Hasan Al-Sheikh ready to take Saudi Arabian bowling to the next level

Hasan Al-Sheikh has high hopes for the future of the sport in the Kingdom. (supplied)
Updated 22 November 2018

Hasan Al-Sheikh ready to take Saudi Arabian bowling to the next level

  • Al-Sheikh and Co set to take part in the Hong Kong Championship on Friday.
  • Star bowler has sights set on winning international titles.

JEDDAH: Saudi Bowler Hasan Al-Sheikh finished 30th in the 54th World Single Championship taking place in the US city of Las Vegas, and on Friday lines-up in Hong Kong. Ahead of the Hong Kong tournament Arab News caught up with him.

How would you describe your participation in the Las Vegas Bowling Championship and was it your first?
Yes, this was my first Tim competing and it was a very special and beneficial experience.

What were the main challenges you had to face and who were you competing against?
I have faced many challenges, such as coming up against tough competitors. I also had to identify my mistakes and fix them as soon as possible. I was competing against some of the world’s best bowlers, including players from the American, Australian, Canadian, Finnish, Columbian and other national teams.

How do you evaluate the status of the Saudi bowling in international competitions in general?
The Saudi national team has achieved many international accomplishments, but there is still room for improvement to become one of the best teams competing internationally.

What is your biggest achievement and what do you look forward to?
In the 2006 Asian Games, I won a gold medal, two bronze medals and set a record that has not yet been broken. My main aim to try and win an international title

How do you manage to maintain a balance between your studies, social life and bowling?
It has always been challenging, but I try my best to manage my time.

As someone who started bowling as a child, what do you think is the best age to start bowling and do you think it is harder to do so as adults?
There are excellent bowlers who succeeded, yet they started learning to bowl as adults. However, the youngest tend to learn faster.

How do you feel about women joining the game this year for the first time?
It is a great step by the Saudi Bowling Federation that received a wide enthusiasm beyond expectations.

The next challenge is the Hong Kong Championship — what is so special about participating in this championship and how are you preparing for it?
It is a very important championship without a doubt; the last one this season and the hardest. I have been preparing for it by participating in local and international championships, and by competing against the best bowlers. We are seeking to go far and beyond and make our country proud. Last, I would like to thank my brother, Badr Al-Sheikh, president of the Saudi Bowling Federation and all those who have been supporting us through this journey and I hope that all these efforts will be fruitful in the next championships.

River edge out Boca after extra time to win Copa Libertadores

River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2. (AFP
Updated 10 December 2018

River edge out Boca after extra time to win Copa Libertadores

  • River Plate came from behind to beat bitter Argentine rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 in extra time
  • The fixture postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid

MADRID: River Plate won the Copa Libertadores by beating their fiercest rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 after extra time on Sunday, bringing an end to a final tainted by violence and moved more than six thousand miles away from Argentina.
Boca took the lead through Dario Benedetto but Lucas Pratto equalized before Juan Quintero and Gonzalo Martinez scored in extra time, aided by Wilmar Barrios being sent off, to win a fittingly dramatic contest for River.
It means River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2 and the club reclaim the trophy they had last won in 2015, lifting it for the fourth time in their history.
“The only thing I feel is sadness for not winning the cup and giving it to the people of Boca,” Boca coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said.
“It is difficult to say to people that we haven’t won, especially those that made so much effort to come from Argentina.”
Postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid, the supporters of these two great clubs showed in the Santiago Bernabeu why this fixture had been billed as one of football’s greatest ever.
Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin were among the 62,200 in attendance.
But, despite the bouncing huddles in the streets, the plumes of blue and red smoke, the swinging scarves, fluttering flags and fans that were chanting in their seats three hours before kick-off, there was nothing to extinguish the lingering sense of regret.
There was no repeat of the scenes that cast a shadow over Argentinian football and saw the original game at River’s El Monumental on November 24 postponed, when around 50 fans attacked Boca’s team bus and left some of their players injured.
Madrid, which will also host the Champions League final in June, was chosen in part because of its record of hosting major events and the security, which included around 2,500 police officers, did its job before kick-off.
Fans were separated into zones either side of the stadium and had to go through checks even to enter the area immediately surrounding it.
The shame was only that the operation was not as thorough 15 days ago and that a minority decided to take advantage.
Both clubs were allocated 25,000 tickets, with 5,000 of those reserved for residents of Argentina. The fear had been most of those buying would be tourists and neutrals, but the atmosphere suggested different.
Both teams had initially refused to play in Spain’s capital but as the losers, Boca’s sense of grievance will now become more entrenched.
They felt River were responsible for the chaos two weeks ago and should have forfeited the trophy. They took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the appeal was rejected on Saturday.
When the players shuffled out two hours before kick-off to inspect the pitch, they held up their phones to capture the thousands already inside and the view of a stadium most of them had never played in before.
The cheers grew louder when they came out for kick-off. Then there were whistles as the teams swapped ends and each were greeted by their opponent’s fans behind the goal.
Jonatan Maidana was playing for Boca when they last won the Copa Libertadores 11 years ago and, now in the red and white of River, he almost gave his former club an early lead, slicing just over his own crossbar.
The game lacked quality but came alive one minute before half-time. Nahitan Nandez’s superb pass split two River defenders and Benedetto kept a cool head, guiding into the corner, before taunting the beaten Gonzalo Montiel.
River had been inferior but improved. Their first real attacking move was also a brilliant one as Leonardo Ponzio and Quintero exchanged passes before the latter pulled back for Pratto to sweep home.
The game meandered toward full-time and seemed destined for penalties until Barrios was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Exequiel Palacios and soon after, Quintero struck.
It was a goal worthy of winning the tournament, as he collected 25 yards out, glanced up and whipped the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
Leonard Jara almost snatched a late Boca goal but his shot nicked the outside of the post. Then, with Boca’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada up for a corner, River added the final touch.
Martinez ran the ball into the empty net and River’s substitutes and staff were already pouring onto the pitch to begin the celebrations.