New television channel Yas to showcase traditional Emirati sports
ABU DHABI // Increasing the exposure of traditional Emirati sports to the broader Arab world is the focus of Yas sports channel, the latest offering by Abu Dhabi Media.
Launched at the President’s Endurance Cup, Yas is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week channel focusing on the country’s traditional sports – camel racing, falconry, horse racing and dhow racing.
By looking at these sports, those behind the channel hope to shed new light on Emirati identity and heritage.
Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, chairman and managing director of Abu Dhabi Media, said the channel’s focus will enhance the values of the UAE people. “Our newly launched channel represents and honours both our nation’s past and present,” he said.
“Yas, whose name traces back to the UAE ‘Bani Yas’ tribe, operates based on a clear national vision that identifies sports as a human language and as the link connecting our innovations and achievements, rising above common differences such as age, background and nationality.”
In addition to a variety of pre-recorded programmes such as documentaries and expert–led talk shows, Yas hopes to showcase a unique “never-seen-before perspective” to covering live sporting events.
Races will not be televised as mere animals racing or jumping over obstacles and showing their beauty. Instead, Yas will attempt to put the viewer into the competition.
As part of its racing coverage, viewers will have the chance to get the jockey’s view of the horse or camel, thanks to a camera mounted on the jockey and on the racing animal’s head, bringing a new dimension to sports television.
Adding to its race coverage, Yas producers have made a series of documentaries on horsemanship and its history in the UAE, among them the story of Godolphin, the legendary Arabian horse.
Regularly scheduled programming will include daily shows Flash News, giving viewers the latest sports headlines, and Lifestyle, focusing on fitness, fashion, health and nutrition. Every morning Marhaba Al Alam will host celebrities and guests to discuss traditional sports-related topics.
Yas’s range of weekly programmes will give more in-depth coverage and will include shows such as Al Rakkad, showcasing authentic Arabian sports of Emirati and Gulf origin. Al Hatheera will delve into the world of falconry, while Al Qudra will shed light on the unique nature of endurance racing. Al Serdal puts marine sports on the screen.
Abdulla Faraj Al Falasi, director of marketing, events and media with the Dubai Camel Racing Club, said a station like Yas could make an impact in promoting his sport, particularly to an audience with little exposure to camel racing.
“We have been looking for a station like this for a long time,” he said. “[The UAE] has unique sports that are not available in other countries. When you watch a camel race for the first time, you will feel it. You will want to watch it all the time. It’s exciting and it’s unique.”
Yas hopes its role will go beyond straight coverage, taking viewers around the country to promote national landmarks, particularly sport-related landmarks that are little known to residents, station officials said.
“Yas will become the leading channel covering both local and international sport events,” said Abdul Hadi Al Sheikh, executive director of television at Abu Dhabi Media, which also publishes The National.
“We are committed to adopting the latest technology that will aid in showcasing these vibrant sports and introducing them to new audiences.”
Updated: February 20, 2015 04:00 AM