News from Gaza ‘difficult to wake up to’: F1’s Lewis Hamilton

Special News from Gaza ‘difficult to wake up to’: F1’s Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. (YMC)
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Updated 23 November 2023
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News from Gaza ‘difficult to wake up to’: F1’s Lewis Hamilton

News from Gaza ‘difficult to wake up to’: F1’s Lewis Hamilton
  • Mercedes driver spoke to Arab News at Yas Marina Circuit ahead of weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
  • Lewis Hamilton: ‘It’s difficult to wake up each day knowing there are thousands of kids dying and there’s nothing you can do about it’

ABU DHABI: Formula One star Lewis Hamilton on Thursday said that he felt helpless and found it “difficult to wake up each day” knowing children were dying in Gaza.

The British seven-time world champion revealed it had been hard to compartmentalize his feelings about the atrocities taking place in the Israel-Hamas war as he tried to focus on his job ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Asked by Arab News at Yas Marina Circuit on Thursday if the Israel-Gaza war has been occupying his mind, Hamilton said: "“Absolutely, how can you not [think about it]? I think it’s been a very strange period for us because we are in such a bubble here. We arrive at all these different places and there’s so much positivity in our little bubble.

“And this year … I think it’s difficult to wake up each day knowing there are thousands of kids dying and there’s nothing you can do about it and the rest of the world just goes on as it is,” he added.

Last month, Hamilton posted a message on Instagram calling for a ceasefire and urging world leaders to “work for peace, not war” to end the violence.

He said: “It’s massively disappointing to see how countries and governments are handling it and just to think where we are in 2023. With everything through history, it doesn’t look like we’ve learned anything.

“So, to be able to compartmentalize that and just go ahead with your job, I think, is difficult. It’s all over social, there’s not a day you don’t see something pop up on the news. You just try to remain positive through the darkest time.”

While some drivers had been complaining about burnout at the end of the longest F1 season in the sport’s history, Hamilton pointed out that he was “emotionally drained” due to world events rather than physically exhausted from his racing campaign.

“I’m not burned out. I’d rather not keep going into the season, but I think for me I’m just more emotionally drained at the end of the year.

“It’s obviously a very long season. I think really with all the negativity in the world as well, it’s been quite draining just to maintain a positive mindset through the year,” the Mercedes driver added.

Hamilton, 38, arrived in Abu Dhabi in third place in the season’s driver standings, behind the Red Bull pairing of world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, who secured P2 in Las Vegas last weekend.


Saudi Arabia’s PIF signs sponsorship deal with Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament

Saudi Arabia’s PIF signs sponsorship deal with Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament
Updated 44 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s PIF signs sponsorship deal with Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament

Saudi Arabia’s PIF signs sponsorship deal with Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament
  • Agreement is latest in wider partnership with the ATP

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund announced on Friday it had agreed a multi-year deal to sponsor the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament.

The deal is the latest in PIF’s wider tennis partnership with the Association of Tennis Professionals as a Platinum Partner and as the official naming partner of the PIF ATP Rankings.

The fund said the agreement marked its continued investment in growing tennis globally, along with a wider focus on its four sponsorship pillars: inclusivity, sustainability, youth, and technology.

As part of the partnership, PIF will develop a platform to allow tennis fans new and old to engage and train with legendary players and coaches on the ground in Madrid, and youth-focused fan zones.

A statement said: “PIF is committed to providing opportunities for young players across all levels of the game, inspiring participation, enhancing talent discovery and developing new pathways for future generations of tennis players around the world.

“As part of this priority, PIF is engaging local tennis academies in Spain and supporting future players through the PIF tennis bootcamp.”

PIF has also partnered with ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells, Miami and the Nitto ATP Finals, in addition to the Beijing ATP 500 event, and the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF, to be hosted in Jeddah until 2027.


John Catlin sets himself up for victory going into final round of Saudi Open in Riyadh

John Catlin sets himself up for victory going into final round of Saudi Open in Riyadh
Updated 19 April 2024
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John Catlin sets himself up for victory going into final round of Saudi Open in Riyadh

John Catlin sets himself up for victory going into final round of Saudi Open in Riyadh
  • American shoots men’s course-record 62

RIYADH: John Catlin continued his dominance at the 2024 Saudi Open on Friday as he shot a men’s course-record 62 to open up an eight-shot lead at the top of the leaderboard at Riyadh Golf Club.

The American began the third round one shot ahead of Scott Hend and Haotong Li and signaled his intentions early with two birdies in his first five holes.

It was a special back nine that saw him pull away from the field as six birdies, including two in his final two holes — which also earned him the PIF Moment of the Day — put him in the driving seat for a sixth Asian Tour victory.

Thai favorite Kiradech Aphibarnrat made the biggest move of the chasing pack and will head out with Catlin in the final group on Saturday.

His round of 67 moved him into second place with Wade Ormsby, David Puig, Hend and Li one further back.

