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Thursday, September 17, 2020
Muharram 29, 1442 AH
Warholm target
records in
Rome today New horse
racing season
to begin on
October 14
Roglic glimpses
Tour triumph from
Alpine peaks
Page 7
Xavi: We need to improve,
there’s a long way to go
Getting back to competition important, says Barshim as he targets Tokyo
Al Sadd played out a 3-3 draw against Al Ain on Tuesday
atar’s high jump icon
Mutaz Barshim has
seen ups and downs.
One moment he was
jumping to beat the world record,
and the next suff ering a career-
threatening injury. But he has
since successfully returned to
competition and even become
the fi rst high jumper in history
to retain his world title, when he
did so at home in Khalifa Interna-
tional Stadium last year.
Then, what was supposed to
be an Olympic year, turned into a
pandemic year, and Barshim like
most other athletes has been fo-
cused on training harder for the
Olympics next year.
The Red Bull athlete talks
about his injury, the pandemic,
the Olympics and more.
After the coronavirus pan-
demic threw the tournament
schedule into disarray, what
are your plans for the 2021
I have started with a return to
my usual routine and daily train-
ing in preparation for the cham-
pionships that will pave the way
to the Tokyo Olympics. I will stay
focused on that till then.
Does your exceptional
achievement at the 2019
World Athletics Champion-ship, as the fi rst athlete in his-
tory to retain the High Jump
title put some sort of pressure
on your future undertakings,
especially with regards to the
Olympic year ahead?
I believe that feeling pressure
is natural for a professional ath-
lete. I even deem it essential for
me in all the competitions I par-
ticipate in. Nonetheless, I have to
adapt to pressure, and prevent it
from taking a toll on me, so as to
channel it into positive results.
Since Covid-19 has brought
all competitions to a halt, do
you think you have more time
to prepare for the next season,
or is it just an additional load
in terms of training?
Not competing in any champi-
onship for a whole season is un-
doubtedly a negative thing, but I
will try to make the most out of it
by training and exercising.
You contributed a lot to rais-
ing awareness on the impor-
tance of staying home to limit
the spread of Covid-19. Did
the quarantine have negative
eff ects on athletes?
The pandemic took a toll on
the world as a whole, and athletes
are no exception to that. Howev-
er, athletes have the duty to give
back to society, by leaving a posi-
tive impact. Sometimes we just have to make the right decision,
and comply with the rules, even
if it goes against our interests as
athletes. The public health of the
community takes precedence in
such cases. Of course, staying
home will do athletes no good,
but there is a positive side to it,
as it sends the message that pre-serving public health and safety
is given utmost importance at
both individual and community
Will you limit your activities
to the Olympic Games, or will
you also compete in the World
Athletics Indoor Champion-ships, the Diamond League,
and other such competitions?
So far, we’re still carrying on
with the routine training, which
is the most important thing for
us currently. We are yet to set
a schedule for the 2021 season.
That will be decided with the
coach and the management team, and will include a review of all the
After the Covid-19 crisis,
athletes now have the added
pressure of preparing for the
Olympics. What are your
thoughts on Tokyo Games,
the challenges it poses for you
after London 2012 and Rio
I am currently focused on
competing in Tokyo. Tokyo 2021
is a great challenge to me person-
ally after London 2012 and Rio
2016. Yet, I do think of it as any
other milestone in my career, and
I shall do my best. But must keep
in mind that competing for gold
may be tough, but it is not im-
You work very hard with your
coach Stanislaw Szczyrba.
What kind of a relation do you
have with him?
I defi nitely have a strong bond
with coach Stanislaw Szczyrba,
and it is not just a coach-athlete
relationship. It goes beyond track
and fi eld, and is not limited to
training. We are friends, we dis-
cuss all matters of life. This has fa-
cilitated communication between
us, and we now understand each
other, which helps us succeed.
Do you believe it is time to
break Cuban Javier Sotomay-or’s 2.45m record?
When it comes to the High
Jump record, I think no time is a
good time to consider breaking
it. I think I need to be focused on
my training, and my aim is to set
this fi gure as a target during my
What is more important for
you right now? Focusing
on the Olympics, or gradu-
ally returning to competition
through the World Indoor
Championship and the Dia-
mond League?
What’s important to me right
now is to go back to competing
in tournaments, in order to be
physically fi t and prepared, as
would be the case for any athlete
in my position.
What have you learned from
the serious injury you suf-
fered? How did you manage to
turn suff ering into a sweeping
Injury has taught me that
nothing is impossible when there
is will and hard work. I’ve got
my friends and family’s support
to thank for helping me triumph
over injury, as well as my patient
and devoted team and coach who
have facilitated my strong come-
back. But fi rst and foremost, I
thank God for everything, as suc-
cess is actually a gift from above.
l Sadd SC head coach
Xavi feels his team de-
served to come out
with more than just a
point from their Matchday Three
encounter against United Arab
Emirates side Al Ain FC in the
2020 AFC Champions League,
which ended 3-3.
Kodjo Laba opened the scor-
ing for Al Ain early on. 2019 AFC
Footballer of the Year Akram Afi f
equalised on 35 minutes, shortly
before Bauyrzhan Islamkhan
hammered home a contender for
goal of the tournament to put Al
Ain ahead before half time.
A debut goal from Santi Cazorla
followed by a Baghdad Bounedjah
tap-in put Al Sadd ahead be-
fore friendly fi re from Boualem
Khoukhi put the game back on
equal terms. The result meant Al
Sadd slipped down to second place
on fi ve points after Al Nassr man-
aged a win against Sepahan FC,
while Al Ain took their fi rst point
of the campaign yet remained bot-
tom of the group, four points off
second place.
“We deserved more against
Al Ain, and we need to improve
ourselves,” said Xavi. “There’s
still a long way to go in the AFC
Champions League. We cre-
ated a number of chances in the
fi rst half, but we weren’t good
“In the second half the team
was superb and did a lot better,
but we weren’t lucky enough
in front of goal. This is football though; it was normal that all the
chances we created would see us
through but that did not happen.”
For Al Ain, improving on Tues-
day’s result in the reverse fi xture
will be vital if they are to avoid
back-to-back group stage ex-
its for the fi rst time since 2010
and 2011, and head coach Pedro
Emanuel knows his side can ill-
aff ord to waste time.
“We played against excellent
opposition in our fi rst game in six
months, we should be happy with
our performance and the result,” said the former Al Taawoun boss.
“This is an important point for
us, especially for our confi dence
because we were not at our best.
We aimed to pressure Al Sadd’s
players and as soon as we took
possession, we attacked quickly.
“They looked for spaces to ex-
ploit in our team. In the second
half, we conceded two goals in
quick succession and we made
some changes to get the points.”
“It’s hard to play every three
days, but we have been ready for
this.“We need to get maximum
points in the next game. The
players need to rest the day after
the match, after the magnifi cent
eff orts they made today. We will
keep working to our schedule as
The two former champions
will go head to head again on
Friday in Matchday Four, when a
result will be needed for Al Ain
in order to keep their chances of
progression alive while Al Sadd
will look to keep pace with Al
Nassr at the top of Group D.
Al Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil
Duhail should have scored more against
Sharjah, says Almoez
Striker Almoez Ali believes Al
Duhail SC should have regis-
tered a more convincing victory
against UAE’s Sharjah in their
2020 AFC Champions League
Group C tie on Tuesday.
The Qatar champions registered
their second win in the group
with the 2019 AFC Asian Cup
top scorer opening the scoring
before Rami Rezaeian added
the second with Igor Coronado
pulling a goal back for Sharjah
from the penalty spot.
While Ali stressed that getting
the three points was important,
he said Al Duhail’s superior
performance meant they should
have scored more goals at the
Education City Stadium.“We had a great performance
and were the better side,” said
Ali. “It was very important for
us to win the match in order to
increase our chances of qualify-
ing to the next stage.
“Sharjah are the UAE champions
and they are a strong team but
we could have scored more
goals. However, this match is
over and we must focus on the
next (against Sharjah again on
Sharjah goalkeeper Adel Al
Hosani said the UAE side were
punished for their mistakes.
“We didn’t have a good per-
formance at all in the first half,”
said Al Hosani. “However, we
improved in the second half and created several scoring chances
but failed to convert them. We
must not make that mistake
“Our performance, in gen-
eral, was not as what we had
expected. We should prepare
better for the next match and
fix the mistakes that we made
The defeat means Sharjah are
still in search of their first win,
with the UAE side rooted at the
bottom of the Group C stand-
ings on one point.
Al Duhail, with six points, are
second with Saudi Arabia’s Al
Taawoun leading the standings
and Islamic Republic of Iran’s
Persepolis FC (four) third. (AFC)
Al Duhail’s Almoez Ali (left) celebrates his goal during the AFC Champions League Group C match
against Sharjah on Tuesday. (AFP)

Gulf Times
Thursday, September 17, 2020 2
Rezaeian revels
in debut goal for
Marin hopes to carry momentum into Shorta match
QFA presents Football for All Award to MoPH Pakhtakor in
with another
chance against
Al Hilal
Iranian international, who scored along with
Almoez in the 2-1 win over Sharjah on Tuesday,
was adjudged Man of the Match
akhtakor head coach
Shota Arveladze believes
his side need to convert
more of their chances,
ahead of their Matchday Four
fi xture against reigning champi-
ons Al Hilal SFC in Group B of the
2020 AFC Champions League. A Sebastian Giovinco free-
kick and a last-second strike
from substitute Hattan Bahebri
sealed a 2-1 win for Al Hilal on
Monday as Pakhtakor were re-
duced to 10 men following the
dismissal of keeper Eldorbek
Suyonov for handling the ball
outside of his area. But with two victories from
their fi rst two games, Pakhta-
kor could still pip Al Hilal to the
top of the group with a two-goal
margin win, and if Shahr Khodro
manage a win against Shabab Al
Ahli Dubai in the other match
today, the Uzbek League cham-
pions could have a foot and a half
in the Round of 16 come Match-
day Five. “We did not change much in
our programme following the
previous game,” said Arveladze. “It was mostly recovery and
preparation to face Al Hilal again.
