Some of the UAE’s best known sports personalities, both Emiratis and expatriates, were at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex on Monday night, sharing their tales of triumph and tribulation with a rapt audience at the first Sports Imprint Forum.
The list of speakers, totalling 27, ranged from OBE David Labouchere, a 55-year-old triathlete, to eight-year-old Lamia Tariq Malallah, and included the likes of UAE and Shabab Al Ahli football star Majed Hassan, and Marcus Smith, who ran 30 marathons in 30 days during the last Dubai Fitness Challenge in 2018; cancer-survivor and amputee Dareen Barber and Team Angel Wolf’s Nick Watson; swimmer Obaid Al Jasmi, who represented the UAE at Olympic Games and has an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records; UAE Para-athlete Siham Al Rashidi and 50-year-old UAE great Mohammed Khamis Khalaf, winner of two Paralympic Games weightlifting gold medals, first in Athens in 2004 and then Rio in 2016, and a silver in Beijing 2008.
Omar Al Fadhli, winner of a gold medal at last year’s Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Sweden, and Mahra Al Hanaei, winner of a Jiu-Jitsu silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, were also there along with a bunch of young and upcoming Emirati sports talents like UAE national team volleyball players Mohammed Abbas and Nadia Ali, karatekas Marwan Al Maazmi and Fatima Salem Khusaif, judoka Ahmed Faisal Al Naqbi, and Track and Field’s Ahmed Ali Hassan, Mohammed Omar Mohammed and Fatima Al Hosani, and fencer Shahad Ahmed Khurram.
Thanking all the participants for sharing their inspirational experiences, Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, said: “We are thankful to them for agreeing to be a part of this initiative, which seeks to inspire others through their experience and their struggle against the odds in their journey towards sporting success.
“The Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament, organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, understands the influential role athletes can play in society by inspiring others to follow their lead and creating generations of aspirants, eager to emulate.”
Gorthi stars for Titans
Naven Gorthi struck a majestic unbeaten 84 as Titans Cricket Club clinched a thrilling 5-run win over Hadaf Sporting RAK to set up a semi-final with MGM Sharjah in the NAS Cricket T10 Tournament, which is being held at the Wombats Cricket Ground in Jebel Ali.
In the other quarterfinal match of the night, Salman Cool Boys cruised to a seven wicket win over Noor Bank and will now meet DHL in the semi-finals.
Opening the innings, Gorthi saw his partner Sheridan Hadfield depart without scoring and the number three, Veera Pandian did not last long either, scoring only 1. Gorthi, however, found an able ally in, first, Arshad Sadiq (21: 10b,1×4, 2x6s) and then Asghar Afridi (18: 9b, 1×4, 1×6) and those two partnerships, of 41 and 40 respectively, helped the Titans post a respectable 133 for 5.
Gorthi’s 84 runs came off 33 balls and the innings was studded 6 fours and 7 sixes.
Hadaf Sporting got off to a disastrous start in their chase. Their two openers M Surjith and K Noushad were back in the shed without bothering the scorers, while number three Midhun Sudhakar and number five Ashok Kumar scored 3 and 2 respectively.
From four down for 28, Hadaf made a spirited rally with Akhil Das (33: 17b, 3x4s, 3x6s), Vishak Sasikumar (32: 10b, 3x4s, 3x6s), Manikanten Nair (31: 12b, 3x4s, 2x6s) and Godson Louie (20: 8b, 1×4, 1×6) leading the fightback.
The Titans camp must have been a tense one as Hadaf scored 20 runs in the penultimate over to give themselves a target of 15 from the last, but Haider Ali remained calm and gave away only eight runs to seal a thrilling win for the Titans.
Fohood Zabeel will meet Dubai Police in the semi-final of the NAS Futsal Championship after drubbing Victory 11-2 to top Group A, while Al Taher took the top spot in Group B following their 6-2 win over Tolerance in the final round of group matches on Monday night and they will next meet defending champions Saudi Driving School.
Dubai Police, who defeated Al Bahri 4-3 to book their semi-final spot, finished level on 7 points with Al Taher, but the latter took the top position thanks to a better goal-difference.
Titans Cricket Club 133 for 5 (N Gorthi not out 84, AG Sadiq 21; M Sudhakar 2-21) vs Hadaf Sporting RAK 128 for 9 (AK Das 33, V Sasikumar 32, M Nair 31, G Louie 20). Titans CC win by 5 runs. Man of the Match: N Gorthi.
Noor Bank 69 for 7 (R Khan 18; W Gohar 2-19) vs Salman Cool Boys 70 for 3 in 7 overs (K Mahmood 36, W Gohar 19). Salman Cool Boys win by 7 wickets. Man of the Match: W Gohar.
Group A: Fohood Zabeel beat Victory 11-2.
Group B: Al Taher beat Tolerance 6-2; Dubai Police beat Al Bahri 4-3.
NAS WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL
Third Place: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) beat Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services 68-53.
Marhoom Humaid Aref and Bianconeri kept thier 100% record in tact at the Ahdaaf Cup, powered by Nike.
Marhoom made it three wins from three in Group E with a 3-0 win over YNWA FC, while Santos finished the group in style with a 9-1 win over Panthers FC.
Bianconeri also romped to a win – 6-1 over All Star in Group F, Misho defeated DOHL 3-0 in the same pool.
The last-16 is now set for the competition with fixtures to be played on Tuesday May 21.
Falcons vs Viene El Invierno
In the women’s competition, there we wins for Leoni FC and Fireballs over CANDO Real Estate (2-0) and Dubai All Star (6-0) respectively. In the final game Eagles and Dubai Warriors fought out a 2-2 draw.
The semi-finals will take place on Thursday May 23, fixtures are;
Fireballs vs Dubai Warriors
Leoni FC vs Dubai AllStar
The Adhaaf Cup, powered by Nike
Played on two Nike-branded pitches, in the Al Quoz industrial area, teams will compete against each other in a league table format before progressing onto the knockout stages of the competition. Matches are played in a five-a-side format with sides allowed to register seven players in the squad, who can be used in rotation during the game.
Teams are competing over nine days as they battle it out for the winner’s trophy.
There’s competition for both males and females as 24 men’s teams who will be looking to take home a share of the Dhs 30,000 grand prize. The Nike slogan for the tournament, which is emblazoned around the pitches, says ‘End it with speed, end it with precision’, which is exactly what the teams will have to do as matches are just 30 minutes in length.
One of the UAE’s most inspiring athlete stories is being showcased in Nike’s latest campaign.
The Dream Crazier campaign has reached the UAE and features five-time UAE Ice Skating National Champion, Zahra Lari.
Zahra Lari’s ‘Dream Crazier’ film, above, tells her story of paving the way for the next generation of female athletes in the region. Fearlessly holding fast to her dreams since age 16, Lari has championed representing and building the women’s sports community in the Middle East.
Her success resulted in her making history, becoming the world’s first figure skater to compete in a hijab, the UAE’s first figure skater to compete in the Winter Games qualifications in 2018, and leading the UAE to become the first Arab state to join the International Skating Union.
Lari continues to build up a community of fearless athletes in an unlikely sport and glides through championing the inclusion of Muslim athletes around the world, making her more than ready to accomplish her crazy dream to lead a group of female athletes to raise the UAE flag for the first time.
Zahra said: “I set a pretty big goal for myself. And in order for me to reach that goal, it’s important for me to wake up at dawn every day to practice and not complain. Yes, I’m tired, but so is everyone else. A champion is not made by staying in bed. You have to work hard.”