Somali and Sudan honoured in Dubai sports achievers
Dubai (Alshahid) – Somalia athletics coach Jama Mahmoud Aden and Sudan’s Athletic Federation have stole the limelight in the prize-giving ceremony of the second edition of the Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award.
The ceremony was held at the Buruj Khalifa and attended by Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.
The function was also attended by Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Aviation Authority and Emirates Group; Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development; Shaikh Marwan bin Rashid Al Mualla, Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sports Federation; Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, and a number of senior officials and top sports personalities.
This award reflects the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to uplift sports and athletes through a solid base of principles that Shaikh Mohammed emphasises on and supports.
In an address to the audience, Ahmed Al Sharif, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, highlighted the prominence of the award as it carries the name of Shaikh Mohammed.
The Arab sports personality was presented to Shaikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, son of Emir of Qatar.
Naima Al Sabah of Kuwait won the Arab woman sport personality award.
Shaikh Maktoum honoured 18 winners during the ceremony.
Aden Jamie, who was named the top athletic trainer in the world and Sudan’s athletic association for which he’s working, under extremely difficult conditions to make something out of nothing.
The country’s only athletics venue appears more a potential cause of injury than a training ground for champions. Sudan’s year-round hot conditions — 85-plus degrees Fahrenheit and bright sunshine for eight or nine months of the year encourage little training and competition in this part of Africa.
Despite this cloud of negativity, Sudan is making a name for itself in the world of middle-distance running. Thanks largely to a never-say-die approach by Somali-born national team coach Jama Aden, the country now has an Olympic silver medalist and a world indoor champion to call its own.
Born and raised in Somalia, 46-year-old Aden had a decent running career, representing his country in the 1983 world championships and the Los Angeles Olympics a year later. Though his biggest athletic achievement was a mile best of 3:56.82 in the ‘80s, Aden used his track scholarship at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and his Masters degree in exercise physiology from George Mason University to start a career in coaching.
Aden decided to move to Sudan in 2001 to start a new challenge there. Siddiq Ebrahim, secretary general of the Sudan Athletics Federation, said they have welcomed the move and they have decided to begin from the beginning with their very limited resources, if any.
In 2003, Nagmeldin Ali Abubaker won the world youth 400m title in Sherbrooke, Canada, to open the floodgates. Four years later in Algiers, Sudan forced the African continent to stand up and take notice when Muna Jabir (women’s 400m hurdles) and Abubaker Kaki (men’s 800m) won gold at the All-Africa Games.
And in 2008, Kaki marked out an impressive senior year with world indoor 800m, world junior indoor 1,000m, and world junior outdoor 800m records in the space of two months. Then, at the Beijing Olympics, Ishmail Ahmed Ishmail surprised many by winning silver in the men’s 800m final just a few strides behind the experienced Kenyan Wilfred Bungei. (Khaleej Times)