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Balooshi wins Amateur UAE Men Championship title

Rashid Al Balooshi, winner of the 127km Al Salam Cycling Championship race for Emirati amateurs in December, added the 75km Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament Cycling’s Amateur UAE Men’s title to his resume on Saturday night in a tight finish where the top three were separated by a second.

Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and Chairman of Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament’s Organising Committee, flagged off the race, which featured more than 350 riders of different nationalities, in the presence of Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of DSC, Hassan Al Mazrouei, Director of NAS Sports Tournament, Adel Al Bannay, Chairman of the Tournament’s Technical Committee, and a number of UAE Cycling Federation officials.

Balooshi, who rides for Trek M7 team, crossed the finish line in one hour, 42 minutes and 41.52 seconds to pip Khalid Al Thani (Al Shafar), who was a close second, 0.14 seconds behind in 1:42:41.66, while Dubai Police’s Saeed Hassan Safar came third in 1:42:42.52.

The first place earns Balooshi Dhs26,400 in prize money, while Al Thani will get a cheque of Dhs20,400 and Safar Dhs14,400. Those finishing below them, from 4th to 9th, will get Dhs4,800 each.

“It was a really close race and I am thrilled to finish at the top of the podium,” said Balooshi. “It was a great team effort and I would like to thank everyone on our Trek M7 team for this win. They worked really hard – extra hard given the tight finish and the intense competition for the title.

“Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament is one of the most important annual cycling competitions for us and winning this title is a great end to the cycling season for me, and an incentive to work harder for the coming season and participate in more events as a team.”

Padel FIP Stars: In the FIP Stars, an internationally-ranked tournament featuring some of the world’s top padel players, the Spanish duo of Antonio Fernandez Cano and Jose Garcia Diestro defeated their compatriots Javier Garcia Mora and Jaime Munoz Enrile 6-2, 7-6 for the men’s title.

In the women’s final, the Italian pair of Chiara Pappacena and Giulia Sussarello, who were runners-up in the FIP Rise tournament in Rome last month, beat Frenchwomen Jessica Ginier and Wendy Barsotti 6-3, 6-0. Ginier had won the title in Rome alongside Alix Collombon.

Earlier in the men’s semis, Cano and Diestro had defeated Cristian Gutierrez and Fermin Ferreyra 6-3, 7-5, while Mora and Enrile beat Johan Bergeron and Benjamin Tison 6-2, 6-4.

In the women’s semi-final, Pappacena and Sussarello were stretched to the third-set by Ariadna Canellas and Silvia Lopez Vidal in their 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 win, while Ginier and Barsotti defeated Martina Pugliesi and Alessia la Monaca 6-4, 6-4.

Organised by Dubai Sports Council, the NAS Sports Tournament has been one of the top sporting attractions during the Holy Month of Ramadan since 2013, and the eighth season of the Tournament features competitions in two others sports besides padel – running and cycling. All three events are being organized in compliance with all COVID-19 precautionary measures and protocols, as well as other guidelines issued by relevant authorities.

The Tournament kicked off with the NAS Padel Championship on April 14, and will close with the NAS Run, which takes place across two nights with the 10km Race scheduled for Wednesday, April 28, and the 5km for Thursday, April 29.

Free COVID-19 Tests for participants: NAS Sports Tournament have organised a free COVID-19 PCR test for all NAS Run participants at Al Wasl Club on April 26 and 27, between 11am and 5pm. The chest and chip numbers for all participants will be distributed at the same time, and any participant testing positive for COVID-19 will need to make sure he or she follows the directives of concerned authorities on positive tests.

Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai, Dubai Municipality and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services are the strategic partners for this year’s Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament, while Dubai Duty Free, Pocari Sweat and Tecnotree have signed up as sponsors for the 8th season of the Tournament, which is one of the biggest events of its kind in terms of participation and prize money.

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