Thecompetition has its first Emirian competitor this year, whose dream to freedive was realised just one year and half ago.
Hailing from Abu Dhabi, local businessman Adel Ali Abu Haleeqa, has been dreaming of holding his breath underwater since he was a kid. Adel tells Deeperblue “I had many dreams during my childhood that I was diving in the sea and breathing under water. In one of those dreams, I was standing on the stern of a boat with my eldest sister, just staring into the clear water, wishing I was diving. At her suggestion I jumped into the depths, but continued to breathe…”
It wasn’t until Adel turned 21 that he actually did begin to breathe underwater as a Scuba Diver, however he still felt his dream was not yet fulfilled.
In August 2005, while browsing the internet Adel saw the dives achieved by Patrick Musimu, and was immediately inspired. After much googling he found Deeperblue.com and also a posting in the forum looking for freedivers in Dubai. It was then that Adel met Sara-Lise Haith and commenced the battle to start freediving in the UAE, create awareness of the sport and also introduce courses. Emma Farrell arrived 7 months later, armed with manuals, noseclips, neti pots and a mountain of knowledge, and met with about 20 students, local and international. The Emirates Diving Association provided full support, and freediving in the UAE was underway.
The UAE freediving team, consisting of expatriates and locals, have been training together for almost a year. Adel was informed of the Dutch Apnea Open, which takes place this November in Eindhoven. This is Adel’s chance to win the 1st National Records ever in freediving for the United Arab Emirates, and his team, based in Abu Dhabi, are cheering him on.
Adel has one more month of training, in which he is doing wet and dry statics, yoga, pool training twice a week, and he is also taking swimming lessons using the monofin to improve his technique. This is the first time an Emirian will take place in an international freediving competition outside of the UAE.
Adel’s supporters in the Emirates await his performance, with baited breath.
Photo by Lauren Lancaster, The National Newspaper