DUBAI, 23rd December 2017: The third episode of the 18th edition of the Fazza Championship for Youlah and 13th edition of Al Meydan Program produced some scintillating performance at Al Meydan Fort in Global Village on Friday 22nd December night with two more contestants advancing to the next round.
Young Emirati Saeed Mohammed Al Ketbi (number 6) from Al Ain and Matar Ali Ahmed Rashed Al Habsi (number 7) from Ras Al Khaimah were elated after it was announced they had been chosen for the next round of the competition.
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 on a fortnight ago.
This year’s Championship will host four performers in every episode until the semifinals. Every week, two contestants will be leaving if they didn’t gain enough votes from the public. Meanwhile, the semifinals will host 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.
Emirati Abdullah Suhail Amer Al Ketbi (number 9) gave an excellent start to the third episode displaying great composure and poise while handling the Youlah weapon. He entertained the audience using every inch of the stage to showcase his skills despite sllpping on the damp surface on one occasion. Displaying superb technique he rang the bell at the 17-metre mark on four out of five attempts to be awarded 48 points by the three-man Jury comprising Rashid Al Khasooni, Hamad Bel Aous Al Deri and Khalifa Bin Sabaeen.
Soud Mohammed Jumaa Al Hairi (number 10) spurred by the impressive start performed even better than his compatriot. He pranced around the stage with gay abandon maintaining a pleasant demeanour by smiling throughout his performance. He rang the bell at the 17-metre mark on five consecutive occasions. His near flawless and stylish performance earned him a remarkable 49 points from the Jury who acknowledged his skills which he has been honing since the age of six.
Hamdan bin Musleh Al Ahbabi (number 11), an experienced Yuweel artiste, exuded confidence during his measured performance. He was more focused on ringing the bell, succeeding on five out of six attempts. Amazingly he did not allow the Youlah weapon to fall to the ground despite being slightly wayward in throwing it up. Runner-up at the Fazza Championship for Youlah last year, he was awarded him 49 points by the Jury who advised him to harmonize his steps in rhythm with the music and improve his delivery of throwing up the Youlah weapon since he is highly proficient and skilled.
Hamdan Saeed Al Rumaithi (number 8), the final contestant on stage did not disappoint giving a well-balanced performance. He rang the bell no less than six times at the 17-metre mark but dropping the Youlah weapon during his fourth attempted cost him. Nonetheless, he was awarded 48 points by the Jury who urged him to practice and improve his overall skills.
Ms. Suad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at HHC, lauded the high standard maintained by the contestants since the inaugural episode of the Fazza Championship for Youlah.
“Since the first episode, the Yuweel performers have maintained high levels displaying their keenness to improve their skills with dedication and professionalism in training,” she said. “Our aim is to see a high level of excellence and encourage more public to vote and reinforce the stature of this program, which has become very popular across the region.”
She thanked all the media, both local and foreign, for their keenness to cover the Fazza Championship for Youlah every week, confirming that they are “our partners in preserving the heritage”.
Ms. Suad Ibrahim also noted that the training course held every Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Heritage Village at Global Village from 5 pm to 8 pm has attracted a large group of children and is an important step towards preparing new knights to compete at Meydan Fort in future.
The Championship organizers HHC have revised the format of competition this year with 16 finalists and a team of stand byes being chosen after a record number of 411 took part in the qualification rounds held on November 23rd and 24th at Al Meydan Fort in Global Village. Four contestants will perform during each episode from which two will qualify to the next round.
Unlike last year, the judges will not be responsible for each team of players. The players were allowed to train individually giving them the freedom to choose their trainers and practice the sport.
The public vote for the contestants will also count in the final reckoning. As the performers qualify at the various stages of the competition, the final rounds will involve the public as they get to choose their champ. Upon the number of votes the four semi-finalists will be announced accordingly in the lead up to the grand finale.
The tournament organizers announced that 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 Hwaiden 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; Saud 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.