Women are catching up to men in motorsports, says Aston Martin ambassador

Special Women are catching up to men in motorsports, says Aston Martin ambassador
British racing driver Jessica Hawkins poses with students at the British International School of Jeddah on Thursday, March 24, 2022 after giving a talk on what it means to be a racing driver. (AN photo by Abdulmalek Khashogji)
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Updated 25 March 2022

Women are catching up to men in motorsports, says Aston Martin ambassador

Women are catching up to men in motorsports, says Aston Martin ambassador
  • Stunt driver and racer Jessica Hawkins is hoping to inspire young Saudi girls to consider a career in motorsports
  • The Briton is attending the second Jeddah Grand Prix weekend

JEDDAH: Aston Martin Racing ambassador, racer and film stunt driver Jessica Hawkins has proved to the world that female drivers can excel in motorsports.

Her young career has brought her many highlights, and now she is attending Saudi Arabia’s second Formula One Grand Prix weekend in Jeddah.

Hawkins, who hails from East Hampshire in Britain, made her professional motorsports debut in the British Formula Ford at Silverstone in a one-off event where she twice finished inside the top 10.

Currently competing in the W Series and the British Touring Car Championship, Hawkins told Arab News that the ratio of female to male drivers entering motorsports has tipped in favor of women in recent years, and while significant progress has been made, she is calling on more women to pursue racing careers.

“It’s not something that’s going to happen just overnight. It does take time, but I do think that it is recognized and we are pushing to make changes.” Hawkins said. “When I first started there weren’t many females, but certainly, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One team are a driving force behind that, or at least one of the driving forces behind that because there are a good few females within the team.”

Hawkins addressed students at the British International School of Jeddah on Thursday ahead of the race weekend, telling them what it means to be a woman racing driver in the male-dominated sport.




AN Photo by Abdulmalek Khashogji

“They were all so cute and really heartwarming, and if I can help even just one of them pursue a career in something that they would love to do, then? I don’t know what to say, they were all really enthusiastic.

“Hopefully, they all listened and they’ll all work hard in school and hopefully, I’ve helped them realize that there’s more to racing than just the driving, there are loads of different areas of motorsport, and they should, if they like motorsport, go and explore all the different avenues within motorsports.”

Hawkins said she pursued a racing career because she was always an sporty kid and one day asked her father to let her go karting.

“I begged my dad to let me have a go and he was unsure at the time. It must have just stuck in my mind and I kept begging him to take me back and let me have a have a go. So it’s not something that I just decided one day, it was just a passion that I followed.”

However, a racing career doesn’t come without its many obstacles, and pushing through gender stereotypes was a regular effort. Finding financial backing was another major challenge.

“Honestly, my main obstacle was finding the budget to go racing, because it’s no secret that racing as a driver can be very expensive, in all areas of motorsport,” the British racing driver said. “You have to bring in budgets to be able to raise which I really struggled to find the sponsors and the backers and have the funding to do that. But, you know, I’ve kept trying, and I never give up, so while it was frustrating at the time, actually paid dividends now.”

Hawkins returned to the VW Cup in 2018, and spent most of that year working as a stunt driver on Fast and Furious Live.

“Never did I ever think that I was going to be stunt driving for big productions like that, they’re amazing, and an opportunity and experience that I will never, ever forget,” she said. “Fast and Furious Live was arguably one of the best times in my life and I'll hold those memories so deep in my heart.”

Hawkins continued working as a stunt driver in 2021, featuring on the James Bond film “No Time to Die,” and in May of that year became Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s ambassador.

“I do a lot of work with the sponsors and a lot of hot laps, which is good. That’s always fun,” she said. “I interact with Seb and Lance, and Hulk (male F1 drivers), I’ll often go on track walks with them. And honestly I’ll just learn as much as I can off of them them.

“They’ve obviously got a wealth of experience behind them, way superior to mine. So anything that I can learn and pick off of them is obviously an advantage to me.”

The Jeddah race weekend starts on Friday, with the first practice set for 5:00 p.m. before the second practice at 8:00 p.m.