We know each game is diff erent,
and we cannot do the same thing
in each game. We cannot keep
wasting the chances we get, and
we are here to prove we can com-
pete at the highest level. “We have quality at the back
and up front, and we are deter-
mined to come out with the three
points.” “This level of competition
needs players who are individu-
ally able to change the course of
the match such as Giovinco did
from the free-kick. “Al Hilal are a good team who
have excellent players, some of
whom are goal machines, and
they are the best team in Asia,
but we have quality too.” The best team in Asia is a tag Al
Hilal’s Romanian head coach Raz-
van Lucescu is keen to prove with
the reigning champions intent on
keeping their 100 percent record
so far in the competition and se-
curing qualifi cation early on. “As is always the case, we want
to win this match. Both teams
know each other better now, so
focus is ever more important for
us,” said Lucescu, who led Al Hi-
lal to the 2019 AFC Champions
League title just fi ve months af-
ter his arrival. “We are still in an early phase,
the job is not done yet even
though we have nine points out
of a possible nine. Pakhtakor are
a big team both off ensively and
defensively, they also posse ss a
fair amount of physical strength
but we also have the talent and
ability and want to win this
match.” A win for the three time con-
tinental champions will see them
join compatriots Al Ahli FC Saudi
in the Round of 16, with a perfect
head-to-head record against the
Uzbek side. In another Group B match,
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai FC will look
to repeat their win against Shahr
Khodro FC when they meet in a
6pm kick-off at Al Janoub Sta-
dium. The Dubai-based side had
managed to scrape a 1-0 win
against their Iranian opponents,
thanks to a magnifi cent solo ef-
fort from youngster Harib Ab-
dallah Suhail, as Shabab Al Ahli
picked up their fi rst three points
in the 2020 edition.
Group A at Khalifa In ternational
6pm: Al Shorta (IRQ) vs Al Ahli
Group B at Al Janoub Stadium
6pm: Shahr Khodro (IRN) vs
Shabab Al Ahli (UAE)
9pm: Pakhtakor (UZB) vs Al Hilal
l Duhail SC got their
2020 AFC Champions
League off to a posi-
tive restart with a 2-1
win over Sharjah FC in Group C
on Tuesday to keep pace with Al
Taawoun at the top of the group. New signing Ramin Rezaeian
struck the pick of the goals to
send Al Duhail 2-0 up early in
the second half after Almoez Ali
had taken the lead for the Qa-
taris in the 40th minute. An Igor Coronado penalty
would prove to be merely conso-
lation for Sharjah as coach Walid
Regragui’s men held out for the
three points. The Iranian international had
joined Al Duhail three weeks ago
after enjoying a magnifi cent in-
dividual 2019-20 season, scor-
ing 13 times from right wing de-
spite his former side Al Shahania
fi nishing bottom of the Qatar
Stars League. “I would like to congratulate
my teammates on getting the
three points. We know this is a
diffi cult competition and we are
happy to have won this match,”
said Rezaeian after being named
Man of the Match at Education
City Stadium on Tuesday. “I am honoured to sign for Al
Duhail. It is a big move for me
and I promised myself to give it
everything when I arrived. My
goal is to stay here and do every- thing I can to fi ght for the name
of Al Duhail and defend the col-
ours of the club.
“I trained a lot for free-kicks
and my teammates told me that I
will score a free-kick soon. I am
happy that they believed in me.
For us to be successful we have
to come together as a team, and I
believe we did that today and we
did well as a team. “We must be even stronger in
the next game. We played a good
game, but we will forget it and
focus on the next match.” For Sharjah, the result meant
a fi rst win in the AFC Champi-
ons League since 2004 would
have to wait, but head coach Ab-
dulaziz Al Anbari is convinced
his side are going in the right
direction. “Congratulations to Al Du-
hail. We knew this would be a
diffi cult match against a diffi cult
team who are in form at the mo-
ment,” said the 43-year-old. “We played conservatively in
the fi rst half, trying to make sure
we did not concede. It worked
well but we conceded in the
40th minute. Our plan was to
start changing gradually, but the
second goal made it diffi cult for
us. Al Duhail are a strong team
and it was just not our night. “We know Al Duhail have a lot
of quality players, and we know
the next match will be more dif-
fi cult, but we are here to fi ght
until the end. We are satisfi ed
with our performance today re-
gardless of the result.”
Al Duhail’s Ramin Rezaeian (top) c elebrates a goal with teammate
Almoez Ali during the AFC Champions League Group C match
against Sharjah on Tuesday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil
he Board of Trustees
of Qatar Football As-
sociation (QFA) Award
presented the Football
for All Award for the 2019-20
season to the Ministry of Public
Health, for its great eff orts and
contribution towards resump-
tion of football activity. General Secretary of the Board
of Trustees of QFA Award, Has-
san Rabiah al-Kuwari, handed
over the award to the ministry
in the presence of Director of
Health Protection and Control
of Communicable Diseases at
the Ministry of Public Health
Dr Hamad Eid al-Rumaihi and
Medical Director of the Com-
municable Diseases Center
(CDC) at Hamad Medical Cor-
poration (HMC) Dr Muna al-
Maslamani. Al-Kuwari extended thanks
and appreciation to the Minis-
try of Public Health and all its
cadres and medical teams for
their tireless work and eff orts to
address the coronavirus (Cov- id-19) pandemic in the society.
He also hailed all their eff
and work in returning foot-
ball activity through the health
protocol that was successfully
adopted and implemented and
led to the return of competitions
and matches. For his part, Dr al-Rumaihi
thanked and appreciated the
Board of Trustees of the Qatar
Football Association Award for
this initiative. He stressed the
keenness of the Ministry and
all medical and administrative
staff to continue co-operation
with all parts of society in order
to achieve goals and aspirations,
and praised the distinguished
and constructive co-operation
between the Ministry of Public
Health, the Qatar Football Asso-
ciation and Qatar Stars League. Football for All Award is given
by the QFA Award Board of Trus-
tees to organisations, groups or
individuals making a signifi cant
contribution towards football in
the local community. The win-
ners of the 2019-20 season are:
Ministry of Public Health, Min-
istry of Interior, Aspetar Hospi-
tal and Qatar Red Crescent.
General Secretary of the Board of Trustees of QFA Award, Hassan Rabiah al-Kuwari, handed over the award
to the ministry in the presence of Director of Health Protection and Control of Communicable Diseases
at the Ministry of Public Health Dr Hamad Eid al-Rumaihi, and Medical Director of the Communicable
Diseases Center (CDC) at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Dr Muna al-Maslamani.
Al Hilal’s Sebastian Giovinco (right) kicks to score during the AFC
Champions League Group B match against Pakhtakor on Monday.
PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil
arko Marin believes
he can take his game
to new heights as the
2020 AFC Champi-
ons League rumbles on with his
Al Ahli Saudi FC eyeing a repeat
of their 1-0 win over Iraq’s Al
Shorta when the two sides meet
in Group A today. The former German interna-
tional winger joined Al Ahli from
Red Star Belgrade in January, but
the Saudi Pro League’s Covid-19
enforced break followed by a
muscular injury meant he had
not played competitively for six months before putting on a Man
of The Match performance, in-
cluding a late winner against Al
Shorta on Monday.
And with qualifi cation to the
Round of 16 guaranteed, Al Ahli
now eye the top spot in Group A
in hope it would help them avoid
reigning champions Al Hilal, who
eliminated them at the same stage
in 2019 and now hold the top spot
in Group B after three matches. “It was my fi rst offi cial match
in six months, so of course there
is a lot of room to improve,” said
the former Chelsea winger. “I feel that game by game I can
get better physically and on the
pitch. I hope I can show that in
every match. “We always want to win. The
preparation until now has been
focused on recovering as quickly
as possible for the next game.
Today we will analyse the game
and watch videos. We prepared
well for the last game and now we
know even more about Al Shorta
and will be totally focused on
winning.” Al Shorta go into Matchday
Four with a point, but a win
against Esteghlal in the follow-
ing game will send them to the
Round of 16 for the fi rst time
in their history regardless of
the result of the today’s fi xture,
while beating Al Ahli would not
be enough if they lose to the Ira-
nians next. “We don’t want to dwell
too much on the first match,”
said head coach Abdulghani
Shahd. “We would rather focus on the
next match and the group as a
whole. Winning against Estegh-
lal is the key, but that does not
mean we should ignore tomor-
row, but in order to guarantee
qualifi cation we have to beat Es-
teghlal. “Also remember it will be
the fi rst game for Esteghlal, so
they will be well rested. This is
the reality of things and we are
well prepared for tomorrow, but
we also have to think about the
group as a whole not just tomor-

3 Gulf Times
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Mourinho coy on
Spurs’ attempt to
sign Real’s Bale
to cost
$14bn this
year: FIFA
New horse racing season to begin on October 14
Depay scores in Lyon win as Barca rumours fl ourish
Bale’s agent has said that clubs are discussing a potential deal
ca dumped out of Champions
League by PAOK
Two-time European champions Benfica were dumped out of
the Champions League in the qualifiers on Tuesday following
a 2-1 defeat at PAOK Thessaloniki. The Portuguese giants, who
won the old European Cup twice in the 1960s, were knocked
out by goals from Dimitrios Giannoulis and Andrija Zivkovic.
Benfica finished second in the Portuguese top division but had
a tough draw at PAOK, who finished second in the Greek Super
League. They will not have a chance to overcome the defeat
because the third qualifying round is being contested with
single-leg ties. Dynamo Kiev knocked out AZ Alkmaar with a
2-0 win while Gent saw off Rapid Vienna 2-1.
Villa land goalkeeper Martinez
from Arsenal on four-year deal
Aston Villa have completed the signing of goalkeeper Emiliano
Martinez from Arsenal on a four-year deal, the Premier League
club said in a statement yesterday. The 28-year-old spent 10
years at the club and played only 39 first-team matches for
them in all competitions, including 23 in the 2019-20 campaign
filling in for the injured Bernd Leno. He helped Mikel Arteta’s
side finish eighth in the league and lift their 14th FA Cup trophy
last month as they defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the final at Wembley.
British media said Villa paid 17mn pounds ($21.97mn) for the
Argentine shot-stopper, who had loan spells at Oxford United,
Sheff ield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolverhampton
Wanderers, Getafe and Reading.
Leyton Orient book League Cup
clash with shirt sponsor Kane
Leyton Orient could come up against a familiar face and the
sponsor of their playing kit in Harry Kane in the third round of
the League Cup after Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over Plymouth Ar-
gyle earned them a meeting with Tottenham Hotspur. England
striker Kane, who made his senior debut with east London side
Orient in 2011 when he was on loan for half a season from Spurs,
said in May he would sponsor the League Two (fourth tier) club’s
kit for the 2020-21 campaign. Orient’s home shirt displays a
thank you message to healthcare workers on the frontline bat-
tling the Covid-19 pandemic while the away and third kits carry
logos of a children’s hospice and a mental health charity.
Macclesfi eld, founded in 1874,
wound up over £500,000 debt
Macclesfield Town became the latest English football club to
go to the wall after a winding up order was granted yesterday
over debts of more than £500,000 ($650,000). The club,
founded in 1874, were relegated from League Two last season
due to a series of points deductions for the non-payment of
wages. An insolvency hearing heard that the club owe nearly
£190,000 in tax and more than £170,000 to two other credi-
tors. A judge found he could see nothing which gave him “any
comfort” that the club can pay the debts. Bury became the first
club expelled from the English Football League since 1992 last
year after going bust, while Bolton, who were in the Premier
League just eight years ago, narrowly avoided the same fate.
