Bahrain and Kuwait enjoy great medal-filled day at Asian Games

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Salwa Naser struck gold for Bahrain in the 400m in Jakarta. (AFP)
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Updated 28 August 2018

Bahrain and Kuwait enjoy great medal-filled day at Asian Games

  • Bahrain and Kuwait share nine medals between them on a brilliant day in Indonesia.
  • Salwa Naser wins gold in 400m and set championship record in the process.

JAKARTA: Bahrain and Kuwait were the big Arab winners on Sunday at the Asian Games sharing nine medals between them, while Saudi Arabia’s hunt for gold will continue into the second week of action in Indonesia after disappointment for sprinter Abdullah Abkar Mohammed in the 100m final. 

Kuwaitis Ali Abdulaziz and Mansour Al-Rashidi took gold in karate -67kg and skeet shooting respectively to hand their country its first medals since being welcomed back into the Olympic fraternity. The Gulf state was banned in 2015 for the second time since 2010 for “political interference” and resulted in the country’s competitors taking part at Rio 2016 as independent athletes. The ban was lifted by the International Olympic Committee last week.

It was Bahrain, however, who enjoyed the day’s most impressive medal haul, jumping from 25th in the medal table to 12th after an afternoon in which they won four golds, a silver and two bronze in athletics.

Runner Salwa Naser set a new Asian Games record in the women’s 400m category, posting a time of 50.09 seconds inside the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex. Bahrain also claimed gold and silver in the men’s 10,000m courtesy of Hassan Chani and Abraham Cheroben, while Odiong Edidiong took gold in the women’s 100m. In the marathon event, Kenya-born Bahraini Rose Chelimo took gold in the women’s race.

Salwa Naser showed her rivals a clean pair of heels on her way to gold and a new championship record. 

“I’m very happy and proud to be the Asian champion,” said Chelimo after completing the race in two hours, 34 minutes and 51 seconds. “I’m very happy and my family is very happy about my victory too. They always pray for me and hope all will be well.The weather was not too hot for me because it was just the same as in Kenya. In the future, I hope I can make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I hope I have a good run there. For now, I will take rest and a holiday for a month and go back to Kenya.”

Bahrain also claimed bronze in women’s shot put through Noora Jsim, while Ali Kasim finished third in the Men’s 400m.

Saudi Arabia are still waiting for their first gold of the Games, but Tareg Ali Hamedi, who won bronze in karate over-84kg event on Saturday, said he was delighted just to win a medal. “The competition was great and I lost in the semifinals to the Iranian player who won the gold and is one of the best in the world.

“I attended the Asian Games with the ambition of taking home gold, but God had other plans and I must thank everyone who contributed to this achievement. God is helping me and the rest of my colleagues in other sports to raise the level of the Saudi team.”

Ali Abdulaziz of Kuwait kicks out on his way to gold in the 67kg karate competition. 

UAE also added four more medals on Sunday to maintain their impressive form in the sport of jiu-jitsu, while Ali Allanjawi added silver in the jet-ski endurance runabout category to the gold he had claimed in runabout limited earlier in the week. 

“Before the Asian Games, I prepared myself through body fitness and boat jet-ski,” said Allanjawi.
“I achieved the gold and it was not easy. It was very hard, because all of the riders were all professionals. My next target after here is the world finals in the US; it will be two gold medals soon. I only pray and let the God do the rest.”
Meanwhile, Abdalelah Hassan of Qatar won gold in the men’s 400m after clocking 44.89s, while compatriot Ashraf Elseify won gold in the hammer throw. Tosin Ogunode finished second in the Men’s 100m, his time of 10.00s being bettered only by Asia’s new fastest man, Bingtian Su who posted a 9.92s. Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed had comfortably won his semifinal, but dropped out of the medal places in the final with a time of 10.10s to finish fourth.
Saudi Arabia’s handball misery continued meanwhile as they lost 23-30 to Iran, finishing sixth overall. Team manager Muhanna Al-Qamou had already conceded before the match that an investigation would be opened when his team arrive back on home soil on Monday after failing to make the semifinals following draws with Japan and Iraq and a defeat to Qatar.



