Al Gharbia Watersports Festival draws to thrilling close

The highly anticipated Marawah traditional boat race took place on the final day of the Al Gharbia Watersports Festival, where huge crowds gathered to watch the dhow boats compete for the title.

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Published: Tue 30 Apr 2013, 12:13 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:46 AM

Given the perfect weather conditions, the scene was set for what was a highly competitive contest. Finishing in first place was Fatah Al Khair, owned by Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, In second place was the Gazi boat, owned by Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and finishing in third place was the Al Wasal boat, the owner of which was Marri. The total prize money for the competition was an impressive Dh3.5 million.

In addition, the kite surfing race also took place on the beautiful Mirfa beach with the competition consisting of four categories. In the junior division, Mark Howes from South Africa won the contest with Dean Satton from Kenya coming in second and Mathew Vieujot from France in third.

The Marawah traditional boat race gets underway as a participant (above) is seen in action during the final day of the Gharbia Watersports Festival. — Supplied photo

In the female category, Manoon Steens from Holland finished first with Chantelle Howes from South Africa in second and Germany’s Anke Brandt in third.

In the UAE division, Ibrahim Al Hameli finished in first place with Abdulezis Abdulla in second and Saeed Rahid Mohammed in third.

Finally, in the male division the top three places all went to French athletes, Sylvan Vieuijot finishing Sebestien Lecleurq in second and Renoud Borbier in third.

The festival was officially opened by Shaikh Mohammed bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan ten days ago and he was again at the festival to present awards to the winners on the day alongside. He was accompanied on stage at the ceremony by both Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, the Festival Manager and Ahmed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club.

Commenting on the festival Mazrouei said: “The 5th Al Gharbia Watersports Festival has been fantastic. It was great to see the thousands of visitors gathered on Mirfa beach to take part in all the festivities. The level of competition at this year’s event was remarkable and in its fifth year, the ability and sheer talent on show is certainly at the highest it’s ever been. The festival will go a long way to showcasing what Al Gharbia has to offer and will certainly place this region on the international tourism map. Where watersports is concerned, this event is certainly one of the most important festivals in the UAE and the wider region.”

In addition to the competitions, festival goers were treated to a closing firework and laser show, which topped off what has been and highly successful event.

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