WWE Superstar Becky Lynch looks to inspire Saudi women at Crown Jewel in Riyadh

WWE Superstar Becky Lynch looks to inspire Saudi women at Crown Jewel in Riyadh
Becky Lynch, left, will take on Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair for the RAW Women’s Championship at Crown Jewel in Riyadh. (WWE)
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Updated 14 October 2021

WWE Superstar Becky Lynch looks to inspire Saudi women at Crown Jewel in Riyadh

WWE Superstar Becky Lynch looks to inspire Saudi women at Crown Jewel in Riyadh
  • RAW women’s champion will take on Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair at the Mohammed Abdo Arena — Boulevard on Oct. 21

WWE Superstar Becky Lynch says is looking forward to her first visit to Saudi Arabia and hopes to inspire the next generation of women in the Kingdom.

The RAW women’s champion will be in action at Crown Jewel in Riyadh on Thursday, Oct. 21, when she will put her title on the line in a Triple Threat match against Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair.

“This will be my first trip to Saudi Arabia, but I have only heard great things about the country from the guys who have already been over,” she said.

“Everyone is so nice when the guys go over, and the people there are so grateful and appreciative of us going there and performing, so I can’t wait to be there and see all this for myself.”

Lynch said that she is looking forward to connecting with women at the show, and hopes to deliver a positive message to those seeking inspiration.

“Being able to inspire people is the most important thing; that’s why we do this,” she said. “We are seeing a whole new generation, and hopefully are showing them what is possible and what can be done. It is hugely important for us to go over there and steal the show.”

Lynch is a former simultaneous holder of both RAW and SmackDown women’s titles, and is known for forging her own path in WWE.

The Ireland-born star believes “we should all trust our intuition a little more in life,” adding: “I think it is all about being true to yourself and trusting your gut.”

She said: “As women, and as people, we often don’t trust ourselves enough and I don’t know where that comes from. As you grow up, we are always told to be careful, and don’t do this or that, but I do think you have an inner voice that never serves you wrong. I don’t recall ever thinking in my life that I wish I didn’t trust my gut. Once we follow our intuition is always brings us to good places.”

Nicknamed “The Man,” Lynch returned to WWE at SummerSlam in August following the birth of her first child, and is aware of her position as a role model, and how her actions can influence so many.

“One thing I find I look at differently now is social media and how that affects people, and young people, in particular,” she said.

“You may have noticed but I don’t really post as much any more, and it very much around the narrative of how we empower woman to use our voices in an appropriate way, especially when there is so much noise all the time. I think I am very much still trying to figure all that out, but I think anything I do has that much more weight to it now I am a mom.”

The champion is ready to put on a show alongside Banks and Belair for the Riyadh crowd, and expects to leave with her title intact.

“People can expect me to walk out there still the Smackdown women’s champion,” she said. “But in addition to that they can expect a barnstormer of a match. Any time you get myself, Sasha Banks, and Bianca Belair, three of the best in the industry regardless of gender, you know you are going to be watching something very special, and there is no doubt that match will steal the show.”

Lynch will take on Banks and Belair for the RAW women’s championship at Crown Jewel at the Mohammed Abdo Arena — Boulevard in Riyadh on Thursday, Oct. 21. Tickets available from ticketmx.com starting at SR50 ($13.30).


Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea
Updated 50 min 18 sec ago

Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea
  • A consortium led by Todd Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a record £4.25bn deal to buy the club from Roman Abramovich
  • Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

