Dubai, March 26, 2020: The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) has announced the conclusion of a record-breaking 2019-2020 season for heritage sports, with new records set and greater number of participation registered for various tournaments and events that promoted Emirati cultural heritage.
Organised under the generous directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the annual championships were held between December 2019 and March 2020 spread across key locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman.
For almost two decades, the Fazza Heritage Championships have become an enduring legacy attracting nationals, expatriates, Arabs in the region and competitors from around the world competing in diverse heritage sports that include falconry, saktoun rifle shooting, camel marathon, free diving and Saluki racing.
6,000 participation in Falconry championships in a single season
The 2019-2020 Season started with Sharjah Falconers Club Championship (Telwah), held at Maliha desert area. The Championship has proven a major attraction not only for senior falconers but also for the young ones took part in the heritage sport.
The new season of the 19th Fazza Championship for Falconry-Telwah, organised by the HHC, kicked off on December 30, 2019 and ran until January 16 at Al Ruwayyah desert area. The falconry championship, which is one of the oldest and largest tournaments of its kind, honed the skills of top falconers and found new talents in the heritage sport.
There was also the Rashid Bin Humaid Falconry Championship at Al Yasmeen area in Ajman and the Fakhr Al Ajyal (Pride of Generations) Championship for Falconry, held also in Al Ruwayyah, Dubai.
The combined entries at the four falconry championships registered the largest number of participation in a single season since the start of the first falconry tournament 18 years ago. According to HHC, around 6,000 entries were recorded across the four falconry championships.
Youlah performers from across the region
The Meydan Grand Knight of the 20th edition of Fazza Championship for Youlah was crowned in March during a grand awarding ceremony held at Dubai Global Village.
The annual heritage sport, organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center, which is now on its 20th edition and 15th year shown live over Sama Dubai TV, has seen participation not just from UAE nationals but also performers from Iraq, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Libya.
Another first in camel racing
To further promote the UAE’s rich cultural heritage, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) has launched the staging of an annual ‘Camel Trek Marathon’ for expats and visitors in the UAE.
The ‘Camel Trek Marathon’ will be held next year, alongside the 6th National Day Camel Marathon, as part Arabian Camel Festival under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan.
This year, around 300 camel riders participated in two new preparatory races as well as the 5th National Day Camel Marathon,.
Saluki racing goes stronger
A large number of enthusiasts and spectators witnessed the Saluki Championship at Dubai’s Al Marmoom racetrack.
Participation in the tournament also increased from outside the UAE, with at least 30 entries from Saudi Arabia joining participants from other countries and an ever-increasing contingent from Emiratis.
Moreover, this year’s Saluki Championship has used the first time a robotic gazelle that was chashed by the salukis to test their stamina, speed and hunting capabilities.
New personal and world records at Freediving Championship
The 14th Fazza Championship for Freediving concluded with yet another record-breaking year. Polish, Omani and Kuwaiti divers posted not only their personal bests but also smashed some world and tournament records at the Hamdan Sports Complex. This proved the freediving championship in Dubai has gone from strength to strength over the years.
A total of 30 divers from 12 countries competed in the final round, divided into three categories – Professional, UAE Nationals and GCC Amateurs, and Juniors (for UAE Nationals and GCC) – with 10 competitors in each category.
Polish freediver Mateusz Jan Malina lasted under water for over 10 minutes in the Professional category while Omani diver Ibrahim Sulaitani showed dominance in the GCC category with a new regional record of almost 8 minutes under water. Also very remarkable was the 42 percent Juniors Participation of the overall contestants this season– which is the highest in the championship’s history.
Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook, CEO of HHC, pointed out the enduring dedication of the Centre in promoting heritage sports and diversifying the number of participants.
He also underscored the limitless support from His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, for being a pillar for all these activities and tournaments.
“With Sheikh Hamdan’s continuous support and guidance, we managed, like every season, to further improve the level of competitions and gather wide support from participants and the general public,” Bin Dalmook said.
Rashid Muburak Bin Markhan, Deputy CEO of the HHC, added: “The Fazza Championships have grown rapidly and extensively through the years and the HHC has expanded the number of categories and matches to welcome more participants not just in the region but also from the rest of the world.”
Souad Ibrahim Darwish, HHC Director of Championships, for her part, commented: “The successful conclusion of the season came as a result of the collective efforts of various organising teams and partners, including the Dubai Police, Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services and the National Center of Meteorology.
Darwish also congratulated all the participants particularly the youth for making the Fazza Heritage Championships a resounding success, realizing the championships’ motto: 'This is your heritage, you preserve it.'