ABU DHABI: The National Basketball Association announced on Tuesday a series of youth engagement programs in collaboration with the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks as part of The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022.
The activities, which will include the league’s first “Jr. NBA Week” in the Middle East, will run from Monday, Oct. 3 to Sunday, Oct. 9, with nearly 2,000 youth, coaches and basketball stakeholders from the UAE, the region and Europe.
The week will consist of clinics and camps focused on teaching the game, promoting health and wellness, and empowering the next generation of female players and coaches. The events will feature appearances by Hawks and Bucks players and coaches, NBA and WNBA legends, and US Basketball Head Coach/Coach Director, Youth & Sport Development Don Showalter.
The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will feature the Hawks and the 2021 NBA champions Bucks playing two preseason games at Etihad Arena on Yas Island on Thursday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 8, marking the league’s first games in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.
The games are part of a groundbreaking multiyear collaboration between the NBA and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi that earlier this year saw the launch of the first Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, a youth basketball competition for 450 boys and girls aged 11 to 14 from schools across the city.
The collaboration also includes a variety of interactive fan events featuring appearances by current and former NBA players, a series of NBA FIT clinics promoting health and wellness, and an NBA 2K League exhibition event.
The week’s activities include, among others:
Atlanta Hawks Youth Program Oct. 3
Hawks players and coaches will lead three simultaneous youth development events at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus’ three-court facility, including clinics for boys and girls from the first Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League and the Abu Dhabi Special Olympics program. There is also an NBA FIT clinic for local youth that will focus on the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle. The participants will attend the game on Oct. 6.
NBA Coaching Clinics Oct. 3 to 4
The assistant coaches of the Hawks, Joe Prunty and Mike Longabardi, and those of the Bucks, Mike Dunlap and Vince Legarza, will host clinics for over 300 male and female basketball coaches from the UAE.
Milwaukee Bucks Youth Program Oct. 4
Bucks players and coaches will offer drills for members of the NBA Basketball School in Dubai and the Jr. NBA Elite Training Camp at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus.
Jr. NBA School Clinics Oct. 4 to 5
The NBA will conduct eight clinics for boys and girls at local schools across Abu Dhabi, two of which will be attended by NBA Legend Dominique Wilkins and WNBA Legend Ticha Penicheiro (Portugal). The clinics will focus on teamwork, skills and healthy habits.
NBA Hoops For Troops Meet & Greets
In collaboration with the United Service Organizations, the NBA will host members of the US military for meet and greets with NBA legends at both games.
Jr. NBA Elite Training Camp Oct. 4 to 9
The NBA will host 25 of the top boys and girls from Jr. NBA leagues across Europe and the Middle East, and the NBA Basketball School in Dubai, at an elite training camp in Abu Dhabi. The athletes, from 11 countries, were selected following a Jr. NBA Elite Camp in Rome in May. They will participate in training and competitions with the NBA Basketball School from Dubai and the UAE under-18 Men’s National Team.
Her Time To Play Clinic Oct. 8
The NBA will host a “Her Time To Play” clinic at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus for 70 girls from the Jr. NBA Elite Training Camp and the NBA Basketball School in Dubai. Participants will engage in a clinic and conversations focused on female empowerment and opportunities in sports and leadership, highlighted by a talk with Penicheiro.
DUBAI: Toby Gregory, alongside crew members James Raley and Raimundo Tamagnini, set out on Dec. 12 on a journey to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat slightly bigger than your average car.
As the 43-year-old Brit, who founded the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team in 2021, reminds us, more people have ventured into space or conquered Mount Everest than completed what he calls one of the last great adventures on Earth.
So, with 5,000 km to row over what could be 50 to 60 days, just what will their Spotify playlist look like?
“There are all sorts of songs that come to mind. And when you’re out running, you have a certain type of song; when you’re in the gym, you have a certain type of song,” said Gregory, who is the trip’s project director.
“And really, I’ve never been out in the middle of an ocean. I’ve never been that tired, never been that fatigued. So it’s actually quite difficult to know what music would motivate you on a crossing like this.
“The mind plays such an important role in the adventure we’re about to take. Your body will give up long before your mind does. With that in mind, it’s one where music’s a big concern of ours. We’re probably going to leave it for a couple more weeks, just until we’re in the right mindset.”