LONDON: Todd Boehly’s proposed takeover of Chelsea moved a step closer to completion on Tuesday when the Premier League board announced it had approved his purchase of the London club in a deal that could yet be finalized later in the day.
A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a record £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal to buy the Premier League club from owner Roman Abramovich on May 7.
And a Premier League statement said Tuesday: “The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.
“The purchase remains subject to the (British) Government issuing the required sale license and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.”
Officials would like everything to be wrapped up on Tuesday so Chelsea can meet all registration deadlines for next season’s competitions, with an unnamed Government source telling Britain’s Press Association: “We now believe everyone will be ready to issue the necessary licenses.
“The last remaining hurdle boils down to a number of final technical details that are being discussed with the club. It’s going to go down to the wire.”
Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Completing the purchase has been a lengthy process due to government concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale.
The total value of the deal smashes the previous record for the sale of a sports team — $2.4 billion for the New York Mets baseball franchise in 2020.
There had been fears the takeover would collapse because of the £1.5 billion debt owed by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd, to Camberley International Investments, a Jersey-based company with suspected links to Abramovich.
Abramovich, who has said he has not asked for his loan to be repaid, is understood to have provided confirmation to the government that his associate, Demetris Ioannides, has resigned from the trust owning Camberley International.
Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government were working with Chelsea and also holding “intense discussions with the relevant international partners” to get the deal done.
“We want to get this process done as soon as possible while also ensuring the sanctions regime is protected, but we will say more on this as soon as we possibly can,” the spokesman also said.
The Premier League statement added: “The board has applied the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.
“The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.
“Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant governments to secure the necessary licenses to complete the takeover.”
Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special license from the UK government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.
Under the terms of the license, Chelsea were unable to offer new contracts to existing players or sign players from other clubs.
The sale of the European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of nearly unbroken success under the 55-year-old Abramovich, who has overseen five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.
Chelsea finished third in the 2021/22 Premier League season completed Sunday and so gained a place in Europe’s Champions League, the continent’s leading club football competition.
The Blues also reached the finals of English football’s League Cup and FA Cup, only to lose both matches to Liverpool in penalty shoot-outs.


Futures of Newcastle United squad to be decided this week by Eddie Howe

Futures of Newcastle United squad to be decided this week by Eddie Howe
Updated 24 May 2022

Futures of Newcastle United squad to be decided this week by Eddie Howe

Futures of Newcastle United squad to be decided this week by Eddie Howe
  • Isaac Hayden and loan signing Matt Targett look to be on the way out with others expected to join them
  • Newcastle are assessing their options on the left with Atletico Madrid and Brazil defender Renan Lodi in the frame

NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has revealed he will sit down with his Newcastle United stars this week to decide their future plans — but Matt Targett looks to be a player heading for the exit.

It is certain to be a summer of transition at St James’ Park as the club’s owners and Howe get to grips with altered ambitions and expectations.

While Howe is keen to downplay any immediate talk of European qualification, for those at the top, and on the terraces, it cannot come soon enough.

What is in no doubt, though, is the aim to stay in the Premier League, Howe’s primary task when taking the role, has been binned in favor of a more progressive target.

And with that, more forward-thinking aim, change is likely in the dressing room.

While Howe will jet off on a family break in the next seven days to rest and recuperate after the stresses and strains of an arduous top flight campaign, he will not do so without sorting what comes next for his players — and for the club.

“I will be speaking to all of the players, in different ways, whether that be in face-to-face meetings or by the phone. And I will be setting out my plans for next season,” said Howe.

“Look, (the planning) it starts now, as you have to, as the Premier League moves so quickly and the competition is so strong. You have to try and be ahead of the game.

“We will try to be sensible about what we do this summer. We know it is a big time for us.”

Arab News understands the Magpies have a striker at the very top of their summer wishlist, but will look to strengthen in a number of other key areas. A central defender, another wide forward, a goalkeeper and a left-back being the most pressing departments.

And while Newcastle looked to have tied down a Premier League-ready left-back in Targett, the Aston Villa defender’s future on Tyneside is far from certain.

The January loan signing was a revelation during the rise from the foot of the Premier League to an eventual 11th-placed finish. That has led many to believe a permanent deal will soon follow.

However, it is understood the player is not 100 percent convinced about staying, with clubs down south, particularly newly-promoted Fulham keen.

When asked about Targett, Howe said: “I think it is a difficult one to give you any direction on, we will wait and see.”

Newcastle are assessing their options on the left with Atletico Madrid and Brazil defender Renan Lodi a player who has attracted admiring glances in recent months.

One saga that appears closer to conclusion is that of midfielder Sean Longstaff, whose contract comes to an end in June.

“I would anticipate it would come to a positive conclusion,” Howe said, when quizzed on talks over a new deal.

With Longstaff set to stay, others will be allowed to leave in what looks to be an increasingly-congested midfield area for Newcastle.

Isaac Hayden, left out of the 25-man Premier League squad from January onwards due to injury, has hinted at a summer exit via an emotional social media post.

On Twitter, he said: “Another season completed. Started poorly, ended on fire. Takeover tick, future is bright for this great club. Personally my toughest in pro football but everything happens for a reason. Thank you for your incredible support this season and over the last 6 years.”

