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Closing ceremony of the Asian Games in Hangzhou. UAE secured 20 medals, including five gold, five silver and 10 bronze medals at the event. Image Credit: Reuters

UAE athletes excel in Asian Games

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Asma Al Hosani claimed gold in jiu-jitsu for the UAE at the Asian Games Image Credit: WAM

The UAE contingent did the nation proud with a brilliant showing, securing 20 medals, including five gold, five silver and 10 bronze medals at the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou. This was the nation’s highest-ever medal tally in the history of the continental event in October. The UAE participated in the Asian Games with 140 athletes, including 102 male and 38 female athletes, who competed in 20 different sports disciplines. The nation’s athletes won medals in five disciplines: judo, jiu-jitsu, karate, equestrian and cycling. The UAE’s medal tally bettered its previous best performance at the Jakarta Asian Games held in 2018 by seven medals. This achievement placed the UAE third among Arab countries participating in this year’s Asian Games and 16th in the overall standings, advancing four positions from the last edition.

UAE U19 cricket team create history

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UAE under-19 players celebrate their win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup Under-19 semi-finals against Pakistan. Image Credit: ECB

Hosts UAE made history by entering the final of the Asian Cricket Council Under-19 Asia Cup at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai in December. They stunned giants Sri Lanka in the league game and then shocked the fancied Pakistan to enter the final, but eventually lost to Bangladesh by 195 runs to end runners-up. This is the first time that the UAE has made it to the final of a top-tier tournament at junior or senior level. The UAE had won the Plate final in the Under-19 World Cup in the West Indies in 2022.

Manchester City win historic treble

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Manchester City defeated Inter Milan 1-0 in the Uefa Champions League final to complete a remarkable treble. Image Credit: Reuters

Manchester City came up with an impressive series of performances to win a historic treble in the 2022-23 season. Manchester City defeated Inter Milan 1-0 in the Uefa Champions League final to complete a remarkable treble. It was only the 10th occasion when a European outfit won a treble and first since 1999 for an English side. City join Celtic (1967), Ajax (1972), PSV Eindhoven (1988), Manchester United (1999), Barcelona (2009 and 2015), Inter Milan (2010) and Bayern Munich (2013 and 2020) in the elite list.

Ronaldo, galaxy of stars move to Saudi Arabia

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Cristiano Ronaldo completed a shock move to Al Nassr in January 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

The Saudi Pro League has taken the football world by storm with their transfer activity since 2023, attracting some of the biggest names in the sport and propping themselves up as potential rivals for Europe in being the main destination for talented players. It all started when former Real Madrid and Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo completed a shock move to Al Nassr in January of 2023, and suddenly millions shifted their eyes to the Saudi Pro League.

The Saudi Pro League clubs haven’t stopped since signing the Portuguese legend and continue to surprise the world with the signings of the likes of Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, etc. However, before these players, Saudi Arabia was still attracting legends of the sport. The cherry on the cake was when Saudi Arabia became the only football association to present a bid to host the 2034 Fifa World Cup before the deadline closed, football’s global governing body said.

Australia win record sixth 50-over ICC Cricket World Cup title

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Australian players celebrate with the ICC Cricket World Cup at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Image Credit: Reuters

Australia secured their record sixth title by defeating hosts India with a commanding six-wicket margin in Ahmedabad in November. Travis Head scored an impressive 137 runs from 120 balls and Marnus Labuschagne scored 58 from 110 balls as Australia cruised home. This historic win adds to Australia’s legacy of success in the tournament, where they have historically enjoyed the most triumphs. Australia had a great year under Pat Cummins, winning the World Test Championship and retaining the Ashes.

South Africa clinch record fourth Rugby World Cup

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South Africa produced a magnificent performance to edge New Zealand 12-11 in the Rugby World Cup final to emerge champions. Image Credit: Reuters

South Africa produced a magnificent performance to edge New Zealand 12-11 in a compelling match in the Rugby World Cup final to clinch the Webb Ellis Cup and win for a record fourth time.

