DUBAI - The 16th session of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award will start today with the first batch of eight contestants hailing from the UK, Bangladesh, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Mali, Denmark, Uganda, and Tanzania taking part.
The next eight competitors coming from Italy, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, the Philippines, Nigeria, the Netherlands and Thailand will sit for tests on Saturday. All tests will be held at 10.30pm everyday till Ramadan 20 at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Deira.
According to a senior official, 91 out of 160 countries and communities contacted worldwide for participation in the award have agreed to send their nominees. “The number of participants has come down to 88 memorisers after three countries apologised that their contestants are not yet ready for the competition,” Head of Competitions Unit of the Award Ahmed Sager Al Suwaidi told Khaleej Times on Thursday.
“While 70 contestants have already reached Dubai, the remaining 18 competitors are expected to arrive today,” he added, noting that the 15th session of the award saw 78 participants. Two countries are participating in the award for the first time. These are Grenada and Suriname. Italy which first competed in the contest in 1999 is again participating this year.
“The youngest contestant will be a nine-year-old from Kazakhstan. There will also one participant with visual impairment from Iraq as was the case last year with Iraqi competitor Raad Alabdullah,” he added.
Indicating that the initial tests have begun, Al Suwaidi said two contestants have been disqualified for showing poor performance in terms of Quran recitation and memorisation.
“Initial qualifying tests give memorisers a chance to go on a ‘rehearsal’ before sitting for final tests in front of the audience. They further help the organising committee disqualify below-par contestants and set the daily schedule in a distinguished way to include excellent, good and medium competitors.”
Participants are also distributed in view of the countries. “We try our best to present a variety of memorisers to the public everyday, spanning some from Africa, Asia and Muslim communities in the European countries.”
Expecting a stiff competition in the 16th session of the award, Al Suwaidi said, “This is basically due to tight memorisation, tuneful recitation and good performance.”
Ibrahim Bu Melha, Chairman of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award, said big prizes await top winners: the first will be awarded Dh250,000, the second Dh200,000, while the third will be gifted Dh150,000. “Those who come fourth to the tenth positions are to be granted Dh65,000 to Dh35,000, with Dh5,000 less for each than the winner of the above position. The rest of the participants will get Dh30,000 each.”
The 11-category award, aimed to serve the Holy Quran and promote the general standard of the Quranic performance, is held every year under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
More details can be accessed on the award website (www.quran.gov.ae) or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or on the phone (04-2610666), Bu Melha added.