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Top regional drivers primed for Abu Dhabi Rally

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Top regional drivers primed for Abu Dhabi Rally
New two-day event begins on Thursday, with home hero Khalid among the favourites
Abu Dhabi: Some of the region’s top motorsport stars are gearing up for the first two-day Abu Dhabi Rally on Thursday and Friday.
Fifteen teams will compete in the competition, which begins at Yas Marina Circuit and which is a candidate event for the 2015 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).
The rally is being held by Abu Dhabi Racing and Yas Motor Racing Club and begins with a spectator stage on Thursday, where motorsport fans can watch elite drivers from the UAE, Qatar and Lebanon battling it out.
Among the favourites to clinch the Abu Dhabi title are Shaikh Khalid Bin Faisal Al Qasimi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Racing, who was one of the first drivers to register for the event.
Shaikh Khalid said: “This event will enhance the Middle East Rally Championship calendar.”
He has also ensured that the Abu Dhabi Racing youth drivers Mohammad Al Motawa’a, Mohammad Al Sahlawi, Mansour Bel Helei, Saeed Bin Touq and Juma Al Falasi will be participating in the 2WD Citroen DS3 R3 class.
Shaikh Khalid shot to prominence in 2002, when he won the Group N title in the Middle East Rally Championship.
He is currently second in the MERC table and is participating in selected World Rally Championship rounds with the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Faisal Al Qasimi, Shaikh Khalid’s elder brother has also confirmed his participation in a Ford Fiesta RRC.
Shaikh Abdullah should be a serious contender for the AD Rally title, having won the UAE crown in 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2008 and 2010. He also won the MERC Group N title in 1998, 2000 and 2003.
Another leading contender is expected to be Qatari champion Abdul Aziz Al Kuwari, who had a two-year winning streak in the Qatar National Rally from 2010.
Abu Dhabi Rally 2014 consists of nine stages, kicking off with an asphalt stage (3.51km) at Yas Marina Circuit on Thursday, to be held after the ceremonial opening of the rally at 8pm.
The spectator stage will be held on the North Handling Circuit at Yas Marina, where each driver will have two attempts at recording his fastest time.
Access to the stands will be free of charge.
The second day of the event will consist of eight special stages on gravel roads. The first stage is Ghantoot (18.7km), followed by Al Jarf (20.55km), Al Maha (12.7km) and Al Taweelah (21.1km). The competitors will then repeat the same stages.

News & photo courtesy: Gulf News
For all my readers:

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Sheikh Hamdan’s endurance win – Letters to the editor – The National Dt 31 August 2014

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Sheikh Hamdan’s endurance win
Congratulations to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed for winning the endurance gold medal at the Altech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy. It is an inspirational win, especially as conditions have been so tough for competitors this year. Let this win inspire all UAE athletes to excel in all sports they participate in.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

IPL tickets issue disappointed fans – The National – 8th April 2014

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IPL tickets issue disappointed fans
Ticket sale for the Indian Premier League cricket matches did not start in a smooth manner (It’s just not cricket … yet: fans are frustrated by delay in ticket sales, April 7).
The website did not list some of the available ticket options for the general public. Fans in the UAE should get the privilege of purchasing tickets of all categories. Currently, tickets for select sections are not available, which was the case even during the opening hours of sale.
Such a denial has deeply disappointed cricket buffs in the UAE. International Cricket Council and other concerned authorities in the UAE, kindly take note.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi 
To read it in original, please visit The National online

Letter on: ‘Only a miracle’ can save Michael Schumacher’ – Gulf News Dated 08 March 2014

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It is indeed a shocking news. I have been following him all these years. Although not supporting his team, I am a fan of his driving style and fighting spirit. Especially the sport which he was participating requires tremendous physical and mental strength and focus. He remained and conquered all his tracks but left his focus on safety at another place. His accident is a reminder to all of us. Safety is not an item to be ignored at any single moment of our life. I sincerely pray he come back to his normal self and gradually take part in day to day activities and then at least do some role in the Formula 1 race, for all those who followed him, loved watching him race on all the available tracks in the world. God bless.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
To read the related news in original, please visit GULF NEWS online.

Putt with Robert Rock

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Putt with Robert Rock, European Tour title winner at the 2012 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship,
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
11 April 2013 @ Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Magic words of Marlon Samuels

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“The career has been up and down,” Samuels admitted. “There have been a lot of tough times. I dealt with them in simple ways and tried to let them pass.

