DUBAI, 10th December 2016:
The first episode of the 17th edition of the Fazza Championship for Youllah kicked off to a brilliant start as the 18 contenders gave a glimpse of their skills and talents exhibiting an ancient folk art in dazzling modern settings in Al Meydan quadrant at Global Village on Friday 9th December night.
Organized and supervised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) to revive heritage sports, the Finalists are vying for the grand prize of Dh 1 million and the Fazza Youllah Championship trophy over 13 rounds of the competition every Friday at 9pm.
A large crowd which thronged to witness the program in Global Village in Dubai, greatly appreciated the unique characteristics of this heritage sport rooted in the customs and traditions of the UAE community, and enjoyed the patriotic songs of singer Hamad Al Ameri and verses from the poetry of the Nabati poet Mohammed bin Mushayt Marri.
The opening round started to the rendition of ‘God is in Dubai’, the new song for the Yuweel (Yuollah performers) finalists of the season 2016-2017, sung by artiste Mehad Hamad and composed by Fayez Al Saeed.
The night’s program began with a flashback from last season to recapture the most beautiful moments, the twists and turns of competition and the high levels of performance. At the same time, it highlighted the contrasts of how an ancient art is captured in the new age in a theatre full of giant digital screens and colourful ambience adding a distinctive touch of modernity aided by the latest state-of-the-art visual technologies.
The first contender to take the field Hamad Al Thani Obaid Al Falasi (number 9) from Hamad Balaos group Al Falasi gave an almost flawless performance. He mesmerized the audience with deft handling of the Youllah weapon spinning it with ease and maintaining his poise throughout. However, his failure to hit the bell, saw the jury giving him 46 points out of a possible 50. The judges praised his confidence as being better than his footwork while urging him to focus on the process of striking the bell.
Wahaibi rang bell
Omani Saeed Obaid Saeed Al Wahaibi (number 17) of Rashid Acialona group was the first to successfully ring the bell in the grand finale of the Fazza Championship for Youllah. Egged on by vociferous group of supporters, Saeed succeeded to ring the bell at 17 meters in his first attempt. He did not lose his composure despite losing his headgear and although not hitting the bell again, he gave a fascinating performance to score 46 points.
The judges urged more flexibility in moving his arms by modifying his gait, though the Yuweel competitor has proved he still has plenty up his sleeve for the next rounds.
Ahbabi scores highest mark
Hamdan Mohammed bin Musleh Al Ahbabi (number 3) obtained the highest marks of 47 points, while making five attempts to ring the bell. But he was the most consistent on the floor of the stage and delivered superb movements to highlight his experience in performing the Youllah on the traditional beats of the new Emirati song composed for Al Meydan this season.
The judges urged him to maintain his powerful presentation the next time and take advantage of his strength in doing high throws without any hesitation, while noting that the competitor had hidden a part of his performance as a surprise for the rest of the contenders, which was confirmed by Ahbabi.
Suad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at HHC, said the exceptional performance presented by the competitors in front of a huge audience in the first episode gave them more responsibility to redouble their organizational efforts.
She said: “We are committed to highlighting traditional heritage sports and support this kind of folk festivals and culture that embodies our historical events that has evolved over the years.”
“Youllah has always been associated with weddings and happy occasions, which is why we are seeking through heritage sports to spread happiness and positive energy. Our aim is to use these programs as a tool to contribute to harness the talents of young people in a positive way and play an active role in society.”
The Championship organizers HHC have amended the format of competition this year adding a hint of international television programmes. The 18 finalists have been divided into three groups of six each. Each group will come under the eyes of an expert member of the jury as his mentor. The merits of each Yuweel (Yuollah performer) will be assessed and his performances fine-tuned to unearth his talents and if he gains the votes from the two juries (excluding his mentor). As the Yuweel qualifies at the various stages of the competition, the final rounds will involve the public as they get to choose through voting. Upon the number of votes the four winners will be announced accordingly in the grand finale.
The tournament organizers announced that voting for the finalists should be according to their numbers as follows: Matar Ali Ahmad Rashed Al Habsi (number 1) Saif Suhail Saif Asamahi (number 2) Hamdan Mohammed bin Musleh Al Ahbabi (number 3) Abdullah Ali Saadan Shehhi (number 4) Humaid Obaid Hassan bin Rakkad (number 5) Muhammad Abdullah bin Sabih Wahaibi (number 6) Saeed Mohammed bin Musleh Al Ahbabi (number 7) Mabkhoot Salim Hamad Al Ameri (number 8) Hamad Al Thani Obaid Edidh Falasi (number 9) Issa Khamis Bilal (number 10) Muhammad Ali Saif Sowaidan Qayedi (number 11) Issa Salman Mohammed Salman (number 12) Ahmed Abdullah Aharsusa (number 13) Abdul Rahman Mohammed (number 14) Mohammed Abdullah Hamdan bin Dalmook (number 15) Ahmed Mohammed Said Al Habsi (number 16) Saeed Obaid Saeed Al Wahaibi (number 17) Abdul Salam Abdul Razzaq Abtan (number 18)
Voting via text messages could be done as follows: Saudi Arabia (Mobily 636,666, Zain 742 151), Bahrain (Zain 94,549, FIFA 98 027, Batelco 94,121), Qatar (Oorado 92 045), the UAE (dU 4401, etisalat 4401), Kuwait (Zain 96,911, Oorado 1741), Oman (Oorado 91,829, Oman Thiel 91 192), Iraq (Asia-Cell in 2415, Couric 2598, Zain in 2669, Yemen (MTN 2602, Sabafon 4557, Wi-7140) Yemen (Mobile 88 366) and the rest of the world call (008821626774199).
Poet Mohammed bin Mushayt Marri, recited a couplet dedicated to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.
Jury member Hamad Al Darie in an interview expressed his happiness to return to an arena where he had won the championship.
“The folk art of Youlla is an exclusive Emirati cultural heritage which I have been training since the age of 16. As a member of the jury, I use my skills in all the weddings and national events I take part in,” said Al Darie who stressed that the element of surprise is the key this season along with preparations pursued by the coach with his team in deciding tactics in the constant challenge to beat rivals.
The artiste guest in the first episode, Hamad Al Ameri made two patriotic songs during the 45th UAE National Day celebrations namely, recalled with pride that he has been part of the Youllah program since its inception. “The program is constantly evolving every year and making giant strides in terms of popularity,” he said thanking His Highness the Crown Prince of Dubai for his continuous support of the country’s heritage through the establishment of tournaments that highlight the energies of youth.
The official sponsors of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center are: Al Tayer Motors, Land Rover, Dubai Airports, Dubai World Trade Centre, AW Rostamani (Arabian Automobiles), Global Village and Al Oula radio station.
‘Youllah’ is a well-established folk art over the years where an iconic rifle is spun around to the rhythmic beat of Arabic music. One of the heritage traditions performed by the young and the not so elderly during ceremonies, Youllah as a sport began with real weapons in the past and then evolved into a weapon used with a hollow inside and free of ammunition. Now it has become even more lighter enabling participants to display greater agility and more skills in a dance form.