Twelve-year-old Omar Issa finished first in the 10km Boys’ Open Category in Friday’s NAS Cycling Challenge.
The Emirati wheeler, who gave up a promising football career to focus on the pursuit of his cycling dreams, finished in a time of 19:10, just ahead of Ali Nasiraei (19:10) and Sultan Al Shamsi (19:11).
“This win validates my decision to pick cycling over football,” said Issa. “I love football and I believe I have really good skills, and I play a lot of football with my friend. But I have chosen cycling because I love this sport more and the challenges and thrills that come with it, and I am really happy with my decision.”
Issa, who trains four days a week, cycling for 35km-40km, added: “I started cycling two years ago and I hope to be the champion of the UAE someday, like Yusuf Mirza, and become the best in speed racing.
“The support and encouragement of my family gives me the confidence to keep pursuing my cycling dreams. I did not expect to win tonight in the NAS Cycling Challenge, so I am thrilled and I hope this is the first of many titles to come.”