Bahrain top performer among Arab delegations in Asian Games

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Silver medallist Albert Rop of Bahrain, gold medallist Birhanu Balew of Bahrain (C), bronze medallist Tariq Ahmed Al-Amri of Saudi Arabia (R) celebrate during the medal ceremony for the men's 5000m at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 30, 2018. (AFP / Juni Kriswanto)
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Bronze medallist Tariq Ahmed Al-Amri celebrates during the medal ceremony for the men's 5000m at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 30, 2018. (AFP / Juni Kriswanto)
Updated 03 September 2018
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Bahrain top performer among Arab delegations in Asian Games

  • Bahrain’s remarkable late flurry of medals — eight in two days — took them to 26 for the Games
  • Saudi Arabia closed out their campaign early with two more medals over the weekend to take their total tally for the two-week multi-sport event to six

JAKARTA: The curtain on the 18th Asian Games came down yesterday, but Saudi Arabia closed out their campaign early with two more medals over the weekend to take their total tally for the two-week multi-sport event to six.

Runner Tariq Al-Amri finished third in the Men’s 5000m race, while Ramy Al-Duhami claimed bronze in the Jumping Individual Equestrian event. The two medals combined with a gold in team jumping last week, bronze and silver in karate, and a silver in shooting, means the Saudi delegation will return home with their worst haul in 28 years. 

Al-Duhami and his horse Ted were leading going into the final round at the Jakarta International Equestrian Park, but incurred a penalty of four points, seeing him drop to third. Kuwait’s Ali Al-Khorafi and Qatar’s Sheikh Ali Al-Thani finished in the gold and silver spots. 

“I am happy because we won the gold medal in the team event and then I won bronze in the individual category,” Al-Duhami said afterwards. “The competition is very strong here so we have work to do to improve before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Asian Olympic Council, said he took great pride in seeing an all-Arab podium in equestrian. “The medals have been won in a competition that the Gulf people cherish because horses are their heritage,” said the Kuwaiti. “The victory of the Gulf people with gold, silver and bronze medals is a joy. I congratulate the Qataris and the Saudis, and, as a Kuwaiti, also congratulate my own countrymen.”

Inside the nearby Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Al-Amri was part of another all-Arab podium as Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew clocked a time of 13 minutes 43.17 seconds to take gold ahead of his fellow countryman Albert Rop.  Twenty-seven year-old Riydh-born Al-Amri took bronze at the 2017 Asian Championships and emulated that achievement with a time of 13 minutes 56.49 seconds. 

Bahrain’s remarkable late flurry of medals — eight in two days — took them to 26 for the Games.  China, as they have done from 1986 onwards, topped the athletics medals table with 12 gold, 12 silver and nine bronze, but Bahrain were not far behind, with 25 medals — 12 gold, six silver and seven bronze. 

In the football final, South Korea beat Japan to ensure Son Heung-min and his teammates avoid mandatory military service, but in the bronze-medal match earlier in the day at Pakansari Stadium, the UAE defeated Vietnam to finish third. The Emirates drew 1-1 in regular time before triumphing 4-3 on penalties. It was the Young Whites third successful penalty shootout of the Games.

“We are happy and the most important thing is that you see your country’s flag being raised wherever you go. This is the most important thing for us,” heroic goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Shamsi told Arab News. “We were looking forward to the final, but this is football. We have to be happy with bronze and we come back stronger the next time we compete.”

 


Tearful Louis Oosthuizen claims South African Open crown on home soil

Updated 09 December 2018
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Tearful Louis Oosthuizen claims South African Open crown on home soil

JOHANNESBURG: Louis Oosthuizen had endured a 33-month winless run since winning the Perth International back in February 2016, but he ended it by lifting the South African Open trophy for the first time Sunday after a six-shot victory in Johannesburg.
The 36-year-old South African closed at the Randpark Golf Club with a four-under-par 67, shrugging off a poor start to hole an eagle on 14 and finish well clear of runner-up Romain Langasque from France.
Schedule clashes meant Oosthuizen was playing in the South African Open for the first time since 2010 and he wept after clinching an ultimately comfortable victory.
“This is a very special victory for me as I become only the sixth golfer to win the two oldest national golf championships, the Open and the South African Open.
“I wish the family was here,” a tearful Oosthuizen said on the 18th green. “The crowd was great this whole week, it was nice to do it for them.”
Fellow South Africans Ernie Els, Bobby Locke and Gary Player, Swede Henrik Stenson and New Zealander Bob Charles previously achieved the ‘double’.
“I did not start well today, scrambling a par at one and dropping shots at two and three before recovering with four birdies to turn two under for the round.
“For the second successive round I struggled off the tee early on and had to bite the bullet before coming good as the round progressed.
“While realizing that I was building a good lead, it was not until 14 that I could relax a little bit.
“My nine-iron second at that par-five hole was a perfect shot, leaving me with a short putt for an eagle.”
Oosthuizen opened with a 62 for the first-round lead, but trailed fellow South African Charl Schwartzel by two shots at the halfway mark having carded a 70.
A third-round 67 gave him a three-stroke advantage and the expected final-round challenges from Schwartzel and in-form Matt Wallace of England never materialized.
Instead, Langasque, who trailed Oosthuizen by seven shots after three rounds, fired a five-under 66 that included an eagle and five birdies to surge into second spot.
Major winner Schwartzel closed with a 72 to share third place with compatriots Thomas Aiken and Bruce Easton and Oliver Wilson from England.
Langasque’s closing 66 earned him one of three spots available for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2019, with 2011 Masters Tournament winner Schwartzel and Wilson claiming the other two spots up for grabs.