Sporting stars in Dubai

We spy former sportsmen and wish UAE Olympians good luck

When you’re not soaking in the sport on TV – from the Euros to the recent rugby internationals – it’s worth keeping an eye out for sporting stars kicking around in Dubai. As we established in our June 6-12 issue (‘Live like a footballer in Dubai’), the city is a magnet for former and current footballers (not to mention rugby players). Sir Geoff Hurst (pictured), a member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, was spotted enjoying English grub at The Ivy, while rugby legends Andy Farrell and Shaun Edwards are just two of the big names attending Media One’s Joining Jack Brunch on Friday June 29, in support of local boy Jack, son of Dubai-based former rugby league star Andy Johnson (of Wigan Warriors and London Broncos). For further details, search for ‘Joining Jack’ on Facebook.

Keeping things local for now, the UAE has named half its Olympic squad. Of the eight events in which the country will be competing, it has named the football team, shooters Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum (skeet), Sheikh Juma Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum (double trap) and Daher Al Aryani (trap), swimmer Mubarak Al Gaffari and weightlifter Khadija ‘The Body’ Mohammad. (We just made up ‘The Body’ nickname, but we’re hoping it’ll catch on).

The Insider wouldn’t be complete without the requisite mention of Euro 2012 (a popular football tournament culminating this weekend, in case you hadn’t noticed). A special mention goes to the French, who proved they’re unable to play in any tournament (whether it’s the 2012 FIFA World Cup or 2013 Rugby World Cup) without some sort of high-profile spat among the team. We’re looking forward to another episode of Gallic drama at the London Olympics.

As we go to press, the last team to make the semi-finals has yet to be decided, but we’re pretty sure that the England-Italy game will go to penalties – the only part of the game during which neither team will be able to put 11 men on the goal line. By the time you read this, you’ll know whether we were right or not – for the sake of everyone’s viewing enjoyment, we hope we’re not.

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