Golden triumphs during day 12 of Saudi Games 2023

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The Saudi Games is the biggest national sporting event held annually in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Games is the biggest national sporting event held annually in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 December 2023
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Golden triumphs during day 12 of Saudi Games 2023

  • Winners receive medals from Princess Delayel bint Nahar Al-Saud, other leading figures
  • Athletes compete in table tennis, karate, handball, basketball, fencing, Thai boxing, futsal competitions

RIYADH: Princess Delayel bint Nahar Al-Saud, the deputy director of the Saudi Games, on Monday crowned the winners in the para table tennis competition at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex Paralympic Hall.

Al-Riyadh’s Ghaliah Al-Anzi secured the gold medal, Renad Al-Rehaili from Al-Sharqiya claimed silver, and bronze was presented to Al-Riyadh’s Maryam Al-Myrisl.

The princess also handed out awards to the winners in the women’s fencing contest, held at the Riyadh Club. In the epee category, Al-Shabab’s youth player Fawzya Al-Khibiri retained her Saudi Games gold medal title. Al-Nahda’s Nada Abed took silver, and Layan Ahmedo and Dana Al-Qassem from Al-Shabab both received bronze.

Jana and Mariam shine in karate:

Adwa Al-Araifi, assistant minister of sports affairs, presented awards to the winners in the women’s open-weight karate competitions, staged at King Saud University.

Maryam Al-Salah of Al-Hilal won the gold medal, while Samar Mokhtar from Al-Farouk took home the silver. Al-Nassr’s Noura Al-Rashed secured bronze.

In the women’s open-weight youth category, Hajer’s Jana Al-Omarin took the gold, Al-Hilal’s Jwan Feteiha silver, and Al-Ittihad’s Rana Faiad bronze.

Hajer takes the youth karate gold:

Hajer’s Abdullah Al-Garni secured the gold medal in karate’s under-55 kg men’s youth category, which took place at King Saud University. Khaled Al-Otaibi from Al-Ahli Club received silver, and Al-Saffa’s Ali Al-Aryani the bronze.

Mahdi Al-Munjem from Okh won gold in the under-61 kg category, silver went to Hajer’s Omar Shaman, and bronze to Bassam Shafei from Al-Hilal Club.

Hajer’s Abdulaziz Al-Saif scooped the gold medal in the under-68 kg category, while Al-Safa’s Haitam Oufkir took silver, and Al-Ahli’s Fahad Al-Otaibi bronze.

Al-Safa’s Abdullah Al-Qahtani won gold in the under-76 kg class, Hajer’s Enad Al-Mubarak silver, and Hamza Rami from Al-Nahdah Club claimed bronze.

In the over-76 kg competition, Abdulaziz Mansour from Al-Shabab Club was the gold-medal winner, with Hajer’s Fazaa Al-Saiar taking silver, and bronze going to Al-Fateh’s Yousef Al-Abdulazeem Safa.

Al-Hilal dominates karate with three gold medals:

Al-Hilal’s Saud Al-Basher secured the gold medal in the under-60 kg category in the karate competitions, also held at King Saud University. His teammate, Turki Al-Nami, won silver, and Saud Al-Dossari from Al-Nassr Club claimed the bronze.

Omar Al-Azmi from Al-Nassr won gold in the under-67 kg category, followed by Al-Ittihad’s Fahd Al-Khathami with silver, and Al-Ahli’s Anas Basha taking the bronze medal.

In the under-75 kg category, Ali Burnawi from Al-Ittihad secured the gold medal, Ali Mugari from Al-Safa Club the silver, Al-Hilal’s Majed Al-Khalifah the bronze.

Firj Al-Nashiri from Al-Hilal Club won gold in the under-84 kg class, with his teammate Mohammed Al-Maliki clinching silver. Al-Nassr’s Anas Al-Zahrani received the bronze.

Al-Hilal’s Sanad Sufyani secured gold in the over-84 kg category, and Ibrahim Al-Marzooq of the same club, took silver. Al-Safa’s Zayed Al-Bishi was the winner of the bronze medal.

Karate gold for Hajer youth:

Secretary-general and CEO of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Abdulaziz Baeshen, awarded the medals for the karate winners.