If he is victorious on Saturday it will mark back-to-back wins on the Asian Tour for Catlin after he lifted the International Series Macau trophy in March, but the 33-year-old is taking nothing for granted ahead of the final round.

He said: “My game has felt in good shape. Today was just one of those days where the putter just gets hot and it’s like you can’t miss. I kept going and tried to make as many birdies as I could because there are so many good players out here and there are plenty of birdies to be made tomorrow. I knew I had to keep the pedal to the metal.

“Nothing changes tomorrow: the job is not finished. David (Puig) has shown he can shoot some really low numbers and there are a lot of other guys very capable of doing that here.”

It is Catlin’s second trip to Saudi Arabia but his first to Riyadh, and after his record-breaking day he admitted he will be back in the Kingdom whenever he gets the chance.

“I’ve loved it here. The people have been so friendly to me, the facilities are really good and I love the course. I will be back whenever there is a tournament here,” he said.

South African Jaco Ahlers produced the day’s second-best round with his 65 moving him to 7 under par, while LIV Golf star Peter Uihlein catapulted himself up the leaderboard after four birdies in four holes to start his back nine took him to the same score. Uihlein is looking forward to an attacking final round.

He said: “You’ve got to shoot 10 under tomorrow to win — I’m going to try. Hopefully my caddie will let me hit the driver on some holes where I probably shouldn’t, and just have a go.

“I played nicely on the front, but it was a different wind. I felt like the back nine, with the way the wind was, is easier than the first couple of days, so I thought I could make some birdies. I didn’t birdie the 15th or 18th hole, which is disappointing.”

Moroccans Othman Raouzi and Ayoub Lguirati, the two invited Arab golfers who managed to make the cut, endured difficult days and both sit over par heading into the final round.


FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem receives Arab and MENA backing

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem receives Arab and MENA backing
Updated 19 April 2024
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FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem receives Arab and MENA backing

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem receives Arab and MENA backing
  • Statement condemns “false allegations” of interference in sporting decisions during 2023 Formula One season

DUBAI: The FIA Members for Sport for MENA region and Arab Council of Touring and Automobile Clubs sub-region have released a statement of support for FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem against what they see as “false allegations” of interference in sporting decisions during the 2023 Formula One season.

“Knowing that Mr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been committed to promoting transparency within the FIA since he was elected president of the FIA, his full co-operation with the FIA Ethics Committee and the Compliance department during the 30 days of investigations is highly regarded,” the statement said.  

“The Ethics Committee were unanimous in their determination that there was no evidence to substantiate allegations of interference of any kind involving the FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and strong evidence beyond any reasonable doubt was presented to support the determination of the FIA Ethics Committee.” 

The statement said that the FIA president was cleared of any wrongdoing over allegations he interfered with the stewards’ decision at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023, and cleared of any wrongdoing regarding allegations that he attempted to interfere with the track certification process for the Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023.

The statement continued: “The FIA Members for Sport for MENA Region and ACTAC Sub-Region condemn, and at the same time are profoundly disappointed with the unjust and relentless attempt to undermine the integrity of the FIA Leadership by such unfaithful allegations to serve narrow personal agendas, and we strongly encourage the FIA administration to initiate legal actions against those responsible for those allegations against the FIA President. 

“We are confident that Mr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem will continue to serve the FIA and its Members in a transparent manner implementing the FIA Code of Ethics as top priority.

“We also would like to assert our support to Mr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s leadership of the FIA and will continue our co-operation with him in his efforts to serve and develop the FIA and its Members,” it said.  


USA Olympic basketball team announced, set to play 2 matches in Abu Dhabi

USA Olympic basketball team announced, set to play 2 matches in Abu Dhabi
Updated 19 April 2024
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USA Olympic basketball team announced, set to play 2 matches in Abu Dhabi

USA Olympic basketball team announced, set to play 2 matches in Abu Dhabi
  • Team coached by Steve Kerr of Golden States Warriors will face Australia (July 15) and Serbia (July 17) in the UAE capital

COLORADO SPRINGS: The 2024 USA basketball men’s national team has been announced for this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, taking place July 26-Aug. 11

The team, selected by national men’s team managing director Grant Hill and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors, will also play two preparation matches in Abu Dhabi against Australia (July 15) and Serbia (July 17).

Starring for the team will be 12 athletes with extensive international experience, including three-time Olympic champion Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns) and the NBA’s all-time scoring leader LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), who owns a pair of Olympic gold medals.

In addition to Durant and James, the team features Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers), Jrue Holiday (Boston Celtics), Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers) and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics).

The squad boasts a combined 11 Olympic appearances and 10 Olympic gold medals as well as three FIBA World Cup titles. In total, the US will take 12 NBA All-Stars, four NBA MVPs and six NBA champions to Paris.

“It’s an honor to introduce the men’s national team,” Hill said. “I’m grateful to these 12 men for their commitment to represent USA Basketball. The US is home to some of the best basketball players in the world and I appreciate the vast interest in being part of this roster. These decisions weren’t easy, but it was a pleasure to go through the process and reach this outcome.

