Dubai: The UAE’s Saif Al Ka’abi bagged the top honours in the men’s open category as the NAS Cycling Challenge kicked-off late on Friday with 650 participants taking part in seven different categories.

Al Kaabi completed the 77km race in a time of 1 hour, 39.57 minutes to finish ahead of Emirati compatriots Jaber Al Mansouri (1:39.58), Mohammad Al Mansouri (1:40.02) and Omar Al Jasmi (1:40.03), and Bahrain’s Yahya Khalifa (1:40.45).

Twelve-year-old Omar Essa finished first in the 10km Boys’ Open Category in a time of 19:10, just nudging out Ali Nasiraei and Sultan Al Shamsi.

“This win validates my decision to pick cycling over football,” said Essa.

“I love football and I believe I have really good skills, and I play a lot of football with my friends. But I have chosen cycling because I love this sport more and the challenges and thrills that come with it, and tonight I am really happy with my decision,” he added.

Essa, who trains four days a week, cycling for 35km-40km, added: “I started cycling two years ago and I hope to be the champion of the UAE someday, like Yousuf Mirza, and become the best in speed racing. The support and encouragement of my family gives me the confidence to keep pursuing my cycling dreams. I did not expect to win in the NAS Cycling Challenge, so I am thrilled and I hope this is the first of many titles to come.”

Rashid Al Daheri won the Hand Bike category of the 10km race for People of Determination for the fourth year, crossing the finish line in 17:56 minutes, ahead of Hussain Al Mazam (17:57) and Ayed Ali Al Ahbabi (17:59).

“I had prepared really well for this race with Al Ain Club and I am really happy that the hard work has paid off,” Al Daheri said.

“The NAS Cycling Challenge is coming at a really good time for me, after my participation with the national team in the Asian Championships, where we won a bronze, and before major events like the World Championships in the Netherlands in September. So it is really good preparation for me,” he added.


Cycling Challenge

Open Category Men (77km): 1. Saif Al Kaabi, 2. Jaber Al Mansouri, 3. Mohammad Al Mansouri. Open Category Boys (10km): 1. Omar Essa, 2. Ali Nasiraei, 3. Sultan Al Shamsi. Open Category Girls (10km): 1. Avery Bullard, 2. Afnane Benaouda, 3. Hind Al Marzouqi. People of Determination (10km) Hand Bike: 1. Rashed Al Daheri, 2. Hussain Al Mazam, 3. Ayed Ali Al Ahbabi. People of Determination (10km) Road Bike: 1. Abdullah Al Beloushi, 2. Hamdan Ali Thani, 3. Abdullah Al Hammadi. UAE National Boys (10km): 1. Hamdan Al Seiari, 2. Garib Al Beloushi, 3. Khalifa Al Beloushi. UAE National Girls: 1. Ranad Ahmad Alyfei, 2. Mahra Al Marzouqi, 3. Rim Al Hossani (23:36).


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