Kuwait Will Not Be Represented At The Olympics

Post by Mark

kuwaitolympics

Kuwait has lost its Swiss court case against an International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban that will see the nation’s athletes compete under the Olympic flag at the Rio Olympics, a source with direct knowledge of the decision said on Tuesday. [Source]

This was Kuwait’s last ditch effort to get reinstated but they lost their case. All 9 Kuwaiti athletes competing at the Olympics will now be walking out under the IOC flag during the opening ceremony and competing as Individual Olympic Participants. If any athlete wins a medal (and there is a big chance of that happening), it will now fall under IOC and not Kuwait.

Here is the final list of Kuwaiti Olympians participating at Rio 2016:

Abbas Al Qali (Swimming)
Abdulrahman Al-Faihan (Trap)
Abdullah Al-Rashidi (Skeet)
Abdulaziz Al-Shatti (Fencing)
Ahmad Al-Afasi (Double Trap)
Faye Sultan (Swimming)
Fehaid Al-Deehani (Double Trap)
Khaled Al-Mudhaf (Trap)
Saud Habib Al-Kandari (Skeet)

On a similar subject, there is a new documentary called “Between Hope and Pain” which highlights the struggle of the 9 Kuwaiti athletes as well as a Kuwaiti referee to make it to the Rio Olympics.

In ‘Between Hope and Pain’, one referee and nine athletes openly express their immense drive to compete and win, and the supreme disappointment of being unable to do so under the Kuwaiti flag. In the documentary, privately screened at Laila Cinema on Sunday evening, Kuwaiti shooter and Olympic champion, Fehaid Al-Deehani spoke candidly about his dilemma to participate in the upcoming games. He shared that the Olympics ceased to hold meaning for him as he would not be able to leave his mark as a Kuwaiti athlete but only as an independent player, without a country and a flag.

“It’s the first time in my life I have experienced something like this. It’s true that we were banned in 2012 but a week before the competition HH the Amir solved the problem and removed the ban and we participated. But in this incident, we feel lost, we don’t know what’s up ahead”, he remarked. He stated that no resolution seemed to be forthcoming from either the government or the Olympic committee and he chalked this down to a clash of egos. He was honest and critical of the state of sports in the country, saying, “Sports in Kuwait has always experienced obstacles, it has always been sterile, lacking. It has never been proper. Even during the golden age, the football era, it wasn’t proper. It was progressing by God’s grace but there was no strategy. Up until now we represent the country with training suits worth KD 3 while other national teams employ fashion designers.” He shared that he was pained at the loss of the future of many athletes because of conflicts over positions and called for those responsible to tender their resignations. [Source]

The trailer to this documentary is posted above, no idea if the full documentary will be posted online as well.


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Kuwaiti Medalist Refuses to Carry Olympic Flag

Post by Mark

Legendary Kuwaiti shooter Fehaid al-Deehani has refused to carry the Olympic neutral team flag at the Rio Games opening ceremony, where the Gulf state’s athletes cannot march behind their own emblem.

Kuwait is suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other leading federations such as FIFA, football’s world body, over government interference in sport.

According to Kuwaiti media, the IOC asked al-Deehani, who took trap shooting bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney and 2012 London Games, to carry the Olympic neutral team flag.

But the Kuwait army officer turned down the request.

“I am a military man and I will only carry the Kuwait flag,” he said. “I cannot carry the IOC flag.”

The Kuwait Olympic Committee on Sunday called on the government to start dialogue in a last-gasp bid to get the Kuwait flag in to the Rio opening ceremony.

Hussein al-Mussallam, vice chairman of the committee’s legal and international relations commission, told AFP it was time “to sit down together and review things in a positive way”.

He said “the interests of Kuwaiti athletes should come above all else”.

“I am speaking on behalf of the KOC and not in the name of international organizations,” al-Mussallam added.

“The time has come in front of everyone, the Kuwaiti government and the ministry for youth and sports, the Kuwait Olympic Committee and the Olympic Movement Kuwait to sit together for the national interest and for Kuwait to return as it was.”

Al-Mussallam also appealed for all sides to “stay away from personal issues”.

“The Olympic movement has a role to deal with the government in the interest of sport. The government has to hear the point of view of international organizations and the United Nations and the opinion of the Kuwaiti Olympic movement.”

The official said that Kuwaiti athletes want to compete in Rio “under the flag of our country, so and we demand the sports minister respond to the advice of the International Olympic Committee and to stop the implementation of the conflicting articles in the Kuwaiti sports law”. [Full Article]

I’ve been having a hard time finding the final list of Kuwaiti athletes that will be taking part at the Rio Olympics. The article above lists the following:

Abdulrahman Al-Faihan (Trap)
Ahmad Al-Afasi (Double Trap)
Khaled Al-Mudhaf (Trap)
Saud Habib Al-Kandari (Skeet)
Fehaid Al-Deehani (Double Trap)
Abdullah Al-Rashidi (Skeet)
Abdulaziz Al-Shatti (Fencing)
Abbas Al Qali (Swimming)

But, the list isn’t accurate since they leave Faye Sultan out who will be competing in swimming as well. That means there might be other athletes missing as well. So far though, 9 Kuwaitis will be at the Olympics this year.


