x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Sheikh Ahmed dominates in Al Gharbia waters

Al Barq, owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE, was a comprehensive winner of the inaugural Butinah Race for traditional rowing boats.

Various events took place at the public beach in Al Gharbia over the weekend.
Various events took place at the public beach in Al Gharbia over the weekend.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan was the toast of the Al Gharbia Watersports Festival when the curtain came down on the second staging of the 10-day event. At the closing of the competition on Saturday, held at the Mirfa public beach in Al Gharbia, around 120km west of the capital, the winners of the myriad events − which ranged from kite-surfing to beach football − were feted. Wakeboarding, surf-ski kayaking, modern and traditional sail boat racing and beach volleyball were among the events contested by competitors from the UAE, Europe, South Africa and Australia. The performance of Sheikh Ahmed was arguably the stand-out display of the extravaganza. He was crowned champion of the freestyle kite-surfing contest after fighting off 65 other athletes. Rashed al Falasi's relentless efforts secured him second place, followed by Saeed Butti al Zarif in third. Sheikh Ahmed also claimed a silver medal in the UAE Nationals Race. Al Zarif won the gold medal and Ibrahim Saeed al Hameli was third. The women's kite-surfing race was a European 1-2-3 with Katharina Kailin of Switzerland finishing first, ahead of Austria's Astrid Pitrchi and Belgium's Ann Smith. Meanwhile, in the youth race, Poland's Casper Cizinsi won the gold medal, followed by South Africa's Mark Hoss and Rafael Lauri of France in third. The festivities also saw the Bani Yas team crowned beach football champions after they beat Al Ain University in the final. Another highlight of the festival was the inaugural Butinah Race for traditional rowing boats. Al Barq, owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE, was a comprehensive winner. Among the other 15 boats in the two-mile race were Elyas, owned by the Vital Premises and Utilities Protection Agency, Al Zaabi, owned by Hamed Mohamed al Zaabi and Abu Al Abyad, owned by Ahmed Mohammed al Shehhi. Towards the finish, Al Barq, captained by Mohammed Abdel Aziz Ibrahim, pulled clear to secure first place and scored the festival's cup and the gold medal. He was followed by Al Zaabi, captained by Talal Saif al Zaabi, and Elyas, captained by Ahmed al Nubi Saeed. The Butinah 22-foot dhow race took place on the second day of the event. Maleeh raced to victory, captained by Majed Ahmed Khadem al Meheiri who won Dh25,000. Al Wasl, captained by Khalaf Butti al Merri, won Dh15,000 for second place, and Mozahem, captained by Ateeq Ahmed al Mazrouei, finished third and won Dh10,000. The kayak race was also held on the second day, with Australia making a clean sweep in the three categories: Open, 20km and 10km. Spectators were able to witness the promising performance of young athletes in the schools swimming competitions. Khaled Ismail finished first in the first round of the 50m preparatory schools student competition in 1min 40.21 secs. Ibrahim Ismail was second and Mohammed Abdel Rahman third. The second round was won by Ibrahim Salem, who was followed closely by Ahmed Abdul Rahman and Ammar Abdullah. The 50m contest for high school students was also fiercely contested, with Ibrahim Khamis claiming first in 1min, 31.32sec, followed by Ahmed Yousef and Mohammed Abdullah. sports@thenational.ae