Palestinian champions ‘drift’ car racing for women

1 / 2
A tournament organizer drives a car before an audience during a drift-racing competition held at the Track Ghibli in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh on September 28, 2018. (AFP / Mohamed el-Shahed)
2 / 2
Palestinian drift-racer Noor Daoud poses by her car during a competition held at the Track Ghibli in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh on September 28, 2018. (AFP / Mohamed el-Shahed)
Updated 10 October 2018
0

Palestinian champions ‘drift’ car racing for women

  • Noor Daoud has mastered the art of drift and traveled to Sharm el-Sheikh for a regional competition
  • She wishes other Arab women would take part in professional competitions

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt: Noor Daoud was the only woman to take to the track in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the Palestinian racer impressed the crowds with her “drift” driving skills.
Daoud has mastered the art of drift — deliberately oversteering to make the rear wheels skid — and traveled to Sharm el-Sheikh for a regional competition.
“Since I was little I’ve become used to meeting up with the guys to play football or tennis,” said the 27-year-old on the sidelines of the competition.
Racing now dominates her life, evident from Instagram where she often poses with her thick wavy hair falling over driving leathers.
“When I was little, I loved cars and I had a collection of them to play with,” said Daoud, a polyglot who was born in the US state of Texas and went to a French school in Jerusalem.
In Sharm el-Sheikh, she zigzagged around the tarmac track and dodged obstacles as thick white smoke and sparks came off her car.
“There’s only one girl!” said a young enthusiast of drift, which emerged in Japan in the 1970s.
Competitors were judged by a professional panel on their style and their driving skills, which count as much as their speed.
Daoud had to abandon the second round of the competition due to engine failure, but nonetheless picked up a trophy for her participation as the sole woman.
She wishes other Arab women would take part in professional competitions. “Let Arab girls show the world that we also follow our dreams,” she said.
There are however more women racing cars in the region, including four other Palestinians who featured alongside Daoud in a “Speed Sisters” documentary.
It has been more than a decade since Daoud first raced, borrowing a car from her mother who she credits as being the sole supporter of her ambitions.
She learnt drifting “on the streets of Palestine” in 2010, before moving to Dubai where she now lives.
“At first, in Palestine, people would say to me: ‘But what are you doing? The sport is for the guys!’” she said.
“I went for what I want I didn’t listen to anyone... When I got successful people started to respect me (and say) ‘wow, she did it!’” added Daoud, who regularly takes part in international competitions.
But drifting is more than just sport and spectacle for Daoud.
“We are under occupation so this helps us, it helps me to drive to feel free,” she said.
East Jerusalem, seen by Palestinians as the capital of their future state, and the West Bank have been occupied by Israel since 1967.
“I want to show the world that just because we are under occupation, it doesn’t mean we will stay holed up in our homes,” Daoud said.


Syria media says no attack on airport after reported air defense fire

Syrian pro-government forces hold a position near the village of al-Malihah, in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, on September 9, 2017, during the ongoing battle against Daesh group. (AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018
0

Syria media says no attack on airport after reported air defense fire

  • The accidental downing of a Russian transport aircraft by Syrian ground batteries during an Israel air strike on September 17 killed 15 service personnel

DAMASCUS: Syrian state media said Sunday that air defenses had opened fire near Damascus airport, before withdrawing the report after what appeared to be a false alarm.
“Our air defenses engaged hostile aerial targets in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport,” the official SANA news agency said, without providing more details.
But the report was later withdrawn by both SANA and state television without explanation.
SANA then quoted sources at the airport as saying that “there was no aggression” and that “traffic was normal.”
A well-informed source told AFP that “there was evidently a false alarm.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the sound of explosions rocked an area close to the airport and fire from air defenses was also heard.
The latest incident comes just over a week after Syria accused Israel of striking south of the capital.
The Britain-based Observatory said those were the first missiles to hit Syria since an air defense upgrade after the downing of a Russian plane in September.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighboring Syria against what it says are Iranian targets, many of them in the area south of Damascus.
Iran and Russia are the government’s key allies in the civil war that has raged Syria since 2011, and Moscow’s intervention in 2015 dramatically turned the tables against the rebels.
The accidental downing of a Russian transport aircraft by Syrian ground batteries during an Israel air strike on September 17 killed 15 service personnel.
Moscow pinned responsibility for the downing on Israel, saying its fighter jet used the larger Russian one for cover, an allegation Israel disputed.
Russia subsequently upgraded Syrian air defenses with the delivery of the advanced S-300 system, which Damascus insisted would make Israel “think carefully” before carrying out further air raids.
The move raised fears in Israel that its ability to rein in its arch foe Iran’s military presence in Syria would be sharply reduced.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russia that Israel would continue to hit hostile targets, while also maintaining “security coordination” with Moscow.