Saudi WWE superstar happy to be home

Mansoor Al-Shehail enjoying quality time with his family in Riyadh. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 12 September 2019

Saudi WWE superstar happy to be home

  • Al-Shehail: “There’s always so much to catch up on and experience”
  • “I was really moved when I saw him winning,” says Al-Shehail’s father

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s first World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Mansoor Al-Shehail, who was crowned the winner of the largest Battle Royal in WWE history, is very happy to be home in his country and with his family during his regional visit.

He lives in the US and is under contract with the WWE for its NXT brand.

Al-Shehail, who was in Riyadh to visit his family, school and old stomping grounds, told Arab News he was very excited to go back to his old school — the American International School in Riyadh.

“We stopped by some of the places that I went to as a child. I think the Diplomatic Quarter was very surreal — I was as a child there — to relive those memories and experiences. It’s wonderful to come back to my family and to see the places that I knew as a child,” said Al-Shehail.

The first WWE superstar from the Kingdom said anytime he could see his family was wonderful for him. “There’s always so much to catch up on and experience with them, we can just eat and talk and it’s nice.

“Seeing the places I went to as a kid, playing on the playgrounds, reliving the moments of being with my friends, it’s always amazing for me because it reconnects me with where I came from. So, it was very enlightening and very fun,” he added.

Al-Shehail recalled the moment he won the largest Battle Royal in WWE history, describing it as a moment he will never forget. 

“It was amazing because my family were there in the front row. For them to see that so close was wonderful. I jumped into the arms of my brother and my father. They raised my arms and they have that on video which is amazing. It’s one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”

Another part of Al-Shehail’s trip was speaking to students at his old school about his experiences. Prior to his historic victory, Al-Shehail said that his father was unconvinced and wanted him to become a doctor.

His father told Arab News: “I really didn’t expect him to be a wrestler, I was really moved when I saw him winning. Everybody really cheered — children, men, and women. Everybody cheered for him. He won for the Saudis and all the audience were really enthusiastic.”

Gasol clinches rare NBA-World Cup double as Spain down Argentina

Updated 16 September 2019

Gasol clinches rare NBA-World Cup double as Spain down Argentina

  • Toronto Raptors center Mark Gasol becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year


BEIJING: Three-time All-Star Marc Gasol became only the second man to win an NBA crown and the World Cup in the same year after Spain brushed aside Argentina 95-75 on Sunday.

Spain, who survived double overtime against Australia to reach the final, led throughout in Beijing to win international basketball’s biggest prize a second time.

The only previous occasion was in 2006 with the two Gasol brothers, Marc and older sibling Pau, on the team.

Pau did not feature in China because of injury.

The latest triumph was particularly sweet for the 34-year-old center Gasol, who three months ago also played a key part in the Toronto Raptors’ run to the NBA title.

Gasol, who had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, joins Lamar Odom, a double winner in 2010 with the US and Los Angeles Lakers.

Surprise finalists Argentina had not triumphed since they hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1950.

As a contest, the final was over by the fourth quarter — although the Argentines did rally belatedly to reduce Spain’s previously mighty lead.

Fans of both teams had made it feel more like a football match, decked out in their national colors, chanting loudly and refusing to sit down.

Spain, for whom Ricky Rubio of the Phoenix Suns has been one of the leading players of the tournament in China, surged into a 14-2 lead.

In front of a capacity crowd, Argentina’s 39-year-old talisman Luis Scola could not escape the attentions of Pierre Oriola.

Led by their slick-haired Italian coach Sergio Scariolo, Spain were up 21-14 going into the second quarter and increased their advantage to 43-31 at halftime.

With Rubio prominent, drilling 20 points, Spain never looked like surrendering their lead, repeatedly thwarting Argentina’s suffocated offense.

France roared back after halftime to defeat Australia 67-59 and claim a second World Cup bronze in a row — and extend the Boomers’ long wait for a major medal.

Turkish-based guard Nando De Colo led all scorers with 19 points for France and Nicolas Batum had nine points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals.

The French, one of the tallest teams at the tournament, defeated reigning two-time holders the US in the quarterfinals, but then lost heavily to Argentina.

“For us it’s something very, very special and important we did it after a very difficult first half,” French coach Vincent Collet said.

“Many teams could have given up, even easy shots we were missing in the first half.

“We started to move the ball better in the second half and that’s why we won this game.”

It was hard on Australia, who similarly led for long periods in their semifinal against Spain.

It is still the best finish for the Boomers, who had never gone beyond the quarterfinals at 11 previous World Cups, but they are yet to claim a medal at the worlds or Olympics.

Deposed champions the US, who were missing their elite names, finished seventh, their lowest position in tournament history.

They did, at least, qualify to defend their Olympic title in Tokyo next summer. With 32 teams, this was the biggest Basketball World Cup ever.

The next one will be in 2023 in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.