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When will I see you again? Sport steps out of virus shadow



Sport’s big ticket events, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, European football championships, Wimbledon and the British Open golf tournament have all been cancelled this year because of the coronavirus.

However, as the world slowly emerges from the pandemic, sport is making a comeback with the English Premier League and Italy’s Serie A both revealing return dates on Thursday.

AFP Sport looks at what’s ahead:


The English Premier League will restart on June 17, provided that all safety requirements are in place.

Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal will take place on that date, followed by a full match round beginning on June 19.

Due to the coronavirus all matches will take place behind closed doors.

Liverpool are just two wins away from a first league title in 30 years.

Italy’s Serie A can resume on June 20 after a three-month absence in a country hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said.

No top-flight matches have been played since Sassuolo beat Brescia 3-0 on March 9, before the championship was suspended by a pandemic which has killed over 33,000 people in Italy.

The German Bundesliga became the first major European league to resume on May 16 under strict conditions. Matches are behind closed doors with players elbow-bumping to celebrate goals. Some grounds have allowed cardboard cutouts of fans to fill up empty spaces. The league wanted to complete the last nine rounds of matches before June 30 to secure around 300 million euros ($325 million) in television money.

Lionel Messi back in training for Barcelona ahead of La Liga’s planned restart. PHOTO: FC BARCELONA/AFP / Miguel RUIZ

Spanish La Liga president Javier Tebas said he hopes the season will start again on June 11 with the Seville derby, “one game for all of Spain”.

“It is possible that on Thursday, June 11, we could have the first Liga game,” Tebas told Movistar Plus television.

“We would like it to be the Seville derby — Real Betis v Sevilla — at 2200 (2000 GMT).”

Last weekend, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that La Liga could resume from its lockdown in the week beginning June 8.

All matches will be behind closed doors. Barcelona sit top of the table, two points ahead of Real Madrid.

In France, the season has been declared over and Paris Saint-Germain were awarded the Ligue 1 title.

South Korea had the honour of being the first elite league back in action on May 8 but there were no crowds or wild goal celebrations — even talking was discouraged.


There will be no domestic cricket in England until August 1 at the earliest.

As far as international cricket is concerned, the English authorities remain confident the Test series with the West Indies, with matches provisionally scheduled to start on July 8, 16 and 24 at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl and Lancashire’s Old Trafford, will go ahead, behind closed doors at these “bio-secure” venues.

The IPL has been postponed. PHOTO: AFP/File / PUNIT PARANJPE

Australia and Pakistan are still due to tour later in the summer.

The money-spinning IPL, which should have started on March 29, was postponed but media reports said the BCCI may aim for a tournament in September-October, ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia.

As Australia’s borders are currently closed to non-residents as a measure against coronavirus, there are doubts the tournament can go ahead as scheduled.


The ATP said it will not resume tournament play until the first week of August in Washington. The WTA is still scheduling events in Palermo from July 20-26 and in Karlsruhe on July 28-August 2, for now at least.

Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II. PHOTO: AFP/File / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS

The French Open has already been moved to Sept 20-Oct 4 although there are suggestions that it may be put back by a further week. Organisers say it could be played behind closed doors.

The United States Tennis Association will decide in mid-June on the US Open in New York.

Motor sport

Formula One plans to open its season in Austria with back-to-back races on July 5 and 12. F1 boss Chase Carey insists that a 15-18 race season is still possible. Silverstone’s hopes of also staging back-to-back races after Austria are in the balance after the British government insisted that all arrivals in the country undergo a two-week quarantine period.

The Australian Formula One Grand Prix was scrapped in chaotic fashion. PHOTO: AFP/File / Peter PARKS

NASCAR returned behind closed doors earlier in May at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina.

MotoGP hopes to start with back-to-back races at Jerez, Spain, on July 19 and 26.


The NBA, whose players are conducting individual workouts at team facilities where allowed, exploring a plan to resume the season in late July at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, although final details have yet to be determined.


Major League Baseball wants an 82-game schedule to open in July after three weeks of pre-season training, with games to be played at home stadiums with no spectators. However, players are disappointed that pay cuts have been suggested by team owners.

Ice hockey

The National Hockey League will abandon the rest of the regular season and proceed directly to a 24-team playoff staged in two hub cities. Ten cities are in the running for the two hub centres, including seven from the US: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh. The three Canadian cities are Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.


The Masters has been moved from its traditional April slot to November. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / JAMIE SQUIRE

After the cancellation of the British Open, the remaining majors are the PGA Championship from August 6-9 in San Francisco and the rescheduled US Open from Sept 17-20 at Winged Foot, New York, with the Masters at Augusta, usually played in April, scheduled for November 12-15.

