Increasing Emirati participation in ocean-based sports is one of the parameters on which the success of the inaugural Fujairah Classic will be judged, according to Major Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed Darak, the managing director of the emirate's International Marine Club. "It is important that Emiratis connect with the ocean again," said Major Darak.
"The aim of my generation, backed by the Government and all the country's marine clubs, is to bring the youth back to the roots of their heritage. "Dhows and fishing are the natural life of all the UAE. People used to have fishing and agriculture. "Today, there are too few people connected to the sea; it is not an easy life - neither is agriculture - but it would be nice for the younger generation to know where they came from."
While the emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have all developed multi-faceted sea-based sports calendars, Ras al Khaimah's hosting of February's America's Cup has also brought global recognition to the country's east coast. Darak is hoping the start of today's three-day sports fishing tournament, which has a main prize of a slot in next year's International Game Fish Association Offshore World Championship in Mexico, can trigger a similar buzz in Fujairah.
"Our challenge is to market this type of tournament to our people - and the world - so they can learn more about the UAE's culture and roots," Darak said. "The new generation are not as interested as the old in the sea, but the Fujairah Classic is our first step in proving otherwise." @Email:email@example.com