Tough-tackling Hayden is a popular player with the United fanbase and has been with the club since the English Championship title-winning season of 2016/17.


Champions League final ball to be auctioned for UN refugee body

Champions League final ball to be auctioned for UN refugee body
Updated 24 May 2022

Champions League final ball to be auctioned for UN refugee body

Champions League final ball to be auctioned for UN refugee body
  • The white and silver panelled ball will be inscribed with the word 'peace' in English and Cyrillic script

DUBAI: The ball used in Saturday’s Champions League soccer final between Liverpool and Real Madrid will be auctioned after the game with the proceeds going to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), ball maker adidas said on Tuesday.
The German sportswear company said the white and silver panelled ball will be inscribed with the word ‘peace’ in English and Cyrillic script and would not be on sale to the public.
Saturday’s final is taking place at the Stade de France in Paris after being moved earlier this year from original host city St. Petersburg due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a ‘special operation’.


Medvedev eases through at French Open as Rune strikes teen blow

Medvedev eases through at French Open as Rune strikes teen blow
Updated 24 May 2022

Medvedev eases through at French Open as Rune strikes teen blow

Medvedev eases through at French Open as Rune strikes teen blow
  • Medvedev routed Argentina's 103rd-ranked Facundo Bagnis 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 on the back of 35 winners and eight breaks of serve
  • "I love Roland Garros, especially since last year," said Medvedev

PARIS: World number two Daniil Medvedev eased into the French Open second round on Tuesday as Denmark’s Holger Rune reminded Roland Garros that Carlos Alcaraz is not the only teenager dreaming of the title.
Medvedev, who came into Paris with just one match on clay this year following hernia surgery, routed Argentina’s 103rd-ranked Facundo Bagnis 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 on the back of 35 winners and eight breaks of serve.
“I love Roland Garros, especially since last year,” said Medvedev, who had lost in the opening round on his first four trips to Paris before reaching the quarter-finals in 2021. “I hope this year I can go further.”
Rune, 19 and just a week older than the highly-rated Alcaraz, marked his main draw debut with a 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) dismissal of 14th-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
Rune, the boys champion in 2019 and a former world junior number one, entered Paris at a career-high 40 having started 2021 outside of the top 400.
In the current clay season, he won his first title in Munich, beating world number three Alexander Zverev on the way.
Shapovalov committed 53 unforced errors in a tie played at breakneck speed.
“I didn’t really show up today but Holger played great tennis,” said Shapovalov, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2021.
Later Tuesday, fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost last year’s final to Novak Djokovic after leading two sets to love, has a dangerous assignment against Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti in the night session on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The 20-year-old, ranked 66, also led Djokovic by two sets in the last 16 in 2021 before injury curtailed his challenge.
This year on clay he made the quarter-finals in Marrakech and third round at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid where he was forced to retire against world number three Alexander Zverev.
However, Tsitsipas is enjoying an impressive clay court season in which he has successfully defended his Monte Carlo title, was runner-up in Rome and made the semifinals in Madrid.
The Greek also enjoys a season-leading 31 wins on the tour this year.

Two former women’s champions were also in action.
Simona Halep, the 2018 champion, who is working with Serena Williams’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou, faces Nastasja Schunk, an 18-year-old lucky loser from qualifying, ranked at 165 in the world.
Jelena Ostapenko, who was a shock Roland Garros winner in 2017, defeated Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-4 to end a five-match losing streak having started the year winning 14 of 18.
Ostapenko became the latest player to cast doubt on her appearance at Wimbledon after the tournament was stripped of ranking points in response to its banning of Russian and Belarusian players.
“If there are no points, I’m not really sure what I’m going to,” said the Latvian.
“I think maybe they are going to change their mind. I’m not sure about points. But I think a lot of things may happen within the next week or two weeks.”
Spain’s world number four Paula Badosa, a quarter-finalist in 2021, takes on France’s Fiona Ferro.
Before that match on Court Philippe Chatrier, French fans will possibly bid farewell to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the former world number five who will retire once his French Open campaign ends.
Tsonga, unseeded, lost the 2008 Australian Open final to Djokovic as the Serb claimed the first of his 20 Grand Slam titles.
He made it to the semifinals twice at both the French Open and Wimbledon and finished runner-up to Roger Federer at the ATP Finals in 2011.
“It’s a moment which I am sure will be full of emotion,” said the 37-year-old who takes on eighth seed Casper Ruud, the champion in Geneva at the weekend.


