Training alone at Hamdan Sports Complex, it’s easy to spot UAE-born Serbian star Velimir Stjepanovic swim length after length.
“Just five more to go,” the 23-year-old tells me as I wait poolside to talk to him.
You wouldn’t guess by watching his rhythmic action in full flight, but for Stjepanovic, actually getting back into the pool and doing what he does best hasn’t been as easy as it looks in recent times.
Last August, the Dubai resident headed to the Rio Olympics with great expectation of winning a medal, but by his own admission, it was a big, big disappointment to come home from Brazil empty-handed.
Indeed, so much so, upon his return, he stepped away from the pool for more than three months and didn’t submerge into the water once.
2017 started off in the best way possible. I got married to the love of my life and best friend @jessicaolie on the 14th January. This is my absolute favourite picture of the day, but it still doesn't do the day justice as we celebrated with close family and friends, it was better than I could have ever pictured it. Thank you for standing by my side and being awesome and saying "I do". I love you, Jessica Olie.
The iconic boxer will be in the city to launch the Mike Tyson Academy (MTA) on Thursday May 4.
Tyson will attend a press conference at Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa to announce his latest business venture, which will see a host of fitness centres link-up with his academy.
Are you looking forward to seeing the Iron in the UAE?
I'll be in Dubai May 4th for press conference to announce a new international business venture, franchise fitness centers called @miketysonacademy. Press conference will take place at the monumental Burj Khalifa. For any additional information add my biz partner @fredfrenchy #presscon #burjkhalifa #mydubai #fitnesscenter #franchise #miketysonacademy #launch #international #eliteoffitness
Humaid Al Kaabi’s months of preparation finally paid off as the young Emirati battled through pain to claim his maiden gold at the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Youth Championship.
The 17-year-old teenager fell short of his quest to stand at the top of the podium last year, settling for bronze. But this time, he reigned supreme in the blue 66kg division after defeating Belgium’s Henri Duchateau 2-0.
“Since last April I had made it my goal to win the gold medal and I swear to God I put my everything to make it happen,” he said, who was competing in the youth category for the final time.
“Today my body felt before the final as if I have to give up the fight as it was hurting me a lot. I had lost considerable amount of weight.
“I will keep to train hard and continue working hard. I had trained so hard this year that I couldn’t walk after my training. And in the end this gold medal is worth all that hardwork.
“This is the biggest achievement for me in my life and hopefully I will move up a belt next year.”
Al Kaabi was one of 400 Emiratis to take to the mat at the IPIC Arena with the UAE topping the medal table with 45 golds, 50 silvers and 75 bronzes.
Russia finished second with a haul of 35 medals (13 golds, five silvers and 17 bronzes) with Kazakhstan in third with 21 (seven golds, six silvers and eight bronzes).
Among the winners for Jordan was seventeen-year-old Abdula Mohammed Shouga, who won in the 94kg blue belt division.
“I have been practicing jiu-jitsu for five years and this is my third year at the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship,” he said.
“Today’s competition was challenging for me but it was also very exciting. Today was a great day for me, I am so happy to have won the gold medal.”
For Jassim Al Mansoure, he was thrilled his children – Mohammed and Seif won gold.
He said: “I am really happy that my children have had the chance to participate in the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship and both were able to take home gold in their categories. I help them train every day and we train two hours every day. I believe that the sport is going from strength to strength not only in the UAE but across the world.”
“I would like to thank the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation for all their hard work, not only for putting on a great Championship but for what they do for Jiu-Jitsu, because of them Abu Dhabi is now known as the Capital of Jiu-Jitsu and they have created a new generation of champions. This has really raise the bar for the sport itself.”