“I am very happy with yesterday’s race even though there were fewer boats than expected. Normally we get between 15 and 17 boats competing in the races.”
Asked whether the shoosh (traditional fishing boat) race was in decline, Major Ahmed said, “No! But we need more effort by people to help the younger generation to see the importance of this racing series.”
Promoting the Shoosh Sport
The Managing Director said there were several ways he was seeking to promote the racing of these ancient Fujairah fishing craft.
“The number one place to start is with the parents,” said the Major. “They need to remind their children that fishing is basic to life in Fujairah and that these boats contain our special heritage.”
Major Ahmed signaled that media in all its forms (television, radio, newspapers, blogs etc.) had a responsibility to give attention especially to the sports that recall our cultural identity and the importance of our past.
Ahmed said that the cash prizes for the winners of the shoosh races were generous but that the level of the prizes needs to be raised to be in keeping with comparable sporting competitions.
Major Ahmed, along with shoosh craftsman, Abdullah Mohammed Sulaiman, with the support of the Fujairah Royal Family, is largely responsible for keeping the traditional fishing boats alive by initiating and sponsoring the annual championship. Despite the murmurs of some who have not been happy that the boats have been modified for racing, Major Ahmed is not averse to proposing more changes:
“Next season,” said the Major, “Instead of having four rowers and a cox, we will introduce a shasha with two rowers without a cox. The two categories (coxed fours and the coxless pairs) will both race next year but this innovation will help teams get together to train and we will see more shoosh at the starting line.”
Keeping the Traditions Alive
As a parting shot before another radio interview Major Ahmed said, “We will never let the shoosh go. It is part of who we are.”
Al Shoosh Season Starts Slowly in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 14 November 2009.
Fujairah Crown Prince Al Shoosh Championship, First Heat 2009-2010, Picture Gallery, Fujairah International Marine Club.
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Image: “Major Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed Darak, the Managing Director of the Fujairah International Marine Club, was proposing new changes to the race.”