“We have the utmost respect for the level of competition we will face this summer. The Olympics represent the pinnacle of sport and the world will be watching the USA as we play in the toughest basketball tournament in history.”

Durant, who is also a 2010 World Cup gold medalist, is the USA’s all-time Olympic statistical leader in total points (435), scoring average (19.8 ppg), field goals (146), 3-point field goals (74) and free throws (69). He ranks third in rebounds (118) and blocks (16), and fourth in games played (24) and assists (71).

James, who has scored 273 points (3rd all-time among Americans) in the Olympics, will compete in his fourth games and first since 2012. He won gold in 2008 and 2012, and made his Olympics debut in 2004 (bronze). James also owns a 2007 FIBA Tournament of the Americas gold medal.

Adebayo (2020), Booker (2020), Davis (2012), Holiday (2020) and Tatum (2020) have won Olympic gold medals and are part of a group that has gone 34-4 in Olympic competition since James’ debut in 2004.

Curry is a two-time World Cup champion (2010, 2014) and will make his Olympic debut this summer. He is one of six players who has competed at the World Cup, including Davis (2014), Durant (2010), Edwards (2023), Haliburton (2023), James (2006) and Tatum (2019). Of the seven World Cup participants, three (Curry; Davis, 2014; Durant, 2010) have also won gold and two (Edwards, 2023; Durant, 2010) have taken home All-Star Five honors. Edwards and Haliburton competed at the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup in Manila, helping to secure the US’ Olympic bid.

Embiid and Leonard will make their USA Basketball national team debuts when the US hosts Canada on July 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to open the USA Basketball Showcase.

The men’s national team will be led by head coach Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors), assisted by Mark Few (Gonzaga University), Tyronn Lue (LA Clippers) and Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat). Last summer, the quartet coached the side to a fourth-place finish at the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup in Manila.

“My staff and I are honored to coach this amazing group of players in our quest to win Olympic gold in Paris,” Kerr said. “We plan to represent USA Basketball with the utmost class and we hope to make our country proud.”

The US officially qualified for the Paris Games as one of the top two nations from the FIBA Americas zone at the 2023 FIBA World Cup in September. The American men will compete for their fifth straight — and 17th overall — Olympic gold medal.

As part of Group C, the US will face Serbia on July 28, South Sudan on July 31 and the winner of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico on Aug. 3 in the first round of the Olympic tournament. The five-on-five Olympic basketball group phase will take place in Lille, France, before the tournament moves to Paris for knockout and medal rounds.


Beijing half marathon runners stripped of medals after controversial finish

Beijing half marathon runners stripped of medals after controversial finish
Updated 19 April 2024
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Beijing half marathon runners stripped of medals after controversial finish

Beijing half marathon runners stripped of medals after controversial finish
  • Race’s bizarre finish saw China’s He Jie cross the line first after two runners from Kenya and one from Ethiopia seemed to deliberately allow him to win

BEIJING: The top three in Sunday’s Beijing half marathon have been stripped of their medals, organizers said, following an investigation into the finish that saw China’s He Jie controversially win.

The race’s bizarre finish saw He cross the line first after the Kenyans Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat, and Dejene Hailu from Ethiopia, seemed to deliberately allow him to win.

Footage of the conclusion to the race went viral.

“Today the 2024 Beijing Half Marathon Organizing Committee issued a decision on the investigation and handling of the men’s race results,” a state media report said on Friday.

It added: “The trophies, medals and bonuses will be recovered.”

The four runners had stuck together throughout the course of just over 13 miles (21 kilometers) around the streets of the Chinese capital.

But He, the 2023 Asian Games marathon gold medallist, won by one second after his supposed rivals appeared to slow down toward the finish and waved him out in front.

All four were “punished” and their results canceled, China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Mnangat had told the BBC that the African trio were pacemakers, although their bibs did not say that.

The race investigation said that Mnangat, Keter and Hailu had not been properly registered as pacemakers for He, so their actions on the finish line breached competition rules.

The Chinese Athletics Association said earlier this week they had met, issuing a statement vowing to make improvements to the sport in the country.

Sunday’s incident received significant attention on Chinese social media site Weibo, with some users criticizing what they saw as an “embarrassing” result.

“This will certainly be the most embarrassing championship in He Jie’s career,” one wrote.

“With such a major organizer and such a well-known event, this really pushes sportsmanship to the ground in shame,” the post said.

Long-distance and marathon running has boomed in recent years among China’s middle class, but there have been numerous instances of cheating and poor organization.

In 2018, at a half marathon in the southern city of Shenzhen, 258 runners were found to have cheated, including many who took shortcuts.

Traffic cameras caught them darting through trees to join a different part of the race.

In 2019, a woman was filmed riding a green rental bike in the Xuzhou International Marathon in eastern China.

She was ordered by race officials to dismount the bike, only to get back on again afterwards.