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Volume 6 No. 212

Events and Attractions

Stefan Friborg will sponsor the ninth meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Saturday "when his Stud Estrela Energia puts its name to a high-class Meydan card" worth $1.1M, according to GULF NEWS. Featuring the $250,000 Group 2 Zabeel Mile and the $200,000 Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, the meeting is the ninth of the 2013 Carnival, "with only Super Saturday and the Dubai World Cup meeting to follow" (GULF NEWS, 2/28). GULF NEWS also reported five cars including a Bentley and a total prize fund of Dh1.25M ($340,000) "will be up for grabs in three endurance rides to be held over the next three days" starting Friday at the Emirates Int'l Endurance Village in Al Wathba. The 100km Shaikh Mohammad Bin Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup for private owned horses "will be run on Friday." The 120km Shaikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Challenge Festival ride takes place on Saturday and the 120km Giants Endurance Challenge goes on Sunday (GULF NEWS, 2/28).

Mention the words "kempo", "vovinam" or "chinlone" and "expect an angry response from Southeast Asia's seething sports bosses," according to Martin Petty of REUTERS. The terms are "indigenous sports disciplines" and for the few countries that play them, they will offer an unusual amount of medals at this year's Southeast Asian Games, "at the expense of gymnasts, tennis and beach volleyball players bitter their sports were ditched by hosts Myanmar." Myanmar is billing the December Games as its coming out party after 49 years of military rule, but "dampening celebrations is fierce criticism from competitors who accuse the hosts of cherry-picking sports it plays best." Meetings of the 11 competing countries have been "fraught with arguments," with deep suspicions that Myanmar has "struck deals with certain states and sought to weaken the hand of stronger nations to boost its normally mediocre standing in the medals table" (REUTERS, 2/28)

UFC returned to Asia last year with two "well-received live events” in "UFC on Fuel TV 6" in Macau and UFC 144 in Japan, and "if all goes according to plan in 2013, the promotions could double that total,” according to John Morgan of MMAJUNKIE. UFC Exec VP & Asia Managing Dir Mark Fischer said, "We're obviously coming back to Japan and we want to come back to Macau, and I think we want to add two more to the schedule and really go from there.” Fischer added, "We're looking at trying to do four this year. We would like to move to maybe five or six next year. ... It's really just a question of putting the resources together and applying that against the demand the best we can." Fischer said of possible fight locations, "Mainland China and Korea are definitely in consideration. In addition, we're looking at several markets in Southeast Asia. For example, without committing, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore are all in contention for where we may go.” He added, “We would be very interested to do 'The Ultimate Fighter: Japan.' We don't have a specific plan yet, but we are in discussion with a number of people.” Morgan notes this weekend's "UFC on FUEL TV 8: Silva vs. Stann" will be the promotion's “first Asian event" this year. Fischer said that the combination of “former PRIDE superstars, up-and-coming Asian talent and recognizable UFC veterans should provide a memorable experience for Japanese MMA fans” (MMAJUNKIE, 2/28).

Asian Athletics Association Secretary Maurice R. Nicholas has appealed to the Tamil Nadu State government to "reconsider its decision to withdraw" from conducting the Asian championship, which was scheduled in the city from July 3 to 7. The Singapore-based official said that time "was too short" for any new host to plan and prepare for the major event (THE HINDU, 2/27). ... The 7th Binh Dien-VTV Int'l Women's Volleyball tournament will take place in Vietnam's central highlands province of Gia Lai from March 2-10 (XINHUA, 2/28). ... More than 120 players representing 27 countries "will congregate" in Nairobi, Kenya in March for the 36th Africa Junior Tennis Championship. The championships to take place between March 18-23 "will be the first time the event is being held in Kenya and East Africa in its 36 years history" (XINHUA, 2/26).