It is not often a person can say they are a world champion in their respective discipline, but Dubai resident Viktor Zaman can reflect back on his career one day that he was on top of the world.
The 30-year-old Croatian national, who has been living in the UAE for the past five years, is a former IFMA World Champion in 2008 and K1 World Championship in 2011.
And the Zagreb native showed his world class abilities recently, sealing victory in the 81kg category of UAE Muay Thai Championship, sponsored by H.H Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
With Muay Thai still at its early stages of development in the Emirates, Zaman is one of the people who has the chance to blaze a trail and grow the sport such is his vast experience in competition and training over the years.
“This is the second year of the Muay Thai competition here and it’s grown a lot,” said Zaman, who holds a mechanical engineering degree.
“With my experience, I want to help build the sport of Muay Thai in the UAE. I want to be more involved and want to build a school for adults and youths to improve and get involved in the sport.”
With a formidable 69 victories from 85 amateur fights, Zaman has gained buckets of knowledge over the years which he feels can help improve the sport in the region.
“At the moment, Muay Thai is still growing in the UAE as the UAE Muaythai-Kickboxing Federation was only formed in 2017. It’s mostly focused in Abu Dhabi but in Dubai it’s picking up,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful martial art of eight limp. You can punch with hands, kicks, knees and elbows with long clinch. It’s a very specific martial art with complete stand up fighting.
“With a good background having already implementing BJJ in the UAE, you are all around prepared for the fight.”
For his fights, Zaman prepares at Power Life Boxing for strength and conditioning work and then does his fighting work at Team Nogueira in Al Quoz.
“I prepared myself with Andrija Heder. I did four months of conditioning. Generally what we are implementing it’s called the Wellbeing Movement training system which we run in the gym, but I did more specific sports performance training made for athletes. Fighting part of preparation I did with Team Nogueira guys. We did sparring combination a few times,” he said.
“I have good experience from my past. If I condition myself, my head is ready and I can achieve everything.”
One of the toughest and most enjoyable races in the region, the Urban-Ultra Mount Sana, is set to return for a second year and will take place in the stunning mountains of the UAE on March 22.
The fully supported single-stage race, which features a choice of 21km and 60km distances to entrants, will see you navigate through rocky terrain – with an elevation profile of approximately 1000 metres in total – and over the spectacular mount passes of Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
This is a race not to be missed and based on the positive response from last year is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year.
Running over difficult terrain and in soaring temperatures is a challenge and not for those who haven’t done much training leading up to the race. But a generous cut-off time of 11 hours to finish allows most physically fit, determined and well-prepared runners to get to the finish.
With event season at its peak in the UAE, the Urban-Ultra Mount Sana is perfect for gutsy and positive individuals. If you think you fit the bill, hurry as you only have until March 14 to sign up.
The only hotel close to the start is Khatt Springs Hotel in Ras Al Khaimah, so your choice is to camp at the Wadi Koob village venue the night before, book the hotel close by or take the 75 minute journey from Dubai on the morning of the race.
As part of the registration, which you will make via Premier Online, each participant will receive a t-shirt.
Checkpoints, water, fruit and electrolytes are all provided by the event organisers throughout the race – but runners have to carry their mandatory kit, with full details found in the athlete guide when you sign up.
Back packs, hats, water pouch, headtorch and sun cream are some of the things you will need to carry among your belongings.
At the finish line, every runner will pick up a medal and be able to share their race experiences with fellow competitors in the race village, where refreshments will be served.
WHAT: Urban-Ultra Mount Sana
WHERE: Wadi Koob village
WHEN: Friday, March 22
CONTACT: For more information or to register, visit urbanultra.com or www.premieronline.com
It was an international affair at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup as Germany were crowned champions at Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi, with team UAE landing their strongest position ever.
The winning team accumulated just six faults across two rounds, beating Ireland into second place. The biggest cheers on the night went to the riders of the UAE team whose third-place finish was the best result for the nation in Middle Eastern qualifying leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup.
The team has now qualified for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Finals, held in Barcelona in October. The event, which was the closing class of the five-star President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines, was contested by seven teams consisting of four horse and rider combinations and included Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Ireland and Saudi Arabia as well as Germany and the UAE.
Germany finished with the lowest score of six faults, putting them ahead of Ireland on 13 and the UAE and Saudi Arabia both on 18. The UAE crept ahead of Saudi Arabia in the rankings because due to the fact they had a faster time.
The German team of Philipp Weishaupt, Mario Stevens, Sven Schlusselberg and Miriam Schneider, rode confidently and strongly to pull ahead of closest competitors, Ireland, in the second round. After the class Wieshaupt, who also won the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines on Thursday, congratulated the UAE team on their best ever Longines FEI Nations Cup finish. “Every year that I come back here it’s getting more and more difficult to win,” he said. “The UAE team are riding really well and it’s not just these four riders – the UAE has a strong team, great horses, great trainers and the facilities here are fantastic. It’s clear that the UAE has a very bright future in this sport.”
The UAE team, consisting of Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, Nadia Taryam, Abdullah Al Marri and Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi were delighted with their third-place finish.
“We have a very close team and we have a good chemistry between us,” said Sheikha Latifa, a World Equestrian Games and Olympic rider, who was the first to ride for the UAE. “I was fine about riding first to be honest, I didn’t feel the pressure because I knew the team had my back.”
The preceding classes before the Longines FEI Nations Cup provided a host of international winners. It was exactly 12 months ago that Rene Tebbel last rode in a horseshow, but that did not stop the Ukranian from winning the five-star Al Shira’aa Challenge, on a horse borrowed from fellow competitor, Vladimir Tuganov.
Tebbel has been riding Cosun on and off over the years and had competed in other classes at the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines over the weekend, but it all came together on Saturday.
The pair put in a fast, smooth clear round in the 150cm jump-off, to go ahead of leader, Alice Debany Clero from the USA in a time of 31.99sec. Kristaps Neretnieks and Moon Ray representing Latvia were third.
“I rode the horse two years ago,” said Tebbel. “He is one of Vladimir Tuganov’s so I have to say thank you to him for letting me ride. This show last year was actually my last show so I came on Monday. I’m very pleased to be here.”
The UAE’s youth riders have been producing solid performances this season and their great run of form continued yesterday when Rashid Dherar Al Thani claimed the UAE Equestrian Federation Children’s Cup on Alima’s Girl. In the process he beat Syria’s Layth Ghareb on Quapitola SR Z and compatriot, Saif Abdulla Mohammed Al Shamsi, on Dezapamillion Mas.
Youth Olympic Games silver medalist, Omar Al Marzooqi successfully defended his Junior Grand Prix title from 2018 when he landed the Al Forsan Junior Cup on Coral Beach Z. He finished ahead of second-placed Austrian rider, Dominic Nazir Bechara and Don Junior MFS and Mohammed Hamad Ali Al Kirbi on Air Ukraine in third. Al Marzooqi was doubling up after winning the junior class on Friday.