Man United women’s captain Zelem
tests positive for Covid-19
Manchester United women’s captain Katie Zelem has been
withdrawn from England’s training camp after testing positive
for Covid-19, the FA said yesterday. Zelem, 24, was named in
coach Phil Neville’s 30-player squad last week for the Lioness-
es’ training camp at St George’s Park. The FA and the club said
the midfielder will now self-isolate for 10 days as per the health
protocol. “Manchester United’s Katie Zelem has withdrawn
from England’s September training camp having tested posi-
tive for Covid-19... There are no plans to call up a replacement
for Zelem at this time,” the FA said in a statement. England
are scheduled to face twice world champions Germany in a
friendly next month.
Ten EFL games to pilot fan returns
Ten clubs in England’s Football League will be allowed to admit
up to 1,000 fans in this weekend’s games as part of a pilot
scheme to test the return of supporters, the EFL said yesterday.
Among the games where fans will be allowed, Norwich City
face Preston North End and Middlesbrough are up against
Bournemouth in the second tier Championship. The hope is
that more fans will be allowed to attend games from October.
An initial test event was held at Cambridge United last week.
The ten matches also include games in the third tier League
One and fourth tier League Two.
Australia tweaks national players’
pay deal to refl ect Covid-19 impact
Australia’s national soccer players have agreed to pay-cuts
as part of an adjusted collective bargaining agreement (CBA)
that takes into account the economic impact of the novel
coronavirus, the players union said yesterday. The revised CBA,
which applies to both the men’s and women’s teams, will carry
through to the completion of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in
Australia and New Zealand, Professional Footballers Australia
(PFA) said in a joint statement with Football Federation Aus-
tralia (FFA). Australia’s home-based professional players have
yet to strike an adjusted pay deal with clubs, however, having
already taken heavy cuts to allow the A-League season to finish
after a nearly four-month disruption due to the pandemic.
Lyon, France
emphis Depay
scored what might
be his farewell goal
for Lyon on Tues-
day in a 2-1 Ligue 1 defeat at
Montpellier which could be his
fi nal match before a rumoured
move to Barcelona. Netherlands attacker Depay
smashed home a penalty with
eight minutes left as 10-man
Lyon failed to claw back a two-
goal defi cit created by a Teji Sa- vanier brace scored either side of
Rudi Garcia’s side were al-
ready a goal down to Savanier’s
38th-minute penalty, which was won by the Frenchman, when
Houssem Aouor was sent off
a high challenge on Arnaud Sou-
qet just before the break in his
fi rst league start since shaking
off the coronavirus. Savanier doubled his hosts’
lead with a sharp low fi nish in
the 59th minute, and they held
out against late pressure follow-
ing Depay’s spot-kick, which
came after Hilton was sent off
for a late tackle on Rayan Cherki. Dutch daily De Telegraaf re-
ported earlier on Tuesday that
Netherlands forward Depay was
set to join compatriots Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Koeman
at Barca this week in a transfer
worth 25mn euros ($29.6mn).
However Lyon president Jean-
Michel Aulas later said that his
Barcelona counterpart Josep
Maria Bartomeu told him the
Catalan giants could not aff ord
Depay. “The president of Barcelona
told me on Sunday that Barca are
really suff ering from the Covid
crisis and were not able to make
an off er,” Aulas said on Twitter. Yesterday, Paris Saint-Ger-
main were scheduled to host
Metz at the Parc des Princes. Champions PSG lost both
their opening two fi xtures and
had been hit with a wave of coro-
navirus cases that aff ected seven
of their star players. Thomas Tuchel’s side are also
awaiting the result of Wednes-
day’s disciplinary commission,
which is set to reveal its punish-
ments following the mass brawl
involving Neymar that marred
the end of their 1-0 defeat to
Marseille at the weekend. Marseille meanwhile will host
Saint-Etienne on Friday in what
was supposed to the curtain rais-
er to the 2020-21 season.
By Sports Reporter
he horse racing season in Qatar
will begin on October 14, 2020,
according to the schedule re-
leased by the Qatar Racing and
Equestrian Club (QREC) yesterday. Al Ghariya Cup Day on the dirt track
at Al Rayyan Park will be the fi rst of 49
meetings that have been scheduled this
season, which will conclude on April
22, 2021. Qatar’s three-day horse racing fl ag-
ship event — His Highness Amir Sword
Racing Festival — will run from Febru-
ary 18-20, 2021, with the two USD1mn
features to be held on the last day of the festival.
In February this year, His Highness
Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s
Ebraz became the fi rst horse to win the
Doha Triple Crown after he stamped his
authority over three diff erent distances
in three diff erent countries in a single
season. The Julian Smart-trained Pure-
bred Arabian fi rst won the Qatar Inter-
national Stakes (Group 1 PA) in Good-
wood over a mile in July last year, before
starring at the 2000m Qatar Arabian World Cup in October in Paris and then
winning His Highness The Amir Sword
(Group 1 PA) for a record third time in
Doha for the Triple Crown.
In the Thoroughbred feature, His
Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa
al-Thani’s French King emerged vic-
tory for the second straight time. Qatar Oaks and Qatar Derby have
been scheduled for December 19-20,
2020, while HH Sheikh Mohammed
Bin Khalifa Al Thani Trophy and HH
Sheikh Abdulla Bin Khalifa Al Thani
Trophy will be run on December 26,
2020, and January 7, 2021, respectively.
Qatar Gold Sword meeting will be held
on April 1, 2021.
The racing season also includes as
many as 12 race meetings at the new Al Uqda Complex.
The operations at the state-owned
horse racing facility in Al Khor are being
run by the QREC in co-ordination with
the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The fi rst race meeting at Al Uqda will
be the Al Huwaila Cup Day on Novem-
ber 25, 2020. The biggest race meeting at the new
facility will be the Al Shaqab Rac-
ing Trophy on February 3, 2021, with
the six-furlong feature Thoroughbred
sprint carrying total prize money of
QR200,000. The race meeting will
also see a sprint race each for local
Thoroughbreds and Arabians with
QR155,000 and QR175,000 on off er as
the total prize pot respectively. QREC CEO Nasser bin Sherida al- Kaabi said, “We have been preparing for
the new programme since the last season
ended. With the new season, we have
not only sought to further the vision and
the strategy of the QREC to develop rac-
ing in Qatar and also host quality inter-
national races, but also ensure we do so
in a safe environment in co-ordination
with the concerned authorities. All the
precautionary measures as required en-
suring the safety of all participants and
organisers are in place.
“This season, 12 races will be held at
Al Ukda. The fi rst race at the complex
will be Al Huwaila Cup on November
25, and in the future, more races will be
held at the venue. The track is equipped
with the necessary infrastructure to
successfully host race meetings.”
QREC CEO Nasser bin Sherida al-Kaabi.
London, United Kingdom
ottenham Hot-
spur manager Jose
Mourinho refused to
confi rm yesterday
whether the north London
club were in talks to re-sign
Gareth Bale from Real Ma-
drid but said he tried to sign
him when he was still a Spurs
player. Bale’s agent said on Tuesday
that both clubs and the Welsh
winger’s camp were discussing
a potential arrangement which
would see the 31-year-old re-
turn to the Premier League af-
ter seven years with the Span-
ish champions. Mourinho said he tried to
sign Bale when he was in charge
of Real Madrid from 2010 to
2013. The Wales international
was also regularly linked with
a move to Manchester United
when Mourinho was at the
helm at Old Traff ord.
“Gareth Bale is a Real Ma-
drid player and I don’t talk
about players from other
clubs,” Mourinho told report-
ers ahead of today’s Europa
League qualifi er against Bul-
garian side Lokomotiv Plov-
div. “It’s not my job to have
contact with agents and I
don’t want to comment. I
don’t comment on hypotheti-
cal stuff .
“I tried to sign him during
my time at Real Madrid and
the president followed my in- stinct and knowledge and the
season I left, he brought Ga-
reth to the club. That’s no se-
cret and Gareth knows that.”
Bale had said earlier this
month that he would be open
to a move back to the Premier
League if Real Madrid sanc-
tioned a transfer. Spurs have also been linked
with Real left back Sergio
Reguilon, with British media reporting the 23-year-old
Spain international is set to
make the switch for 30mn eu-
ros ($35.62mn).
Mourinho added that he has
informed club chairman Daniel
Levy about his transfer plans
“three or four times” and that
players could also leave Spurs
before the transfer window
closes on October 5. “A squad is a puzzle and when a new signing com-
pletes the puzzle it’s great
for the team,” the Portuguese
manager added.
“Three more weeks, the
market is open both ways. I
think in football you have to be
always waiting for something
to happen. Let’s see what hap-
pens to us. I never liked to start
the competition with an open
transfer window.”
In this April 13, 2011, picture, the then Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho (centre) shakes hands
with Tottenham’s Gareth Bale after the UEFA Champions League match in London. (Reuters)
Bern, Switzerland
he Covid-19 pandemic is likely
to cost club football $14bn this
year worldwide, around one
third of its value, a leading of-
fi cial at global soccer body FIFA said
yesterday. Olli Rehn, who heads the FIFA com-
mittee set up to tackle the eff ects of the
pandemic, said that FIFA, along with fi -
nancial consultants, had estimated the
club game to be worth between $40bn
and $45bn worldwide. He said the fi gure of $14bn was based
on the current scenario, where football
is slowly restarting after a three-month
hiatus earlier this year, but it would be
a “diff erent ball game” if the pandemic
did not let up. “Football has been hit very hard by
the coronavirus pandemic,” Rehn, a
former EU commissioner and now gov-
ernor of the Bank of Finland, told Reu-
ters television. “It has created plenty of turmoil at
diff erent levels with some professional
clubs facing very serious diffi culties.
I’m also very concerned about youth
academies and lower division clubs.” Rehn said that football in South Amer-
ica had been especially hard hit, while Af-
rica and Asia were also a concern. “It is a
real danger that the good work that has
been done developing football in Asia
and Africa could be ruined, so we want
to soften the blow and maintain the de-
velopment that has been done,” he said. FIFA has allocated $1.5bn to help
tackle the eff ects of the pandemic and
Rehn said 150 of the 211 member asso-
ciations had so far applied for funds. He said that, while football was slow-
ly re-awakening, another downturn
could not be ruled out. “We cannot rule out worse develop-
ments and that would be another ball
game if the pandemic were to continue
in a severe form next year.”
Werner happy to snub champions Liverpool for Lampard’s Chelsea
London, United Kingdom
imo Werner said yester-
day that he was in discus-
sions with Liverpool
over a close season transfer
but eventually chose Chelsea
as they were the perfect fit for
his game while manager Frank
Lampard also played a key role
in making the decision. Chelsea signed the German
striker, 24, in a reported 50mn
euros ($59.20mn) deal in June
as the London club looked to
rebuild their squad ahead of
the new season.
