Qatar's Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al Thani is an accomplished boat racer himself - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Qatar's Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al Thani is an accomplished boat racer himself

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Qatar's Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al Thani is an accomplished boat racer himself.  He races top Formula 1 offshore boats.  He's also the President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, partners with the ABRA on the venture. "He loves boat races," said ABRA's Sam Cole. 


"Sheikh Hassan is the first Qatari to win a Class 1 grand prix. He has competed in Jet Ski racing and became involved in the Qatar Marine Sports Federation in 1999. In 2002 he took over as team manager of the F2000 team. 2003 saw Shikh Hassan take over as president of the QMSF and saw the formation of the Qatar 96 Class 1 team. He made his Class 1 debut in Plymouth during the 2003 season. He has test driven both Formula 2 and Class 2 powerboats, and is responsible for the Class 1 races in Doha. Sheikh Hassan is the President of IOTA."

The Sheikh himself went with Cole and Muscatel as they toured the race site in Qatar Bay.  "We reviewed the entire course - water content, water depth - with the Shiekh," said Muscatel.

"The Qatar Marine Sports Federation understands how to host a world class event," Cole stated. "Sheikh Hassan and his team understand boat racing, and everything they do is first class. "We have a lot of preparation and planning work to do," Cole added. "This is a first step towards making our sport a global entity and we were very proud of the confidence and commitment Sheikh Hassan has shown in our sport."

Understandbly, there's plenty of excitement right now regarding the trip and the committment.  ABRA has a 3-year committment to run the races in Qatar.  "In this atmosphere of a down economy and the state of sports sponsorships, it's pretty extraordinary," said Dr. Ken Muscatel.