Abdullah Al-Garni took home the gold in the youth under-55 kg category at King Saud University. The silver medal was won by Hajer’s Khaled Al-Otaibi, while Ali Al-Aryani from Al-Saffa secured the bronze.

In the men’s over-76 kg category, Abdulaziz Mansour from Al-Shabab Club won gold, followed by Fazaa Al-Saiari taking silver, and Yousef Al-Abdulazeem securing bronze.

Handball victories for Al-Qarah, Al-Khaleej, and Al-Safa:

In the men’s handball competitions, Al-Qarah defeated Al-Jeel 30-24 in the first group match held at King Saud University’s Sports Arena. Al-Khaleej overcame Al-Muheet 39-21, and Al-Safa defeated Al-Njoom with a score of 65-19 in the second group.

Al-Rawdah will face Al-Noor in the third group, while Al-Adalah will play against Al-Hada. Al-Wehda will compete against Al-Hazem in the fourth group.

Three matches in youth handball:

Al-Wehda defeated Al-Hazem 25-15 in the first group match at King Saud University’s Sports Arena, and Al-Noor secured a 32-18 victory over Al-Hada in the same group. Al-Khaleej will play Al-Ibtisam in the third group, and the second group will see Al-Ahli versus Mudhar and Al-Hilal take on Al-Qarah.

Women’s basketball semi-finals begin:

Jeddah United women’s basketball team began their campaign to defend their title with a victory over Al-Qadisiyah, winning 60-20 in the first match of the quarterfinals.

The Al-Ittihad team defeated Al-Nassr 48-36, while Al-Hilal overcame Al-Ahli 49-42. Jeddah United will next face Al-Ittihad, and Al-Hilal will play against Al-Asima.

Men’s basketball semi-finals begin:

The men’s basketball semi-finals take place at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex Sports Arena. Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal will open the matches, followed by Al-Nassr against Ohod.

Al-Nassr dominates youth fencing gold:

Al-Nassr’s athletes claimed the podium in the youth foil events. Gold was awarded to Saud Al-Rasheed, while Abdulaziz Al-Mugairen took silver, and Fares Al-Omair and Abdulaziz Hatem Al-Tuwaijri received the bronze.

In the men’s youth sabre category, gold was awarded to Al-Adalah’s Jehad Al-Obaid. Silver was presented to Al-Omran’s Ali Saeed Al-Hashem, and Al-Adalah’s Ahmed Al-Omran and Al-Watani’s Abdulsalam Turk Al-Anazi secured bronze.

In the youth men’s epee fencing category, Hassan Abed from Al-Nahda Club won gold, Al-Hilal’s Ahmed Hzazi took silver, and Youssef Al-Banai from Al-Hilal and Saleh Sultan Al-Sudais from Al-Nassr claimed bronze.

In the youth women’s sabre division, Al-Shabab’s Talene Al-Kudmani clinched the gold while her teammate, Zilal Ahmado, bagged silver. Luluh Al-Buqmi from Okaz and Al-Ettifaq’s Aleen Khalid Al-Amoudi took home the bronze.

Hattan wins gold in Thai boxing:

Hattan Al-Saif secured the gold medal in the women’s Thai boxing 57 kg category at King Saud University. Abdulrahman Al-Olayeq, the former secretary-general of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, and Rian Al-Ahmad, a Saudi Arabian Thai Boxing Federation board member presented the awards.

Ghadah Al-Shehri won the silver medal, while Dana Al-Ghussein and Reema Al-Ferdews received bronze.

Champions crowned in men’s Thai boxing:

Ahmad Rosli won the gold medal in the 57 kg men’s Thai boxing category, staged at King Saud University. Khalid Al-Dawalibi took the silver, and Alaraa Al-Amoudi and Abdullah Mohammed received the bronze.

Othmane Essaadaoui clinched the gold medal in the 63.5 kg category, with Abdullah Al-Qahtani taking silver, and Mujtaba Al-Zaki and Mehtab Khan bronze.

In the 75 kg class, Soufiane Marzaq was the gold-medal winner, while silver was presented to Abdulrahman Bajbaa. Ali Najee and Amer Al-Anzi both came away with the bronze.

Al-Riyadh wins gold in men’s futsal:

Al-Riyadh team claimed the gold medal in men’s futsal after defeating Al-Nassr 4-3. Al-Ittihad secured bronze after winning 8-5 against Al-Qadisiyah.

