Emarati Qais Omar will finally get to live his lifelong dream of playing basketball on a global platform! Indeed, his goal is now reachable after he was crowned winner of Red Bull King of the Rock UAE’s Finals on June 15 in Dubai’s Satwa Park. The event marked the world-renowned competition’s inaugural edition in the Emirates and saw the basketball “maestro”, Emirati Qais Omar beat out an impressive 31 players thanks to his stellar shooting prowess and immaculate defense abilities – in an exhilarating one-on-one half-court basketball contest.
His remarkable win will soon take him to Alcatraz Island – (yes, ‘The Rock’) and located in the San Francisco Bay – where Omar will represent the UAE in the USA World Finals, going up against 63 international contestants hailing from 47 nations and 16 states from the USA. Although winning the knock-out final tournament – taking place on 23 September – will be no easy feat, the ultimate chance to indulge in one’s passion for the game combined with an outstanding victory prize of $20,000 make it well-worth the effort!
In fact, 20 years old Qais Omar actually began his quest for the title of World Champion almost 2 weeks ago: before even reaching the Qualifying Finals, he, along with a plethora of the UAE’s top basketball players, partook in a grueling preliminary round to enter Red Bull King of the Rock 2012 on 25 May at Dubai’s Nahda Pond Park. Two other initial competitions were also held in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah (one for each emirate) on 1 June and 8 June, respectively.
The Red Bull King of the Rock’s ability to lure in an exceptional slew of UAE-based contestants stems from the country’s longstanding and bustling basketball scene as well as the actual tournament’s intriguing adrenaline-fueled atmosphere. “Players are drawn to its intense five-minute game format! It is incredibly exciting as four half-court games all occur at once, each with its own critically-acclaimed referee and court manager,” says referee Richard. “From there, the winner quickly moves to the next court for another energetic one-on-one game, until only one triumphant player remains. Omar absolutely deserved to win as he brought the crowd to its feet thanks to an extraordinary skill level and utmost concentration while shooting!”
Other strong elements of appeal for avid basketball enthusiasts are the championship’s open approach and minor restrictions, as both and women over the age of 16 are eligible to partake – no matter their qualification level. The games’ rules for both the Qualifiers and Finals encompass the sport’s standard one-on-one two-player set-up, using an outdoor court and a single elimination tournament bracket. Other mechanics include a coin toss to decide on first possession, a skunk rule limit of 11 points and the regular two or three-point shots. Moreover, a five-foul streak or one technical foul leads to an immediate disqualification.
“Given this particular format, the battle for the title of World Champion presents extremely stiff competition!” commented Qais Omar. “But I was determined to give it my all on the court and now all of my wishes have finally come true! I am especially thrilled that I managed to channel my energy into the game and not succumb to the pressure of having a large crowd study my every move. It is a real honor to have won the Qualifying Finals of the world’s most challenging basketball competition and I cannot wait to further demonstrate my talent and represent my country on a global stage.”
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