Fazza Championship for Freediving gets underway
Dubai - This three-day event has attracted around 200 registered participants.
Competitors took the plunge and went down to the very depths of the springboard pool at the Hamdan Sports Complex in the initial round of the Fazza Championship for Freediving here on Thursday.
This three-day event, which is being organized and supervised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC), has attracted around 200 registered participants and they've been acclimatising to underwater life beneath the buoy during a pre-tournament preparation period since Monday.
The contest is split into three separate categories - juniors, GCC nationals and professional freedivers respectively - and organisers are expecting another exhilarating exhibition of human endurance and mental strength against the clock.
"We've been greatly encouraged by the sheer number of registered applicants for this latest edition of the Fazza Championship for Freediving," said Hamad Al Rahoumi, Head of the Committee for the Fazza Championship for Freediving.
"This higher-than-average turnout should bring out the very best in the participants as they look to set the best times over the course of this weekend.
"That said though, we won't be compromising the safety and wellbeing of these freedivers in any way whatsoever. That has been our number one priority right from the very beginning.
"We held a four-day training session earlier this year, which was led by the Guinness World Record holder Branko Petrovic, of Serbia, to explain to those wanting to participate here how to immerse themselves in this sport with a high level of awareness about safety, which always comes first.
"Ensuring that these freedivers are professionally capable and making sure of their safety is more important than attracting a large number of participants at the end of the day."
Freediving is, of course, a historical pastime here in the UAE as Emiratis dove for pearls and to spear fish in the olden days.
The sport, much like falcon racing and Saktoun rifle shooting, is enjoying something of a renaissance through its annual appearance in the Fazza Championship schedule and that is an encouraging development for the tournament supervisors at the HHC.
"Staging competitions such as the Fazza Championship for Freediving helps to maintain our rich Emirati culture and heritage by spreading the popularity of this pursuit among this generation and passing it down to the next one," commented Souad Ibrahim Darwish, the Director of Championships at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC).
"That is one of our main objectives at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) and we wish divers the best of luck."