Sainz leads Leclerc in Ferrari one-two in French GP practice

Sainz leads Leclerc in Ferrari one-two in French GP practice
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz of Spain steers his car during the second practice for the French F1 Grand Prix at Paul Ricard racetrack in Le Castellet on Friday. (AP)
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Updated 22 July 2022

Sainz leads Leclerc in Ferrari one-two in French GP practice

Sainz leads Leclerc in Ferrari one-two in French GP practice
  • The Ferrari pair swapped fastest laps in a closely-contested session in bright sunshine
  • The Spaniard clocked a best lap in one minute and 32.527 seconds to beat his Monegasque team-mate by 0.101seconds

Le CASTELLET, France: Carlos Sainz led Charles Leclerc at the top of the times on Friday as Ferrari dominated second practice for the French Grand Prix ahead of world championship leader Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
The Ferrari pair swapped fastest laps in a closely-contested session in bright sunshine, Sainz making light of the prospect of a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race after taking new power-train components.
The Spaniard, who scored his maiden victory at the British Grand Prix earlier this month, clocked a best lap in one minute and 32.527 seconds to beat his Monegasque team-mate by 0.101seconds.
Verstappen was a competitive third ahead of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in the two freshly-updated Mercedes and Lando Norris who was sixth for McLaren.
Kevin Magnussen was seventh for Haas ahead of Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri, Daniel Ricciardo in the second McLaren and Sergio Perez, in the second Red Bull.
The session was uninterrupted and largely uneventful as the teams adapted to the heat — the track temperature was 50 degrees and the air 34 degrees — in front of a big holiday crowd.
The circuit is sold out for both Saturday and Sunday, according to the organizers at the Paul Ricard circuit, where the two Alpine drivers set the initial early pace with Fernando Alonso topping Esteban Ocon before Magnussen and then Russell took over until Leclerc arrived.
The reinvigorated Leclerc, who won the last race in Austria, had been quickest in the first session and was swift to pick up where he left off in the earlier action.
As expected, it was a tight contest and four minutes later Verstappen edged ahead by 0.010 seconds only for Sainz, facing a grid penalty on Sunday, to sweep clear at the top by 0.850 in 1:33.322.
The heat appeared to have a soporific effect on everyone for a short period before Leclerc returned to beat his Ferrari team-mate’s time by 0.186 only for the Spaniard to respond and jump six-tenths clear.
It was clear that Ferrari had found a sweet spot in their car set-up, but Verstappen was close to matching them on soft tires, the Dutchman moving up to second briefly before Leclerc replaced him.


Howe backs Pope to recover from England nightmare

Howe backs Pope to recover from England nightmare
Updated 01 October 2022

Howe backs Pope to recover from England nightmare

Howe backs Pope to recover from England nightmare
  • Newcastle goalkeeper’s late error gifted Germany an equalizer in Monday’s 3-3 draw

NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe is backing Nick Pope to put his England nightmare behind him at Newcastle United, while insisting he has no short-term interest in replacing Gareth Southgate.

The Magpies head coach Howe has been installed as the favorite to replace Southgate as international boss in light of England going winless in their last six games ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November.

The latest disappointment in that unwanted run was a 3-3 home draw with Germany, in which Magpies’ No. 1 Pope made a costly late error to ensure the visitors walked away with a valuable UEFA Nations League point.

And while Howe knows the summer signing will be back to his best for Newcastle, he also backs Southgate to bounce back.

“I have spoken with Nick. He’s in a good place,” said Howe, whose side take on Fulham at Craven Cottage today.

“He is aware of how special those games are for him and his career. Where he has come from, to experience those moments is brilliant. He has earned the right to get to the position he is at. I was very proud of him representing his country on behalf of England.

“It’s a very difficult position to play in. I remember playing in goal a few times as a 10-year-old and I made a couple of mistakes and that was me out — I didn’t want to do it anymore. You need to love goalkeeping and then you need to be able to deal with mistakes. It’s part of the job when you’re in that position.

“Nick is a very calm, level-headed guy — he’s incredibly focused. I’ve got no problem with him returning. I know he’ll carry on where he left off for us. It’s probably a shield that you build up through many years of playing in goal.”

While many pundits are tipping England to turn to Howe if things fail to go to plan for the national team in the Middle East this winter, the Newcastle head coach only has eyes for progress on Tyneside.

“Gareth has done an incredible job and I mean that from the bottom of my heart,” said Howe.

“I have been lucky enough to go in and see him work and I have a lot of time for him and Steve Holland,” said Howe. “They have been amazing for England. You have to remember where England was before he took over and what he has done for the country.

