Year 2017 has seen some exceptional regional team and individual displays and Sport360 commemorates these performances in our year end awards.
Every year there are some exceptional regional team and individual displays, and 2017 was no different.
From football to golf to swimming, headlines have been created with their achievements filling up countless column inches of this newspaper.
For Egyptians, it’s been a memorable 12 months with their national side qualifying for their first World Cup since 1990, while Farida Osman put the country on the map in the pool.
UAE rugby side Abu Dhabi Harlequins enjoyed an exceptional year, wrapping up all five domestic titles, while Henk Ten Cate used all his experience to bring success to Al Jazira.
Golfer Rayhan Thomas had a year to remember while the likes of Chirag Suri, Amna Al Qubaisi, Ed Jones and Achraf Hakimi deserve praise for their fine feats. Here are the Sport360° Regional Sports Award winners for 2017…
SPORTSMAN ON THE YEAR
Since arriving at Liverpool in the summer, the Egyptian forward has been a revelation. His blistering pace and eye in front of goal, has already seen him score 21 goals in all competitions and we have not even reached the new year yet. More memorably, he kept his cool to hit the decisive penalty that sent Egypt to next year’s World Cup – his fifth goal for the Pharaohs in the qualifers.
SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Became the first Egyptian – man or woman – to win a medal at a World Aquatic Championships, claiming bronze in the 50m butterfly in Budapest last summer, her 25.39 seconds swim smashing the African record. Earlier, Osman won her first-ever individual NCAA title for Cal Berkeley, becoming the third-fastest swimmer in history in the 100-metre butterfly with 50.05 seconds.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
The best year in their history, the best year arguably in any UAE sports team’s history. An unprecedented five trophies were lifted by Mike McFarlane’s dominant side as they steamrollered all before them – the West Asia Premiership, West Asia Cup and UAE Premiership all earned in 2017. To put their achievement in context, Real Madrid have just won five trophies in 2017 – something even one of the most successful sides in club football history had never done in a calendar year.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The Dutchman showed why he held assistant roles at Barcelona and Chelsea by masterminding Al Jazira to their second-ever league triumph. He admitted he didn’t have the best players but he did have the best team, and that showed as his side came through two stern matches to face Real Madrid in the Club World Cup semi-final, before finishing fourth – the best ever position by a UAE side.
A year that saw him make the cut at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Dubai-based prodigy rewrote history by becoming the first Indian to reach the semi-finals of the US Junior Amateurs. As top seed, he was also part of the International side that lost to the US at the Junior President’s Cup and also shot a world record-equalling nine birdies in a row on the MENA Tour.
Not only did she become the first Emirati girl to win the Rotax Max Challenge, but also she won a seat in Formula 4 next year with the Prema team.
Was part of Gujarat Lions’ squad in the IPL, becoming the first UAE cricketer to do so. Didn’t play but his skills saw him break into the senior team.
The 19-year-old rightback finally made his Real Madrid first team debut, scoring once in his four caps, as well as opening his account for Morocco.
Dubai-born star had a debut to remember, producing a stunning rookie performance to finish third in the Indy 500 for Dale Coyne Racing.