F1 champion and aviation entrepreneur Niki Lauda dies at 70

Updated 21 May 2019

F1 champion and aviation entrepreneur Niki Lauda dies at 70

BERLIN: Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has died. He was 70.
The Austria Press Agency reported that Lauda’s family said in a statement he “passed away peacefully” on Monday. Walter Klepetko, a doctor who performed a lung transplant on Lauda last year, said Tuesday: “Niki Lauda has died. I have to confirm that.”
Lauda won the F1 drivers’ championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari and again in 1984 with McLaren.
In 1976, he was badly burned when he crashed during the German Grand Prix but made an astonishingly fast return to racing just six weeks later.
Lauda remained closely involved with the Formula One circuit after retiring as a driver in 1985, and in recent years served as the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team.
Born on Feb. 22, 1949 into a wealthy Vienna industrial family, Nikolaus Andreas Lauda was expected to follow his father’s footsteps into the paper-manufacturing industry, but instead concentrated his business talents and determination on his dreams of becoming a racing driver.
Lauda financed his early career with the help of a string of loans, working his way through the ranks of Formula 3 and Formula 2. He made his Formula 1 debut for the March team at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix and picked up his first points in 1973 with a fifth-place finish for BRM in Belgium.
Lauda joined Ferrari in 1974, winning a Grand Prix for the first time that year in Spain and his first drivers’ title with five victories the following season.
Facing tough competition from McLaren’s James Hunt, he appeared on course to defend his title in 1976 when he crashed at the Nuerburgring during the German Grand Prix. Several drivers stopped to help pull him from the burning car, but the accident would scar him for life. The baseball cap Lauda almost always wore in public became a personal trademark.
“The main damage, I think to myself, was lung damage from inhaling all the flames and fumes while I was sitting in the car for about 50 seconds,” he recalled nearly a decade later. “It was something like 800 degrees.”
Lauda fell into a coma for a time. He said that “for three or four days it was touch and go.”
“Then my lungs recovered and I got my skin grafts done, then basically there was nothing left,” he added. “I was really lucky in a way that I didn’t do any (other) damage to myself. So the real question was then will I be able to drive again, because certainly it was not easy to come back after a race like that.”
Lauda made his comeback just six weeks after the crash, finishing fourth at Monza after overcoming his initial fears.
He recalled “shaking with fear” as he changed into second gear on the first day of practice and thinking, “I can’t drive.”
The next day, Lauda said he “started very slowly trying to get all the feelings back, especially the confidence that I’m capable of driving these cars again.” The result, he said, boosted his confidence and after four or five races “I had basically overcome the problem of having an accident and everything went back to normal.”
He won his second championship in 1977 before switching to Brabham and then retiring in 1979 to concentrate on setting up his airline, Lauda Air, declaring that he “didn’t want to drive around in circles any more.”
Lauda came out of retirement in 1982 after a big-money offer from McLaren, reportedly about $3 million a year.
He finished fifth his first year back and 10th in 1983, but came back to win five races and edge out teammate Alain Prost for his third title in 1984. He retired for good the following year, saying he needed more time to devote to his airline business.
Initially a charter airline, Lauda Air expanded in the 1980s to offer flights to Asia and Australia. In May 1991, a Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand after one of its engine thrust reversers accidentally deployed during a climb, killing all 213 passengers and 10 crew.
Lauda occasionally took the controls of the airline’s jets himself over the years. In 1997, longtime rival Austrian Airlines took a minority stake and in 2000, with the company making losses, he resigned as board chairman after an external audit criticized a lack of internal financial control over business conducted in foreign currency. Austrian Airlines later took full control.
Lauda founded a new airline, Niki, in 2003. Germany’s Air Berlin took a minority stake and later full control of that airline, which Lauda bought back in early 2018 after it fell victim to its parent’s financial woes.
He partnered with budget carrier Ryanair on Niki’s successor, LaudaMotion.
On the Formula One circuit, Lauda later formed a close bond with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who joined the team in 2013. He often backed Hamilton in public and provided advice and counsel to the British driver.
Lauda also intervened as a Mercedes mediator when Hamilton and his former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg feuded, argued and traded barbs as they fought for the title between 2014-16
Lauda twice underwent kidney transplants, receiving an organ donated by his brother in 1997 and, when that stopped functioning well, a kidney donated by his girlfriend in 2005.
In August 2018, he underwent a lung transplant that the Vienna General Hospital said was made necessary by a “serious lung illness.” It didn’t give details.
Lauda is survived by his second wife, Birgit, and their twin children Max and Mia. He had two adult sons, Lukas and Mathias, from his first marriage.