Wadi Adventure hosts second edition of Surf & Skate Jam

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Riding the wave: A variety of waves will be created for competitors to surf.

Following last year’s successful edition, Wadi Adventure and Volcom have teamed up again with Rage to present the second “Just add Volcom” Surf and Skate Jam, this Friday, May 2.

Although registration is closed for competitors, members of the public are invited to visit the Wadi Adventure Park in Al Ain, where they take in some “scintillating” surfing and skating action from 09:00 onwards.

With the popular “Rage Volcom” mini ramp being set up right in front of the pool for the competition, surfers will battle it out on the water while skaters will be pushed to the limits on land.

“Spectators can expect a great day out and witness some scintillating action,” says Ryley Heffernan, marketing manager (Action Sports and Lifestyle Division) at Dubai Desert Extreme.

“All the competitor spots are filled, so 44 of the best amateur skateboarders and surfers in the country will be at the same location in the UAE.”

The surfing competition, open to males and females, will have three categories: under-12s, under-18s and over-18s.

“In the surfing category, all the competitors, besides the under-12s, will surf together. They will have the opportunity to surf on different types of waves and showcase their talent in front of friends and families who may be watching,” says Heffernan.

“And with it not being a race, the competitors will be judged on their skills as well as consistency. For instance, they will be judged on the turn (on the waters), where they turn on the wave, whether they’re turning on their forehand or backhand.

“Some can do some great manoeuvres and basic turns. It’s exciting and interesting to watch.

“With competition set to be high on the waters, the spectators will be able to see some great moves and entertainment with competitors trying to impress the judges.”

The Skate Jam category will also live up to its expectations with two categories – juniors (under-14s) and adults. There will also be a competition for the ‘best trick’.

“With the special portable ramp being installed, the skaters will be showcasing their skills that will certainly impress the people at Wadi Adventure,” says Heffernan.

Heffernan says those who do come will not only see great skating and surfing action, but will also enjoy the “party” atmosphere with music by a DJ, as well as have the opportunity to win prizes.

“They will get to witness some great skateboarders that we have in the UAE. For those who don’t really know much about the sport, it’s a good opportunity to see people surf and skate at different abilities and see what’s possible.

“It’s something different. If you are into the sport and into watching surfing, it’s a great way of getting involved and enjoy some local talent and be part of the community.”

And if you’re impressed with what you see, you can find out more information about joining clubs or receiving lessons. “There won’t be any lessons but there will be people to answer any questions that they may have in taking part in the sport,” says Heffernan.

Entry fees for the spectators is Dh50 per person.

VENUE: Wadi Adventure, Al Ain
WHAT: “Just Add Volcom” Surf and Skate Jam
WHEN: Friday, May 2 from 09:00 to 21:00
Sport360 VERDICT: Held in the popular Wadi Adventure Park, the surf and skate competition is something different and will wow the spectators.
CONTACT: Search “Just Add Volcom 2014” on Facebook.

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Swimmer in profile: Olympic hopeful Mohammed Madwa

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We catch up with Mohammed Madwa, the 27-year-old swimmer from Kuwait to find out about his hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and much, much more. 

Date of birth: February, 10, 1987

Birthplace: Kuwait City

Nationality: Kuwait

City of residence: Dubai

Club: Hamilton Aquatics

Coach: Chris Tidey

Favourite stroke: Freestyle PB in your best swimming event: 50m freestyle – 22.87 seconds

How did you initially get into swimming? My mother always wanted me to swim on behalf of her, so I made sure to fulfil the legacy.

Favourite swimmer: Michael Phelps. I’m very excited to see what’s going to happen now that’s he’s returned to swimming.

Inspiration/idol: Nick Brunelli. He’s a former US 50m freestyle record holder. He’s the one who transformed from a regular swimmer to an Olympic swimmer. He was the only swimmer who yelled at me daily in practice when I was in Arizona State University.

Nicest venue you’ve ever swum in: Hamdan Sports Complex, definitely.

Career highlight/best achievement in the pool to date: Clocking 23.30 seconds in the 50m freestyle in the World Championships in Barcelona last year. That was my best prior to moving to Dubai.

Toughest swim meet you’ve ever been part of: The Hamilton Aquatics swim meets are tough for me because Chris Tidey makes me swim everything.

