Dubai, 11 October 2022: The quest for the next Meydan Grand Knight has begun as Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) named the 16 Yuweels (participants) who have qualified for the 23rd Fazza Championship for Youlah and 18th edition of Al Meydan Program.
The announcement was made following two days of intense qualifying rounds on October 8 and 9 at AL Meydan stage in Global Village, where over 300 hopefuls from various parts of the UAE and other Arab countries tried to make the cut.
Only 16 were chosen, and three were put in reserve list, who will compete in the elimination round that will start on December 9. The format will have four Yuweels competing in the elimination round every Friday leading up to the championship round.
Those who made it are: Khaled Saleh Taya Al-Menhali, Issa Saeed Mohammed bin Khasib Al Dhaheri, Mohammed Ahmed Ali Issa Al Ketbi, Ali Mubarak Ali Mulaifi Al Azizi, Ali Abdullah Khalfan Mohammed Al Ghafli, Abdullah Mohammed Obaid Saeed Al Heli, Shabib Abdullah Khalifa Mohammed Al Darmaki, Diab Obaid Malfi Ali Al Kutbi, Diab Rashid Ali Al Salaf Al Nuaimi, Saeed Obaid Muhammad Balarhad Al Shamsi, Obaid Nasser Obaid Fadel Al Ketbi, Muhammad Saeed Muhammad Al Owaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Khalfan Matar Fairouz Al Falahi, Humaid Obaid bin Rakad Al Ali, Zayed Ahmed Khalifa Obaid Al Marri, and Ahmed Khamis Sultan Saeed Al Rashidi.
The Yuweels will undergo an intensive training programme in the various sections of the tournament, including Youlah, Arabic poetry reading, camel racing, swimming, and Saktoun (traditional Emirati rifle) shooting. The first episode will be held on December 9 (Friday) on Meydan grounds in Al Marmoom. Each episode is broadcast live every Friday night over Sama TV Dubai and Al-Oula Radio
Commitment to the championship
With the popularity of the competition among the youth, Hamdan Bin Dalmook, the CEO of HHC, expressed his admiration for the level commitment of the participants and also noted their preparation and commitment to the championship.
He underlined the main focus of the 23rd Fazza Championship for Youlah and 18th edition of Al Meydan Program is to promote the UAE’s national and cultural heritage.
Bin Dalmook added the championship is getting tougher every year and winning the Gold Cup requires diligence, dedication and strong focus to keep pace with the high level of competition.
Enhancing national identity
For his part, Rashid Al Khasouni, HHC Director of Fazza Championships, expressed his happiness with the presence of new faces in competition, noting that the changes made in tournament had a significant impact in attracting fresh participants from across the UAE.
He added: “We all feel proud and happy when we see Emirati youth full of desire and enthusiasm to embrace their national heritage. They are very passion to learn and preserve their culture and enhance their national identity.”
Accepting the challenge
Muhammad Ahmad Issa Al-Ketbi, one of the Yuweels, expressed his happiness for his qualification, and promised to his best to win the crown. Mohammed Rashid Al-Nuaimi also shared his indescribable joy at qualifying next stage of the championship in his first participation. He said is an able camel rider, which will give him an advantage in the championship.
What is Youlah
Youlah is a heritage sport that involves spinning and throwing a replica rifle made of wood and metal plating. It is an integral part of the Emirati culture, with its origins in the army as a celebratory jig that was done with real weapons in the past.
Participants called ‘Yuweel’ fling the rifle as high as possible before catching it. They are judged based on their footwork and overall fluidity of performance. Participants are also judged based on their competencies in literary and cultural competitions, as well as Saktoun rifle shooting, swimming, and camel riding.