World’s best to compete for $15m at Gamers8 in Saudi Arabia

World’s best to compete for $15m at Gamers8 in Saudi Arabia
Gamers8 will take place in Riyadh from July 14 to Sept. 8. (Gamers8)
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Updated 15 June 2022

World’s best to compete for $15m at Gamers8 in Saudi Arabia

World’s best to compete for $15m at Gamers8 in Saudi Arabia
  • Top team to fight it out across ‘Rocket League’, ‘Dota 2’, ‘Fortnite’, ‘Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege,’ and ‘PUBG MOBILE’
  • It will be the biggest global esports and gaming event, held at purpose-built venue at Boulevard Riyadh City

RIYADH: Gamers8, the world’s biggest esports and gaming event, has revealed that six teams will compete across five titles during six weeks of action this summer in Riyadh. 

The global esports and gaming event is set to take place at a purpose-built venue at Boulevard Riyadh City from July 14, with some of the world’s leading gamers battling it out for their share of the $15 million prize pool. 

Gamers8, which will conclude on Sept. 8, features a mix of invited teams from across the globe as well as qualifiers from the Saudi-based Gamers Without Borders event.

The qualifiers, who competed at the world’s biggest charitable esports festival, were confirmed after the event recently concluded.

Hosted under the theme of “Gamers8 — Your Portal to the Next World,” the teams will compete across the following titles: “Rocket League”, “Dota 2”, “Fortnite”, “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege,” and “PUBG MOBILE.”

Local favorite “Fortnite” will feature several of the world’s leading gamers, while “Rocket League” will involve 24 teams — including Latin American hotshots FURIA, FaZe Clan and Rogue from North America, and homegrown heroes Team Falcons from Saudi Arabia. 

In “Dota 2,” Deboosters — who qualified after triumphing in the Saudi Arabia section of this year’s Gamers Without Borders — will join international teams in the esports event.

The competition over “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” welcomes TSM FTX from the North America region and Latin American outfit Team Liquid among the eight groups ready for action. 

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “This summer’s showpiece is going to be a special occasion and we are delighted to welcome the elite to Gamers8. 

“The goal of Gamers8 is to bring the virtual world of esports and gaming out into the physical realm of Riyadh. With that in mind, the capital city of our country — renowned for its enthusiasm and huge fervor for gaming — is the ideal setting for Gamers8.”

He added: “Esports fans will recognize the top talents on display and eagerly await seeing them in action, while we hope newcomers to the gaming scene across Saudi Arabia and beyond will become as passionate and dedicated as we all are. Let battle commence.”

Organized by the Saudi Esports Federation, Gamers8 will focus on four main pillars: Professional esports, festivals, music and “the Next World Summit.” 

Eight international music artists will also appear across the eight weeks of the event, alongside numerous other local and regional talents. More than 1,000 activities and attractions, such as comedy, magic shows and much more, will also be on the Gamers8 entertainment agenda. 


Distracted Kyrgios crumbles, Murray falls and Raducanu rolls

Distracted Kyrgios crumbles, Murray falls and Raducanu rolls
Updated 18 August 2022

Distracted Kyrgios crumbles, Murray falls and Raducanu rolls

Distracted Kyrgios crumbles, Murray falls and Raducanu rolls
  • World No. 28 Kyrgios, after a standout summer which included the Washington title this month, could not find his best game in crashing out to 11th seed Fritz after only 50 minutes
  • Women’s 10th seed Emma Raducanu dispatched her second Grand Slam champion in less than 24 hours, crushing Victoria Azarenka 6-0, 6-2

CINCINNATI, US: Nick Kyrgios lost his way amid objections to on-court advertising lights, with the Wimbledon runner-up falling 6-3, 6-2 to American Taylor Fritz at the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday.

The Australian was in complaint mode from the start, lamenting the distraction of flickering LED lights on an advertising board and demanding a fix.

World No. 28 Kyrgios, after a standout summer which included the Washington title this month, could not find his best game in crashing out to 11th seed Fritz after only 50 minutes.

The Aussie had beaten his last five American opponents and stood 15-2 since his surprise Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic.

But after confessing that he is counting the days until he can return home after the US Open, Kyrgios seemed uninterested in the job on court.