“I never say never, never. But in the short term it is not on my radar at all. It is all Newcastle and trying to make this team better.

“I have always said I love the day-to-day coaching, love being with the players on the training ground — in international football you get that taken away for long periods. At this moment in my life that is not something I want to do.”

Meanwhile, Howe understands that the key to Newcastle’s success this season is keeping his key players fit.

And after an international break of injury scares, Howe is unexpectedly set to welcome back Callum Wilson, Elliot Anderson, Bruno Guimaraes and possibly Allan Saint-Maximin and Chris Wood to his first-team setup.

“I’m not sure there’s a magic formula, really,” said Howe on keeping players like last season’s top-scorer Wilson fit.

“Of course, with all our players, our main aim is to get as many people fit and available for as many games as we can.

“Callum is an important player so resting him and managing his minutes is not always the best thing for a player. Sometimes players need rhythm and they need to get used to playing 90 minutes consecutively to build their resilience.

“It’s a really delicate balance and sometimes it’s impossible to know what the correct answer is. Sometimes you just play the game, don’t think too much and then back the players’ resilience. Callum played a lot of games for me during busy schedules and did very well so there’s no special plans at the moment.”


Saudi Arabia lose to Vietnam in second game of 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup

Saudi Arabia lose to Vietnam in second game of 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup
Updated 01 October 2022

Saudi Arabia lose to Vietnam in second game of 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup

Saudi Arabia lose to Vietnam in second game of 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup
  • The 3-1 loss in Kuwait means the Green Falcons must wait until tomorrow’s clash with South Korea if they are to progress to the last eight

Saudi Arabia have lost 3-1 to Vietnam in their second match of the 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup, which took place at Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Hall in Kuwait on Friday.

A win for the Green Falcons would have ensured progress from Group D to the quarter-finals after they had launched their campaign on Monday with 2-1 win over Japan.

The 16-team tournament kicked off on Sept. 27 and will conclude on Oct. 8.

Vietnam’s goals came from Nguyen Anh Duy (12 minutes), Chau Doan Phat (28), and Nguyen Minh Tri (40), while Hammoud Al-Dahan scored in the 30th minute for Saudi Arabia.

Group D’s other match on Friday night saw Japan beat South Korea 6-0 at the venue.

Vietnam lead the group standings with six points after two rounds, with Saudi second on three points. Also with the three points, but trailing the Falcons on goal difference, are Japan, while South Korea are bottom with no points.

The next group matches will take place tomorrow with Saudi facing South Korea and Vietnam taking on Japan.


Turmoil at home swirls around Iran team ahead of World Cup

Turmoil at home swirls around Iran team ahead of World Cup
Updated 01 October 2022

Turmoil at home swirls around Iran team ahead of World Cup

Turmoil at home swirls around Iran team ahead of World Cup
  • The Iranian football federation tried to silence fans by locking them out of the stadium in Austria
  • Players made their silent protest at a World Cup warmup game this week

GENEVA: Political issues are swirling around the Iran men’s football team amid turmoil on the streets at home just weeks before the World Cup where it will play the United States, Wales and England.
At home in Iran, two weeks of demonstrations and a violent crackdown by state authorities have followed the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of the morality police. She had been detained for allegedly wearing a mandatory headscarf too loosely.
Players made their silent protest at a World Cup warmup game this week, where the Iranian soccer federation tried to silence fans by locking them out of the stadium in Austria.
The federation also tried this month to organize a warmup game in November with Russia, Iran’s military ally whose teams are pariahs in football since the invasion of Ukraine.
FIFA was urged Friday by long-time campaigners for the rights of women fans to attend games in Iran to expel the national team from the World Cup.
“The Islamic Republic’s authorities and its football federation must not be given the honor of participating in football’s finest tournament while it is killing its citizens on our streets,” the Open Stadiums group said.
Open Stadiums called on FIFA to uphold its statutory commitment to respect and strive to promote “all internationally recognized human rights.”
Soccer’s governing body did not immediately comment on the fans’ request.
FIFA already did expel Russia from this World Cup — imposing a ban before a European qualifying playoffs semifinal in March against Poland — though without invoking human rights reasons. Instead, FIFA cited “irreparable and chaotic” harm to the World Cup due to security risks and potential opponents likely refusing to play Russia.
Iran should certainly play at the World Cup in Qatar, its near neighbor across the Arabian Gulf water, though the likelihood increased this week of political disruption for FIFA to deal with at the tournament starting Nov. 20.
Players have made their stand after being criticized for not reacting to Amini’s death days later at their first warmup game in Austria.
On Sunday, striker Sardar Azmoun wrote to his 4.9 million followers on Instagram that team rules prohibited comment “but I am no longer able to tolerate silence.”
He added being kicked out of the team would be “a small price to pay for even a single strand of Iranian women’s hair.”
A team-wide reaction followed Tuesday when the Iranian anthem played ahead of the game against Senegal. Each player wore a wore a plain black jacket that covered up their national team badge.


