Video Credit: Alaric Gomes/Gulf News

Dubai: Sixteen-year-old Maryam Al Shehhi’s eyes lit up when she was asked about the inaugural Dubai Women’s Tour in December.

“I want to be the champion, but I will have to wait till my turn comes,” Al Shehhi told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Seventh Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Ramadan Sports Tournament.

As the youngest member of the eight-women UAE national cycling squad, Al Shehhi has been putting in the extra effort to ensure she is among those challenging for a spot when the national team for the December 11-14 event is finalised later this summer.

“I started just one year back and I think I have managed to catch up with the rest,” Al Shehhi said.

“I have been working hard, and the idea all the time is to ensure I give my best so that I can be the best in the future. Who knows, I can even be a world champion one day.”

A regular rugby player at first, Al Shehhi briefly turned her attention to badminton and then road running before switching to cycling. “I doubt I will have any regrets for this decision,” the Grade XI student from Princess Haya Bint Hussain School said.

“The authorities have done well to give us all the facilities to make things possible for women’s cycling in the UAE. This is our moment and I want to repay this trust by letting my results show in the future. But for the time-being it’s going to be work and more work as I chase my dreams.”