When their friends pack bags and head towards school in the mornings, Sanad Al Rawahi and his younger brother, Abdullah,walk towards the karting track, donning the abrasion resistant overalls and holding abreast protective helmets.
Unlike their friends who sit patiently in the classrooms, the brothers get impatient when they wait to get a feel of the track and the go-kart. There will be no looking back once they get into the groove.
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They step up the gas and burn the rubber vigorously to power past one competitor after another, en route to clinching the ultimate prize on offer. Winning titles and enjoying supremacy on the track have become a habit for Oman’s brightest karting prodigies.
But, the duo does not want to put studies on the backburner. Sanad, who pursues Environmental Engineering, and Abdullah, a 12th Grade student, strive hard to strike a balance between sports and education. So they carry as many books as possible with them even while travelling for major competitions abroad. But they are well aware of the weight of expectation on their shoulders. Every motorsport aficionado in the Sultanate wants them to see on the podium, holding aloft the silverware and the Omani flag.
The brothers are back in Oman after putting up spirited performances in the toughest races in Europe in September. The Rotax Max Euro Challenge, in Spain and France, as well as BNL Karting Series, in Belgium, have helped them gain valuable experience, as they prepare for the United Arab Emirates National Karting Championship and Rotax Max Grand Finals, in Valencia, this November. “We aim to bring laurels to Oman from international competitions, and we are proud to represent the Sultanate in global events,” said Sanad.
Representing one’s own country in major international competitions indeed is a matter of pride for any athlete. But sportspersons with commitment and dedication can only make the country proud in the global stage, and nobody knew it better than Suleiman Al Rawahi, father of the go-karting siblings.
It was in 2005 that Suleiman had first brought Sanad and Abdulla to the Oman Automobile Association facility.
Sanad got hooked to karting on the first day itself, but Abdullah was a little scared to hop on to the machine. But fear gave way to enjoyment and both of them learnt the tricks of the trade quickly. A couple of months later, the karting track was closed for renovation, much to the chagrin of Al Rawahi family. Suleiman, however, was determined to nurture their talent. So, he took the youngsters all the way to the Al Ain Karting Track in the UAE for practice. After a while, the Al Rawahi brothers showed their skills, winning a couple of competitions in Al Ain.
“That was just a beginning. Later, we won titles in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and our confidence began to grow,” Abdullah recounted.
Plenty of consistent performances followed, and every one began to hail the brothers as the rising Omani stars, who will take the legacy of Oman’s ace racers like of Hamad Al Wahaibi and Ahmad Al Harthy forward. They even got support from the Ministry of Sports and leading corporates in the country.