Inside the Middle East
December 17, 2012
Posted: 618 GMT

A look back at the highlights of 2012 covered on Inside the Middle East.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East.'

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi •Algeria •Bahrain •Culture •Dubai •Egypt •Inside The Middle East •Iran •Iraq •Israel •Jordan •Kuwait •Lebanon •Morocco •Oman •Saudi Arabia •Sports •Tunisia •Turkey •UAE •Women •Yemen

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May 21, 2012
Posted: 1256 GMT

The United Arab Emirates is sending a woman to compete in weightlifting at the London Games this summer, the first time that a female bodybuilder from the Gulf nation has qualified for the sport.

But the Emirati women's squad is also making history for another reason – they were the first female weightlifters to compete internationally while wearing the hijab, according to a recent report from the National.

The Abu-Dhabi-based newspaper reports on the UAE’s decision to wear the Islamic headscarf while competing:

Until recently, the rules governing the sport stipulated uniforms had to be collarless and could not cover elbows or knees, essentially because judges need to see that a competitor's elbows and knees are locked during a lift.

However, those dress regulations were modified by the International Weightlifting Federation, after being challenged last year by a Muslim American who wanted to wear Islamic dress while competing in US national competitions.

"It was a decision which will help the whole Islamic world," Sheikh Sultan bin Mejren, president of the Emirates Weightlifting Federation, told the National.  "Now there is no difference between Muslims and non-Muslims in events like the Olympics. There is no border to accept them or not. Everybody can participate without breaking rules."

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi •Dubai •Sports •UAE •Women

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May 14, 2012
Posted: 1129 GMT

The title was won at the Etihad Stadium. The players wore shirts emblazoned with the Etihad Airways logo – the Abu Dhabi-based airline. And the match was watched by an estimated TV audience of 4.7 billion people.

It was, in short, the brightest indicator yet of the Middle East's growing influence within European football.

So how much did Manchester City's dramatic victory on Sunday, that snatched the English Premier League championship from bitter rivals Mancester United, pay back the hundreds of millions of dollars invested by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan?

Caroline Cheese examines the numbers and looks at the Gulf's growing influence in "the beautiful game".

Full story

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Filed under: Sports •U.K. •UAE

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January 4, 2011
Posted: 1124 GMT
Photo: Crosnier/QTF.  Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer kicked off the 2011 ATP World Tour season in Doha yesterday by hitting tennis balls on a court laid in the water of Doha Bay.
Photo: Crosnier/QTF. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer kicked off the 2011 ATP World Tour season in Doha yesterday by hitting tennis balls on a court laid in the water of Doha Bay.
Photo: Crosnier/QTF
Photo: Crosnier/QTF
Photo: Crosnier/QTF
Photo: Crosnier/QTF

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Filed under: Qatar •Sports

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December 5, 2010
Posted: 909 GMT

Qatar has won the race to host the 2022 World Cup, and will become the first Middle Eastern country to hold the tournament.
For the tiny desert state, where summer temperatures soar over 40 C (104 F), it is a triumph of ambition and technology.

As recently as November, FIFA expressed concerns over the country's climate, which it said should be considered "a potential health risk for players, officials, the FIFA family and spectators."

But football's governing body seems to have been swayed by Qatar's plans to overcome the sweltering heat by building nine new fully air-conditioned open-air stadiums that work using solar power.

Solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic panels on the outside the stadiums and on their roofs will harness energy from the blazing Qatari sun.

It will be used to chill water, which in turn will cool air before it is blown through the stadium, keeping pitch temperatures below 27 C (80 F).

Qatar 2022's bid book director Yasir Al Jamal said it would be the first time these technologies have been combined to keep a stadium cool.

"Stadium seats will be cooled using air pumped at the spectator ankle zone at a temperature of 18 C," he said. Read more...

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Filed under: Qatar •Sports •Video

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October 6, 2010
Posted: 2023 GMT


IOC Chief Jacques Rogge and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at West Bank football match (Mustafa Abu Dayeh/Palestinian Authority PM Office)
IOC Chief Jacques Rogge and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at West Bank football match (Mustafa Abu Dayeh/Palestinian Authority PM Office)

I asked the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad how it felt to be cheered by thousands of Palestinians while showing off his football skills at al-Ram stadium north of Jerusalem.

The reply… “Wonderful.  Just wonderful.  We should be the ones playing with the players watching.”

 The “we” refers to him and Jacques Rogge, head of the International Olympics Committee on a whirlwind tour of Jordan, the West Bank and Israel.        

They were all suited and booted but from afar their skills looked pretty good.  But you should take into account I only attended my first football match two years ago – again here at Ram stadium, to watch the first ever Palestinian home match on Palestinian soil.