The Springboks, led by man of the match Pieter-Steph du Toit, managed to hold firm under huge pressure over the final quarter and Handre Pollard’s four first-half penalties proved sufficient to add another title to those of 1995, 2007 and 2019. South Africa’s triumph kept the trophy in the southern hemisphere for the fifth straight tournament, and Siya Kolisi became only the second captain after All Black Richie McCaw to lift it twice.

Spain win the Women’s World Cup

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Spain women's football team celebrate after winning the Fifa Women's World Cup. Image Credit: AFP

Spain defeated England 1-0 in the final to lift their first Fifa Women’s World Cup trophy. Their World Cup triumph, however,was marred by the actions of Luis Rubiales, the then president of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), who kissed Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso. Rubiales was banned from all football-related activities for three years by Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee.

24 Grand Slam titles for Novak Djokovic

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after defeating Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the US Open. Image Credit: AFP

Novak Djokovic won his 24th Grand Slam title by beating Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the US Open final in September. That added to Djokovic’s record for the most major singles tennis championships won by a man — Rafael Nadal is next with 22; Roger Federer, who announced his retirement last year, has 20 — and broke a tie with Serena Williams for the most in the Open era, which began in 1968. Like Djokovic, Margaret Court won a total of 24, but some of hers were earned during the sport’s amateur era.

Lionel Messi clinches record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or award

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Argentine forward Lionel Messi receives his 8th Ballon d'Or award. Image Credit: AFP

Lionel Messi once again proved that age is just a number as the 36-year-old clinched his eighth Ballon d’Or award, at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris in October. The Inter Miami star came out on top in a men’s 30-player list of candidates, beating Manchester City star Erling Haaland. The former Barcelona player had a 2022-23 season to remember, leading Argentina to 2022 Fifa World Cup glory in Qatar last year. Messi dedicated the trophy to late Argentina legend Diego Maradona, who would have celebrated his 63rd birthday on Monday. Messi is 36 and won his first Ballon d’Or in 2009. With eight, he is now three ahead of his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the next most decorated player in the award’s history.

Verstappen Closes Record F1 Season with 19 wins

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Max Verstappen of Red Bull performs a donut after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Max Verstappen’s record-setting 2023 Formula 1 season ended with 19th win of the year at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The win was also the 21st in 22 races for his Red Bull Racing team. Both are records.

Verstappen’s 19 wins in a single season is four more than his own previous record and six more than the next-best season’s recorded by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. Verstappen has also taken a record for win percentage in a season that Alberto Ascari has held since 1952. His stretch of 10 consecutive wins in the middle of the year, starting in Miami and ending in Italy, beats out a then-record stretch of nine straight wins held by Vettel. Today’s win was his seventh in a row since losing that streak, tied for the third-longest winning streak ever.

Record-breaker US gymnast Simone Biles claims 21st world title

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United States' Simone Biles with her gold medal after the women's all-round final. Image Credit: AP

Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles continued her spectacular return from a two-year break by claiming her 21st world title with all-around gold at the world gymnastics championships in Antwerp, Belgium in October. Biles, who won her first all-around world title as a 16-year-old in Antwerp a decade ago, has now claimed a total of 27 world medals – including 21 gold – and led the US women’s team to their seventh consecutive team title. In total, Biles now has 34 medals across the world championships and Olympics, making her the most decorated gymnast ever – male or female – at the sport’s two signature events. Biles has also surpassed Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo’s record of 33 medals in total at the Olympics and world championships.

LeBron James passes Kareem to take NBA all-time scoring record

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Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James broke the record that stood for nearly four decades. Image Credit: Reuters

LeBron James has become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s mark of 38,387 points. With a stepback jump shot with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder in February, James pushed his career total to 38,388 points to break the record that stood for nearly four decades. With four championship rings and nearly every other honour available to an NBA player, the 38-year-old James now has one of the most coveted records in the game. Abdul-Jabbar, who was at the packed Arena, rose from his seat and cheered James. The game was stopped as some members of James’ family, including his wife, mother and his children, took the floor for a ceremony recognising the moment.