Dr. Khalid Bin Muqrin, board member of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and former Saudi football star Majid Abdullah handed out awards to the winners.


Jaguar’s Mitch Evans optimistic of form return at Sao Paulo E-Prix

Updated 30 sec ago
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Jaguar’s Mitch Evans optimistic of form return at Sao Paulo E-Prix

  • The New Zealand driver has been frustrated with his start to the Formula E season

DUBAI: Formula E driver Mitch Evans admits he has been frustrated with his performances this season but is optimistic he can bounce back, beginning with next month’s Sao Paulo E-Prix.

The Jaguar driver has yet to achieve a podium finish after ending fifth in the season opener in Mexico before matching the result in January’s Diriyah E-Prix. The New Zealander closed the Diriyah E-Prix doubleheader weekend with a disappointing 10th, leaving him fifth in the standings and 36 points behind leader and teammate Nick Cassidy.

“It is frustrating and am disappointed to how the season has started as I felt we had one of the quickest cars on average,” said the 29-year-old. “I have just not been able to convert it into a decent result. My best shot was in the first race in Diriyah but we didn’t execute the race properly.

“We still got some good points on the board but I walked away from Saudi that we left some good opportunities from my side of the garage. It’s still early days but it seems we still have the pace which is one of the main things.

“But I do need to ramp up big points and that is the focus. I’m still feeling very optimistic of having a good run in the next phase of the season.”

Evans is disappointed that he has not contributed more to the team’s points tally unlike teammate Cassidy who has enjoyed three podium finishes including his triumph in Diriyah’s round three.

He said: “What the most frustrating this is that we could be one-two in the championship and we’re not. Nick has done a great job in the first three races and has settled nicely into the team. He has transitioned into the team really well so Nick has driven really well in this Gen3 car and not overly surprised. We are leading the teams’ constructors which is good but I feel we could be one, two or three in the championship and that is the most frustrating.

“He’s had a great start and picked up a lot of good points total and he is going to be really competitive and quick. I just need to make some better results on the board.”


LeBron James leads epic Lakers fightback to beat Clippers 116-112

Updated 18 min 38 sec ago
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LeBron James leads epic Lakers fightback to beat Clippers 116-112

  • The 39-year-old NBA icon reeled off 34 points — 19 of them in the fourth quarter — to help the Lakers claim a pulsating victory over their in-form city rivals at the Crypto.com Arena
  • Nikola Jokic bagged his fourth straight triple-double as the Denver Nuggets overpowered the Sacramento Kings 117-96

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James staged the biggest fourth quarter comeback of his two-decade career on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-112.

The 39-year-old NBA icon reeled off 34 points — 19 of them in the fourth quarter — to help the Lakers claim a pulsating victory over their in-form city rivals at the Crypto.com Arena.

It was another storybook performance from the evergreen James, who along with the Lakers had looked to be heading for an emphatic defeat after the Clippers jumped into a 98-77 lead early in the final frame.

But an inspired James helped the Lakers outscore the Clippers 39-16 in the fourth quarter to see them home.

“The game is not ever over until it’s double zeroes (on the play clock),” James told an on-court interviewer after the win.

James was backed by 20 points and 12 rebounds from Anthony Davis, while D’Angelo Russell added 18 and Rui Hachimura 13.

Kawhi Leonard topped the Clippers scoring with 26 points.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue took responsibility for the loss.

“When you’re up 21 points you can’t lose a game like that,” Lue said. “I don’t think that’s ever happened since I’ve been coaching — to lose a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.”

In other games on Wednesday, Nikola Jokic bagged his fourth straight triple-double as the Denver Nuggets overpowered the Sacramento Kings 117-96.

Two-time former NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists to bag his 19th triple of the season.

The Serbian star had gone into the game facing an intriguing duel with Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis, who himself has been in blistering form since the All-Star break with three consecutive triple-doubles.

But Sabonis was effectively bottled up by Denver as the Nuggets staged a superb second quarter rally to turn the game around after trailing by 15 points.

Sacramento, missing injured playmaker De’Aaron Fox, had swept into a 47-32 lead to raise hopes of a morale-boosting road victory.

Denver roared back with a 21-4 run to regain control with Jamal Murray, who finished with 32 points, outstanding as the Nuggets opened up a 65-55 half-time lead at the break.

