Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves killed after Dakar crash

Portuguese motorbike rider Paulo Goncalves was competing in his 13th edition of the Dakar before his fatal crash during the seventh stage of the desert race in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 January 2020

Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves killed after Dakar crash

  • Fatal crash after 276 kilometers of the day’s ride from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir
  • Paulo Goncalves was competing in his 13th edition of the Dakar rally

WADI AD-DAWASIR, Saudi Arabia: Portuguese motorbike rider Paulo Goncalves has died after a crash during Sunday’s Dakar Rally seventh stage, organizers announced.
The 40-year-old suffered the fatal crash after 276 kilometers of the day’s ride from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir.
“The organizers received an alert at 10:08 (0708 GMT) and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest,” a statement on the rally’s official website reported.




Paulo Goncalves died after a crash during the Dakar Rally seventh stage in Saudi Arabia. (AFP/File)


“Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead,” it added.
Goncalves was competing in his 13th edition of the Dakar. He made his debut in 2006 when it was staged in Africa, and took second to Marc Coma in 2015 in South America.
The Indian-backed Hero rider only made it to this year’s first Dakar staged in Saudi Arabia after recovering from a fractured spleen in a crash in his native Portugal in December.
Following surgery, he said before the rally got underway: “It’s a victory for me to be here at the start.”
Goncalves was placed 46th in the overall bike standings after Friday’s sixth stage.
He was the 25th Dakar fatality since the inaugural edition of the grueling motorsport marathon in 1979, and the first since Polish rider Michal Hernik was killed in 2015 in Argentina.
“The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its sincere condolences to his friends and family,” the organizers’ statement said.


‘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.