UAE athletes kick off IMMAF Youth World Championships with 4 medals

UAE athletes kick off IMMAF Youth World Championships with 4 medals
The IMMAF Youth World Championship is taking place at the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 03 August 2023
Follow

UAE athletes kick off IMMAF Youth World Championships with 4 medals

UAE athletes kick off IMMAF Youth World Championships with 4 medals
  • Saif Alblooshi secures gold in youth C 40 kg division at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: The fourth IMMAF Youth World Championships got off to a strong start when the UAE team claimed four medals at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City.

The four-day event, organized by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation, will continue until Aug. 5, with a record 636 athletes from 45 countries participating.

The opening day showcased contests in the Youth C (12 to 13 years old) division featuring young MMA athletes from around the world.

The UAE national team had a successful first day, securing four medals.

Aisha Alhammadi gave Team UAE an ideal start by capturing silver in the women/youth C/57 kg division. She was soon joined on the podium by Saif Alblooshi, who scooped gold in the men/youth C/40 kg category.

Rakan Alyammahi (men/youth C/34 kg) won silver, and Sara Alzarooni (women/youth C/40 kg) secured bronze, making the hosts look strong.

Mohammed bin Dalmouj Al-Dhaheri, board member of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation and chairman of the federation’s MMA committee, said: “Hosting the IMMAF Youth World Championships for the second consecutive year has firmly contributed to solidifying Abu Dhabi’s position as the global MMA capital.

“The UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation takes pride in organizing this prestigious tournament at par with international standards.

“By bringing together the finest young talents from across the globe, we showcase our dedication to hosting world-class events and provide a platform for these remarkable athletes to compete.”

Al-Dhaheri praised the performances of the young Emirati athletes.

“As we witness these exceptional athletes display their incredible skills and unwavering determination, their passion for the sport becomes a source of inspiration for us all.

“This championship not only highlights the future stars of MMA but also reinforces Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading destination for international sporting events.

“I am immensely proud of our UAE national team for their brilliant performance, and I believe that their exemplary display will motivate aspiring athletes to further embrace the sport of MMA and raise the UAE flag high,” he added.

Densign White, CEO of the IMMAF, highlighted the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s efforts in developing and promoting the sport of MMA.

He said: “It is with great pleasure and admiration that I witness the remarkable start of the IMMAF Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi. The first day’s contests were brimmed with excitement and sportsmanship, showcasing the remarkable talent of young athletes.

“It showcases how the championships serve as a vital steppingstone for the future stars of MMA, and I am excited to see how this championship will inspire and shape the next generation of athletes.

“Together, we are paving the way for the bright future of mixed martial arts on the global scale,” he added.

Gold winner Alblooshi said: “I am thankful to our wise leaders and wholeheartedly dedicate this achievement to them, along with my coach, my family, and everyone who supported me throughout this journey.

“I faced two strong opponents, one from Ukraine and another from Tajikistan, and emerged victorious. My rigorous training was aimed at reaching the podium and bringing honor to my country. MMA is a wonderful sport, and I am delighted to be a part of it.”

Alexis Mariscal, of the US, who came first in the youth C/52 kg division, said: “I was very nervous, to be honest, but it turned out to be really fun, and I enjoyed competing here. I feel so happy, as all my efforts didn’t go in vain.

“This place is so awesome, and I’m so happy to be part of this championship where I got to meet a lot of people and make many friends.”

The competitions will continue on Thursday, when youth B athletes take center stage, with the youth A category taking place on Friday and Saturday.


Eddie Howe reveals Newcastle shootout hero almost missed FA Cup win as Magpies eye Wembley return

Eddie Howe reveals Newcastle shootout hero almost missed FA Cup win as Magpies eye Wembley return
Updated 4 sec ago
Follow

Eddie Howe reveals Newcastle shootout hero almost missed FA Cup win as Magpies eye Wembley return

Eddie Howe reveals Newcastle shootout hero almost missed FA Cup win as Magpies eye Wembley return
  • Keeper Martin Dubravka was ‘playing slightly ill,’ deserves ‘huge credit’
  • Coach is hoping tide is turning for the team as injured players return

BLACKBURN: Eddie Howe has revealed Newcastle United penalty shootout hero Martin Dubravka almost missed the Magpies’ FA Cup win through illness.

The Slovak keeper was Newcastle’s matchwinner, not only keeping the Magpies in the fifth-round encounter with some goal-saving stops in the 1-1 draw stretched across 120 minutes, but also with two spot-kick saves in the deciding shootout, which the visitors won 4-3.

