-The Esquire 100 - Chris McHardy
The Dubai-based radio host and sports boffin, Chris McHardy shares his Top 3 sporting highlights from a near-decade of working in the Gulf region:
"The London Olympics in 2012 saw the UAE football team come to the fore catapulting themselves into the conscious of the global footballing public. Over here we had known of the quality and potential of Mahdi Ali’s team – including the likes of Omar Abdulrahman – and on that big stage of the Olympics they showed the world just what a talented bunch they were. A year later the same team went on to win the Gulf Cup in Bahrain, with Abdulrahman becoming the talisman of the team and cementing himself as the face of a new generation of footballers from the region."
"Another major highlight for me was at the Dubai World Cup in 2017 at Meydan. The horse race has become one of the major dates on the sporting calendar in the region. That was the year we saw Arrogate, a horse that was a huge favourite to win the race, have an absolutely shocking start to the race coming out of the starting stalls last. But what we then witnessed over the next 90-or-so seconds still makes the hairs on the back on my neck stand up, as the horse came from behind to win the race as the rain poured down in the desert. It was one of the great horse races, and was a privilege to be there that night to witness it."
"A personal career highlight of mine was interviewing the legend that is Diego Armando Maradona at his house on The Palm. To spend four hours in the company of the great man, discussing everything that he did and achieved in his career – from the ‘Goal of the Century’ to the ‘Hand of God’ – was a fascinating insight into what a man like that tick. The highpoint though, was clearly when I played him in a game of Foosball, and beat him 2-1."