Bahrain top performer among Arab delegations in Asian Games

1 / 2
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)
2 / 2
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
0

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.”

 


Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

Updated 19 February 2019
0

Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

  • It was Osaka's first match since she won the Australian Open — her second consecutive Grand Slam title.
  • World No. 67 Mladenovic lost for words after surprise win.

DUBAI: Naomi Osaka stumbled badly in her first match since winning the Australian Open as the world number one went down in a flurry of errors to exit the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.
Dubai-based Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the third round as Osaka made 25 unforced errors.
The rout, which featured seven breaks of the Osaka serve, took barely an hour, sending Mladenovic into a Wednesday contest with Carla Suarez Navarro.
“This is my home tournament, I live here,” world No. 67 Mladenovic said. “It’s great to get a win like this in front of a big crowd.
“Beating the number one is always special.”
The second set was riddled with seven consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic finished off the job with a winner to the empty court on match point.
Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens.
She said earlier this week that she would not prioritize “success over happiness” when asked about the sacking, and she never looked like winning in Dubai as she also served five double faults.
Earlier on Tuesday, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their opening matches, while Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.
Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.
Halep, Dubai champion in 2015, saw off 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The Romanian said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elize Mertens.
“It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I’m a little bit tired,” Halep said.
“She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I’m confident. I feel good on court even if I’m tired.”
A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.
“I don’t really care if I play the first match,” the Australian Open runner-up said. “Now I’m done, so I have a free afternoon.
“I’m not sure what I’m pleased with... maybe with my comeback at the end.”