The Ryder Cup, at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, from September 25-27, could take place without fans.

The USPGA hopes its tournament season can resume with the Charles Schwab Challenge from June 11 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The LPGA Tour is due to reopen on July 23 at the Marathon Classic at Sylvania, Ohio.

Golf’s European Tour will be back on July 22 with a run of six tournaments over six weeks in the UK, starting with the British Masters.


The Tour de France has been rescheduled for a August 29 start from its original June 27 date.

The Giro d’Italia will take place from October 3-25 with a six-day overlap with the Vuelta a Espana and will be raced at the same time as three ‘Monument’ classics.


The Diamond League, which was to have started in Doha on April 17, is now scheduled to open in Monaco on August 14.

With the exception of a June 11 meeting in Oslo that will feature modified events in line with social distancing rules, the rejigged Diamond League calendar will showcase 12 meetings, culminating in China on October 17 at a venue yet to be arranged.


The first English classics, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas are to be run at Newmarket on the first weekend of June.

Flat racing’s showpiece meeting Royal Ascot it is hoped will follow shortly afterwards on June 16. However, it will do so without racegoers, including its most notable attendee Queen Elizabeth II who will miss it for the first time since 1952.

The Derby and Oaks will be behind closed doors at Epsom Downs on July 4 instead of June.

In the United States, the Triple Crown will now start on June 20 with the Belmont Stakes, followed by the rescheduled Kentucky Derby on September 5 and the Preakness Stakes on October 3.


The NRL season in Australia restarted on Thursday.

In union, summer internationals have been cancelled as has the French Top 14.

New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises will compete in a new competition played behind closed doors starting on June 13.

Reporting and photo: AFP


Hideaway Beach Resort unveils fitness centre upgrade with dedicated yoga space; introduces badminton



Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, renowned for its commitment to providing unparalleled luxury and experiences, has announced its latest enhancements in health and wellness offerings, solidifying its position as a premier destination for those with an active lifestyle seeking a holistic and rejuvenating getaway.

The jewel in the crown of these updates is the comprehensive upgrade to the resort’s Fitness Center. Meticulously designed to cater to the diverse wellness needs of guests, the gym now boasts state-of-the-art equipment and an extension that includes a dedicated yoga space; known as the Wellness Studio. This addition provides an idyllic setting for guests to embark on their wellness journey, offering a serene atmosphere for yoga and meditation practices. The resort has also recently added Indoor Badminton courts to their offerings list so guests can sweat it out in the courts.

Hideaway guests are inspired to cleanse, restore, and energise their body and mind. To enable guests to work out on their own schedule, the Fitness Center is open 24 hours. With a variety of state-of-the-art exercise equipment including free weights, Stairmasters, stationary bicycles, treadmills, and more, guests are spoilt for choice. Additionally, thanks to the well thought out entertainment systems such as cable TV and Audio music systems, guests can keep current with worldwide news and sports or go full blast with their favourite tunes at play.

The new building also houses showers and changing facilities, so you can complete your cooldown routine at the gym without having to return to your villa. The facilities are available for all guests (children under 12 to be accompanied by an adult) to use free of charge, and our team members are on hand to help out and provide introductions to any equipment you may be unfamiliar with.

Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa enhances its fitness offerings with the introduction of diverse group classes like Zumba, Tabatha, and Step Aerobics at their new Wellness Studio. These additions, led by a highly experienced Gym & Wellness Instructor, promise an engaging and comprehensive fitness experience for guests.

Hideaway is not just a retreat; it’s an oasis for sports enthusiasts. In addition to the Fitness Center upgrade, the resort has expanded its array of indoor and outdoor sports facilities. The resort’s Sports Complex also includes 2 tennis courts, 1 padel court, 1 half-basketball court, 1 beach volleyball area, 1 Golf Center which has 2 golf simulators and 1 putting green, the new Badminton Center which has 2 badminton courts, 1 soccer field, and professional assistance for various sports with the help of our Sports Master and some Pro Coaches for select sports at the resort.

Staying fit whilst holidaying at Hideaway doesn’t have to be restricted to the gym. You can jog around the beautiful, scenic island or ride the bicycles that you will be provided with at your villa.

