Red Bull BMX superstars to appear at event across Saudi Arabia

Red Bull BMX superstars to appear at event across Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia will host a Red Bull sporting extravaganza later this month as some of the biggest names in biking. (Red Bull)
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Updated 14 November 2022

Red Bull BMX superstars to appear at event across Saudi Arabia

Red Bull BMX superstars to appear at event across Saudi Arabia
  • Rally champion and media personality Sultan Hamdi will host the event

Saudi Arabia will host a Red Bull sporting extravaganza later this month as some of the biggest names in BMX, ride into Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar. 

The show will run from November 17 to 19 in front of Red Bull Mobile stores in the three cities and will feature three of the iconic brand’s most prominent BMX athletes in the field — Viki Gomez, Kenny Belaey, and Senad Grosic. 

Rally champion and media personality Sultan Hamdi will host the event, and for around two hours each day, the program will include presentations and interactive experiences performed by the three riders and other Red Bull stars, as well as activities fronted by local talent and influencers.  DJ Masaken will also perform at the events.


Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu relishing shot at Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open

Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu relishing shot at Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open
Updated 17 sec ago

Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu relishing shot at Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open

Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu relishing shot at Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open
  • New WTA-500 tournament takes place at Zayed Sports City from Feb. 5-12

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu is delighted to finally see the UAE capital added to the WTA calendar with the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open —a contest that would “mean a lot” to her if she became its first winner.

The 22-year-old Canadian is among the top stars set to compete at the inaugural WTA-500 level event from Feb. 5-12 at the International Tennis Centre in Zayed Sports City.

With the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open being the latest elite tennis event in the city following the 2021 WTA Women’s Tennis Open and the annual exhibition Mubadala World Tennis Championships, Andreescu is relishing the opportunity of returning to the Emirate after being impressed by what she saw during a day trip back in December 2020.

The 2019 US Open champion said: “Whenever there’s a chance that I can play a tournament, I will but specifically for this tournament it’s a WTA 500 and is being staged in a great location in Abu Dhabi.

“I’ve been there before and I always wanted to go back. During my pre-season in December 2020, I traveled to Abu Dhabi for one day and I visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which was amazing.

“It’s really nice that tennis is spreading all around the world and Abu Dhabi is a really nice place. I’ve always thought about why WTA doesn’t have a tournament on its calendar but now it’s here with the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open. To be one of the first players to play in the tournament is always nice so I’m very excited to play there.”

The Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open has attracted a strong field including recent Australian Open finalist and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, Russian world No. 8 Daria Kasatkina, world No. 9 Belinda Bencic, Russian No. 11 Veronika Kudermetova as well as three-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza.

Andreescu, who comes into Abu Dhabi following the Hua Hin Championships in Thailand, is fully aware of the stern competition she faces if she wants to claim her fourth WTA title.

“It will be very tough but I am looking forward to it,” said Andreescu, who reached a career high of fourth in the world rankings in 2019. “All of these wonderful women on the tour give me motivation and inspiration to be where they are and where I was before. To be competing alongside them gives me that extra motivation as I do like to play my best tennis against top players. I think I can do well given it’s on hard court, which is a surface I love.”

She added: “I have had a few good matches at the start of the year and played in the Thailand Open this week so hopefully I can continue to do well and get some good matches under my belt and carry that on to the Abu Dhabi tournament. I think right now it is about gaining as many matches as I can since I’ve not played the amount of games that I would I have liked to have played.

“Maybe next week might be my chance. It’s the first edition (of the tournament) so winning it would mean a lot.”

Whether she makes history by becoming the inaugural champion of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open or not, Andreescu insists the tournament will serve as an important platform for the rest of 2023 and has set her sights on adding to her Grand Slam triumphs.

“I would love to win another Grand Slam and another WTA 1000 event,” she said. “I know that it’s possible because I’ve done it before and hoping this year is my year. I don’t want to be too picky but the Australian Open would’ve been nice.

“But looking ahead I’ve always wanted to win the US Open and the next one after that would be Wimbledon. I don’t have the most experience on grass yet but last year I showed some dominance on it so hopefully I can do well in that this year.”


