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UAE stars from DP WORLD ILT20 help national side qualify for Asia Cup 2025

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The UAE cricket team qualified for the 2025 Asia Cup, a tournament they will be participating in after nine long years, following a 55-run win over Oman in the ACC Men’s Premier Cup final on Sunday. Their victory was backed by stupendous performances from skipper Muhammad Waseem as well as young batter Alishan Sharafu before pacer Junaid Siddique, in the company of Aayan Afzal Khan, led the bowling attack to help UAE win the final comfortably.

Muhammad Waseem scored a blistering 56-ball-century and was well supported by his opening partner Alishan Sharafu who contributed 34 to their opening stand of 94 runs. After putting up 204 on the board, Junaid Siddique picked up three wickets for 38 runs in his four overs while Aayan Afzal Khan finished with figures of two for 29 to restrict Oman to 149-9 in their 20 overs, as they went on to avenge their defeat to Oman earlier in the tournament.

The 21-year-old Alishan Sharafu, who ended up as the highest run getter of the tournament with 278 runs in six innings, continued his fine form from the DP World ILT20 earlier this year where he played an important role in Sharjah Warriors’ qualification into the play-offs. Striking at 163.52, with a top score of 90* in UAE’s first game against Kuwait, Sharafu made full use of his opportunity with the UAE senior team to leave a mark at the international level during the ACC Premier Cup and help his team seal a spot in the 2025 Asia Cup. “This was a fantastic team effort and I am happy I could contribute with the bat. I was carrying a lot of confidence from my stint in the DP World ILT20 where I batted against some of the best bowlers in world cricket. I think for many of us in the team, this exposure was instrumental and we have been doing well under our new coach Lalchand Rajput,” stated Sharafu.

Captain of the UAE team, Muhammad Waseem ended the ACC Premier Cup just nine runs behind his opening partner, leading his team by example. It hasn’t been too long since Waseem lit up the DP World ILT20 2024, where he set the tone at the top for his team, the MI Emirates, who won the championship. The powerful 30-year-old opener has made a habit of taking the attack to the opposition in the Finals of tournaments. A 24-ball-43 in the DP World ILT20 Final against Dubai Capitals earlier this year and now a century while steering his team to a huge total in the ACC Premier Cup Final proved that Waseem is a big-match player. “It feels incredible to make the Asia Cup. This is the first time in nearly a decade that UAE will be playing this prestigious tournament and the team is ecstatic,” expressed Waseem.

“Definitely the exposure we gained during the DP World ILT20 was instrumental in our performance. Playing alongside the best cricketers in the world is a big factor in improving our individual performances as well as a team. I think we are adapting to playing under pressure very well after our experience in these leagues,” added Waseem who was the recipient of the Blue Belt awarded to most outstanding player from UAE at the DP World ILT20.
Impressive at the ACC Premier Cup was another youngster who turned heads at the DP World ILT20 2024 while representing the Gulf Giants. Left-arm spinner Aayan Afzal Khan continued to spin webs around the batters as he consistently picked up wickets for the UAE senior team including figures of two for 29 in the all-important final against Oman. With ten wickets in six innings, Aayan picked up ten wickets to finish as his team’s highest wicket taker as well as the second highest wicket taker of the tournament overall. Displaying maturity with his variations and when he used them, Aayan’s performances were prominent in UAE’s confirmation of a spot in the 2025 Asia Cup.

“I have gained a lot of confidence after my recent experience at the DP World ILT20 where I got to watch and learn from some of the best bowlers in the world. For a youngster like me, exposure like this definitely helps in improving my own performance. I am very happy that I was able to contribute to my team’s success in ACC Premier Cup and we are now looking forward to a good show in Asia Cup,” stated Aayan.
Junaid Siddique picked up six wickets in the five games he played for UAE and was their best bowler in the ACC Premier Cup final. Although the pacer didn’t get too much playing time in the DP World ILT20 2024 for the Sharjah Warriors, sharing the dressing room with international stars like Chris Woakes and Daniel Sams certainly provided him with the much-needed experience that was there for everyone to see in the ACC Premier Cup final. “Though I did not get too many matches at the DP World ILT20 this year, sharing the dressing room with some of the cricket greats and watching them closely did help me. I am motivated even more to perform well for UAE and showcase my potential. I am really happy I could do well for the team and look forward to more such performances,” Junaid said.

Pacer-all rounder Ali Naseer, who played for the Desert Vipers in DP World ILT20 2024 and can be remembered for his stunning catch to dismiss Nicholas Pooran, was another UAE cricketer who had a decent outing in the ACC Premier Cup picking up seven wickets from the six games he played with best figures of three for 26 coming against Kuwait.

While how they square up against the best teams in the continent is to be seen, the DP World ILT20’s role in developing UAE cricket is certainly justified with the national side’s qualification in to the Asia Cup after nearly a decade.

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Abu Dhabi bans single-use styrofoam products from June 1

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Single-use styrofoam products will be banned in Abu Dhabi from June 1, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development announced on X.

As part of the ban, Abu Dhabi is targeting avoidable, single-use consumer products. Specifically, the banned products comprise cups, lids, plates and beverage containers (including their caps and lids) made of expanded polystyrene. In addition, food container receptacles for products that are intended for immediate consumption, either on the spot or for takeaway, or containers that have a product that is typically consumed from the receptacle and is ready to be consumed without any further preparation such as cooking, boiling or heating, will also be prohibited.