Speaking about this new addition, Christophe Adam, the General Manager of Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, said: “Wellness and fitness travel have come a long way in recent years. Diverse guests now want a variety of benefits from their vacations and they’re looking for programmes and services that are designed to meet their short-term health needs. At Hideaway, we recognise the importance of relaxation and enjoyment. So, we are here to help our valued guests to reconnect to themselves and to prove fitness can be part of a great holiday! We are really excited by the opportunity to create a truly wellness experiences with a wide of sports activities that are seamlessly integrated into a guest’s holiday in the Maldives”.

Hideaway invites guests to immerse themselves in a world of luxury, wellness, and unparalleled hospitality. With these new offerings, the resort continues to set new standards for the ultimate retreat, where guests can rejuvenate their minds, bodies, and spirits.

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Umair Badheeu sets new, national freediving record at AIDA Philippines National Championship



Maldivian freediver Umair Badheeu has achieved a new national record with a dive to a depth of 62 meters in the bi-fin category. His accomplishment was made possible with the support of Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels, a key sponsor and advocate for Umair’s pursuit of excellence in freediving.

Competing among 14 international participants, Umair’s performance not only secured a new national record but also surpassed his previous bi-fin category record of 60 meters by a margin of two meters.

Reflecting on the challenges of transitioning from his training in Egypt to competing in the Philippines, Umair said: “Adapting to reduced buoyancy due to warmer waters and encountering jellyfish were part of the new environment.”

This marks the third national record Umair has achieved. He previously set two national records of 62 and 64 meters in the free immersion category of free diving at the Andrea Zuccari World Cup held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in October. Free immersion freediving is a discipline that requires divers to descend and ascend pulling a rope.

Umair’s switch from training in free immersion in Egypt to the bi-fin category for this tournament demonstrated his adaptability: “It felt like shifting gears, utilising distinct techniques, and returning to a more familiar discipline. This dive marks a confident depth for me, focusing not just on depth but also on refining dive times for a more enjoyable experience,” he remarked.

“Kaimoo’s support has been instrumental, offering me the freedom to train. This support has allowed me to focus on honing my skills and achieving new heights in my freediving,” Umair added.

“Umair’s third record-breaking dive this year is a testament to his exceptional skill and determination. Kaimoo is thrilled to continue supporting Umair’s journey in the world of freediving. His achievements inspire us, and we congratulate him on this impressive feat, looking for-ward to his continued success,” said Mohamed Manih Ahmed, Kaimoo’s Managing Director.

With this record-breaking achievement, Umair now looks forward to a period of rest before gearing up for the upcoming freediving season.

Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels is a leading tourism company in the Maldives that manages five properties across the country. In addition to Embudu Village and Summer Island Maldives, Kaimoo also operates Equator Village in Addu Atoll, and the Mookai Hotel and Mookai Suites in Male’.

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Kuramathi Maldives and Rasdhoo Divers dive into adventure with speciality courses



Kuramathi Maldives, in collaboration with Rasdhoo Divers, is elevating the underwater experience by offering a captivating range of Dive Speciality Courses, tailored for both novices and seasoned divers alike. These courses go beyond the ordinary, immersing participants in topics such as Perfect Buoyancy, Wave, Tides and Currents, Turtle Ecology, Manta Ecology, Marine Ecology, Deep Diver Speciality, and Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality.

Perfect Buoyancy: Master the art of achieving and maintaining perfect buoyancy underwater, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable diving experience.

Wave, Tides, and Currents: Dive enthusiasts can now confidently navigate ocean dynamics, enhancing their skills in diverse underwater conditions.

Turtle Ecology: Gain insights into the captivating world of sea turtles, understanding their behavior, and contributing to their conservation.

Manta Ecology: Delve into the mysterious realm of majestic mantas, exploring their habitat, behavior, and the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems.

Marine Ecology: Discover the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and learn how divers can contribute to their preservation through responsible and sustainable practices.

Deep Diver Speciality: Embark on a thrilling adventure below 18 meters, gaining advanced skills for deep-sea exploration and mastering safe diving techniques and pressure management.

Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality: Unlock the secrets of the deep with Nitrox, ensuring safer and longer dives. Enhance your dive planning, elevate safety, and indulge in extended reef adventures.

These Dive Speciality Courses at Kuramathi Maldives are designed not only to enhance participants’ diving skills but also to instill a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility. As custodians of the pristine underwater environment, Kuramathi Maldives is committed to nurturing a community of conscientious divers dedicated to appreciating and protecting delicate marine ecosystems.

Led by certified dive instructors from Rasdhoo Divers Kuramathi, these courses provide a safe and enjoyable learning experience. Whether you are a beginner eager to explore the underwater wonders or an experienced diver looking to expand your knowledge, Kuramathi Maldives invites you to embark on a journey of discovery beneath the azure waves.

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