Mohammed Al Balooshi becomes first Emirati to claim FIM world title

Sport360 staff 16:39 13/08/2018
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Mohammed Al Balooshi became the UAE’s first FIM world champion by clinching the Bajas World Championship in Hungary.

The Emirati’s achievement goes beyond his country’s borders as well, making him the first Arab to ever win a world title in a motorcycle FIM off-road series.

By winning in Hungary, Al Balooshi – who earlier this year became the first Emirati to complete the Dakar Rally – sets yet another milestone for the motorsport in the UAE, reinforcing once again his role as pioneer and a constant figure in the development of the sport in the country.

“I am very happy to have been able to put this medal to the achievements of the UAE. Our country came a long way in motorsport and it’s an honour to be able to make this humble contribution, and a motive of great pride to have my name next to the UAE flag, engraved forever in the FIM records.

“I hope to also represent the Arab world well and do justice to so many great athletes who work hard and keep pushing their limits, always following their passion. I’m struggling with words right now to describe how proud and happy I feel for me and my team, for my country, for the sport.”

On the last day in Veszpren, the picturesque city hosting the final round of the World Cup in Hungary, Al Balooshi had to deal with rain and changing terrain from slippery mud, along with rocky dry areas. He also had to battle mechanical problem, struggling with his KTM’s petrol pump all day, which continued failing when it touched water.

The obstacles resulted in a penalty for the Emirati, but the advantage he had built up earlier in the race and season allowed him to sustain his position atop the standings.

Mahir Badri, managing director at Sports2, the engine behind Balooshi’s International race programme, said: “It took us years working as a team, we faced a lot of challenges, and struggled a lot to reach to this point. This achievement is the result of very hard work, a lot of talent, and a strong belief.

“Even when it looked that we couldn’t go on, we never stopped believing in the project, in the talented and professional athlete we had, and in the dream of taking the UAE to a scene that has been ruled by Europeans throughout its history. We believed we could win this for our people and today the dream is a reality. We are very proud of working with such an amazing athlete like Mohammed who has strong
moral and professional values.”

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