Fritz fired a 12th ace to set up match point and won as Kyrgios hit the top of the net with a weak forehand.

“It feels great the way my game is coming together,” Fritz said. “This is the kind of match I need to build confidence.

“A lot of things were clicking today, I felt great.”

Women’s 10th seed Emma Raducanu dispatched her second Grand Slam champion in less than 24 hours, crushing Victoria Azarenka 6-0, 6-2.

The teenager US Open champion claimed the first 10 games before her veteran opponent, a two-time Cincinnati winner with two Australian Open titles, finally captured a game.

But the young Briton, who ousted Serena Williams the night before with another love set, was having nothing of the sort.

Raducanu calmly achieved 5-1 and conquered her nerves two games later by saving two break points and serving it out on her second match point as Azarenka drove a return long after 63 minutes.

The heavy defeat continued bad form at the US Open tuneup for Azaranka, the 2013 and 2020 winner, who won only two games here a year ago in a third-round loss to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty.

“I played a great match for sure,” Raducanu said. “To play Vika like that I had to stay focused.

“In the second set I could feel the important moments. I’m pleased with how I dug in and served it out.”

On the men’s side, Andy Murray needed a post-match on-court visit from the trainer after losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on to Cameron Norrie in the second round.

Murray, a two-time Cincinnati champion, needed massage on his right thigh before being able to leave the court after battling for nearly two and three-quarter hours in the last major tuneup for the US Open, which begins Aug. 29.

“At times I felt like I played really well and then at times didn’t. My consistency maybe was not where I’d want it,” Murray said.

“But there was some positive tennis in there at times. I definitely had enough opportunities to win that match.”

After cramping at other events in recent weeks, the 35-year-old Scotsman is concerned about his physical situation.

“It’s a big concern for me. It’s something I need to address and find a solution for,” Murray said. “You need to try and understand what’s going on there.”

World No. 11 Norrie broke open a slow-moving match stalemate with a service break in the penultimate game and converted on his first match point.

“I just played the bigger points a bit better,” Norrie said. “It came down to one or two points.”

Norrie produced 39 winners to 37 for three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, who converted on only two of his 11 break chances and fired nearly 40 unforced errors.

“I was not physical enough at the start of the match,” Norrie said. “I was not executing the way I liked. I was pleased to get through without playing my best.”

Elsewhere in the second round, American Ben Shelton stunned fifth seed Casper Ruud, defeating the Norwegian 6-3, 6-3.

In the women’s draw, Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, the fifth seed, defeated Cincinnati’s own Caty McNally 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7).


Olympic champ Pichardo wins Euro triple jump, Bol keeps double bid on track

Olympic champ Pichardo wins Euro triple jump, Bol keeps double bid on track
Updated 18 August 2022

Olympic champ Pichardo wins Euro triple jump, Bol keeps double bid on track

Olympic champ Pichardo wins Euro triple jump, Bol keeps double bid on track
  • Cuban-born Pichardo, who has competed for Portugal since 2019, dominated the field with a best of 17.50 meters, Italy’s Andrea Dallavalle claiming silver with 17.04m and France’s Jean-Marc Pontvianne bronze (16.94)

MUNICH: World and Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo added European triple jump gold to his accolades in Munich on Wednesday while Dutchwoman Femke Bol kept her bid for an audacious track double on course.

Cuban-born Pichardo, who has competed for Portugal since 2019, dominated the field with a best of 17.50 meters, Italy’s Andrea Dallavalle claiming silver with 17.04m and France’s Jean-Marc Pontvianne bronze (16.94).

Bol, 22, was also in dominant shape in the women’s 400m, winning in 49.44 seconds ahead of Polish pair Natalia Kaczmarek and Anna Kielbasinska.

A world silver medalist and Olympic bronze medallist in the 400m hurdles, Bol now re-focuses on that race.

But there is no respite for the Dutch runner, with her 400m hurdles semifinal scheduled for 1011 GMT on Thursday and the final a day later at 2000.

She then faces a quick turnaround for the 4x400m relay at 1945 GMT on Saturday for a realistic tilt at triple gold.

In a good night for one-lap favorites, world bronze medalist Matthew Hudson-Smith of Britain retained his title in the men’s 400m in 44.53sec.

Switzerland’s Ricky Petrucciani claimed silver in 45.03sec, with another Briton, Alex Haydock-Wilson, rounding out the podium (45.17).

