Dubai, 3 January 2021: Emirati teenager Juma Obaid Al Ali is out to defend his title as Meydan Grand Knight at the ongoing 21st edition of the Fazza Championship for Youlah, organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC).
Al Ali, grand winner in the 20th edition last year, and Obaid Salem Ali have qualified to the quarterfinal round. Al Ali qualified after leading the fourth batch of qualifiers with 70 points, followed by Obaid Salem Ali with 60 points
Al Ali said he is aware that the quest for the Fazza Gold Cup and the Dh1 million prize money is now harder to fetch, with each Yuweel (Youlah performer) required to undergo five challenges, including Youlah, horse and camel riding, Saktoun rifle shooting, and traditional poetry before being named as the Meydan Grand Knight.
Youlah, which is taking place every Friday at the Heritage Village stage in Global Village, is a very technical sport that requires intense training. Aside from spinning the rifle and tossing it in the air at a required height to 20 metres, the Yuweels are also obliged to make sure that their ghutra (traditional headgear) will not fall to avoid point deduction. But this year, competitors are also tested by their skills in horse and camel riding, Saktoun rifle shooting, and traditional poetry.
Raising the bar of competition
“This season, contestants who qualified have been empowered in various heritage competitions and have shown great merit and enthusiasm. The high level of competition among Emiratis has a strong appeal and following from the public who watch the weekly competitions at Al Meydan Fort at Global Village, or over Al Oula Radio, Sama Dubai TV and social media platforms,” said Natalie Awadissian, HHC Director of Radio Stations Department, Media and Communication.
Camel trainer, Muhammad Ali Bel-Rasheed said adding camel racing is a very positive gesture in promoting the UAE’s intangible cultural heritage. He noted all participants have shown great desire to learn all aspects related to camel grooming and raising. He added this is a positive sign that the Emirati culture will be passed on to the largest possible number of future generations.
Several equestrian and camel racing clubs, centres and institutions have sponsored the Youlah performers in order to gain points from the external activities and become the true knights worthy of the Fazza Cup. Every Friday, at Global Village’s Al Meydan Fort will witness new knights till the least episode in March 2021.