Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 07, 2020: A total of 30 divers from 12 countries have qualified for the final round of the 14th Fazza Championship for Freediving, organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) taking place at the Hamdan Sports Complex on Saturday, March 7.
The finalists were classified into three categories – Professional, Nationals and GCC Amateurs and Juniors (Nationals and GCC) – with 10 competitors in each category.
The Fazza Championship for Freediving is a heritage sport designed to embody the traditional ways of diving in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf. Divers do not use any tools or underwater equipment but rely instead on traditional diving techniques used by early mariners in the UAE and the region.
Branko Petrovic from Serbia, winner of the 2016 Fazza Championship, led the pack of finalists in the Professional category after staying in the water for 9 mins and 33.66 seconds.
Croatian divers also dominated the qualifying rounds and advanced to the finals. Croatian national team member Veljano Zanki came in second place with a time of 8 mins and 33.34 seconds, followed by his compatriots and 5-time Fazza champion for freediving, Goran Čolak.
Other qualifiers in the Professional category include Budimir Šobat, Mateusz Jan Malina, Christopher Erling, Ali Mahfouz Waltham, Hans-Dieter Boseger, Ismail Mansour and Tamer Adel.
Omani diver Ibrahim Al-Sulaitani topped the Nationals and GCC category, followed by Kuwait's Hassan Ali Al-Sharrah, and Saudi’s Tariq Al-Zuhairi. Those who also qualified were Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Omran, Abdullah Al-Farsi, Khamis Bin Abdullah Al-Arimi, Suhaib Al-Zuhairi, Omar Al-Araimi, Mohammed Al-Balawi, and Abdul Rahman Al-Balawi.
In the Youth category, Kuwaiti Ali Al Sharrah led the qualifiers, followed by Suhail Hashem Al Marzouqi and Hamad Muhammad Al Marzouqi. Those who also qualified by Sultan Al-Suwaidi, Hamdan Al-Askar, Abdulaziz Hussain Al-Marzouqi, Hamad Abdullah Al-Zarouni, Mohammad Karam, Marwan Al-Ghafli, Nasser Hashem Al-Marzouqi and Khaled Omar Al-Bishr.
Souad Ibrahim Darwish, HHC Director of Championships, expressed her happiness over the large participation of divers from around the world. The Organizing Committee has received a huge number of participants from the UAE, GCC countries, most notably Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and from European countries Croatia, Serbia and South Africa.
Hamad Al Rahoumi, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Fazza Diving Championships, added: “The championship has become known to all who practice diving. We expect new records to be set this year.”