Golf in DUBAi lauds Morocco’s Haddioui for Olympics qualification

Maha Haddioui
Updated 20 July 2016
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Golf in DUBAi lauds Morocco’s Haddioui for Olympics qualification

DUBAI: Promoters and organizers of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters have hailed Morocco’s trailblazing golfer Maha Haddioui, who has qualified for the Rio Olympics, calling it a ground-breaking achievement for women’s golf in the Arab world.
“Being the only Arab in the 60-player field, Maha’s qualification for the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza will leave a lasting legacy for the future generations, but her winning a medal there could well change the way the game is played in the region,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi.
“Maha has emerged as role model for aspiring female golfers not only Morocco, but in the entire region.
“Morocco is leading the way when it comes to professional golf in the Arab world, and it’s definitely important for people from other countries to see how their golfers are shaping up.
“The rising standard of the game in the country is certainly a tribute to years of investment in golf from the royal family,” he said, adding: “Maha is optimistic and so is the Arab world.”
The Moroccan ace will carry the hopes and expectations of the entire Arab world when she tees it up at next month’s Summer Olympics where the game is making its long-awaited return after 112 years.
“My ultimate goal is to be the top player in the world, but playing the Olympics and getting a medal is the ultimate dream,” said Haddioui, who believes the experience of regularly playing in world-class events like the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters and the Lalla Meryem Cup would come in handy on the Olympic golf course.
“I know it is going to be incredibly challenging to win a medal, but I’m going to give it my all. I am upbeat and focused as I am quite used to the high pressure that comes with playing in big tournaments,” said the Moroccan, who is also the only Arab woman to earn full playing status on the Ladies European Tour.
“But, it would be absolutely amazing representing Morocco and being part of the African contingent at the Olympic Games. I am looking forwards to the honor,” she added.
“We have had some great Moroccan athletes who have made the country proud, and my dream is to follow in their footsteps," said the 27-year-old from Agadir.
With 22 medals — 18 in athletics and three in boxing — Morocco enjoys a strong a strong pedigree of world-class athletes led by Hicham El Guerrouj, who boasts two gold and one silver medals.
Saïd Aouita, with one gold and one silver, is the other multiple medal winner while Nawal El Moutawakel created history at the 1984 Los Angeles, becoming the first Arab woman to win a gold medal, a feat she achieved in 400-meter hurdles.
“It’s a little girl’s dream, even if you are 27, you still have a dream to win a medal. It’s something really strong in my heart. If that happens it will sort of inspire other women in the Arab world to take up golf,” said the US-educated professional, who is supported by Trophée Hassan II Association (ATH).
Haddioui spent four years at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, to fine tune her talents before turning professional in 2011. She was a four-time All American scholar and NCGA First-team All American, graduating with a Masters in Accounting and International Business.
Keeping a quiet mind is her mantra for what she called an important week for her. “As soon as I am set up on the ball, nothing else matters. Once I have made my decision, I just go for it. That’s it, I don’t think about anything.”
Elaborating on her positive mindset, she said: “I have a set routine with myself that involves a lot of thinking of a happy place, a happy smell and a happy sound. It’s like a trigger before I play every golf shot.

“It has worked for me in practice rounds and, hopefully, it will work during the competition as well. Let’s see.”

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Australia end T20 losing streak with 4-run win over India in Brisbane

Updated 21 November 2018
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Australia end T20 losing streak with 4-run win over India in Brisbane

BRISBANE: Australia allrounder Marcus Stoinis took two wickets in the last over Wednesday as India’s batting lineup collapsed late to lose their tour-opening Twenty20 international by four runs.
Virat Kohli returned to lead India after skipping the previous series against West Indies and, after winning the toss and sending Australia in to bat, had a below-par night, dropping a regulation catch in the fourth over, misfielding later in the innings and getting out for four.
The Australians posted 158-4 in a rain-interrupted 17 overs with Glenn Maxwell (46 from 24 balls) and Chris Lynn (37 from 20 balls) each belting four sixes and Stoinis finishing unbeaten on 33.
The rain delay brought the Duckworth-Lewis rules into play, giving India a revised target of 174 from 17 overs.
Shikhar Dhawan set India up in its run chase with a 42-ball 76 that included 10 boundaries and two sixes, including one over backward square to raise his half century.
He had a reprieve on 65 when Adam Zampa put down a return catch, but was finally out upper cutting a short ball from Billy Stanlake to Jason Behrendorff on the third man boundary as India slipped to 105-4 in the 12th over.
His wicket came in a period when India lost 3-24, and seemed to give Australia the advantage. But Rishabh Pant (20) and Dinesh Karthik (30) took up the attack and plundered 25 from one over by Andrew Tye after a tactical blunder by Australia captain Aaron Finch, who lost track of the new bowling restrictions.
The pair put on 51 for the fifth wicket to give India the ascendancy before Pant paddled an easy catch to Behrendorff off Tye’s bowling to again swing the momentum, leaving India needing 18 runs from nine balls.
Stoinis bowled the last over, with India needing 13 runs, and took pace off the ball as he picked up the wickets of Krunal Pandya and Karthik before India finished 169-7.
Kohli described it as a “sort of see-saw battle” and Dhawan said the India squad wasn’t overly disappointed with the narrow loss.
A missed runout when Maxwell was on 9 and a few dropped catches were momentary setbacks for India, Dhawan said, but “we got a lot of confidence out of this game and we’re going to take it forward for the next game.”
Stoinis said he enjoyed the pressure of bowling the last over and hoped Australia was turning a corner after losing four consecutive T20s.
“We’ve got good memories in the team,” he said. “We dominated T20s last year. We were No. 1 or 2 in the world rankings not long ago. We’re confident.”
India has won its last seven T20 series, and Kohli’s squad is using the three-game series in the shortest format to fine-tune for the bigger prize starting next month when it chases its first ever test series victory in Australia.
Australian cricket has been in turmoil since a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March and is coming off back-to-back series losses to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and at home against South Africa.
On top of that, Australia was missing frontline bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, who were preparing for the four-match test series which kicks off Dec. 6 in Adelaide.