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22 February 2024

Mohammed Bin Rashid Creative Sports Award announces 30 winners in its 12th edition, including Ammar bin Humaid and FIFA’s Gianni Infantino

By E247

Ahmed bin Mohammed: The UAE has also sought to advance creativity in the Arab world and at a global level, and this applies to sports as in all spheres
Mansoor bin Mohammed attends awards ceremony and releases a commemorative coin

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and of President of the UAE National Olympic Committee (NOC) and Chairman of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, which is part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, reaffirmed that the UAE will always back creativity and excellence in all spheres of life, including the sports sector.

His Highness’s comments came following the announcement of winners of the 12th edition of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, the biggest of its kind in terms of prize money and categories and the first to recognise creative work in the sports sector. “Our leadership has boosted the culture of creativity across every domain. The UAE has become a global model in fostering excellence, uniqueness and creativity. The UAE has also sought to advance creativity in the Arab world and at a global level, and this applies to sports as in all spheres,” His Highness said.

 “Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, the Award continues its work based on the vision and directives of the leadership to inspire a better future for the sports sector not only in the UAE but in the Arab world and across the globe. The Award aims to celebrate and honour outstanding athletes and the teams, enabling their success as they find new and creative ways to lift their performance. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Creative Sports Award also endeavours to achieve the noble goals of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives to empower communities through sport,” Sheikh Ahmed added.

His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), attended the awards ceremony held at The View in Palm Island. Sheikh Mansoor released a commemorative silver coin celebrating the remarkable success of the Award over the years. The coin valued at AED50 was unveiled by the Award's organising entities in collaboration with the Central Bank of the UAE. Sheikh Mansoor launched the coin with the push of a button.

The ceremony was held in the presence of His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Creative Sports Award. Also attending the event were Her Excellency Moza Al Marri, Secretary General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Creative Sports Award; His Excellency Mustafa Beraf, Board Member of the International Olympic Committee, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Mohammed bin Rashid Creative Sports Award and Chairman of the Referees Committee; His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of DSC; His Excellency Naser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of DSC and Manager of the Award; His Excellency Isam Galadari, board member and managing director of Nakheel, besides many prominent sports personalities and media representatives from the UAE and the Arab world.

HE Al Tayer expressed his gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed and His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed for their unstinting support, patronage and timely directives that had helped raise the prominence of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Creative Sports Award and enabled it to applaud creativity in the sports sector. “The MBR Creative Sports Award has been synonymous with distinction and success since its launch in 2009. The positive impact of the Award has provided us with true role models from the UAE, the Arab world and from all over the globe, reaffirming its remarkable success and eminent role in spurring sporting achievements and empowering communities through sport,” he said.

 “The Award has set new records during its 12th edition, as it features 545 nominees in the individual, team and corporation categories, with a 33% increase in entries compared to the 11th edition. The number of awardees has also increased to 30. A new category for Arab junior athletes has been created, and we will continue our efforts to promote excellence and creativity, following our leadership’s vision,” HE Al Tayer added.

The list of winners of the 12th edition of the Award comprises leading personalities and decision makers, sports administrators, champions and creative corporations.

His Highness Sheikh Ammar Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the Crown Prince of Ajman, was named the UAE Sports Personality, in recognition of his patronage of various sporting activities at Ajman Club and other clubs, besides international sports championships taking place in Ajman.
HH Sheikh Ammar has been a supporter of the Emirates Tour, marine sports, equine sports among other sports besides community events. He also supports national sporting activities.

Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, was named the International Sports Personality, marking a significant milestone in his leadership of global football's governing body. A Swiss advocate by profession, Infantino has guided FIFA through a transformative era, implementing groundbreaking technologies and initiatives that have profoundly impacted the sport.

Under Infantino's stewardship, FIFA has embraced technological advancements in world competitions, most notably the introduction of Goal Line Technology and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. These innovations have been pivotal in enhancing the accuracy and fairness of the game at the highest levels.

A key focus of Infantino's tenure has been the development of women's football. Under his watch, FIFA has expanded the World Cup Finals to include 48 teams, up from 32. Furthermore, Infantino's leadership has seen FIFA enhance its support for youth football, raise professional standards across all football sectors, and promote the concept of joint hosting for championships.

Sheikh Talal Al Fahad Al Subah has been named the Arab Sports Personality in recognition of his remarkable efforts to develop sports in Kuwait, the region and the Asian continent in general. Sheikh Talal holds a number of roles relating to the sports scene in Kuwait including chairmanship of Al Qadisiya Club, the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee, the Kuwait Basketball Association and the Kuwaiti Football Association. He also chairs Kuwaiti sports delegations to various international sports championships and events. He assumed the chairmanship of the West Asia Sports Federation in 2005. He holds several other leading sports administrative roles as well.

The UAE Athlete Award was shared by Salem Hamad Al Kitbi, who won gold and silver medals at the World Endurance Championship in 2021 and 2022, and Khalid Mohammed Al Shihi, who won gold medals in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship for Adults in 2022 and 2023, besides three gold medals in World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship from 2021 to 2023. He is the top ranked player globally in the 62 kg youth and  senior categories.

The UAE Administrator Award went to His Excellency Abdulmunem Al Hashimi, President of the UAE and Asian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, First Deputy President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation and Chairman of Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Association for Professionals – AJP in recognition of his remarkable contribution to the development of the sport of Jiu-Jitsu. He has maintained top place for four straight years. He has launched several initiatives and programmes that have contributed to a big increase in Jiu-Jitsu’s following in UAE, which now stands at 250,000 athletes.

