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UAE national team shine on Day 1 of Jiu-Jitsu World Champish

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UAE national team shine on Day 1 of Jiu-Jitsu World Championship

UAE national team shine on Day 1 of Jiu-Jitsu World Championship

UAE national team shine on Day 1 of Jiu-Jitsu World Championship

The UAE dominated the opening day of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Abu Dhabi. (Supplied)

UAE national team shine on Day 1 of Jiu-Jitsu World Championship

Host nation claim nine medals in the U-16 division as the 27th competition got underway at Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi

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 UAEs medal haul on the opening day.

I am thrilled to have taken home the silver medal in the world championships opening day. Moments like these, when you represent the UAE at an international competition and grab a medal, are ones youll 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 UAEs first gold medal by defeating Kazakhstans 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.

Saturdays action also saw the UAEs 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.

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Cristiano Ronaldo gambles on World Cup to restore reputation

Cristiano Ronaldo gambles on World Cup to restore reputation

Cristiano Ronaldo gambles on World Cup to restore reputation

A man of seemingly boundless self-belief is struggling to accept the effects of age

Ronaldo is banking on the World Cup to launch a glorious final act to his remarkable career

DOHA: Not for the first time, Cristiano Ronaldo is trusting himself to deliver on the big stage.

A man of seemingly boundless self-belief is struggling to accept the effects of age and banking on the World Cup to launch a glorious final act to his remarkable career.

His explosive interview with Piers Morgan this week has set the stage for a make-or-break few weeks for the 37-year-old Portugal forward and left him with little room to maneuver if it goes wrong.

Its quite the gamble. But for Ronaldo, who has written his own story in a trophy-laden career, its unlikely failure has even been considered.

He has very deliberately ensured the focus is on him in Qatar by waging a public war with Manchester United and putting himself on the market.

The question is whether it is a case of self-belief or self-delusion.

On the evidence of his performances on the field this season, reality has hit him hard. The burst of speed appears to have gone. The energy levels are not the same. And, perhaps most shockingly, that cutting edge just isnt there.

Of Uniteds 21 games this season, Ronaldo has been involved in 16 of them and scored only three goals.

Two of those goals were against Moldovan club Sheriff FC in the Europa League one a penalty. The other was a winner against Everton and marked the 700th of his club career.

Despite the milestone he achieved with that goal in the Premier League, those statistics provide little in the way of evidence that he is about to make an emphatic statement at the World Cup. But to hear him in that interview, its clear Ronaldo believes he has been underused and ill-deployed by United manager Erik ten Hag.

The World Cup is his chance to prove that point, because if he carries his club form into the tournament its hard to know where he will turn up next.

Even on the back of 24 goals last season he couldnt secure a move to one of Europes leading clubs and there is little to suggest the picture has changed now. His willingness to call out his manager, owners and other players on international TV might make it hard for Ronaldo to attract suitors when the January transfer window opens.

Whether a challenge for the Golden Boot as top scorer in Qatar and a deep run for Portugal would change that remains to be seen. But it is surely his only chance of prolonging his career in elite soccer.

Maybe its good for Manchester and probably is good for me as well to have a new chapter, he told TalkTV.

The Premier League club responded by saying they had initiated appropriate steps following his actions. The termination of his contract is a possible outcome.

Even as a free agent, Ronaldos reported salary of about 500,000 pounds ($590,000) per week presents a considerable hurdle for other interested clubs. Thats why its so important for him to provide evidence he can still deliver at the highest level.

Yet Ronaldos off-field actions have proved more noteworthy. None more so than that interview with Morgan, where he came across as a grumpy old man blaming just about everyone else for his failure to make himself the centerpoint of a team and possibly a sport that is moving forward without him.

Its the new coaches that are coming around, he said. They think they find the last Coca-Cola in the desert.

That analogy only fed the impression that he a five-time Ballon dOr winner who has won five Champions League titles and seven league titles in three different countries is increasingly a player who is out of touch with the modern game.

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Unprecedented popularity of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix points to bright future for regional motorsports

Unprecedented popularity of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix points to bright future for regional motorsports

Unprecedented popularity of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix points to bright future for regional motorsports

CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management Saif Al-Noaimi tells Arab News that track changes, new regulations and an expanding demographic are behind the sports skyrocketing profile

Previously, Yas Marina Circuit was considered a difficult track to overtake on, but according to Al-Noaimi, the feedback from the drivers has been overwhelmingly favorable

ABU DHABI: The drivers themselves may play it down, but a year on from the last Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, few racing fans or pundits can resist recalling that famous final lap, which saw Max Verstappen overtake Lewis Hamilton to win his first-ever title.

This season, Red Bulls Dutch driver has retained his championship several weeks ago in less dramatic circumstances, but the memory of the 2021 finale lingers.

