Dubai: Khalifa Belselah and Ali Al Lanjawi will be Victory Team’s latest additions into the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship fold when the new season commences in the summer of 2020.
The Victory Team Board of Directors met under the chairmanship of Huraiz Bin Huraiz along with Vice-Chairman Mohammad Al Mutaiwei and member Ghanem Al Marri, met earlier this week and decided to boost the presence of the men in blue in jet ski racing.
Al Mutaiwei and Al Marri briefed media and stated that the changes are being introduced to ensure the development of Emirati talent in various watersport disciplines. “The focus is always on tapping local talent that will make us all proud of the UAE,” Al Mutaiwei told Gulf News.
“The introduction of two Emirati riders in the Runabout category will further boost the presence of Victory Team and we can hope for a much better performance on the water too.”
From the start of the 2020 season, Belselah and Al Lanjawi have both been confirmed for entries in the Runabout category that is currently being keenly contested this season with only 17 points separating the top six riders. Poland’s Andrzej Wisniewski sits at the top of the standings with 104 points, seven clear of Yousuf Abdul Razzaq and Rashid Al Tayer who are tied for second place.
Belselah and Al Lanjawi will be joined by Austria’s Kevin Reiterer, who is on the threshold of winning a third world title in his Ski GP1 class.
Reiterer, who won his second world crown on his Victory Team debut last season, is currently leading the Ski GP1 category in which he needs just one point to cement a third world title when the final three motos are held on Sharjah’s Khalid Lagoon in the second half of December.
A gold and silver medallist at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, Al Lanjawi has been with Victory Team for the past two seasons now. The 38-year-old who has grown up on Dubai’s Jumeirah coastline has ample amount of experience racing in various forms of watersports from jet skis to powerboats. He made his debut in jet ski racing at the age of 18 on encouragement from close friend Anwar Nimr.
Since then he has been a force to reckon with while having a breakthrough season in 2017 when he won the top honours at the World Aquabike Championships in Arizona, USA. He then went on to win the European crown in the Runabout and Endurance categories.
Since making his debut in jet ski racing in 2008, Belselah has several honours to his name including the Grand Prix of Italy in the Runabout GP1 category. He has also been the Nordic Champion in the Pro category and also a world champion in the Aquabike slalom at the World Finals held in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
“The idea of increasing the presence of Victory Team in the UIM-ABP World Championship is to give Emirati talent the opportunity to participate and perform at the highest stages,” Al Marri stated.
“Both these riders Al Lanjawi and Belselah are accomplished competitors and we are convinced that they will have adequate time to train and prepare themselves to keep the Victory Team and UAE flag flying starting next season.”