Werner, who scored 34 goals for
RB Leipzig last season, was heav-
ily linked with a move to Premier
League champions Liverpool but
said he opted for Chelsea as he
was convinced he would thrive in
Lampard’s system.“When I decided to leave Leip-
zig I talked to diff
erent clubs,”
Werner told reporters. “There
were some other clubs that I
talked to... like Liverpool, who
have a great team.
“But at the end I decided (to
move to) Chelsea... Not only
because of the style of football
but also because of what they
have shown to me.
“I loved playing at Leipzig but
it was really important for me to come to a club with a vision
that fits my style of football.
The whole Premier League fits
my style.”
The Covid-19 pandemic pre-
vented an early face-to-face
meeting with Lampard but
Werner described how the
Chelsea boss was constantly
in touch over the phone, even
sending him videos of how he
planned to use the Germany
international this season.“It was a strange time when
we didn’t meet each other. We
met each other here for the
first time because of the virus,”
Werner added.
“But he called me a lot, texted
me a lot and (sent) media
where he showed me where he
wants me to play and the style
of football he wants to play... It’s
really important that he gave
me a feeling of the system he
wants to play.”

Gulf Times
Thursday, September 17, 2020 4
Carey, Maxwell lift
Aussies to dramatic
win over England
‘World’s best’ Mumbai Indians
attempt back-to-back IPL titles
‘Lazy’ criticism
result of racial
says Khawaja
Australia win with two balls to spare; centuries for Carey and Maxwell turn tide
Manchester, United Kingdom
uperb centuries from Alex Carey
and Glenn Maxwell inspired Aus-
tralia to a dramatic three-wicket
victory over England yesterday as
the touring side clinched the one-day in-
ternational series 2-1. The pair put on 212 runs for the sixth
wicket after Australia had slumped to
73-5 chasing a stiff target of 303 runs in
the fi nal game of the series. Jonny Bairstow scored 112 as England
recovered from losing their fi rst two
wickets to the opening two balls of the
game to score 302 for seven in their 50
overs after winning the toss. Australia lost their fi rst fi ve wickets
cheaply but fought back brilliantly to win
with two balls to spare against the world
champions and infl ict their fi rst home
one-day series defeat for fi ve years.
England got off to the worst possible
start as Jason Roy drove a thick outside
edge to backward point and Joe Root was
trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc off the fi rst
two balls of the innings. Bairstow set
about engineering a recovery, however, and England quickly pushed the run rate
above six an over. A 114-run partnership
for the fi fth wicket between Bairstow
and Sam Billings (54) provided the back-bone of the innings and Chris Woakes
also contributed a rapid half century to
take England past the 300-run mark.
Woakes then took the fi rst two wickets of the Australia innings before Root, with
his part-time off spin, nicked out David
Warner and Mitchell Marsh cheaply to
remove the tourists’ top order.
When Marnus Labuschagne was run
out in the 17th over, Australia were reel-
ing on 73-5. Carey and Maxwell fought
back, however, dragging Australia right
back into the match with lusty hitting and
leaving them needing 21 runs off the last
18 balls for victory. They looked like throwing a winning
position away when Maxwell top-edged
spinner Adil Rashid and was caught by
Tom Curran for 108 off 90 balls and 10
balls later Carey was caught by Mark
Wood at third man off Jofra Archer for
106. Australia needed 10 runs off the fi nal
over which England captain Eoin Mor-
gan bravely entrusted to Rashid. Starc
smacked a six off his fi rst ball and hit an-
other boundary to win the game, bring-
ing a crowded summer of international
cricket to an exciting conclusion. England had a busy three-month win-
dow into which they crammed six Tests
and 12 limited-overs internationals — all
played behind closed doors in a bio-
secure bubble because of the Covid-19
New Delhi
lready regarded as the
world’s richest and
most successful Twen-
ty20 cricket team, the
Mumbai Indians will now at-
tempt to underline their status
by claiming their fi rst back-to-
back titles in the Indian Premier
League. Led by senior Indian bats-
man Rohit Sharma and owned
by Nita Ambani — wife of India’s
richest man, Reliance Indus-
tries billionaire Mukesh Ambani
— Mumbai have won an unsur-
passed four IPL titles. So far they have been un-
able to match the Chennai Super
Kings’ feat of 2010 and 2011 by
winning the world’s most lucra-
tive T20 league twice in a row. But Mumbai, who open the coronavirus-delayed IPL season
against the Super Kings in Abu
Dhabi on Saturday, head into the
tournament as the bookies’ fa-
vourites for a fi
fth trophy.
Mumbai’s fi nancial clout is
formidable. Ambani, who bought the
franchise for more than $100mn in 2008, has been rated by
Forbes as the world’s second
richest sports team owner be-
hind former Microsoft chief ex-
ecutive Steve Ballmer, who owns
the Los Angeles Clippers.
Accor ding to an Economic
Times estimate, the Indians
are worth $115mn, the highest among the eight IPL franchises.
The team has an impeccable
playing pedigree too. Their founding captain was
the now retired Sachin Ten-
dulkar, the record-breaking
batsman who is worshipped by
Indian fans. Former Australia
captain Ricky Ponting is another
ex-skipper. But it was only when Sharma
was appointed captain in 2013,
after Ponting stepped down due
to loss of form, that the team
became a force to be reckoned
with. The 33-year-old star bats-
man has led by example, scoring
3,728 runs since joining Mumbai
in 2011 and captaining the team
to IPL trophies in 2013, 2015,
2017 and 2019. Sri Lankan legend Mahela
Jayawardene is the coach, while
West Indian big-hitter Kieron
Pollard and India quick Jasprit
Bumrah add power to the team. Australia paceman Nathan
Coulter-Nile, part of the Indi-
ans’ fi rst title win in 2013, re-
turns this season after being
snapped up for $1.12mn in the
December auctions. “It’s good to come back to the
most successful T20 franchise of
the world,” said Coulter-Nile. “Obviously the team I was in-
volved with then was fi lled with
absolute greats. Ricky Ponting, Sachin Ten-
dulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Rohit
Sharma. “And to come back to
see this team now developing
those sort of greats again. Rohit
Sharma is a great in himself. Bumrah, best death bowler in
the world.” However, the loss of pace
ace Lasith Malinga earlier this
month was a big blow, after the
veteran Sri Lankan opted out of
the tournament to be with his
ustralia batsman Us-
man Khawaja believes
criticism of him as a
“lazy” player is rooted
in racial stereotypes and thinks
cricket needs to do more to at-
tract players from more ethni-
cally diverse backgrounds. The lefthanded batsman, who
was born in Pakistan and moved
to Sydney as a young child, was
the fi rst Muslim to play for Aus-
tralia when he made his Test
debut in the fi nal match of the
2010-2011 Ashes series. “I always had that ‘lazy’ un-
dertone when I was growing up
and I think part of that was my
relaxed nature but part of it was
also because I was Pakistani, and
subcontinent people were seen
as lazy, not doing the hard yards
and whatnot,” he told cricket. “Running has never been nat-
ural to me, so when we used to do
lots of fi tness testing I wasn’t as
good as everyone else. When you put that against
where I was from, that did play
against me. “I like to think we’re starting
to move on from that, but there’s
defi nitely still that undertone...” Khawaja has been asked to join a Cricket Australia working
group looking at increasing di-
versity in the game.
“When it comes to diversity...
I think we’ve been okay at it but
we’re still just not quite there,”
he said. “If you look at the landscape
in terms of multicultural crick-
eters around, we’ve got a few
subcontinental cricketers (but)
we’ve still got a long way to go.” The 33-year-old said that at-
tracting players with similar
backgrounds to his would re-
quire convincing their parents
that they could get an education
while playing the game, and do-
ing more to support the young-
sters at the grassroots. “The racism has been both
overt and casual but I had the
confi dence to speak up when
something didn’t feel right, and
I know not everyone does,” said
Khawaja. “Kids need to be given sup-
port. We need to let them know,
‘Hey, you’re not the only person
going through this, we’ve been
through this, we’ve seen this,
we’ve dealt with it and we’ve
pushed on. You can do the same thing’ .
“Because when you do come
up through the ranks now, they
are all great people.They don’t
care who you are or where you
come from.”
orld Cup winner
Chris Woakes ad-
mits players may
be next to feel the
pinch as England cricket chiefs
on Tuesday announced 62 job
cuts due to the impact of the
coronavirus pandemic. England and Wales Cricket
Board (ECB) chief executive Tom
Harrison said such measures
would have been “unthinkable”
seven months ago but the global
crisis had had a huge impact. Harrison said English crick-
et had already lost more than
£100mn ($129mn), a fi gure that
could rise to £200mn next year
if Covid-19 interrupts next sea-
son. Proposals to reduce costs
include a 20 % cut to the work-
force budget — a move that
equates to the loss of 62 posi- tions.
England all-rounder Woakes
expressed sympathy with those
aff ected.
“It does resonate with the
players,” said Woakes, who add-
ed that losses w ould have been
even greater had scheduled tours
by the West Indies, Pakistan,
Australia and Ireland not taken
place. In April, England’s cen-
trally contracted players made
a donation of £500,000 to the
ECB and selected good causes,
the equivalent of a 20% reduc-
tion in their retainers for three
months. Woakes, with a new
round of central contracts due
this month, said players may
have to take a pay cut. “In the current climate, and
with contracts round the corner,
I think you just have to expect
anything at the minute,” he said. “As players you’re not going
to sit here and say ‘we’re exempt
from it’ .”
Woakes: players
may face pay cuts
as cricket feels pinch
The victorious Mumbai Indians team with the IPL trophy after
winning the tournament in 2019. Usman Khawaja of Australia.

J. Roy
c Maxwell b Starc 0
J. Bairstow
b Cummins 112
J. Root lbw
b Starc 0
E. Morgan
c Starc b Zampa 23
J. Buttler
c Finch b Zampa 8
S. Billings
c Marsh b Zampa 57
C. Woakes
not out 53
T. Curran
b Starc 19
A. Rashid
not out 11
(lb8, nb1, w10) 19
(7 wkts, 50 overs) 302
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Roy), 2-0 (Root), 3-67
(Morgan), 4-96 (Buttler), 5-210 (Billings),
6-220 (Bairstow), 7-266 (Curran)
Bowlers: Starc 10-0-74-3 (2w); Hazlewood
10-0-68-0 (1w); Cummins 10-0-53-1 (2w);
Zampa 10-0-51-3; Marsh 6-0-25-0 (1nb,
3w); Maxwell 4-0-23-0 (2w).