Anthony Gordon had given Newcastle the lead in the second half before Sammie Szmodics popped up with a late equalizer to take the match to extra time, then eventually penalties. Fabian Schar, Bruno Guimaraes, Elliot Anderson and Gordon all netted in the shootout, with only Harvey Barnes seeing one saved. Dubravka pulled off two remarkable stops, from Szmodics and Blackburn Rovers’ skipper Dominic Hyam to seal a place in the last eight.

Dubravka missed the 4-1 loss at Arsenal at the weekend, with stand-in Loris Karius coming into the side — and Howe says his goalie was not 100 percent fit for the encounter, which makes his performance even more remarkable.

“It was (touch and go), it wasn’t clear. He was nowhere near fit for the weekend against Arsenal so he hasn’t been 100 percent for quite a long period of time and has been playing slightly ill and he deserves huge credit for doing that,” said Howe.

“The two penalty saves were huge for us. In open play he (Dubravka) really performed well today and (we) needed him to because they had a few big moments.

“I thought the best save he probably made was in the build-up to their goal which I thought was a magnificent save to tip it onto the bar but unfortunately he scored the rebound.

“That was probably the most disappointing thing on the night because we worked so hard to lead but to let them back into the game was a kick at that time.”

Newcastle might have got back to winning ways but this was far from vintage for Howe’s men. The Magpies labored to beat a team that have won just one of their last 13 encounters in the championship, the second tier of English football.

“We got better as we got on. I don’t think the first half was particularly good, the second half was better and extra time was our best spell of the game by a long way and we shouldn’t have allowed it to go to penalties with the chances we had in extra time,” said Howe.

“I thought generally our attitude was much better. We were fighting, we were giving everything. We weren’t perfect in our performance but our spirit was there and our spirit has been there, since I’ve been here, bar two games and it has to be there in every game.

“We spoke honestly after the Arsenal game and our performance probably, there was a hangover (from the Arsenal game) whether that be a little dent in our confidence but hopefully that will be back for the next game.

“I can’t overanalyze things. I’m doing the job to the best of my ability, I’ll always do that for every second I’m here. As for the season, I don’t know what the future hold but what it does is keep us in a competition we’re desperate to do well in with the carrot of Wembley.”

One thing which has plagued the Magpies’ campaign to date has been the lack of squad options created by a lengthy injury list. Every time one player gets back fit, it seems another drops out injured. At times, Howe has been able to call on just 12 senior outfield players.

However, that tide appears to be turning now, with options off the bench to freshen things up, something which proved crucial in this encounter, with Tino Livramento and Miguel Almiron making significant contributions off the bench in open play, before Anderson struck one of the crucial spot-kicks.

“You need the tools to win games and without our bench today and without Elliot, he was a late decision today to take him with us and if we need to use him we can use him but I didn’t want to use him for more than 10 minutes,” said the head coach.

“Even having him available and I was always going to trust him with a penalty and, who knows, the importance of having him available and that’s through the squad. I was able to take Joe Willock off early because I had quality players to bring on and having to look after him and Alex (Isak) is crucial because we need them both to stay fit. They’re both getting their fitness and their sharpness in games which isn’t ideal but that’s where we’ve been all season.”


Strus nets monster buzzer-beater as Cavaliers sink Mavericks 121-119

Strus nets monster buzzer-beater as Cavaliers sink Mavericks 121-119
Updated 8 min 56 sec ago
Follow

Strus nets monster buzzer-beater as Cavaliers sink Mavericks 121-119

Strus nets monster buzzer-beater as Cavaliers sink Mavericks 121-119
  • Strus’s miraculous effort was the final act of a thrilling fourth quarter rally by Cleveland, who trailed by 10 with under four minutes left after a superb 45-point performance from Mavs ace Luka Doncic

LOS ANGELES: Max Strus drained an astonishing 58-foot buzzer-beater as the Cleveland Cavaliers conjured a stunning late fightback to sink the Dallas Mavericks 121-119 on Tuesday.

In a remarkable finale in Cleveland, Strus unleashed a mammoth heave from inside his own half to snatch victory from Dallas, who had grabbed a 119-118 lead with just over two seconds remaining in the game.

Strus’s miraculous effort was the final act of a thrilling fourth quarter rally by Cleveland, who trailed by 10 with under four minutes left after a superb 45-point performance from Mavs ace Luka Doncic.

Strus was the catalyst for the Cavs turnaround, reeling off four straight three-pointers to allow Cleveland to get within one at 113-112 with 2min 35sec remaining.

Back-to-back threes from Donovan Mitchell put Cleveland 118-115 up but Dallas hit back to regain a one-point lead after a Kyrie Irving jump shot and a P.J. Washington layup.

That set the stage for Strus to unfurl his game-winning three-quarter-court effort to spark pandemonium among the home crowd in Cleveland.

