Category Archives: Sports

Raid des Cedres 2013

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Picture from LebArmy.gov.lb

I would love to take part in that race one day.

Under the patronage of the Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi, the Rangers Regiment organizes the “Raid des Cèdres” Race in Ski Randonné and Raquette on 24/2/2013 at 5:00 a.m.

The Race will start at the Cedars of Tannourin and the finish line will be in the Cedars forest in Becharre. Sports teams from the Lebanese Army, Security Forces and UNIFIL in addition to civilian athletes, both females and males exceeding 16 years of age will b participating in the race. The gathering point is at the Cedars of Tannourine on 23/2/2013 at 18:00. [Source]

Lousy Ad

If you want to check the Race guidelines, click [Here].

Sietske and her Kick-Ass Housekeeper

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Picture from Sietske in Beirut

Like I said on many occasions, I always look forward to Sietske’s posts, not just for the awesome pictures, but also for the exciting stories and adventures that follow and the story of her kick-ass housekeeper is the coolest story I’ve read on her blog so far.

Back in November 2012, Sietske went to participate in the Marathon with her two children and her Ethiopian housekeeper Aragu Sisay and here’s what happened:

Today, I learned something new about her. Something awesome. This lady kicks ass!! Here we wade, at 8:55 in the morning, trough mud and rain, to the start line of the 10K, and she sort of hobbles behind my daughter and me (my son had already taken off), and we’re getting wetter and wetter. Then, at 9:10, when we finally clear the start line, she says, “Can I run?” What do you mean, can you run? You are going to run? Like, not walk, but run? “Yes, run!” Heck, yes, by all means, go run. And then this girl takes off likes there is no tomorrow! My son sees her pass by at the 5K, tries to keep up with her, but reports that there “was no way on Earth. She’s like a rocket!”

We met again at the finish line, some 2 hours later (1:52, to be exact). She with a yellow medal, surrounded by other Ethiopian runners. She says she doesn’t know what time she made, but she was there before my son (1:29). And I am thinking, I don’t know anything about this lady! Without training she just runs 10 K. She says she does this for fun in Ethiopia. I am in awe of her. She’s an athlete! [Source]

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Picture from Sietske in Beirut

Sietske didn’t stop there and decided to look for running clubs that could help her housekeeper train properly for the next Marathon since she was obviously talented and against all odds, found a free of charge running club willing to train Aragu Sisay. The club is called ‘Inter-Lebanon Road Running & Athletics Club’ and welcomes “people of all ages, standards, and abilities, from competition standard to beginners just attempting to run for the first time”.

To cut the story short, Aragu is running several times a week for almost two months now, got new running shoes and is doing great. To make things ever better, the club gives her a ride back home after training free of charge of course.

I have to say this is an unbelievable story for a country like Lebanon but it’s true and it brought a smile to my face. We are fortunate to have people like Sietske and clubs like ‘Inter-Lebanon Road Running & Athletics Club’.

Three Lebanese teams at the 24th Dubai International Basketball Championship

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[Source]

Sagesse, Riyadi and Mouttahed will be representing Lebanon at the 24th Dubai International Basketball Championship that will take place at Al Ahli Club from Thursday the 10th till Saturday the 19th of January.

You can find here below details about the groups and the game schedules: [LBCI Sports]

Group A:
1- Al Riyadi Beirut (LEBANON)
2- Sagesse Beirut (LEBANON)
3- UAE NT
4- Almaty (KHAZAKHISTAN)

Group B:
1- Smart Gilas (PHILLIPINE)
2- AL Ahli Dubai (UAE)
3- Mouttahed Tripoli (LEBANON)
4- Sporting (JORDAN)

Schedule (All timings are Beirut +2):

Thursday January 10:
UAE v/s Almaty 2:00PM
Opening Ceremony 4:15PM
Riyadi v/s Sagesse 5:00PM

Friday January 11:
Al Ahli v/s Sporting Aramex 3:00PM
Sagesse v/s Almaty 5:00PM
Mouttahed v/s Smart Gilas 7:00PM

Saturday January 12:
Riyadi V/s UAE 3:00PM
Mouttahed v/s Sporting Aramex 5:00PM

Smart Gilas v/s Al Ahli Dubai 7:00PM

Sunday January 13:
Sagesse v/s UAE 5:00PM
Riyadi v/s Almaty 7:00PM

Monday January 14:
Mouttahed v/s Al Ahli Dubai 5:00PM
Smart Gilas v/s Sporting Aramex 7:00PM

All games will be broadcasted live on LBCI, Future TV and Dubai Sport.

