Our experts have put their heads together to create a five-team shortlist for Sport360's Regional Sportsman of the Year for 2015.
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It has certainly been a year to remember for the Al Ahli forward, who has fired for both club and country in historic fashion. The 24-year-old became the first UAE player to win the AFC Player of the Year Award and only the third in Asian football history to add that to a Youth Player of the Year gong.
At the start of the year Khalil’s goals took the UAE to third place in the Asian Cup, before his joint second-highest six goals saw Al Ahli to their first AFC Champions League final. He also netted 10 goals in six World Cup qualifiers for his country.
Abdulrahman’s domestic dominance finally burst on to the international stage this year as his stellar performances for the UAE made the world take notice. The playmaker, fresh off the back of inspiring Al Ain to Arabian Gulf League glory, was supreme at the point of the UAE midfield.
He was also on the three-man shortlist for the AFC Player of the Year award, narrowly missing out to UAE teammate Khalil. Omar has continued his fine form for both club and country and assisted six of the UAE’s ten goals against Malaysia in World Cup qualifying.
Former world champion and double Paralympic medallist Hammadi had a hugely successful 2015 that culminated in claiming three silvers and a bronze at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha last month.
The wheelchair racer narrowly missed out on gold in the T34 800m event, finishing just 0.3 seconds behind Tunisia’s Walid Ktila, who needed a championship record to beat the UAE man. Hammadi is now hoping to build on that form and carry vital momentum into the Rio 2016 Games.
The Qatari is one of the most recognizable sportsmen in the region thanks to decades of rallying glory and 2015 was no different. A second FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies was clinched this year, as was the Dakar Rally crown.
Not only that, Al Attiyah clinched his 11th FIA Middle East Rally Championship and closed in on the record of another regional rally legend, Mohammed Bin Sulayem. At 44 years of age, Al-Attiyah shows no signs of slowing down.
The leading rider of the UAE national team, Yousif Mirza is at the fore of a cycling revolution in the UAE and the Gulf. It has been a turbulent 2015 for Mirza who suffered a motorcycle crash in May, a day after helping Al Nasr clinch gold in the President's Cup.
He returned to the track in fine fashion in October, winning a silver medal in the Points race at the ACC Track Asia Cup in Bangkok. Mirza also clinched a qualification spot in the road race at the Rio 2016 Olympics and is hoping to follow that up with a track berth.
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