Biggest dream/goal in swimming: Qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics. I’m very close, I’m only 0.40 seconds away in the 50m free.

Short term goals in swimming: Becoming a finalist in the Asian Games this September in Incheon.

Favourite meal: Chicken parmesan pasta

Favourite place to visit in the UAE: The Citywalk mall in Dubai

Least favourite part of swimming practice: Every Thursday because it’s three hours training plus dry land plus running – it kills me pretty much.

Other sports or hobbies: I like bowling.

Coolest person you’ve ever met: Velimir Stjepanovic. He makes me laugh on a daily basis.

Favourite sporting moment you’ve ever watched: Definitely the Super Bowl. I’m an Arizona fan, so I remember the one between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cardinals in 2009 (Pittsburgh won 27-23).

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Hamdan Sports Complex & Dubai a hub for swimmers across the world

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Breaking the surface: Syrian Bayan Jumah was in action in Dubai last weekend.

Amidst the chaos resulting from 900 swimmers competing in one venue over the course of four days, an emotional 20-year-old donning a gold medal is spotted raising the Syrian flag on top of the podium.

Her name is Bayan Jumah and she flew in from Damascus to compete in the Dubai International Aquatic Championships (DIAC) as she prepares for the Asian Games in Incheon this September.

The Syrian Olympian left Dubai with a 100m freestyle gold, 400m silver and a 200m bronze.

Later at the Hamdan Sports Complex (HSC), a 16-year-old Egyptian, Youssef Abdalla celebrates his gold medal in the 16-17 age group 100m backstroke. His timing of 56.51 seconds is an A-standard qualifying time for the Youth Olympics in Nanjing this summer.

Hungarian siblings and European champions David and Evelyn Verraszto are sprinting between races and medal ceremonies, UAE teenagers Ali Al Kaabi and Yaaqoub Al Saadi are recording B-standard times to qualify for Nanjing, while Olympians like Kuwait’s Mohamed Madwa and Georgia’s Irakli Bolkvadze are picking up medals in their newly-adopted home city of Dubai.

There are teams from Iraq, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan (28 countries in total) and the swimmers are aged between 12 years old and 60+.

That was a glimpse of the scene at the HSC last weekend – a venue that has single-handedly placed Dubai on the world’s swimming map.

Swimmers are flooding into the emirate, not just to compete in events (the DIAC was sanctioned by FINA as a qualifying event for Youth Olympics and World Championships), but also to live and train.

Initially an underutilised Dh1.1 billion venue, the HSC has now become a sanctuary for swimmers from all corners of the earth.

“Our first achievement was creating this spectacular venue. And the second is that we are showing the world that we have Emirati swimmers that are coming up and can achieve great results,” UAE Swimming Federation president Ahmed Al Falasi told Sport360 following the conclusion of the DIAC.

“Above all, I feel that a competition like this is giving a chance for swimmers from our neighboring countries to compete in comfortable conditions that can allow them to achieve the results they are pursuing.

"So many swimmers have come here and have swum qualification times for the Youth Olympics and the World Championships. And that for us is an achievement in itself.”

Madwa, who represented Kuwait in the Beijing 2008 Olympics and is a former swimmer for Arizona State University, has recently relocated to Dubai from his home country, seeking better training conditions.

“I’ve been almost six months in Dubai, training hard and to be honest I’ve done the most impressive results I’ve ever done in the last couple of years and I’m very surprised and satisfied. The training, quality-wise, and the work I’m doing outside the pool compared to Kuwait… it’s definitely more disciplined and it’s been amazing so far,” said the 27-year-old Kuwaiti, who is also studying Strategic PR at Zayed University.

Bolkvadze, Georgia’s first ever swimmer to qualify to the Olympic Games, swam an incredible 400m medley against reigning European short course champion Verraszto to take bronze. He won the 200m medley and took another bronze in the 200m breaststroke.

“I’ve been here since August. I came here to get ready for the next Olympic Games in Rio,” said the 20-year-old Bolkvadze, a bronze medallist at the European Junior Championships two years ago.

The scene at the DIAC was encouraging, but the UAE Swimming Federation need to make sure they continue to progress as fast as the city and the swimming academies are advancing.

If the organisational glitches are addressed, we may very well see a World Aquatic Championship held here in the near future. And who knows, maybe a homegrown Olympic champion swimmer as well.

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