“Being under pressure on a cricket field is nothing compared to what I’ve been through off the field.

“But as my mentor always said to me, everything that happened to me in life is because I am important. I’m not someone that will ever give up. I never say die. 

“The person that I am deep down inside is the reason why I am still here playing cricket. I have a family that believes in me. If outsiders don’t, it doesn’t really matter to me.” 

Marlon Samuels, after winning the 2012 T20 World Cup at Sri Lanka

To read the article in which he has quoted the above, please visit Cricinfo :  Relief for Samuels after ‘a lot of tough times’. Photo Courtesy : Cricinfo.

Volvo Ocean Race 2011 – 2012 – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing wins Leg 3 First Stage and also clinches Etihad Airways In-Port race

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Volvo Ocean Race 2011 – 2012 – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing wins Leg 3 First Stage and also clinches Etihad Airways In-Port race
Abu Dhabi – 14 Jan 2012
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing clinched this victory by little more than one minute over PUMA in a thrilling finish of the first stage of Leg 3, continuing their winning streak in home waters.
 Within two miles of the finish Abu Dhabi skipper British Olympian Ian Walker stole the lead from Team Telefónica, who had held pole position over the fleet from the start of the 106 nautical mile race to Sharjah.
The first Emirati team to ever compete in the race crossed the finish line at 1629 UTC, scoring the maximum six points and boosting their points tally to 31.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG netted five points for second place, finishing just one minute and 16 seconds behind Abu Dhabi. Groupama sailing team earned four points for third, Telefónica placed fourth for three and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand will receive two for fifth.
Winning the sprint capped off a stellar week of racing for the locals, who leave their homeport as heroes having also won the Etihad Airways In-Port Race on Friday.
Overall Standings:
1. Team Telefonica 71
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand 64
3. Groupama sailing team 51
4. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG 36
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 31
6. Team Sanya 4
Today’s results:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing — 57min 51sec, 6pts
2. Groupama sailing team — 58.48, 5pts
3. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand – 60.47, 4pts
4. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG – 62.22, 3pts
5. Team Telefonica – 62.47, 2pts
The first stage of Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race starts today (2pm), with the fleet sprinting from Abu Dhabi back up to Sharjah, from where the boats will be transported to an Indian Ocean safe haven ahead of their journey to Sanya in China.

News source: www.volvooceanrace.com

Photos: On board clicks by Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi  / 14.01.2012

Wish they were cricketers! India Seniors Volleyball team at Abu Dhbi airport

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This is the Indian Senior Volley Ball team on their way back to Madras after winning a prestigious tournament. I met them at Abu Dhabi Duty Free. There was no fanfare, no one even asking them who they were.
I happened to meet them, the Indian Senior Men’s Volley Ball Team members at the Abu Dhabi Duty Free on 28th August 2011. They were returning to Madras via Abu Dhabi after winning the 18TH NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV PRESIDENT’S CUP INTERNATIONAL VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN beating Tunisia in the finals held on 27th August.
Watching those unsung heroes moving around silently and unattended, I was thinking of the scenario then and there, if it were players from Cricket or other sports. I wish there exists a strong campaign to Promote All Sports Simultaneously (I call it Campaign PASS) so that all athletes get due share of accolades and privileges.
They were with established Volley Ball coach Mr. Sridhar.
Repeatedly, I was thinking, if this group belonged to a Ranji trophy or IPL team playing in India. No sports, other than Cricket get due recognition and popularity. Forget about the rewards for those who pursue it.
No wonder children or parents do not favor other sports these days. Money matters. Popularity too.
Indian Sports Ministry should come out with more support, as do organisations and individuals.
Sad to say,  I send this photo and news of the victorious return to several news media. But none were interested. Obviously, they are not cricketers!!!
These athletes do deserve due credits.
Ramesh Menon
16 October 2011

Mind Speaks – Arrival of Kochi Rajas – 2011 IPL T20

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Mind Speaks – Arrival of Kochi Rajas – 2011 IPL T20

Well. Well. Well. A few weeks ago, I was writing against the domination of cricket and the prominence its players were getting when compared to other sports. Now, I am changing side. I haven’t got any bribe from the cricketing gods. It’s just because of the starting of the domination by some – individuals – underdogs like Paul Valthaty, Ravindra Jadeja, and – team – Kochi Tuskers Kerala playing in the 4th edition of IPL 2011.