D. Warner
b Root 24
A. Finch
lbw b Woakes 12
M. Stoinis
c Morgan b Woakes 4
M. Labuschagne
b run out 20
M. Marsh
c Buttler b Root 2
A. Carey
c Wood b Archer 106
G. Maxwell
c Curran b Rashid 108
P. Cummins
not out 4
M. Starc
not out 11
(lb 5, nb 1, w 8) 14
Total (
7 wickets, 49.4 Over) 305
Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Finch), 2-31
(Stoinis), 3-51 (Warner), 4-55 (Marsh), 5-73
(Labuschagne), 6-285 (Maxwell), 7-293
Bowling: Woakes 10-0-46-2, Archer
9-0-60-1, Wood 9-1-40-0, Root 8-0-46-2,
Curran 6-1-40-0, Rashid 7.4-0-68-1
Australia’s Glenn Maxwell (right) celebrates his century with Alex Carey during the third ODI against Australia in Manchester y esterday. (Reuters)

5 Gulf Times
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Isles beat Tampa in double OT
to keep Stanley Cup hopes alive
Los Angeles
amal Murray scored a game high 40
points and Nikola Jokic had a triple dou-
ble as the Denver Nuggets stunned the
Los Angeles Clippers 104-89 in game
seven to reach their fi rst Western Conference
fi nals in 11 years. The Nuggets became the fi rst team in NBA
history to rally from a 3-1 series defi cit twice in
the same postseason. Jokic completed his triple double by the third
quarter of Tuesday night’s contest in the NBA’s
quarantine bubble in Florida, fi nishing with 16
points, 13 assists and 22 rebounds. His rebound count is the most by a Nuggets
player in an NBA playoff game, breaking his old
record of 19. Denver’s dynamic duo combined for 56
points. “We are just improving. We have talks, we
have fi ghts, ever ything. We are like a couple,”
Jokic said of playing with Murray. An odd couple for sure. A Serbian and a Cana-
dian dynamic duo that has engineered the big-
gest upsets of the 2020 postseason so far. Denver will once again be the underdogs
when they face LeBron James and the Los An-
geles Lakers in the conference fi nals beginning
Friday. “Nobody wants us here,” insisted Jokic.
But Murray issued a warning for people who
think the Lakers’ juggernaut is going to steam-
roller them. “They got to worry about us too,” Murray
said. The Nuggets found themselves down by 12
in the fi rst half.
They also trailed 61-54 with 10:50 left in the
third when they stepped it up and went on a 35-
13 run to compile a 15-point lead in the fourth. “Next is Lakers, another tough opponent,” Jo-
kic said. “But we are going to be out there having
fun. It is simple for us, eff ort and energy.” In the Eastern Conference fi nals, Bam Ade-
bayo made a clutch block with 2.5 seconds left
in overtime as the Miami Heat beat the Boston
Celtics 117-114 in the opening game of the series. Adebayo leapt high to take what appeared to
be an easy dunk away from Celtics star Jayson
Tatum to preserve the Heat’s slim lead, 116-114. Adebayo then capped the scoring by sinking a
free throw at the other end. “He is the heart and soul of our team on the
defensive end,” Jimmy Butler said of Adebayo. “We love and appreciate him. I know I sure
do.” Tatum, who fi nished with a game high 30
points, missed a desperation 29-foot three-
pointer at the buzzer. “He made a great play,” Tatum said of Ade-
bayo’s block. “That’s all it is. He made a good
play, can’t do anything about it.” Game two is Thursday night in Orlando.
Goran Dragic scored 29 points, Jae Crow der had 22 and Jimmy Butler fi nished with 20 for the
Heat, who eliminated the Celtics from the play-
s in 2011 and 2012. Butler gave the Heat the
lead for good, 115-114, with just 12 seconds left
in overtime when he willed in a shot in that was
delivered while he was falling backwards and
guarded closely at the side of the basket. “My job is to help our team win in the fourth and overtime. I try to pull through as much as I
can,” said Butler, of the game-winning basket.
Miami are seeking to get back to the NBA fi -
nals for the fi rst time since a four-year run of
consecutive appearances during the James,
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh era ended in 2014. “It was a great win. We’re up 1-0, but we got
three more to get,” Adebayo said. Tatum also had 14 rebounds and fi
ve as-
sists, Marcus Smart tallied 26 points and Jaylen
Brown delivered 17 for the Celtics who are play-
ing for an NBA fi nals spot for the third time in
four years. “Gotta tip your hat off to those guys,” Smart
said. “They executed very well down the stretch,
we didn’t.”
Los Angeles
ordan Eberle scored the
game winner in double
overtime, fi nishing off a
two-on-one break with
Anders Lee as the New York Is-
landers staved off playoff elimi-
nation by beating the Tampa
Bay Lightning 2-1 on Tuesday. Eberle buried a one-timer at
12:30 of the second extra session
to cut the Lightning’s lead in the
best-of-seven Eastern Confer-
ence fi nal series to 3-2. The play started with Lee
chipping the puck off the boards
and out of his own zone then
racing up the ice and waiting
for the perfect moment to slip
it over to Eberle who fi red a shot
past a sliding Tampa goalie An-
drei Vasilevskiy. Islanders coach Barry
Trotz said he knew his players
wouldn’t go down without a
fi ght.
“Our guys didn’t waver, they
just kept grinding,” Trotz said.
“We didn’t give up and that’s a
great sign for moving forward.” Game 6 will be today in Ed-
monton with a berth in the
Stanley Cup fi nals against the
Dallas Stars up for grabs. Game seven, if necessary, is
scheduled for Saturday. New York goaltender Semyon
Varlamov made 36 saves in a
brilliant performance, especial-
ly in overtime. The Lightning, who won
the Stanley Cup in 2004, are
missing their two top play-
ers, Brayden Point and Steven
Stamkos. Point was injured in game two and missed game three.
He returned for game four
but didn’t play late in the third
period after going hard into the
boards with New York’s Adam
Pelech. Point leads the Light-
ning with nine goals and is
tied for the league lead with 25
points. Stamkos hasn’t played since
undergoing core muscle surgery
on March 2. The task was simple for the
Islanders on Tuesday: win or go
home. The Islanders opened the
scoring when Ryan Pulock
scored with the man advantage. Pulock unloaded a bullet from
the left point for his team’s sec-
ond powerplay goal of the series
at the 15:41 mark of the open-
ing period. Victor Hedman, of
Sweden, replied four minutes into the second period to tie the
score 1-1. Hedman glided into a
slap shot from the high slot and
beat Varlamov on the short side.
Hedman joins American Bri-
an Leetch as the fi rst defence-
man to score eight goals in a
single playoff .
Leetch had 11 in 1994.
“It came down to one play.
It’s tough for us obviously, but
this is hockey,” Hedman said. “It’s how you respond to this
that’s going to defi
ne you as a
team. I’m not worried about how
our group’s going to respond to
this.” The Islanders had to kill off a
four-minute penalty to Antho-
ny Beauvillier for high sticking
that was called with just 83 sec-
onds left in the third period and
stretched into the fi rst overtime.
New York
ony Gonsolin allowed a
run on four hits over a
career-high seven in-
nings and Justin Turner
had three hits, a RBI and a run
in his return from the injured
list Tuesday night as the visit-
ing Los Angeles Dodgers scored
a 3-1 win over San Diego to end
the Padres’ eight-game win-
ning streak. Edwin Rios also hit a solo
homer for the Dodgers, who re-
gained a 2 1/2-game lead over
the Padres in the race for the
National League West title. Gonsolin (1-1) didn’t issue
a walk while striking out two.
He retired the last eight Padres
he faced and 14 of the fi nal 15.
Kenley Jansen struck out Wil
Myers and Jake Cronenworth
with the bases loaded in the
ninth to record his 11th save af-
ter loading the bases with one
out on two singles and a walk. WHITE SOX 6, TWINS 2
Rookie Dane Dunning (2-0)
pitched seven strong innings
and Tim Anderson and James
McCann both hit home runs
as host Chicago defeated Min-
nesota to extend its lead in the
American League Central. Anderson and Jose Abreu
both had three hits apiece for
Chicago, which has won 22 of
27 to surge to the best record in
the AL (32-16). The White Sox
have won fi ve straight and now
sit three games up on the Twins
in the AL Central. Minnesota has lost the fi rst
two games of the four-game
set after coming to Chicago
with victories in 10 of its last 12.
The Twins were limited to four
hits. The fi rst fi ve batters in the
lineup — Max Kepler, Josh Don- aldson, Jorge Polanco, Nelson
Cruz and Eddie Rosario — were
a combined 1-for-16 with six
Ryan Yarbrough worked in
relief for his fi rst victory this
year and Tampa Bay secured its
third straight winning season
with a win over Washington in
St. Petersburg, Fla. The American League East-
leading Rays moved to 31-17,
guaranteeing a winning record
in the 60-game season. The
last time Tampa Bay didn’t post
a winning record was in 2017,
when it fi nished 80-82.
In his second appearance
since returning from the injured
list, Yarbrough (1- 3) tossed 5 2/3
innings and allowed one run on
fi ve hits with fi ve strikeouts.
The lefty worked out of a no-
out, fi rst-and-second jam in
the fi fth before yielding a run in
the sixth. Nate Lowe homered
for the third time in four games
and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs,
a walk and his fi rst career stolen
Luke Voit homered twice,
including a three-run blast in
a seven-run second inning, and
host New York cruised to a rout
of Toronto to move into second
place in the American League
East. The Yankees won their
sixth straight game and posted
their most lopsided win of the
season. Voit recorded his third multi-
homer game of the season and
second in the last four games.
The fi rst baseman moved into
the major league lead with his
17th and 18th homers — the
latter a solo blast in the sixth —
and is two ahead of Nelson Cruz
and Mike Trout in the AL. Voit
also hit an RBI single.
Dodgers halt Padres’
8-game win streak
New York Islanders celebrate the game-winning goal scored by right wing Jordan Eberle against the Tampa Bay Lightning following the
second overtime period in game five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff s on Tuesday.
PICTURE: Perry Nelson- USA TODAY Sports
Nuggets stun Clippers in
game 7, Heat edge Celtics
Michael Malone, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets celebrate their win over LA Clippers in Game Seven of the W estern Conference Second Round at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN
Wide World Of Sports Complex on Tuesday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. At right, Bam Adebayo (13) of the Miami Heat goes for a s lam dunk as Daniel Theis of the Boston Celtics defends during the fourth
quarter in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Gulf Times
Thursday, September 17, 2020 6
Duplantis, Warholm
target records in
Rome today
orwegian hurdler
Karsten Warholm and
Swedish pole-vault
sensation Armand Du-
plantis both threaten to break
more records as the Diamond
League series heads for Rome
today. Two-time world-champion
Warholm, the second fastest
400m hurdler in history with
46.87 seconds, will be hoping to
topple a record that has stood for
28 years. Duplantis, 20, broke his
own world record in February,
fi rst jumping 6.17m in Poland
before clearing 6.18 in Scotland the following weekend.
