Another star of Sharjah's sport season as F1H20 returns for 2019 edition

Nick Watkins - Writer 10:25 19/12/2019
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Back in Sharjah: UIM F1H2O World Championship

The world’s best powerboat racers will be revving their engines this afternoon as qualifying for Saturday’s F1H20 begins. The event is part of the annual Sharjah World Championship Week, which attracts thousands of adrenaline junkies and outdoor sports enthusiasts to the region.

It’s the 20th time the event is being held in the Emirate, thanks to the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) that organises and coordinates tourism in the emirate. Earlier this week the media gathered for a major press conference held at the Al Majaz Waterfront, in the presence of H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; His Excellency Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority and Chairman of Sharjah International Marine Sports Club; Nicolo di San Germano, Promoter, UIM F1 Powerboat and Aquabike World Championship, and a group of racers who are participating in the championship.

The 20th edition of the Sharjah World Championship Week will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Executive Council. As well as the ‘U.I.M. F1H2O World Championship 2019, Grand Prix of Sharjah’ spectators will also get to see, the fifth edition of the UIM-ABP Aquabike Class Pro Circuit World Championship Grand Prix of Sharjah.

Apart from the World Championship Week’s reputation and growing popularity as a sporting event, it also constitutes a global forum that highlights the tourism capabilities of the Emirate of Sharjah and its position as a leading global destination that embraces various major events and activities throughout the year, Al Midfa explained during his speech. His Excellency also welcomed the participation of the UAE teams, especially the Sharjah Formula One Powerboat Team, which will participate for the first time. What’s more, the Emirate’s growing prominence in the sports sector, especially water sports, will be highlighted by the participation of the Sharjah Formula One Powerboat Team during the event. This underscores Sharjah’s 20 years of experience and its outstanding success in harnessing infrastructure resources and its tourism capabilities in order to support the global events and activities sector.

The F1H2O Grand Prix of Sharjah 2019 will witness the participation of more than 85 racers from 30 different countries around the world, who will showcase their skills in speedboat racing at speeds ranging from 90 to 140 miles per hour. H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, said: “The Emirate of Sharjah has a history spanning more than twenty years in the field of hosting and organizing water sport events, which has made it a preferred and ideal place to embrace and organize such global events throughout the year. It is a major destination for tourism events today, thanks to its distinctive infrastructure and tourism features that meet the requirements of all these forums and activities and consider the highest standards of quality and safety in them. Our main promotional message for this year’s tournament is reflected in the slogan ‘Go Full Throttle into Thrill,’ which highlights the emirate’s passion for water sports activities and offering all that is distinctive and exceptional in a renewed and interesting template filled with competitive spirit, entertainment, excitement of winning and championships. We are happy to have all these contestants from inside and outside the country participate, and we wish them all the best, success and distinction in performance as always.”

His Excellency Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority and Chairman of Sharjah International Marine Sports Club, said: “We are proud to be once again hosting this year’s edition of Sharjah World Championship Week, which follows the mandate of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to consolidate Sharjah’s leading position as an ideal destination for sports and leisure based activities. Over the last few years, this event has attracted the participation of the world’s top water sports athletes and professionals–helping us promote and encourage sporting events like this to a wider, global audience while also making Sharjah a well-known name in the international sporting community. We look forward to hosting more athletic events in the future, which seeks to inspire a culture of healthy competition.”

Sharjah Team Drivers

Sami Selio

The two-time World Champion has racked up 150 starts in his 22 years on the tour and will be looking to improve on his 8th place finish in the 2018 edition. His career record boasts an impressive 13 Grand Prix wins and 34 podium finishes. He’s a vastly experienced racer, with his debut season way back in 1998, and his first victory in La Rochelle, France in 2007.

Filip Roms

The 25-year-old is one of the youngest drivers in the competition, despite having competed in the F1H20 World Championship since 2012. Born in Finland, Roms became the youngest driver to podium, aged just 21. His best F1H20 career performance came back in 2016 when he finished second place in Evian, France, qualifying in P2, in Harbin, China, and finished the year in 6th overall. This year he’ll be looking to improve on his 12th place finish in the 2018 edition.

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