Fazza Championship for Shooting begins on January 21

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Cultural legacy: The Fazza Championship for Shooting has evolved into an important heritage tournament.

The 13th Fazza Championship for Shooting – "Saktoun Rifle" will kick off on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at the Dubai Police shooting fields in Ruwayyah. Organised and supervised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre, and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the Championship is set to feature a large participation from marksmen of various nationalities.

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Participants of the Championship will be given the opportunity to train and prepare for the event at the venue from January 18-20, and will be provided with all necessary equipment and amenities to facilitate the training, with the provision of trainers and specialists to help them get ready for the expected strong competition.

Souad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of the Fazza Championships, said: "Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Fazza Championship for Shooting – ‘Saktoun Rifle’ will kick off with participation from contestants of all age groups and social segments. The Championship has evolved into an important heritage tournament with a wide appeal, and enjoys a sterling reputation for its high level of competition.”

"The tournament has undergone remarkable development over the years in terms of its organisation, categories and number of participants. In keeping with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre’s commitment to preserve the UAE’s national heritage and its traditional sports, we are constantly striving to enhance all aspects of the tournament experience. The Championship in its inaugural edition had comprised just one category and featured non-traditional weapons; however, in order to preserve the heritage aspect of the sport, we restricted the weapon used to the traditional Saktoun gun. In time, we added several new categories, including ‘Juniors’, ‘Dual Team’, and ‘Junior Women’s’, and finally the ‘Elderly’ category,” she added.

Brigadier Mohammed Obaid bin Abed Al Muhairi, head of the organising committee, thanked Sheikh Hamdan for his support in preserving the cultural legacy of the shooting sport and his patronage of the ‘Fazza’ heritage championships, which have gained global recognition, attracting new participants every year from around the world.

"The Fazza Championship for Shooting – Saktoun Rifle is a unique tournament because it brings all members of the family, from grandparents to parents and children, together on one platform to take part in the different categories of the tournament, which we may not see in any other tournament in the world. The Championship categories cover the full spectrum, ranging from the Juniors’ category for those above 16 years of age to the Elderly category for people above 54. We offer free training with all equipment and facilities for participants of any nationality on the announced dates, and free training all-year-long for UAE nationals,” he said.

“The Saktoun rifle is a traditional weapon used by our ancestors in hunting, and is considered  the ideal gun for beginners, who can effortlessly shift to using any other gun after learning shooting with Saktoun,” he continued.

Participants in the ‘Dropping Dishes’ category should register during the three days of training, before the competitions start, while registration  for Target Shooting can be done on the day of the event.

The main tournament will be held on January 21-22, while the Men’s and Junior Men’s category competitions will take place on January 22. Junior Men’s competitions will continue on January 23, alongside competitions in the Junior Women’s, Dropping Dishes and Women's categories. The Championship will conclude on January 24, with competitions in the Saktoun Shooting and Dropping Dishes categories, which will be followed by the tournament Finals.

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Team SOCRAT finishes first on Day 2 of Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge

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Team SOCRAT proved to be the winner in Day 2 of the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge.

The second day of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge ended at Shams Solar Power Station this evening, with Team SOCRAT crossing the line first after a 325km drive across the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

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The UAE team Petroleum Institute, who set of in the lead this morning, came in second just behind the leaders from Istanbul. Crossing the line first in solar car challenges does not guarantee winning the stage – any time penalties incurred will be added to the overall time at the end of the day.

Travelling from Turkey to take part in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, SOCRAT were delighted with their progress so far. Serdar Zurnaci, driver, said: “We have had a good couple of days and everything has gone according to plan.

"We drove well today, and are pleased with our first position. The roads were often tricky, with city and desert driving. We still have a way to go but we have a good shot at winning. We have worked extremely hard for this

“We thank every member of the team for all their hard work and togetherness!"

The teams left Shams early this morning, travelling towards Liwa, via Hameem, before turning back on to finish at Shams.

The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge is the first International Solarcar Federation (ISF) sanctioned event to be held in the Middle East.

It is sponsored by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and hosted by Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar, as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Organisers are encouraging the public to attend all stopovers for a chance to see the cars up close and personal and meet the teams.

Stopover points are as follows: 19thJanuary: 8:30am at the multipurpose Arena at Zayed Sports City and 10am at World Future Energy Summit at ADNEC.

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Qatar hosts World Handball Championship at Lusail

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The final list of groups of the contending countries during the 24th Men's Handball World Championship official draw in Doha.

Qatar will look to put its best foot forward when it hosts the World Handball Championship at the newly-developed city of Lusail.

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The tournament provides a chance for Qatar to show it can successfully manage a top-class event, as it prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Twenty-four teams will contest for a cup made of pure gold during the event that takes place between January 15 and February 1. France, Denmark and Spain are among the favourites and Qatar’s national team is predicted to make the quarter-finals.

But it is what happens off the handball court that is arguably far more important for Qatar’s sporting ambitions.

The tournament is an opportunity to reverse the negative press which has surrounded its sporting ambitions, said Simon Chadwick, professor of sports business strategy at Coventry University.

“The established perception needs to be changed and reversed,” he said.

“What Qatar needs is tangible proof that its strategy of investing in sport events is working.”

“The handball provides an opportunity for people to get to know Qatar for running high-profile sporting events rather than being a country in the desert with lots of money and accused over FIFA scandals,” Chadwick added.

It is the Lusail Multipurpose Hall which will provide that litmus test for Qatar’s aspirations. The opening ceremony, opening game, final and many of the major games will be played at the hall, a dome-like $300 million (Dh1.1bn) structure.

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