The Golden Gala meet will
be held behind closed doors at
Rome’s Stadio Olimpico hav-
ing fi rst been slated for Naples
in May before the coronavirus
pandemic. Warholm holds the
second fastest time in history
with the European record of
46.87 clocked in Stockholm last
August. The 24-year-old came within
0.09 seconds of Kevin Young’s
long-standing world record of
46.78sec which the American set
at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The Norwegian warmed up
with a blistering 47.08 in Berlin
last week. “Happy with a win
(47.08) and breaking the 40-
year old record of the legendary Ed Moses, Rome on Thursday!”
Warholm tweeted.
Warholm won consecutive
world titles in London 2017 and
Doha 2019 and the European
gold medal in Berlin 2018, and is
unbeaten in the past two years. He is the only hurdler to boast
two times under 47 seconds.
In the Italian capital he will be
competing against French duo
Wilfried Happio and Ludvy Vail-
lant, Estonian Rasmus Magi and
Italian Mario Lambrughi. Duplantis has maintained his
winning streak throughout the
outdoor season, with wins in
Oslo, Monaco, Stockholm and
Lausanne, the latter a season-
leading 6.07m, the highest out-
door vault since 1994. The world runner-up and European cham-
pion will face French former
record holder Renaud Lavillenie
and Poland’s Piotr Lisek in the
eight-man lineup.
In the men’s 100 metres,
South African Akani Simbine
is the only competitor to have
dipped under the 10-seconds
this season. The 26-year-old clocked 9.91
seconds at the Athletics Gauteng
North Championships in Preto-
ria back in March as he prepared
for his Olympic season. American Michael Rodgers
and Italians Filippo Tortu and
Marcell Jacobs will also race in
Rome. In the women’s 100, Ol-
ympic champion Elaine Thomp-
son-Herah, who has competed exclusively in Jamaica this sea-
son, has registered to compete.
Thompson-Herah, 28, has
won twice in Rome in 2016 and
2019, with the fi eld also includ-
ing Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou,
winner two years ago. European 1,500m champion
Laura Muir, 2016 world indoor
high jump champion Gianmarco
Tamberi and Italian shot putter
Leonardo Fabbri will also be in
action on Thursday. Muir will be making her fi rst
appearance over 800m where
she will duel with fellow Scot
Jemma Reekie. There will be
a high jump clash between
Ukrainian world silver medal-
lists Yaroslava Mahuchikh and
Yuliya Levchenko.
Norwegian hurdler eclipsed
Moses in Berlin last Sunday as
rich vein of form continues
he former head of ath-
letics’ world governing
body, Lamine Diack, was
yesterday found guilty
by a French court of corruption
in covering up Russian doping
cases and sentenced to four years
in prison, of which two years
were suspended. Diack, an 87-year-old Sen-
egalese who led the Internation-
al Association of Athletics Fed-
erations (IAAF), now renamed
World Athletics, for 16 years
was also fi ned 500,000 euros
($600,000). The presiding judge in the
court in Paris, Rose-Marie Hu-
nault, said Diack’s actions had
“caused serious damage to the fi ght against doping”.
She said that despite the sen-
tence, he was unlikely to go to
prison. “Given your age you can
expect conditional release,” she
said. Diack said he would immedi-
ately lodge an appeal. His son, Papa Massata Diack, a
former marketing consultant for
the IAAF, who was tried in ab-
sentia because Senegal refused
to extradite him, was also found
guilty and sentenced to fi ve years
in prison and fi ned one million
euros. Previously one of the most in-
fl uential fi gures in world sport,
Diack was president of the IAAF
from 1999 to 2015 until he was
replaced by Britain’s Sebastian
Coe in August 2015. The prosecution alleged that
Diack obtained $1.5 million of Russian funds in exchange for
the IAAF’s anti-doping arm
covering up or delaying off
by 23 Russians to allow them to
compete in the 2012 London Ol-
ympics and the 2013 World Ath-
letics Championships in Mos-
cow. Diack told the court it was his
decision to delay bans after the
athletes failed tests in 2011, but
he denied knowing that offi cials
from the body had directly or in-
directly asked those athletes for
hundreds of thousands of euros
to hush up their cases. He said he was acting to safe-
guard “the fi nancial health of the
IAAF” because the federation
was negotiating major sponsor-
ship contracts with Russian bank
VTB and a Russian broadcaster
at the time. Diack, who was decorated in the Kremlin in late 2011, denied
taking Russian funds to fi
the successful campaign by
Macky Sall for the Senegal presi-
dency. The court also handed down
guilty verdicts to the IAAF’s
former anti-doping chief Gabri-
el Dolle, who was sentenced to
two years in prison suspended
and fi ned 140,000 euros and
lawyer Habib Cisse, who was
Lamine Diack’s advisor. He was
sentenced to three years in pris-
on of which two years were sus-
pended. Two Russian offi cials tried
in their absence, the former
president of the national ath-
letics federation Valentin Bala-
khnichev and the former coach
Alexei Melnikov, were given
prison sentences of three years
and two years respectively.
Former athletics chief Diack guilty of Russian doping corruption
Former President of the International Association of A thletics Federations (IAAF) Lamine Diack (right) arrives
with his lawyer Simon Ndiaye for the verdict in his trial at Paris courthouse, France, yesterday. (Reuters)
Springboks to hold
‘never seen before’
trial match without
exile Kolbe
outh Africa rugby an-
nounced yesterday it
will hold a Springboks
trial match on October
3 without foreign-based play-
ers after a televised draft sys-
tem ahead of the rugby Cham-
pionship later this year. The rugby World Cup win-
ners will organise the fi xture
between director of rugby
Rassie Erasmus’s ‘Spring-
bok Green’ and coach Jacques
Nienaber’s ‘Springbok Gold’
at Cape Town’s Newlands. The pair will take it in turns
to select squads of 25 players
from an enlarged list of 60 on
a live broadcast next week but
individuals such as Toulouse’s
Cheslin Kolbe and Rynhardt
Elstadt will be unavailable. “This will not only be an op-
portunity to see the best of the
best available talent in South
Africa square off against each
other in what promises to be
something never seen before,
but it will also provide the
players with another valuable
opportunity to shake off the
rust and get the legs and lungs
going after not playing any
rugby in the last six months,”
Erasmus said. “It will be exciting - from
the moment we select the
squads, with a number of
twists thrown in for good
measure - through the build-
up to the match and the ac-
tual encounter in Cape Town,”
he added. The move echoes
New Zealand’s recent North-
South fi xture played before
they named their outfi t for the
rugby Championship which
has been moved to Novem-
ber 7-December 12 due to the
coronavirus pandemic. SA rugby chief executive Ju-
rie Roux said he was unable to
give the green light for Niena-
ber’s side to participate in the
tournament as the country
continues to battle the virus
outbreak. “We’re still not in a posi-
tion to confi rm plans for the
Springboks, but it remains our
wish that they play Tests this
year,” said Roux. “It would not only be great
to see the rugby World Cup
champions in action, but it
would also give the Boks man-
agement valuable preparation
for next year’s tour of the Brit-
ish and Irish Lions,” he added. SA rugby also announced
the domestic season would
start on September 26 as
the Blue Bulls play the Natal
Sharks and the Golden Lions
face the Western Stormers at
Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld. The competition will see
teams play each other home
and away with further de-
tails to be announced, behind
closed doors, before a fi nal on
January 23.
Argentina have reported three
more cases of Covid-19 in
their training camp as they
continue preparations for
the Rugby Championship in
Australia. More than a dozen
Pumas players and staff have
tested positive for Covid-19
over the last few weeks and the
Argentine Rugby Union (UAR)
said Julian Montoya, Sebastian
Cancelliere and Domingo Mi-
otti had joined the list but were
asymptomatic. Six players, including full-
back Emiliano Boff elli and
winger Bautista Delguy, had
returned to the squad after be-
ing given the all clear to rejoin
the camp at Casa Pumas, the
UAR added. “There are now
33 players who are able to en-
gage in physical activity,” read
the statement. Argentina head
coach Mario Ledesma, and
assistants Nicolas Fernan-
dez Miranda and Juan Martin
Fernandez Lobbe, tested posi-
tive last week. Australia will host the Rug-
by Championship from No-
vember 7-December 12.
Olympic silver medallist
Evgenia Medvedeva has
parted ways with Cana-
dian coach Brian Orser and
returned to Russia to train
under her former coach Eteri
Tutberidze, the RIA news
agency reported yesterday.
The twice world cham-
pion left long-time coach
Tutberidze to join Orser’s
team after she was upstaged
by her training partner
Alina Zagitova at the 2018
Pyeongchang Olympics.
Orser, a two-time Olympic sil-
ver medallist, coaches some
of the world’s top figure skat-
ers, including Japan’s double
Olympic men’s champion
Yuzuru Hanyu.
“I’m very grateful to Brian for
his understanding and the
work that we’ve done. I have
started to train with Eteri
Georgievna (Tutberidze)
today,” Medvedeva said in
a statement on the Russian
Figure Skating Federation’s
website. “We will work and try to
show the best possible
The 20-year-old Medvede-
va’s return was warmly
welcomed by Russia’s figure
skating community.
“I think this is a very correct
and reasonable decision on
the part of Zhenya,” Maxim
Trankov, a retired pairs
skater who won Olympic
gold in 2014, told RIA, refer-
ring to Medvedeva using the
diminutive form of Evgenia.
“It’s wonderful to see a great
coach and a great athlete
Russia’s Medvedeva returns
to former coach Tutberidze
Karsten Warholm of Norway competes to win the men’s 400m Hurdles event of the 79th ISTAF meeting in
Berlin on Sunday. (AFP)
WADA calls on US government for ‘constructive’ funding discussions
The World Anti-Doping Agency on
Wednesday called on the US government
to restart discussions after Washington
threatened to withdraw funding for the
global body.
In June, the Off ice of National Drug
Control Policy (ONDCP) recommended US
lawmakers be given the power to withhold
its annual $2.7 million financing of WADA.
The ONDCP accuses the body of failing to implement governance reforms and has
been critical of WADA’s dealing of the Rus-
sian doping scandal.
“It is very important that WADA and the
US authorities work together to further
strengthen anti-doping,” WADA president
Witold Banka said in a statement.
“I state my willingness to be part of con-
structive discussions in order to ensure
collaboration between the US and the global anti-doping community,” he added.
Earlier this month, Banka played down
suggestions US athletes could be barred
from the Olympics over the issue after
WADA had said it was ready to implement
sanctions against the country.
WADA also reiterated its criticism of the
Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, currently
before the US Senate, which makes it
unlawful to knowingly influence a major international sports competition by use
of a prohibited substance or prohibited
WADA said “there remain widely held
concerns among other governments”
because the act “was amended specifi-
cally to exclude the American professional
leagues and college sports, which account
for more than half a million athletes within
the US”.