The game went ahead without fans in the stadium near Vienna, as the federation tried to stop demonstrators outside using a platform for dissent that would be seen on a live broadcast at home.
Star striker Mehdi Taremi later wrote on Instagram of being “ashamed” to see videos from Iran of violence against women in the streets.
Protesters in Iran have also targeted wider repression with some calls to overthrow the clerical establishment that has ruled Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution.
Football was drawn closer into the Iranian turmoil in the same week FIFA president Gianni Infantino claimed progress for women’s fans there at a World Trade Organization event in Geneva.
“Women attend football games now in Iran which was not possible until a couple of (months) ago,” Infantino said Tuesday, when he also visited United Nations human rights officials hours before the Iran players’ protest in Austria.
Infantino’s claim was disputed by Open Stadiums which said “when the Islamic Republic pretended to open league matches for women, it was far from the equality FIFA’s own statutes require.”
“To begin with, very few women could buy tickets, then in a humiliating way got physically harassed by Iran’s morality police,” the activist group said.
The tension between FIFA and Iranian women fans is despite some success at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
FIFA intervened four years ago to ensure fans could display their campaign banners in stadiums.
More cooperation could be called upon in Qatar, when Iran has a global audience to face England in just the second game of the tournament on Nov. 21.
Coach Carlos Queiroz’s team also faces Wales in Group B on Nov. 25 and four days later against the US.


International Olympic Committee renews Saudi Arabian memberships for next four years

International Olympic Committee renews Saudi Arabian memberships for next four years
Updated 01 October 2022

International Olympic Committee renews Saudi Arabian memberships for next four years

International Olympic Committee renews Saudi Arabian memberships for next four years

RIYADH: The International Olympic Committee on Friday announced that it is renewing three memberships for Saudi Arabia for the next four years, while adding a new fourth membership, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach said the three committee memberships that have been renewed include Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal as a member of the Marketing Commission.
The IOC renewed the membership of SOPC Vice President Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdul Aziz as vice president of the Commission for Public Affairs and Social Development.
Saudi ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar, who is a member of the IOC and board member of SOPC, was granted a new membership in the Sustainability and Legacy Commission, in addition to renewing her previous membership in the Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission and the Coordination Commission for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.

 


The Kingdom’s renewed and additional membership in the IOC, the largest and most important sports organization in the world, comes within the framework of strengthening and raising the number of Saudi capabilities in international organizations, in line with the Kingdom’s expanding sporting sector and in accordance with the objectives of its Vision 2030.
On Friday, the IOC also announced that Bach had appointed an equal number of women and men to the commissions for this year, marking “a historic milestone in the committee’s efforts to increase gender balance at its governance level.”

 


Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism and NBA launch official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism and NBA launch official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022
Updated 30 September 2022

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism and NBA launch official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism and NBA launch official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022
  • Burj Khalifa light projection marks a week until 1st ever NBA Games in the Arabian Gulf
  • The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will feature the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks playing two preseason games at Etihad Arena

ABU DHABI: The iconic Burj Khalifa was on Friday lit by the logo of The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 that are set to start on Oct. 6 in the capital of the UAE.
Hundreds of excited spectators gathered to look on as the logo of the historic event was displayed on the skyscraper’s façade, accompanied by a stunning light show event.
The event was held in celebration of the official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022, the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) – Abu Dhabi and the National Basketball Association (NBA).
A countdown clock was briefly displayed with eye-catching lights beamed onto Burj Khalifa, creating yet another milestone in the history of one of the most popular sports leagues in the world.
The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will feature the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks playing two preseason games at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. GST, marking the league’s first games in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.
The games are part of a ground-breaking multiyear collaboration between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi.
A media statement said the “NBA District,” an immersive, interactive fan event in conjunction with The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022, will be held at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi from Oct. 5 and Oct. 9. NBA District will showcase the music, media and art associated with NBA culture. Fans will be able to engage with NBA personalities from around the world, watch authentic NBA game entertainment, enjoy hands-on basketball activities, and purchase limited-edition NBA merchandise.
Fans can purchase tickets to the NBA District and the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 by visiting NBAEvents.com/AbuDhabi and follow @NBAArabic on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates, news and content in Arabic.