Runners took to the track at Abu Dhabi’s NYU Campus stadium for Ultimate Athletics’ busiest race night yet.
The Benni family travelled a whopping 235km to be part of the event, with six children competing in the Junior races. After successful races the family came away with an impressive six medals. “I was looking online for sprint competitions in UAE,” said Mr Benni, “we really appreciate the way the events are organised, it’s been a success.”
Twenty-year-old Aljazi Farhan, part of the Kuwait National Team, took part in the women’s senior 100m, 200m and high jump events. She said: “I came a long way to participate in an organised competition to test my performance level. I’m delighted to set a new personal best too.”
Rising star Muru Sundavadra, 11, from Foremarke School, Dubai, won five gold medals on the night. He trains at Ultimate Athletics in Dubai and impressed the crowd winning all his events – 80m, 150m, 300m, triple jump and high jump. He said, “My favorite sport is athletics I literally run to training each week, I would go every day if my schedule allowed.” The youngster continued, “Ultimate Athletics pushed me every session and as a result I achieved five first place finishes. My goal is to become a professional athlete and represent my country at the Olympics.”
Recent Dassa Schools Champion and Most Valuable Athlete Ross McDonald, 15, ran the 400m, final race of the night, in a blistering 51.29. He is one of Ultimate Athletics Elite Squad Athletes traveling to Gothenburg for the World Youth Games this June, coached under Joseph Maynard. He is a raw talent, having only been training a year ago after being referred to Ultimate Athletics by his P.E Teacher at English College Dubai.
Also in action was local Olympic Athlete Saud Al Zaabi, racing out of the Al Nasr Club, who run 50.19 in the 400m. He competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 1500m and 800m at the 2017 World Championships. This race was used as a pre competition turnover race for his upcoming 800m season.
Ultimate Athletics’ organiser Lisa Campbell spoke after Thursday’s event: “It was a beautiful evening that reminded me why I do this, the passion on the athletes faces, the chance to shine, the opportunity to form friendships even though on the track you are rivals. It’s worth every second of preparation time and travel to see these smiles and even sometimes the tears.”
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