Yazeed Al-Rajhi leads Hail Rally as Nissans dominate top 15 overall

Nissan is aiming for a third victory in this year's Hail Nissan International Rally. (AN photo)
Updated 03 April 2017

Yazeed Al-Rajhi leads Hail Rally as Nissans dominate top 15 overall

HAIL: Faris Al-Mashna and Saud Al-Taimi made a superb start to their challenge for honors in the 2016 Hail Nissan International Rally, Saudi Arabia’s flagship off-road motor sport event, which began on Sunday afternoon with a timed super special stage of 4.17km at Meshar.

The Saudi duo, driving a Nissan Patrol, finished the special in fourth place behind early leader and five-time winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who is partnered by the German navigator Timo Gottschalk in his customary Hummer.

Dubai’s former MERC driver Rashed Al-Kitbi made a first appearance at the Hail event and slotted into second place and T3 leader Yousef Al-Dheef was third.

Nissans dominated the leaderboard with nine cars inside the provisional top 15 at the end of the day. An impressive 33 cars began the event, despite a direct date clash with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

Former Ibrahim Al-Muhanna snatched sixth place in his Nissan and Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, Ahmed Abdullah Al-Suhail, Saleh Al-Abdulali and T2 leader Meshal Saud Al-Saeedi (Nissan) rounded off the top 10.

The rally is being held under the patronage of Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen bin Abdul Aziz, governor of Hail, president of the Supreme Commission for Hail Development and the head of the Supreme Commission of the Hail Rally.

Monday, competitors will tackle the first of three selective sections through the An-Nafud desert. The timed test begins at Umm Al-Qultan and runs for 269.55km to a finish in Q’na. A road section then returns entrants to the overnight halt in Hail.

Ha’il Nissan International Rally – positions after SSS (unofficial @ 17.00hrs):
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Hummer 2min 31.4sec
2. Rashid Al-Kitbi (ARE)/Ali Mirza (UAE) BMW X6 2min 41.6sec
3. Yousef Al-Dheef (SAU)/Ahmed Al-Dheef (SAU) Can Am T3 2min 41.7sec
4. Faris Al-Mashna (SAU)/Saud Al-Taimi (SAU) Nissan 2min 57.4sec
5. Salman Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Nawaf Al-Onazi (SAU) Toyota 2min 58.6sec
6. Ibrahim Al-Muhanna (SAU)/Osama Al-Sanad (SAU) Nissan 3min 00.4sec
7. Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri (SAU)/Muath Abatain (SAU) Toyota 3min 02.6sec
8. Ahmed Abdullah Al-Shehail (SAU)/Rasheed Mslet (SAU) Nissan 3min 03.2sec
9. Saleh Al-Abdulali (SAU)/Mohammed Al-Naeem (SAU) Nissan 3min 03.3sec
10. Meshal Saud Al-Saeedi (SAU)/Bander Al-Saeedi (SAU) Nissan 3min 03.5sec

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

Updated 11 December 2019

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

  • Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation

MOSCOW: Russian high jump world champion Maria Lasitskene on Tuesday accused her country’s own sports authorities of failing to protect athletes from the deepening doping crisis, in a rare public broadside at top officials.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday handed Russia a new, this time four-year, ban from top global sporting events, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, for tampering with laboratory data.

The ruling means Russian athletes cleared to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will do so under a neutral flag. But Lasitskene and some other Russian track and field athletes face additional obstacles to being cleared for competition.

“I’ve already missed one Olympics and one-and-a-half years of international competition,” Lasitskene wrote in an open letter addressed to Russia’s sports authorities.

“And it seems that’s not the end of it. So who ultimately is to blame? Who’s going to give me back what I’ve lost?” she wrote in the letter published on Russian sports media outlet Championat.Com.

Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation, which has been suspended for doping since 2015, and has been one of the few Russian athletes to voice her anger publicly.

World Athletics, the global body governing athletics, last month halted the reinstatement procedures for Russia’s athletics federation after its president and six others were provisionally suspended for serious breaches of anti-doping rules.

As a result of these fresh sanctions, World Athletics also said it was reviewing the process it has used in the past to clear some Russians, including Lasitskene, to compete internationally as neutrals.

“Why have we arrived at a situation when an athlete is supposed to be delighted about getting neutral status?” Lasitskene wrote.

“Was the Sports Ministry and Russian Olympic Committee really happy with the Russian athletics federation’s work?”

The president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, on Monday dismissed the sanctions against Russia as inappropriate and excessive.