“That was awesome,” Strus said afterwards. “Great win, we needed it. We’ve been struggling so it’s good to get one like that.

“We fought, and fought, and fought... we want to win every game and we want to keep winning.”

Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff praised Strus’s role in sparking the late rally when it looked as if the game had slipped away.

“The way that he plays the game with a determination, a never-give-in mentality and attitude — that inspires his team-mates every single day,” Bickerstaff said.

“He’s just relentless and that elevates his teammates. Everybody leads in their own way on our team; he leads and people follow.”

Mitchell led the Cleveland scoring with 31 points, with Strus finishing with 21. Jarrett Allen added 19 as the Cavaliers secured a win which leaves them second in the Eastern Conference with a 38-19 record.

Doncic, meanwhile, topped Dallas’s scorers with 45 points, adding 14 assists, nine rebounds and three steals. Irving finished with 30 points as Dallas dropped to 33-25, eighth in the Western Conference.

In other games on Tuesday, the league-leading Boston Celtics extended their winning streak to nine games after a 117-99 defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Jaylen Brown (31 points), Jayson Tatum (29) and Kristaps Porzingis (23) led the way for Boston, who improved to 46-12 and lead second-placed Cleveland by 7.5 games.

Tyrese Maxey finished with 32 points for Philadelphia, who have lost eight of 12 games in NBA MVP Joel Embiid’s injury absence.

Philadelphia got to within two points early in the fourth quarter, but Boston responded with a 15-0 run to pull away and effectively ice the game.

“It’s all about how you respond,” Tatum said of the Celtics rally. “We’re learning from our mistakes from last year. We’ve done a really good job of going over those situations in practice.”

In Minnesota, Anthony Edwards’ 34-point total helped the Timberwolves to 114-105 win against the struggling San Antonio Spurs.

Minnesota lead the Western Conference standings 41-17.

In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 24 points while Damian Lillard added 23 as the Bucks romped to a 123-85 rout of the Charlotte Hornets.

Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers was pleased with his team’s improved display on defense — an area that has been a problem for the team all season.

“I thought we were very physical, our hands were very active — our deflections over the last four or five games have skyrocketed,” said Rivers, who was also encouraged by the link play of Antetokounmpo and Lillard.

“They’re starting to connect — they’re starting to see each other,” Rivers said. “Those are good signs for us moving forward.”

In other games Tuesday, Chris Paul made a winning return from injury for Golden State as the Warriors blew past the Washington Wizards 123-112 in the US capital.

Klay Thompson added another impressive display from the bench with 25 points to lead the Warriors scoring.


Second-seeded Holger Rune eases past American Michael Mmoh at Mexican Open

Second-seeded Holger Rune eases past American Michael Mmoh at Mexican Open
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

Second-seeded Holger Rune eases past American Michael Mmoh at Mexican Open

Second-seeded Holger Rune eases past American Michael Mmoh at Mexican Open
  • The 20-year-old Rune, from Denmark, reached the semifinals in Acapulco last year
  • Fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Roman Safiullin 6-3, 6-4 and moved on to the second round where he will face Flavio Cobolli

ACAPULCO, Mexico: Second-seeded Holger Rune eased past American Michael Mmoh 6-2, 6-3 on Tuesday and advanced to the second round of the Mexican Open.

Rune, ranked seventh in the ATP, needed 92 minutes to dispatch Mmoh, who made his way into the main draw through the qualification tournament.

The 20-year-old Rune, from Denmark, reached the semifinals in Acapulco last year. He advanced to face the winner of the late match between Aleksandar Kovasevic and Jordan Thompson.

Earlier, fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Roman Safiullin 6-3, 6-4 and moved on to the second round where he will face Flavio Cobolli.

The 25-year-old Greek reached the semifinals last week in Los Cabos, Mexico, and is trying to win his first career 500 tournament.

Also Tuesday, Frances Tiafoe, seeded eighth, rallied to beat Max Purcell 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. He moved on to face Dominik Koepfer, who took care of Terence Atmane 6-4, 4— 6, 6-0.

Tiafoe is the highest-ranked American player in contention in the tournament after fourth-seeded Taylor Fritz and seventh-seeded Tommy Paul were knocked out on Monday.


Mallorca beat Real Sociedad on penalties to return to Copa del Rey final two decades later

Mallorca beat Real Sociedad on penalties to return to Copa del Rey final two decades later
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

Mallorca beat Real Sociedad on penalties to return to Copa del Rey final two decades later

Mallorca beat Real Sociedad on penalties to return to Copa del Rey final two decades later
  • Mallorca goalkeeper Dominik Greif saved the opening penalty by Mikel Oyarzabal, then Sergi Darder converted the decisive kick to put Mallorca in the final
  • Mallorca will play the April 6 final in Seville against either Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao, who will play the second leg of the other semifinal on Thursday in Bilbao

MADRID: More than two decades later, Mallorca are back in the Copa del Rey final.