Saudi Cup sees Pogo and Garrus clash in 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc

Saudi Cup sees Pogo and Garrus clash in 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc
Updated 14 min 58 sec ago

Saudi Cup sees Pogo and Garrus clash in 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc

Saudi Cup sees Pogo and Garrus clash in 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc
  • British trainer oversaw arguably the two horses’ best seasons in 2022

If there is one trainer who knows how to get the best out of sprinters, it is Charlie Hills, and the British handler is hoping his two contenders in this year’s Group 3 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc at The Saudi Cup meeting on Feb. 25 can show why he has become such an expert with horses over shorter distances.

Hills saddles Pogo and Garrus in the contest, both of whom enjoyed arguably the best seasons of their careers in 2022, and Hills reports the pair are in great form ahead of their seasonal debuts in Saudi Arabia.

“Both horses are in great form and I couldn’t be much happier with them,” he said. “The plan has always been to start both in the race in Saudi and I’m really looking forward to running them as they seem in really rude health.

“The facilities for the horses out there are fantastic and it’s one of those events that you want to be having runners at, so it’s great we’ve got two heading over with live chances.”

Pogo was one of the most improved horses in training on British shores last season having won three times at Group level, including the Group 2 Challenge Stakes at Newmarket, and his trainer is very happy with his charge.

Hills said: “He was absolutely brilliant last year and kept a really solid level of form the whole way through the campaign.

“I’ve always believed he was a really good horse as he’s always shown that at home and it’s great that he’s translated his work on the gallops to the track. He’s got a great constitution, takes his racing really well, and just didn’t stop improving.”

The 7-year-old took his form to a new level in 2022 and while Hills admits he did not do anything different with him, he feels a combination of increased maturity and confidence might have been the key.

“Some horses just take a bit longer to develop and he might be one of those,” Hills said. “He’s a real trier and there’s no doubt that last season showed he’s improved as he’s got older.”

Pogo finished fifth in this race 12 months ago and the 11-time Group 1-winning trainer hopes that with the horse in better shape this time around, he might be able to go a few places better.

He said: “The track and trip should really play to his strengths out there. He loves fast ground and hopefully this year’s race will be run a bit more to suit. We’ll probably ride him a touch more patiently this time and with any luck he’ll be bang there.”

Hills is also responsible for Garrus in this year’s 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc, another horse who improved hand over fist in 2022, and like his stablemate, he is in great form ahead of his seasonal reappearance.

“The trip and track should really suit him,” Hills added. “We’ve been really pleased with his run-up to the race, and it looks a really good place to start him off this year.

“The prize money is so good out there and given it’s a race we think should play to his strengths, we’ve had it lined up for a while for him.”


Tatum leads Celtic rout of Nets, Sixers bounce back against Magic

Tatum leads Celtic rout of Nets, Sixers bounce back against Magic
Updated 52 min 32 sec ago

Tatum leads Celtic rout of Nets, Sixers bounce back against Magic

Tatum leads Celtic rout of Nets, Sixers bounce back against Magic
  • Prolific Damian Lillard poured in 42 points for a second straight game as the Portland Trail Blazers downed Grizzlies 122-112

LOS ANGELES: Jayson Tatum scored 31 points as the Boston Celtics put the depleted Brooklyn Nets firmly in their place with a brutal 139-96 mauling on Wednesday.

The heavyweight clash between the two Eastern Conference rivals ended with the Nets reeling on the ropes as the Celtics laid down a marker with an emphatic wire-to-wire victory at the TD Garden.

Boston dominated from the outset, running up a remarkable 46 points in the first quarter alone, with Tatum contributing 18 points.

By halftime, the Celtics had raced into a 34-point lead against a Brooklyn side still missing the injured Kevin Durant.

Tatum’s 31-point haul included seven three-pointers from 12-of-19 shooting while Jaylen Brown provided scoring support with 26 points.

Six Boston players finished in double figures after a lopsided rout.

Kyrie Irving led the Brooklyn Nets scoring with 20 points.

“A couple of days off did us good, we felt refreshed,” Boston star Tatum said afterwards. “We have depth and a next-man-up mentality.”

Tatum reserved special praise for Robert Williams III, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

“On any given night, Rob might be the most important guy to our long-term success,” Tatum said.

“To get to where we want to get to, we need Rob on the floor and we need him healthy.”

Elsewhere, the Philadelphia 76ers bounced back from their upset loss to the Orlando Magic on Monday with a comprehensive 105-94 defeat of the Florida club.

