SHARJAH: The world’s best skateboarders will be heading to the UAE in early 2023 after governing body World Skate confirmed that two qualifying events for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics would be held at the Aljada Skate Park in Sharjah.
Held back-to-back, the two Road to Paris events consist of the Street 2022 World Championships, which will take place between Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, followed by the Park 2022 World Championships from Feb. 5-12. Both events are being co-organized by World Skate and UAE-based master developer Arada and highlight Sharjah’s position as a new regional hub for this rapidly expanding sport.
It is the first time that a pro-skating event at this level has ever been held in the Middle East and athletes hoping to compete in the next Olympics must earn ranking points to qualify by taking part in a limited number of events, which makes the Sharjah competitions a vital stop on the road to Paris 2024.
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, vice chairman of Arada, said: “These events mark another piece of sporting history for Sharjah, and once again showcase the UAE’s position as a hugely attractive destination for a huge range of sports from around the world. Skateboarding is one of the fastest-growing sports globally and having built the best skate park in the region, we’re very excited at the opportunity to see the world’s best skaters put it through its paces.”
Sabatino Aracu, president of World Skate, said: “As a truly global sport, we’re delighted to bring skating events of this stature to the Middle East for the first time, and in particular to see Sharjah play such an important role on the road to Paris 2024. The popularity of skating has really taken off in the region in recent years, and these two World Championship qualifiers offer skaters the chance to enjoy an impressive new skate park, while allowing local fans the opportunity to see the world’s top professionals up close.”
Around 300 professional skateboarders from around the world will take part in the event, aiming to secure points that will allow them to qualify for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.
Invitees include some of the most famous male and female skaters in the park discipline including Australia’s Keegan Palmer, Brazil’s Pedro Barros, the US’ Cory Juneau, Japan’s Sakura Yosuzumi and Kokona Hiraki, and the UK’s Sky Brown. Invited street specialists include Jagger Eaton from the US, Brazil’s Kelvin Hoefler, Japan’s Momiji Nishya, Funa Nakayama and Yuto Horigome, and Rayssa Leal from Brazil.
Aljada Skate Park is located in the Aljada urban district, Sharjah’s largest-ever project, which is being developed by Arada. Spread over almost 8,500 square meters, the Aljada Skate Park complex currently consists of six separate parks, ranging from a California Skateparks-designed world-class, Olympic-level street course and park construction complete with two deep ends (3.3 meters in height), all the way down to smaller bowls, street sections, snake runs and beginner-level spaces.
The complex is currently open to ride up until Jan. 15 when preparations for the Olympic qualifier events begin.
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