The UAE Team Award went to the UAE National Show Jumping Team. The accolade is in recognition of the team's string of exceptional achievements on the international stage including its qualification for the Paris Olympics 2024. The team also secured a bronze medal at the Asian Games in China in 2023. The team has also dominated at European events, claiming victory at the prestigious Netherlands International Championship and the Belgium International Equestrian Championship.

The UAE Organization Award was conferred on the Dubai Horse Racing Club for Sustainability and Excellence in Event Management. The accolade recognises the club's exceptional organisation of 27 editions of the Dubai World Cup, a globally renowned event in equestrian sport. Underlining its status as a benchmark in the field, the Dubai Horse Racing Club has established itself as a model for horse racing organisations worldwide. This is further emphasised by the substantial prize money associated with the Dubai World Cup, which stands at an impressive $30.5 million, ranking it among the most lucrative in the international horse racing arena.

The Arab Athlete Award was shared by Khadija Mardhi of Morocco and Ghufran Bel Khair from Tunisia, the former her gold medal winning performance in the World Boxing Championship held in New Delhi in 2023 and the latter for her two gold medals at the 2021 World Weightlifting Championship in Uzbekistan. Mardhi’s win in the 81 kg and above category also earned her the top spot in the world rankings while Bel Khair solidified her reputation by securing a gold medal in the African Championship in 2022.

The Arab Administrator Award went to Mohammed Hassan Al Shammari of Iraq in recognition of his groundbreaking role as the first Iraqi, Arabian, and Asian leader to be appointed as the chairperson of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) since its inception. Al Shammari previously had a notable administrative career within the IWF, most prominently serving as the Secretary-General from 2017 to 2022.
The Arab Referee Award went to Bushra Karkoub of Morocco for her remarkable achievement in becoming the first Arab female referee to officiate matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals 2023. She had also served among the referees’ who managed the matches of the African Nations Cup’s Finals 2021. She has officiated the 2023 Moroccan Throne Cup Final for Men.

The Arab Coach Award was conferred on Morocco’s Walid Al Rakraki as the first Arab coach to lead his homeland’s national team to head its group and qualify to the semi-final in the FIFA World Cup Finals (Qatar 2022). He was recognised by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics as the third ranking coach in the world in 2022.

The Arab Team Award went to the Moroccan National Team for its stunning showing as the first Arabian and African National Team to achieve historical results during its participation in the FIFA World Cup Finals. The Moroccan team beat several fancied teams to qualify for the semi-finals. It also emerged as the Arab National Team to score the most goals in the history of the World Cup championships with 19 goals.

The International Organization Award went to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), headquartered in Switzerland in recognition of its youth development programme. This honor comes in light of FIBA's groundbreaking Youth Leadership Project, a key initiative linked to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

Appreciation categories
The Athlete who Achieved Outstanding Successes Award was conferred on Russian Habib Nour Mohammedaov for his remarkable achievements in martial arts. He has won the title of the World Mixed Martial Arts Championship several times. He holds the longest unbeaten record, with victories in 29 successive matches. He is the first Muslim to win the title of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The UAE Youth Award saw 6 nominations of creative Emirati youth athletes who qualified to the voting stage, which will be held through the Award’s official website and smart application. Voting will remain open until 31 December 2023. Winners will be named as per final ranking based on final vote results and they will be honoured at the awards ceremony of the 12th edition on 10 January 2024.

The six nominated Emirati youth athletes are Zamzam Mohammed Al Hammadi (jiu jitsu),
Sultan Saleh Mohammed (shooting), Ahmed Khalid Al Abdouli (taekwondo), Saeed Mahmoud Al Awadhi (water cycling), Alhayam Saif Al Blooshi (fencing) and Mira Abdulla Al Shihi (swimming).

The Award has also launched a new initiative to support, sponsor and honour creative Arab junior athletes with six athletes from various Arab countries who excelled in various sports and achieved continental and international success nominated to enable the public to vote and elect a winner.

The six nominated Arab youth athletes are Egyptian Hanaa Ayman Juwdat (table tennis), Tunisian Noor Sahnoon (tennis), Morocco’s Malak Al Alami (tennis), Saudi Abdul Aziz Al Saif (karate), Abderahim Medjahed from Algeria (judo) and Syria’s Ahmed Ibrahim Shamaa (weightlifting).

The Creative Athlete (People of Determination category) went to Algerian Nasima Safi who won the gold medal of the World Para Athletics Championship in 2023 to add to her previous 4 Olympic medals and 8 international medals.

The Sustainable Sports Achievement Award went to Moroccan Sufian Al Baghali for winning the gold medal in the 3000m obstacle race in the World Athletics Championship in Budapest 2023, besides the gold medal over the same distance in the World Athletics Championship at Eugene 2022. He is the top world ranked athlete in the world in the 3000m obstacle race event.
Commemorative coin
The commemorative silver coin released on the occasion, a first of its kind, prominently features on its obverse the name and logo of the 12th Mohammed Bin Rashid Creative Sports Award in both Arabic and English. Additionally, it displays the images of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, alongside His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. The reverse side of the coin is equally distinguished, bearing the name and logo of the Central Bank of the UAE in both languages.