Emirati sailor aims to raise UAE flag high at Olympics
A young Emirati sailor is looking forward to competing in the next Olympics after rigorous training during which he learned many new skills from elite professionals in San Francisco, USA.
Hamza Al Ali, 20, one of the United Arab Emirates’ champion sailors in the Laser Standard class, said Khaleej times in an exclusive interview on Friday: “I love sailing and I can’t wait to take part in the best international competitions. I want to participate in the Olympics in 2024 and raise the flag of the United Arab Emirates higher. »
He traveled to San Francisco with his coach for the second season finale of SailGP. The world’s biggest sailing competition, held March 26-27, saw teams from eight nations battle it out for a $1 million prize on high-performance 15-meter foiling catamarans. long, reaching speeds of over 50 knots.
“I was looking forward to working with the best athletes in sailing and thank goodness it really happened,” he said.
“The SailGP Inspire program has been a great base for me to learn many different elements of professional sailing.”
Al Ali’s participation was organized and sponsored by Mubadala’s partnership with SailGP and the Mubadala Excellence Program.
The young Emirati, who is also taking a media course at Abu Dhabi’s graduate schools of technology, says he is passionate about sailing and a move to the United States would help him achieve his dream of being among the best in the world by participating in the best international sailing competitions.
Al Ali, who is a member of the Abu Dhabi Sailing Club, comes from a large family of 33 siblings, including 17 brothers and 16 sisters.
“I love sailing and my family has been venturing into the sea for many years,” said the Emirati sailor, who started sailing when he was just 10 years old. “I started sailing about 10 years ago. The more I pursued it, the more I started to fall in love with the sport. It’s quite a difficult dream to pursue and Mubadala helped me get there,” a- he declared.
The young sailor says it takes patience to get where “you want to be and practice enough to achieve your goal. It is neither quick nor easy to gain access to international competition. You have to work hard to achieve your dream.
In San Francisco, Al Ali was pushed to his limits at the top of competitive sailing. He participated in technical and classroom training sessions, and also gained hands-on work experience. He was also able to hone his sail handling skills by following a professional racing team, learning navigation, advanced seamanship and teamwork.
The young Emirati also experienced elements off the water of what a career in professional sailing could offer working with SailGP organizers on event management, photography, videography and marketing.
His coach, Zouhir Lebbit, who is also the national coach of the UAE sailing team, says Al Ali is among the best in the UAE.
“He has a unique talent in sailing and is very eager to compete. He learned many new skills while training with top professional sailors in San Francisco,” Lebbit said.
Mubadala Excellence Program
Established in January 2021, the Mubadala Excellence Program helps talented young people in the United Arab Emirates excel in sports, art and literature.
Al Ali was selected for the program because of his passion for sailing and his accomplishments in a sport that requires strong discipline and commitment. In addition to the Mubadala program, it is supported by SailGP Inspire, an initiative aimed at providing life-changing career opportunities for young sailors and diversifying the sport.
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