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A great honour to be part of Team UAE Emirates, says Yousif Mirza

A great honour to be part of Team UAE Emirates, says Yousif Mirza
Yousif Mirza hopes to see more UAE cyclists at global events. (Supplied photo)

Dubai - "I am in the qualifying process. I hope to get the chance to represent the UAE again in Olympics," he said



By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Fri 25 Oct 2019, 10:38 PM

Last updated: Sat 26 Oct 2019, 12:42 AM

The first Emirati cyclist to compete in Olympic road race, Yousif Mirza says his heart swells with pride when he represents Team UAE Emirates at the UCI World Tour.
The only Emirati in history to compete at the prestigious UCI World Tour, Mirza had an impressive 2019 season with three stage wins.
The Khor Fakkan-born cyclist was also delighted to be part of a Team UAE Emirates unit that finished fourth at the UCI World Tour this season.
"We are in fourth position in the general classification of the teams. I am really proud to be a part of UAE Team Emirates. And I am now looking forward to the 2020 season," Mirza told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview.
The Asian champion says it's an honour for him to represent the UAE in elite road raced across the world.
"I am very proud to be the only Emirati cyclist in this team and I push myself 100 per cent to represent my country in the big races with the Team UAE Emirates and the UAE national team as well. So it's a big responsibility for me to show the world that the UAE cycling has a good standard," he said.
"And as an Emirati, it gives you so much confidence when you see your teammates - all world-class cyclists - representing your national flag. It's a feeling that I can't put into words. When you see your flag with the biggest countries in cycling history, your heart swells with pride. It pushes me to give my best all the time in races and in training as well."
And the 31-year-old Mirza credits Team UAE Emirates for his 2018 Asian Championship gold medal.
"I joined the UAE Team Emirates in 2017. And after I spent one year with them, I won the 2018 Asian Championships gold medal in road race. So it has definitely helped me improve as a cyclist," he said.
"It has given me a lot of experience. It hasn't just taught me about racing, but also about life in general. I will work even harder to get even better results in future both with the UAE national team and the UAE Team Emirates."
It was Mirza's elder brother Badr - a former UAE cyclist and the current coach of the national team - who inspired him to take up cycling.
And now Mirza hopes to see more UAE cyclists at global events.
"Team UAE Emirates is working on a project at the youth academy. Our team will meet young cyclists in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. It will be a great session with the kids. You know, I will be very happy to see the rise of new cyclists who can represent my country at the highest level with me - well, if not with me, then maybe in the future," he said.
Finally, Mirza opened up about his chances of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. "I am in the qualifying process. I hope to get the chance to represent the UAE again in Olympics," he said.
"I am ready. I am still racing to get as many points as I can both on road and track racing. So, I am waiting for that moment when I get the ticket to Tokyo."
 
rituraj@khaleejtimes.com
 


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