- Lebanese basketball legend El Khatib lauds Dubai Sports Council and DWTC for “amazing” Dubai Spo ..
Lebanese Basketball Legend El Khatib Lauds Dubai Sports Council And DWTC For “amazing” Dubai Sports World
Umer Jamshaid 18 days ago Thu 16th July 2020 | 04:21 PM
Fadi El Khatib, one of the biggest stars of Asian basketball, has lauded Dubai Sports Council (DSC) for reopening Dubai’s sports sector and allowing sports enthusiasts of all age and ability to get back to practising and playing sports in a top-class, air-conditioned facility like Dubai World Trade Centre
DUBAI (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th July, 2020) Fadi El Khatib, one of the biggest stars of Asian basketball, has lauded Dubai Sports Council (DSC) for reopening Dubai’s sports sector and allowing sports enthusiasts of all age and ability to get back to practising and playing sports in a top-class, air-conditioned facility like Dubai World Trade Centre.
The Lebanese also saluted DSC and Dubai World Trade Centre for the safety measures in place at Dubai Sports World, which ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone involved, and allow visitors to play or train in a completely secure and safe space.
El Khatib’s newly-launched Champs Ahead Basketball Academy is a part of Dubai Sports World this year, and the 40-year-old has been impressed with the facility and the safety protocols in place.
“This is our first time at Dubai Sports World and we are delighted to be a part of this amazing initiative of Dubai Sports Council and Dubai World Trade Centre,” said El Khatib. “Dubai Sports World is one of the biggest events of its kind in the world, and the facilities are just amazing.
“We thank Dubai Sports Council for the great efforts they have made to ensure that the sports sector reopens as early as it did, and in a responsible and planned manner, and you can see that all the kids here are delighted to be finally out and playing sports.
“The Council and DWTC have done a great job with Dubai Sports World, making sure to include as many sports as possible, without compromising on the safety aspect. Dubai Sports Council have also been very supportive of all the academies who are part of DSW, and we are really thankful to them for that.
“So, as I said, we are delighted to be a part of this wonderful initiative. We launched Champs Ahead here in January and I believe Dubai Sports World is a great platform for the academy to showcase our dreams and plans for basketball in the UAE as we move ahead, and we will look forward to coming back to Dubai Sports World every year.”
Speaking about the safety measures in place at Dubai Sports World, El Khatib added: “You have to laud Dubai Sports Council and DWTC for the safety protocols they have put in place.
“It’s not just about us coaches and the kids who are training with us, but you also have to take into consideration the parents who come here every day to drop and pick-up their children. It is very important that the parents feel safe about bringing their children here, and I am absolutely sure they do.
“When you come to Dubai Sports World, the first thing that catches your eye is the safety measures in place. The event this year is being held in an exclusive, self-contained part of DWTC with a separate parking space.
Then we have thermal body temperature scanners at the entrance, and once inside, you will find stickers and signage across the hall urging visitors to be safe and to keep a safe distance.
“Sanitisers are also available at every short distance and nobody is allowed to walk around between courts without a face mask. The staff, meanwhile, can be seen tirelessly working around the clock to sanitise all the courts, billboards, common areas, and every nook and corner of the hall.
“Looking at all this and the other safety measures and protocols in place, I feel assured about my health and safety, and I believe the parents coming here every day feel the same too.”
In a storied international career, El Khatib took part in three consecutive FIBA World Championships (2002, 2006, 2010), where they defeated the likes of Venezuela and France in 2006. He also played a stellar role as Lebanon finished runners-up at three FIBA Asia Championship finals (2001, 2005, 2007).
El Khatib continued playing for Lebanon until the age of 38, making his final appearance for ‘The Cedars’ at the 2017 Asia Championship in front of roaring home fans in Beirut. Though Lebanon could not go beyond the quarterfinal, El Khatib led all scorers with 25.9 points per game and was named to the All-Star Five one last time.
Nicknamed the “Lebanese Tiger” for his aggression and scoring prowess, El Khatib also played a big part in Club Sagesse Beirut’s success during the late 1990s and early 2000s, helping the club win seven Lebanese Basketball Cups, two Arab Club titles, and three FIBA Asia Champions Cup crowns.
The wingman also spent a couple of seasons in China, playing for Foshan Long Lions (2015-2016) and Fujian Sturgeons (2016-2017).
After the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis, where El Khatib finished among the top 10 scorers despite Lebanon losing all their games, he was invited by Michael Jordan’s personal trainer, Tim Grover, to train with the legend, who was quite impressed with the Lebanese.
“Fadi El Khatib may be the best talent at the moment, he has a lot of skills we just need to see him play in the NBA against players like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan... and I'm sure he'll impress us big time,” Jordan is quoted as saying in Time Magazine. “I personally see that he may even be able to achieve results against me (laughs).”
El Khatib did try out for the Sacramento Kings as well as the Los Angeles Clippers in 2003, who offered him a one-year non-guaranteed contract that is standard for players invited to training camp. But the Clippers had to waive him a day later after finding out that El Khatib was under contract with Club Sagesse Beirut.