Organizer of Qatar-hosted Gulf Cup sets deadline

Jassim Al-Rumaihi (Courtesy photo)
Updated 08 November 2017
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Organizer of Qatar-hosted Gulf Cup sets deadline

DOHA: Gulf Cup organizers have given Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain a deadline of Monday to say if they will boycott next month’s tournament, hosted by Qatar.
Gulf Cup Football Federation general secretary Jassim Al-Rumaihi told AFP this week that the three countries have been given notice of the deadline.
“We have sent a letter to all of these countries and we are going to set a deadline of Nov. 13 to participate in this tournament,” he said.
He added the deadline was decided at a meeting held in Doha on Monday.
The eight-team Gulf Cup of Nations — set to begin on Dec. 22 — looks increasingly likely to become the first high-profile sporting victim of the political crisis that has engulfed the region.
Qatar has been diplomatically isolated since June 5 in an increasingly bitter dispute, when a group of countries including Saudi, UAE and Bahrain cut all ties with the World Cup 2022 host.
The countries accuse Qatar of supporting extremism and fostering ties with Iran, charges Doha denies, instead claiming the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty.
Regardless, the dispute has now lasted more than 150 days and shows few signs of ending soon.
If the Gulf Cup is canceled it could lead to yet more scrutiny over Qatar’s controversial hosting of football’s biggest tournament in 2022.
The final is due to be played in the Khalifa International Stadium, which will host the World Athletics Championships in 2019 and host matches in 2022.
Al-Rumaihi said organizers would meet again to decide what to do in the event that the three Gulf allies refuse to play.
The tournament could still go ahead without them but only if Kuwait takes part, he added.
To add to the uncertainty surrounding a tournament set to begin in just over 40 days, Kuwait’s football association remains suspended by FIFA and it is unclear if its team can take part in the tournament.
“If they say no, we will have to wait for Kuwait,” said Al-Rumaihi.
“To have this tournament we have to have five teams, we are waiting for Kuwait to solve the problem.”
The tournament, played every two years, was originally meant to be hosted by Kuwait in 2016 but was moved to Qatar because of the FIFA ban.
— AFP


Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge wins men’s race at London Marathon, Mo Farah third

Updated 22 April 2018
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Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge wins men’s race at London Marathon, Mo Farah third

  • Victory marks Eliud Kipchoge's third victory in the London Marathon
  • Home favorite Mo Farah has to settle for third

London: Eliud Kipchoge stormed to his third London Marathon title on Sunday to complete an impressive Kenyan double after Vivian Cheruiyot dominated the women's race in warm conditions.
Kipchoge, 33, saw off the challenge of Ethiopia's Tola Shura Kitata and home favorite Mo Farah to win his third London marathon in four years in a time of 2 hrs 4 min 27 sec, finishing more than half a minute in front of Kitata (2:05:00), with Farah third (2:06:32).
Cheruiyot, 34, timed her run perfectly to win the women's event in a time of 2 hours 18 min 31 secs ahead of compatriot Brigid Kosgei (2:20:13), and Ethiopia's Tadelech Bekele (2:21:40).
She took advantage of failed attempts to break Paula Radcliffe's 15-year-old world record by last year's winner Mary Keitany and runner-up Tirunesh Dibaba.
In unusually warm conditions in the British capital first Dibaba and then Keitany dropped off the pace, allowing the 2016 Olympic 5,000m gold medallist to claim victory.
After nine miles Keitany and main rival Dibaba were 25 seconds ahead of Radcliffe's time. But Dibaba was soon reduced to a walking pace to leave Keitany with only her two male pacemakers for company.
Keitany, looking for a fourth win in London, also started to slow down as it became apparent Radcliffe's record of two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds would not be threatened.
Britain's David Weir won the men's wheelchair race for the eighth time after a thrilling sprint finish.
The 38-year-old pipped Switzerland's Marcel Hug into second place, with Daniel Romanchuk of the United States third.