Thrilling seeking Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani has successfully summited Mount Elbrus; his fifth adventure in the past two years for charity.
Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani completed the expedition in the name of Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) – the Qatari non-governmental organisation focused on making quality education accessible across Asia.
Joining him on the climb to the tallest peak in Europe – at 5,642m, were Massoud Kalafchi, Raed Zidan, Ziad Al-Sharabi, Ali Jaber and Abdulaziz Kafoud, along with videographer, Elia Saikaly.
Together the group forms ‘Arabs with Altitude’, a team of adrenaline-rush seeking explorers who trek the globe in search of higher heights to reach.
Their lastest adventure saw the group ascend Mount Elbrus, a dormant volcano along the Caucasus mountain range in south Russia, having already conquered Mount Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Blanc and Vinson.
With each climb, Al Thani continues to work in collaboration with organisations that motivate people to dream big and do more. ROTA for one, continues to champion the cause of ‘education as a right for every child’.
Al Thani said: “I am moved by causes that motivate people to move; to change their perceptions or the way things have always been in the search for something better. With each climb, I move out of my comfort zone but come closer to becoming the individual I aspire to be.”
He added: “Along the way I have learned to appreciate each mountain for its own set of challenges. Every summit is a lesson in patience, and is a call to the notion that ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’.”
The UAE are riding on a tide of confidence and fancying their chances of faring well at the 7th Arab Snooker Championships 2012, which get under way at the Dubai Snooker Club on Saturday.
With the late arrival of Libya, the total number of teams has gone up to 12 countries, who will vie for top honours in the men’s singles, men’s team and youth singles competitions.
The UAE’s top-ranked cueist and former Asian Indoor Games gold medallist Mohammed Shehab achieved the rare feat of scoring a maximum 147-point break during a practice match a few days ago.
Shehab, who is also the defending champion, is the top seed in men’s singles competition, followed by another seasoned UAE campaigner, Mohammed Al Joaker.
Besides Shehab and Al Joaker, young Khalid Kamali has also been impressing national team coach Obaid Khalifa, scoring a few century breaks during practice matches recently.
Khalifa said: “Kamali is our top bet for the youth singles title. We are not sure how good players from the other participating countries are, but he has been doing very well and we have high hopes.”
As the host nation, UAE has been allowed to enter two players in the youth (under-21) singles event and the second player representing the country will be the highly-talented Badr Obaid.
Sultan Al Joaker, secretary general of the UAE Billiards & Snooker Association, said: “I realise that UAE has always been a leading title contender at all regional events for a long time, but the competition is getting stronger and other countries have improved a lot.
“We are expecting a very tough challenge from Syria and Egypt but we are ready to defend our title. Qatar also have a couple of good experienced players,” the secretary general added.
UAE snooker star Mohamed Shehab’s form nosedived as the Seventh Arab Snooker Championships 2012 kicked off at the Dubai Snooker Club on Saturday, but he still managed to douse a spirited challenge by Qatar’s Mohsen Bukshaisha and score a 4-2 victory.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Al Joaker, the other leading UAE title contender and the No. 2 seed, blazed on all guns as he routed Qatar’s top bet for this year’s top honours Ahmed Saif 4-1 in Group E.
Al Joaker was undaunted by the fact that his Qatari opponent has of late produced highly impressive results and had the control of the game most of the tie.
On the adjacent table, teammate Shehab’s form however was in gross contrast to his heroics in the practice matches over the past couple of weeks.
Shehab had a fine start to his first match in Group A as he took the opening frame with ease, but Bukshaisha then tightened his safety further and evened the score by grabbing the tight second.
The top-seeded Shehab once again had his way in the third, but was made to work hard for a win in the fourth frame for a 3-1 advantage. Bukshaisha did not give in and bounced back to narrow the margin to 3-2.
Shehab recovered in time to get into his rhythm and some fine potting saw him through the sixth frame, giving him a 4-2 victory.
Shehab said: “It is strange that I was doing so well in practice matches and then fail to carry the form into the tournament. There is always some pressure on top ranked players in the opening matches and maybe this was the case today.
“Mohsen and I have played against each other many times and he knows well how to make things difficult for me. I didn’t play well enough and it turned out to be a tough game. I hope it will prepare me for my remaining matches in the tournament.”
Both Shehab and Al Joaker were required to win their second group stages late on Saturday night to secure places in the knockout last 16 stage of the event, which is being sponsored by Apparel Group under the banner of popular Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop brand, the UAE National Olympic Committee and Dubai Sports Council.