Mountain biking getting popular among children in Qatar
October 27 2017 09:04 PM
Francisco and Hugo after the race. PICTURES: Peter Alagos.

Perseverance, dedication and patience have helped nine-year old Hugo Hernandez Moya win his first mountain bike competition in the Middle East after arriving in Qatar only two months ago.
He was among the children who participated in the ‘Qatar MTB League '17- '18: 2nd Leg - Al Khor MTB XCO’ on Friday and won the first place in the beginner’s category. 
The race, organised by the Qatar Cycling Federation, in partnership with the United Filipino Mountain Bikers Qatar (UFMBQ) and the Qatar Chain Reaction, gathered hundreds of riders from all over the country.
According to Hugo’s father, Francisco Hernandez de Juan, the boy started riding the bicycle at age three, and as he progressed, the young Spaniard started competing in different cycling races in Europe.
“We’re very proud of him; and considering that we weren’t able to train since we left the UK and we did not have any training in Qatar, Hugo was able to win the race. Because he is only nine years old, he was not allowed to do more laps, only one; maybe next time he can do three laps,” said Francisco, who is also an avid cyclist.

One of the families that participated in the competition. 

Hugo added: “I am very happy to win the competition and I am looking forward to joining other races here in the future. For children my age and for those who want to join competitions such as this, my advice to them is to try their best and never give up.” 
Francisco also lauded the growing mountain bike community in Qatar but he also believes that there is a need for more training facilities for children who want to get into mountain biking.
“I think that aside from educating children in sports and other activities, there is a need to develop more kids’ training facilities in cycling because it is so easy to ride a mountain bike here in Qatar.
“We miss the greenery of Spain or the UK but mountain bikes are also ideal for sands and desert location. I’m from the Canary Islands and it does not rain a lot there just like in Qatar,” he said, adding that the outdoor leisure trail at the Doha Festival City is a good mountain bike destination for both families and professional riders.
Ferdie Bermejo of the UFMBQ said that since mountain biking was becoming popular with children, the federation will include a children’s category in future races. This was reiterated by Bermejo’s UFMBQ colleague, John Bonalos, who said: “We’re also planning to include a race for kids who are already competitive riders. In the last season when we still haven’t introduced the ‘Under-23 Category’, our youngest rider was 18 years old.”
Bonalos added: “The UFMBQ promotes sportsmanship and camaraderie through mountain biking. All of our activities are open to everyone and not only the Filipino cycling community. For this event, we had participation of many Qataris and other nationalities.”

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