Once out in the middle of the ocean, the soundtrack to the crew’s unique endeavor might have to be paused occasionally.
“I think it depends where you are mentally at that time,” Gregory added. “I hear the sunsets are just incredible, hear the sunrises are amazing. The stars at night, as you look up, you can almost reach and grab them. And I think in those moments, you probably wouldn’t want music, you just want to be very present.
“But there are times we will need to come together; there are times that we’ll need cheering up and motivating as a team. And I think it’s certainly one where I’ll let the others choose the music that they play. As long as they are OK, as they have the right headspace, I’m cool with whatever happens.”
The journey starts in La Gomera in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and ends in Antigua. Gregory and his colleagues have been training for months, but nothing will quite prepare them for the real thing.
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Gregory added: “The closest I’ve ever done is a kind of four-day row.
“Distance wise, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what we’re about to take on. It really is one of those projects that is so significant in terms of the planning, in terms of the preparation, that actually it’s almost impossible to properly prepare for it.
“What exercises do we do? Is it strength? Is it conditioning? Is it core? Is it mental? In terms of time on the water, you can’t set off and do these massive rows, because that’s like doing the actual challenge itself. I think the closest I’ve come in terms of distance is probably about 500 km, if that. We just can’t replicate the conditions.”
Even energy-sapping endurance events, for which Gregory and Tamagnini have a passion, are easier to prepare for.
Gregory said: “I did Marathon des Sables, which is over a number of days, and you’re carrying all your own equipment. You can replicate a lot of those conditions, but the conditions that we’re going to face out in the ocean are so varied, and so extreme, that’s just impossible to replicate.”
Gregory will share the small space with 47-year-old Tamagnini, from Portugal, and fellow Brit Raley, 42, and says that a certain degree of tolerance and understanding will be needed on the crossing.
He added: “I think ocean rowing is notorious for people getting to the other side and never speaking again.
“It’s notorious for being such a hard mental challenge that there can be issues out on the water. From our perspective, the training that we’ve done has really taught us the importance of empathy.
“How you treat each other has to be true and honest, and that wouldn’t matter if they were a friend or not, it’s irrelevant.
“Because there will be times out in the water when I’m tired, a bit grumpy, but how I deal with that has to come from the heart, and how I deal with the other people on the boat has to come from the heart.
“So does it matter if we’re friends? I think it certainly helps, but I think going into situations with a great deal of empathy for other people at all times is absolutely critical.”
A typical day will see a shift pattern of two hours on, two hours off, or two on, one off, for 24 hours.
Gregory said: “Within that short period of time, obviously sleep’s a premium, sleep’s critical.
“In terms of taking on board fuel, we each need to have 6,000 calories a day; that’s 18,000 calories in total for the boat. So in terms of what a typical day might look like, I can really isolate into the gaps a list of things that need to be done to the boat.
“Are they critical? Are they going to stop us from continuing our crossing?
“If they’re not, how quickly do they need to be done? But most importantly, while we’re making these assessments, we take our nutrition.
“The 60 minutes or 120 minutes we have off is nutrition, fixing the boat, rest; nutrition, fixing the boat, rest.”
There is one more layer of complexity, or perhaps duty, for the mission. The Arabian Ocean Rowing Team have partnered with the UN Environment Program Clean Seas initiative to raise awareness about sustainability, combating plastic pollution and promoting renewable energy.
Over the last six months, 20,000 people in three different countries, many of them schoolchildren and university students, have engaged with the project’s #bepartofit community program, and the team spoke at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in late June.
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Gregory added: “We are trying to do what we can for science, and the environment. Our current plan at the moment is to conduct a number of surveys the whole way through, looking at microplastics, looking at pollution in the ocean, and doing science experiments on behalf of students who have given us experiments to take.”
While every precaution will be taken to ensure the crew’s safety, with harnesses being worn at all times, unpredictable weather conditions and wave patterns mean emergencies are possible.
Gregory said: “Within the first day we’re out of range of any helicopter. So we’ve got roughly 48 days where we’d rely on other boats, and our proximity to those boats the further into the ocean we go, becomes slightly more challenging.
“In our practice scenarios, and the drills we’ve undertaken to date, we’re working on the assumption that we’re roughly 48 hours from help.”