Saudi national golf trio to feature in International Series England

Saudi national golf trio to feature in International Series England
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi national golf trio to feature in International Series England

Saudi national golf trio to feature in International Series England
  • Local stars Othman Almulla, Faisal Salhab and Saud Al-Sharif join line-up in Newcastle as Asian Tour hosts debut event in the UK next month

Saudi national golf team’s Othman Almulla, Faisal Salhab, and Saud Al-Sharif will join a world-class line-up at next month’s International Series England at Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, near Newcastle, from June 2-5.

The trio will compete alongside American Sihwan Kim, currently ranked first on the Asian Tour Order of Merit; Korean Joohyung Kim, last season’s number one; former US Open champion Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland and Thailand’s 15-year-old wonderkid Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat.

All of the players currently ranked in the top 10 on the Asian Tour Merit list will compete in the $2 million tournament, which breaks new ground as it will be the first time the Asian Tour has sanctioned a tournament in the UK. The opportunity will mean a full turnout of the Tour’s membership for the ninth event of the 2022-23 season and the second International Series event.

Following their respective 2021 triumphs — a year that also saw Saudi national team golfers clinch the title at the 40th edition of the Arab Golf Championship, beating more than 10 countries by a comfortable nine-shot margin — Almulla, Salhab and Al-Sharif will head to Slaley Hall for their second big appearance in an Asian Tour tournament after their participation in the PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers.

Almulla, the Kingdom’s first-ever professional golfer, said: “I’m excited to be competing in the international series event being held at Slaley hall. To have these opportunities to compete on the world stage against some of the best players in the world is a privilege I cherish. I’m lucky to have the support and guidance of Golf Saudi to help me succeed in my professional golfing career.”

Salhab said: “I’m proud to be competing against some of the best golfers in the world, participating in such tournaments will only make my game better.

“Golf Saudi has done an amazing job in growing the game of golf within the Kingdom and being in this tournament reflects their massive support for us as players. Representing my country internationally means a lot to me and I hope I can do it in the best way.”

Al-Sharif said that he is looking forward to competing alongside his countrymen. “I’m really excited. Playing against top players on a world-class course and in a competitive atmosphere is a huge boost for our confidence and will help us become better golfers. We’ll be making the most out of this experience and showcase a positive side of Saudi golfers to the world.”

Sihwan Kim is leading the way on the Tour thanks to two victories, including a win at the first-ever International Series event, played in Thailand in March, and has earned close to half a million dollars, but Slaley Hall will also see a host of other in-form players competing.

Korean Bio Kim, who is second on the Merit list, and third-ranked Phachara Khongwatmai from Thailand will compete after recently recording their first wins on the Asian Tour following its restart in November last year after a two-year break because of the global pandemic.

Joohyung Kim, who at 19 became the second-youngest winner of the Merit title in January, has picked up where he left off from last season, with top-10 finishes in his last three events to sit in fourth place on the rankings.

Kim will make his way to the UK after competing in this week’s US PGA Championship in Oklahoma. Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana and South Africa’s Justin Harding, also in action at the season’s second Major Championship, will also be making the trip across the Atlantic. 

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, the 2019 Merit champion and six-time winner on Tour; Malaysian Gavin Green, the 2017 number one; and Australian Scott Hend, the most successful international player on the Tour with 10 victories and the 2016 Merit list winner will also be looking for strong performances in England.

Chinese-Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, a two-time winner on the Tour since last year’s restart, and Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong, also a winner this season, will add to a stellar line-up.

“The International Series England is a landmark event for the Asian Tour which provides our members with a great opportunity to compete internationally in an exciting, new location,” said Cho Minn Thant, commissioner and CEO, Asian Tour.

“An incredibly strong field with assemble for the tournament, which is a reflection of the appetite our members have for the International Series and will also allow us to showcase the Asian Tour’s depth in world-class talent to European fans. We have also received enormous interest from international players wanting to be part of the Asian Tour having seen our steady growth over the past few months.”

The International Series England is promoted by LIV Golf and will be followed by eight more International Series events this season.