UAE: From desert dunes, this 17-year old Emirati wants to conquer snow slopes

Abdulla AlBalooshi's eyes are set on qualifying for the Winter Olympic Games in skiing


Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 14 Apr 2024, 3:49 PM

Transitioning from swimming and football, 17-year-old Emirati athlete Abdulla AlBalooshi is breaking new ground in a sport that many would not think of in the UAE: Skiing, a competitive winter discipline that very few explore in a desert country.

But AlBalooshi is undeterred. In fact, he has come a long way trading his swimming trunks and football cleats to pursue his dream of representing his nation on the global stage of competitive skiing.

He recently took part in the UAE National Ski team's training camp in Davos, Switzerland, to improve the skills of national athletes, in preparation for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

"I seek to make history for my country by pursuing sports that are not traditional here — a desert country," AlBalooshi, who is a Grade 11 student, confidently told Khaleej Times.

Desire to make history

AlBalooshi's passion for skiing ignited roughly five years ago, by his desire to make history for the UAE in a sport rarely associated with the desert nation.

He started with swimming and football but eventually transitioned to skiing. “The change was absolutely challenging,” he shared, adding: “I had to shift focus to find balance and improve my agility to become a professional skier.

Overcoming the challenges, AlBalooshi's dedication was evident in his success. His typical day includes training sessions, gym work, and academic studies while he tries to spend some time with his friends and family.

"I am mostly busy throughout the day with practice and dry land conditioning, but I always make time for schoolwork and the rare chance to be with family and friends," he added.

Motivated by team members

Alblooshi is strongly supported by the UAE national team, his coaches, and family. “They motivate me to represent the country,” he noted.

Alblooshi also draws inspiration from Emirati athletes who have paved the way before him. His eyes are set on qualifying for the Winter Olympic Games.

As for aspiring athletes, here is his message: "Have fun with your sport at every opportunity. Overthinking about the results or the future only clouds the enjoyment of the journey."


More news from UAE