Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al Hameli claimed the final podium position behind Frenchman Philippe Chiappe and the Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente at the penultimate round of the UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Chiappe had claimed the first pole position of his career on Thursday and fended off a challenge from Torrente throughout the 37-lap race.
The pair pulled clear of the chasing pack and Al Hameli was the leader of that group throughout to record the best result of the season for Team Abu Dhabi.
The Emirati had passed Erik Stark early in the race to move up from fourth.
Team-mate Thani Al Qamzi began the race from 14th and moved through the tail-enders to seal ninth position.
“The dream was to take a home win for Sheikh Sultan and my team, but we are happy with a podium finish against such strong opposition,” said Al Hameli.
Mohammed Al Mehairbi and Rashid Al Remeithi, meanwhile, started from the rear of the field for the 20-lap UIM F-4S Trophy race, finishing in eighth and ninth overall.
Australian Briney Rigby won her second race in as many days and maintains an outside chance of pipping Germany’s Mike Szymura to the 2014 title.
Chiappe lined up on pole and kept his lead through the buoy and the first lap, with Al Hameli passing Stark to move into third place.
Chiappe was not going to give his lead away without a fight and the Frenchman continued to edge away from Torrente and Al Hameli.
Torrente had no answer to the Frenchman’s pace at the front and Al Hameli continued to fend off the challenge from Sami Selio and Alex Carella for third place.
Al Hameli had the bit between his teeth in the morning’s one hour free practice and set the fastest lap of 46.47sec.
Norway’s Marit Stromoy was his closest challenger with a best time of 46.72sec.
Rigby was quickest in the morning practice with a best lap of 1min 01.05sec and both Al Mehairbi and Al Remeithi knew they would need to up their performances in the time trial to qualify for a better position for the second F-4S Trophy race.
Rigby maintained her pace to claim pole with a best lap of 1min 00.22sec, but the Team Abu Dhabi duo were down in eighth and 10th.
The Australian led from the start and overcame an opening lap yellow flag incident and an accident involving Bincheng Wu to pull away from her rivals.
Al Mehairbi and Al Remeithi were down in seventh and ninth as the 20-lap race reached the halfway point and they maintained their positions through 12 laps.
Rigby reached the chequered flag ahead of her rivals to secure a second F-4S Trophy race of the weekend, with Qatar’s Khalid Abdullah Al Kuwari in second place.
Al Mehairbi and Al Remeithi reached the finish in eighth and ninth after the former was passed by Lithuanian’s Mickus Sigitas.
The final round will be held in Sharjah from December 18-19.
Teenagers are often chastised for their tardiness, lack of ambition and tendency to sleep in to the afternoon hours – but then Omeir Saeed is not your typical adolescent.
The 17-year-old American University of Sharjah student counts studying among his favourite things to do during his spare time, and spent last weekend either gliding along the water or flying through the air while competing at the World Wakeboarding Association Wake Park World Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Saeed competed in the Pro Men category at his home event, which was held at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Khalifa City from November 5-7, competing alongside men some of the best wakeboarders in the world.
And following an impressive performance, the UAE teen is being touted as a rising star by one of the sport’s top athletes, Tom Fooshee.
Sport360 was given the opportunity to chat with Saeed in the wake of the event.
You took part in the WAA Wake Park World Championships at the weekend. How did you do?
I did really well. I made it to the finals in Pro Men, Traditional Cable and on top of that managed to take home the Open Wakeskate World Champion title.
What was the standard of the competition like?
The level of riding was very high. The best riders in the world were battling it out to take home the world champion title.
What was it like competing at a home tournament? Were you nervous or just excited to be competing in front of your home crowd?
I was nervous but at the same time I was happy because I was able to compete in front of all my friends and family.
How does the Abu Dhabi part of the tour and the Al Forsan resort compare to other venues you’ve been to?
Since this is my home park I am very used to it. Moreover, all my friends and family were there to cheer me on and that motivated me to do my best. Compared to the other competitions I have been to, this was the most fun.
How did you get into wakeboarding?
My friend took me to Al Forsan after school one day to go wakeboarding and, after that, I got hooked.
What’s been your biggest achievement in the sport so far?
I took home the 2012 Junior Men World Championship title which was a big achievement for me, but I have to say, making it to finals in Pro Men against the best wakeboarders in the world last weekend has been my biggest achievement.
What’s the coolest trick you’ve ever pulled off?
I recently landed a 1080 which is 3×360 degree rotation in the air.
Tom Fooshee is predicting a big future for you and thinks you’re going to become a global star. What does that mean to you to hear things like that from someone at the top of the sport?
Hearing that from Tom really motivated me to do my best and to ride as well as possible.
What’s next for you? What are you targeting from the rest of the season?
The season is almost over but there is one more competition in Thailand in December, so hopefully I’ll go and do that, if I can get out of university for a week.
What are your ambitions for the future?
To wakeboard as much as possible and just have fun.
Who are your sporting and/or personal idols and why?
Tom Fooshee first taught me to hit obstacles back in 2011 so if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am now. On top of that, he is 30 and still killing it on a board.
What’s the craziest/funniest thing that’s happened to you on a wakeboard?
I once did a big trick off the flats and the rope just snapped and I was sling-shotted across the water.
Have you ever been in real danger out on the water?
You can always be in danger but as long as you wear a life jacket and helmet and follow the cable rules you will avoid it.
What advice would you give to any youngster wanting to get into wakeboarding?
When you do what you love, time and self-doubt are your only barriers. Just have fun.
When you’re not wakeboarding, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
Study and hang out with my friends.
WAKEBOARDING: Abu Dhabi teenager Omeir Saeed became the first Emirati to make it to the Pro Men Division finals of the Wake Park World Championship, claiming fourth place amongst the top riders in the world.
The 17-year-old university student was also victorious on home turf, in front of his friends and family, in the Open Wake Skate World Championship.
After the competition concluded, Omeir said: “I am glad to have taken part and finished fourth in the Pro Men’s division, in a group of the top riders in the world.
On top of all that, I am also very happy with the added bonus of winning the Open World Skate Championship. This is the fruit of training and commitment over the
past few months.”
Team UAE beat holders US to flowboarding title
FLOWBOARDING: Team UAE beat 14 international teams to win the World Flowboarding Championships 2014 at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi.
Taking the world title for the first time, Team UAE’s Mohammed Ibrahim Darwish, Clayton Barker, Max Sokolov and Jennifer Mauherhoff, showcased their skills across four in the competition, sponsored by Oakley, GoPro and Crowne Plaza Yas Island.
Former title holders USA had to be content with second place, ahead of South Africa who secured the bronze medal.
Homegrown flowboarding hero Barker of Team UAE clinched the individual title in the strapless standup division, while Emirati Mohammed I. Darwish excelled in the bodyboarding competition.