JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Formula One said its Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled Sunday despite attacks on the kingdom by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The announcement came a day after the rebels attacked an oil depot located about 11 kilometres from the racetrack. F1 said it received “detailed assurances that the event is secure.” The attack happened while the first practice was taking place, and the 20 drivers met Friday night in talks that stretched past 2 a.m. to discuss safety concerns.
“Yesterday was a difficult day for Formula One and a stressful day for us Formula One drivers,” the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association said in a statement Saturday. “We went into long discussions between ourselves, with our team principals, and with the most senior people who run our sport. A large variety of opinions were shared and debated.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said it was “important to listen to drivers” but that the decision to continue was correct.
“It has been a long night but first let’s focus on the facts. We know that it’s not the first time it’s happening in this country and in this area,” he said. “Leaving the country would simply not have been the right choice.”
In an earlier statement, F1 and governing body FIA confirmed that “following discussions with all the teams and drivers,” the grand prix “will continue as scheduled.”
“Following the widely reported incident that took place in Jeddah on Friday, there has been extensive discussion between all stakeholders, the Saudi government authorities and security agencies who have given full and detailed assurances that the event is secure,” the statement said.
F1 added that it has been agreed “with all stakeholders to maintain a clear and open dialogue throughout the event and for the future.”
There was a third and final practice session later Saturday scheduled to start at 5 p.m. local time with qualifying set to start under floodlights at 8 p.m.
The top three drivers speak to the media after qualifying and team principals were set for their media duties as scheduled in the early afternoon.
The Houthis acknowledged the attacks on Friday evening and Saudi Arabia state TV called it a “hostile operation.” The Jiddah oil depot erupted in flames when attacked during Friday’s first practice session. It caused a raging fire that rattled the drivers enough to hold extraordinary talks regarding F1’s presence in Saudi Arabia.
Many drivers expressed their concerns about racing in the region and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record when F1 ran its inaugural event at the circuit last December. Now back at the track a little over three months later, tensions are heightened amidst the attacks.
Conversations between drivers, team principals and F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali late into Friday night centred on safety and security conditions.
Friday’s second practice was delayed 15 minutes because of an earlier driver meeting that included Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the newly-elected FIA president.
Race promoter Saudi Motorsport Company said earlier Friday that the weekend schedule had not been changed and a third practice and qualifying were still slated for Saturday. Drivers were only leaving the track mere hours before they were due to return.
The attack targeted the North Jiddah Bulk Plant, the same fuel depot the Houthis had attacked five days earlier. The plant is just southeast of the city’s international airport, a crucial hub for Muslim pilgrims heading to Mecca.
The plant stores diesel, gasoline and jet fuel for use in the kingdom’s second-largest city. It accounts for over a quarter of all of Saudi Arabia’s supplies and also supplies fuel crucial to running a regional desalination plant.
The Houthis have twice targeted the North Jiddah plant with cruise missiles. One attack came in Nov. 2020. The second attack was Sunday as part of a wider barrage by the Houthis.
An Associated Press photojournalist covering Friday’s first practice saw smoke rising in the distance to the east, just after 5:40 p.m. local time and about 20 minutes from the end of first practice. As the flames rose, the tops of the tanks of the bulk plant were clearly visible.
“On seeing the smoke from the incident it was difficult to remain a fully focused race driver and erase natural human concerns,” the drivers’ association said.
Also, a Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen unleashed a barrage of airstrikes on Yemen’s capital and a strategic Red Sea city, officials said Saturday. The overnight airstrikes on Sanaa and Hodeida — both held by the Houthis — followed the attack by rebels on the oil depot in Jiddah.
Mayweather vs Asakura: Start time UK, undercard, ring walks, prediction and latest odds tonight
This will be boxing’s 15-time world champion’s fourth such outing since retiring again in the aftermath of his lucrative victory over UFC superstar Conor McGregor in 2017.
