Othman Almulla continues to blaze a trail for Saudi golfers

Almulla is the first professional golfer from his country. (AAC)
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Updated 18 August 2023
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Othman Almulla continues to blaze a trail for Saudi golfers

  • The 37-year-old, the Kingdom’s first professional, is taking part in this week’s Asian Tour’s International Series England

NEWCASTLE: In his own small way, Saudi Arabia’s Othman Almulla is like Edmund Hillary and Neil Armstrong, who were the first to conquer Mount Everest and walk on the moon, respectively.

The 37-year-old from Dhahran has gone where no Saudi has been before. He is the first professional golfer from his country, and perhaps feels the same excitement and trepidations that Hillary and Armstrong must have felt decades ago as they stepped into unchartered territory.

Unlike the two legends, whose adrenaline would have peaked at the completion of their conquest, Almulla says he has been on a never-ending journey ever since that balmy afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 30, 2019, when he stepped onto the first tee of the Royal Green Golf & Country Club in the company of South African legend Ernie Els and England’s Andy Sullivan.

At exactly 12:45, he somehow controlled the millions of butterflies fluttering in his stomach, tipped his cap to the hundreds of fans and family in the crowd and sent the golf ball soaring toward the atmosphere.

Life has never been the same again. His responsibilities have only been accentuated by the ambitions of Saudi Arabia in the world of golf, and the fact that there are youngsters who are now following in his footsteps. Almulla has been an exceptional brand ambassador for Saudi Golf, and a mentor to Saud Al-Sharief and Faisal Salhab, who joined the professional ranks earlier this year.

All three are part of this week’s Asian Tour’s International Series England, just one of the many incredible opportunities given to the threesome by Saudi Golf.

Almulla, Salhab and Al-Sharief are like a band of brothers on the Tour, and the senior player in the trio takes great pride in the role he is playing in the journeys of the other two.

“The idea of becoming a professional in the Kingdom was so far-fetched at the time that most people actually thought it was like landing on the moon. And I’m taking the same joy and delight in seeing Faisal and Saud this year realizing the same dreams that I had,” said Almulla.

“They are going through similar planning phase and learning, the same tough lessons I had to learn. Just to be able to share my experiences and making their transition to professional life a little softer landing — just to go back to the moon metaphor — has been such a delight, such a privilege.

“I’ve been very lucky to have some very supportive people in my journey. And just as I’ve had people to guide and advise me, it’s my responsibility to give back. I’ve always felt like we’re one big family. It’s been familial friendship and it’s just like welcoming my brothers to do something I’m doing. To have three of us doing this, when we do not have that many golfers in our country, it’s something special.

“Don’t get me wrong. I also get a lot out of this relationship too. We have great camaraderie when on the road, and we can lean on each other when times are bad. We support each other when times are good. Yes, it’s a responsibility, but it’s something I do happily, and I will continue to do.”

Like Hillary, Othman has always had lofty ambitions. He wants to stand on the summit of professional golf and unfurl the Saudi flag.

“I have no doubt that with the support we are getting from Saudi Golf and from the Ministry of Sport, we will have a winner on the Asian Tour in the next few years. We are incredibly lucky that our journeys have been cut down by 40 to 50 years. Countries (with) 100-year legacies of golf, struggle to have players on tour like this and International Series events like this,” said Almulla.

“Here, and in St. Andrews next week, I think the aim for all of us is to make the cut, and then making a deep run in the weekend. We’d like to be in the top-60 of the Order of Merit on the Asian Tour soon. But those are the big, long-term goals. We are more focused at the moment on smaller goals, smaller targets from a statistics perspective, on how we want to play each week. How can we keep on improving with every outing? We are getting used to different challenges, like the weather this week. We hardly play in such cold climate and rainy conditions.”

The Almullas welcomed their first child, Ibrahim, into the world seven weeks ago, and fatherhood has been a new motivation.

“It’s been amazing. A golfer’s life is very difficult. We’re on the road for many weeks and the families have to bear the brunt a lot. I have an amazing wife and family supporting me, and to be a dad is surreal,” said Almulla.

“My life’s changed. Now, as much as I want to make my parents proud, I also want to make my son proud. I’m going to be a good role model for him and kind of show how to carry himself and how to treat people with respect and be a good person. That’s all fathers should expect from their son.”

The $2-million International Series England runs from Aug. 17 to 20 at Close House in Newcastle.


