UAE

Exciting first wave of world class runners announced for ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon

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Abraham Kiptum claimed the world half marathon title a week ago in the Valencia Half Marathon.

ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon organisers have revealed an exciting first wave of world class runners who will take part in the elite race, which is being held for the first time in the UAE capital this December.

The field will include the new world half marathon record holder, Abraham Kiptum, from Kenya, as well as Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka, the 10,000m silver medalist at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, world champion at the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and world indoor champion at the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

“The UAE is proud to welcome elite athletes from across the globe to join us for the inaugural ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, the general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

“These athletes are at the top of their game and we hope it will inspire the wider community to take part in the different race categories.”

The race takes place on December 7 with Kiptum and Burka two of four elite stars announced on Sunday.

Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka was the 10,000m silver medalist at the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka was the 10,000m silver medalist at the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

Kiptum claimed his half marathon title a week ago in the Valencia Half Marathon, boasting an incredible record time of 58:18. Kiptum also won the 2018 Daegu Marathon and achieved his best performance at the 2017 Amsterdam Marathon completed with a time of 2:05:26.

Also in the elite men’s section will be compatriot Stanley Biwott, winner of the world-renowned 2015 New York City marathon. Biwott earned his first major marathon victory in 2015, crossing the line in 2:10:32, 14 seconds ahead of his competition.

At the 2016 London Marathon he ran a career best of 2:03:51 with his performance making him one of 10 men to run a sub 2 hours 4 minutes marathon.

Representing the elite women alongside Burka is Eunice Chumba Chebichii, of Bahrain. She was the 10,000m silver medalist at the 2018 Asian Games and 2015 Asian Athletics Championships.

She is currently ranked as the 19th all-time best runner in half marathon history with a record time of 1:06:11, which she achieved during the Copenhagen Half Marathon in 2017.

These are just four of the athletes who will race in the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon. They will also be promoting healthy and active lifestyles to the capital’s residents and encouraging the community to get involved in this historic sporting event.

The full line-up of runners will be announced at a press conference on December 6 and will be attended by the athletes.

There is still time to join in and take part in the various race categories. For more information visit www.adnocabudhabimarathon.com.

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UAE

Hafthor Bjornsson is the World's Ultimate Strongman

Dan Owen 27/10/2018
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Hafthor Bjornsson won the very first World's Ultimate Strongman in Dubai

Hafthor Bjornsson is the World’s Ultimate Strongman.

The Icelandic superstar beat off competition from the very best in the world to lift the inaugural WUS title at the Bab al Shams Arena in Dubai on Friday.

This crowns an incredible 2018 for the man known as the Mountain from Game of Thrones as he adds to his World’s Strongest Man, Arnold Classic, and Europe’s Strongest Man victories.

Along with the prestige of winning the first hosting of the event, Bjornsson collected prize money of $70,000 – the biggest purse ever for a strongman event.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the man who tips the scales at over 200kg however.

The six-foot eight-inch tall Bjornsson found himself outside the top three after the first two events, but was in devastating form over the final four, eventually taking the title by two and a half points from US-rival, and four-time World’s Strongest Man, Brian Shaw.

Bjornsson had been content with his truck pull, but had slipped out of the placings after the arm over arm pull.

However, it was a spectacular performance in the silver-dollar deadlift that truly sparked his competition into life.

He lifted an incredible 520kg, matched only by eight-time Canada’s Strongest Man, JF Caron.

The feat was just 16kg short of the world record set by Eddie Hall.

Next up was the overhead medley, four devastatingly heavy objects to be pressed above the head – a 160kg log, 100kg dumbbell, a 160kg axel, and a 140kg shield.

Having watched most of his contemporaries struggle to complete the course, Bjornsson powered through it with relative ease to take maximum points and put himself in the box seat.

From here came the 580kg yoke carry. Britain’s Laurence Shahlaei, a yoke carrier of real pedigree, had set the time to beat on the event with a rapid run, as again many of the other competitors struggled to complete the course with such a heavy object.

Bjornsson was up against Poland’s Mateusz Kieliszkowski in the final heat of the event.

Kieliszkowski has placed fourth in the last two World’s Strongest Man events, and is known for his speed and athleticism despite his huge size.

The pair would be neck-and-neck along the course and eventually joined the Englishman Shahlaei in the top three for the event.

This gave Bjornsson effectively an unassailable lead going into the final event – the Atlas Stones.

Again this was the heaviest run of stones ever seen with the heaviest of the five being a monstrous 225kg.

Scotland’s Tom Stoltman was the only man to have completed all five going into the final pair – Bjornsson and Shaw.

While Shaw would rattle through them, the Icelander would take his time knowing four stones would secure the victory.

He duly completed four to lift the title.

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UAE

World's Ultimate Strongman: Organisers promising a show you'll never forget

Dan Owen 24/10/2018
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The eagerly anticipated World’s Ultimate Strongman takes place this weekend with organisers promising fans a show like nothing they have seen before.

The event is a unique fusion between sport and entertainment with the showpiece being a strongman content featuring the very best athletes in the world vying for the biggest purse the sport has ever seen.

Athletes have already said the event, appropriately named Beasts in the Middle East, is changing the face of strongman globally, with new levels of professionalism, organisation, and treatment of the athletes – now the public will get the chance to see it first hand.

The line-up reads like a who’s who of the strongman world, headlined by current World’s Strongest Man, Hafthor Bjornsson – The Mountain from Game of Thrones. He will be joined by former WSM winners Brian Shaw, and Zydrunas Savickas and a host of other top names.

The event is something for the whole family, with a host of other activities taking place throughout the day including a bench press competition, search for the fittest human, UFC exhibitions, Shaolin Monks, Capoeira dancers, obstacle courses, skate parks, a gladiator entrance parade and so much more.

Don Idrees, owner and producer of the show alongside Mark Boyd says months of hard work is now coming to fruition.

“Everything we are doing has never been done before, it’s that simple. It’s risky, but it pays off in the long run.”

He added World’s Ultimate Strongman is changing the face of future events.

“Strongman is still not really considered a sport and we are trying to change that,” he said. “If nothing else it will cause every other promoter to up their game, so eventually it will be good for the sport.”

As for the event, Don is convinced his team has developed a concept that will live long in the memory.

“The format we have created is actually targeting someone who doesn’t even know what strongman is. We have packed the world’s biggest strongman competition in a new concept fusing sports and entertainment that appeals to a wider public.

“Seeing is believing with these guys and what they do – and that’s how you create a strongman fan.

“This is going to be a customer experience like never before. We want people on their drive home to already be planning to come back next year. You are going to walk out of this saying ‘wow’, and that’s our aim.”

“We couldn’t accomplish everything we wanted, as some of the ideas were a little ambitious, but you have to leave something for next year.”

The World’s Ultimate Strongman takes place on Friday, October 26, starting at 3pm in the Bab Al Shams Arena. For more information see www.worldsultimatestrongman.com

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