Mirza overcame stiff competition from 541 other nominated athletes, across 28 sports, to scoop the prestigious prize – adding to an already extraordinary year for the Emirati cyclist.
The award was presented by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, at a ceremony on Monday which recognised the UAE’s sporting achievements over the past year.
Commenting on the award, Mirza said: “I’m very honoured to pick up this award. Unfortunately I could not attend the ceremony because I’m training in Europe and preparing for my next World Tour race in California, but it adds extra value to my recent achievements in Asia and the UAE.
“It’s great to know that UAE Team Emirates is increasing the awareness of cycling here in the Emirates and I hope this award will inspire even more young people to cycle.”
It has been a momentous year for Mirza, having joined UAE Team Emirates as the first-ever professional Emirati cyclist. He secured his eighth UAE National Road Race title last month, adding to an historic hat-trick of medals at the Asian Track Cycling Championships in Malaysia, which included the Asian Road Cycling Championship and the Omnium track cycling silver medal.
UAE Team Emirates’ participation on the UCI WorldTour gives the local community the opportunity to come together and support world-class athletes as they aim to become one of the top cycling teams on the tour. To find out more about UAE Team Emirates, visit UAETeamEmirates.com.
The General Authority for Sports (GAFS) have announced the criteria on how many UAE-based players can be registered by a club to compete in a move that could also see them potentially represent the national team across various sports.
Last November, the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced a decree, allowing children of Emirati women married to expatriates to participate in all tournaments in the country.
Plans took another step forward when GAFS board announced guidelines after it was approved by the UAE Cabinet. This will come into force for the start of the 2018-19 season which will have a major impact in the development of sports in the UAE.
For example, professional football clubs will be able to field as many players between 4 to 18-year-olds, (born to Emirati women or those that hold a UAE passport) as they wish in their age group teams. They can also register three players that are born in the UAE or reside in the country at youth and first-team level, meaning six players will be in the 30-man squad.
The same rules apply for basketball, volleyball and handball with the only exception that only 10 players for UAE-born and players who live in the UAE can be registered.
Individual sports, disabled sports and rugby, hockey and ice-hockey have no registration limit.
Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, chairman of the board of directors of GAFS, said: “We are very honoured to issue this as it marks a milestone in the UAE sports history. It will encourage more players and athletes to participate in different sports.”
Aref Al Awani, member of GAFS, added: “It will benefit our players and or national teams, help us fill stadiums with lot of families and fans. And when you see a new talent who is capable of joining the national team, we will look to get him onboard abiding by the rules and regulation of the competition.”
BOUNCE, home of the free jumping revolution, is taking free-running to a whole new level in the UAE in April by collaborating with the legendary parkour group ‘Team Farang’ to bring a series of free-running masterclasses across the nation.
Taking place from mid- April and right into May in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, the high-energy masterclasses have been specially devised by Team Farang founder, Shaun Wood, to give aspiring free-runners the lowdown on free-running like a pro.
The Farang Jams @ BOUNCE will see free running enthusiasts learn the basics of parkour, improve fitness levels and challenge themselves to take on cool moves in a fun and safe environment.
Team Farang, meaning “foreigner” in Thai, has made the world their playground by connecting vagabond parkour enthusiasts across the globe, and giving them a place to creatively express themselves.
With a combined track record of Red Bull, Go Pro sponsorships and more than a million followers on Instagram, they are the biggest and baddest free-running team on the planet.
As part of their Middle Eastern leg of the tour, Team Farang will also be inviting schools to bring their P.E. classes to BOUNCE so that kids have the once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the free running activity in a hangout style workshop.
The high-intensity training discipline not only encompasses total body fitness but also helps to foster creativity, promote quick-thinking skills and boosts confidence, all essential for youngsters growing up.
Grab your mates and master the most addictive adrenaline rush you’ll ever experience.
Open to free runners of all skill sets, Farang Jams @ BOUNCE will take place on April 27 in Abu Dhabi and April 28 in Al Ain from 17:00 – 19:00.
For those new to BOUNCE, it is the biggest trampoline and entertainment park in the Middle East, with locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi Al Ain, Jeddah and Doha.
With more than 80 interconnected trampolines visitors to BOUNCE can literally fly through the air and bounce off the walls.
Featuring a Free Running Arena, Flight Academy, Big Bag and the Wall, the trampoline phenomenon is bursting with high-octane activities suitable for all ages and abilities.
Farang Jams @ BOUNCE take the phenomena to a whole new level.
WHAT: Farang Jams @ BOUNCE
WHERE: Bounce in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain
WHEN: 17:00 – 19:00 in Abu Dhabi (April 27) and Al Ain (April 28)