Denver outscored Sacramento 35-17 in the third quarter before coasting to victory by a 21-point margin.

The win leaves reigning NBA champions Denver third in the Western Conference with a 40-19 record, while Sacramento slipped to 33-25 in eighth place.

Elsewhere, Anthony Edwards shrugged off a lingering ankle injury to score 34 points as the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves overcame stubborn resistance from the struggling Memphis Grizzlies to grind out a 110-101 victory.

Memphis (20-38) had surged into an early 14-point lead in the first quarter and also led by double digits in the third before Minnesota hit back to claim their 42nd win of the season.

Edwards led the Wolves scoring with 34 points while four other Minnesota players reached double figures.

In Toronto, Luka Doncic celebrated his 25th birthday with a 30-point triple double as the Dallas Mavericks bounced back from Tuesday’s shattering buzzer-beater defeat to Cleveland with a 136-125 win over the Raptors.

A high-scoring first half saw Toronto sneak into a 67-66 lead at the break before Doncic sparked a 40-point third quarter to take the visitors out of reach.

Doncic scored 15 of his 30 points in the third quarter, finishing the game with 16 assists and 11 rebounds to complete his triple.

“Just a normal game, a triple double,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said of Doncic’s gem. “He was really good. Luka is our leader and he was really good tonight.”

Cleveland were unable to back up Tuesday’s win over Dallas in their road game against Chicago, the Bulls winning 132-123 in double overtime.

Donovan Mitchell could have won it for Cleveland as time expired in the first period of overtime, only to see his 20-foot jump shot miss.


First La Liga Futures competition in Saudi Arabia kicks off March 1

Updated 43 min 3 sec ago
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First La Liga Futures competition in Saudi Arabia kicks off March 1

  • The U-14 tournament, hosted at Mahd Sports Academy in Riyadh, will feature 8 La Liga and 4 international teams

MADRID: La Liga FC Futures U-14, a flagship tournament featuring the youth academies of top-tier Spanish clubs, and being held in Saudi Arabia for the first time, kicks off on March 1.

The matches, to be played at Mahd Sports Academy in Riyadh, has been organized in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sports. For the first time, the players making up the competing sides will be in the under-14 category and will play 11-a-side matches.

The tournament will feature 12 clubs, eight EA Sports La Liga teams, plus AS Roma (Italy), SL Benfica (Portugal), Olympique de Marseille (France) and Mahd Academy (Saudi Arabia).

La Liga’s leadership chose Saudi Arabia as the host because of the country’s emergence as a hub for sporting and cultural activities in recent years. The most popular sport in the Kingdom is football, with the highest level of participation among those under the age of 30.

For the past 15 years, La Liga matches have been followed by millions of football fans across the Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia now has six official supporter clubs.

The 12 teams will be divided into three groups: Mahd Academy, FC Barcelona, AS Roma and Cadiz CF (Group A); Atletico de Madrid, Olympique de Marseille, Sevilla FC and Villarreal CF (Group B); and Real Betis, Valencia CF, SL Benfica and CA Osasuna (Group C).

Matches will kick off on March 1 at 9:30 a.m. (Saudi Arabia time) and March 2 at 10 a.m., with the quarterfinals being played on Saturday at 5 p.m. The semifinals will kick off at 10 a.m. on Sunday, with the final at 5 p.m.


Medvedev and Hurkacz book quarterfinal spots at Dubai Tennis Championship

Updated 57 min 24 sec ago
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Medvedev and Hurkacz book quarterfinal spots at Dubai Tennis Championship

  • Reigning champion Medvedev recovers from losing opening set to beat Sonego in tight encounter on center court
  • Hurkacz and Korda through to quarterfinals in straight sets, Qatar Open finalist Mensik forced to retire

DUBAI: Reigning champion Daniil Medvedev overcame a spirited Lorenzo Sonego on Wednesday to secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.

The world No. 4 looked shaky during the opening exchanges, winning just 53 percent (10/19) of points behind his first delivery as Sonego took full advantage and deservedly won the first set. Medvedev, to his credit, recovered quickly and served with far more aggression in the second and third sets, firing off both wings and hitting pinpoint serves.

