Mirza Al Sayegh, Shareef Al Halawani, Sadiq Al Mulla and Prof. Abdullah Mohammad Al Shamsi at the Jebel Ali Racecourse. Image Credit: Leslie Wilson Jr/Gulf News

Leslie Wilson Jr/Gulf News

Mirza Al Sayegh, Shareef Al Halawani, Sadiq Al Mulla and Prof. Abdullah Mohammad Al Shamsi at the Jebel Ali Racecourse yesterday.Dubai: Mirza Al Sayegh was joined by senior faculty members from leading colleges in the UAE as he called out to students to embrace horse racing and acknowledge the importance of sports in their every day life.

“I encourage the authorities involved in horse racing to make an effort to attract the youth in our country to attend race meetings,” he said during a news conference at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Tuesday.

“It is time to consider horse racing, in particular, as it is one of the best alternative actions outside the classroom.

“Horses are a part of the fabric of the UAE and by coming together at the racecourse they will learn teamwork and how to improve their social skills.”

Al Sayegh, who is the Director of the Office of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, highlighted the success of professional programmes such as Darley Flying Start and Masar Godolphin in opening up career paths for the younger generation.

Darley Flying Star and Masar Godolphin are academic and management and leadership training programmes operating under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“I extend my thanks and gratitude to Shaikh Mohammad for introducing these invaluable scholarships related to the sport of horse racing,” Al Sayegh said.

“It gives the students an insight into the thoroughbred racing industry and also opens their minds to the many careers that are available to them in the sport.”

Charles Diab, Executive Director, Advancement & Alumni Affairs at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), who will sponsor one of the seven races on Friday’s card at Jebel Ali Racecourse, backed Al Sayegh’s views.

“Universities are designed to open the minds of young people,” he said. “We are not just designed to teach them in one particular subject. Most of the time graduates don’t necessarily chose careers in the area that they have studied.

“Our job is to make sure that we expand their knowledge of the world. And the horse racing industry is one of those areas that we want to expose our students to.

“We are aware that it is a major industry in the world that is very import to the Rulers of the country and that’s why we are taking part in this particular activity,” he concluded.

Sadiq Al Mulla, Chief Administration and Finance Officer, Zayed University and Prof. Abdullah Mohammad Al Shamsi, Vice Chancellor of the British University in Dubai, also agreed that students will benefit from being exposed to horse racing.

Also lending their support to Friday’s race meeting at Jebel Ali Racecourse is Shadwell, the breeding arm of Shaikh Hamdan’s global racing operation, together with Shadwell Farm and Derrinstown Stud.