World Endurance Championship camel race begins May 4 in Al-Ula

The inaugural World Endurance Championship camel race will take place, May 4, in Al-Ula. (RCU)
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Updated 17 April 2024
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World Endurance Championship camel race begins May 4 in Al-Ula

  • Championship includes a 16 km race split into two 8 km stages, with a 30-minute break in between
  • Inaugural event has a prize pool of more than SR2 million ($533,000) up for grabs

RIYADH: The International Federation for Camel Racing (IFCR) has announced that the first edition of the World Endurance Championship camel race will begin May 4 in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula.

The inaugural event has a prize pool of more than SR2 million ($533,000) up for grabs.

The championship includes a 16 km race split into two 8 km stages, with a 30-minute break in between.

During the first stage, 20 male and 15 women riders will compete in order to qualify for the finals. The first place prize is SR500,000, the IFCR said, with the remaining money distributed among 10 winners for both categories.

IFCR member states can compete in the championship with 10 male and five female competitors. Non-members can borrow camels and submit a maximum of three competitors of both genders.


Show your love for Turkiye by supporting us, Montella tells critics

Updated 17 sec ago
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Show your love for Turkiye by supporting us, Montella tells critics

Montella’s men are one of the best supported sides in Germany, where nearly three million people with Turkish roots call home
“I’d like to remind the critics, if you love this country, support your country as much as you can,” Montella told reporters

HAMBURG: Turkiye coach Vincenzo Montella urged his side’s huge following to show their support in a crunch Euro 2024 showdown against the Czech Republic, rather than getting on his players’ backs.
After beating Georgia 3-1 to get their tournament off to a flier, Turkiye were swatted aside 3-0 by the class of Portugal.
Montella’s men are one of the best supported sides in Germany, where nearly three million people with Turkish roots call home.
However, there has been a backlash to the Italian boss and his squad after failing to compete with Portugal for large spells in Dortmund.
“I’d like to remind the critics, if you love this country, support your country as much as you can,” Montella told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“This is the only team that represents Turkiye. These lads have put a smile on our face in recent teams.
“We need your support and the players deserve it based on what they have achieved on the pitch.”
Turkish football features some of the fiercest rivalries between clubs in the world.
But Fenerbahce winger Irfan Can Kahveci urged fans to put those tribal differences aside to unite in support of the national team.
“Within the team we have a great atmosphere and we try to demonstrate that whether the players are from Galatasaray, Besiktas, Trabzonspor or Fenerbahce.
“We are united under the national flag. We should let those divisions go.”
Turkiye remain second in Group F and just need a draw against the Czechs in Hamburg to secure a place in the last 16.
Even a narrow defeat could see Turkiye through as one of the four best third-placed sides.
But Montella said he would set out for victory.
“We have to go out and win the game,” he added. “We can’t get hung up on permutations.”
Real Madrid’s Arda Guler is set to return to the Turkish starting line-up after Montella revealed he was only left on the bench against Portugal due to an injury that meant he could not play the full 90 minutes.
“If he doesn’t play it will be footballing reasons,” said Montella. “He didn’t start the last game not because of footballing reasons.”

Saudi firm announced as Esports World Cup elite partner

Updated 57 min 15 sec ago
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Saudi firm announced as Esports World Cup elite partner

  • Partnership means stc Group will provide connectivity across all EWC venues

LONDON: Saudi-based stc Group has been named as an “Elite and Founding Partner” of the Esports World Cup which starts in Riyadh next month.

The partnership for the tournament, which will run from July 3 to Aug. 25, was announced at an official ceremony attended by Group Chief Commercial Officer Faisal Al-Saber and Ralf Reichert, CEO of the Esports World Cup Foundation. 

It means stc Group will provide connectivity across all EWC venues and has exclusive naming rights for three venues in Riyadh which will host events during the tournament — the stc Arena, the stc Play Gaming Hall, and the stc TV World Cup Studios.

“I’m proud to welcome stc Group, a telecommunications giant and digital pioneer, as an Elite and Founding Partner of the Esports World Cup,” said Reichert.

