DUBAI- The 1st edition of the Fazza International Boccia Competition organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) and hosted by the Dubai Club for the Disabled got off to a good start with eight countries participating in singles, doubles and team events. Iraq, Tunisia, Malayasia, Thailand and Portugal have qualified for the semifinals.
The tournament is being held at the Dubai Club for the Disabled in Al Qusais. Thailand and Portugal are the strongest contenders this year. Day two saw competition in the following categories – BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4, which represents various levels of disability.
Says Majid Abdullah Al Usaimi, Championship Director: “The 1st Fazza International Boccia Competition is being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and we are proud to support this event. Boccia is one of the most specialised sports for people with disabilities and we have ensured that all participating contestants have the very best facilities and services during the course of the four-day tournament.”
Souad Darwish, Director of Championships at Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Center added: “The tournament attracted 41 players and hosted 15 highly qualified judges from Tunisia, Malaysia, Portugal and the UAE who have ensured that internationally accredited laws were applied to the Championship. We are confident that the tournament will grow to receive international repute in the near future.”
Despite the UAE failing to qualify for the semifinals, team captain Fawaz al Hashmi is hopeful the team has gained new skills from participating alongside several Boccia world champions. Seven world champions are known to be participating in the tournament.
“Boccia was introduced at the Dubai Club For the Disabled two years ago, so it is a fairly new sport. The UAE team has participated abroad for the past 3 years, including the tournament in Lisbon in 2010. International platforms like these give us a chance to improve and we would like to thank HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai for his support of this tournament.”
Meanwhile, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center, which seeks to revive traditional Emirati heritage, has organised a photo exhibition with a selection of some of the best photographs from across international tournaments for people with disabilities. The exhibit is on display at the Dubai Club for the Disabled.