Sweden’s Armand Duplantis competes in the men’s pole vault event
of the 79th ISTAF meeting in Berlin on Sunday.

Roglic glimpses
Tour triumph from
Alpine peaks
Méribel, France
lovenia’s Primoz Roglic
once more prevailed on
his toughest test yet to
remain on course for
Tour de France glory, while
Miguel Angel Lopez soloed to a
breathtaking stage win atop the
highest mountain of the race. With the Slovenian pair
Roglic and Tadej Pogacar play-
ing cat and mouse for the overall
leader’s yellow jersey, the cagey
Lopez grabbed yesterday’s 17th
stage by the throat with a surg-
ing burst for the line that also
allowed Roglic to leave behind
his 21-year-old rival. Lopez’s win at high alti-
tude gave Colombia something
to celebrate on the day 2019
champion Egan Bernal pulled
out after he and his team Ineos
failed to live up to expectations. With two massive moun-
tains the queen stage ascended
to 2,304m altitude atop the Col de la Loze, where Tour rookie
Pogacar lost just a handful of
seconds to Roglic in their ongo-
ing war of attrition.
Pogacar has however been
racing virtually alone, and won
plaudits challenging Roglic,
who has appeared rock-steady
with a powerful climb posse
surrounding him in Jumbo’s
black and yellow outfi ts.
The Slovenians have been the
story of the Tour and will likely
square off for the overall win on
stage 20’s mouthwatering indi-
vidual time trial. As Lopez pulled away team
Jumbo leader Roglic also
showed too much power for
Pogacar on the last agonising
kilometre. “That was hell,” said the
former ski jumper Roglic. “I’m glad this is behind me,”
he added, merely needing to
survive without a major inci-
dent to win this year’s Tour. “Every metre counts on a
climb like that.” Shorn of Bernal Ineos co- captain Richard Carapaz pro-
duced a doomed solo bid as the
Giro champion was caught on
the ever-changing gradient of
the fi nal 7km above 2,000m as
the top 10 experienced a slight
A day after the race was
cleared of Covid-19 to run all
the way to Paris on Sunday,
French President Emmanuel
Macron was present as the
peloton struggled through vil-
lages full of ubiquitous baskets
of fl owers hanging from Swiss-
style ski chalets. In the rarefi ed air that suits
the men from the Andes, the
26-year-old Lopez leapfrogged
compatriot Rigoberto Uran and
extended his lead over Adam
Yates and Richie Porte. Roglic now leads his young
compatriot Pogacar by 57 sec-
onds with just three real races
left before the Tour gets to Paris. Suff ering from a bad back
for a month now Bernal, his
Tour defence in tatters, said a
sad goodbye to the 2020 edition when Ineos decided to protect
the long-term interests of their
23-year-old captain by with-
drawing him.
But his compatriot Astana
captain Lopez, who is known as
“Superman” in his homeland
after fi ghting off three thieves
who tried to steal his bike, gave
Colombia something to shout
about. Lopez had complained ear-
lier in the race that Jumbo’s
dominance was suff ocating the
race, but saw his opportunity
on a mentally challenging fi -
nale where the varying gradient
called for constant adaptations. “I felt strong coming into the
race and on the Grand Colom-
bier, which was the fi rst big one
(climb) of the race, like the ones
I train on in Colombia, I felt
good,” Lopez said. “I won many things in my
life, but this is impressive and I
worked so hard to get here,” said
the man who has previously fi n-
ished on the podium at both the
Giro and the Vuelta. The long hard 14km struggle
up the Col de la Madeleine to
its 2,000m summit was at the
halfway point of the race. Lopez made the diff erence on
the even higher Meribel moun-
tain with a sudden turn of pace
while Roglic and Pogacar were
watching each other. “I felt at home over 2,000m,
as I live at 2,500m above sea lev-
el,” he explained. “But I won’t
win, the others ahead of me are
too good on time trials. I’m just
going to enjoy myself.” The key remaining challenge
is stage 20, the 36km individual
time trial that runs over 30km of
rolling terrain before tough 6km
ascent up the fabled Planche des
Belles Filles on Saturday. The fi nal day on Sunday is a
kind of parade, except for the
concluding eight laps of the
Champs-Elysees, where Ire-
land’s Sam Bennett will face a
stern challenge for the green
sprint jersey from seven-time
winner Peter Sagan on a last-
gasp dash for the line.
‘Every metre counts
on a climb like that’
Nadal and Djokovic
sweep through to
Rome third round
ine-times champion
Rafa Nadal showed lit-
tle signs of rust when
he played his fi rst
match in 200 days as he beat
fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno
Busta 6-1 6-1 in the Italian Open
yesterday Nadal, who received a bye into
the second round, has not played
a tournament since winning his
85th singles title in Acapulco,
having skipped the Western &
Southern Open and the U.S.
Open in New York due to Cov-
id-19 concerns. The match was also Nadal’s
fi rst on clay in 465 days after his
French Open triumph last year
and the 34-year-old Spaniard
sent an ominous message to the
fi eld as he dominated the U.S.
Open semi-fi nalist from start at
an empty Foro Italico. “It’s good to be back on the
Tour but obviously the feeling
is not the best playing without
crowds,” Nadal said. “At least
there’s one positive thing, the
sport is back. EArlier Novak Djokovic ex-
pressed his relief there was no
“mental or emotional block-
ages or drama” as he swept past
Italian wild card entry Salvatore
Caruso into the third round yes-
terday in his fi rst match since his
US Open default. “I was actually looking for-
ward to get the offi cial match
as soon as possible after what
happened in New York,” said the
world number one. The Serb was
on his best behaviour after his
dramatic last 16 disqualifi cation
on September 6 after he acci-
dently struck a line judge with a
ball hit in frustration. “I didn’t feel that I had any
mental or emotional blockages
or any dramas playing a match
today,” he said. Djokovic, who had said he had
learned a “big lesson” from his
fi rst ever disqualifi cation, was
keen to move on in Rome. The 33-year-old playfully
greeted an imaginary crowd in an
empty Central Court at the Foro
Italico because of strict corona-
virus measures. Only some noisy
workers managed to unnerve the
17-time Grand Slam winner after
missing break points. “It was very, very quiet, which is very unusual to what we are
used to here in Rome, which has
one of the loudest and most en-
ergetic crowd atmospheres on
the tour.
“But there was somebody in
the corridor on the stadium that
was talking, about fi ve, six peo-
ple, I don’t know who it was, but
it was noise coming from there
during the points. That’s the
only thing that we, I and Caruso,
also told chair umpire.” Djokovic continued where he
left off before his US Open exit,
having won the Cincinnati Mas-
ters on the same Flushing Mead-
ows courts. “It was a very good
test for me. I’m very pleased
with the way I handled myself in
important moments,” said Djok-
ovic, who was unbeaten in 2020
before his US Open default. “I was in control of the match.”
Halep, Azarenka advance
Djokovic, who has played nine
fi nals in Rome, and won four
titles, will meet either 29th-
ranked compatriot Filip Kraji-
novic or Italian qualifi er Marco
Cecchinato, ranked 113th, for a
place in the quarter-fi nals.
Nine-time Rome winner Ra-
fael Nadal will make his return to
competition later on Wednesday
after a six-month hiatus linked
to the coronavirus pandemic. The number two seed plays
fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno
Busta, a recent semi-fi nalist at
the US Open, for a place in the
third round. Third seed Stefanos Tsitsi-
pas fell to Italian teenager Jan-
nik Sinner 6-1, 6-7 (9/11), 6-2,
with sixth seeded Belgian David
Goffi n also exiting 6-2, 6-2 to
Croatia’s Marin Cilic. Top women’s seed Simona
Halep returned a month after
winning in Prague to ease past
99th-ranked Italian Jasmine
Paolini 6-3, 6-4. US Open fi nalist Victoria Aza-
renka shrugged off the move
from hard court to the clay sur-
face to beat American Venus
Williams 7-6 (9/7), 6-2, in their
fi rst round match. Belarusian Azarenka will play
third seeded American Sofi a
Kenin, the reigning Australian
Open champion, for a place in
the third round. Swiss sixth seed Belinda Ben-
cic fell 6-3, 6-1 in her second
round match to Montenegro’s
86th-ranked Danka Kovinic.
global sports, entert ain-
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and its fl agship leading
sports network beIN SPORTS
welcomes the return of the
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on beIN SPORTS will also see
legendary guests, analysts and
presenters including Mohamed
Saadon al-Kuwari, Abdulaziz al-
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Gomaa, Tariq Dhiab, Bassel Tab-
bal, Tariq al-Jalahma and Hatem
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tributions from global stars from
the world of football including
Arsene Wenger, Ruud Gullit and
Marcel Desailly all feature live
and exclusively. beIN SPORTS’ HD1 channel
will be the centrepiece of all the
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urday and Sunday and through the week when the leagues play
– as HD1 will broadcast the pick
of the best back to back league
games from the English Premier
League, LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1
and more.
The HD1 channel will also
broadcast football competitions
including the UEFA Champions
League, UEFA Europa League,
AFC Champions League, CAF,
UEFA Nations League and so
much more. New programmes will also
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for viewers and fans to preview
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day throughout the season. The
programme focuses on behind
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duced programmes set to be
broadcast live and exclusively on beIN SPORTS for the new
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explaining all the interesting
stories behind the names of sta-
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known histories of football clubs
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into Qatar and its preparation to
host the biggest sporting com- petition in the world, the 2022
FIFA World Cup
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Gray providing viewers with en-
tertaining and original insight
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7 Gulf Times
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Team Jumbo rider Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic (left) wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey and Team Jumbo rider US’ Sepp Kuss ride in the Loze pass during the 17th stage of
the 107th edition of the Tour de France yesterday. (AFP)
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his Italian Open second
round match against Italy’s Salvatore Caruso in Rome yesterday.

Thursday, September 17, 2020
World No1 Johnson eyes
second major at US Open
New York
orld number one
Dustin Johnson will
aim to crown a daz-
zling return to form
with the second major cham-
pionship of his career when the
rescheduled 120th US Open tees
off today.
Johnson, fresh from captur-
ing the end-of-season PGA Tour
playoff crown, starts as a heavy
favourite ahead of the fi rst round
at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck,
New York. “I’m defi nitely play-
ing probably the best I’ve ever
played,” the big-hitting 36-year-
old said. “I really feel like every-
thing is dialled in pretty well.” Johnson will need all facets of
his game to be fi ring at a venue
regarded by the likes of Tiger
Woods as one of the three most
challenging anywhere in the
world. But all the signs so far
point to Johnson’s game being
where it needs to be if he is to add
another US Open crown to the
one won at Oakmont in 2016. He was only narrowly beaten
by compatriot Collin Morikawa
at last month’s PGA Champion-
ship, his fi fth second-place eff ort
at a major and third in his past
fi ve major starts. But after that near-miss,
Johnson nearly swept the US
PGA playoff events, winning the
Northern Trust at 30-under par,
losing to Jon Rahm in a playoff
on a 66-yard putt at the BMW
Championship and then winning
the Tour Championship to col-
lect the FedEx Cup and a $15 mil-
lion top prize. ‘VERY SATISFYING’
“It was defi nitely very satisfy-
ing,” Johnson said of his playoff
win. “I feel like I played pretty
solid all week. It was something
that I wanted to accomplish dur-
ing my career.” Johnson has never played the
7,477-yard Winged Foot layout,
which last hosted a major at the
2006 US Open won by Australian
Geoff Ogilvy.
