Patrice Barattero of France competes during the men’s snowboarding events that took place in Russia yesterday. Dmitry Lovetsky / AP Photo / March 14, 2014
Patrice Barattero of France competes during the men’s snowboarding events that took place in Russia yesterday. Dmitry Lovetsky / AP Photo / March 14, 2014

A level field on the slopes



Snowboarders zipped down the slope in Sochi yesterday as the sport was featured for the first time at a Winter Paralympic Games, uniting amputees, cancer survivors and athletes with cerebral palsy all with a love for powder.

History was made by first gold medallists, Evan Strong of the US and Bibian Mentel-Spee of the Netherlands, who were the fastest down the challenging snowboard-cross course.

An accomplished snowboarder who was on her way to qualify for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games, Mentel-Spee was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 27. She lost her leg in a battle with the disease and became one of the advocates of Paralympic sports.

She said her “journey to get snowboarding to the Paralympics was never about winning a gold medal”.

“It was to showcase our sport and to show the kids out there with a physical disability that a sport like snowboarding really can be done as well,” she said.

For her, mastering the sport with one leg was not difficult.

“It was just about finding your balance again,” she said.

Unlike other alpine events that class athletes by the extent of their impairment and adjust for time, snowboarders faced the slope as equals.

That meant athletes missing two limbs would have to race as fast as those missing one.

“It is what it is, it’s made us work even harder,” said Amy Purdy, 34, who had both of her legs amputated below the knees after a bout of bacterial meningitis at 19 almost killed her.

She went on to be an effective advocate for the sport as well as an actress and dance show competitor.

She conceded yesterday that she had been more careful than usual on the steep and icy run before winning a bronze medal.

“Today my legs played a huge role,” she said. “But it’s not all about our legs, it’s about strategy.

“In the future they will probably come up with a classification, but we all were aware of what we were getting ourselves into this year.

“I’ve never been coached until this year, so we’re excited to have this debut and then preparing for 2018.”

The International Paralympic Committee is working on developing snowboarding, said spokeswoman Lucy Dominy.

“This includes developing a factoring system following the conclusion of a research project currently being carried out,” she said.

The course proved tricky for a few competitors, with several falling near the finish line.

The favourite, Igor Ivanov, crawled over the line on his hands to finish as fans in the stands cheered.

Ben Tudhope of Australia was dealing with another challenge: his size. The 14-year-old snowboarder is the youngest athlete at the Sochi Paralympics and was half the size of other snowboarders on the mountain. Ben also has cerebral palsy hemiplegia, which leaves his left side partially paralysed.

“Being so young at the Games feels great. Hopefully I’ll be going to a lot more Games and get way better,” he said.

* Agence France-Presse

ABU DHABI'S KEY TOURISM GOALS: BY THE NUMBERS

By 2030, Abu Dhabi aims to achieve:

• 39.3 million visitors, nearly 64% up from 2023

• Dh90 billion contribution to GDP, about 84% more than Dh49 billion in 2023

• 178,000 new jobs, bringing the total to about 366,000

• 52,000 hotel rooms, up 53% from 34,000 in 2023

• 7.2 million international visitors, almost 90% higher compared to 2023's 3.8 million

• 3.9 international overnight hotel stays, 22% more from 3.2 nights in 2023

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Abaya trends

The utilitarian robe held dear by Arab women is undergoing a change that reveals it as an elegant and graceful garment available in a range of colours and fabrics, while retaining its traditional appeal.

SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE

Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Stars: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac
Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

RESULT

Fifth ODI, at Headingley

England 351/9
Pakistan 297
England win by 54 runs (win series 4-0)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

Related
KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

The end of Summer

Author: Salha Al Busaidy

Pages: 316

Publisher: The Dreamwork Collective 

You may remember …

Robbie Keane (Atletico de Kolkata) The Irish striker is, along with his former Spurs teammate Dimitar Berbatov, the headline figure in this season’s ISL, having joined defending champions ATK. His grand entrance after arrival from Major League Soccer in the US will be delayed by three games, though, due to a knee injury.

Dimitar Berbatov (Kerala Blasters) Word has it that Rene Meulensteen, the Kerala manager, plans to deploy his Bulgarian star in central midfield. The idea of Berbatov as an all-action, box-to-box midfielder, might jar with Spurs and Manchester United supporters, who more likely recall an always-languid, often-lazy striker.

Wes Brown (Kerala Blasters) Revived his playing career last season to help out at Blackburn Rovers, where he was also a coach. Since then, the 23-cap England centre back, who is now 38, has been reunited with the former Manchester United assistant coach Meulensteen, after signing for Kerala.

Andre Bikey (Jamshedpur) The Cameroonian defender is onto the 17th club of a career has taken him to Spain, Portugal, Russia, the UK, Greece, and now India. He is still only 32, so there is plenty of time to add to that tally, too. Scored goals against Liverpool and Chelsea during his time with Reading in England.

Emiliano Alfaro (Pune City) The Uruguayan striker has played for Liverpool – the Montevideo one, rather than the better-known side in England – and Lazio in Italy. He was prolific for a season at Al Wasl in the Arabian Gulf League in 2012/13. He returned for one season with Fujairah, whom he left to join Pune.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

MATCH INFO

Syria v Australia
2018 World Cup qualifying: Asia fourth round play-off first leg
Venue: Hang Jebat Stadium (Malacca, Malayisa)
Kick-off: Thursday, 4.30pm (UAE)
Watch: beIN Sports HD

* Second leg in Australia scheduled for October 10

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

MATCH INFO

Champions League last 16, first leg

Tottenham v RB Leipzig, Wednesday, midnight (UAE)

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

MAIN CARD

Bantamweight 56.4kg
Abrorbek Madiminbekov v Mehdi El Jamari

Super heavyweight 94+kg
Adnan Mohammad v Mohammed Ajaraam

Lightweight 60kg
Zakaria Eljamari v Faridoon Alik Zai

Light heavyweight 81.4kg
Mahmood Amin v Taha Marrouni

Light welterweight 64.5kg
Siyovush Gulmamadov v Nouredine Samir

Light heavyweight 81.4kg
Ilyass Habibali v Haroun Baka

Allardyce's management career

Clubs (10) - Limerick (1991-1992), Perston North End (1992), Blackpool (1994-1996), Notts County (1997-1999), Bolton Wanderers (1999-2007), Newcastle United (2007-2008), Blackburn Rovers (2008-2010), West Ham United (2011-2015), Sunderland (2016), Crystal Palace (2016-2017)

Countries (1) - England (2016)

360Vuz PROFILE

Date started: January 2017
Founder: Khaled Zaatarah 
Based: Dubai and Los Angeles
Sector: Technology 
Size: 21 employees
Funding: $7 million 
Investors: Shorooq Partners, KBW Ventures, Vision Ventures, Hala Ventures, 500Startups, Plug and Play, Magnus Olsson, Samih Toukan, Jonathan Labin


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