Dubai, February 9 2016 – It will take something special to deny the NAS K team and pilot Khalifa Bin Mejren in Friday’s Airplane Championship final on the evidence of the qualifying round for the Sheikhs at the Fakhr Al Ajyal (‘The Pride of the Generation’) Championship for Falconry here on Monday.
Bin Mejren and the NAS K outfit locked out the first five places among the top 10 qualifiers and he wasn’t exactly done there either, guiding his sixth and final bird – the last one to fly – to a creditable eighth-place finish at the event, which is organized and supervised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC).
The high-calibre competition had been well and truly hit for six and, with Bin Mejren breaching the one minute and 15 second barrier almost at will, he’ll undoubtedly approach the finale in three days’ time in confident mood regardless of what times the general public post tomorrow (Wednesday) in their qualifying round.
“It’s not a question of luck as it’s down to hard work,” Bin Mejren said afterwards. “I’ve worked very hard for four months solid to achieve these times and it’s not easy. Thankfully, my birds did well, especially when it came to turning at the cone. I’m pleased with them and I hope we’re ready for the final on Friday.”
Bin Mejren and the NAS K team then drove away from Monday’s action on all-too-familiar territory – atop of the leaderboard and way out in front of the opposition. However, the ‘secret’ to the success of the family in falconry circles is hardly classified information as such.
“We’ve been with falcons for a long time now and we like them very much,” Bin Mejren explained. “I work on a daily basis for six months, with training sessions in the mornings and evenings. We all work hard and it’s really not easy. As always, behind any success is hard work and I’ve also got a very good team with me. You’ve got to enjoy and feel happy at moments like this after all of the hard work that has gone into it and we hope we’ll do well in the final as well. We obviously don’t know as this is only a qualification event.”
Worryingly for the finals-day field too, it would appear one or two of Bin Mejren’s six-strong hand qualified for it despite making a mistake while flying round the streamlined course and – more pertinently – that problematic cone.
“One of my birds flew at full speed when I reached the cone just to cross me,” Bin Mejren added. “It’s not easy. It’s not just a case of a falcon following the airplane and that bird turning with you.
“She came first today (Monday), but she also did this. She flew 50 metres away from the cone and then had to come back. But, she’s a strong bird and I think she’s amazing.”
The Telwah tournament final is set to take place in the Al Ruwayyah area of Dubai today (Tuesday), when the fastest finishers in each respective category will qualify through to Thursday’s ‘Super Finals’ (‘Al Nukhba Farkh’ and ‘Al Nukhba Jernaas’).