Wadih al-Absi no longer Sagesse’s financier

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Sagesse Team – Picture from Sagesse Team Facebook Page

Lebanese businessman Wadih al-Absi declared during a Press Conference yesterday that he will no longer be Sagesse’s financier for the 2012-2013 season. He claimed that ever since he entered the Sagesse Club, he called for keeping politics away from sports yet he finished his Press Conference by attacking a rival political party.

Honestly I am glad he left the team and I hope others will follow and leave Sagesse alone, starting with Imad Wakim and whomever is behind him. Even if Sagesse fans are overwhelmingly supportive (That’s what Absi’s opponents say) of a certain political party in Lebanon, a basketball team requires a competent management and long-term strategies to sustain the team and its players and the fans want to see their team win at the end of the day. Having said that, I honestly can’t but acclaim the Sagesse fans who are probably fed up with all this mess yet keep on showing to every game to support their team.

Basketball in Lebanon has never been the same ever since President Choueiri left and I don’t expect it to get any better unless drastic measures are taken and a proper federation is formed. Every year, we have a new Pr. Choueiri-wannabe willing to invest millions of dollars in 1 or more teams before it gets messy and he drops out.

To be honest, the problem is quite simple yet no one’s willing to acknowledge it. Basketball teams don’t make money in Lebanon and the people investing in them, whether it is for personal reasons or not, realize sooner or later it’s not worth it and quit. After all, pouring millions into one team does not mean the team’s going to win all titles. That’s not how basketball works.

IMHO, the only way to salvage whatever is left of Lebanese Basketball is by doing the following:
1- Limit the budget of all teams to a certain range, say between 500k and 1M a year.
2- Limit Foreign players to just one per team as long as his yearly salary doesn’t exceed 15% of the total team’s budget.
3- Naturalized players or Lebanese-American players will be paid the same way local players are. It is absurd to pay a Lebanese playing in the US 20 times more than a Lebanese player, not to mention how discouraging and frustrating this is for the rising talents.
4- Teams will be penalized financially if their fans were to shout political or racist slogans. This applies to the players and management as well.
5- Full-time Members of a political party, sons of politicians and officials etc, are not eligible to preside or take part of the team’s management.
6- Management must submit a 5-year financial plan to help make their teams profitable and improve sustainability.

Of course there are more issues to tackle but those are good enough for a start and if there’s anyone in the current federation really concerned about the future of basketball in Lebanon, they have to step up and do something before it’s too late. Until then, and I agree with Absi on that one, we will all be enjoying an exciting season since elections are coming and everyone’s throwing money left and right, but don’t expect much next year.

RollerCoaster on The Saint-Nicolas stairs

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I was going down The St. Nicolas stairs on Thursday on my way to Gemmayze when I noticed what looks like a small roller coaster set up on a big portion of the 500 meters staircase. I am not sure what it is being used for but I noticed a construction site at the end of the wooden railway so I am guessing they set it up to carry building materials down the stairs.

It would be fun if someone, Red Bull for example, comes up with a fun game where you go down the stairs on a roller-coaster wearing a costume (maybe during Easter) and jump off it into some pool or huge air mattress. Another idea would be a “Jump and Freeze” event but that’s more suitable for Faraya/Mzaar or the Cedars. Either ways, I will be the first to take part in such a fun event.

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Source: Wiki

On a last note, I just realized that the Saint Nicolas Stairs, also known as L’Escalier de Saint-Nicolas or L’Escalier de L’Art, is the longest staircase in the Middle East with 125 steps. [Link]

R.I.P Lebanese Football

[YouTube]

I never missed a chance to show my support to the Lebanese National Football team in the past few years, and tried to keep all the blog’s readers informed of what’s happening by posting updates about the games and the team as a whole. However, if it’s true that there are that many players involved in match-fixing, of which 9 players in the National Team, then you can kiss Football goodbye in Lebanon.

According to LBC, match-fixing started back in 2006, and from the looks of it, even the Federation is aware about it yet is not doing anything to stop it. I only feel bad for all the fans and the few decent players who gave everything for the team.

Lebanese Football Blogger Figo29 hopes we’d react to this scandal like the Italians did few years back, not by winning the World Cup of course but by coming out stronger than before, but I think we need many years for that to happen, if it ever will.