Official fight song for Tyson Fury v. Oleksandr Usyk Riyadh clash released

Updated 13 April 2024
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Official fight song for Tyson Fury v. Oleksandr Usyk Riyadh clash released

  • British WBC title holder Fury takes on Ukrainian WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Usyk in Riyadh

LONDON: An official song and accompanying music video have been released to promote the upcoming heavyweight boxing match between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia.

British WBC title holder Fury takes on Ukrainian WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Usyk in Riyadh on May 18 at the Kingdom Arena in the “Ring of Fire” clash.

A clip for “Can’t Lose This Fight” was shared on social media by General Entertainment Authority chairman Turki Alalshikh on Friday.

“This is the fight that everyone has wanted to see for some time and now it is finally happening – the world’s two heavyweight champions going into the ring against one another,” Alalshikh said in a statement in September when the fight was announced.

“It is the biggest fight in boxing, the world will be watching, and we are so proud to be the hosts for this spectacle as part of the fourth edition of our Riyadh Season celebrations.”


Jake Fraser-McGurk shines on IPL debut as Delhi Capitals thrash Lucknow Super Giants

Updated 12 April 2024
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Jake Fraser-McGurk shines on IPL debut as Delhi Capitals thrash Lucknow Super Giants

  • Australian’s 55-run knock, studded with five sixes and two fours, came to an end when he holed out to Arshad Khan
  • Delhi moved to ninth in the 10-team contest after registering only their second victory

LUCKNOW: Jake Fraser-McGurk smashed a half-century on his Indian Premier League debut as Delhi Capitals thrashed Lucknow Super Giants by six wickets on Friday to reignite their hopes in the money-spinning T20 competition.
Fraser-McGurk, who had celebrated his 22nd birthday on Thursday, shared a 77-run partnership for the third wicket with captain Rishabh Pant (41) to help Delhi overhaul Lucknow’s 167-7 with 11 balls to spare.
Delhi moved to ninth in the 10-team contest after registering only their second victory from six outings.
Lucknow, who came into the match with three wins out of four, are now placed fourth.
“Spent five-six games on the sidelines itching to get out there,” said Fraser-McGurk.
“I’m so happy to be here, different world in terms of cricket. Never seen anything like it, to be able to savour eight weeks, hopefully more, is amazing.”
Delhi lost opener David Warner early with the Australian dragging a ball from Yash Thakur on to his stumps soon after he was attended to by the physio for a blow he took on his knuckles.
Prithvi Shaw (32) was caught brilliantly by Nicholas Pooran at deep midwicket off Ravi Bishnoi but Pant and Fraser-McGurk steadied the innings with their stand.
Fraser-McGurk, who went unsold in the IPL auction but came in as a replacement for Lungi Ngidi, hit Krunal Pandya for three huge sixes in a row in one over to underline his power-hitting prowess.
The Australian’s 55-run knock, studded with five sixes and two fours, came to an end when he holed out to Arshad Khan, but by then Delhi needed just 28 runs off 32 balls.
Pant went past 3,000 IPL runs before being stumped off Bishnoi for 41 off 24 balls including two sixes and four boundaries.
“We were about 15-20 runs short, we should’ve capitalized to get to 180,” said Lucknow skipper K.L. Rahul.
“McGurk was very unknown. We’ve watched a lot of videos of him but he hit the ball really well, credit to him.”
Earlier, Lucknow were off to a fine start after electing to bat but they stumbled after the powerplay, losing two wickets in two balls to left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav (3-20).
Yadav, 29, had missed Delhi’s last two matches due to an injury.
The slow bowler struck to send back Rahul (39 off 22 balls).
Rahul tried to slash the ball which was turning away and a Delhi review confirmed a nick.
Lucknow were tottering at 94-7 in the 13th over but Ayush Badoni top-scored with an unbeaten 35-ball 55 and shared 73 runs for the eighth wicket with Arshad Khan (20 not out) to ensure a fighting total on the board.
It was the first half-century this IPL season for Badoni, who hit one six and five fours.


ICRF concludes participation in SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit in Birmingham

Updated 12 April 2024
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ICRF concludes participation in SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit in Birmingham

  • Federation was seeking to promote camel sports globally
  • Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, minister of sports and chairman of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, visited pavilion

RIYADH: The International Camel Racing Federation has concluded its participation in the SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit that took place in Birmingham from April 7-11.
The ICRF was seeking to promote camel sports around the world by being present at the event.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the minister of sports and chairman of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, visited the federation’s pavilion on Tuesday, where he received an award that was presented to the SOPC.
Prince Fahad bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, ICRF’s president and SOPC’s vice president; Dr. Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee; and Robin Mitchell, president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, were present at the award presentation.
Prince Fahad said: “We are pleased with what the federation’s pavilion presented at this summit, which around 1,500 leaders and key decision-makers from over 120 international federations attended.”
Participation at the event helped publicize camel sports which, according to the ICRF’s president, have a large role in Saudi culture and are a big part of the nation’s identity.
Prince Fahad added: “The federation’s goal through this participation was to shed light on the sport of our fathers and ancestors, which Arab countries have known since ancient times until it became part of their societies.”


