Red Bull reveals plans for ‘Catch the Ferry’ road race

Runners in the Maldives can expect a new challenge unlike any seen in the Maldives before. The Red Bull Catch the Ferry (RBCF) road race is set to commence on May 31. Unlike other road races previously held in the Maldives, the RBCF road race will see participants compete in a 12.6km race across Malé, Hulhumalé and Vilingili.

To progress, runners will need to make it around each of the routes on the island and catch the ferry before it departs for the next leg of the race. Ferries will leave at progressively quicker intervals before departing for the next leg, reads the press statement.

“This very unique concept, offering Maldivian runners to a new challenge. Red Bull Catch the Ferry combines challenge, excitement and fun in one competition. Athletes are really looking forward for this exciting event,” Half Marathon record holder Naseer Ismail states on the press release.

Accordidng to the statement, the fastest male and female of the race will win an opportunity to attend the Almáty edition of the Red Bull 400, which is scheduled to be held inKazakhstan in August this year.

Red Bull 400 is the steepest uphill race that takes place in Europe, and was created by former world-class sprinter Andreas Berger.

The race will take place from 15:50 – 18:00, May 31 2014, starting at the Raalhugandu Helipad Area, Boduthakurufaanu Magu in Malé.

Other races in the Maldives include the Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race, which will take place on June 6.

One of the largest athletic events in the country, the Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race comprises of 5km and 10km. The run is dedicated for a social cause, and this year’s theme is ‘Help Protect Our Children’. Local telecoms company Dhiraagu initially started the event in 2007 as a way of promoting healthier lifestyles for Maldivians.

The race is scheduled to take place in the afternoon of June 6 2014, at Male’ City (Raalhugandu Area), accompanied by live music and children’s activities. Since its inception in 2007, this is the 8th consecutive year of the event.


Delay of South Asian Games “big blow” for regional sport: National Olympic Committee

Secretary General of the Maldivian National Olympic Committee (NOC) Ahmed Marzook fears that the persistent delaying of the South Asian games will be detrimental for athletes both in the Maldives and throughout the region.

“This is a big blow, and not just for us – it’s about regional sport,” he said. “This is the hope for youth in the region – this is the only thing for youth in the region.”

Marzook’s comments follow India’s decision to delay the hosting of the games for the second time. Originally scheduled for next month, the games had been rescheduled for February 2013 due to this summer Olympic Games.

However, during a teleconference with the Indian Olympic Association last week, Marzook was told that the games could not be held in February, with September 2013 mooted as an alternative.

The NOC has yet to receive official confirmation of the postponement, fuelling concerns that the games may even be pushed back to 2014.

This, explained Marzook, would only exacerbate the budgetary problems that have been caused by the delays.

“In 2014 we will be competing in both the Commonwealth and the Asian games. This will be hard if we have the South Asian Games in the same year – imagine the ticket prices for the delegations,” he said.

The postponement of the South Asian games has already caused the NOC financial problems, with money for training coming from rigid government budgets, and contracts already having been agreed with foreign coaches with February in mind.

Despite the success of the Maldives Olympic team at this year’s London games, the international experience was viewed largely in terms of preparation for the proposed regional games in February.

“The South Asian games are the first steps in terms of international exposure for many athletes,” said Marzook.

Despite regulations which state the eight-nation games must be held every other year, the competition was last held in 2010.

Previous aberrations from the biennial rule came in 2001, when the September 11 attacks caused the postponement of the Islamabad games, and in 2008 when issues surrounding the general elections in Bangladesh resulted in delaying the Dhaka games.

“If India can’t host this, who can,” asked Marzook, who argued that the recent Commonwealth Games in New Delhi meant that all the infrastructure for the event was in place.

Marzook argued that the reason for the delay was infighting between the Indian government and its Olympic association (IOA).

The IOA is currently in the middle of a political storm as, this week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) insisted on sending international observers for the association’s elections.

Suresh Kalmadi has been President of the IOA since 1996 but was suspended after being arrested and jailed for his part in a corruption scandal surrounding the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

When asked about the delay in the games, Cultural Attache’ at the Indian High Commission in Male’, PC Mishra, said that the there were “no specific reasons” for the postponement.

