Steve Luckings highlights five events you can either attend in the UAE this week or watch on TV.
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TABLE TENNIS: Asian Cup, Thursday to Saturday, Dubai World Trade Centre
The 29th iteration of the Table Tennis Asian Cup has drawn 12 of the best male and female players from the continent to compete for a share of €16,800 (Dh69,255) prize money in both the men’s and women’s singles competition. All matches in Stage 1 will be played best of five games and Stage 2 best of seven games. Among those confirmed to participate at the Dubai World Trade Centre are the men’s and women’s 2015 Asian Cup champions Xu Xin of China and Singapore’s Feng Tianwei. For more information visit www.attu.org/event/view/32.
FOOTBALL: Uefa Champions League, first-leg semi-finals, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10.45pm
We’re down to the final four of Europe’s premier club competition as Manchester City bid to reach the final of the Uefa Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. Standing in their way is the tournament’s record winners, Real Madrid, whose coach Zinedine Zidane has long let it be known that the club’s priority this season is to win an 11th European Cup, despite them remaining firmly in the title hunt in Spain’s Primera Liga. Madrid travel to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday evening, while Atletico Madrid host Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s second semi-final. Like Real, Atletico are also chasing Barcelona for the Spanish title and are joint-top with three games remaining. But with Barca rediscovering their form after a minor blip, the Champions League offers both Madrid clubs their best chance of silverware this season.
FOOTBALL: Arabian Gulf League, Thursday and Friday
Al Wahda’s 3-0 victory over Al Wasl on Friday saw them leapfrog Al Nasr, who face league leaders Al Ahli on Sunday, as the race for the third and final Asian Champions League spot hots up. Goals from defender Hamdan Al Kamali and forward pair Sebastian Tagliabue and Jorge Valdivia took Wahda to 39 points with two matches remaining. But they can be usurped if Nasr can beat Al Ahli at home on Sunday, which will keep the championship race alive for at least another week, too. If Al Ahli beat Nasr and Al Ain fail to match that result in their match against Al Shaab in Sunday’s earlier kick off, Cosmin Olaroiu’s men will be crowed Arabian Gulf League champions for the seventh time.
CRICKET: Emirates Talent Hunt, Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club, Saturday, 6-9pm
Following the success of the inaugural Emirates Cricket Talent Hunt last month in Dubai, the Emirates Cricket Board has announced an additional session to take place in Al Ain this Saturday. The Talent Hunt aims to identify future stars of both the Emirates Cricket Board’s men’s and women’s representative teams through a four-week roadshow across the Emirates. The session is open to males age 18 to 30 and females between the age of 14 to 30 who are currently residing in the UAE.
WATERSPORTS: Al Gharbia Watersports Festival, until Saturday, Mirfa, Western Region, Abu Dhabi
The eighth edition of the Al Gharbia Watersports Festival features a range of activities, including the Local Rowing Race, the Race for Tfares, Al Bwanich Sailing Race, the Marwah Sailing Race, the Jenana Sailing Race, the Regatta Race (UAE Sailing National Championship), the Kite Surfing Competition, the Kayak Boats Race, the Traditional Dhow Race, parachute sailing, swimming, beach volleyball and beach football. There are lots of prizes up for grabs, with a total prize fund of Dh4 million.