The President of the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) has assured that watersports in the region will bounce back strongly following a rare transition period that the sport has currently been experiencing.
Over the past few years, watersport events have shown a dip downwards. For a start, teams from neighbouring Qatar have stepped away from some of the watersport activities, while Class 1 off-shore racing â€“ long considered a jewel in the UIM crown – has altogether stopped operations.
In its turn, the UIM has looked at fresh territories with particular attention on the most populous nations, China and India. Going into the fourth and final round of the 2017 UIM XCAT World Championship in Dubai, three separate venues in China played host to six races before heading for the finale in Dubai. 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.
With such positive happenings around the sport, Dr Raffaele Chiulli, President of UIM, who was in Dubai for the Dubai Grand Prix, the final round of the 2017 UIM XCAT World Championship held off The Palm over the weekend, was convinced that watersport is bound to regain its lost lustre in the near future.
“I am convinced this is a transition period for our sport,” Chiulli told Gulf News.
“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,” he added.
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,” Chiulli confided.
“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,” he added.
“But the UAE will always hold a special place for us and for our sport. The UAE has been a willing partner with us since so many years now, and they will continue being so,” Chiulli stressed.