A few days ago, everyone got carried away when Sachin Tendulkar got a 100 although getting out twice on his way to it. That day, while coming in to field, the whole of Mumbai Indian supporters including him and his team never believed the impossible to happen. They silently let loose a winning combination to perform and a team in its teething stages enjoy learning the “Will to Win”. With their bold decision to leave Muralidharan and Sreesanth out of the playnig eleven, Kochi Tuskers Kerala showed that the choice of playing good cricket is in the players hands. Wickets were falling at regular intervals and till the time Ravindra Jadeja hit those two powerful sixes, Mumbai Indians never really accepted that enemy have arrived in their front door, in fact already entered inside. I think it was an experience that would have taught Mumbai Indians to “never underestimate anyone” and today Chennai Super Kings too got a taste of this time proven mantra.

Every one might have thought that it was a one off display until the match that finished a few moments ago at Cochin with Chennai Super Kings. M S Dhoni and his team were unable to digest the fact that a team comprising of no big names when compared to theirs offering winning shake hands. Slow motion TV replays showed many of the players in yellow were unable to look at the face of Ravindra Jadeja. Its true, they just can’t believe or digest it. That was the effect of his sixes in this match that it could be termed the most outrageous act of recent cricket. It was as if he was proving a point or two to many.

Yes, this seasons T20 is proving out to be a commoners sports. Imagine any game that the village boys play with conviction and courage. It reminds me of my own younger days, when we used to play matches between village teams. Having left with limited cricket gears many times we go out to bat with one pad and one glows. We used to have a courageous young boy, Justin, amongst us, who worked part time as a taxi driver for his living. He was our trump card while playing bigger teams. He practiced with focus whenever he could get a chance that he was so accurate to hit the knee cap or toe end at any given opportunity to ball. He was thus lethal. When given the bat, the opposition had to always keep extra balls as his hits were outrageously huge to go far beyond our playground and reach the temple pond. Batters like Paul Valthaty and Ravindra Jadeja and our own RV Gomez with the ball brought back his memories. Its just a matter of will to win and winning ways.

Of course the rain gods kindness yesterday and the winning toss meant that it saved KTK from any further helicopter attack by MSD and company during the end overs.

For KTK batters like Brenden McCullum, Mahela Jayawardane, Parthiv Patil and Ravindra Jadeja have all stood up to the challenge they were thrown in. With no gimmicks or paints around, bowlers like RP Sing, R Vinay Kumar and Raphi Gomez comes in a bowl according to captains plans. We could see fielders throw in and “do all little little things right to get the final thing perfect”. I am sure these winning ways and cool approach by Mahela Jayawardane will give sufficient learning opportunities, self control techniques and winning ways to some of our temperamental players. This is a long series and if they re-learn those tricks fast, they too can join the party from within the ground.

Well done KOCHI TUSKERS KERALA. MY COLOR IS ORANGE AND PURPLE from now on. Good luck to all of you in the future games. For viewers these T20 matches gives a few management techniques along with sheer joy of power cricket within the shortest time. No two minds – this game is going to stay longer and its players with more money.

Ramesh Menon
19.04.2011

Indian Football team arrives in Dubai for training

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Indian Football team arrives in Dubai for training

 03 November 2010 (report in Mathrubhumi)

As part of their preparation programme, the Indian Football team arrived in Dubai. They will be playing 3 international friendly matches. On 11th they will play Asian Champions Iraq. On 14th they will play Kuwait and on 18th they will play UAE. The matches of 14th and 18th will be held in Abu Dhabi. In addition there will be practise matches with UAE local clubs on 24th, 27, 29.
The visit is part of an intensive training programme under the leadership of coach Bob Houghton. In January 2011 the Indian national footbal team will participate in the championship to be held in Doha, Qatar. A similar training tour was successfully conducted to Portugal recently in which the team played 5 friendly matches with leading teams.
To read this news in Malayalam, please visit Mathrubhumi online.
To know more about th Indian Football team, please visit the official site of AIFF.http://www.the-aiff.com/
To know more about the players, please click here.

You may support this campaign by joining i’ts Fan page on Campain PASS on Face Book.