Pakistan’s army chief vows full support for hockey team after silver medal win in Malaysia

Pakistan’s army chief vows full support for hockey team after silver medal win in Malaysia
Pakistan’s army chief General Asim Munir (left) shakes hand with a player of national hockey team at army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on May 17, 2024. (ISPR)
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Updated 17 May 2024
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Pakistan’s army chief vows full support for hockey team after silver medal win in Malaysia

Pakistan’s army chief vows full support for hockey team after silver medal win in Malaysia
  • The national hockey team reached the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final for the first time in 13 years
  • The Pakistani players were also hosted and praised by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif this week

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army chief General Asim Munir vowed on Friday to fully support the national hockey team while meeting with its players and applauding them for winning a silver medal in the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also hosted the Green Shirts in Islamabad in recognition of their outstanding performance at the tournament, where they reached the finals for the first time in 13 years.

Sharif praised the team’s performance and reiterated his administration’s commitment to promoting sports, particularly hockey, in the country.

The army chief also praised the squad during the interaction with its players in Rawalpindi.

“The hockey team has brought immense pride to the nation, and we are committed to providing them with comprehensive support to ensure their continued success,” he was quoted as saying in a statement released by the military’s media wing, ISPR.

He also extended his best wishes to the players for their future endeavors.

Cricket has generally overshadowed other sports in Pakistan, including hockey, in terms of popularity and media attention.

This is despite the fact that hockey is the country’s national sport and has a rich history of international success. Yet, it has not received the same level of sustained interest or investment as cricket, with the disparity impacting its development and visibility within the country.


UAE jiu-jitsu team win 15 medals at Grand Prix Thailand Open

UAE jiu-jitsu team win 15 medals at Grand Prix Thailand Open
Updated 4 sec ago
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UAE jiu-jitsu team win 15 medals at Grand Prix Thailand Open

UAE jiu-jitsu team win 15 medals at Grand Prix Thailand Open

BANGKOK: The UAE Jiu-Jitsu National Team won an impressive 15 medals at the Grand Prix Thailand Open 2024 over the weekend, comprising five gold, three silver and seven bronze.

The event in Bangkok was considered by the team’s management as ideal preparation for other major international events, particularly the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Greece in November.

The opening day of the championship was dedicated to the women’s category, where the UAE national team repeated their impressive showing achieved at the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship in Abu Dhabi in May.

Among the winners were Balqees Alhashmi (54 kg) who clinched gold and Aysha Alshamsi (45 kg) silver. Asma Alhosani (52 kg), Shamma Alkalbani (63 kg) and Maitha Shraim (48 kg) secured bronze medals.

“I’m proud to have reached the podium,” said Alhashmi. “Our hard work and intense preparations paid off. We’ll keep training with the same determination, especially for the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Greece to maintain our title for the fifth year in a row.”

The male athletes who took to the mats on the second day were equally successful, collectively capturing 10 medals. Khalid Alblooshi (62 kg), Mahdi Alawlaqi (77 kg), Saeed Alkubaisi (85 kg) and Omar Alsuwaidi (56 kg) secured gold on Sunday.

Mayed Alshehhi (62 kg) and Rashed Alshehhi (56 kg) won silver, while Hazza Farhan (over 94 kg), Saeed Alketbi (56 kg), Sultan Alhosani (77 kg), and Mohamed Alsuwaidi (69 kg) took bronze.

“We are thrilled with our performance and proud to win a good number of medals despite the tough competition,” Alblooshi said. “We look forward to keeping up this strong performance, using this experience to continue our physical and mental development.”

Mohamed Salem Al-Dhaheri, vice chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said: “This year’s Grand Prix Thailand Open featured intense competition with many international stars, raising the championship’s overall level. Our national team’s performance was commendable, with athletes reaching the podium in multiple weight categories.

“This success reflects the hard work and tireless efforts of our technical staff in developing the competitors’ skills and the complete commitment of our athletes to perform their best on the mat.

“Competing against the world’s top athletes significantly enhanced our team’s experience, providing valuable insights that will enrich their preparations for upcoming championships. It also highlighted areas for improvement, ensuring that the team emerges stronger and more determined to win future titles.”

Yasser Al-Qubaisi, the team’s administrator, said: “We made sure to include experienced athletes as well as talented fresh faces in the national team, and they have proven their potential. This is part of the UAEJJF’s efforts to expand our roster across various weight categories and boost our competitiveness on the international stage.