Nagelsmann looking for ‘control’ against unpredictable Dortmund

Nagelsmann looking for ‘control’ against unpredictable Dortmund
Updated 14 sec ago

Nagelsmann looking for ‘control’ against unpredictable Dortmund

Nagelsmann looking for ‘control’ against unpredictable Dortmund
BERLIN: Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann said on Friday his team needs to show “a more controlled game” to beat opponents Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Munich travel to Dortmund having won the last nine clashes between the two clubs, but Nagelsmann said Dortmund under manager Edin Terzic have shed the unpredictability of recent years.
“There’s a lot of reporting about Dortmund showing ‘fluctuating performances’ within recent games. I don’t think it’s that dramatic,” Nagelsmann said.
“I think they’re having a good season and will be a top opponent tomorrow.”
Bayern and Dortmund go into the clash level on 15 points in third and fourth respectively. It is the first time in 13 years that one of the teams is not in top spot when they met the other.
In addition to Munich’s recent dominance in the fixture, ‘Der Klassiker’ has also been a rich source of goals.
Only once in the past 12 matches between the sides has fewer than four goals been scored, which is perhaps a testament to the quality of the sides’ strikers in recent years — Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland — both of which have now departed.
While Bayern Munich have a league-high 23 goals, Dortmund’s total of 11 goals is among the lowest in the league, showing they are struggling more than their Bavarian rivals with the departure of their top goalscorer.
Nagelsmann however said the hole left by the big Norwegian makes Dortmund less predictable.
“I’m not sure yet who will play up front,” Nagelsmann said.
“They create a lot of ‘give and go’ situations with a lot of good footballers who sprint behind the lines and receive good passes.
“They are a very good team... especially when they defend deeply — it always creates a strong danger when they counter.”
Bayern’s Leon Goretzka, who formerly played for Dortmund’s arch rivals Schalke, said the result meant nationwide bragging rights in German football for the winner.
“This is the game that Germany looks forward too all year” Goretzka, who played 116 games for Schalke, said on Friday.
“Now, we (Bayern) are the chasers for once. But like with this derby in the past, the standings don’t really matter.
“It’s about prestige and it’s about supremacy in German football.”
Nagelsmann agreed, saying “when it comes to the table, it’s an important game — but as a symbol, it’s also an important game.”
Two fixtures of recent clashes — Bayern’s Thomas Mueller and Dortmund captain Marco Reus — have been ruled out of the clash, with illness and injury respectively.
Bayern will however be boosted by the return of French winger Kingsley Coman, while Dortmund welcomes back Mats Hummels, Gregor Kobel, Marius Wolf and Gio Reyna.

Indonesia’s president says FIFA will not impose sanctions over deadly soccer stampede

Indonesia’s president says FIFA will not impose sanctions over deadly soccer stampede
Updated 07 October 2022

Indonesia’s president says FIFA will not impose sanctions over deadly soccer stampede

Indonesia’s president says FIFA will not impose sanctions over deadly soccer stampede
  • Indonesia would work with FIFA to improve its management of soccer matches

JAKARTA: Indonesia President Joko Widodo on Friday said soccer’s world governing body FIFA will not impose sanctions on the country over a stadium stampede last week that killed 131 people.
In a video message, the president said Indonesia would work with FIFA to improve its management of soccer matches and that FIFA president Gianni Infantino will visit Indonesia in October or November.


One dead in unrest at Argentina soccer match

One dead in unrest at Argentina soccer match
Updated 07 October 2022

One dead in unrest at Argentina soccer match

One dead in unrest at Argentina soccer match
  • Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas as they attempted to stop fans attending the match
  • A cameraman for sports channel TyC was injured by rubber bullets while dozens of spectators were suffering from the effects of tear gas

