UAE’s Zamzam Al-Hammadi emerges as world-class MMA and jiu-jitsu talent

UAE’s Zamzam Al-Hammadi emerges as world-class MMA and jiu-jitsu talent
Zamam Al-Hammadi is the UAE’s first female MMA world champion. (UAEJJF)
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Updated 30 August 2023
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UAE’s Zamzam Al-Hammadi emerges as world-class MMA and jiu-jitsu talent

UAE’s Zamzam Al-Hammadi emerges as world-class MMA and jiu-jitsu talent
  • The 18-year-old is her country’s first female MMA world champion
  • In the 52 kg final, she secured a unanimous points victory over Ukraine’s Kira Voliashchenko

ABU DHABI: Zamzam Al-Hammadi has emerged as one of the most promising MMA and jiu-jitsu athletes in the UAE after securing gold medals at both the IMMAF Youth World Championships at the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi and the JJIF World Championship YOUTH in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Her performance in Abu Dhabi marked a significant milestone in the evolution of mixed martial arts in the UAE, as she became the nation’s first female world champion.
In the 52 kg final, she secured a unanimous points victory over Ukraine’s Kira Voliashchenko. Adding to her accolades, Al-Hammadi clinched gold in the under-18, 52 kg division at the JJIF World Championship YOUTH held in Astana last week.
“Honestly, jiu-jitsu and MMA are quite different, but jiu-jitsu has helped me a lot in MMA. In the ground game, I use jiu-jitsu, while in the standup game, I employ kickboxing, Muay Thai, and boxing,” she said.
She maintains a strict training regimen that keeps her strong and motivated. “I usually train four times a day — twice in the morning, once for jiu-jitsu and once for MMA, and twice in the evening. Additionally, I engage in cardio training at night. Our entire family trains together.”
Al-Hammadi started practicing jiu-jitsu when she was just 3 years old. It has been 14 years since she began training. Despite being in the early stages of her career, she has already won a significant number of medals.
“I’ve earned over 500 medals so far, both internationally, regionally and locally. With the grace of Allah, as I always say, I am aiming for bigger achievements and pushing myself harder,” said the Abu Dhabi schoolgirl.
Zamzam’s younger sister, Ghala Al-Hammadi, has also established herself as a genuine talent in both MMA and jiu-jitsu. She secured gold in the MMA World Championships in the girls’ 40 kg final, also becoming an Emirati female MMA world champion alongside Zamzam. Ghala also clinched a bronze medal in Astana in the under-16 division.
“My sister and I are incredibly close. People often refer to us as ‘wheels’ because it’s rare for sisters to be so tightly knit. We don’t like to fight; the only times we engage in combat are during training sessions. We are always training partners, both at home and during our practice sessions. Our bond is more akin to that of best friends rather than just sisters,” Zamzam added.
Her earliest memory of jiu-jitsu is skipping classes to watch the sport, and she said she will never forget her first coach who identified her skill.
“One day, while I was watching a jiu-jitsu class, a coach named John noticed my interest and potential. He advised my mom to let me join jiu-jitsu due to my evident passion and enthusiasm. Coach John is a name I’ll never forget; he was my very first coach, the one who introduced me to the world of jiu-jitsu and encouraged my mom to let me immerse myself in jiu-jitsu.”


Pogacar pulverises opposition at Tour de France

Pogacar pulverises opposition at Tour de France
Updated 7 sec ago
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Pogacar pulverises opposition at Tour de France

Pogacar pulverises opposition at Tour de France
  • The Slovenian dropped the last of his rivals with five kilometers to go after five more Pyrenean peaks
  • The 25-year-old racked up a second straight iconic mountaintop triumph and a 14th Tour de France stage win

PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France: Tadej Pogacar extended his overall lead at the Tour de France to more than three minutes on Sunday with a convincing second-straight stage win in the Pyrenees.
The Slovenian dropped the last of his rivals with five kilometers to go after five more Pyrenean peaks. A valiant Jonas Vingegaard could only finish 1 minute and 8 seconds adrift in second, with Remco Evenepoel in third at 2min 51sec on the day.
As Pogacar crossed the line at the magnificent Plateau de Beille deep in the Pyrenees, resplendent in his yellow outfit, he had racked up a second straight iconic mountaintop triumph and a 14th Tour de France stage win aged just 25.
The overall leader expressed surprise at Vingegaard and his team.
“Jonas did most of the work,” Pogacar said after Visma hogged the front of the peloton most of the day.
“With today being the 14th of July you might have expected a French win, but Visma went at it very strong.”
“I wasn’t sure myself I’d be able to keep up the pace, but this year I’ve adopted a different approach and it seems to be working,” said Pogacar, munching on a candy bar.

