Bellerin rescues point for Arsenal in EPL derby against Chelsea

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin after equalizing against London rivals Chelsea. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 04 January 2018
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Bellerin rescues point for Arsenal in EPL derby against Chelsea

LONDON: Hector Bellerin’s fantastic strike earned Arsenal a deserved point against London rivals Chelsea in an exciting game at the Emirates on Wednesday.
The Spaniard made amends for conceding a controversial penalty, in which Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard  appeared to go down too easily, with a controlled shot to level the score.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger called the decision to award Chelsea a penalty farcical, “at some stage in football you have to stand up to the referee’s decisions,” Wenger said.
“Maybe I would have gone home and committed suicide,” he joked. “I was so close to that.”
The pace set in the first-half was electric as both teams sought to gain the advantage.
Alvaro Morata should have put Chelsea ahead when he was clear through on goal but shot harmlessly wide. At the other end, Alexis Sanchez managed to hit both posts with one shot after a fine save from Thibaut Courtois, who also did fantastically well to deny Alexandre Lacazette as the sides went into half-time level.
Belgian goalkeeper Courtois was called into action once more early in the second half — producing a stunning save from Lacazette again.
The deadlock was finally broken midway through the second interval when Jack Wilshere powered home with an unstoppable shot to give the home side the lead.
Almost immediately, however, Chelsea were back level after Eden Hazard was fouled by Bellerin in the box and the midfielder dusted himself down to take the spot-kick and cooly slot past Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal.
And with six minutes left, the Blues turned the game on its head when Marcos Alonso got in front of Shkodran Mustafi and steered the ball into the net to put Antonio Conte’s side ahead.
The Bellerin equalizer makes no difference to either team’s league position as Chelsea remain in third, a point behind Manchester United and 16 points behind leaders Manchester City. Meanwhile, Arsenal remain sixth and some five points off Liverpool in the final Champions League spot.


Saudi Arabia's young athletes return from Youth Olympics with hope and expectation

Updated 19 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia's young athletes return from Youth Olympics with hope and expectation

  • Saudi young guns hopeful for future with glory at Tokyo and Paris Olympics on their minds.
  • Yousif Jalaiden, the Saudi delegation’s chef de mission, tells young stars 'the hard yards start now.'

BUENOS AIRES: With heavier hand-luggage and loftier dreams, the Saudi athletes who competed at this month’s Youth Olympic Games will arrive back in Riyadh on Saturday, their medals suggesting reaching Tokyo 2020 is a target as attainable as it is alluring.
The Kingdom brought nine athletes to Argentina and left with a historic gold in karate and two bronze, one each in weightlifting and the 400m hurdles. Mohammed Al-Assiri’s momentous triumph in the final of the Men’s Kumite -61kg on Wednesday night represented the county’s first Olympic gold at any level. It also ensured Buenos Aires will be remembered as Saudi Arabia’s greatest medal haul, eclipsing the one bronze and one silver secured at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. 
Al-Assiri, 16, was awarded SR1 million riyals by Turki Al-Sheikh, head of Saudi’s General Sports Authority, for his achievement. 
“Of course, we are delighted. We came here hopeful and we leave with our best ever performance,” said Yousif Jalaiden, the Saudi delegation’s chef de mission, before boarding the flight to Riyadh. “We expected two medals but hoped for three, although we did not know which colors they would be. To get the three and a gold, that’s why we are so happy. Thanks to God, it’s been a great success.”
The two-week campaign was somewhat of a slow-burner; the first seven days passing without as much as a glimpse of a medal for the delegation marked “KSA.” Swimming, taekwondo and fencing all failed to produce tangible reward, although the delegation’s youngest athlete, fencer Ali Saeed Al-Bahrani, took much consolation from the experience
“We will benefit a lot from this participation,” said the 15-year-old, who had been invited to contest the Men’s Sabre Individual and progressed through his group before being defeated in the last-16. “God-willing, this here will help us enjoy better success in the future.”
The midway point of the games marked a change in fortune — and provided genuine reasons for positivity ahead of the Olympic Games proper, which takes place in less than two years. Ali Yousef Al-Othman had finished third at the Asian Championships in April, but a dedicated training program and the assistance of Egyptian coach Khaled Qur’any helped him emulate that feat on the world stage. 
Al-Othman was understandably confident after accepting his bronze medal, telling Arab News that Tokyo is now at the forefront of his mind. “My dream was to win a medal at the Youth Olympics,” he said. “Now that dream has changed and I will work harder than ever to make Tokyo 2020 a reality.”
Qur’any, who has coached at the past two Olympics, however, was keen to keep his athlete’s feet on the ground, a feat possibly made trickier by the awarding of SR200,000.
“He is only 16, so I think Tokyo will come too soon for him,” Qur’any said. “Paris in 2024 is different — we would hope to be there. Ali has the potential, but there is a lot of work to be done before we can think of that.”
On the athletics track, Raghad Bu Arish won her heat in the 100m but her time was some distance off the pace. Mohammed Al-Muawi, meanwhile, benefited from the disqualification of South Africa’s Lindukhule Gora in the Men’s 400m hurdles to leap up a place and on to the podium. It was his first competitive event and the culmination of more than five months of training in California with American former World Championships silver medallist Ryan Wilson.  
“This medal is an amazing achievement for me,” said Al-Muawi, who was also awarded SR200,000. “I need to thank my coach. I hope to keep working with him. He always gives me so much support. Next year I have the Asian Championships and some Arab races, but of course I am dreaming about Tokyo. I want to challenge the best in the world, guys like Karsten Warholm from Norway and Abderrahman Samba.” 
The Asian Athletics Championships are scheduled to take place in Qatar next April, before the IAAF World Championships five months later. Jalaiden confirmed Saudi Arabia intends to send a delegation, adding he hopes the results in Buenos Aires can help inspire more victories at this level.
“We hope that we can take this success and build upon it ahead of Tokyo,” said Jalaiden. “And also use the experience here to help the next generation of Saudi athletes who will compete at the 2022 Youth Olympics (in Senegal). The hard work starts all over 
again now.”