Emirati karting sisters explain why keeping fit is essential for success in the sport
Young Emirati go-karters Amna and Hamda Al Qubaisi have had an impressive year in their sporting field. We caught up with the sisters, aged 16 and 14 years respectively, to find out more about their love for the sport and how they stay in shape to keep at the top of their game.
How did you get in to karting and what do you love about it?
Amna: When we were younger, our father [professional racing driver Khaled Al Qubaisi] used to always talk with us about racing – the tracks, the other drivers – everything and anything to do with racing. After watching him on TV and supporting him at his races, we turned to each other and thought: “Why don’t we try that?” After that, there really was no looking back. Karting is such an exciting sport. You get to face new challenges every day. Every day is about training, learning and improving to be the best racers we can be. Another amazing part of karting is the opportunity to travel to different places, with new tracks, different karts, different tyres, different engines and different competitors.
Aside from practising your karting, do you do any special training to help keep you fit?
Hamda: It is really important for racers to have good endurance so that we don’t feel tired during races. We make sure that we do a lot of training – CrossFit, cardio, weight training and running – to make sure that we are race fit. Training is one hour a day, four days a week.
How important is it to have a strong body for karting? Does karting require a lot of strength and fitness?
A: Races can be long, and we need to be focused 100 per cent of the time, so it is important that we always remain in shape and have good stamina. You also need to be in the right frame of mind, so it is important to remain mentally strong during a race – anything can happen.
Do you follow a special diet to keep you healthy for racing?
H: Racing is like any sport – you need to stay in shape. Physical activity and food are the most important things to stay race-fit, so we can’t eat too many sweet things.
How important is it for young people to make physical activity a part of their day?
A: It is really important for young people nowadays to be active. Being physically active can make you feel better, stronger, more powerful. Before I started racing, I was quite a shy person but I found it in me to become more aggressive in reaching for what I wanted most. Racing really inspired me – it is how I became brave, and now stand up for what I believe in.
Do you see yourselves as role models for other young girls and women?
A: As the only two Arab females who are racing in the UAE karting championships, we want to inspire other women in the Arab world. Racing is a male-dominated sport but motorsport is quite easy in that everybody is equal on the track. People can win, people can have bad luck – everybody faces challenges.
H: We believe that if you have a dream, you should hold on to it and try your hardest. Many people don’t think they’re brave enough to try something new. If someone tells you you’re not brave enough, that is the perfect reason to try.
Updated: December 28, 2016 04:00 AM