Mayweather dominated former sparring partner Don Moore in a rescheduled contest in Abu Dhabi in May, one year after being taken the distance by internet personality Logan Paul in another no-contest.
YouTuber and Rizin featherweight Asakura, a former two-division champion in the Fighting Network Rings promotion, is 16-3-1 as a mixed martial artist, but has his work cut out this weekend.
He will be only too aware of the outcome of Mayweather’s last trip to Japan in December 2018, when kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa hit the canvas three times before being stopped inside the first round.
And ‘Money’ could well be on similar form here as he looks to tee up a rematch with McGregor in Las Vegas for 2023, while he is also due to face KSI’s brother Deji in November.
Mayweather vs Asakura date, start time, venue and ring walks
Mayweather vs Asakura takes place on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The main card is due to begin at around 12pm local time, which is 4am BST in the UK.
Mayweather vs Asakura fight card/undercard in full
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Yuto Hokamura
Seika Izawa vs Anastaysia Svetkivska
Ayaka Hamasaki vs Si Woo Park
Soo Chul Kim vs Hiromasa Ougikubo
Shoma Shibisai vs Callyu Gibrainn
Kyohei Hagiwara vs Chihiro Suzuki
Juri Ohara vs Luiz Gustavo
Floyd Mayweather vs Mikuru Asakura
Kouzi vs Jizzy
Yoshinari Nadaka vs Bandasak So Trakunpet
Kota Miura vs Bunchuai Phonsungnoen
How to watch Mayweather vs Asakura
TV channel and live stream: Saturday’s event is being broadcast live on American digital video streaming service Fite TV, including in the United Kingdom.
The event will cost $19.99 (£17.73) to purchase.
Mayweather vs Asakura rules
Saturday’s main event is an exhibition scheduled to last just three rounds. Stoppages are allowed but the bout will be ruled a no-contest if it lasts the distance.
Mayweather vs Asakura purse
Mayweather claims he will earn upwards of $15-20million for his latest outing – not bad for potentially nine minute’s work or less!
Mayweather vs Asakura fight prediction
Mayweather has seemed content to coast through many of these exhibitions, going the distance with Logan Paul and Don Moore to produce no-contests.
The veteran is seemingly happy to continue picking up those vast paycheques without taxing himself too much or risking getting particularly hurt, and at 45 who can blame him.
However, his last visit to Japan saw him decimate Tenshin Nasukawa, who was left in tears after being knocked down three times en route to an emphatic first-round stoppage.
If Floyd decides to turn on the style again, then a similar fate could await his compatriot. Otherwise expect another dominant outing that ends in a disappointing no-contest.
Mayweather vs Asakura betting odds
Per Oddschecker, Mayweather is -700 to win tonight, giving him a huge win probability of 87.5 per cent.
Asakura, meanwhile, is at +500, giving him just a 16.67 per cent chance of pulling off a major upset on home soil.
Laver Cup: Novak Djokovic hails ‘beautiful’ farewell for Roger Federer as he retires from tennis | Tennis News
Novak Djokovic expressed his gratitude at being part of Roger Federer’s “beautiful” farewell to professional tennis but admitted to being left with mixed emotions over the retirement of his rival.
The Serbian was present at The O2 on Friday night to watch his Team Europe colleague bow out from competitive sport following a doubles defeat in the Laver Cup to Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
Federer partnered up with Rafael Nadal – the other member of the ‘big three’ – for his last match but in keeping with the unique situation of the London event, Djokovic was one of the most vocal to provide support for two players who have usually been his biggest competitors.
An emotional goodbye to the pro game was afforded to Federer, who received a succession of ovations and had a retirement video package played on the big screen before singer Ellie Goulding produced a performance that left the Swiss star and Nadal in tears.
Djokovic, speaking after his singles’ victory over Tiafoe on Saturday, said: “Well, I think we would all agree this was one of the most beautiful moments anyone has experienced live or on a tennis court worldwide. We all knew it would be an emotional farewell for Roger but I think we were all taken away by the moment.
