DUBAI, 3rd February 2018: Hamdan bin Musleh Al Ahbabi displayed magnificent all-round skills to become the first contestant to achieve a perfect score of 50 during the ninth episode of the 18th edition of the AED 1 million Fazza Championship for Youlah and 13th edition of Al Meydan Program at Al Meydan Fort of Global Village on Friday 2nd February.
It came at a perfect time for the experienced Yuweel artiste who virtually sealed his spot in the final with his flawless performance while his rival Saeed Mohammed Sweidan Al Ketbi made a valiant attempt to match him but a single lapse may have cost his chances.
Nevertheless just as there is many a slip between the cup and lip, in reality the grand finalist would be known during the next episode after the public vote.
Ms. Suad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at HHC, said there is very little difference between the top four contestants.
“A perfect score is a rarity in any sport. It requires great skill and composure to achieve it during a crucial stage of the competition. Many heroes have adorned the Meydan stage but all have honed their talents from a young age. To showcase their skills in heritage sport such as Youlah not only gives them confidence. It is also a character building exercise to face up to any challenges in life,” she said.
The HHC’s investment in focusing on Youlah training programs for juniors is producing results as a group of kids jumped onto the stage eagerly to perform without any inhibitions along with their role models during a musical interlude.
At outset of the eighth episode it was announced that Saeed Ali Hamad Ali Al Kaabi had been selected over Saeed Mohammed Jumaa Al Hairi to fill up the final spot in the ‘Golden Square’ stage. Al Kaabi will face-off against Matar Ali Ahmed Rashed Al Habsi in the second semi-final next Friday.
Hamdan Al Ahbabi’s awesome performance had the packed stadium in a daze overshadowing the fireworks display which preceded it. Runner-up in the last edition of the AED 1 million Fazza Championship for Youlah, Al Ahbabi made a grand entry and gave a beautiful exhibition of gun control coupled with rhythmic movements. Bringing forth his years of training and experience, Al Ahbabi oozed confidence displaying fine stagecraft to satiate the appetite of the entire audience crowning his performance by ringing the laser bell at the 17-metre mark five consecutive times. The three-man Jury purred his praise and unanimously award Al Ahbabi 50 points. “I said at the beginning of the tournament that I will be the first to get 50 points. I did it,” said Hamdan Al Ahbabi after his dazzling performance.
Saeed Al Kaabi came out smiling and seemed upto the challenge as he calmly moved around the stage twirling the Youlah weapon with both hands displaying his master by spinning it on his palm. He showed superb technique when it came to throwing up the Youlah weapon but to his dismay failed to catch it cleanly during his third attempt. Nevertheless Al Kaabi regained his composure cheered on by his fans to hit the laser bell on five occasions successfully but had to be content with the Jury’s score of 48 points.
Organized and supervised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) to revive heritage sports, 16 finalists are vying for the grand prize of AED 1 million and the Fazza Youlah Championship Cup over 13 rounds of the competition every Friday at 9pm.
Held at HHC’s Heritage Village at Dubai’s Global Village, the qualifying rounds saw the participation of 411 contestants, prior to the launch of the Youlah Championship in December.
This year’s Championship saw four performers in every episode until the second round and ‘Golden Square’ stage. The ‘Golden Square’ round will comprise four contestants, two of whom will be competing for third and fourth place, and the other two will be competing for first and second place.
Voting for the finalists should be according to their numbers as follows: Saeed Ali Salem Al Ketbi (number 1) of UAE; Mabkhout Salem Hamad Al Ameri (number 2) of UAE; Abdulrahman Abdullah Khalifa Salem (number 3) of Bahrain; Rashid Saeed Bin Harmash Al Mansouri (number 4) of UAE; Thamer Rashed Masood Al Maamari (number 5) of Oman; Saeed Mohammed Sweidan Al Ketbi (number 6) of UAE; Matar Ali Ahmed Rashed Al Habsi (number 7) of UAE; Hamdan Saeed Al Rumaithi (number 8) of UAE; Abdullah Suhail Amer Al Ketbi (number 9) of UAE; Saeed Mohammed Jumaa Al Hairi (number 10) of UAE; Hamdan bin Musleh Al Ahbabi (number 11) of UAE; Hamad Thani Al Balkadeeda Al Falasi (number 12) of UAE; Saeed Ali Hamad Ali Al Kaabi (number 13) of UAE; Saif Sultan Saeed Al Ketbi (number 14) of UAE; Mohammed Abdullah Hamdan bin Dalmook (number 15) of UAE; Aseel Akram Tarek Abu Ghali (number 16) of UAE
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.
‘Youlah’ is a well-established folk performance over the years where an iconic rifle is spun around to the rhythmic beat of Emirati traditional music. One of the heritage traditions performed by the young and the not so elderly during ceremonies, Youlah 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 lighter enabling participants to display greater agility and more skills in a dance form.