UAE, Oman make winning starts to ACC Premier Cup as Qatar fall to Hong Kong

Updated 12 April 2024
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UAE, Oman make winning starts to ACC Premier Cup as Qatar fall to Hong Kong

  • Saudi Arabia’s cricketers will get their bid for Premier Cup glory underway on Saturday when they host Malaysia

LONDON: Oman and the UAE got their Asian Cricket Council Premier Cup campaigns off to winning starts on Friday as they both look to qualify for next year’s Asia Cup.

The Emiratis beat their Gulf rivals Kuwait by seven wickets at Al-Amarat with two and a half overs to spare.

The Kuwaitis notched up 178/8 from their 20 overs, with Clinto Anto top scoring on 54 from 23 balls.

After a shaky start and a golden duck for captain Muhammad Waseem, the UAE were rarely troubled in their quest to chase down 179, with an imperious 90 runs from 48 balls from Alishan Sharafu, ably supported by Asif Khan’s 74 from seven overs, steering them home.

The Omanis, making the most of the Premier Cup competition being played on home soil, saw off Bahrain in a thriller.

Aqib Ilyas top-scored for the hosts with a solid knock of 62 from 53 deliveries as they reached 177 for the loss of three from their 20 overs.

The Bahrainis fell just four runs short of their 178 target as eight wickets fell in their innings.

Also on Friday, Qatar were resoundingly beaten in the other group of the tournament as Hong Kong set a daunting target of 202 for victory.

The Qataris started well, with opener Saqlain Arshad reaching his half-century inside six overs, but they started to lose quick wickets and ended up losing by 26 runs.

Saudi Arabia’s cricketers will get their bid for Premier Cup glory underway on Saturday when they host Malaysia in Al-Amarat.


NUFC stars Trippier, Burn invite youngsters from Newcastle’s deaf community to be mascots for Spurs match

Updated 12 April 2024
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NUFC stars Trippier, Burn invite youngsters from Newcastle’s deaf community to be mascots for Spurs match

  • Young fans met their football idols who shared the exciting news with them during a kickabout
  • The mascots will wear innovative haptic technology shirts for the game

NEWCASTLE: Several young members of the deaf community in Newcastle were on Friday invited by Newcastle United stars Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn to be mascots during the club’s Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
On Thursday, NUFC’s front-of-shirt sponsor, Sela, said they will introduce the haptic shirts — which allow deaf fans and fans with hearing loss to experience the live atmosphere — during Saturday’s match against Spurs at St. James’ Park. Haptic shirts use a technology that transforms the noise of the stadium into real-time touch sensations.
During a visit to meet young fans from the deaf community to invite them to come to the Tottenham game, Burn revealed to the youngsters: “For the Tottenham game you’re all going to be mascots. So, you get to walk out with us in front of the crowd.”


Trippier added: “To walk out in the Royal National Institute for Deaf shirts is special, and we had a good kickabout with the kids as well.”
The youngsters met their football idols at the Newcastle United Foundation where Burn and Trippier shared the exciting news with them during a friendly kickabout.
In addition to acting as mascots, the youngsters will also wear the innovative haptic technology shirts to enhance their matchday experience.
Sela has donated its front-of-shirt sponsorship rights for Saturday’s clash to RNID, a national UK charity that supports 12 million people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by sela | صلة (@sela)


“The kids were teaching us a goal celebration, so watch out for it. I’ll probably get a few more before the end of the season,” added Burn. The children also taught the players how to sign “love the fans.”
One of the youngsters said: “I was so happy to see Kieran and Dan, it’s the best day of my life.”
Some Newcastle fans will be wearing haptic shirts with the RNID logo for the first time during the Tottenham game, while the branding will be on display around St. James’ Park and on the big screen to raise awareness of the institute’s work.
Teri Devine, associate director of inclusion at RNID, said: “We’re really grateful to Sela and to Newcastle for doing this. It’s absolutely fantastic that the players take time out to come and meet the kids, and actually get to see the barriers that deaf children face.”