Ali Mohammed, the fastest player on the UAE squad, has been recognized by his coaches for being a team man. He does not mind sitting the bench to wait for a chance to get in the game.
Ali Mohammed, the fastest player on the UAE squad, has been recognized by his coaches for being a team man. He does not mind sitting the bench to wait for a chance to get in the game.

Ali Mohammed, UAE rugby's history maker



Ali Mohammed's first taste of international rugby amounted to little more than a minute or so, but it was an experience he is likely to cherish forever.

Mohammed and Cyrus Homayoun became the first Emiratis to play Test rugby when they came on together as late replacements in the win over Kazakhstan last Friday in Dubai.

Neither had much time to influence the outcome, though both made important tackles as a crucial victory was closed out. But for Mohammed, just getting on to the field in UAE colours was mission accomplished.

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"It was a great day for me," Mohammed, the Dubai Wasps back, said. "Getting the chance to represent my country, I can't describe the feeling to you.

"It was something amazing. I never dreamed I would be able to play for my country at rugby, but it came true all of a sudden."

It has been a long road for Mohammed, 28, who works as an aircraft engineer in the UAE Air Force. He first fostered an interest in the game during four years studying for his engineering degree in the rugby heartland of Swansea in Wales.

When he returned to his native Dubai, he discovered the embryo of a new Emirati rugby team and signed up straight away.

The Dubai Falcons were the first side of UAE nationals to compete at the Dubai Rugby Sevens, in 2005.

Mohammed was one of the founding players - and the one who has now become the flag-bearer for Emiratis in rugby.

His debut euphoria was shared on the sidelines by an Emirati rugby administrator who has overseen his rise since the start.

"Before Ali went into the game I said, 'Now it is time, after five years'," said Saood Belshalat, who graduated from being the manager of that first Falcons team to being a board member of the UAE Rugby Association now.

"I saw in his eyes what it meant when he realised it was going to happen. Even if it was 10 minutes or whatever, it didn't matter. He just needed one second on this green field. It was dramatic for us.

"This was the time we have waited for after five years. You made history. You were the first guy, out of all the UAE national boys, you and Cyrus were the ones that made it for the first time.

"I am really proud."

As baptisms go, playing Kazakhstan could not be classed as mild.

The uncompromising Kazakh players provide a daunting proposition for even the most experienced expatriate players. However, as he looked on from the replacements bench, Mohammed was far from daunted, as he had a burning desire to get on and do his duty for his country.

"When you are sitting on the bench, you feel like a fire ready to start," Mohammed, the fleet-footed winger, said.

"You are ready to play, and I wanted to get on the field so badly. I wanted to show what I could do on the pitch."

Mohammed, who is the fastest player in the UAE squad, is a coach's dream, as he is happy to defer to teammates with more experience.

"In rugby, you have to be a team man first and foremost, and that is exactly what he is," John Mamea-Wilson, who was Mohammed's first coach with the Falcons, then later Toa Dubai, said. "He doesn't get involved in any dramas, and he realises how far there is to go. He just gets on with the job.

"He has always had good pace, it is just a matter of getting a grip of the rules in 15s, and with game plans being so structured it is about understanding what is happening on the flip chart in team meetings.

"He also fits in well with everything that happens within a team outside of the pitch. You never have to tiptoe around him."

Mohammed, who was a junior footballer with Dubai Club before his love of "rough games" turned him to rugby, is happy to wait his turn for a starting berth in the national team.

"The other guys are all more experienced than me," he said. "We are a team, and when the coach sees my ability I will get my chance.

"There is no rush, I am waiting."

After all but safeguarding their place in the top flight of Asian rugby via their win over Kazakhstan, the UAE face Japan, the continent's leading rugby nation, in Dubai next Friday.

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Ibrahim's play list

Completed an electrical diploma at the Adnoc Technical Institute

Works as a public relations officer with Adnoc

Apart from the piano, he plays the accordion, oud and guitar

His favourite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach

Also enjoys listening to Mozart

Likes all genres of music including Arabic music and jazz

Enjoys rock groups Scorpions and Metallica 

Other musicians he likes are Syrian-American pianist Malek Jandali and Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou Khalil

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Ways to control drones

Countries have been coming up with ways to restrict and monitor the use of non-commercial drones to keep them from trespassing on controlled areas such as airports.

"Drones vary in size and some can be as big as a small city car - so imagine the impact of one hitting an airplane. It's a huge risk, especially when commercial airliners are not designed to make or take sudden evasive manoeuvres like drones can" says Saj Ahmed, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research.

New measures have now been taken to monitor drone activity, Geo-fencing technology is one.

It's a method designed to prevent drones from drifting into banned areas. The technology uses GPS location signals to stop its machines flying close to airports and other restricted zones.

The European commission has recently announced a blueprint to make drone use in low-level airspace safe, secure and environmentally friendly. This process is called “U-Space” – it covers altitudes of up to 150 metres. It is also noteworthy that that UK Civil Aviation Authority recommends drones to be flown at no higher than 400ft. “U-Space” technology will be governed by a system similar to air traffic control management, which will be automated using tools like geo-fencing.

The UAE has drawn serious measures to ensure users register their devices under strict new laws. Authorities have urged that users must obtain approval in advance before flying the drones, non registered drone use in Dubai will result in a fine of up to twenty thousand dirhams under a new resolution approved by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Mr Ahmad suggest that "Hefty fines running into hundreds of thousands of dollars need to compensate for the cost of airport disruption and flight diversions to lengthy jail spells, confiscation of travel rights and use of drones for a lengthy period" must be enforced in order to reduce airport intrusion.

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

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Director: Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares

Stars: Kane Robinson, Jedaiah Bannerman, Hope Ikpoku Jnr, Fiona Marr

Rating: 3/5 

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela
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Published by Liveright

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The biog

Fatima Al Darmaki is an Emirati widow with three children

She has received 46 certificates of appreciation and excellence throughout her career

She won the 'ideal mother' category at the Minister of Interior Awards for Excellence

Her favourite food is Harees, a slow-cooked porridge-like dish made from boiled wheat berries mixed with chicken

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

Company profile

Name: Yabi by Souqalmal 

Started: May 2022, launched June 2023

Founder: Ambareen Musa

Based: Dubai 

Sector: FinTech 

Initial investment: undisclosed but soon to be announced 

Number of staff: 12 

Investment stage: seed  

Investors: Shuaa Capital

57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

THE SWIMMERS

Director: Sally El-Hosaini

Stars: Nathalie Issa, Manal Issa, Ahmed Malek and Ali Suliman 

Rating: 4/5

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Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo hybrid
Power: 680hp
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Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.5L/100km
On sale: Early 2024
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Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


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