Mohammed Ben Sulayem visits Tirana with view to developing motorsports

Mohammed Ben Sulayem visits Tirana with view to developing motorsports
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. (Supplied)
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Updated 31 January 2024
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Mohammed Ben Sulayem visits Tirana with view to developing motorsports

Mohammed Ben Sulayem visits Tirana with view to developing motorsports
  • The president of the International Automobile Federation met with Albania’s prime minister to discuss the Auto Moto Park project  

TIRANA: Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the International Automobile Federation, has visited Tirana with a view to developing motorsports in Albania.

During a meeting on Tuesday with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama and the Albanian Automobile Club’s President Niko Leka, Ben Sulayem discussed the Auto Moto Park project, which is the Balkan country’s first international motor racing complex in Elbasan.

The complex includes a Grade A track, specifically designed for car racing enthusiasts and aimed at contributing to the development of motorsports in the region, and promoting road safety. The FIA’s safety department will oversee the official approval of the circuit.

Ben Sulayem expressed his support for the project on behalf of the FIA. “I am delighted to see the progress that is being made in Albania in the areas of growing motorsport and the numerous road safety initiatives launched under Prime Minister Edi Rama’s government,” he said.

“Commitments such as these in the Balkan region are crucial to FIA’s mission to double motorsport participation globally and to bring greater awareness to the importance of road safety. The Auto Moto Park project is a perfect illustration of bringing motorsport and mobility together for the benefit of all.”

Discussions were also held regarding the possibility of Albania hosting major events such as the FIA Conference or the Annual General Assembly.

Rama pledged to support the FIA’s “United Against Online Abuse” campaign by signing the initiative’s charter.


FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem receives Arab and MENA backing

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem receives Arab and MENA backing
Updated 12 sec ago
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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.


Rohit says India-Pakistan Test cricket would be ‘awesome’

Rohit says India-Pakistan Test cricket would be ‘awesome’
Updated 19 April 2024
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Rohit says India-Pakistan Test cricket would be ‘awesome’

Rohit says India-Pakistan Test cricket would be ‘awesome’
  • South Asian neighbors are bitter political adversaries, have not faced off in Test since 2007
  • They play only occasionally in shorter versions of game usually on neutral territory 

NEW DELHI: India captain Rohit Sharma has thrown his support behind any resumption of Test cricket against arch-rivals Pakistan, saying it would be “awesome.”
The South Asian neighbors are bitter political adversaries and have fought three wars against each other since they were partitioned at the end of British colonial rule in 1947.
Their cricket teams have not faced off in a Test since 2007. Instead they play only occasionally in the shorter versions of the game and usually on neutral territory in international tournaments.
Rohit appeared Thursday on a YouTube chat show hosted by former captains Adam Gilchrist of Australia and Michael Vaughan of England.
Asked by Vaughan if playing Pakistan in a Test series would be beneficial for the five-day game, Rohit said: “I totally believe that.”
“They are a good team, superb bowling line-up, good contest. Especially if you play in overseas conditions, that will be awesome,” added the 36-year-old.
“I would love to. It would be a great contest between two sides... so why not?“
Australia has said it would be prepared to host a series between the rivals.
India and Pakistan have not faced each other on either side’s soil in a bilateral series since 2012.
India last year refused to travel to Pakistan for the white-ball Asia Cup, prompting part of the tournament to be staged in Sri Lanka.
They last met at the 50-over World Cup in India in October.


Qatar beat Jordan to reach last eight of 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup

Qatar beat Jordan to reach last eight of 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup
Updated 19 April 2024
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Qatar beat Jordan to reach last eight of 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup

Qatar beat Jordan to reach last eight of 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup
  • A last-gasp 2-1 win leaves the hosts on six points from two matches in Group A of the tournament

DOHA: A stoppage time winner saw hosts Qatar defeat Jordan 2-1 on Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup.

Qatar took the lead through Abdulla Al-Yazidi on 40 minutes, but Jordan equalized seven minutes into the second half thanks to Aref Al-Haj’s spot kick.

The match looked to be heading for a draw when Mohamed Al-Manai scored 14 minutes into stoppage time to break Jordanian hearts. The win Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Al-Rayyan made Qatar the first team to secure a spot in the last eight.

Qatar now sit top of Group A with a maximum six points from two matches. Earlier in the day, Indonesia beat Australia 1-0 at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha and are currently second in the table with three points. Jordan and Australia are third and fourth respectively with one point apiece.

Saudi Arabia return to action against Thailand on Friday before facing Iraq in their final Group C match on Monday (April 22).

The U23 Asian Cup, which runs until May 3, is also a route to this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

The competition sees 16 nations split into four groups of four teams, with the top two from each progressing to the quarterfinals. The winners of both semifinals automatically qualify for the Olympics, regardless who wins the final.

The two losing semifinalists will contest third place, with the winners also booking a spot in Paris. The fourth-place finishers have one final chance with a play-off against an African qualifier.