Sailors and Captains Celebrate

LAU athletes score wins on and off the court.

By Raissa Batakji

LAU athletes had, quite literally, more than a hundred reasons to celebrate at this year’s two Athletic Dinners, one for each of the two campuses. Apart from their amazing 96 wins across 12 different sports this year, they celebrated new teams, increased female participation in athletics, and the advancement and expansion of LAU’s courts and gyms.

“This year was very successful in terms of results, teams and firsts,” said Director of Athletics Sami Garabedian. He credited the wins to the athletes first and foremost, and to the larger LAU community, which, he said, never fails to encourage his players. He also noted the unwavering support they receive from LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra, Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management Elise Salem and deans of students Raed Mohsen and Makram Ouaiss.

The Athletics Dinner has always taken place at the end of every academic year. During the event, LAU recognizes its student athletes, called the Sailors on Beirut campus and the Captains in Byblos.

Ali Mansour and Tamara Zein won Athletes of the Year on Beirut campus, while Joseph Lahoud and his sister Rashel Lahoud seized the same titles on Byblos campus.

In terms of firsts celebrated this year, there was Alumni Athletics Day, bringing back to campus more than 150 alumni-athletes. The department also established a new women’s handball team, which went on to win first place in the University Sports Conference (USC) Handball League. LAU athletes have also, for the first time, promoted sports off the court through co-organizing campus events such as the LAU Fit Fair and Fun Days.

“LAU has always been and always will be in the forefront of inter-collegiate athletics,” said Garabedian. To name a few, LAU was the first to organize its annual high-school tournament 19 years ago, the first to hire a physical therapist and to introduce athletic scholarships, currently benefiting 114 students across both campuses.

Looking to the future, “LAU is working on the blueprints for expanding the Byblos fitness center,” declared Director of Athletics on Byblos campus Joe Moujaes, explaining that this expansion will add 270 square meters to the facility to accommodate more students and classes.

As for athletic excellence, some particular achievements stood out on the long list. The Track and Field team took home second place at the Dead to Red Desert Race in Jordan, where they ran, in relay, 242 kilometers from the shores of the Dead Sea all the way to the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea. With the Dead Sea being the Earth’s lowest point on land, the entire race was in fact a gradual ascent of 415 meters. With similar endurance, teamwork and calculated moves, the Byblos Men’s Football Team won first place at the USC, and the Women’s Futsal Team came in second at the same tournament, and went on to win the American College of Greece Tournament in Athens.

With our Sailors and Captains at the helm, the LAU Trireme’s next stop will be in Belgrade, where 56 students from Beirut campus and 58 from Byblos will compete in the Belgrade Sports Tournament (BEST 2018) this week. Shortly after coming back, the Byblos Men’s Basketball Team will face off for the USC cup.