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.


Amaala lift champion trophy in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever desert polo tournament

Updated 19 January 2020

Amaala lift champion trophy in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever desert polo tournament

  • Amaala earned the bragging rights as the 2020, and inaugural, AlUla Desert Polo champions

JEDDAH: Renowned Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras scored all his side’s goals as Amaala hammered out an emphatic 7-3 victory over host team AlUla to win the Kingdom’s first-ever desert polo tournament on Saturday at AlUla UNESCO heritage site.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority, presented the trophy to Amaala after the final.

The event forms part of Winter at Tantora festival, featuring international polo players, who had the experience of playing on compacted desert sand instead of grass amid the stunning surroundings at AlUla.

The Royal Commission of AlUla organized the three-day tournament in cooperation with the newly formed Saudi Polo Federation.

In winning the tournament, Amaala earned the bragging rights as the 2020, and inaugural, AlUla Desert Polo champions.

Players from all over the world took part, including team members from the world famous La Dolfina polo outfit from Argentina, including Adolfo Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling and Pablo Mac Donough.

In the match for third place, Al Nahla Bentley defeated Team Richard Mille 4-2 with Sheikha Alya Maktoum scoring a hat trick of goals.

Figueras said: “It’s an amazing place with an amazing history, an amazing heritage and an amazing first tournament for the Saudi Polo Federation. I’m very honored to be here and I’m delighted that we were able to win.

“This country is going through a transformation and there are amazing years to come.”

Mac Donough added: “For us it was a completely new place; polo-wise Saudi Arabia wasn’t something we were doing before. Having the chance to come to such an amazing country and having the chance to play a tournament and promote the sport, all this makes us feel very proud and we hope we can continue it.”

Saudi Polo Federation chairman, Amr F. Zedan, who played for Team Richard Mille during the tournament, said: “I see this event as a launching pad for the future. We have big plans for polo in Saudi Arabia that include the establishment of development programs and the construction of facilities to assist in building a polo infrastructure in The Kingdom.”

Amr Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission of AlUla, said: “Our tourism strategy for AlUla has been built around certain anchors — heritage, culture, nature and arts. Equestrianism has always been a key industry for us, and the surroundings here make AlUla one of the best locations to ride horses.”