Gold spurs Saudi women fencers to games glory

The Saudi fencing team ‘hopes to raise the Saudi flag in all forums.’ (Supplied)
Updated 23 October 2019

Gold spurs Saudi women fencers to games glory

  • Saudi fencing team “hopes to raise the Saudi flag in all international, regional and continental forums”

KUWAIT: Saudi women fencers have their eyes set on international success after claiming gold and bronze medals in the teams’ events at the sixth Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Women’s Games in Kuwait.

The women’s team finished the competition with a gold in the team sabre fencing and a bronze in the epee fencing. Fencers Hasna Al-Hammad, Ruba Al-Masri, Sheikha Al-Dosari and Fawzia Al-Dosari competed in the sabre category, while Nada Abed, Areej Abed, Fawzia Al-Khibari and Mashael Al-Khayal took part in the epee category.

Al-Hammad also won a medal in the sabre category for singles at the launch of the tournament, with the Saudi fencing team finishing third in the foil contest. 

Princess Nouf bint Khalid, head of the Saudi delegation to the games, said that the Saudi fencing team “hopes to raise the Saudi flag in all international, regional and continental forums.”

In the basketball competition, the Saudi women’s team were defeated 62-33 by Bahrain.

Meanwhile, the Saudi bowling women’s team finished its competition in fifth place. 

Mashael Al-Abdulwahid claimed 14th place among 20 players during the 18-game competition, beating rival bowlers from Oman, the UAE and Kuwait.

Her teammates Ghada Nimr, Hadeel Termin and Amani Al-Ghamdi finished 15th, 17th and 20th, respectively.


‘Fight Island’ concept debuts in Abu Dhabi on Sunday

Updated 11 July 2020

‘Fight Island’ concept debuts in Abu Dhabi on Sunday

  • Plan to be unveiled on Sunday with the staging of the 13-fight UFC 251 event on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island

DUBAI: When mixed martial arts supremo Dana White first floated his “Fight Island” concept, with its echoes of the Bruce Lee blockbuster “Enter the Dragon” where fighters were drawn into combat at a private getaway, eyebrows were raised.

“‘Fight Island’ is real. It’s a real thing,” said the Ultimate Fighting Championship boss when he announced the plan in April. “The infrastructure’s being built right now, and that’s really going to happen.”

White’s vision will be unveiled on Sunday with the staging of the 13-fight UFC 251 event on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.

The event will be headlined by a welterweight world title encounter between the Nigerian-American champion Kamaru Usman and Cuban-American challenger Jorge Masvidal.

It’s one of four “Fight Island” cards to be staged without an audience inside an arena on the resort and entertainment island throughout July, kicking off with three world title bouts and a title challenge eliminator.

Usman said during a virtual media event that he had been impressed by what he’d seen since arriving in the UAE on Thursday.

“I’m grateful for everything that’s been done,” said Usman, gunning for the second defense of his title. “All the precautions have been taken. After I go out there on Saturday and get my hand raised I’ll be glad to be heading home COVID-free.”

The UFC has made the move to Abu Dhabi from its Las Vegas base in an effort to isolate its fighters during the coronavirus pandemic.

Safety has been a major motivator, as has the promoter’s need to keep staging events — and collecting revenue — during a crisis that has shut down or forced massive overhauls to the staging of the world’s major sporting events.

Strict lockdown measures have been imposed on athletes, their entourages, officials, staff and media for the duration of their stay on Yas Island, on a site that has been completely sealed off until the event concludes on July 26.

Tests were taken before people arrived — initial headliner Gilbert Burns of Brazil failed, and stayed home, Masvidal’s coach Mike Brown suffered the same fate — and after landing there has been more testing, and 48 hours in-room quarantine.

“We were able to lock away with some mats and pads in our room and keep training as much as we could,” said Russian welterweight Muslim Salikhov, who fights Brazil’s Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in Sunday’s preliminaries.

“The main thing everyone is saying is that we are here, and we are ready to fight because that’s what we do for a living.”

Abu Dhabi’s executive director of tourism and marketing, Ali Al-Shaiba, said protocols were stringent in the expansive “safe zone,” patrolled by police and expected to house around 2,000 people for the duration of the month-long event. Staff will be tested every 72 hours.