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Kuwaiti Athletes Featured in Washington Post

Post by Mark

athletes

Washington Post have an article on muslim female athletes and Kuwaiti athletes are featured prominently in it. It’s an interesting article that highlights the struggle muslim female athletes go through in the Arab world but it also kind of shows how liberal Kuwait is (or can be). Kuwaiti athletes won’t be able to participate at the Rio Olympics this year under the Kuwaiti flag due to the ban imposed on Kuwait by the IOC, but I believe there will be a number of Kuwaiti female athletes competing (Faye Sultan is confirmed), I’m just still waiting to get the final list so I can share it. Here is the link to the Washington Post [Article]


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Kuwait the New Bodybuilding Mecca of the World

Post by Mark

I’ve been curious for the past couple of years to why Kuwait is so popular with international bodybuilders. I mean I’ve heard of a number of current and previous bodybuilding champions who are currently coaching at some of the gyms in Kuwait and I never understood why. Carter, a British bodybuilder has an interesting theory to why that is the case and I think he makes a good point.

Carter suggests that there are certain PED’s (performance-enhancing drugs) only available locally that are attracting all the big name athletes. It’s an interesting theory and one I could believe being possible along with the fact that we have some great bodybuilding gyms here and the coaches probably get a good salary as well. Check out the video above. [YouTube]

carter

Note: Trying to be Fahad posted about HGH (human growth hormone) a few years ago and he mentioned it being dirt cheap and that you could the absolute best brand for next to nothing [Link]


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Kuwaiti Athletes that have Qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics

Post by Mark

As of this post seven Kuwaiti athletes have qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics, six shooters and one fencer:

Abdulaziz Al-Shatti (Fencing)
Abdulrahman Al-Faihan (Trap)
Khaled Al-Mudhaf (Trap) – 2002 World Champion
Saud Habib (Skeet)
Abdullah Al-Rashidi (Skeet)
Ahmad Al-Afasi (Double Trap)
Fehaid Al-Deehani (Double Trap) – Won Olympic bronze medals at both Sydney 2000 and London 2012

Sadly Kuwait is currently banned from participating in the Olympics. But the Kuwait athletes will still be eligible to compete as Independent Olympic Athletes (IOA) but they can not represent Kuwait.

Kuwait officials, though, had previously warned they would not allow its athletes to compete at Rio 2016 under the flag of anyone else but their own.

If they competed as IOA, there would be no reference to their nationality on their accreditation or results, with the IOC to appoint a “responsible organiser and technical officials” to oversee the team.

They would march under the Olympic flag at the Opening Ceremony, with the Olympic Anthem to be played should one of the team win a gold medal.

Kuwait was banned from the IOC last October for “undue Government interference”, only three years after the lifting of a similar suspension shortly before London 2012. [Source]

Pictured above is Kuwaiti bronze medallist Fehaid Al-Deehani during the medal ceremony for the Men’s Trap Shooting Final at the London 2012 Olympics.

via @thefrugalfan


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Claudio “Hannibal” Silva Will Represent Kuwait at UFC 201

Post by Mark

claudio2

I’m a huge UFC fan so I was excited to find out that Claudio Silva, the head coach at the local training facility Combat Athletics will be fighting on the UFC 201 card this coming July. Claudio is currently on an 11 fight win streak with the last two wins taking place in the UFC. Due to a bit of bad luck last year (he broke both his feet), he had to take a break from fighting so that he could recover. Now that he’s healed up he’s heading back to the UFC and will be facing off against the tough Siyar Bahadurzada.

silva

Claudio is currently in London until the end of the month before he heads to Miami for his 8 week fight camp with American Top Team. ATT is one of the top MMA camps that currently trains a bunch of popular fighters like current UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler as well as UFC fighters Hector Lombard, Junior Dos Santos and Glover Teixeira amongst a ton of others.

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Now the cool part about all of this is that Claudio will be carrying the Kuwaiti flag with him at the weigh-ins and during his walkout to the cage on fight night. If he wins I’m assuming he’ll also have it on him during the winners announcement. Should be a great fight and I’m looking forward to seeing Claudio walkout with the Kuwaiti flag while Joe Rogan tries to guess which country it’s from. UFC 201 will be held on July 30th and I’ll be posting a reminder a day or two before. If you’d like to support Claudio you can do so by following him on instagram where he’ll be sharing pictures and videos from his fight camp @claudiohannibalsilva


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Trampo Extreme in Murouj

Post by Mark

trampo5

Last week I was going through my instagram explore page and found a video of a new indoor skate park, turns out it was part of “Trampo Extreme”, the new Trampo location in Murouj. So I got in touch with them and headed over to check the place out.

