Dubai Sports Council has honoured the Athletes of Determination who took part in the gruelling Garmin Quest 2020 challenge in Hatta last month.
Training with the UAE’s Heroes of Hope programme for People of Determination, the 12 athletes, aged between 13 and 22, and representing many different countries, ran 5.5km on a rugged trail alongside their paired coach or buddy, cycled across mountainous terrain for 13km, and kayaked for a kilometre in the region’s first long-distance adventure race which was held on December 18 in Hatta.
To celebrate their spirit, Dubai Sports Council invited the 12 athletes and their coaches and family to the Council, and His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, presented each one of them with a medal of honour, in the presence of Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council.
The athletes – Abdulaziz Al Hammadi, Aarti Shah, Dinal Ekanayake, Ketan Sahni, Verano Field, Mahmoud Elayyan, Tanay Shah, Theo Phillips, Ali Negm, Harry Huxley, Marwan Mansoor and Riaan Shah – have been taking part in different sports events, but the Garmin Quest was the first time that a group of People of Determination from the UAE had taken part in a demanding adventure sport challenge.
“We do participate in various events across the country, but this was the first big adventure race,” said Hollie Murphy, the founder of Heroes of Hope, who accompanied the delegation along with Abdulla Al Balooshi, a Heroes of Hope partner.
“We really challenged the children to complete what we thought was the impossible. We made it possible for them. Taking part in an adventure event is, of course, very, very different from just a regular running race.”
Speaking about the activities of Heroes of Hope, which promotes inclusivity in sport for People of Determination and seeks to foster a sense of community and achievement, Murphy added: “In total, we are bordering nearly 200 Athletes of Determination from the age of three years right through to the age of 41. We have various needs, various age groups and various abilities.
“We have programmes every single of the week. We have over 16 programmes running for People of Determination, and we are active all over the UAE. We have various venues who donate their facilities to us to operate and to use it.
“All our coaches are also volunteer coaches. Mainly, they have full time jobs themselves and they give up maybe an hour or two hours or three hours a week, depending on how much they want to be involved, to support the kids. Currently at the moment we have between 30 to 40 coaches who donate their time to support the kids.
“We also have junior coaches. We have teenagers from different schools in the community who come out and they volunteer to help.
“So Heroes for Hope is a massive community initiative and the community is very much behind what we are trying to achieve for People of Determination.”
Empowering People of Determination has been one of Dubai Sports Council’s top objectives and the Council organises a number of events and forum throughout the year to encourage People of Determination to embrace sports and a physically active lifestyle, as well as support Athletes of Determination’s dreams of competing at the highest levels.
With natives of more than 200 countries calling Dubai their home, Dubai Sports Council is also regularly launching new initiatives and adding new events to its calendar for the benefit of every member of Dubai’s diverse community, especially in places like Hatta, Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve and Jumeirah to promote these regions, both domestically and internationally, as premier sports tourism destinations.
The Council has also been working with and encouraging partners in the private sector to join its community initiatives and support the wise leadership’s vision of turning Dubai into one of the most physically active places on the planet, and creating a vibrant, healthy and happy community.