The Sixers had been on a roll heading into Monday’s game with seven straight wins, but somehow squandered a 21-point advantage to crash 119-109.

A scheduling quirk meant the Sixers did not have to wait long to avenge that loss, and Philadelphia duly seized the opportunity on Wednesday.

A reinvigorated Sixers side turned the tables with a convincing victory thanks to 28 points from Joel Embiid and 26 points from James Harden.

Harden narrowly missed out on a triple double, finishing with nine rebounds and 10 assists, with a points tally that included six three-pointers.

Markelle Fultz topped the Magic scoring with 18 points.

In Memphis, the prolific Damian Lillard poured in 42 points for a second straight game as the Portland Trail Blazers downed the Grizzlies 122-112.

Lillard, who also had 10 assists and eight rebounds, is now tied with Shaquille O’Neal in 19th place on the rankings of players with the most 40-point games in NBA history.

Lillard, who also scored 42 points in a win over Atlanta on Monday, now has 49 40-point games.

The Blazers talisman chipped in with nine points in the final quarter while Anfernee Simons dropped in 14 as Portland outscored Memphis 38-22 in the fourth to claim victory.

Ja Morant finished with 32 points for Memphis, who at one stage led by 12 points before Portland clawed their way back into the contest.

“We were down, and they’re a great team, but we’re a team that’s dealt with a lot this season and we feel like we felt the bottom,” Lillard said.

“And the one thing we do have is our togetherness. We’ve learned to fight our way out of things and I think we’ve learned to fight out of a tough place.

“We were put in a position with our back against the wall tonight and we responded the way real connected teams do.”

Lillard led Portland’s scoring while Simons finished with 26 points and Jerami Grant 18.

Portland improved to 25-26 with the win, putting them just outside the play-in positions in 11th place in the Western Conference.

In Minneapolis, meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves avenged their biggest defeat of the season with a 119-114 overtime victory against the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors had thumped the Timberwolves 137-114 in November but found the going harder on Wednesday.

Although Stephen Curry bagged 29 points for Golden State, Minnesota ground out victory thanks to big contributions from D’Angelo Russell (29 points), Anthony Edwards (27) and Naz Reid (24).


Golf rankings becoming ‘obsolete’, says LIV player Cameron Smith

Golf rankings becoming ‘obsolete’, says LIV player Cameron Smith
Updated 02 February 2023

Golf rankings becoming ‘obsolete’, says LIV player Cameron Smith

Golf rankings becoming ‘obsolete’, says LIV player Cameron Smith
  • The Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) Board received an application from LIV Golf in July last year, but is yet to make any announcement

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY: British Open champion and LIV Golf player Cameron Smith claimed Wednesday that the world golf rankings are becoming “obsolete” as a consequence of the sport’s civil war.

The 29-year-old Australian joined the breakaway series last year after rising to No. 2 in the world.

That followed a series of spectacular performances, including winning the 150th British Open at St. Andrews, the Players Championship, the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and the Australian PGA Championship. He has, however, slipped to No.4 in the rankings.

The Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) Board received an application from LIV Golf in July last year, but is yet to make any announcement.

In the meantime, former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson has fallen to 46, Bryson DeChambeau has slipped from 24 to 96, while Phil Mickelson is 254th compared to 38th at this time last year.

“I’ve tried not to take it that badly, to be honest,” said Smith on Wednesday as he prepared to play the Asian Tour’s $5 million season-opener, the Saudi International which features a host of LIV players.

“I think when you rock up at a tournament, you know who you have to beat, whether there is a world ranking or not. There are generally seven-eight guys that are in that field that you know are going to put up a pretty good fight.

“For sure, it hurts. I feel as though I was really close to getting to No. 1, and that was definitely something I wanted to tick off. However, the longer this stuff goes on, I think the more obsolete those rankings become.”

Smith said it would be difficult to replicate a season like 2022, but he is hoping he can make a similar start like last year when he won the Tournament of Champions with a record score of 34-under par.

“I think 2022 probably would be a really tough one to back up,” said Smith, who started his professional career with a season on the Asian Tour before securing his card on the PGA Tour.

“It’s just about keeping the same processes going, really digging deep, working hard on my game. I think that is really what I need to do. Everything becomes easy when you’re playing good golf.”

