The Kuwait Harps Gaelic Football Team (2016/2017 Season)

Post by Mark

kuwaitharps

The Kuwait Harps are starting a new season of Gaelic Football and are looking for new faces to join the club. Gaelic Football is a form of football derived from the Irish ball games. There are some major differences between regular football and Gaelic football like the fact Gaelic football is played with 15 players per team and you can also hold the ball with your hands.

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The Kuwait Harps hold weekly training sessions for both men and women on Wednesdays and Fridays at the American International School. They compete primarily in tournaments based in the Gulf region and new players are always welcome and immediately feel at home within the club. The majority of the current squad were actually new to Gaelic Games when they first arrived in Kuwait. While many clubs in the Gulf region can depend on a strong pool of Irish players, this is not the case in Kuwait. While a core of the club may be Irish, it relies heavily on the support of players from the international expat community. Kuwait Harps Players have come from Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Canada, USA, Australia and even Sudan to name but a few countries. So if you’re interested in joining the club, here are some details:

When: Wednesday 6PM to 8PM – Friday 10AM to 12PM (Women) and 12PM to 2PM (Men)

Where: American International School [Map]

For more information email kuwaitharpsgaa@gmail.com or visit their [Facebook Page]


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We Got Our First Gold

Post by Mark

gold

Yesterday, Kuwaiti athlete Fehaid Al Deehani won gold at the Olympics coming first in the men’s double trap shooting event. Sadly since Kuwait is banned from the Olympics, Fehaid won the medal as an independent athlete competing under International Olympic Committee flag, an achievement by itself since no other independent athlete has ever won gold before. No Kuwaiti flag was raised and the Kuwaiti anthem wasn’t played during the medal ceremony.

Kuwait has competed in 12 Olympics since Mexico City in 1968, winning 3 medals in total, 2 bronze and 1 gold with all 3 won by Fehaid.


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Kuwait Was Banned From The Olympics. This Is The Human Price

Post by Mark

molym

At the prospect of swimming under the Olympic flag, he balked: “The thing is, I made the Olympics because of Kuwait and because of the [swimming] federation, and all the funds came from the federation, so I’m very thankful for that.” Yet by May, that seemed moot anyway. He figured he would need three months of training to resume utmost shape. Stresses mounted. The end of his swimming would mean the end of his government-allowed “sports leave” in Dubai.

The Washington Post have published a thought provoking article highlighting the affect of Kuwait’s ban at the Olympics on Kuwaiti athletes (or at least one Kuwaiti athlete). The situation is pretty sad but hopefully things will get sorted out by the next Olympics. [Link]


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Full Schedule of Kuwaitis Competing at Rio 2016

Post by Mark

kuwaitisatioc

There are nine Kuwaiti athletes competing at the Olympics under the IOC flag. They are:

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)

If you’d like to watch them compete, below is their schedule (Kuwait time):

August 7
Khaled Al-Mudhaf: Shooting – Men’s Trap 3:30PM
Abdulrahman Al Faihan: Shooting – Men’s Trap 3:30PM

August 9
Abdulaziz Al-Shatti: Fencing – Men’s individual épée 3PM

August 10
Fehaid Aldeehani: Shooting – Men’s Double Trap 3PM
Ahmad Alafasi: Shooting – Men’s Double Trap 3PM

August 11
Abbas Qali: Swimming – Men’s 100m Butterfly 8:16PM

August 12
Abdullah Al-Rashidi: Shooting – Men’s Skeet 3:30PM
Saud Habib Al-Kandari: Shooting – Men’s Skeet 3:30PM
Faye Sultan: Swimming – Women’s 50m freestyle 7:02PM


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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]

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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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