DUBAI, 16th January: The road to the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro for some of the world’s top archers begins in Dubai when the Second Fazza International Para Archery Championship Dubai 2016 gets under way on Saturday January 16th at the Dubai Club for the Disabled.
Many of the participating countries such as Great Britain and France are using the competition in Dubai as a preparation for the European Para Archery Championships in April and to accumulate ranking points.
Several world, European and Asian champions will be seen in action during the next three days.
The qualification rounds will take place on Saturday January 16th from 9.30am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4pm.
The individual knockout round and team matches will be held on Sunday January 17th while the medal rounds will take place on Monday January 18th from 10am.
The Second Fazza International Para Archery Championship was officially inaugurated on Thursday evening with a grand opening ceremony at Al Boom Tourist Village where the cultural heritage of the country was showcased in all its grandeur.
Recognition by World Archery has raised the profile of the Fazza International Para Archery Championship with the number of participating countries having doubled from the inaugural edition from eight to 15.
Among the 50 athletes who will be vying for honours in this competition is 15-year-old Jessica Stretton of Great Britain, a bronze medallist at the last World Championships held in Germany.
She is part of a 14-strong team from Great Britain who also have world champions such as Joanna Frith, John Stubbs, John Cavanagh and Melanie Clarke.
France have top ranked European Para archers such as Brigtte Duboc and Stephanie Gilbert.
There is also Kevin Evans from Canada, David Drahoninsky of Czech Republic, and Phillip Bottomley of Holland.
Another player watch will be Zahra Nemati from Iran who has qualified for both the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in Brazil.
To qualify for Rio, unlike in other sports where timings matters, Para Archers have to accumulate points to be among the top 10 or 20 in each event.
“It’s not like athletics, swimming or powerlifting. You need to be competing in more tournaments to get yourself in the top ranking. Otherwise you will find yourself out of Paralympic Games. Dubai will be one of the last chances for those athletes to increase their points,” said Majid Abdullah Al Usaimi, Executive Director at the Dubai Club for the Disabled and Director of the Fazza Championships for the Disabled, who was instrumental in persuading World Archery to grant recognition to this Championship.
“In our long term strategic plan to develop Fazza Championships for people with disabilities, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, directed that the Fazza Championships should stage internationally sanctioned events. I as president of the Asian Paralympic Committee proposed at the Congress of the International Paralympic Committee in November and within a short time they granted us recognition after inspecting our facilities which they found to be perfect,” said Majid Abdullah Al Usaimi.
The Fazza International Para Archery Championship is organized and supervised by the Dubai Club for the Disabled with a strategic partnership and support from the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) and in cooperation with the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare and the UAE Paralympic Committee.
The participating countries in the Second Fazza International Para Archery Championship are Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Great Britain, South Korea, Thailand and tournament hosts the UAE.