The IOC visit was high-profile and much welcomed by the leadership and fans alike.  The hope is Rogge can bring pressure on the Israeli authorities, who he is also talking to, to allow more freedom of movement for the athletes to attend competitions overseas.

Rogge has invited both sides to a sporting summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC headquarters to try to improve the status quo.  He told me he himself cannot be political but sport itself has the power of persuasion.

“Sport is a universal language, everyone understands a sports result around the world, the rules of sport are the same in every country in the world and sport brings people together irrespective of their ethnic origin, their culture, their language, their creed, so that’s the value and strength of sport.”

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Filed under: Israel •Palestinians •Sports •West Bank

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September 30, 2010
Posted: 901 GMT

The UK daily The Guardian is reporting today that it has exclusive access to secret documents indicating that the repeated jamming of Al-Jazeera Sports' satellite transmissions from the World Cup originated in Jordan.

In response, the Jordanian government issued a statement calling the allegations "absolutely baseless and unacceptable," saying "the government is ready to cooperate with any team of independent experts to examine the facts, and is certain that any such examination will prove these allegations false."

Back in June there was widespread anger among football fans around the region as up to seven matches being broadcast live from South Africa were disrupted by interference that the network referred to as "sabotage."

The Guardian is speculating that this interference, which it claims can be traced to a location near the Jordanian city of Al Salt, came in the wake of a last minute TV deal going sour that would have allowed viewers there to watch the games for free; an allegation that the Jordanian government rejects.

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Filed under: Jordan •Media •Science & Technology •Sports

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August 8, 2010
Posted: 1249 GMT

From Inside the Middle East's August show.

Read full story and view video here...

From Tracey Holmes, CNN

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) - Pearl diving is now a rarity in the UAE, but dhows, the boats traditionally used for pearling, are making a comeback as the racing boat of choice for a generation of younger Emiratis.

Before oil was discovered in the region, locals made their living as pearl divers. The men would go to sea for months at a time and, while it sounds romantic, life was tough.

Today, pearl diving has almost disappeared, but young Emiratis are rediscovering dhows - not for pearling, but for racing.

Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) has been organizing dhow races since 1991. But who wins and loses isn't as important as keeping tradition alive.

DIMC managing director Saeed Harib told CNN: "They receive good prize money. They receive some money from the owners, but in the end they are maintaining our heritage."

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Filed under: Culture •Sports •UAE

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February 8, 2010
Posted: 706 GMT

From CNN's Living Golf

(CNN) - Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez made it third time lucky as he won the Dubai Desert Classic after beating European Tour No. 1 Lee Westwood in a three-hole playoff on Sunday.

Miguel Angel Jimenez clinched his first tournament victory since the BMW PGA Championship in May 2008.
Miguel Angel Jimenez clinched his first tournament victory since the BMW PGA Championship in May 2008.

The 46-year-old, twice a runner-up in the tournament, saw his English rival miss winning putts at the first two holes, both played at 18, and had to drain a 15-footer himself at the second to stay in contention.

Jimenez had a much easier attempt from four feet to win at the par-four ninth hole after the 36-year-old Westwood hit the greenside rough with his second shot and then missed a six-foot putt for par.

"I feel so proud to win this trophy. I like the golf course, I like the ambience and I like the people and I am very happy," world No. 60 Jimenez told reporters after clinching the first prize of $400,000 with his 16th victory on the European Tour.

"I made a very good putt on the second hole of the playoff on the 18th that kept me going, then I had a putt to win. My last win was in 2008 in the PGA, and it proves that old guys like me can win."

Jimenez and world No. 4 Westwood had started the final round in a four-way tie for the lead along with Asian No. 1 Thongchai Jaidee and young Spaniard Alvaro Quiros.

Jimenez missed a birdie putt at 18 to finish with par 72 for the clubhouse lead of 11-under-par 277, then Westwood joined him as he picked up a shot at the par-five closer to card the same score for the day.

Westwood had led by two shots early on, but a double-bogey at the par-four fifth hole saw him caught again.
Jaidee of Thailand finished third after his 73 left him one stroke back, missing a short birdie putt at 18 that ruled him out of the playoff.

Germany's Martin Kaymer (70) was tied for fourth on nine-under with Italian Edoardo Molinari (71), while Quiros was another shot back along with defending champion Rory McIlroy.

Quiros had a nightmare 75, carding five bogeys including three at his last five holes, hitting the water hazard at 18 as he sought an eagle to reach the playoff.

World No. 9 McIlroy's 73 was boosted by a birdie at 18, but four bogeys ended his title chances.
American veteran Tom Watson tied for eighth with world No. 10 Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy as all three closed with 68.

Filed under: Dubai •Sports

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January 24, 2010
Posted: 1204 GMT

Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie blew away the competition at the Dubai marathon. CNN's Cal Perry spoke to the winner.

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Filed under: Dubai •General •Sports •UAE

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