“I always tell them to do what they love the most,” says Faris Al Zaabi
Photos: Faris Al-Zaabi
Emirati triathlete Faris Al Zaabi aims to pass on everything he has learned in the field of sport to young people in the United Arab Emirates so that they can raise the country’s flag even higher.
The 29-year-old, who won the UAE’s first medal, a bronze, in the duathlon at the 2019 ATU African and Arabian Championships in Egypt in October, is the sport’s top athlete in the UAE United Arab Emirates, according to the UAE Triathlon Association. .
Al Zaabi’s career in sports started in 2010, when he studied sports science at the University of Victoria in Canada.
“I had chosen to pursue a career as a full-time triathlete in August 2016 after completing five and a half years of study for a degree in kinesiology, from the University of Victoria, Canada,” Al Zaabi told Khaleej Times.
“That was after competing in a local race in Dubai and finishing third. In August 2018, I decided to pursue a triathlon; it includes swimming, cycling and running, professionally.
The Emirati then moved to Spain, where he supported himself to train at the Galician High Performance Sports Center.
Since then, Al Zaabi caught the virus and started training tirelessly to stay fit and learn more skills.
“I train twice a day, seven days a week, and it has helped me a lot to improve my performance,” he said.
“Triathlon is an expensive sport. But I am very grateful to the Mubadala Excellence program, which came to support me.
Since 2021, Al Zaabi has been sponsored by the Mubadala Excellence program. The initiative, which began in August last year, helps UAE-based talents pursue their dreams and funds their sports activities, including training and travel.
Al Zaabi says the Mubadala Excellence Program has been instrumental in helping him continue his journey in the sport. “Sponsorship came at a time when I desperately needed it. Now the sky is the limit, and my goal is to compete in the World Games,” he said.
“I am also grateful to the UAE National Olympic Committee, the UAE Triathlon Federation and the General Sports Authority for their great support.”
According to the Emirati, growing up, his family, especially his mother, was very supportive throughout his sports career, encouraging him to participate in various sports, such as football, basketball and gymnastics. .
Al Zaabi, who was born in Paris, France to an Italian mother and an Emirati father, speaks five languages including Arabic, English, Spanish, French and Italian. This skill has helped him communicate effectively with different people throughout his career.
He says his dream is to pass on all the knowledge and skills he has acquired in sports to young people in the UAE, so that they can be good athletes and represent the UAE in various competitions.
“I am committed to training young people to become great triathletes. I always tell them to do what they love the most,” said the triathlete.
Al Zaabi is also an Emirati Health and Wellness Ambassador for Abu Dhabi’s Ma’an’s Let’s Connect program, promoting community wellbeing and inspiring young people in Abu Dhabi to reach their full potential within their community.
Al Zaabi won the UAE’s first international medal at the 2019 ATU African and Arab Championship. He also became the first Emirati to compete in an ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he finished 24th out of 83 in the 25-29 age group race, as well as in the Spanish Triathlon League.
He holds a master’s degree in sports management from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
READ ALSO :