It was a historic race, said Saif Al-Noaimi, the CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management. The fact that Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton arrived with exactly the same points to Abu Dhabi, the final race of the season, the championship-deciding racethat is for me the memorable moment.

We have to remember that last year, we modified the racetrack.

It was no coincidence that arguably the most exciting Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in its 13-year history came after the track had been revamped to produce more wheel-to-wheel racing and provide more opportunities to overtake.

It is fantastic to see the results of that work over the last summer, in 2021, and to see how competitive the race was. In that Grand Prix, we had 33 overtakes on the track and four lead changes. So clearly the effort and the changes that weve made to the track in 2021 have paid off.

And it was a historic race, record number in terms of attendance on the ground last year. Then also, we had a record number in terms of viewers on the livestream we had over 108 million viewers. It was actually the largest sporting event globally of 2021. So definitely a proud moment for us at ADMM.

Previously, Yas Marina Circuit was considered a difficult track to overtake on, but according to Al-Noaimi, the feedback from the drivers has been overwhelmingly favorable.

The feedback has been amazing. We did some interviews over the weekend last year, overall extremely positive. Generally, they were saying We were able to follow each other better, we were able to stay closer, were able to overtake.

But for me also, the biggest piece of feedback is they said it felt like a completely different track. So, the changes were made to several corners, but the flow throughout the entire lap felt different. They felt that there was a good rhythm. And they were able to push and get more out of their cars. I think we saw that on the ground with the race.

This year, there will be no titles up for grabs, but there is still a big battle for second place to be settled, and the demand for tickets is as high as it has ever been according to Al-Noaimi.

Weve had actually record numbers for Thursday and Friday attendance to Yas Marina Circuit over the Grand Prix weekend. Were extremely prepared, and were planning for record numbers for (Saturday) as well as Sunday. We have some really exciting new products that we developed this year. Weve increased our capacity. Because of the unprecedented demand, we had to build an additional grandstand for 5,000 spectators.

And weve also built various hospitality units that accommodate 1,500 guests across the different parts of the venue, said Al-Noaimi. There are some fantastic new products with amazing views, like the deck at Turn 9, which is on the iconic Marsa Corner, with amazing views of that new bank corner at Yas Marina Circuit. Its a completely new experience we created this year.

Al-Noaimi also highlighted the food and beverage on offer, with restaurants like Cest La Vie, Luna Lounge and Opa.

(Weve had) unprecedented demand, he added. Weve sold out in record numbers even though we increased capacity. Were seeing a lot of interest and demand in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The sport in general has seen a rise in interest, helped in large by the drivers embrace of social media and the Netflix show Drive to Survive. Al-Noaimi says these have played a big part in F1s immense and rising popularity, but added there are many other, sporting, factors.

Definitely were seeing an increase in interest in the sport, were seeing a changing demographic also. I would say there are multiple things, he said.

I think generally in F1 as a sport, the rules and the changes that theyve made over the last few years the cost cap, the new technical regulations for the cars in 2022 (mean that) the racing on the track is a lot more exciting.

You have to agree that Netflix played a role also in the growing interest. Its providing a very different perspective to F1.

F1 has always had the hardcore motorsport fan that follows the championship and watches the races, but now were seeing more of a different demographic that is becoming more interested. The great thing is theyre getting to see a different angle of the sport, theyre getting to see behind the scenes, theyre getting to see the challenges between the different teammates. Theyre getting to see the team principals and different personalities in the sport. So its definitely a positive; its grown interest. But I would say there are multiple things that have caused this increase in demand for F1.

On Sunday, Yas Marina Circuit will bid farewell to one of its early favorites when three-time Abu Dhabi winner Sebastian Vettel, of Aston Martin, walks away from the sport for now.

Hes definitely a legend of the sport; hes the third most successful driver in F1 history, said Al-Noaimi.

I think he has done quite well in Yas Marina Circuit over the years. Weve always been huge fans of Vettel and he won his first championship over here, he said.

So being the last race in the season, weve seen a lot of champions moving on from F1 into the next phase of their career, and in some cases, coming back, the likes of Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher.

Its obviously sad to see Sebastian (leave). I think hes had a big impact on the sport. Hes definitely left his mark and he will always be remembered here at Yas Marina Circuit.

With Abu Dhabi traditionally closing a season that includes Grand Prix races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and, imminently, Qatar, Al-Noaimi is optimistic that F1, and indeed all motorsports, will continue to grow in this part of the world.

I think this region is extremely important for Formula 1, but also motorsports are definitely growing, and having four Grand Prix in the region is going to support that. I think we will all support and complement each other.