“It is an administrative process,” said Mishra, who described Marzook’s concerns as “a little bit premature – an overreaction.”

Marzook said that Nepal had offered to step in to host the games in February, but that India had blocked the move.

Nepal, which is due to chair the next SAARC summit in before May 2013, was reported earlier this month to have fallen behind in its preparations owing to the political standoff in the country.

Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper said that Nepal was expected to inform other SAARC foreign ministers of the postponement of the 18th summit at a meeting scheduled to be held alongside the United Nations General Assembly, which is currently meeting in New York.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Maldivian athletes’ next international tournament, Marzook said that training would continue.

He revealed that arrangements were nearly completed for the intensive training of the country’s two top runners in Jamaica.

Azneem Ahmed and Hassan Saaidh – both members of the bronze medal winning 4x100m relay team in Dhaka – will travel to Jamaica after the NOC secured leave from their respective employers – the Police and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).


Inter-atoll Athletics meet kicks off in Addu: “Important step to rehabilitate Addu city’s image”

The athletes strode  into the zone stadium at Addu City, proudly sporting their school colors, while being cheered on by public spectators, community leaders and officials.

The Maldives 17th Atoll Inter School Athletics Meet kicked off on Monday night in a colourful ceremony decorated with a spectacular laser show, music and dance. A total of  673 young athletes from 20 different schools across Maldives will be competing in the three-day sports event sponsored by Daily Milk.

As the excitement grows in Addu with athletes fighting to progress in to final rounds, a number of interested schools were reportedly unable to participate due to huge transportation costs.

According to the city council, this event is a “an important step to rehabilitate Addu city’s image”.

Addu, the second most heavily populated area in the Maldives after Male’ and the scene of the SAARC Summit in November 2011, was hit hard during the recent political crisis, as  reports of the protests, arrests and arson attacks on public and police property made international headlines.

But beyond the damage to reputation, the city was gripped by a violent social divide, which fragmented the long standing peace and threatened potential economic investments.

However, Mayor Sodiq said in an interview to Minivan News on Sunday that the athletics meet is a the beginning of a mission to restore the social harmony and create a better image for Addu.

“Following the recent political crisis, Addu has suffered social disintegration as the political friction intensified between different groups,” Sodiq observed.

“However, through social events like this, we aim to restore the peace, social harmony and encourage community participation in our city’s development.”

He noted that the athletics meet has already attracted participation from different public spheres.  Almost all the 1000 visitors who are currently in Addu for the competition are sharing homes with Addu families.

The business community has provided generous sponsorship to the athletics meet and the ongoing nigh market in the city.

Meanwhile, civil society also played a crucial role: “If TakeCare and Maavahi NGO  had not drafted the project proposal to host the athletics meet here, we might not be having this mega event in our city for the fifth time,” the Mayor noted.

The competition was first started in Addu in 1996 and since then it has been held in the souther-most atoll four times.

He added that the event was organised by a joint committee of athletics board officials, civil society and the city council, which was backed by almost 300 energetic youth volunteers.

“This event has provided us a unique opportunity to participate and gain valuable experience in organising a big event like this,”  said 18 year-old Ahmed Azaan, young member of the organising team.

“Others in the committee are an old crowd, so working with them, meeting people and doing the preparations – we are learning a lot.”


Two arrested for recording nude footage in Thinadhoo

Police Spokesperson Lance Corporal Abdul Majeed Moosa has said that police have arrested two persons in Thinadhoo after it was reported that a group had recorded nude footage of a group of visiting athletics officials.

Moosa said that the visiting officials went to the island to attend ‘Makita Inter Atoll Junior Athletics Championship’ held on Thinadhoo.

”We can’t give more information as the investigation is ongoing,” he said.

Local newspaper ‘Haveeru’ reported that the two nude videos were of two foreign officials.

The paper reported that sources familiar with the case has said that the videos were recorded inside the bathroom secretly and some of the videos have been leaked.

The incident has caused the other members of the officials team to be concerned that their videos might also have been recorded secretly.

All the officials stayed in one house and there were two toilets in that house which both males and females in the team used during their stay in Thinadhoo.

Recently police arrested 14 persons for recording nude videos and pictures of senior government officials through facebook.

Police have not yet provided further information of the case.