can be at my best in Jakarta and that means being fully focused.
“Of course, I would like to win gold in Abu Dhabi. Inshallah I’ll try my best but Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour is very difficult as you have a lot of top competitors fighting. It’s a chance to check my game and see where I stand and use different strategies because each competitor is different from one another.”
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam will be his first appearance on the 2017-18 World Tour after missing the Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Los Angeles legs due to his involvement with the UAE national team.
He was part of the squad that travelled to Brazil for an intense training camp before representing his country at the Asian Championships in Vietnam. He also competed in the President’s Cup, representing Al Ain.
In his bid of winning a medal at the Asian Games, Al Kaabi is already putting in four hours of training a day, five days a week and plans to increase that closer to the tournament.
“It will be a dream to win a medal for the UAE at the Asian Games,” he said.
“That’s my ultimate dream that I want to achieve this year. Of course it’s going to be hard as it’s the Asian Games and it will be the first time the sport is being played. So I will put in more time and hard work over the coming months to ensure that I’m in the best possible shape. Every fight I do now is a learning curve on how to improve so that I’m at my best physically and mentally when I compete in my first fight in Jakarta.”
Beach Run Dubai 2018 is back!
For the third consecutive year, runners will take to the sand at Sunset Beach in the popular event presented by Daman’s Activelife.
Runners can compete in one of three non-timed races which cater to all ages and abilities.
Those looking to just have some fun can run in the 3.6km event, or for more serious competitors, the 7.2km is on offer.
And, for those with children, the 1.8km family run is ideal.
When the race is over there’s also plenty of entertainment to be enjoyed as well as food and drink stalls within the Festival Village.
Last year, a record 1,950 runners from a whopping 32 nationalities took part in each of the races with ages ranging from 18 months to 71-years-old all collecting medals.
10 things you need to know about Beach Run DXB
When: Friday, February 23 2018
Where: Sunset Beach, Umm Suqeim
Time: The Festival Village opens at 7:00am, the first race starts at 8:00am.
Race categories: Family 1.8km, fun 3.6km, serious 7.2km
Age groups: Open to all.
Do I need anything? Competitors must wear race numbers.
How much does it cost? Adult prices: 7.2km run – Dh139, 3.6km run – Dh139, 1.8km run – Dh99. Children’s prices: 7.2km run – Dh99, 3.6km run – Dh99, 1.8km run – Dh79.
What do I get? Participants receive a T Shirt and medal.
What time does it finish? The Festival Village closes at 12:30pm.
How do I get there? Parking is limited so a taxi or public transport is recommended.