There is a question mark over Johnson’s participation this week. On Wednesday, he pulled out of the ProAm for unspecified reasons and his scheduled press conference was canceled as well.

Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia is also in the field, returning following a right-knee operation in November.

“It went well. It feels probably about 95 percent. It doesn’t bother me to swing anymore. Now it is just a matter of getting used to walking holes over and over again,” said 43-year-old Garcia, who is also playing the Asian Tour International Series Oman in Muscat next week.

“After three months off, I want to get some rounds in me. We are going to play these two tournaments and then we have the LIV opener in Mexico before we head to Orlando.

“I will have those four tournaments heading into Augusta, and it is just a matter of getting in a good rhythm and get to the Masters in as good shape as I can.”


NFL superstar Brady calls it a career: I’m retiring for good

NFL superstar Brady calls it a career: I’m retiring for good
Updated 02 February 2023

NFL superstar Brady calls it a career: I’m retiring for good

NFL superstar Brady calls it a career: I’m retiring for good
  • The Californian, widely viewed as the greatest quarterback of all time, leaves the game owning a host of records in the NFL

MIAMI: Record-breaking NFL quarterback Tom Brady announced on Wednesday that he was “retiring for good” at the age of 45, one year after reversing his decision to quit the sport.

Brady, whose Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost in the wildcard round of the NFL playoffs last month, called time on his 23-year career in a social media video.

“Good morning, I’ll get to the point right away: I’m retiring for good,” Brady said, sitting by a beach.

Widely viewed as the greatest quarterback of all time, Brady won a record seven Super Bowls, six of them with the New England Patriots before adding his final triumph with Tampa at the end of the 2020 season.

The quarterback had announced he was retiring on Feb. 1, 2022, but 40 days later changed his mind and said he was returning for another season with the Bucs.

“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first. So I won’t be long-winded,” he added.

“I think you only get one super emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year. So, really, thank you guys, so much, to every single one of you, for supporting me.

“My family, my friends, teammates, my competitors, I could go on forever, there’s too many. Thank you, guys, for letting me live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all,” he said.

Brady was due to enter free agency and already the rumor mill had begun with several teams being linked with the veteran who threw for 4,694 yards and 25 touchdowns in the 2022 regular season.

The Californian leaves the game owning a host of records in the NFL.

He is the league’s all-time regular-season leader in pass attempts (12,050), completions (7,753), passing yards (89,214) and touchdown passes (649). He also owns all those records for the post-season.

Brady won 251 regular season games and 35 playoff games, which are more than any player in the league’s history.

Under coach Bill Belichick at New England, Brady became a specialist in orchestrating comeback victories with his trademark game-winning drives.

Unflappable under pressure, he had the most game-winning drives (58) and fourth-quarter comeback wins (46) of any NFL quarterback.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles in this year’s Super Bowl, responded to Brady’s announcement by posting an emoji of a goat — indicating his view that Brady was the Greatest of All Time (GOAT).

J.J. Watt, the three-times NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who recently announced his retirement, echoed the sentiment.

“Greatest of All Time. No question, no debate,” Watt tweeted.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege.

“PS — The newly retired group meets on the golf course every morning at 10am. Drinks are on the new guy, so bring your wallet.”

Brady’s celebrity surpassed the NFL — in November, he and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen announced they were divorcing after 13 years of marriage.

The divorce came after months of tabloid speculation concerning the couple’s marriage, which reportedly came under strain when Brady reversed his retirement decision.

Bundchen replied to Brady’s announcement on Instagram writing: “Wishing you only wonderful things in this new chapter of your life.”

Sports greats beyond football also took note, with tennis legend Serena Williams noting on Instagram “I’m getting teary eyed watching this. Sad to see you go. Welcome to the retirement world ..... Again.”

Brady is expected to move into a career in broadcasting having already agreed a 10-year deal with television network Fox, reported to be worth $375 million, to work as a commentator once his football career ended.

In an interview in July with Variety magazine he said he was looking forward to taking on the new role.

“I have a very unique perspective on football and how it should be played, and what good plays look like and what bad plays look like,” he said.

“I feel like I can still have a great impact on the game. I could stay in the game, doing what I love to do, talking about this incredible sport.”