Two-time Olympic champion Hicham El Guerrouj and Tunisian legend Mohammed Gammoudi, two of middle-distance running’s greatest, will share the dais at the 9th Sports Creativity Forum on Tuesday, a day before they are honoured at the glittering awards ceremony of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award.
Organised by MBR Creative Sports Award, the 9th Sports Creativity Forum will be held on January 9 at Jumeirah Emirates Towers’ Godolphin Ballroom, with the opening session, titled “Creative Experiences”, starting at 8:30.
Tunisian Tarek Bin Mohamed Souei, winner of the Arab Referee Award, will take part in the opening session along with fellow-awardees, visually-impaired Algerian brothers Abdellatif and Fouad Baka, who have represented their country at the Paralympic Games.
All smiles for an incredible year! Thank you 2017 for being so special and for everyone who made it much more memorable! Excited for what’s to come! Happy 2018 🎉❤️ pic.twitter.com/4c6VMai8rx
— Farida Osman (@FaridaOsman) December 31, 2017
The second session, titled “Sports Experiences”, will see Egyptian swimmer Farida Osman, winner of the Distinguished Athletes Achievement Award, share the dais with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Mustafa Al Sowaiq, winner of the Arab Emerging Athlete Award.
In the third session, starting at 10:40, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, winner of the Arab Sports Personality Award, will share her “Administrative Experience” with the audience in what will be the main session of this year’s forum.
Princess Reema is deputy president of Saudi Arabia’s Sports Authority for Planning & Development and in October last year, she became the first female to lead a Saudi sports federation when she was appointed president of the Federation for Community Sports. She has also played a pivotal role in the founding and regulation of women’s sport in Saudi Arabia, and the introduction of sports among girls at public schools in the country.
Moroccan El Guerrouj, who still owns three middle-distance world records more than 13 years after hanging up his boots, will then take the dais, at 11.15am, along with a man considered by many as one of the pioneers of the African long and middle-distance running revolution, Gammoudi, for the fourth session, which is titled “Inspiring Experiences”.
Gammoudi, 79, represented Tunisia at three Olympic Games and won the 5,000m gold and the 10,000m bronze at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Four years later in Munich, he won silver in the 5,000m. Gammoudi also won the 10,000m silver at the 1962 Tokyo Olympics.
All the five sessions of the Forum will be telecast live by Dubai Sports channel, as well as the award’s official website and smart application.
Session One (8:30): Creative Experiences
Speakers: Tarek Bin Mohamed Souei (Tunisia), Abdellatif Baka (Algeria), Fouad Baka (Algeria).
Moderator: Dr Jamal Abbas
Session Two (10:00): Sports Experiences
Speakers: Farida Hisham Osman (Egypt), Mohammed Mustafa Al Sowaiq (KSA).
Moderator: Reem Abdul Hamid Al Amiri
Session Three (10:40): Administrative Experience
Speaker: HRH Princess Rima bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud (KSA)
Moderator: Meshaal Al Qahtani
Session Four (11:15): Inspiring Experiences
Speakers: Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) and Mohammed Gammoudi (Tunisia)
Moderator: Laila Bint Farhat
Session Five (12:00): Creative Corporate Experiences
Speakers: Amina Lanaya (Acting Director General of Union Cycliste International) and Fahad Ali Al Shamsi (Chief Executive of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation).
Moderator: Sami Al Emam
Mohammed Al Balooshi has spoken of his pride of representing the UAE and has vowed to do all he can and achieve the best possible result in the Dakar Rally.
The Emirati was one of the 166 riders to begin Saturday’s opening 278km stage of the world’s most notorious cross-country endurance race in the Peruvian capital of Lima.
Al Balooshi will be hoping to complete all 14 stages of the two-week grueling race which will see the field tackle different terrains as they cross into Bolivia before finishing in Argentina. If he does cross the finish line, he will have completed more than 8,000km.
Al Balooshi is one just two Emiratis competing in the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally with Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi lining in the cars category.
— Sport360° (@Sport360) January 7, 2018
And Al Balooshi is relishing the opportunity of testing himself against the world’s best over the next fortnight in what he describes as his most ‘dangerous’ race.
“I feel very proud of having the chance to bring the UAE’s colors to Dakar,” he said. “This is the most difficult and dangerous race in the world for the bikes, and for me, as a rally rider, it’s a challenge I must take on.
“Most of the riders who have won Dakar in the past, have had to make many attempts before being able to even complete the race, and that alone speaks about the pressure, the top level of competition and the huge danger we go through every day here.
“I feel grateful for having this privilege and will do my best to represent the values of our people and ‘The Year of Zayed’ along the way.”
There is no shortage of top sporting events in the Emirates and here’s our one-stop diary of everything that’s going on — welcome to our weekly feature, What’s Up UAE.
The festive season is approaching and while many have holiday plans in store, there’s still plenty of sport to enjoy in the Emirates.
Are you attending or participating in one of the following events?
Share your experiences with us, using the hashtag #whatsupuae on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Here’s our run-down of some of this week’s sporting events:
LIWA SPORTS FESTIVAL
Thursday, December 28 – Friday, January 5
The region’s most powerful four-wheel drives return to face new challenges, as well as drag races, bike races, motocross tracks, camel and horse races, classic car competitions and freestyle drifting.
Standing at over 300m and inclined at a 50° angle, daredevils will race to the top of one of the world’s highest sand hills in various brackets dependent on car and bike types.
The nine-day festival offers a week-long celebration of Emirati heritage with competitions and activities such as bike riding and camping available to guests around the Moreeb Dune.
Visitors will also be able to take advantage of the onsite facilities and services to make camping a memorable, yet comforting experience to remember for many years to come.
GULF CUP SEMI-FINAL – UAE VS IRAQ
Tuesday, January 2
UAE take on Iraq for a place in the Gulf Cup final on Tuesday.
Alberto Zaccheroni’s men finished runners-up in Group A after a goalless draw against Kuwait in their final group game on Thursday.
The Whites will face an Iraq side who were dominant in Group B – with wins over Yemen and Qatar and a draw against Bahrain.
Elsewhere, Bahrain are in action against Oman in the other semi-final.
RACING AT MEYDAN
Thursday, January 4
The fifth race of the season gets underway at Meydan this week as local and regional racers battle it out for spots in premiere races like the Dubai World Cup carnival and ultimately the season-ending Dubai World Cup in March 2018.
The first race at the venue is expected to be a highly competitive meet and the action begins at 6.30pm.
General admission is AED 50 at the venue while there are hospitality options to sit in Meydan’s new Grandstand.
VENUE: Meydan Racecourse
MORE INFO: Meydan Racing
UAE WOODEN POWERBOAT CHAMPIOSHIP
Friday, January 5
One of the only events of its kind in the region, the UAE Wooden Powerboat Championship sees drivers from all over the region competing in Al Shawaheef powerboats.
These 28ft vessels link modern technologies with the UAE’s heritage, and are piloted by either one or two drivers.
VENUE: Dubai International Marine Club
ADSC AL WATHBA INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL
Saturday, January 6
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council presents the Individual Time Trial at Al Wathba Cycle Track in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The race for men will be 46km – completing first the 30km loop and finishing on the 16km loop – with the ladies doing a single 30km loop.
Riders will start from 10am.
VENUE: Al Wathba Cycle Track