Bringing UAE’s rich heritage to the fore with Fazza Al Youlah Championship

Hiba Khan 4/01/2018
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There is no better place to see UAE’s culture come to life than Heritage Village, set up for the fourth consecutive year by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) at Global Village, which transports spectators to the rich past of the emirates every evening.

The Village features the Meydan, a prestigious platform that has played a vital role in keeping UAE’s unique traditional sport – Youlah – alive with the Fazza Championship.

Youlah dance has been a long- standing tradition in the UAE culture with its origins in the army as a celebratory jig that was done with real weapons in the past.

It has come a long way since then, evolving aesthetically into a sport as rifles were replaced by replicas.

The performer or ‘Yaweel’, as they are called, go through rigorous training to master spinning the rifle with the lightest of footwork.

The performance also includes flinging the rifle as high as possible before catching it. A laser beam scans the sky at a height of 17-20m. A loud buzzer goes off when a contestant reaches that height with the rifle throw.

Fazza Championship for Youlah 2017-18

Fine balance: contestants in Youlah Championship are judged on footwork and overall fluidity of their performance

Youlah is an integral part of Emirati culture. Practice starts early in life with the sport a symbol of pride for Emirati men.

Championship organisers HHC have revised the format of competition this year with 16 finalists and a stand-by team chosen after a record number of 411 took part in the qualification rounds held on November 23-24 at Al Meydan Fort in Global Village.

Four contestants perform during each episode from which two will qualify to the next round.

A public vote will be taken into account while finalising the four semi-finalists who will then fight it out in the grand finale.

This week was the third episode of the Youlah Championship and the season will run until March with a grand prize of Dh1 million on offer.

Judges evaluate contestants on footwork, rotation of the rifle, the throw, catch and overall fluidity of the movements, before awarding a score out of 50.

HHC works tirelessly to pro- mote and preserve Emirati heritage sports and with the use of latest digital technology they have enhanced the experience and taken the tradition sport to a whole new level.

“We have witnessed a remarkable development over the past 13 years in the Meydan programme, which is broadcast on the small screen and reaches millions of viewers in the country and abroad. It high- lights the heritage of the people of the UAE and the success of this legacy,” said Suad Ibrahim Darwish, director of Champion- ships at HHC.

Darwish added competitions like Youlah embody the centre’s efforts to conserve and promote traditional sports among the new generation.

“We have been conducting the Fazza Championship for Youlah for the past 18 years. We are reaping the results of having programmes throughout the year for the youth of the country to exercise their skills in this unique traditional sport.

Most of the contestants graduated from competitions at the Fazza Championship Summer Youlah for Junior and Fazza Championship Youlah for Schools.

“It is very important that the new generation grow up with a passion for the sport of Youlah,” she said.

To help contestants with their performance, HHC announced special daily training programmes at Al Meydan Fort in Global Village from 17:00 to 20:00 conducted by professionals. The programme is open to everyone.

The Youlah Championship is broadcast live on Sama Dubai every Friday from 21:00.

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Happy New Year: Sports stars from Ronaldo to Federer take to social media to toast 2018

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Sports stars all around the world, from Cristiano Ronaldo to Virat Kohli and Lionel Messi, took to Twitter and Instagram to welcome 2018.

Here’s how some of the world’s biggest stars wished their fans a happy new year.

Parabéns mãe!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

FELIZ 2018 !! 🎆🎆

A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi) on

Happy 2018!

A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on

2017🙏🏽

A post shared by Nj 🇧🇷 👻 neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

#2017BestNine ❤

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

Happy New Year! @annalewandowskahpba

A post shared by Robert Lewandowski (@_rl9) on

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Andy Murray features among top social media posts by sport stars in 2017

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Murray's tweet caught the attention of social media enthusiasts.

From LeBron James and Andy Murray questioning US President Donald Trump, to Cristiano Ronaldo winning his fifth Ballon d’Or and Peter Crouch comparing himself to a giraffe, sportsmen and women have been quick to share their thoughts on social media once again throughout 2017.

Here, we take a look back at some of the best posts from the year.

TWITTER

In one of the most touching moments of 2017, Jermain Defoe paid an emotional tribute to his ‘best friend’ Bradley Lowery after the youngster lost his battle to illness:

Did anyone have Peter Crouch down as a comedian? This post certainly got people laughing, as he enjoyed some time with his ‘family’:

Andy Murray – jokingly – followed in Donald Trump’s footsteps by refusing to accept an award because it meant he had to do an interview:

Pakistan thrashed India by 180 runs to win the Champions Trophy. Ex-captain Shahid Afridi, who has suffered a few losses to India at major events, was relieved.

Another sportsman takes on US President Donald Trump with LeBron James questioning his decision to not allow the Golden State Warriors to visit the Whitehouse. This is the most retweeted sports posts of 2017:

When little met large! Gymnast and Olympic champion Simone Biles poses for a photo with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal:

The iPhone X’s new face recognition software left John Cena with more questions than answers ahead of its release:

How did Conor McGregor go about announcing he’d be boxing against Floyd Mayweather? With a not-so-subtle dig at his age:

Lieke Martens eventually lifted the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award. That was largely down to helping Holland triumph at the UEFA Women’s Championship:

Jack Wilshere has had his fair share of injuries over the last few seasons, but even he found the funny side of it after an ice skating trip with his family:

After his goal confirmed Chelsea’s Premier League success, Michy Batshuayi – another excellent character on social media – made sure he let his fans know he had it all under control:

Kevin Pietersen tore into England management after Ben Duckett became the third player to be involved in an alcohol-related incident and was subsequently dropped.

He became a huge Twitter sensation in 2017 and Benjamin Mendy didn’t waste time ripping into Manchester City teammate Kyle Walker on social media:

INSTAGRAM

This now infamous post from Gerard Pique seemed to suggest that Neymar would not be joining PSG:

Se queda.

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A short and sweet message from Roger Federer after he lifted his 19th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon:

#19 tastes great #wimbledon

A post shared by Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) on

Another amazing year for Cristiano Ronaldo saw him win a record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or in a special ceremony in Paris:

On a special night at the Camp Nou, Barcelona won 6-1 to knock PSG out of the Champions League – and the whole of Twitter couldn’t believe it:

In one of the biggest fights of the year, Anthony Joshua proved to the world just how good he was by defeating Vladimir Klitschko:

This is what Wembley looked like 🔥#AJBoxing

A post shared by Anthony Joshua (@anthony_joshua) on

It may have only been a bronze medal, but Usain Bolt’s final 100m race at the 2017 World Championships was ‘extra special’:

A special moment for Garbine Muguruza as she beats Venus Williams to become the Wimbledon champion:

After winning his 10th French Open, Rafael Nadal posted this on Instagram:

#CHAMP10N

A post shared by Rafa Nadal (@rafaelnadal) on

Francesco Totti says thank you after announcing his retirement from football:

Grazie!

A post shared by Francesco Totti (@francescototti) on

Tom Brady posted this after he became the first NFL player to win five Super Bowls with one side, when the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons:

Catch me at the parade How Bout Dat

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

After the ban on Chennai IPL franchise was lifted, India keeper MS Dhoni posted this photo wearing the famous yellow jersey with ‘Thala’ (meaning ‘leader’ in Tamil) printed on the back, hinting at a possible return to the city once the new season kicks off.

A post shared by @mahi7781 on

Australia captain Steve Smith revealed his delight after regaining the Ashes from England in mid-December:

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