From behind the lens to behind the wheel

More sports Saturday 10/March/2018 19:52 PM
By: Times News Service
From behind the lens to behind the wheel

A man who started as a photographer on the race tracks ended up not only sitting in the front seat of a race car but actually winning. Meet Naif Al Khalbani, a seemingly regular 30-year-old Omani employee with a thrilling hobby.
For the last decade, Naif has been involved with race tracks. “I first entered the circuit as a photographer and viewer 10 years ago. I decided to participate in a drag race some four years ago. My first race was in the Yas Abu Dhabi Circuit,” he said.
In fact, Naif was able to win his first award on the same track. “The Mustang Drag Race 2018, in the Yas Circuit in Abu Dhabi, was my first win. It was an indescribable feeling knowing that all the effort I put in throughout the year had paid off,” he said.
“One of the main reasons I decided to start racing was because I knew that it was legal and that the rules and regulations ensured my safety and the safety of others,” Naif said.
Meanwhile, despite racing being a male-dominated sport, some Omani women have been stepping up and joining the race track, such as Sanaa Al Shikaily, the first woman drag racer, who participated in last month’s Yas circuit, in which Naif was awarded the first place.
“I think many women avoid participating in such races because of the fear of the race itself. This also applies to men, but experience kills fear. I encourage young people to participate in such races,” Naif added.