The Team UAE leader’s audacious bid for a Tour de France and Giro d’Italia double in the same season seemed closer after a third stage win on this year’s Tour lifted him comfortably clear.
The last man to win such a double was Marco Pantani in 1998. On his way to his French triumph, the Italian also won a stage ended on the Plateau de Beille.
Pogacar on Sunday ascended the mountain over four minutes faster than Pantani.
“That’s a very good sign,” Pogacar’s team director Mauro Gianetti said.
There are two murderous mountain slogs to go in the Alps, where the weather will likely be much hotter, which Pogacar dislikes.
The final-day lottery is a fearsome 34km individual time trial on the corniche between Monaco and Nice.
For now, the sun shines on the Slovenian as he leads the two-time defending champion Vingegaard by 3 minutes 9 seconds with the young Belgian Remco Evenepoel on his first Tour de France third at 5min 19sec.
Evenepoel also looked happy with his day’s work after he arrived for his debut Tour de France stating he was targeting the best young rider’s jersey, which he looks good for now.
“I felt it was a mistake to try and follow them when they went. It was a race between them two,” he said.
“I kept going at my steady rhythm. it was a good weekend for us.”

Evenepoel is third overall, five minutes clear of Mikel Landa, and leads the young rider category by six minutes from Carlos Rodriguez.
Vingegaard and Evenepoel were both involved in a bone-breaking crash in March, and it remains to be seen how their stamina stands up in the third week. After Monday’s rest day the race rushes back to the Alps, where tradition holds that the Tour is won.
Pogacar agreed with that Sunday.
“Only when I cross the finish line will I believe I have won,” said the 2020 and 2021 champion.
The weekend crowds were well-behaved Sunday. A roadside spectator who threw crisps in the faces of Pogacar and Vingegaard on Saturday was charged with violent behavior Sunday morning, after spending a night in the cells to sober up.
The Tour de France also stepped up protective measures to “limit health risks” with the reintroduction of the dreaded face masks due to a resurgence of Covid-19.
Monday is a rest day.
“We go into Monday with a big smile,” said Pogacar.
The fans watching roadside or in armchairs also likely left with a smile.
 

 


Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title

Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title
Updated 12 min 22 sec ago
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Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title

Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title
  • Oyarzabal slid in to poke home Marc Cucurella’s cross, just when the game at Berlin’s Olympiastadion seemed destined for extra time

BERLIN: Spain won a record fourth European Championship title on Sunday after Mikel Oyarzabal’s 86th-minute goal clinched a 2-1 victory over England, whose painful decades-long wait for a major trophy goes on.
Oyarzabal slid in to poke home Marc Cucurella’s cross, just when the game at Berlin’s Olympiastadion seemed destined for extra time after the latest show of resilience by England at the tournament.
Substitute Cole Palmer equalized for England in the 73rd minute to cancel out Nico Williams’ opener in the 47th from 17-year-old prodigy Lamine Yamal’s pass.
Spain also won the title in 1964, 2008 and 2012.
“I did my job and what I had to and was lucky enough to score the goal for the win,” said Oyarzabal, who came on as a substitute for captain Alvaro Morata. “When you are among the 26 names to be picked, that is special enough, but then to get to help the team like I did, that is the most important part.”
England men’s team has now lost back-to-back Euro finals and is still without a major title since winning the 1966 World Cup.
It is another agonizing loss for one of the world’s most underperforming national teams, this one coming in front of Prince William and Spain’s King Felipe at the venue built for the 1936 Olympics.
“This time it just wasn’t meant to be,” the prince wrote on social media. “We’re all still so proud of you.” 


There were joyous scenes after the final whistle among the Spanish players, with Williams putting his hands to his face before he was embraced by his teammates. Dani Carvajal slumped to the field and was piled on by jubilant teammates.
Yamal, Marc Cucurella and Dani Olmo were among the first to jump over the advertising hoardings to reach the Spanish fans in the stadium’s east end of the stadium.
It was fitting that Yamal and Williams combined for the crucial first goal as they are the poster boys of this exciting, multicultural team that mirrors the new reality in Spain.
Yamal’s mother is from Equatorial Guinea and his father is from Morocco, while fellow winger Williams has Ghanaian parents who made the long journey to Europe looking for a better life. To make it to Spain, they had to ride on the back of a crowded truck and walk barefoot through the Sahara desert.
“Euphoria! We are so happy. We deserved this,” said Williams, the player of the match. “This is for our fans and our parents, who have supported us throughout.”
Unlike his brother Inaki, who is a Ghana international, Nico chose to play for Spain and will now be regarded as a national hero there.
As, indeed, will Oyarzabal and the rest of the Spain team, who have won all seven of their matches at this tournament — an unprecedented feat — and beaten heavyweights Germany, France and England, back-to-back in the knockout stage.
Spain is back as a major player in senior soccer after winning both the Women’s World Cup and the men’s UEFA Nations League in 2023.
Since 2001, Spanish men’s teams have won 23 consecutive major finals in club and international soccer.