BUENOS AIRES: One person died Thursday following violent clashes that started outside a soccer match on the outskirts of Buenos Aires before spilling into the stadium and onto the pitch, authorities said.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas as they attempted to stop fans attending the match between top-flight teams Boca Juniors and Gimnasia y Esgrima from pushing into the already crowded venue.
The unrest outside the Carmelo Zerillo stadium in La Plata, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Argentina's capital, continued inside, where shocked spectators were seen squeezing through fencing to escape the violence and get onto the field.
"There were about 10,000 people around the stadium trying to get in, some with tickets, some without. Everyone could see that the stadium was very full," said Eduardo Aparicio, head of a government agency tasked with preventing violence in sports.
"All this is being investigated," including "the actions of the police," he added.
Authorities at San Martin hospital in La Plata confirmed the death of 57-year-old Cesar Regueiro from cardiac arrest as he was being transferred from the stadium to a hospital.
A cameraman for sports channel TyC was injured by rubber bullets while dozens of spectators were suffering from the effects of tear gas and had been taken to hospitals, according to local media.
The game was suspended after nine minutes due to a lack of security, referee Hernan Mastrangelo said.
"It affected all of us on the field," he added. "The air became unbreathable. The situation got out of control and there were no security guarantees."
Explosions were heard inside the stadium and smoke from the fumes quickly reached the pitch.
The players, the referee and technical staff members were forced to evacuate the field.
At the same time, fans, including children being led or carried by adults, rushed from the stands and onto the pitch, where people were seen sitting or lying down apparently recovering from tear gas exposure.
"The first thing I saw was that people had started to flee the stalls and I began to feel the effects of the gas. I thought about my family and I started to worry," Nicolas Contin, a Gimnasia player, said from the locker room where he had carried his young son.
"I'm angry about everything that happened."
The match came at a critical point in Argentina's Primera Division, with Gimnasia trying to stay in the title race and Boca looking to move into first place.
"What was going to be a party ends in this. It hurts us all what happened, it is tremendous and we regret it," Boca Juniors manager Hugo Ibarra told reporters.
Clashes inside and outside Argentina's stadiums have resulted in more than 300 deaths since soccer became professional in the 1930s, with two-thirds of the deaths occurring after the 1990s, according to a local NGO.
The violence in La Plata comes just five days after one of the deadliest disasters in soccer history in which 131 people were killed in a stadium crush in Indonesia.
The incident in the city of Malang also descended into tragedy after police fired tear gas into packed stands.


Philippine court dismisses tax case against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao

Philippine court dismisses tax case against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao
Updated 07 October 2022

Philippine court dismisses tax case against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao

Philippine court dismisses tax case against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao
  • Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee were accused in 2012 of owing more than $37 million in unpaid taxes for 2008 and 2009

MANILA: Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao on Friday won a years-long court battle to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars in extra taxes after an appeals court dismissed the case against him.
Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee had been accused by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2012 of owing more than $37 million (2.2 billion pesos) in unpaid taxes for 2008 and 2009.
The 43-year-old previously insisted he had paid the taxes in the United States, so did not need to do so in the Philippines because the two countries have an agreement allowing their citizens to avoid double taxation.
Then president Benigno Aquino was waging a bruising campaign against tax evasion as part of a general crackdown on corruption.
Pacquiao, a former world champion and politician, became one of the highest-profile targets of the tax office’s sweep.
But the Court of Tax Appeals found the tax office had relied on “unverified news articles” to make its assessment.
In a 49-page judgment, the court said the “assessment for deficiency income tax is void for violation of petitioners’ right to due process and for lack of sufficient factual basis.”
The ruling was handed down on September 29 but apparently only released on Friday.
Pacquiao, who reportedly ranked among the country’s top individual taxpayers in 2008 and 2009, welcomed the decision.
“Since the start of my career, I have made sure to pay all my taxes because this helps our government,” he said in a statement.
“I thank the Lord that the truth has come out.”
AFP could not reach the tax office for comment. It is not known if it plans to appeal the decision.
Pacquiao, who retired from boxing last year for a tilt at the Philippines presidency, is deeply admired for hauling himself out of poverty to become one of the world’s greatest and wealthiest fighters.
But he has also earned plenty of detractors with his support for former president Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug war, homophobic comments and lack of education.
Pacquiao has been preparing for a charity match against martial arts YouTuber DK Yoo scheduled for December 10 in Seoul.
He ended his 26-year boxing career with a points defeat to Cuban Yordenis Ugas in August 2021 and, as well as being a former senator, made a failed bid earlier this year to be president of his country.
Pacquiao’s net worth was almost $54 million in 2020, according to Senate data.


Soccer’s worst disasters: Same mistakes by police, fans die

Soccer’s worst disasters: Same mistakes by police, fans die
Updated 07 October 2022

Soccer’s worst disasters: Same mistakes by police, fans die

Soccer’s worst disasters: Same mistakes by police, fans die
  • Soccer’s three worst stadium tragedies occurred over a 60-year span but are so strikingly similar that its clear lessons haven’t been learned
  • Soccer was believed to have reached a turning point 33 years ago with the Hillsborough disaster

