Latest Dubai draw millionaire waited two decades to hit the jackpot

Gopal, a former Dubai resident for 23 years, said he was there when DDF made its first draw in 1999

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Angel Tesorero

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Published: Wed 3 Jan 2024, 5:20 PM

Last updated: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 8:09 PM

Patience is truly a virtue for the latest Dubai Duty Free (DDF) Millennium Millionaire. After patiently waiting – without frustration – for 23 years, he finally won the $1 million grand prize on Wednesday, entering the new year on a high winning note.

Speaking exclusively to Khaleej Times on the phone from Mumbai, Gowda Ashok Gopal, 59, said he bought the winning ticket number 3082 online during DDF’s 40th anniversary last year on December 20. “It has been my annual tradition to buy a ticket every year on December 20,” he said.

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Gopal, a former Dubai resident for 23 years, said he was there when DDF made its first draw in 1999. “There were no online purchases that time and you had to patiently stand in queue to buy the tickets,” he said, adding: “I was there among the first buyers of DDF tickets. We were all standing in a long queue, and the winner of the first draw turned out to be the person right in front of me.”

One step ahead

“Imagine, the person who got the winning ticket was just one step ahead of me! I had the feeling my time will come next. So, every year after that, I bought a ticket without fail – every December during DDF anniversary. And today, January 3, is my luckiest day,” Gopal heartily said.

Gopal became the 222nd Indian national to win $1 million prize since the promotion started in November 1999.

A father of one, Gopal currently works as R&D (research and development) head for a multinational electronic solution company in Mumbai but he cut his teeth in the industry when he first came to Dubai in 1992 to work for a local company. He lived in Dubai for 23 years with his family before moving back home for good in 2015.

Although he has never visited since then, Gopal said he did not lose his connection with Dubai. “I read the latest news about the emirate. I’m in touch with my friends and I have a brother who has a shop in Deira. I also never fail to buy a DDF ticket every year,” he shared.

Waiting without frustration

Gopal said he never got frustrated losing in the past two decades. His ability to wait for something without frustration speaks well of his personality.

He said: “I bought a ticket for Dh1,000 – my money went into the pot, and I was just happy knowing a millionaire is made in every draw. Now, my time has come and I thank the other participants who bought tickets and contributed to the prize pot. DDF has been doing a fantastic job of creating millionaires, and I’m delighted that now I’m one of them.”

“I have lots of things to do with my life and the winnings, including doing charity work. As an engineer, among the projects I have in mind is to produce electricity for households using renewable energy sources,” continued Gopal who will be visiting Dubai soon to collect his prize.

Other winners

Another dollar millionaire was made on Wednesday. Hannan Mohamed Abdurehman, an Ethiopian national based in Ethiopia, also won $1 million winner in the draw’s series 445 with ticket number 3386, which she purchased online on December 18.

Organisers said they were not able to immediately contact Abdurehman, who is now the third Ethiopian DDF winner.

Meanwhile, Safeer Palliparamdil won a Mercedes Benz S500 (Diamond White) car, with ticket number 0064 in the Finest Surprise Series 1863, purchased on December 16. He put the name of his four year-old son Lahiz Mohammed in the ticket and that proved to be his lucky charm.

Mustafa Wali Mohammad, a 34-year-old Afghan national based in Al Ain, won a Harley-Davidson Sportster S (White Sand Pearl) motorbike. He is is a father of eight and works as an accounts manager for a transportation company in Al Ain.

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