The Spanish club partly owned by Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and former NBA great Steve Nash defeated Real Sociedad 5-4 in a penalty shootout on Tuesday to make it to the final 21 years after they won the competition for the only time.

Mallorca goalkeeper Dominik Greif saved the opening penalty by Mikel Oyarzabal, then Sergi Darder converted the decisive kick to put Mallorca in the final. The teams drew 1-1 in regulation and were scoreless in extra time at Sociedad’s Reale Arena.

The teams had drawn 0-0 in the first leg in Mallorca on Feb. 6.

Mallorca will play the April 6 final in Seville against either Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao, who will play the second leg of the other semifinal on Thursday in Bilbao. Athletic won the first leg 1-0 in Madrid.

It will be the fourth Copa final for Mallorca, which hadn’t made it the title game since it won the tournament in 2003 against Recreativo Huelva. Its other final appearances were in 1991 and 1998. It hadn’t made it to the semifinals since 2009.

Mallorca’s Mexican coach Javier Aguirre had taken Osasuna to the 2005 final, when it lost to Real Betis.

Sociedad was trying to return to the Copa final for the first time since it beat rival Athletic to lift the trophy in the 2019-20 season.

Vedat Muriqi, Manu Morlanes, Omar Mascarell and Nemanja Radonjic also scored for Mallorca in the penalty shootout. Beñat Turrientes, Jon Ander Olasagasti, Martín Zubimendi and Sheraldo Becker scored for Sociedad.

Mallorca took the lead in the 50th with a header by Gio Gonzalez into the far corner in what was the visitors’ only attempt on target during regulation. There was a long delay before the goal was confirmed as video review looked for a possible offside in the buildup.

The hosts, who had nearly 30 attempts throughout the match, equalized in a breakaway in the 71st with Oyarzabal finding the net with a low shot after a nice through ball by Brais Méndez.

Mallorca, who sit just outside the relegation zone in the Spanish league, had won only one of their last six games.

Sociedad, seventh after 26 league rounds, had one win in its last seven matches across all competitions. The Basque Country club is in the round of 16 of the Champions League, having lost the first leg against Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 in France.


Haaland scores five goals in Man City’s 6-2 rout of Luton in the FA Cup

Haaland scores five goals in Man City’s 6-2 rout of Luton in the FA Cup
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

Haaland scores five goals in Man City’s 6-2 rout of Luton in the FA Cup

Haaland scores five goals in Man City’s 6-2 rout of Luton in the FA Cup
  • Haaland now has 27 goals in all competitions for the season after scoring 52 in his first year at the club

Erling Haaland looks determined to make up for lost time.
The Norway striker scored five goals to power Manchester City into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup in a 6-2 win against Luton on Tuesday.
It was his eighth hat trick in a season-and-a-half with City and the second time he has scored five in a single game for the club.
Perhaps more significantly, it was evidence that Haaland is fully back up to speed after recently returning from a foot injury that ruled him out for more than a month between December and January.
“My fitness is getting back to its best finally,” he said. “I feel good. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Haaland had scored only three goals in seven appearances since making his comeback on Jan. 31.
By his remarkable standards, that represented a relative drought, but he looked back to his devastating best at Kenilworth Road with a first-half hat trick and two more after the break. Four of those goals came from assists by Kevin De Bruyne, who has also missed large parts of the season through injury.
“It’s a pleasure playing with him,” Haaland said. “I think we know what we both want from each other, we look at each other and it clicks well.”
Mateo Kovacic added a sixth for City, while Jordan Clark struck twice for Luton.
Haaland was denied a possible double hat trick when he was replaced by Julian Alvarez in the 77th minute. It was the second time City manager Pep Guardiola substituted the striker after scoring five goals, having taken him off during the 7-0 rout of RB Leipzig in the Champions League last year.
Haaland now has 27 goals in all competitions for the season after scoring 52 in his first year at the club.
His performance and linkup play with De Bruyne will also fuel the belief City can emulate last season’s treble of trophies when it won the Premier League title, FA Cup and Champions League.
“We’re coming. Exciting times (are) ahead,” Haaland said.
The forward completed his hat trick after 40 minutes, having opened the scoring in the third and adding a second in the 18th.
Clark pulled one back for Luton in the 45th and made it 3-2 with another seven minutes after halftime.
But Haaland quickly extended City’s lead with further goals in the 55th and 58th.
Kovacic completed the scoring with a long range effort in the 72nd.