Omani Ibrahim Al Sulaitni, who was the GCC champion last year, is ready to defend title.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Local, regional and international participants at the 15th edition of Fazza Championship for Freediving, organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage centre (HHC), have started their official training sessions at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai on Monday.
Training sessions are being held in preparation for the official qualifiers on Thursday, and the finals on Saturday, March 6. The local and international participants train to acclimatise themselves in the underwater competition.
Fazza Championship for Freediving is a heritage sport, designed to embody the traditional ways of diving in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.
Divers do not use any tools or underwater equipment but rely on traditional diving techniques used by early mariners in the region.
Hamad Al Rahoumi, Head of the Fazza Championship for Freediving Committee, said special arrangements were made this year to ensure the continuity of the event despite the pandemic and to send a strong message to the whole world that the UAE is winning in the fight against COVID-19.
“The UAE’s efforts in addressing the pandemic are showing great results. Holding the 15th Fazza Championship for Freediving is a testament to this. The championship is being held in accordance with health procedures to ensure everyone’s safety is guaranteed,” Rahoumi noted.
He added: “This year we have reduced the number of lanes in which the participants compete to three lanes instead of the previous four. We have also raised the age of the Junior Category competition from 12 to 13 years old (up to 15 years), in light of the requirements that children aged 12 could not participate as per COVID-19 health protocols.”
Omani Ibrahim Al Sulaitni, who was the GCC champion last year, was the first to arrive at the Hamdan Sports Complex to participate in training.
He is the holder of the Asian record of holding his breath under water in 8 minutes and seven seconds. Sulaitni said he expects strong competition this year but he is ready to defend his title.
The HHC, which has been organising the unique heritage sport in the past 15 years, has institutionalised and made innovations in the conduct of staging the annual competition. Smart technology is now being used in monitoring and broadcasting the results of the tournament.
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