Were also seeing growth in grassroots motorsports. We as Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management are investing and ensuring that there are development programs and platforms to grow young talent in the UAE and in the region. We just launched our Yas Heat Academy just a couple of weeks ago, where were moving from karting and esports into circuit racing.

We have our Formula Four UAE team thats going to participate in this Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend for the first time, racing in front of the same fans.

Were seeing the F4 UAE Championship for the first time going outside the borders of the UAE. Potentially there could be further expansion in the region. Were seeing other regional championships that have expressed interest, and I think in the next few years well see a lot more opportunities for development and championships in the UAE.

With such support and some of the best facilities in the world available, the big question remains: Will we see an Emirati driver rise through the ranks and eventually even race in F1?

I have no doubt well see Emirati drivers in the top tiers of motorsports in the next few years, Al-Noaimi said.

There is Rashid Al-Dhaheri. We actually just announced that he has joined us as an ambassador to our Yas Heat Racing Team. Rashid is still 14 years old. Hes not at the age of racing in F4. But he has done amazing in karting, winning international races and competing at the highest level.

Weve had Amna and Hamda Al-Qubaisi also making their way up the ladder in motorsports and racing Formula Three in Europe. Theyve done F4 as well.

We have some exciting up-and-coming drivers in the UAE. I have no doubt that we will continue to see that grow and develop, and we do expect to see them at the top tiers of motorsports globally.

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Djokovic beats Fritz to reach final of ATP Finals

Djokovic beats Fritz to reach final of ATP Finals

Djokovic beats Fritz to reach final of ATP Finals

Djokovic won 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) in just under two hours in Turin, securing the win on his second match point

He has now won all six of his encounters against the 25-year-old Fritz

TURIN, Italy: Novak Djokovic kept his bid for a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title alive by beating Taylor Fritz of the United States on Saturday to reach the final of the prestigious season-ending tournament.

Djokovic, who went unbeaten through the group stage, won 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) in just under two hours in Turin, securing the win on his second match point.

He has now won all six of his encounters against the 25-year-old Fritz.

The Serb will face either third-seeded Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev in Sundays final as he attempts to win his first title at the event since 2015 and match Roger Federers record.

Djokovic had to recover quickly from a grueling three-hour win over Daniil Medvedev in his final group match, which had ended less than 24 hours previously.

I had to fight to survive, Djokovic said. I didnt feel very reactive today or very comfortable. I knew coming into todays match from yesterdays grueling battle against Medvedev I knew it would take me some time to adjust and find the dynamic movement I need against Fritz, who is one of the best servers on the tour.

I am very pleased to have overcome this one as I dont think it was one of my best days with my tennis, but I managed to hang in there.

A spirited showing from Fritz saw him recover from a break down in the first set. The American also broke in the opening game of the second and he appeared to be on the verge of leveling the match when he surged into a 5-3 lead.

But Djokovic broke back and again found a way to pull through the tiebreaker.

I had to be very patient, I didnt start the second set very well, Djokovic said. But I managed to break his serve at 5-4 when he was serving for the set, like when Medvedev was serving for the match yesterday.

In those moments I find another gear and managed to hold my nerve and make him play another shot in the tiebreak.

As well as possibly matching Federers record, Djokovic also stands to claim the largest payday in tennis history on Sunday, with $4,740,300 on offer for claiming the ATP Finals trophy undefeated.

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Van Dijk ready to lead resurgent Dutch at World Cup

Van Dijk ready to lead resurgent Dutch at World Cup

Van Dijk ready to lead resurgent Dutch at World Cup

The straight-talking Van Gaal is back for a third stint in charge of the national team

We have to believe in our qualities and ourselves and be confident, Van Dijk said

DOHA: As the Netherlands return to the World Cup after missing out in 2018 they will be led by Virgil van Dijk, who has grown into one of the games best defenders.

Runners-up in 1974, 1978 and 2010, the Netherlands came within a penalty shootout of reaching a fourth World Cup final in 2014 when Louis van Gaals squad defied expectations to make the semifinals.

The straight-talking Van Gaal is back for a third stint in charge of the national team, courageously coming out of retirement while receiving treatment for aggressive prostate cancer.

The 71-year-old underwent 25 bouts of radiotherapy, including during training camps with the national team, and watched from a wheelchair following a bike accident as the Dutch qualified for Qatar last November.

Van Gaal, christened the Iron Tulip in his homeland for his authoritarian style, overlooked a young Van Dijk for the 2014 finals, but the Liverpool center-back has since developed into the steel backbone around which the team is built.

Van Dijk also missed out on Euro 2020 last year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.

So remarkably, through a combination of circumstance and misfortune, only now is the 31-year-old set to appear at his first major international tournament.

We have to believe in our qualities and ourselves and be confident, Van Dijk said.