The US Open was postponed
from June and qualifying was
wiped out due to the Covid-19
pandemic. A fi eld of 144, the
smallest since 1932, was selected
by exemption categories.
The tournament is also tak-
ing place without spectators,
something players have had to
get used since the golf circuit re-
sumed after pandemic shutdown
in June.
“Hopefully this is the only one
that it’s going to happen, and we
can get back to somewhat normal
life next year and crowds are al- lowed back,” said Northern Ire-
land’s Rory McIlroy.
“But it has to be this way for a while, unfortunately, but hope-
fully not for too much longer.”
It’s also the fi rst time the US Open will be played outside of
June since 1931.
It was last played in Septem-
ber in 1913, when amateur Fran-
cis Ouimet won in a playoff . No
fi rst-time player has won the US
Open since. World number two Rahm
meanwhile is chasing a fi rst ma-
jor victory as well as a piece of
history. No Spanish player has
ever prevailed in the major billed
as “the toughest test in golf.” Rahm, who missed the cut at
the US Open in 2018 and 2017, is
all too aware of the diffi culties in
plotting a game plan. Rahm jumped to the number
one spot in the rankings at Me-
morial, only to see his time at the
top cut short after two weeks. “We’re at a point where, any
given week, if any of us plays
good and wins is going to get to
the No. 1 spot. It’s a good age for
golf,” he said. “It’s really cool to be a part of
this. I think we’re all training
hard and trying to get ready to be
the one to separate themselves a
little bit.” Rahm said he would be sur-
prised to see anyone fi nish un-
der par at Winged Foot, where
unseasonably cold weather on
Tuesday was not the only thing
sending a chill down competi- tors’ spines.
“It’s sort of like in boxing
where Mike Tyson said every-
body has a plan until they get
punched in the face,” Rahm said. “It’s the same thing here. We
all have a plan, but if you hit it
sideways, you got to fi gure it out.” Fifth-ranked Morikawa, 23,
brings momentum from his fi rst
major title. Morikawa, who will
be playing in only his third ma-
jor, says his PGA win has left him
hungry for more success. “I’ve only done it once, but I’ve
done it,” he said on Tuesday. “You just want more. You get
that little taste of what it’s like,
and you know why guys mark in
their calendars the major cham-
pionships for the year.” Third-ranked Justin Thomas,
runner-up at the Tour Champi-
onship, won three titles last sea-
son, including last month’s WGC
St. Jude Invitational. The American, who won his
lone major at the 2017 PGA
Championship, says Winged
Foot is “probably the hardest golf
course I’ve ever played.” “Tee to green, the rough, the
greens, everything factored in, I
think this is the hardest course
I’ve played,” he said. It’s a verdict
shared by former world number
one Woods.
Changing diapers help McIlroy forget about stinky results
New York
laying his fi rst major
as a dad, Rory McIlroy
brings a new perspective
with him to this week’s
US Open, the Northern Irishman
saying on Tuesday that smelly
diapers now require more im-
mediate attention than stinky
results. “I actually changed the fi rst
two diapers, so I’m very proud of
that,” said McIlroy, sounding as
if he had just aced the par three
seventh at Winged Foot Golf
Club, the site of this year’s US
Open. “I’ve got my hands dirty;
put it that way.”
Diaper duty is just one of the
new skills McIlroy has had to
work on since the August arrival
of his daughter Poppy, who has
brought perspective to someone
once consumed with winning
trophies. A four-time major win-
ner, McIlroy has not won one of
golf’s big prizes since the 2014
PGA Championship and is with-
out a tournament win of any sort
since the World Golf Champion-
ship HSBC Champions last No-
Even though McIlroy is a former US Open winner, that
victory was in 2011 and in the
last four years he has missed the
cut three times. It was those dis-
appointing performances that
McIlroy carried around with him
long after the tournament was
over but now, coming home to a
daughter’s smile, he is learning
there is more to life than birdies
and bogeys.
“I think it just puts things
in perspective a little bit,” said
McIlroy, about having a child.
“It makes the hard days a little
easier to get over, right. And I’m
not saying that I want to have
hard days to get over, but you’re
a little more relaxed. “When I say it’s not the be-all
and end-all, it’s a major cham-
pionship and I’ve grown up my
whole life dreaming of winning
these tournaments, and that’s
not going to change. “But if it doesn’t quite hap-
pen, I can live with that and go
home and be very happy and
leave what’s happened at the golf
course at the golf course. “I think maybe something
that I haven’t done so well in the
past is I haven’t left my job at the
offi ce basically, I’ve brought it
home with me, and I’ve let it af-
fect my mood and how I am.” Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches a tee shot during a practice
round prior to the 120th US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf
Club in Mamaroneck, New York, on Tuesday.
(Getty Images/AFP)
Dustin Johnson (also above) watches his shot from the twelfth tee during
a practice round for the 2020 US Open golf tournament at Winged Foot
Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, on Tuesday. (USA TODAY Sports)
The LPGA Tour has cancelled
events in South Korea and
Japan because of coronavirus,
meaning the elite women’s golf
circuit has been forced to scrap
all seven 2020 Asian tourna-
ments in the latest blow to the
continent’s hard-hit sporting
calendar. “Given the travel
restrictions and quarantine
requirements” the BMW Ladies
Championship from October
22-25 in Busan and the Toto
Japan Classic from November
6 in Ibaraki “will not take place
in 2020”, said a Tour statement
issued late on Tuesday.
The announcement follows the
axing of next month’s Buick
Shanghai LPGA in China and
Swinging Skirts Championships
in Taiwan because of stringent
anti-virus measures.
At the beginning of Febru-
ary, soon after the initial virus
outbreak in Wuhan, the tour
was forced to cancel China’s
Blue Bay LPGA on the south-
ern island of Hainan, due to
be played in early March. Just
10 days later the prestigious
Women’s World Championship
in Singapore and LPGA Thai- land also fell victim as countries
began to impose lockdown and
quarantine measures.
The seven Asian events totalled
$13 million in prize money. The
LPGA Tour has been dominated
by Asian players since the
emergence of South Korea’s
former number one Pak Se-ri
more than 20 years ago.
The World Championship, won
last year by second-ranked Park
Sung-hyun, is the most prestig-
ious event on the US LPGA Tour
outside the five majors, with
the top 20 and all the previous
year’s major-winners among a
66-player field. Unable to t
to Asia, the LPGA has added a
new tournament, the Drive On
Championship - Reynolds Lake
Oconee, from October 22-25 in
Georgia. “We greatly appreci-
ate the eff orts by our partners
at BMW and Toto to try to host
their events this season and
we look forward to returning
to Korea and Japan in 2021,”
said LPGA Commissioner Mike
The virus has laid waste to
Asia’s international sport-
ing programme this year, with the ATP and WTA tennis
tours cancelling all events on
the continent, including the
season-ending WTA Tour finals
in Shenzhen. Football’s Asian
Champions League East Zone
has been suspended since
March with the West Zone only
resuming this week. Formula
One has drawn a blank in Asia
this year, with races in China,
Singapore and Japan and the
inaugural grand prix in Vietnam
all cancelled. The Asia-dominat-
ed badminton and table tennis
world tours have also lost the
bulk of their calendar.
Men’s golf has not escaped the
carnage either. The Asian Tour
has been idle since the Malaysia
Open on March 7 and some
players in the worst aff
countries such as India, haven’t
been able even to practise.
The Asian Tour should have
been restarting last weekend
at the Shinhan Donghae Open
in South Korea, the first of
three planned events. But that
became a domestic event only
and the other two tournaments,
in Japan and Taiwan, were
cancelled. (AFP)
LPGA Tour’s Asia schedule wiped out as last two events fall to virus
Tiger Woods returns to the US
Open at Winged Foot this week
with a score to settle against a
course he regards as one of the
three toughest in the world.
During more than a decade of
dominance between Woods’
first major victory in 1997 and
his 14th major at the 2008
US Open, the former world
number one played in 46 con-
secutive majors.
That streak of 46 tournaments
included only one missed cut
- at the 2006 US Open held at
Winged Foot.
Woods, who collected the
15th major of his career at last
year’s Masters, is preparing for
another demanding assign-
ment in New York this week.
The 44-year-old believes only
Oakmont in Pennsylvania and
Carnoustie Links in Scotland
run Winged Foot close in terms
of diff iculty.
“It’s right up there next to Oak-
mont and I think Carnoustie
as far as just sheer diff iculty
without even doing anything
to it,” Woods said Tuesday.
“Those three golf courses, they
can host major championships
without ever doing anything
to them. (Winged Foot) or Oak-
mont is either one or two.”
Woods scouted Winged Foot
ahead of last month’s Northern
Trust in Boston, and came
away convinced that the
course remains as brutal as
ever. “This golf course is going
to be one of the more diff icult
ones,” Woods said.
“The winning scores here have
never traditionally been very
low. I don’t see that changing
this week.
“The golf course is going to be
hard. It depends on how dif-
ficult they want to set up these pins, give us a chance at it. But
with the forecast, it’s going to
be diff
icult no matter what.”
Woods said he was ill-prepared
for his previous US Open out-
ing at Winged Foot in 2006,
which came just over a month
after the death of his father
“When I didn’t win the Masters
that year, that was really tough
to take because that was the
last event my dad was ever go-
ing to watch me play,” Woods
“He passed not too long after
that, and quite frankly, when I
got ready for this event, I didn’t
really put in the practice, and
consequently missed the cut
pretty easily.”
Although Woods delivered one
of the sporting stories of 2019
with his comeback victory at
the Masters, he acknowledged
that challenging for majors
gets more diff icult with the
passage of time.
“It gets harder to win as we all
age,” he said. “When you’re in
your prime, in your peak years,
you have to take advantage
of those opportunities so that
when you get to the all-time
marks you have the opportu-
If Woods is to add to his major
tally this week, and edge closer
to Jack Nicklaus’s record of
18 wins, he will do so without
the emotional support of the
This week’s tournament is be-
ing played without spectators.
“I miss the energy and just
the positiveness that the fans
bring and just that electricity,”
Woods said.
“What we’re dealing with right
now is not what we all want,
but it’s our reality.” (AFP)
Woods has score to
settle as US Open
returns to Winged Foot

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