DUBAI // The Jumeirah Beach Residences shoreline was packed yesterday with people celebrating the first day of the new year, as well as spectators enjoying one of Dubai's first sporting events of 2011.
Organisers of the season-opener of the UAE Jet-Ski Championship said thousands of people flocked to watch the event held in the waters opposite JBR. "It was quite spectacular," said Sharon Allison, from the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), which organised the event. "The beach was packed."
The races yesterday were the first in a seven-round championship, which will be decided in April. The second round will be held in Dubai on January 8.
About 70 competitors took part in yesterday's events - held in six categories - from countries including Italy, France, Kuwait and the UAE. The first races got under way at 10.30am, with competitors aiming to complete the most course laps in 15 minutes.
There was also a "freestyle" event, where competitors had two minutes to show off their best jet-ski tricks.
Nadir Bin Hendi, 40, was among the strongest competitors yesterday, winning in two events. "It was nice to see lots of spectators," he said. "It was a great atmosphere."
Omar Abdulla al Rashid was also among yesterday's winners, coming first in the Ski Limited event. "I was very happy because this was the first race of the year," said the 17-year-old Emirati. "So many people were watching and I was happy I got first place."
After the success of the first round, DIMC plan to hold the rest of their championship races in the waters off JBR, Ms Allison said.