“stc Group is the digital backbone of our competitions and will bring the EWC content to local and global audiences. stc will enable fans … to stay connected with the special stc SIM card.”

He added: “As one of the largest companies in the MENA region, their support means we’re not only going to offer exceptional digital access for fans and athletes but can take the Esports World Cup to the next level.”

Olayan Al-Wetaid, stc Group CEO, said his firm’s partnership with the Esports World Cup was a symbol of its commitment to improving the future of gaming in the Kingdom.

“We are thrilled to be deploying our seamless world-class connectivity, enabling the Kingdom to become the premier global hub for gaming,” he said.

“stc Group is committed to bringing this event to life with innovative technological solutions, as well as showcasing the vast scale and scope of its services.”


Raducanu eases past Stephens on Eastbourne grass

Updated 25 June 2024
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Raducanu eases past Stephens on Eastbourne grass

  • Britain’s Raducanu recovered from being broken twice in the first set before demolishing her opponent in the second set
  • Raducanu, who won the US Open as a qualifier in 2021, has slipped to 168th in the world after an injury-plagued 2023 season

LONDON: Emma Raducanu brushed aside Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the second round of the Eastbourne International on Tuesday in a battle of former US Open champions.
Britain’s Raducanu recovered from being broken twice in the first set before demolishing her opponent in the second set to set up a second-round match against world number five Jessica Pegula.
Raducanu, who won the US Open as a qualifier in 2021, has slipped to 168th in the world after an injury-plagued 2023 season.
The 21-year-old missed the French Open but returned to competition at the Nottingham Open grass-court tournament earlier this month, where she reached the semifinals.
“I think for me it was the case of adapting to the court,” said Raducanu, who has been given a wild card for Wimbledon, which starts on July 1.
“I’ve never played in Eastbourne, I’ve never played on this center court and every court plays a little bit differently. In the beginning, I was trying to figure out what was the best way for me to play and use my game.”
Stephens, who won the US Open in 2017, broke first for a 3-2 lead but failed to hold serve for the rest of the match.
Raducanu, after saving two break points to hold for 5-4, broke the American for a third time to seal the first set and then sprinted to the finish line, completing victory in 76 minutes.
Also in first-round action on England’s south coast, Elize Mertens beat Yuriko Miyazaki 6-1, 6-2 while Ashlyn Krueger overcame Viktorija Golubic 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 7-5.
In the men’s tournament, Britain’s Cameron Norrie continued his woeful run of form, losing his first-round match against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 7-6 (11/9), 6-3.
Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild also advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Australia’s James McCabe to set up a second-round showdown with top seed Taylor Fritz.


Afghanistan hail Lara inspiration in T20 World Cup heroics

Updated 25 June 2024
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Afghanistan hail Lara inspiration in T20 World Cup heroics

  • Afghanistan reached the last four for the first time courtesy of a knife-edge, eight-run victory over Bangladesh
  • Rashid Khan: ‘I think we have proved one person right was Brian Lara, the only person who mentioned Afghanistan will be in the semis’

ARNOS VALE, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan hailed the inspiration of cricket legend Brian Lara for helping them secure a place in the T20 World Cup semis for the first time.
Afghanistan reached the last four for the first time courtesy of a knife-edge, eight-run victory over Bangladesh on Monday, a win that also saw mighty Australia eliminated.
“I think we have proved one person right was Brian Lara, the only person who mentioned Afghanistan will be in the semis,” said Rashid.
“I think we told him that when we met him in the welcome party. When you get that kind of great, great statement from a legend, as a team, I think it gives you lots of energy.”
Afghanistan will face undefeated South Africa in the first semifinal in Trinidad on Wednesday.
India will tackle defending champions England in the second semifinal in Guyana on Thursday.
Defending a modest total of 115-5 against Bangladesh in their final second round Super Eights match on a bowler-friendly surface, Rashid finished with figures of 4-23.
Naveen-ul-Haq took 4-26 as Bangladesh were dismissed for just 105, chasing a revised target of 114 off 19 overs.
On a night of fluctuating emotions there were also three rain delays which saw various mathematical equations come into play.
Had Bangladesh scored their runs in 12.1 overs, they would have won the match and claimed the remaining semifinal spot.
There was tension after Bangladesh fell behind the asking rate at the end of the 11th over when Afghanistan all-rounder Gulbadin Naib went down with cramps just as the threat of more rain appeared.
Rashid insisted the incident was not a device to keep his side ahead of the run rate should the match be halted permanently.
“He had some cramp, I don’t know what happened to him and I don’t know what’s going on in social media but that doesn’t matter,” said the captain.
“It’s just a field injury which comes and then we haven’t lost any overs, the rain came and we just went off, it’s not something like brought a massive difference in the game.
“We came back on field after five minutes and there was no massive difference. For me, it’s just like a small injury, you have to take some time.”
South Africa made the semifinals with seven wins in seven matches but they have been pushed to the limit.
Against Nepal in the opening round, they won by just one run.
However, South Africa have defeated Afghanistan in their only two other T20 meetings — by 59 runs at Barbados in the 2010 World Cup and 37 runs in Mumbai six years later.
“It’s a big achievement for us as a team and a nation being in the semifinals and with the cricket we have played in the whole tournament I think we deserve it,” added Rashid who played in that 2016 defeat, where he went wicketless for 51 runs.


Portugal chase third win against newcomer Georgia while wary of selfie-seekers

Updated 25 June 2024
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Portugal chase third win against newcomer Georgia while wary of selfie-seekers

  • A draw might give Georgia a chance at qualifying
  • There will be scrutiny of Euro 2024 security after no fewer than six different fans invaded the field or tried to seek selfies with Cristiano Ronaldo

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany: Portugal are already qualified for the European Championship knockout stages and can sign off from Group F in style with a third win when they play newcomer Georgia on Wednesday.
A draw might give Georgia a chance at qualifying, depending on results elsewhere, but they’re likely to need a shock win. The kickoff in Gelsenkirchen at the same time as group rivals the Czech Republic and Turkiye meet in Hamburg is 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT).
There will be scrutiny of Euro 2024 security after no fewer than six different fans invaded the field or tried to seek selfies with Cristiano Ronaldo at Portugal’s 3-0 win over Turkiye.
Four of them reached Ronaldo. UEFA said on Sunday they increased security but there was another fan on the field on Monday as Spain beat Albania 1-0.
On their major tournament debut, Georgia have won praise for their battling style of play and nearly beat the Czech Republic in their second game if not for a last-second miss. Beating Portugal would be a huge upset and would guarantee Georgia a spot in the round of 16.
Georgia will know before kickoff if a draw will potentially be enough to qualify as one of the four best third-place teams, or if only a win will do. If Georgia draw, they would still require the Czech Republic to lose against Turkiye, though.
Moreover, Ronaldo has yet to score at Euro 2024 and could potentially be rested against Georgia, since Portugal has won Group F no matter what.
Coach Willy Sagnol said Georgia midfielder Otar Kiteishvili missed the first two matches amid fitness concerns but is available to face Portugal
One of the records the 39-year-old Ronaldo can break is that of oldest ever goal-scorer at the European Championships. Croatia’s Luka Modric scored on Monday at age 38 against Italy to set a new record.
Two more milestones for experienced Portuguese players: Ronaldo can play his 210th international game and 41-year-old Pepe can play his 140th.
It’s 18 years since Ronaldo and Sagnol last faced off at a major tournament in Germany. Sagnol was the right back on the France team which beat Ronaldo’s Portugal 1-0 in the 2006 World Cup semifinals.
Meanwhile, Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa on fans invading the field said: “It’s clearly an annoying situation, both for us and for our opponents. It worries us, we’ve already made the statement and let’s hope that the situation improves in the next games, so that the football is richer.”
“The Georgian fans should expect more from me because I haven’t done the maximum I can do. And I will try to show that in the match versus Portugal and hopefully I can assist the team to gain a victory,” said Georgia star forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.