Youla dance
Sixteen young Emiratis have made the cut to vie for the title as the next Meydan Grand Knight for the 23rd Fazza Championship for Youlah in Dubai

Dubai: Sixteen young Emiratis have made the cut to vie for the title as the next Meydan Grand Knight for the 23rd Fazza Championship for Youlah and 18th edition of Al Meydan Program, organised annually by Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC).

According to HHC, over 300 hopefuls from various parts of the UAE and other Arab countries have auditioned during the two days of intense qualifying rounds held early this week on Al Meydan stage in Global Village.

Only 16 were chosen, and three were put in reserve list, who will compete in the weekly elimination round that will start on December 9. The format will have four Yuweels (participants in English) competing every Friday, leading up to the championship round.

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Qualifiers

Those who qualified are: Khaled Saleh Taya Al-Menhali, Issa Saeed Mohammed bin Khasib Al Dhaheri, Mohammed Ahmed Ali Issa Al Ketbi, Ali Mubarak Ali Mulaifi Al Azizi, Ali Abdullah Khalfan Mohammed Al Ghafli, Abdullah Mohammed Obaid Saeed Al Heli, Shabib Abdullah Khalifa Mohammed Al Darmaki, Diab Obaid Malfi Ali Al Kutbi, Diab Rashid Ali Al Salaf Al Nuaimi, Saeed Obaid Muhammad Balarhad Al Shamsi, Obaid Nasser Obaid Fadel Al Ketbi, Muhammad Saeed Muhammad Al Owaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Khalfan Matar Fairouz Al Falahi, Humaid Obaid bin Rakad Al Ali, Zayed Ahmed Khalifa Obaid Al Marri, and Ahmed Khamis Sultan Saeed Al Rashidi.

Youla dance
Sixteen young Emiratis have made the cut to vie for the title as the next Meydan Grand Knight for the 23rd Fazza Championship for Youlah in Dubai Image Credit:

Intensive training

HHC said the Yuweels will undergo an intensive training programme in the various sections of the tournament, including Youlah, Arabic poetry reading, camel racing, swimming, and Saktoun (traditional Emirati rifle) shooting. The first episode will be held on December 9 (Friday) on Meydan grounds in Al Marmoom. Each episode is broadcast live every Friday night over Sama TV Dubai and Al-Oula Radio

Youlah is a heritage sport that involves spinning and throwing a replica rifle made of wood with metal plating. It is an integral part of the Emirati culture with origins as a military celebratory jig that was done with real traditional rifles in the past.

At the Fazza Championship for Youlah, participants called Yuweels fling the rifle as high as possible before catching it. They are judged based on their footwork and overall fluidity of performance. Participants are also judged based on their competencies in literary and cultural competitions, as well as Saktoun rifle shooting, swimming, and camel riding.

Cultural heritage

HHC CEO Hamdan Bin Dalmook expressed his admiration on the level commitment of the participants and also noted their preparation in the championship, which he underlined is aimed at “promoting the UAE’s national and cultural heritage.”

He added: “The championship is getting tougher every year and winning the Gold Cup requires diligence, dedication and strong focus to keep pace with the high level of competition.”

For his part, Rashid Al Khasouni, HHC director of Fazza Championships, added: “We all feel proud and happy when we see Emirati youth full of desire and enthusiasm to embrace their national heritage. They are very passionate to learn and preserve their culture and enhance their national identity.”

Meanwhile, Muhammad Ahmad Issa Al-Ketbi and Mohammed Rashid Al-Nuaimi, two of the Yuweels, said they are ready to give their best to win the championship.