“At the same time it is a mix of emotions. Sadness because one of the greatest athletes of all time is leaving the sport but on the other hand seeing him happy with the way it all played out, I was just very grateful and privileged to be alongside other Team World and Europe players to witness that.
“It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced in my life, for sure.”
Federer had hinted in the hours after his ‘last dance’ that a potential farewell tour could be on the cards.
He had announced last week the doubles contest on night one of the Laver Cup, the Ryder Cup-style team competition he set up, would be his last on the ATP Tour but the door has been left open for more chances to see him on tennis courts around the world, just not in a professional capacity.
“I have no plans whatsoever like where, how, when,” Federer said during a press conference that did not finish until after 2am on Saturday. “All I know is I would love to go and play places I have never played before or go say thank yous for years to come to all the people that have been so supportive of me.
“Because the hard part about the Laver Cup was that tickets were already sold out. You know, the people who maybe would have also loved to be here couldn’t make it. Maybe there is another way down the stretch we can party all together.”
Defeat on a comeback was finally admitted publicly by Federer last week after a succession of operations during the last two and a half years on his right knee proved unsuccessful.
It meant the final singles contest of his career occurred at Wimbledon last year, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Hubert Hurkacz, but he insisted retirement – which he settled on last month – was no longer a scary concept.
“I was able to remind myself always on the court again how wonderful this is,” Federer said. “This is not the end, end, you know, life goes on. I’m healthy, I’m happy, everything’s great and this is just a moment in time.”
Copper Fit stands by Brett Favre despite allegations
As the misdeeds of Brett Favre continue to worsen, the image of the clean-cut Packers’ quarterback has deteriorated from all sane walks of life. Tag in Copper Fit, a brand of copper-infused athletic apparel designed to help reduce soreness and increase productivity, who you might’ve seen from infomercials or put on a pedestal by Favre, one of the company’s “brand champions.”
The LinkTree for Copper Fit still blasts out “Brett Favre’s Favorite Products” and has a 20% Off coupon when landing on his personalized apparel page. The company has made the decision to stick by him. The allegations that Favre accepted millions diverted from welfare benefits intended for families in order to fund a volleyball arena in Mississippi are widespread. Add in Wednesday’s revelation that the former head of Mississippi’s welfare agency, John Davis, entered into a plea agreement with federal and state prosecutors regarding Favre’s case. It turned heads, to say the least. Now it’s worth pondering if anyone was tone-deaf enough to stick by Favre.
“Copper Fit has worked with Brett Favre for nearly 9 years. He has always acted honorably, and we know him to be a very decent man,” the company’s statement read on Front Office Sports. “To our knowledge, he was cleared of any wrong-doing two years ago. We are confident that will be the case in the civil suit.”
Well, fuck. Turns out some people can only fall from grace so far. Wonder how long this will eventually take to backtrack. If Favre was one of Copper Fit’s other two “brand champions” of Jerry Rice or Gwyneth Paltrow, would the company have chosen to stick by the greatest receiver of all time? Or the Oscar winner for Shakespeare in Love? The plea agreement may be the tip of the iceberg and we’ll see how solid that stance is from Copper Fit.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Favre’s story isn’t transcending sports as Colin Kaepernick or Ime Udoka’s did. If you’re guessing because, at the time of their most prominent incident, they were a current figure in sports, you’re wrong. The All-American, willing to do the mundane, boots-in-the-ground aura of Favre played out throughout the NFL, the pedestal-raised sports league of Americana, plays true here as well. What other prototype of athlete would have a company stick by him if everything reported on Favre’s actions becomes true?
Copper Fit is far from the only company to have Favre on its payroll, though he has yet to be charged in the matter. It appears Copper Fit is the only one to definitively stick by him during this period. Others who’ve propped up Favre in the past weeks include SiriusXM, where Favre last appeared on-air on Sept. 13, and Hallow, a Catholic prayer and meditation app, which hasn’t replied to FOS for comment as of Friday.
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