Dubai, 15th March 2017: The 11th edition of the Fazza Freediving Championship organized and supervised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) for local, Gulf and international participant begins on Thursday 16th March at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai with the number of participants (men and women) expected to reach record levels in what is acclaimed as the best international destination for divers.
After a two-day preparatory training exercise for the tournament, which include three major categories, namely: Juniors dedicated to the Locals and GCC nationals, the Men’s and Women’s championship, and Open tournament featuring elite professional divers, the participants will compete to make the best times to become one of 10 qualifiers for the final round which will be held on Saturday 18th March 18 where they will vie for the top spots.
Serbian Branco who set a new world record of 10 minutes and 14 seconds in the last edition of this championship will be participating this year to defend his title and also attempt to break his own record.
About 200 divers from the UAE and other countries continued to train for the event at different times and more are expected to register before the commencement of the tournament, knowing that the Organizing Committee has provided all safety measures to maintain the health of the participants.
Ms. Suad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at HHC, said the standard of participants in the championship, is growing stronger year after year.
“This tournament provides us an opportunity to highlight the heritage of our country, because diving was a profession of our forefathers, whereby they earned a livelihood by fishing and diving for pearl. The sea was a companion to the development of civilization in the country and the region and is currently attracting large numbers of participants for the sport of Freediving. Our joy is doubled to see a large number of juniors taking up this traditional sport and continue our heritage to the next generation,” she said.
Head of the tournament’s organizing committee, Hamad Al Rahoumi, said: “This tournament has become a popular destination for the best divers from both within and outside the country, because the winners are feted handsomely like heroes. The sport has grown in popularity from the GCC countries and around the world making it the only championship of its kind. The reputation and prestige the tournament has achieved is something that makes us feel proud, making UAE a center of excellence in all fields in the world, including sports.”
Since children were allowed to participate an Emirati family also took part in training. Omar Mohammed Abdul Rahman who brought along his children Hamad and Khaled, along with his nephew Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Rahman, said: “They were between the ages of 12 to 14 years. I encouraged them to practice diving. We motivate them to take advantage by training and learn the many benefits of this traditional sport.”
“We thank Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre for having a category for juniors in the tournament, which has very positive effect in encouraging the new generation to the basic skills, develop their talents and participate annually,” he said.
Among the large number of divers from around the world to participate in the tournament, was Thomas Veer from France.
He said: “This is the second time that I am coming here because Fazza Championship for Freediving is a world-class with everyone trying to be present. I prepared hard for it because this is one of the strongest competitions in the world with record timings being produced annually.”