India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1

India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1
Updated 14 July 2024
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India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1

India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1
  • Sanju Samson, who was part of India’s T20 World Cup-winning squad, hit four sixes to help India score 167-6 in 20 overs
  • In reply, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 125 runs in 18.3 overs with medium pacer Mukesh Kumar taking 4-22 from 3.3 overs

HARARE: Sanju Samson scored 58 as India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in their fifth Twenty20 on Sunday to win the five-match series 4-1.
Samson, who was part of India’s T20 World Cup-winning squad, hit four sixes in his 45-ball innings to help India score 167-6 in 20 overs after losing the toss and batting first.
In reply, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 125 runs in 18.3 overs with medium pacer Mukesh Kumar taking 4-22 in 3.3 overs.
Zimbabwe had won the first T20 by 13 runs, with India then rebounding with four consecutive wins. It won the second, third and fourth T20s by 100 runs, 23 runs, and 10 wickets, respectively.
India’s top-order batters got double-digit starts Sunday but couldn’t build on them.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, who scored 93 not out on Saturday, was bowled for 12 off five balls. Skipper Shubman Gill was caught for 13, while Abhishek Sharma was dismissed for 14 as India reached 40-3 in five overs.
Samson and Riyan Parag (22) added 65 off 56 balls for the fourth wicket and stabilized the innings as India crossed the 100-mark.
The acceleration came late and cost India a few wickets, with Samson holding ground at one end. Shivam Dube scored 26 off 12 balls, hitting two sixes, and putting on 30 off 19 balls for the fifth wicket.
Zimbabwe pacer Blessing Muzarabani finished with 2-19 in four overs.
Kumar disturbed Zimbabwe’s start as opener Wessly Madhevere was bowled for a three-ball duck. He also sent back Brian Bennett for 10 runs.
Zimbabwe fought back with a 44-run partnership between Tadiwanashe Marumani (27) and Dion Myers (34).
Washington Sundar (1-7 in two overs) got the breakthrough in the ninth over, while Dube (2-25) dismissed Myers.
The hosts couldn’t fight back thereafter, especially with captain Sikandar Raza run out for eight. Zimbabwe crashed from 85-3 to 94-7 in the space of 15 deliveries.
Faraz Akram scored 27 off 13 balls to take Zimbabwe past 100, but the hosts never looked like winning.
Gill was leading India this series for the first time. He called it an “excellent series” for the young side.
“The hunger that we showed after the first loss was phenomenal to watch,” Gill said. “A lot of our players weren’t used to these conditions, some of them were on long flights, and we adapted very well.”


Carlos Alcaraz dominates Novak Djokovic to retain Wimbledon crown

Carlos Alcaraz dominates Novak Djokovic to retain Wimbledon crown
Updated 14 July 2024
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Carlos Alcaraz dominates Novak Djokovic to retain Wimbledon crown

Carlos Alcaraz dominates Novak Djokovic to retain Wimbledon crown
  • Alcaraz equals the Open Era record for most Grand Slams won at the age 21 or under