“We are confident that these new talents will continue to develop, grow, and gain the experience needed to reach the podium in future competitions.”


New ‘Legends’ cricket tourney to bring back classic bowl-out format

New ‘Legends’ cricket tourney to bring back classic bowl-out format
Updated 28 min 57 sec ago
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New ‘Legends’ cricket tourney to bring back classic bowl-out format

New ‘Legends’ cricket tourney to bring back classic bowl-out format
  • Broadcaster Mandira Bedi will host event from July 3-13, featuring top former international players

NEW DELHI: The new World Championship of Legends cricket tournament taking place in the UK from July 3 to 13 will bring back the classic bowl-out format reminiscent of early 20-over games.

The tournament takes place at the grounds of Edgbaston and Northamptonshire County Cricket Club in the UK.

The WCL, co-owned by Bollywood icon Ajay Devgn, will feature some of the game’s top former international players.

The decision to adopt the bowl-out method for resolving tied matches harks back to the early days of T20 cricket. This format, where bowlers try to hit the stumps unguarded by a batter, is aimed at making games more exciting for fans.

Harshit Tomar, co-owner of the WCL, said recently that the 2007 game between India and Pakistan, where the format was used, remained one of his “favorite memories, hence we want to revive it and keep it very original.”

Popular television presenter and actress Mandira Bedi will host the event.


Polarizing Warner bows out with Australia World Cup exit

Polarizing Warner bows out with Australia World Cup exit
Updated 33 min 47 sec ago
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Polarizing Warner bows out with Australia World Cup exit

Polarizing Warner bows out with Australia World Cup exit
  • Combative Warner headed Australia’s top order ever since international debut in 2009
  • His legacy will be tainted for involvement in a notorious ball-tampering scandal in 2018

Sydney: David Warner’s 15-year international career came to an anti-climactic end on Tuesday as Australia were dumped out of the T20 World Cup in excruciating fashion.

Australia and Warner could only watch on powerless as Afghanistan instead reached the semifinals by beating Bangladesh by a nail-biting eight runs.

Australia’s fate had hung in the balance after India defeated them by 24 runs in St. Lucia on a day of high drama.

The 37-year-old opening batsman Warner had always said the World Cup in the United States and Caribbean would be his farewell to international cricket.

He couldn’t have imagined going out quite like this.

The combative Warner stood tall at the top of the Australian order ever since his international debut in January 2009, and as opening partners came and went.

He hangs up his pads as arguably Australia’s greatest three-format player. He is the country’s leading run-scorer in T20 cricket with 3,277 from 110 games.

Warner exited a glittering 112-Test career in January after plundering 8,786 runs at an average of 44.60, with a strike rate of 70.19. His one-day exploits were equally impressive, crunching 6,932 runs from 161 matches.

Warner was also one of the most consistent slip fielders in the game, whose name was among the first on the team sheet.

“He is probably our greatest-ever three-format player. He’ll be a loss,” Australia coach Andrew McDonald said recently.

“Other people have been gunning for him for a period of time, but for us internally, we’ve seen the great value and what he brings to the table, hence why we’ve kept picking him.”

But for all his exploits on the pitch, Warner made enemies along the way and will forever be remembered for his key role in a notorious ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

Warner was seen as the chief plotter when Cameron Bancroft used sandpaper to scuff the ball before a crude attempt to conceal the evidence down his trousers during a Test in Cape Town.

Along with skipper Steve Smith, Warner was suspended for a year by Cricket Australia, stripped of the vice-captaincy and banned from ever leading the team.

Warner, who will continue to play T20 cricket in leagues around the world and will also be a commentator, admitted this month he would always be tarnished by “Sandpaper-gate.”

“I think it’s going to be inevitable that when people talk about me in 20 or 30 years’ time, there will always be that sandpaper scandal,” he said.

He feels he has been unfairly singled out.

“Whether it’s people who don’t like the Australian cricket team or don’t like me, I’ve always been that person who has copped it,” he added.

For that reason, Warner said he was looking forward to international retirement.

“One can only absorb (so much),” he said. “For me, it’s great to go out knowing I’m not going to cop it anymore.”

Warner was always an assertive presence and his involvement in “Sandpaper-gate” was not a surprise to many.

In June 2013, he was suspended and fined for punching England’s Joe Root in a Birmingham bar on the eve of the Ashes.

“I’m extremely remorseful. I have let my teammates, Cricket Australia, the fans, myself and my family down,” said Warner at the time.

