Lebanese Chirine Njeim: First Ever Olympian To Compete in Alpine Skiing & Marathon Events

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Lebanese Olympian Chirine Njeim completed yesterday the Women’s Marathon race with a time of 2h 51m 8s and ranked 109th out of 157 candidates. By doing so, Chirine joins a very exclusive club and becomes the only woman to compete in the Marathon distance for Lebanon and more importantly the 28th woman to ever represent her country in the Summer and Winter Olympics. Only 132 athletes (105 men, 27 women) have participated in both the Winter and Summer Games and Chirine is the only athlete in the world to have competed in alpine skiing and a track event at the Olympics. Chirine is also the first Lebanese female athlete to achieve the automatic qualifier in a track and field event.

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Chirine was aiming for a 2 hours and 40 minutes finish but the scorching heat in Brazil made the conditions more difficult for her and the other competitors. Nevertheless, I think what she has done is quite an amazing achievement and she has made us all proud!

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Ferrari 488 Spider and California T HS Test Drive in Kfardebian

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Scuderia Lebanon invited me for a test-drive on the new 488 Spider and California T HS last week in Kfardebian. The test drive was scheduled on a week day and I couldn’t attend but I didn’t want to miss out so I sent my younger brother as he’s never been in a Ferrari yet.

The event took place at the Massaya vineyard in Kfardebian from 10 AM till 3 PM. An assigned driver would drive us first from the vineyard down to where CBJ is located and then we’d drive all the way up to Warde. Both cars were equipped with an award-winning turbo charged 3.0L V8 engine but the 488 Spider had more hp (661 HP) than the California (553 HP).

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The test drive was perfectly organized, the roads were empty and the weather was sunny but breezy. My brother chose the 488 Spider and was given all the necessary instructions on the way down from the vineyard. Once they got to CBJ, he sat behind the wheel and went for his first Ferrari drive. The first acceleration is always a big scary but he quickly got the hang of it and sped all the way up to Warde. Driving a Ferrari is a truly amazing experience and I’ve been lucky enough to test drive my first Ferrari two years ago and go for a ride in LaFerrari last year. Needless to say, the ultimate experience would be driving a Ferrari on a track but that’s not possible in Lebanon.

Just to give you an idea on how LaFerrari compares to the Ferrari 488 spider my brother drove last week, LaFerrari has a higher top speed (350 vs 329), a considerably larger engine (6.3l vs 3.9l), has 12 cylinders vs 8 for the Spider, and 302 more hp (963hp vs 661hp) which is insane!

Here are few pictures and a short video from the test-drive:

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[YouTube]

Meet Tarek Abou Al Dahab: Former Lebanese Cyclist Champion & Olympic Athlete in 1968 and 1972

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Aboudahab Source: AbdoGedeon

A Facebook post caught my attention last week about a former racing cyclist in Beirut called Abou el Dahab who runs his own bicycle shop with his son Osama in Zarif in Beirut. Abou el Dahab is 76 years old but he’s still an active cyclist and exercises everyday for 30 minutes in his small shop according to the post.

dahab Picture via Mohamad Cheblak

Tarek Abou el Dahab is also a Lebanese Olympian. He began competing in cycling events at the age of 18 in Paris where he was preparing for the road World Championship in Reims. Abou el Dahab won four Lebanese championships and qualified twice for the Olympic games in Mexico in 1968 and Munich in 1972. I looked online for the results of these two Olympics and found that Tarek did not finish the field race (Cycling) in 1968 and 1972 (there were a lot of DNFs) but did have a time in the 1972 track event.