The building of the boat was commissioned two years ago, and it was completed last year.
“We’ve had this boat built specifically for this journey,” said Gregory.
“I worked with a team while they built it. It’s wonderfully robust. It’s got a number of different air pockets and chambers, so I have extreme confidence in the boat, but issues do happen.
“We’re well drilled, well prepared and if something goes wrong, it’s not about panic, it’s about process. And we just get on with the tasks that we need to do to ensure our survival.”
Gregory has personally funded 90 percent of the entire project and is now reaching out to potential sponsors and partners to support the team’s efforts.
He said: “I started seriously saving for this type of adventure about five years ago, and really dedicated a significant amount of time to putting money away for it. It has cost a significant amount of money.”
Along the way, the team decided that this mission can be a force for good, one in which contributions would be welcome.
He added: “We are doing what we can for the environment and for science, and at the same time we’ve got a unique opportunity to showcase brands.
“Frankly, if people wish to sponsor the boat, or have a logo on the boat, then that certainly helps with the financing of the project.”
The team will have access to Wi-Fi throughout their crossing, and Gregory says they will be selective in how they use it.
“We’ll be able to watch England win the World Cup,” he said. “And I wonder if we’ll get a Guinness World Record for watching it in the most remote part of the world.
“But outside of that, we do have global connections. And we will be connecting with scientists with schools throughout our journey.
“With regards to families, it’s an interesting one because you have to keep a clear head; you have to keep focused. Emotional vulnerabilities are not something that you can let creep in.
“We will have Wi-Fi, we will have full sat comms to send videos, to be in touch with people, no matter where we are on the ocean.”
And what awaits the team in the future?
“I think I wish to continue this journey, to kind of campaign and to promote the environmental elements of it,” Gregory said.
“I’m expecting to conduct experiments in the middle of the ocean, where I’ll find microplastics. And from a personal perspective, I just don’t see how that can be OK.
“It’s really lit something inside me. I wish to continue this journey.”
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s rising tennis star Yara Al-Hogbani on Saturday defeated Isabell Bilaus of Israel in the semi-final of the J5 Isa Town Tournament 2022 in Bahrain.
Al-Hogbani, 18, will now face Russia’s Tamara Ermakova in Sunday’s final.
Fifteen-year-old Ermakova is ranked 634th by the International Tennis Federation and has a 33-24 win-loss record, while Al-Hogbani’s stands at 21-21.
The two previously met in 2021 in the second round of the J4 Isa Town, when Al-Hogbani won 6-1, 6-0.
Al-Hogbani is the first Saudi female tennis player to turn professional and has been registered at Al-Ittihad club since 2018.
RIYADH: Al-Nassr are to face Spain’s Almeria in a friendly match on Dec. 9, the Riyadh club announced on Twitter.
The news was also tweeted by Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority, and on the Spanish club’s Arabic language Twitter account.
We welcome @U_D_Almeria
In a friendly match that will be held in Riyadh
Friday the 9th of December
Knights are waiting for you, Lions pic.twitter.com/njwFYqAJCz
The match will take place a day after Saudi Arabia and Asian champions Al-Hilal face Newcastle United while both clubs are taking a break from their respective domestic leagues during the World Cup in Qatar.
The visit of the Saudi-owned English Premier League club is part of the four-month Diriyah Season’s sporting action, which began last week with showjumping event the Longines Global Champions Tour and will be followed by the FIBA 3×3 World Cup basketball tournament on Nov. 11 and 12, and the Diriyah Tennis Cup from Dec. 8 to 10.
AC Milan and Inter Milan will contest the Italian Super Cup on Jan. 18, and the Formula E Diriyah E-Prix will take place on Jan. 26 and 27.
MEXICO CITY: World champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull will start the Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix from pole for the first time on Sunday night.
In 2019, Verstappen was quickest in qualifying but had to drop three grid places for a yellow flag infringement, promoting Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to pole. There were no such problems for the 25-year-old Dutchman this time, who recorded a best lap of 1:17.775 and an average lap speed of 199.220 km/h to secure his sixth pole of 2022 and the 19th of his F1 career.
“Very lovely that,” the Dutchman told his team after holding off the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. “It was a close one. We made a few adjustments and the car got into a better rhythm.”