LONDON: Carlos Alcaraz overpowered seven-time champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets to retain his Wimbledon title on Sunday in a brutal statement that the new era of men’s tennis has arrived.
The Spanish third seed produced a performance combining awesome power with delicate touch to win 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), collecting the fourth Grand Slam of his young career.
Alcaraz equals the Open Era record for most Grand Slams won at the age 21 or under, joining Boris Becker, Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander.
And he is just the sixth man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back.
Djokovic, 37, who had knee surgery just weeks ago, was aiming to win a 25th Grand Slam — which would have been a record in the men’s and women’s game.
But he had no answers in the Center Court sunshine as the electric Alcaraz pounded him from the back of the court and treated the crowd to an array of his trademark drop shots.
“Honestly, it is a dream for me winning this trophy,” said the Spaniard. “I did an interview when I was 11 and I said my dream is to win Wimbledon.
“For me this is the most beautiful tournament, the most beautiful court and the most beautiful trophy.”
Alcaraz paid tribute to his beaten opponent, who only found his range in the third set.
“Djokovic is an unbelievable fighter, I knew he was going to have his chances,” said Alcaraz who had needed five sets to defeat the Serb in the 2023 final.
“It was difficult but I tried to stay calm going into the tie-break and tried to play my best tennis. I was glad at the end I could find the solutions.”
Alcaraz seized the initiative in a first game of breathtaking quality lasting 14 minutes, taking advantage of his fifth break point.
The Spaniard settled quickly into his routine on serve and went up a double break when Djokovic double-faulted in the fifth game.
The shell-shocked Serbian, playing in his 10th Wimbledon final, held serve to love to close the gap to 5-2 but dumped the ball into the net to hand the Spaniard the first set.
Alcaraz was immediately on the front foot in the second set, forcing a break in the first game and fending off pressure on his own serve to take a 2-0 lead.
A Djokovic backhand into the net in the seventh game handed Alcaraz another break point and a double fault put the defending champion 5-2 up and on the cusp of a two-set lead.
The Center Court crowd, including Catherine, Princess of Wales, looked on in disbelief as their hopes for a titanic tussle evaporated.
The under-par Djokovic fended off another of clutch of break points early in the third set to stay alive and showed signs that he was finding his rhythm.
But Alcaraz broke for a 5-4 lead and moved to 40-0 on his own serve, only to suffer a wobble as Djokovic saved all three championship points, breaking for the first time in the match.
He recovered his composure quickly and the set went to a tie-break.
Djokovic went wide with a forehand to give Alcaraz a 5-3 lead and the Spaniard won the title with his fourth championship point, clambering up to the players’ box to celebrate with his family and coaching team.
The champion struck 42 winners to Djokovic’s 26 over the course of the match.
Princess Catherine, patron of the All England Club, handed over the trophy.
Last month she tentatively returned to British public life for the first time since her diagnosis, attending a military parade in London to mark King Charles III’s official birthday.
Djokovic, still without a title this year, will now turn his attention to the Paris Olympics as he seeks to win gold for the first time.
“It obviously was not the result I wanted but of course in the first couple of sets the level of tennis wasn’t up to par from my side,” he said.
“But credit to Carlos for playing elite tennis, especially from the back of the court, he had it all today.”


Top level padel event to be hosted in Dubai as part of 25-tournament season

Top level padel event to be hosted in Dubai as part of 25-tournament season
Updated 14 July 2024
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Top level padel event to be hosted in Dubai as part of 25-tournament season

Top level padel event to be hosted in Dubai as part of 25-tournament season
  • Organized by Dubai-based Gallop Global, the event will feature 256 players in separate formats for male and female pairs

LONDON: Top level padel will be returning to Dubai as part of a newly unified 25-tournament season spanning 18 countries, it was announced on Sunday.

The Dubai Premier Padel P1 event will be held at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and feature the world’s best players. 

Organized by Dubai-based Gallop Global, the event will feature 256 players in separate formats for male and female pairs. The accumulated prize pool for both categories is €470,000 ($513,263).

The sport is coming to Dubai following a multi-year hosting agreement between the UAE Padel Association, the Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai Sports Council, Premier Padel, and Gallop Global.

“The support of the inaugural Dubai Premier Padel P1 from His Highness Sheikh Mansoor will be a significant motivating factor in organising more events in the country,” said Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al-Maktoum, UAEPA president.

“Since the sport’s formal introduction to the UAE in 2013, the UAE leadership has supported various padel events, as well as other events that followed in subsequent years.

“For example, the World Padel Championship, hosted by Dubai in 2022, was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai. We thank the leaders for their invaluable support, which has led to the development of the sport in the emirate, as evidenced by the constantly growing infrastructure in line with the sport’s popularity over the years,” Sheikh Saeed added.

Saeed Mohammed Hareb, secretary-general of the Dubai Sports Council, said padel had experienced huge growth in the UAE, especially in Dubai.

Padel in the UAE is governed by UAEPA, which was founded in 2014 and is one of the first padel federations in Asia to be established. It has been affiliated with the International Padel Federation since 2016.

In 2014, the General Authority of Sports decreed the official recognition of padel as a sport with the government’s full support. Today, the UAE is home to 30 percent of padel courts in Asia and two percent of all courts worldwide.

“We have witnessed tremendous development and growth of padel in the UAE in general, and Dubai in particular, in terms of the number of practitioners and courts, as well as the organization of international tournaments, attracting top-ranked players in the world,” he said.
“This reflects the hard work of the UAE Padel Federation, headed by Sheikh Saeed and showcases the efforts to spread padel culture and the numerous benefits of playing the sport.

“This event plays a pivotal role in the growth of the padel community, not just in Dubai but also on a global scale, while also cementing Dubai’s position as a global hub for sports and events. Bringing world-class players to Dubai will also serve as a further catalyst for the growth of the sport and the emirate,” he added.