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I found another article translated from Cyclopaedia by TheRustySquill about el Dahab. It says that he took part in the Clermont-Ferrand race in 1961, finished eleventh at the Four-Cantons race in Switzerland and also took part in the International Peace Race in 1962 (Berlin-Prague-Warsaw). More recently, Abou el Dahab was invited in 2012 for the 60th anniversary of the Peace Race in Germany where he was rewarded and reunited with former cyclist Tave Schur but I can’t find any sources that link to that story. Gustav-Adolf Schur (“Täve” Schur) is a former German cyclist and one of the most popular sportspeople in East Germany. He’s also the first German to win the Peace Race.

dahab1 Source: AbdoGedeon

I’d love to visit his shop one day and get to know him. I doubt that he ever got any recognition from the Lebanese authorities but he’s a true champion and people should know about him. I don’t know where his shop is in Zarif (Sanayeh) exactly but the author of the FB post shared his son’s mobile number Osama which is 70 039 787.

tarek Tarek Abou el Dahab at Peace Race – Source: atewebsite

rapha Tarek Abou el Dahab Source: atewebsite

15 Stunning Hiking & Biking Views from Akkar & Kobayat

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If you are planning a hiking trip anytime soon, North Lebanon and more specifically Akkar has some of the most beautiful hiking trails. As part of the Kobayat festivals, hiking and biking trips are organized for tourists and locals to explore Karm Chabt, one of the best naturally preserved Cedars forest reserve in Lebanon, Al Qammouaa reserve in Fnaidek, Nab3 el Chou7 in Akkar el Atika and other sites.

Here are few pictures taken to show you what you’re missing out on: (Photo Credits: Antoine Daher)

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Biking Trip

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Akkar al-Atika Wins Lebanon’s “Favorite Village” Competition For 2016

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Qammou3a reserve – Akkar

A 10-day long online poll was conducted recently by Lebanon’s French daily L’Orient Le-Jour in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism where people were asked to vote for their favorite village in Lebanon.

More than 120,000 people participated and Akkar al-Atika emerged as Lebanon’s favorite village for 2016, winning over tens of other towns including Ehden, Dhour el Choueir, Hammana, Jezzine and others.

Akkar is one of the most beautiful areas in Lebanon. I was really surprised when I went up the first time as I did not think such beauty and green scenery existed in Lebanon. One of the biggest towns there is Kobayat, a gorgeous place very rich in natural, historical, and religious pilgrimage sites.

If you want more reasons to visit Akkar, check out these “Five Reasons To Visit Kobayat (Akkar)” that I posted last year.

kobayat festivals The Kobayat festivals is the biggest event for the town and in Akkar during the summer.

PS: For more pictures about Akkar Al Atika, check out Nadine’s post.

Rape Suspects Of a 16-year-old Girl Cheered by Crowds Following Release

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A month ago, three boys were arrested by the army intelligence after being suspected of raping a 16-year-old over a period of two months in North Lebanon. Early reports were saying that the girl was gang raped at one point and the girl’s aunt said back then “she was worried that political interference by some officials in Tripoli would see the release of the boys”.

A month later, the girl’s testimony changed and she’s saying now that she was willingly having sex with the three boys, the girl’s aunt is being sued and the suspected rapists were all released.

Now I have no idea who’s telling the truth or not, but we are talking about a 16 year old girl who lost her mother at a young age, lost her virginity to her aunt’s husband and lives with her grandfather while her father works abroad. This case obviously needs further investigation and the girl needs professional help. Moreover, cheering the suspected rapists upon their release and giving them a hero’s welcome is probably the worst possible thing to do.

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A Video that Sums up Lebanese Politics

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Workers demonstrating for either political reasons or simply because they got screwed by their leader, an official wants to cut through the crowds so he sends his security guards out to make way, security clashes with unarmed demonstrators, official goes through with his convoy and leaves one of his security guards behind.

The video couldn’t have been more perfect to describe the situation here.

Lebanese Judo Champion Nacif Elias Calls Disqualification Unfair

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nacif Photo Credits: Judoinside

Lebanese Nacif Elias was unfortunately disqualified from his opening game against Argentina’s Emmanuel Lucenti. Elias was furious following the decision which he called unfair and protested the decision and refused to shake hands with his opponent or leave the fighting area for some time. He later on apologized and accepted the result but he still thinks he got robbed.

I am not a Judo expert but I asked a couple of friends and they told me the call was indeed unfair. I don’t know if we are allowed to submit an official complaint but I guess it’s too late anyways now. Tough luck for Elias and till next time!

I found a replay of the “illegal” move. If there are any Judo experts out there, please advise if it was the right call or not.

[YouTube]