This week our columnist ponders the future of a young golfer and looks forward to a summer of table tennis
I must start this week by saying a huge well done to Golf in Abu Dhabi ambassador Matteo Manassero. The 20-year-old Italian became the youngest ever winner of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth at the end of May. The event is the European Tour’s standout event on a calendar that takes place in more than 40 tournaments around the world. The Tour, or Race to Dubai, of course finishes here in this very city with the DP World Tour Championship, which this year takes place from Thursday November 14 to Sunday 17. Manessaro notched up his fourth European Tour win after beating Marc Warren and Simon Khan in a play-off. The fact he is associated with Abu Dhabi is another sign that both the capital and Dubai really get the best from sport. Abu Dhabi has chosen carefully what and who they want to be connected with, and to capture Manassaro at a young age, spotting his talent and potential, was a great move. Last season the Italian became the first teenager to win three European Tour events and he’s sure to get better and better with age. It was genuinely great to see a star player winning an event and representing the UAE capital.
It’s good news for the country on more than one sporting front this week, with the UAE performing better than ever at the recent World Table Tennis Championships in Paris. And Rashid Abdul Hamid, UAE number one in the discipline and and Rashed Mohd Abdulla Hassan, number two, are set to give back to the community this summer. The duo will be on hand at Dubai Sports World this season to provide residents with some world-class coaching. There will be 12 tables available to the public for two months at the Dubai World Trade Centre sports event, which runs from Friday June 21 to Wednesday August 21, with hopes to make the sport as popular in Dubai as it is in the likes of China. My sources tell me we should watch out for tables popping up at Jumeriah and Al Mamzar Beach before the end of the year too. Time to practise your backhand! Tom Bushell hosts Sport on 7 on City TV (Mon 8pm) and is Arabian Radio Network’s head of sport.
One final thing...
The UAE’s Pro-League end-of-season awards took place last week. Al Ain’s Omar Abdulrahman took home Emirati Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year. Al Ahli’s Grafite won International Player of the Year, while Ajman manager Abdulwahab Abdulkadir claimed Best Coach. And from next season the league will be called the Arabian Gulf League.