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Articles about His Highness - 21 November, 2011

Mohammad's love of sport puts nation on world map

Through his extraordinary vision His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has helped transform the emirate of Dubai from a desert town into a major business hub, tourist destination and centre for sporting excellence.

Shaikh Mohammad, who was groomed for leadership by his father, Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, developed an early interest in sport. An accomplished horseman and athlete, his passion for sport knows no bounds and has resulted in many prestigious international sporting events being held in Dubai, including the Dubai Tennis Championships, the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament, the Dubai Rugby Sevens and the Dubai World Cup.

Throughout his youth, Shaikh Mohammad was actively involved in forward-planning meetings with bankers and scholars and this helped shape his business acumen and vision. However, the special attention and interest he has shown to sport has firmly placed Dubai and the UAE on the international sporting map.

He has always led by example by participating in some of the most challenging endurance races around the world and has encouraged his children and the youth of the UAE to follow in his footsteps. He has provided encouragement and the necessary infrastructure for the UAE youth to take up sport in all forms.

Gruelling races

Competing in gruelling endurance races Shaikh Mohammad has led the UAE team to victory in the European Championship in Spain, Italy and Ireland.

Although he is interested in other sports as well it is horse racing that has remained his passion. Horses have been an inseparable part of his life and have helped shape one of the most iconic sporting theatres in the world in the shape of the multi-million dollar Meydan racecourse, a state-of-the-art racing facility that hosts the world's richest race meeting each March, the $27 million Dubai World Cup.

Shaikh Mohammad's relationship with flat racing began in the late Sixties when together with his brother Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, he attended the Guineas meeting at Newmarket racecourse in England. Almost ten years later he would have his first taste of international success when Hatta won a race at Brighton racecourse. That victory fuelled his desire for the sport, but it was not until he established the Godolphin stable in 1994 that the world would feel the scale of his passion and commitment to horses and racing.

Today Godolphin can boast of being one of the largest and most successful racing stables in the world having won close to 1,900 races in 12 different countries. It has won almost every major horse race in the world and with it several prestigious Eclipse Awards.

Timeline: Making history     

1980: Al Wasl Stadium is officially opened.

- Shaikh Zayed Sports City is inaugurated in Abu Dhabi.

1982: UAE bowler Mohammad Khaja wins the 4th Gulf Tenpin Bowling Championship in Bahrain.

1983: Abdul Aziz Al Hakim and Abdullah Kareem win gold in the doubles event at the 4th Arab Gulf Bowling Championship held in Dubai

1984: Nadia Mohammad Saleh wins the women's title and Saeed Ahmad Saeed the men's in the Arab Chess Championship in Dubai

1987: Mansour Abdullah wins the under-16 Arab World Youth Chess Championship held in Sharjah

- UAE rally driver Mohammad Bin Sulayem wins the Emirates International Rally held in Dubai

- Fareeda Abdul Karim picks up the gold medal at the Dubai Olympiad

1988: Emirates Golf course is officially opened

1990: The UAE football team qualifies for the Fifa World Cup in Italy

1993: Mohammad Bin Sulayem wins the Dubai International Rally, making a hat-trick of victories

- Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club is inaugurated by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai

1994: Al Saeed Mohammad Abdul Rahim takes gold at the Arab Juniors Chess Championship in Doha, Qatar

1996: The Dubai Tennis stadium is officially inaugurated

- The UAE makes its debut in the cricket World Cup

- Dubai hosts the world's richest horse race, the $4 million (Dh14.6 million) Dubai World Cup

1997: Khuwaiter Saeed Al Dari creates two new Gulf records by winning gold in the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle in the 9th GCC tournament in Muscat

1998: Khalfan Hareb and Mohammad Al Gaith of Victory Team win the UIM Class One World Offshore Championship in the Italian Grand Prix

- UAE International Master and Dubai chess club player Talib Mousa clinches the Chess President's Cup championship for the first time

1999: The Victory Team's Saeed Al Tayer and Felix Serralles smash the 257km/h barrier as they storm to a new world record in the Pole Position competition of the Norwegian Grand Prix in Arendal

- Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Shaikh Rashid Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, and Abdullah Bel Hab clinch the European Open Endurance team championship in Spain

- UAE chess player Fatima Hussain takes gold medal at the 9th Pan Arab Games held in Jordan

2000: The UAE cricket team wins the ACC Trophy

- The UAE football team wins the LG Cup 2000 after defeating Kuwait 1-0 at the Al Nasr Stadium

2001: Shaikh Mohammad leads the UAE team to gold in the European Open Endurance

- Omar Behroozian wrests the GCC singles tennis title from Kuwaiti top Saeed Mohammad Al Garib. 2002: Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum wins the World Endurance Championship in Spain

2003: Shaikh Mohammad wins the 160km European Open Championship in Punchestown, Ireland

- Shaikh Ahmad Mohammad Hasher Al Maktoum wins his second World Cup gold medal in the double-trap competition in Italy

2004: Shaikh Ahmad becomes the UAE's first Olympic gold medalist in double-trap shooting in Athens

- Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Al Maktoum gives the UAE its first karate gold in the 10th Pan Arab Games

- Dubai Sports City is launched

2006: Mohammad Salem Abdullah Zahmi wins gold in the 65-kilogram body building event at the Asian Games in Doha

2007: The UAE football team beats Oman to win the Gulf Cup

- Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum becomes the first Arab woman to receive the prestigious World Fair Play Award

- UAE's sailors Sayed Al Zaydi and Adil Khalid return home with two individual gold and one team bronze in in the Pan Arab Games

2009: The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the first day-night race is held at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 1

- UAE sprinter Omar Juma Al Sulfa becomes the fastest man in the region after winning the 100-metre race at the GCC Athletics Championships in Qatif, Saudi Arabia

2010: The Dh10-billion historic Meydan grandstand and racecourse is inaugurated in Dubai

- Shaikha Latifa Al Maktoum makes the country proud, as she clinches the silver medal in equestrian jumping at the 16th Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China

- The UAE's Omar Juma Al Sulfa won a historic track and field bronze medal in the men's 200-metres 16th Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China

- The UAE football team wins silver at the 16th Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China

- Dubai Sports Complex, a multi-purpose stadium situated off Dubai Bypass Road on a sprawling 61 acres of land, is inaugurated

- Abu Dhabi hosts the Fifa Club World Cup. Inter Milan beat TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo to win the cup on December 19, 2010

2011: The UAE win two athletics gold medals in the second GCC Women's Games as Saeeda Al Nabi takes the javelin title and Ahlam Saeed bags gold in the 400m event at the Armed Forces Physical Training Stadium

- Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Honorary President of the UAE Taekwando and Karate Federation, is installed as an accredited coach by the World Karate Federation

- Haya Sameer Juma takes gold at the WKF Youth World Cup Individual Kata and Kumite and Training Camp held in Loutraki, Greece

- Hassan Hamad Al Hammadi hands the UAE its first gold medal on the penultimate day of the 2011 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Junior Games at the Dubai Police Officers Club

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum -  - Sheikh Mohammed publishes poetry Next News
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