The decisive moment came during a tense fifth game in the final set as the No. 1 seed broke Sonego’s serve with a running forehand winner and safely saw out the match thereafter. Medvedev will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina after Qatar Open finalist Jakub Mensik was forced to retire through injury early in the second set of their clash.

Hubert Hurkacz will join Medvedev in the last eight after a battling 7-6, 6-4 victory over Australian Christopher O’Connell. The world No. 8 will make his fourth quarterfinal appearance in Dubai when he takes to the court to face Ugo Humbert, the French No. 1, on Thursday evening.

One man who will not be competing in the quarterfinals is Karan Khachanov after the No. 4 seed was sent crashing out of the tournament following Jiri Lehecka’s stunning comeback victory (6-7, 7-6, 6-4).

Lehecka, the world’s No. 36, fell to his knees in elation after securing a spot in the last eight at the expense of in-form Khachanov, who had come into the match on the back of five straight wins. The 27-year-old won his sixth career title in Doha last week and looked on course to continue that momentum after clinching the first set against Lehecka.

Lehecka had other ideas, though, saving five points during a tense second set, coming back from 0-3 in the tiebreak that later followed, and from 2-4 in the third set to secure a second top-20 win of the season — after a mammoth three-hour clash on court one.

Meanwhile. Sebastian Korda continues to enjoy his maiden Dubai tournament, needing just 43 minutes to breeze past Botic van de Zandschulp and set up a quarterfinal meeting against 2022 winner Andrey Rublev.

Korda dropped just one game in an emphatic straight sets victory (6-1, 6-0) over the Dutch No. 2.


World Cup champion Spain beats France 2-0 to win inaugural edition of Women’s Nations League final

Updated 29 February 2024
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World Cup champion Spain beats France 2-0 to win inaugural edition of Women’s Nations League final

  • Bonmati, named the player of the match, volleyed in a low cross in the first half and Caldentey doubled the lead shortly after the break in a dominant performance by the hosts
  • Spain also hold the men’s Nations League title, having beaten Croatia in the final in June

SEVILLE, Spain: Spain have not lost momentum since winning their first World Cup title, defeating France 2-0 on Wednesday to also win the inaugural edition of the Women’s Nations League.

Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati and Mariona Caldentey scored a goal each for Spain in front of 32,657 fans at La Cartuja Stadium in southern Spain. It was a record crowd for Spain’s women’s team in the country.

Spain also hold the men’s Nations League title, having beaten Croatia in the final in June.

“We have a very good present and a very good future,” women’s team coach Montse Tome said. “I have a group with very experienced players and with new young players coming up. It’s a very positive mix. They have a winning mentality. France haven’t had a shot on goal and that’s also a credit to all of the players.”

Bonmati, named the player of the match, volleyed in a low cross in the first half and Caldentey doubled the lead shortly after the break in a dominant performance by the hosts.

“Happy to win another title,” Bonmati said. “It may seem that what we have achieved is easy, that we have an obligation to win everything, but this is not something easy. And here we are lifting another trophy.”

It was Spain’s first victory over France.

“They’ll be the team to beat at the Olympics, it won’t be easy,” France coach Herve Renard said. “We are going to have to keep improving, learn lessons and keep moving forward. Let’s say we have taken one step but we haven’t taken the second. There’s still a lot of work to do.”

Spain had their breakthrough tournament at the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, winning the title in their third appearance.

The celebrations were marred by one of the country’s worst crises, though, as the then-president of the Spanish soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony to spark an outrage in soccer and Spanish society in general. Rubiales eventually resigned, and prosecutors later accused him of sexual assault.

“Today we get to celebrate again. We deserve it,” Hermoso said. “We try to enjoy ourselves but we also have the responsibility that there are so many people behind us who want to follow in our footsteps. We are so proud that there are so many girls who want to be champions in the future.”

Spain defeated the Netherlands 3-0 in last week’s semifinal, a result that also secured the team a place in the Paris Olympics.

France were already qualified for the Olympics as the host country.

“We didn’t play a good game against a team that are world champions and flying high in women’s football,” Renard said. “You have to be aggressive and keep the ball when you get it, but we lost it again straight away.”

Spain scored a competition-high 28 goals, seven more than any other team. It also had the most total attempts at 131.

Alexia Putellas, the former Ballon d’Or winner, did not enter the match for Spain. She hasn’t played for club or country since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on her left knee last year.