We have a fantastic manager, an experienced manager. We have players who play at the highest level, the biggest clubs in the world.

Van Dijks emergence coincided with a transitional period for the Dutch, who failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

The Oranje suffered a disappointing last-16 exit at Euro 2020 without the injured Van Dijk, but they are unbeaten in 15 games since the reappointment of Van Gaal in August 2021.

We have experience, we have talent, we have a good mixture. First and foremost we have team spirit I think thats the start to the key to success, said Van Dijk.

Its not guaranteed success of course but its a good way to start and were looking forward to the first game.

Van Dijk became the worlds most expensive defender when Liverpool signed him for 75 million from Southampton in January 2018.

Liverpool finished runners-up to Real Madrid in the Champions League a few months later, but the Reds got their hands on European clubs football biggest prize the following season.

Van Dijk lost out on the 2019 Ballon dOr to Lionel Messi by a handful of votes but earned the recognition of his peers by winning the English PFA Players player of the year prize.

He played every minute during the Covid-interrupted 2019-20 campaign as Liverpool ended a 30-year wait for the English title, only for injury to then strike him down.

Van Dijk chose to give himself time to fully heal instead of rushing back for Euro 2020, but he has made up for lost time as evidenced by a recent report by global players union FIFPro.

It showed Van Dijk had played the most minutes of those analyzed 7,597 in 78 games between July 12, 2021 and October 24 this year.

The report highlighted the unprecedented demands posed by a mid-season World Cup, but in Qatar Van Dijk at least will finally get his chance on the biggest stage.

Its going to be a very big one against the African champions, he said of Mondays Group A opener against a Senegal side missing star man Sadio Mane, a close friend of Van Dijks.

Im very sad for him that hes going to miss the tournament, said Van Dijk. Im definitely going to miss seeing him out there.

(But) well do everything in our power to get a good result and start our World Cup in the best way possible.

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Verstappen on pole as Red Bull lock-out Abu Dhabi front row

Verstappen on pole as Red Bull lock-out Abu Dhabi front row

Verstappen on pole as Red Bull lock-out Abu Dhabi front row

The two-time world champion clocked a best lap in one minute and 23.824 seconds to finish two-tenths clear of the Mexican

Charles Leclerc was third ahead of Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz and the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

ABU DHABI: Max Verstappen outpaced team-mate Sergio Perez to grab pole position for Sundays season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Red Bull locked out the front row in a closely-fought qualifying session.

The two-time world champion clocked a best lap in one minute and 23.824 seconds to finish two-tenths clear of the Mexican, delighting Red Bull after a week of reported rifts between the two drivers.

Charles Leclerc was third ahead of Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz and the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who claimed his maiden victory last weekend in Brazil.

Verstappens success brought him his third consecutive pole at the Yas Marina Circuit, his seventh of the season and 20th of his career ahead of a race in which he bids for a record-extending 15th win in a single season.

Great job everybody, good team effort, said Verstappen on his slow down lap. Well done everybody, added Perez, the two offering low-key enthusiasm after a stormy week since their team orders row.

Lando Norris was seventh for McLaren ahead of Alpines Esteban Ocon and retirement-bound four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin. Daniel Ricciardo was 10th on his last drive for McLaren.

Under the dazzling floodlights, Vettels father Norbert was conspicuous in his green Aston Martin shirt as he cheered his son from the garage for his final qualifying session.

A full five minutes passed before the big guns emerged, Mercedes delaying their entry to exploit a cooling track on a very warm evening with an air temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and the track at 34.

Much as expected, following their speed in final practice, the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez set the pace ahead of the Ferraris on their first runs before a frantic final flurry in Q1.

That left Kevin Magnussen as the fastest of the rest, eliminated in 15th place just a week after claiming his and Haass maiden pole in the rain at Interlagos.

Out with him went Pierre Gasly in his last weekend with Alpha Tauri before joining Alpine, Alfa Romeos Valtteri Bottas and the Williams pair of Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi.

The Q2 section began with Perez outpacing Verstappen by four-tenths.

Hamilton had briefly appeared endangered, but responded to go second, splitting the Red Bulls, with Russell taking fourth. Three-tenths? he repeated when told of his gap behind the motivated Mexican.

Vettel, irritated by slower rivals including Ferrari, drove aggressively to rise to ninth and then fifth, an emotion-fueled effort.

Fellow former champion Alonso failed to make the cut for Alpine. Out with him went Yuki Tsunoda of Alpha Tauri, Haass Mick Schumacher, Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin and Alfa Romeos Zhou Guanyu.

On the first runs in Q3, Sainz set the pace before Verstappen delivered a rasping lap in 1:23.988 to pull three-tenths clear of the Ferrari, stamping his authority on proceedings before the final runs.

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