Dubai: Hours after retaining the African Player of the Year award at the CAF Awards held in Dakar, Senegal, Egyptian star Mohammad Salah flew into Dubai to receive the Outstanding Arab Athlete award during the 10th edition of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, presented the prestigious award to Salah during the colourful award ceremony held at the Shaikh Rashid Ballroom at the World Trade Centre, in front a packed crowd.
Expressing his delight at receiving the award, Salah, who had an exceptional campaign with Liverpool last season where he scored 44 goals in all competitions, becoming the Premier League’s top scorer and was also voted the league’s best player, said: “Having the honour of bearing the name of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] makes the Creative Sports Award one of the most prestigious and wonderful awards, given that its value and stature are derived from Shaikh Mohammad’s highly prestigious position as number one in all fields of creativity.”
Salah was also named among the top three players in the world in 2018 and succeeded in leading Egypt to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. Despite carrying an injury he suffered in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, Salah managed to score twice for Egypt at the showpiece event in Russia.
“Yesterday I won the title of African Player of the Year for the second time,” he said. “And today I am honoured to be here with you to receive this prestigious award, alongside an elite group of top Arab athletes and sports leaders, among them young men from various Arab countries. The award will motivate them to realise more achievements in the future. I thank Shaikh Mohammad for launching such a grand award, which aims to inspire creativity in sports and develop sports in the UAE, the Arab world and the greater globe.”
It was another great moment for budding star and seven-year old Lamia Malallah, who received the award for the Local Emerging Athlete with Outstanding Success in Sports award. Speaking to Gulf News, Malallah, who won the gold medal in the International Gymnastics Championships — Greece 2018, and the silver medal in Germany, 2017, said: “It has been a very good year for me last year. I had worked very hard and I am thankful to the results that I have got and thus got nominated for the award. I think this is also the award for my dedication and I am looking forward for more good results for my country. I work every day for four hours, five days a week. As soon as I come from school I work from 4pm to 8pm. My immediate goal is to take part in the Youth Olympics and win medals for my country.”
Omar Al Marzouki, another young and promising UAE star who bagged the Outstanding Success Award by winning the silver medal in Equestrian (Individual Show Jumping) at the 2018 Youth Olympics Games and thereby became UAE’s first ever medal winner in Youth Olympics, told Gulf News: “To receive an award with Shaikh Mohmmad’s name will give me a huge boost. I know I have to work harder to better myself.”
Al Marzouki, who is a student of Emirates National School, added: “I took part in this sport from the age of six as my father was riding and helped me a lot. Now my goal is to improve and get better every day.”
Other award winners
Outstanding local athlete: Mohammad Ahmad Al Baloushi, for winning the Motorcycling World Cup 2018.
The local Administrator Award: Nasser Abdul Razzaq Al Marzouqi, President of the UAE Karate Federation, for being elected the First Vice President of the International Federation of Karate and his position as a member of the Executive Office and Honorary President of the Arab Karate Federation. Osama Ahmad Al Shaafar, for being elected President of the UAE and Asian Cycling Federation for the period 2017-2021.
The Arab Sports Personality Award: Turki Al Shaikh from Saudi Arabia for his efforts as Chairman of GSA, the Saudi Olympic Committee, the Union of Arab Football Associations, and Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation.
Local Sports Personality Award: Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak received the award as an appreciation of his efforts in many important sports fields and for implementing the directives of the wise leadership to strengthen the status of UAE to be in the forefront of the organisers of global events in various sports, in addition to his contribution as Chairman of Manchester City to the development of the club performance athletically and commercially.
The club have won nine titles in 10 years: 3 Premier League trophies, 1 FA Cup, 3 League Cups, and 2 FA Community Shields.
The local team award: The UAE refereeing team in the 2018 Fifa World Cup, including referee Mohammad Abdullah Hassan, Mohammad Yousuf Al Hammadi and Hassan Mohammad Al Mahri, who became the first UAE refereeing team to take part in the World Cup in Russia and also the AFC Champions League Final.
The Local Organisation Award: Dubai Police, for its pioneering initiative in the field of youth empowerment, which is linked to Dubai Vision 2021.
The Arab Athlete Award: Mohammad Ihab Youssef, Egypt, for winning three gold medals in the World Weightlifting Championship.
The Arab Administrator Award: Dr Mubarak Suwailem Al Suwailem, Saudi Arabia, for his efforts in developing and unifying the supervision of air sports in Asia, utilising his position as President of the Air Sports Federation of Asia.
The Arab Coach Award: Nadia Abdelhamid Abdelhafiz, Egypt, for her contribution in coaching the Egyptian boxing team and winning 45 medals in various Arab and international tournaments.
The Arab Team Award: Egypt Men’s Squash National Team, for winning the 2017 Men’s World Squash Championship.
The Best Initiative for the International Summer Olympic International Federations: The United World Wrestling Federation, for the Federation’s unique and comprehensive methodology for organising wrestling training programmes.
Local Junior Athletes: Balqis Abdul Karim Abdullah, for gold medal in the Junior 2017 Jiu-jitsu World Championships; Fatima Salem Khaseef, for gold medal in the Asian Junior Karate Championship (Individual, weight 54kg); Ahmad Faisal Al Naqbi, for winning the AFC Junior Judo Championship (Weight 50kg). Omran Ahmad Al Hosani, for winning the gold medal in the West Asia Classic Chess, the gold medal in the Rapid Play and the silver medal of the Blitz; Abdullah Khalil Mansouri, for winning the gold and bronze medals in the Arab Cycling Championship, 2018.
The Arab Young Athlete: Ahmad Osama Al Gendy, Egypt, for winning the gold medal in the Modern Pentathlon, Youth Olympic Games 2018; Mohammad Ayed Al Asiri, Saudi Arabia, for winning the gold medal in karate at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games; Fatima Al Zahra — Morocco, for her gold medal in taekwondo at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games
Outstanding Achievement Athlete Award: Salih Al Majri — Tunisia, one of the best and most successful Arab players in the history of basketball.
Outstanding Achievement (People of Determination Category): Abdel Nour Al Fadini, Morocco, for placing second in the seventh World Paralympic Taekwondo Championship 2017; Ahmad Mubarak Al Mutaiwee, UAE, for winning six gold and silver medals in cycling in international tournaments.