Items exempt from this ban include:

-Reusable storage boxes

-Coolers

-Items intended for medical use

The initiative to ban single-use Styrofoam is an extension of the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy, and supports the aims of the Year of Sustainability.

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World League of Fighters announces grand launch in Bangkok: Winners to secure golden tickets to UAE’s inaugural season

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The World League of Fighters (WLF), the first-of-its-kind franchise based league-styled Muay Thai tournament, announced the grand launch ceremony for the inaugural season on June 1st at the prestigious Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok. Sticking to the league’s ideology of sportainment, the mega launch event will offer the audiences mesmerising live musical performances from some of the renowned artists along with an action-packed fight night comprising of five intense bouts to mesmerise the local Muay Thai fans.

To further capture the imagination of the audiences all around the world, the launch ceremony will be held at the highly popular the New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently owned and run by the Royal Thai Army, the Stadium is regarded as the symbol of modern Muay Thai, and is frequented by the fans who pack the stadium in large numbers each week to witness thrilling fights.

The grand event will be attended by Mr. Rajesh Banga, Chairman World League of Fighters, Mr. Rahul Saxena, President World League of Fighters, Mr. Sunil Mathew, Co-Founder World League of Fighters, Mr. Nilesh Pundir, Co-Founder of World League of Fighters, along with President WBC Muay Thai, Colonel Thanapol Bhakdibhumi. Mr. Samer Al Suojhayer, Co-Founder and Head of Operations WLF Asia, Mr. Kevin P. Noone, Secretary General WBC Muay Thai, and Mr. Fouad Darwish Ceo & Managing Director of Palms Sports will also be present to witness the spectacle.

To kick start the exciting Muay Thai action, USA’s Matt baker will face off against Azerbaijan’s Rauf Gerayzade in the Cruiserweight bout, while Thailand’s own Satanfah Sitsongpeenong will take on Iran’s Mohammad Sirasani in the Middleweight fight. India’s Surya Sagar will vie for a win when he takes on Lithuania’s Deividas Danyla in Welterweight match, and Russia’s Dana Begzhanova will also be in action against Spain’s Alba Morral in the Women’s Featherweight bout. The winners of the four bouts will get a Golden Ticket to the inaugural season of the World League of Fighters which will take place in Abu Dhabi later this year. The Muay Thai action will close with the Headline Contest between Kazakhstan’s Ali Kabdulla and Armenia’s Martun Mezhlumyan in a 170 Pound Catchweight contest.

To further add to the spectacle, the fans will get a chance to groove along with the biggest Thai pop sensation Kratae Rsiam, who recently opened Bruno Mars’ concert in Bangkok, and will be performing live at the launch ceremony. The renowned local musical artist Tong Twopee, who has garnered a cult-like following on social media, will also be performing live for the audience in attendance.

Speaking on the upcoming Launch event, Mr. Rajesh Banga, Chairman World League of Fighters said, “The Launch event in Bangkok is a tiny teaser of the extravaganza that we will be presenting to the world with the inaugural season of World League of Fighters. We are bringing a revolution to the world of combat sports, and we are confident our vision will resonate with the global masses. The Launch event will not only give the fans a chance to enjoy live Muay Thai fights, but also allow them to engage with live musical performances. We are grateful to WBC Muay Thai for their constant support and for the Thailand and Bangkok government authorities for allowing us to showcase our vision at the Mecca of Muay Thai – the New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.”

WLF partnered with World Boxing Council Muay Thai last year to revolutionise the sport of Muay Thai and spread its reach across the globe. This is the first time in the Combat Sport World, a franchise-based league-style tournament is being organised featuring 20 of the world’s best male and female Muay Thai fighters. The renowned international combat sports stars will be divided into 4 franchises that will compete against each other in a round-robin format, to claim the Coveted WLF * WBC Title Belt.

President WBC Muay Thai, Colonel Thanapol Bhakdibhumi, added: “It is about time the adrenaline-pumping sport of Muay Thai gets a revamp. A league-styled competition of such magnitude is a celebration will boost the popularity of the sport and expand its reach beyond horizon. The upcoming Launch event is a moment of celebration for all Muay Thai fans, aficionados, trainers, and fighters not only in Thailand, but all around the globe, and we want to give them a show that they will never ever forget. The mingling of Muay Thai with entertainment is an unprecedented chapter in the history of combat sports and we cannot wait to present a glimpse of what is in store for the fans.”

The event is slated to take place in UAE in September.

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UAE announces 10 year Blue Residency Visa

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The UAE has announced a long-term residency for environment advocates. Called ‘Blue Residency’, the 10-year visa will be granted to individuals who have made “exceptional contributions and efforts in the field of protecting the environment”.

Applicable fields include boosting the air quality and green technology. “The sustainability of our economy has become linked to the sustainability of our environment,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, as he chaired a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.


Blue Residency: Who is eligible

The Blue Residency will specifically be granted to supporters of environmental action. This includes members of international organizations, international companies, members of associations and non-governmental organizations and global award winners. It also includes distinguished activists and researchers in environmental work. Those are interested in the residency are invited to submit their applications through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security, or through nominations by competent authorities.

The UAE already grants 10-year residency visas, called golden visas, to eligible investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.

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