Equestrian team brings home gold for Saudi Arabia at Asian Games

Saudi Arabia finally clinched its first gold medal of the Asian Games on Tuesday when the national equestrian team came first in the Team Jumping event at the Jakarta International Equestrian Park. (SPA)
Updated 28 August 2018
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Equestrian team brings home gold for Saudi Arabia at Asian Games

  • Saudi Arabia finally clinched its first gold medal of the Asian Games on Tuesday when the national equestrian team came first in Team Jumping
  • The first-place finish helped Saudi Arabia ascend the medal table, moving up to 25th

JAKARTA: Saudi Arabia finally clinched its first gold medal of the Asian Games on Tuesday when the national equestrian team came first in the Team Jumping event at the Jakarta International Equestrian Park.
Consisting of Abdullah Sharbatly on his horse Carrera, Khaled Aleid on Kayenna of de Rocky Mounten, Khaled Al-Mobty on Desert Storm II and Ramzy Alduhami riding Ted, the four-man team combined to collect minimal penalties of 10.90 in the final round. Dressed in smart deep-green suit jackets, white shirts and ties, and crisp khaki pants, they secured the Kingdom’s first gold since Sharbatly won the Individual Jumping event at the 2014 Games in Incheon.
Japan finished second after recording penalties 12.74, while Qatar were made to settle for bronze with penalties 20.50. Kuwait and UAE finished in fourth and fifth respectively, demonstrating the domination West Asia has of the sport. Sheikh Latifah Ahmed Juma Al-Maktoum congratulated the Saudi Arabia team on winning gold, adding she views the Kingdom and the UAE as one family.
The first-place finish helped Saudi Arabia ascend the medal table, moving up to 25th, ahead of Lebanon and Iraq with the equestrian gold joining shooting silver and two medals in karate, one silver and one bronze. That haul expected to improve further when Sharbatly defends his individual jumping gold on Thursday, however, before that Hussain Al-Hizam will be in athletics action on Wednesday with high hopes in the Men’s Pole Vault.
“He has the potential, for sure,” said Majed Basonbul, Saudi’s chef de mission in Indonesia, who watched Ahmed Al-Muwallad finish fourth in the Men’s 110m Hurdles. “We are hoping for a medal in Pole Vault, but we know the level of competition is very high.”
Also in action on Wednesday is the UAE football team, who will contest their semifinal against Japan at the Pakansari Stadium in West Java. Japan, vanquishers of Saudi Arabia in the last eight, won the tournament in 2010 when they beat the UAE 1-0 in the final, but Maciej Skorza is confident of causing an upset.
“With each match, the team improve,” the UAE’s Polish coach said. “They possess a strong personality, therefore fear nothing when confronting any team. Our qualification to the semifinal is well deserved because the team have put in a lot of effort and time. We have set the bar pretty high. Although the match against Japan won’t be easy, our aim is to win and qualify for the final.”

BRILLIANT BAHRAIN
Bahrain were the biggest Arab winners for the third consecutive night inside the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, adding two gold and two bronze medals to their already impressive haul. The tiny Kingdom has now won 16 medals, all in athletics.
Bahrain won the Mixed 4 x 400m Relay courtesy of Ali Khamis, Salwa Naser, Oluwakemi Adekoya and Abbas Abbas. They held of India and Kazakhstan to take first place by a little under four seconds. Meanwhile, Kalkidan Befkadu took gold in the Women’s 5000m with a time of 15 minutes 8.08 seconds, ahead of Daria Maslova of Kyrgyzstan and Bontu Rebitu, also of Bahrain. And Manal El-Bahraoui finished third in the Women’s 800m.
Qatar also added another gold to your collection when Ahmed Janko and Cherif Samba beat Indonesia’s Ade Rachmawan and Mohammad Ashfiya in the Beach Volleyball final.


Gabriel Jesus fires twice as Manchester City snatch top spot from Liverpool by beating Everton

Updated 15 December 2018
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Gabriel Jesus fires twice as Manchester City snatch top spot from Liverpool by beating Everton

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola welcomed Gabriel Jesus’s return to form as the Brazilian struck twice in a 3-1 win over Everton as Manchester City leapfrogged Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League.
Jesus hadn’t scored a Premier League goal for four months before opening the scoring midway through the first-half and bulleted home a header to double City’s lead early in the second-half.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin briefly gave Everton hope, but Raheem Sterling came off the bench to make the game safe with his first touch and move City two points ahead of Liverpool, who host Manchester United on Sunday.
“Strikers need to score goals,” said Guardiola of Jesus’s man-of-the-match performance. “The difference today was that he scored as he was in better positions.”
Guardiola could even afford the luxury of leaving Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero on the bench on their return from injury as the Catalan coach again shuffled his pack for the busy festive period.
But fears in recent weeks that City lack a predator in front of goal when Aguero is absent were quashed by two fine finishes from Jesus.
“My confidence is back because my family is here and it helps me a lot. I needed my family in this moment,” said the Brazilian international.
“This year it (the title) will be more difficult because the (other) clubs will play better. I think it is very important we have come back to first position.”
With temperatures approaching freezing in Manchester, City were nearly caught cold by a rare Everton break early on when Richarlison fired the first big chance of the game over from Lucas Digne’s cross.
“The biggest chance was our chance with Richarlison,” Everton boss Marco Silva said.
“Against these teams we have to be effective when we create opportunities to score.”
And Everton also played a big part in their own downfall at the other end when Jesus opened the scoring.
Yerry Mina’s hopeful punt gifted away possession and the Colombian then played Jesus onside as the Brazilian ran onto Sane’s pass to fire low past Pickford.
The England number one handed Liverpool victory in the Merseyside derby earlier this month, but Pickford wasn’t so charitable to City as he made an excellent save to prevent Riyad Mahrez doubling the hosts’ lead just before half-time.
The champions had to wait just five minutes after the break to make it 2-0, when a patient build-up again found Sane on the left and the German’s cross was met by a powerful header from Jesus.
Everton had barely offered any threat in the second period before they got back into the game 25 minutes from time, Calvert-Lewin’s header from a high-hanging Digne cross flicking off Fabian Delph and past the helpless Ederson.
Guardiola responded by sending on Sterling for Sane and in a week when the England international has bravely spoken out about the alleged racist abuse he suffered last weekend by Chelsea fans, he also made his mark on the field by scoring immediately.
“I think Raheem has handled the last few years in terms of situations and rumors, about him or his family or the color of his skin very calmly,” added Guardiola.
“I admire him and appreciate that it’s not easy for him. He’s loved by all staff and in the locker room.”
Jesus was involved again as he freed Fernandinho inside the area and his cross picked out the unmarked Sterling to score a rare header.
De Bruyne then made his first appearance for six weeks — just his fourth in the Premier League all season, all of which have come as a substitute — after lengthy absences for two knee injuries.
Other than defeat to Chelsea last weekend, City have barely missed a beat without the Belgian, but the return of their player of the year in last season’s record-breaking campaign is an early Christmas present for Guardiola ahead of Liverpool’s visit to the Etihad on January 3.