DUBAI: Police fire tear gas into a crowd of soccer fans, who panic and rush for the exits.
There are so many trying to escape and some of the gates are locked. The stadium becomes a death trap.
People are trampled in the desperation. Others suffocate, crushed by the weight of bodies around them.
They are the details of last weekend’s soccer game in Malang, Indonesia, where 131 people, some of them children, died in a crush after police fired tear gas at fans of home team Arema FC.
It’s also the story of the Estadio Nacional disaster in Lima, Peru, in 1964, when 328 died in a panic sparked by tear gas. It was the same in Accra, Ghana, in 2001, when 126 died.
Soccer’s three worst stadium tragedies occurred over a 60-year span but are so strikingly similar that its clear lessons haven’t been learned.
The world’s most popular game has historic problems of hooliganism, and Indonesia has its share of team rivalries that have led to violence. But Arema had the only fans in the stadium. Just them and the police.
“Not a single rival supporter. How can that match kill more than 100 people?” said a sobbing Gilang Widya Pramana, the president of Arema.
The blame has landed at the feet of the police, like it did in Lima, and Accra, and elsewhere.
Some Arema supporters rushed the field in anger at their team’s loss. Yet, major soccer tragedies have almost always been caused, experts say, by a heavy-handed overreaction by police and poor stadium safety. Firing tear gas in enclosed stadiums is universally condemned by security experts. Locking exits goes against all safety regulations.
“Actually, fans killing other fans is an incredibly rare thing,” said Prof. Geoff Pearson of the University of Manchester, an expert on the policing of soccer fans. “When we look at pretty much all the major (soccer) tragedies, I can’t think of an exception off the top of my head, all of these have been caused by unsafe stadiums or practices, or inappropriate policing.”
Indonesia, a country of 273 million, is due to host next year’s Under-20 World Cup. It is soccer’s “sleeping giant,” said James Montague, a journalist and author who traveled there to watch games with fans.
Montague found a passion for soccer that matches, even outstrips, the game’s leading countries. He said he also found “largely decrepit” stadiums, corruption and mismanagement everywhere and the kind of police that would “smash me in the face with a baton just because I’m standing there watching a football match.”
Soccer was believed to have reached a turning point 33 years ago with the Hillsborough disaster, where 97 Liverpool fans died as a result of a crush at a stadium in Sheffield, England, in 1989. Police were eventually found to have been to blame for letting fans into an already overcrowded section but it took 27 years before the police’s lies and coverups — blaming drunken fans for the deaths — were fully exposed.
Hillsborough led to sweeping reforms in English soccer, making stadiums safer and demanding police change.
That echoes in Indonesia this week. So do calls for justice. Indonesian authorities have laid charges against six people for the crush, three of them police officers.
But a lack of ultimate accountability — “the state closes ranks,” Montague said — has also been a repeat feature.
A BBC report on the 50th anniversary of the Lima disaster found that only one police officer had been sentenced for soccer’s deadliest stadium tragedy, getting 30 months in prison. More than 30 years after Hillsborough, one official has been convicted of a safety offense and fined. Police were acquitted after Africa’s worst sports disaster in Accra despite an inquiry that blamed them for the reckless firing of tear gas and rubber bullets.
Soccer authorities stand helpless. FIFA, the governing body of world soccer based in Switzerland, has recommendations that tear gas should never be used in stadiums. But soccer bodies can’t dictate the tactics used by a country’s security forces, even if it’s at a soccer game.
“It is all down to the organized culture of the police,” said Ronan Evain, executive director of Football Supporters Europe, a group that represents fans’ interests.
Soccer’s inability to interfere in domestic security matters is underlined by the situation in Egypt, where a 2012 stadium riot that killed 74 people came amid a decade of harsh crackdowns on fans by security forces. Dozens of fans have been killed in encounters with police at and away from games, and some fan groups were declared terrorist organizations because they were critical of the Egyptian government, which has been widely accused of human rights violations.
The African soccer body is even based in Cairo but has no authority to intervene.
It’s the police, Pearson said, who have to be “willing to admit their mistakes and learn from their mistakes.” But that kind of institutional change is grudging.
Hillsborough did bring effective reform for England, but it stands almost alone. Lessons were lost after Lima and Accra, and the same can happen again after Indonesia.
Only days after last weekend’s tragedy, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at soccer fans outside a stadium in Argentina and one person died in the chaos.
George Lawson worked at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation when he raced to the unfolding tragedy at Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra 21 years ago. He remembered being stunned by the sight of dozens of bodies lying on the ground. He recalled his country coming to a standstill.
But while an inquiry demanded the stadium be totally upgraded, the only lasting change has been a bronze statue erected outside as a memorial, with the inscription: “I am my brother’s keeper.”
“When things happen like this, there’s a hullabaloo,” Lawson said. “And after some time people forget about it.”