Muscat: More than 120 cyclists from various age groups competed in Sharqiya to celebrate Renaissance Day.
Team “Challenge” held their second “23rd of July challenge” racing event on Saturday to celebrate Renaissance Day, where locals as young as 11 and old as 42 tried their hand.
The event kicked off in Wilayat Wadi Bani Khalid and ended in Wilayat Mudhaibi, spanning 130 kilometres over three phases. According to an announcement by event organisers, “The opening was attended by Shura council members from Wadi Bani Khaled, Bdiya, Al Qabil, Ibra, Al Haima, as well as Abdullah Hamed al Harthy, manager of the Directory of Sports Affairs.”
The organisers added, “The winner of the race was Yosuf Al Shukaili. Awards were also given to the youngest contestant, Muhammed Khamees Ambusaidi, 11, and the oldest, Ali Khalaf Al Aghbari, 42. It was a great showing from Sharqiya.”
On his part, Al Aghbari said, “It was my pleasure to participate in an event entitled ‘Oman is love and peace.’ I only participated in the challenge section, which was the final 25 kilometres. Due to my usage of a heavy mountain bike, rather than a specialised racing bike, I did not gain a place in the race.”
“But,” he added, “My performance was better than average, and I fully intend to participate with a high quality racing machine in future events.”
Moving the venue of the race to Sharqiya is a new development.
“We usually do the event in Batinah,” said organiser Sulaiman Humaid Al Manji, “But this year some of the authorities took longer to get back to us and clear things up on their side. Sharqiya was enthusiastic, especially the local police of northern Sharqiya, who deserve special thanks, so we went for it. You have to race on the right day for Renaissance Day, so we were short on time.”
“More than 120 cyclists and 30 organisers participated,” added Sulaiman. “We weren’t sure about the weather, so we told the newer riders to stay safe and join only if they’re sure they could handle it.”
According to the official statement by the team, the event was well coordinated.
“Our meeting point was in Samad il Shaan, Mudhaibi, at the Green Youth football pitch at 4:00pm on Friday. Cars were left behind while we moved cyclists and bicycles to a private farm in Wadi Bani Khalid.”
“There were designated sleeping areas,” the statement added, “and dinner was served between 9:30 and 10:15. They had breakfast the next day between 4:45 and 5:15.”
“The race started in Wadi Bani Khalid at 6:00 am, right behind the mountain road (Aqaba). We passed through Wilayats Bediyah, Al Qabil, Ibra, and ended (the race) in Mudhaibi. The last 25 kilometres were on a proper, as per specification race track.”
“At 6:30, we officially wrapped up the race. At that time, everyone headed back to the Green Youth football pitch for the awards ceremony.”