But there was not such good news for two other defending champions, France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde and Greece’s Aikaterina Stefanidi.

Martinot-Lagarde was denied gold by the slimmest of margins in the 110m hurdles as Spain’s Asier Martinez was handed victory in a photo-finish by just a thousandth of a second, in 13.14sec.

Another Frenchman, Just Kwaou-Mathey, took bronze in 13.33ec, with fancied teammate Sasha Zhoya clipping the final hurdle to hit the track and eventually finish last.

Stefanidi, meanwhile, was denied a hat trick of European pole vault titles by Finland’s Wilma Murto, who hit a rich vein of confidence to match the championship record of 4.85m.

2016 Olympic champion Stefanidi could only manage 4.75m, taking silver on countback from Slovenia’s Tina Sutej.

The women’s hammer throw was won by Romania’s Bianca Ghelber in the almighty absence of four-time champion Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.

The Polish world record holder has won gold at the last three Olympics as well as four world titles, but had to sit out Munich and the Eugene worlds after being injured while chasing a man who had tried to steal her car.

Ghelber’s best of 72.22m came on her first attempt and was enough to see off Poland’s Ewa Rozanska (72.12m) and Italy’s Sara Fantini (71.58).

Reigning champion Nafi Thiam of Belgium was in pole position after the first day of competition in the heptathlon.

She registered 13.34sec in the 100m hurdles, 1.98m in the high jump, 14.95m in the shot put and 24.64sec in the 200m to leave her with 4,063 points. Compatriot Noor Vidts sits second on 3,849pts.

Thursday sees the heptathletes competing in the long jump, javelin and 800m.


Quintana denies use of banned drug after Tour de France disqualification

Quintana denies use of banned drug after Tour de France disqualification
Updated 18 August 2022

Quintana denies use of banned drug after Tour de France disqualification

Quintana denies use of banned drug after Tour de France disqualification
  • Tramadol is only banned in competition and while Quintana has been disqualified from the Tour after testing positive for the substance on both July 8 and 13, he will not be banned from future races

PARIS: Colombian Nairo Quintana on Wednesday denied taking a banned pain medication after he was retrospectively disqualified from this year’s Tour de France over a positive tramadol test result.

Former two-time runner-up Quintana, 32, finished sixth overall in the race that ended on July 24.

The pain medication has been on a list of International Cycling Union (UCI) prohibited substances since 2019.

“I know nothing about the use of this substance and deny ever having used it in my career,” Quintana, who is due to take part in the Vuelta a Espana beginning on Friday in the Netherlands, said in a statement published to Twitter.

“With my team of lawyers we are exhausting all avenues to mount my defense.”

Tramadol is only banned in competition and while Quintana has been disqualified from the Tour after testing positive for the substance on both July 8 and 13, he will not be banned from future races.

The UCI said Quintana “has been sanctioned for an infringement of the in-competition ban on using tramadol... with the aim of protecting the safety and health of riders in light of the side-effects of this substance.”

The governing body added that “the analyzes of two dried blood samples... revealed the presence of tramadol and its two main metabolites.”

Quintana has 10 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the UCI said.

“As this is a first offense, Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas is not declared ineligible and can therefore participate in competitions,” it added.

Quintana’s Arkea-Samsic team said they were aware of the decision but would “make no further comment.”

The team did not say whether Quintana would still take part in the Vuelta but the Grand Tour’s race director, Javier Guillen told Spanish news agency EFE that he “can start the race, according to the rules.” 

“The rider and the team will decide what they are going to do,” added Guillen.

On Tuesday, the Breton outfit announced Quintana had signed a contract extension until 2025.

Quintana was the first Colombian to win a Grand Tour when he claimed Giro d’Italia glory in 2014 before adding a Vuelta triumph two years later.

Although he never won the Tour, he was an inspiration to many more Colombian cyclists that came after him, such as Egan Bernal who in 2019 became his country’s first winner of the world’s most prestigious race.


LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers

LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers
Updated 18 August 2022

LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers

LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers
  • The new deal means the 18-time All-Star will make $46.7 million this season
  • James’ recommitment to the Lakers also silences persistent talk of his possible departure as a free agent or in a trade

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension through the 2024-25 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent announced Wednesday.

Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said the league-maximum deal makes James the highest-paid player in NBA history. His new deal includes a player option that would keep the second-leading scorer in NBA history with the Lakers past his 40th birthday in December 2024.

The 37-year-old James is headed into the final year of his most recent contract with the Lakers, who signed the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and four-time league champion in July 2018. The new deal means the 18-time All-Star will make $46.7 million this season.

Barring injury, James is likely to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s career scoring king this winter. James and the Lakers also still hope to be in contention for another title if James and Anthony Davis can return at full health after an injury-plagued 2021-22 ended without a playoff appearance.

James’ new deal syncs with Davis’ most recent contract extension with the Lakers, allowing both to leave the Lakers or to negotiate new deals in 2024. Both superstars are represented by Klutch.

James’ recommitment to the Lakers also silences persistent talk of his possible departure as a free agent or in a trade. James hasn’t appeared to be going anywhere on social media or in his public appearances, and he praised the hiring of new Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

James has missed significant portions of the season due to injury in three of his four years with the Lakers. He was largely healthy in the elongated 2019-20 season when the Lakers won the franchise’s 17th NBA title in the Florida bubble, and he has been every bit the dominant player of his prime when at full strength in the ensuing two years.

Although his contract status inspired plenty of offseason chatter, James seemed unlikely to relocate after spending the past four seasons of his 19-year career with the storied Lakers. His family is settled in Los Angeles, where his eldest son, Bronny, is a 17-year-old senior and college basketball prospect playing at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth.

James has occasionally said he intends to play on the same team with Bronny when his son reaches the NBA. Although plenty of obstacles remain between the younger James and the NBA, he could be draft-eligible in the summer of 2024.


Billionaire Ratcliffe interested in buying Manchester United — source

Billionaire Ratcliffe interested in buying Manchester United — source
Updated 17 August 2022

Billionaire Ratcliffe interested in buying Manchester United — source

Billionaire Ratcliffe interested in buying Manchester United — source
  • The club's owners, the American Glazer family, are under pressure with United sitting bottom of the Premier League after two games of the season
  • Bloomberg reported they would consider selling a minority stake, opening the door for Ratcliffe

DUBAI: British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is interested in buying Manchester United, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters after Elon Musk said his plan to buy the Premier League club was all part of “a long-running joke.”
Musk, the world’s richest person, said on Tuesday night on Twitter that he wanted to buy England’s most successful club before clarifying that it was a joke and that he had no interest in purchasing any sports teams.
The club’s owners, the American Glazer family, are under pressure with United sitting bottom of the Premier League after two games of the season. Bloomberg reported they would consider selling a minority stake, opening the door for Ratcliffe.
A source close to Ratcliffe said the billionaire was a potential buyer as he wants to help rebuild the team. The Times first reported Ratcliffe’s interest on Wednesday.
It is unclear if the interest would result in any deals. The Glazer family is not ready to concede the controlling stake in Manchester United and has an expectation of valuing the club at more than double its current market cap of $2.2 billion, another source said.
In May 2022, Chelsea Football Club was sold to a consortium led by an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital for $3.2 billion (2.5 billion pounds).
The Glazers have been the target of intense criticism for their failure to invest in the team who have not won a trophy in five years. United’s net debt had grown 11 percent to about 496 million pounds ($598 million) by the end of March.
The owners have also been criticized for not improving the Old Trafford stadium, the biggest club ground in the country with a capacity of around 75,000 fans.
Ratcliffe, head of chemical company INEOS, is from the Manchester area and a long-standing United fan.
Ratcliffe failed this year in an attempt to buy London club Chelsea which was ultimately bought by an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
United finished sixth last season in their worst Premier League campaign with respect to points earned, failing to qualify for the lucrative European Champions League.
They won the last of their record 20 top-flight league titles in 2013, the year Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager after more than 26 years in charge.
The club hired manager Erik ten Hag from Ajax Amsterdam in a bid to turn around their fortunes but the Dutchman has not yet succeeded in imposing his playing style, with United losing their opening two games after conceding six goals.
United play their arch-rivals Liverpool, who scored nine times without reply in their two league meetings last season, at Old Trafford on Monday.
Shares of Manchester United jumped 6.96 percent on Wednesday.