Two months earlier he was similarly contrite after an ugly Twitter spat with two Australian journalists.

Despite the controversies, he kept bouncing back.

Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said Warner was a tough competitor, but a different person off the field.

“I’ve heard a lot from Davey recently about people making judgments about him from the way they see him play his cricket,” he told reporters at the World Cup.

“Once he’s retired and he makes that next step of life into the media, you’ll see a totally different side to him.”


800 athletes from 45 nations set for IMMAF Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi

800 athletes from 45 nations set for IMMAF Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi
Updated 25 June 2024
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800 athletes from 45 nations set for IMMAF Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi

800 athletes from 45 nations set for IMMAF Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi
  • The event will run from Aug. 6-10 at Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City

ABU DHABI: Preparations are well underway for the 2024 IMMAF Youth World Championships from Aug. 6 to 10 at Zayed Sports City, the organizing committee has announced.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation championship, to feature 800 athletes from 45 countries, will be held in the UAE capital for the third consecutive year.

In 2021, the tournament attracted 331 athletes from 23 countries, and in 2022 featured 500 competitors from 42 countries. Last year there were 700 male and female athletes from 45 countries.

The next generation of MMA athletes will compete in three age categories: 12 to 13 (Youth C), 14 to 15 (Youth B), and 16 to 17 (Youth A).

In 2022, the UAE National Team debuted in the championship with 28 athletes, winning one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals.

Last year, the UAE team comprised 40 athletes and clinched four gold, four silver, and four bronze medals. Fahad Al-Hammadi (Youth A/70.3 kg division), Ghala Al-Hammadi (Youth B/40 kg division), Saif Alblooshi (Youth C/40 kg division), and Zamzam Al-Hammadi (Youth B/52 kg division) were among the gold medalists for the hosts.

This year, the team comprises 50 athletes who will undergo intensive training over the next few weeks to enhance their mental and physical readiness under the guidance of international coaches.

The IMMAF’s President Kerrith Brown said recently he was looking forward to the championships. “Returning to Abu Dhabi is always a pleasure for us. The level of commitment of the entire team is truly inspiring and we are happy to report another record-breaking attendance number for this year.

“We are excited to continue to build a safe pathway for youngsters to develop as athletes and human beings and everyone can expect increased efforts from the IMMAF to continue making safeguarding a priority as we expand our youth tournaments around the globe.”

Mohammed bin Dalmouk Al-Dhaheri, board member of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation and chairman of the body’s Mixed Martial Arts Committee, said the UAE was honored to host the event.

“With less than two months remaining until the largest event that MMA fans worldwide look forward to, we are working hard to ensure that this edition comes out in the best possible way. The previous two editions saw great success and contributed to solidifying Abu Dhabi’s status as a much sought-after destination for major sporting events,” Al-Dhaheri said.


Afghanistan beat Bangladesh to reach T20 last four, Australia eliminated

Afghanistan beat Bangladesh to reach T20 last four, Australia eliminated
Updated 25 June 2024
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Afghanistan beat Bangladesh to reach T20 last four, Australia eliminated

Afghanistan beat Bangladesh to reach T20 last four, Australia eliminated
  • Afghanistan beat Bangladesh in dramatic eight-run victory in rain-affected clash in St. Vincent
  • Afghanistan will now face South Africa in first T20 World Cup semifinal in Trinidad on Wednesday 

Arnos Vale, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Afghanistan advanced to their first-ever T20 World Cup semifinal after completing a dramatic eight-run victory over Bangladesh in a rain-affected clash at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St. Vincent on Monday.

Defending a modest total of 115 for five on a bowler-friendly surface, Afghan captain Rashid Khan belied three rain stoppages, a slippery ball and a revised target of 114 off 19 overs to take four for 23 as Bangladesh, who themselves harbored faint hopes of making the last four, were dismissed for 105 off 17.5 overs.

An unbeaten 54 from opener Litton Das was threatening to take Bangladesh to victory and earn Australia the last semifinal spot on net run-rate.

But pacer Naveen ul Haq claimed the last two wickets — Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman — off consecutive deliveries in the penultimate over of the match to trigger delirious Afghan celebrations.

With India defeating Australia earlier in the day and advancing to the second semifinal against England in Guyana on Thursday, this result assured the Afghans of second spot in the group and eliminated the Aussies together with the Bangladeshis.

Afghanistan will now face South Africa in the first semifinal in Trinidad on Wednesday.