The hopes of hundreds of thousands of Mexican fans were dashed when Sergio Perez could not join his team-mate on the front row, after finishing fourth fastest.
“It was a big shame,” said Perez. “We had an electrical issue throughout qualifying. I was pretty much blind, I had no indication of my lap times. To be P4 is not the end of the world, but today I believe we could have fought for pole.”
But Verstappen lifted the Mexican mood: “Checo will be there tomorrow,” he said, “I’m sure we’ve got a fast race car.”
Russell complained of brake problems throughout the hour but apologized to his Mercedes team after his final run when he ran wide on entry to the Foro Sol and lost any chance of catching the Red Bull.
“The team deserved more today,” said the 24-year-old Englishman. “They’ve produced a really great car for this weekend — it was just a terrible lap from me.”
Ferrari could do no better than fifth for Carlos Sainz and seventh for Charles Leclerc, as Sainz complained: “We were fighting the car too much,” but the surprise package was Valtteri Bottas sandwiched between them.
Bottas, now 33, was on pole at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez last season for Mercedes, but to be in the top six in his Alfa Romeo is in some ways an even more outstanding effort.
“It’s really uplifting for the whole team,” said the Finn. “It’s been an easy car to drive and since FP1 I’ve had confidence.”
The last three positions in the top 10 are shared by the McLaren of Lando Norris and the two Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon — another mouth-watering prospect for Sunday — as those two teams battle for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Right behind them is Daniel Ricciardo in the second McLaren, who was eliminated in Q2 along with Chinese newcomer Zhou Guanyu in the other Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri pair Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly, in addition to Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.
There had been a landmark moment for the Haas team as Magnussen made it into the second stage of qualifying — the first time the American team has got one of their drivers out of Q1 in Mexico. However, Magnussen carries a grid penalty and will drop back, while team-mate Mick Schumacher was sixth at one point, until his best lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits in Turn 2 and the German was also eliminated.
There was no joy for 2017 Mexican pole-winner Sebastian Vettel. In his final appearance at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the Aston Martin driver could manage only 17th in Q1.
Mercedes, winless and with just one pole position in 2022 so far, threw down the gauntlet to the field in the third practice session as Russell and Hamilton made it a 1-2 for the Silver Arrows.
ABU DHABI: The UAE national team stole the spotlight on the opening day of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship after taking nine medals in the U-16 competitions in Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, was present at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City for the opening ceremony of the championship, which will run until Nov. 8.
The young Emirati fighters, sponsored by Mubadala Investment Company, took charge on Day 1 of the 27th championship to lead in the medal table with nine medals, including two gold, two silver and five bronze.
The Jiu-Jitsu Falcons, as they are affectionately known, produced a performance that suggested they are determined to defend the World Champions title secured last year.
Abdulla Al-Darmaki, who won silver in the +73kg division, kicked off the UAE’s medal haul on the opening day.
“I am thrilled to have taken home the silver medal in the world championship’s opening day. Moments like these, when you represent the UAE at an international competition and grab a medal, are ones you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Receiving the medal from His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan made today even more memorable,” he said.
Leading the charge for the hosts was Ahmed Al-Shamsi, who secured the UAE’s first gold medal by defeating Kazakhstan’s Umarov Islam in the -42kg category.
“My first experience playing for the UAE national team began with the gold. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the UAEJJF, the coaches, and everyone else who helped us out by giving us access to top-notch facilities and training,” he said.
“I send my warmest wishes to all my brothers and sisters competing in the days to come.”
Umarov Islam said that he had a good fight and was happy to have grabbed second place. “I fought hard, even though I had to settle for second place. Jiu-jitsu contests in Abu Dhabi are always thrilling for me because I get to compete against and engage with the greatest athletes from across the globe.”
Saturday’s action also saw the UAE’s Ammar Al-Hammadi secure gold in the -50kg weight division while Mansoor Al-Blooshi scooped silver in the -38 kg category. Manea Abdulrahman (+73 kg), Eysa A-Blooshi (-38 kg), Obaid Al-Ketbi (-46 kg), Mohamed Al-Sada (-55 kg) and Andeez Ahmed (-66 kg) won bronze medals, making the UAE side look strong on the inaugural day.
Sheikh Khalid presented the winners with their medals accompanied by Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, president of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union, and senior vice president of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation; and Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, president of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation.