SPORT Email: [email protected] Gulf Daily News Sunday, 9th November 2014 Bahrain receives special IOC award BAHRAIN was one of six nations to receive a special award for winning its first-ever medal at the Olympics during the inaugural ANOC awards gala in Bangkok. The award came as a result of Bahrain’s Maryam Jamal winning the women’s 1,500m bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach presented the award to Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) general secretary Abdulrahman Askar. Askar said the award reflects the sig- nificant progress Bahrain has made with the backing of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and BOC president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Supreme Council general secretary and BOC vice-president Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Meanwhile, Askar and BOC sports advisor Abduljalil Asad congratulated Kuwait’s Shaikh Ahmed Al Fahad Al Sabah who was re-elected uncontested as president of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) for a four-year term through 2018. In another development, the ANOC General Assembly gave formal approval for ANOC to start a World Beach Games. A date and host city were not declared but delegates from 203 national Olympic committees present were assured that costs would not be high for the host city and that all NOCs would have the opportunity to take part. The General Assembly concluded with presentations from Asia’s two candidate cities fighting for the rights to host the 2022 Winter Olympics – Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China. Kholik claims crown in style n Askar receives the award from IOC president Bach By VIJAY MRUTHYUNJAYA n Kholik... deserving winner FIRMAN Abdul Kholik and P C Thulasi claimed the men’s and women’s singles titles respectively last night in the Indian Club Centenary Li-Ning Bahrain International Challenge, on an anti-climatic note though following intense semi-final showdowns on Friday. ‘Friday Fever’ was followed by a steady of sorts ‘Saturday Night’ as Kholik of Indonesia played his best badminton over five days for just about seven or eight minutes in the decider to tame a fast tiring Anand Pawar of India 20-22, 21-13, 21-13. It was all over in those few final moments when the 17-year-old from Bandung, about two hours from capital Jakarta, won eight points in a row to race from 1313 to the title consisting of some handsome prize money in dollars and, more importantly, some precious ranking points. The men’s final was a match within many matches so to say. Both had their moments of superiority and sorrow, Pawar in particular who lost the plot and points at a time when he should have pressed the pedal to the metal. Kholik, by contrast, seemed to have been waiting for this very moment since the last five days to prove his championship credentials. The third child of a middle class family, who speaks very little English, let his game do the talking. The slim and shy left-hander encapsulated his entire performance in this tournament in a sort of a trailer which lasted only a few minutes. From 13-13 in the decider, Kholik moved into the lead with a smash from the back court which almost cost a spectator wearing spectacles and sitting close to the sidelines his eye. Kholik won the next seven points with a series of absolute winners which included a delicate cross court drop, a jumping smash from the middle of the court and a back hand deceptive shot which caught Pawar in the ‘no man’s land’ land. The women’s singles final was a three-game clash as well but it lacked the breathtaking quality of its corresponding men’s showdown as top seed P C Thulasi recovered from a first- game set back to win a close second and then cruise to the title in 80 minutes – 18-21, 23-21, 21-15 – against Ruselli Hartawan of Indonesia. The much anticipated India-versus Indonesia showdown ended 1-1. But the Indonesians won the men’s doubles title to edge out India for the bragging rights and so did the Russians winning the mixed and women’s doubles. The finals were followed by an elaborate prize-giving ceremony and a gala dinner. But seeing the losing finalist Pawar sitting cramped in a mini bus, with his kit on his lap, outside the Indian Club gates waiting to be transported to his accommodation while the party was in full swing inside left a lump in the throat. Other results (final): Mixed doubles: 1-Vitalij Durkin and Nina Vislova (Russia) bt Fran Kurniawan and Komala Dewi (Indonesia) 21-8, 21-10. Women’s doubles: Ekanerina Bolotova and Evgeniya Kosetskaya (Russia) bt 1-Anastasia Chervyakova and Nina Vislova (Russia) 23-6, 21-15. Men’s doubles: Y Sugiarto and A Wirawan (Indonesia) bt 3-Fran Kurniawan and Agripinna Prima (Indonesia) 23-21, 21-15. Al Dossary wins qualifying endurance race AHMED Al Dossary won the Qualifying Endurance Race held over 80 kms yesterday at Bahrain International Endurance Village in Zallaq. The event was the opening round of the national endurance racing season and was held in presence of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman, Bahrain Olympic Committee president and Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (BREEF) honorary president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Rashid Al Rowaie was second overall while Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa finished third. In the first stage which was over 30 kms, Al Ruwaie on Jamal from Al Zaeem Stables was first with a total time of 1h 12m 26s and at an average speed of 24kph. Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak on Happy from Al Zaeem Stables was second in 1h 13m 12s and an average speed of 24kph while Al Dossary on hamon n Action from the race from Al Zaeem Stables third in 1h 13m 52s and an average speed of 24kph. The second stage was over 30 kms and Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak was first in 1h 14m 06s and an average speed of 24kph. Al Rowaie was second in 1h 15m 11s and an average speed of 23kph while Al Dossary finished third in 1h 14m 10s and an average speed of 24kph. The third and last stage of the race was over 20 kms and Al Dossary was first in 41m 03s and an average speed of 25kph. Al Rowaie was second in 41m 29s and an average speed of 25kph, while Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak came third with a total time of 41m 50s with an average speed of 25kph. On this occasion, Shaikh Nasser assured that the opening endurance ride of the season was very strong in all stages, and what made it strong was the participation of Bahrain’s finest riders from start to finish. Shaikh Nasser expressed his delight with the entry of many young riders, which confirms that endurance riding in the kingdom is capable of producing a fine field of stars, riders who will be able to continue their march of progress. Shaikh Nasser noted that BREEF has planned for years to ensure the entry of young participants in endurance races. He said that the next races will see stronger competition from the stables. He expressed his satisfaction with the results achieved by the participants at the opening race of the season. Al Dossary explained that taking the win in the season’s opening race makes him proud, especially since all the other stables and riders were seeking to win as well. He praised the significant role of each member of his team management in helping him claim his win. 29 New faces out to make mark at ATP Finals LONDON: Not long ago at Wimbledon, Milos Raonic had to tell journalists how to pronounce his name. Less than five months later, things have changed dramatically for the big-serving Canadian, one of the three newcomers playing at the ATP World Tour Finals. At 23, Raonic is now a wellknown name on the tour, and the youngest player in the field at the O2 Arena in London — where the eight best players of the year, minus the sidelined Rafael Nadal, have gathered for the season finale. The two other new faces at the indoor tournament are US Open champion Marin Cilic and Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the first Asian player to qualify for the event. Although the top-ranked Novak Djokovic, 17-Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and Nadal continued to dominate the tour this season, 2014 has seen two new Grand Slam champions and a bunch of new talents emerging. “It’s nice to see new faces out there with Raonic, Cilic and Nishikori,” Federer said. “We’ll see how it plays out this week.” Raonic had a breakthrough at Wimbledon, where he reached the semi-finals following an early season marred by a left ankle injury. The big-serving Raonic, who was born in Montenegro when it was still part of the former Yugoslavia before his family left for Canada when he was 3, sealed his spot at the finals last week at the Paris Masters after defeating Federer in the quarter-finals. Cilic had an even better season, surprisingly winning his first Grand Slam title after beating Nishikori in a US Open final that few had predicted. “I think this year has been the best year of my career with a lot of great tournaments, especially a big success at the US Open,” said the 26-year-old Cilic, who climbed from No. 37 to No. 9 in the ATP rankings. “I feel that opens a little bit of a door for the other guys, for us from the second line. It shows that tennis is expanding a little bit.” India’s Gangjee remains on top NEW DELHI: Rahil Gangjee kept other contenders at bay with a birdie on the last hole to hold a one-shot lead after the third round of the $300,000 Panasonic Open at the Delhi Golf Club yesterday. The Indian was unable to extend his overnight two-stroke lead as he shot a one-underpar 71 in the Asian Tour event co-sanctioned by the Professional Golf Tour of India. Gangjee’s overall 11-under-par 205 put him just one stroke ahead of defending champion Wade Ormsby of Australia, Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman, Indian teenager Shubhankar Sharma and Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka. Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand, who came up with a 69, was one shot behind on 207, setting the stage for an exciting finish today. Gangjee, whose lone victory on the Asian Tour came in 2004, rubbished suggestions he came under pressure after leading over the first two days.
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