The new Trampo location is HUGE with a lot of different activities to try out. First you have the trampolines area which takes up around 1/3 of the whole space. There are different kinds of trampolines to choose from including a dodge ball trampoline court for competitive action against friends. Right next to the trampoline section you have a leap of faith tower and a vertical slide, both of which are meant to test your courage.

trampo1

Now the other areas of the new Trampo location is where I think things get interesting. First you have a large area on your right once you walk in filled with really tall climbing walls. This is my favorite area in the whole arena since it’s one I’ll probably go back to try.

trampo6

Right in the middle of the arena but raised above ground is a cable climbing area. It’s a obstacle course in the air which you traverse and once you get to the end of it there is a zip line that takes you to the other side.

trampo2

The last activity at the new Trampo location is one I think a lot of teenagers are going to love, a skate park. The skate park is divided into three main areas with the first one aimed towards intermediate skaters. This area is composed of a large shallow pool on one side and low rails and ledges on the other with small quarter pipes.

trampo3

The second area behind the intermediate one is the main skating area and consists of two large quarter pipes connected to each other with volcanos in the middle. This area is a lot more difficult but to help make things a bit easier, there is a third area where you could go to and practice your tricks.

trampo4

The training area consists of a slope down to a quarter pipe which has a foam pit behind it. This way skaters and riders can practice their tricks without having to worry about getting hurt. And yes, BMX riders can use these facilities alongside skaters and if you don’t have a skateboard or bike, they have them available for you to use.

I got the price list from Tampo and it’s as follows:

Jump: KD6.5/hour
Climb: KD6/hour
Skate’n’Ride Junior: KD7/hour
Skate’n’Ride Pro: KD5.5/hour
Leap: KD1
Slide: KD1
Zipline: KD4

Trampo Extreme just opened this past weekend and their hours are Monday to Thursday 2PM to 10PM, Friday 10AM to 10PM, Saturday 10AM to 8PM and Sundays they are closed. The skate area doesn’t require any bookings but the climbing and trampoline areas do. To book your spot you can do so online from their website [Here]


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Art “One Glove” Jimmerson is Coaching in Kuwait

Post by Mark

artvsroyce

Back in 1993 when the first ever UFC fight was held (UFC 1), the main idea was that they wanted to match up the different martial arts against each other to see which one of the combat practices would dominate. So they got 8 different fighters from different fighting backgrounds, like one was a sumo wrestler, another was a kick boxer, another a jujitsu master etc.. and made them fight each other in a tournament. In the end Royce Gracie the jujitsu master won the tournament but all the fighters became pretty much recognized because of the fact they took part in what became the first mixed martial arts event.

One of the fighters that probably stood out the most though was Art Jimmerson, a boxer who went into the fight wearing just one boxing glove. The image on top became pretty memorable so it was a pretty cool surprise to find out that Art is in Kuwait coaching at a new boxing gym. How random is that? The new gym is called The Hook and I just called them up and they told me they’re opening up tomorrow (Monday, May 9th). You can check out their instagram account @thehook.kw or check out Art Jimmerson’s account @artjimmerson


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Combat Athletics Training Facility

Post by Mark

combatathletics

Combat Athletics is a new training facility in Kuwait that specializes in MMA, No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and Boxing. I passed by them awhile ago since they’re located near my place in Salmiya and I left fairly impressed. They’ve got two trainers at the moment with two more on the way. The first is Claudio “Hannibal” Silva, an MMA fighter with an 11-1 record with his last two wins coming in the UFC. The second trainer is Ajarn Khunsuek, the 2006 European Muay Thai champion with a ridiculous 300+ fights on his record but the coolest part about him though for me was the fact he had a cameo appearance as an extra in the 1989 movie ‘Kickboxer’ starring Jean Claude Van Damme. Both the trainers are pretty legit and Combat Athletics is banking on them to help turn the place into a proper training facility. Other than getting great trainers they’ve also heavily invested in their facility. The ring pictured above is the only official 5 rope ring in Kuwait while all their Muay Thai and boxing equipment are by Throwdown, their grappling mats by Zebra while and their strength and conditioning equipment by Life Fitness. Basically they’ve spared no expense.

Combat Athletics have been open for awhile now holding private PT sessions, but starting this coming Sunday they’ll be soft launching to the public. The gym is mixed so for all the women who’ve been asking me where they could to do proper Muay Thai training this is the place. I took a peek at their prices which haven’t been finalized yet and they’ve got an interesting system setup. You’ll have the option to sign up just to use their facilities, or the option to come just to their classes or the option for both. So for example because I’ve already got a gym membership somewhere else, I can just sign up for Muay Thai classes with them. They promised to send me the final price list once they’re ready but for now you can check out their instagram at @combatathletics

Here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Warriors War Breakdown

Post by Mark

bruceandjohn

This post is for the MMA fans here. A few years ago I posted a clip from Warriors War, a middleweight MMA tournament that took place in Kuwait back in 2001 and involved the likes of Matt Hughes, Bruce Buffer and Big John McCarthy. I was pretty surprised back then that I hadn’t heard of this tournament before but Ray Elbe sent me a link to an article a few days back that discusses the event in full details. Turns out it was a complete mess from an organizing stand point which should be no surprise but there was also a scheme to rig some of the fights. If you’re an MMA fan you’re going to find this enjoyable to read, check out the article [Here]


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