Preview: Winter Olympics leading lights and Arab interest

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Moroccan Samir Azzimani will be one of two athletes representing Morocco at the Winter Olympics 2018 in PyeongChang. (AP)
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Martin Fourcade
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Lindsey Vonn.
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Kjetil Jansrud.
Updated 09 February 2018
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Preview: Winter Olympics leading lights and Arab interest

LONDON: Here are the leading lights looking to land gold over the next two weeks in South Korea.
KJETIL JANSRUD — The Norwegian heads up a powerful set of skiers from the Winter Olympic heavyweights also boasting the likes of speed king Aksel Lund Svindal and slalom expert Henrik Kristoffersen. Jansrud won super-G gold and downhill bronze in Sochi in 2014 and giant slalom silver in 2010. His versatility is legendary and he has history in South Korea, having won the downhill on the Olympic course in February last year.
MARTIN FOURCADE — The 29-year-old brings to Pyeongchang all the credentials for achieving more success. An 11-time world champion and six-time overall World Cup winner, Fourcade won two golds and a silver at Sochi 2014 having also claimed silver in 2010. The French army officer has been in imperious form this season, but so has Norwegian Johannes Boe, the only man capable of stopping his golden charge. It all makes for a thrilling showdown in South Korea.
CHLOE KIM — Aged just 17, Chloe Kim is tipped by many to become the breakout star of the Winter Olympics in Korea, her parents’ homeland. Too young to compete in Sochi four years ago, she’s a halfpipe snowboard specialist who has racked up some impressive performances over the past few months. She is a four-times Winter X Games champion and was America’s flag-bearer at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics, where she won the halfpipe and slopestyle titles.
 

MIKAELA SHIFFRIN — At just 22 years old, the Colorado native has already racked up 41 wins on the World Cup circuit, mainly in the slalom. But this year has seen Shiffrin add a further string to her bow as she branches out into the speed disciplines. She streaked to a first downhill victory in Lake Louise and given Pyeongchang’s favorable schedule, Shiffrin could realistically medal in four events.
LINDSEY VONN — The 33-year-old American has won four World Cup overall championships as well as an Olympic gold in the downhill at the 2010 Games. Despite missing the 2014 Games through injury she has become one of the most recognizable sportswomen in the world. She has 81 World Cup wins to her name, closing down on Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86, and is aiming for a last Olympic hurrah in South Korea.
CHOI MIN-JEONG — In her first Olympics, 19-year-old Choi is South Korea’s potential golden girl and the favorite over three distances in short-track speed skating — 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m. A fourth gold is not out of reach on home soil if she can help the host nation win the 3,000m relay. The Chinese women will hope to stand in her way.


Saudi Arabia giants Al-Ahli land Egypt World Cup hopeful

Updated 23 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia giants Al-Ahli land Egypt World Cup hopeful

RIYADH: Al-Ahli have pulled off something of a coup by announcing Egypt star Abdallah El-Said has joined them on a two-year contract.
The 33-year-old attacking midfielder has won 33 caps for his country and has been named in the extended 29-man squad for the World Cup. He will find out if he has made Hector Cuper's final 23-man party for the World Cup in Russia on June 4.
Should he make the cut, he could well come up against some of his new Al-Ahli teammates when Saudi Arabia meet Egypt on June 25.
The signing of El-Said, from Egypt giants Al-Ahly where he made 154 appearances in seven years, represents a coup for Al-Ahli and a further statement of their intent to challenge Al-Hilal for the Saudi Pro League title next season. They lost out to Al-Hilal by a point on the final day of last season, but they have appointed a new coach in Pablo Guede and tied key players Omar Al-Somah, Mohamed Al-Fateel and Motaz Hawsawi to new deals.
Abdallah El-Said will be one of seven foreign players allowed in a Pro League squad next season, joining imports Mark Milligan, Al-Somah, Giannis Fetfatzidis, Claudemir and Leonardo in the ranks of the Jeddah club.
El-Said has spent the last two months on loan at Finnish club Kuopion Palloseura as he sought to gain match fitness ahead of the World Cup.
"Abdallah is a big name and very high-level player, we are happy to have him here," said KuPS sporting director Konstantin Shipulin at the time.