The President of the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) has assured that watersports in the UAE will bounce back strongly following a transition period that the sport has currently been experiencing reports the Gulf News.
Over the past few years, watersport events have shown a dip downwards in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Teams from neighbouring Qatar have stepped away from most of the UIM powerboat racing disciplines, while Class 1 Offshore, long considered a jewel in the UIM crown — has been reduced to a sole annual event in Italy.
The UIM, for its part, has looked at fresh territories including China and India.
Three separate venues in China played host to 5 races before the teams headed to Dubai for the 2017 UIM XCAT World Championship finale.
India, on the other hand, has moved in to host a round of the UIM F1H2o World Championship in Andhra Pradesh slated for November 2018.
Dr Raffaele Chiulli, President of UIM, attended the Dubai Grand Prix and is convinced that watersport will regain its lost lustre in the near future.
Chiulli told Gulf News:
I am convinced this is a transition period for our sport.
Class 1 racing was the cornerstone of our activities, and now we can see XCAT racing taking its place perhaps.
So there is no need to worry.
The XCAT teams and drivers love this new category and the format of racing.
It is just a matter of time when we peak with this new class of racing.
The XCAT brand of racing was conceived and put together in Dubai by the erstwhile World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) in an attempt to find a cheaper alternative for the Class 1 category.
Dubai has always shown us the way forward, and today we have a brand that is easily marketable anywhere in the world.
The innovations in this brand of racing [XCAT] are plenty, starting from the more environmentally-friendly four-stroke engines to the enhanced safety features within the boats.
Things can only get better for the sport and for all concerned.
We have been getting a lot of enquiries from many countries for this brand of racing.
But we also need to ensure we do not oversell ourselves.
China is one geographical area that has been a willing partner and will continue being so due to the response we’ve had there this season.
The UIM President concluded:
The UAE will always hold a special place for us and for our sport.
It has been a willing partner with us since so many years now, and they will continue being so.