By Azmat Haroon
Doha: A young Qatari speedboat racer died in an accident while taking part in a race at the Katara beach yesterday
Rashid Abdullah Al Mansoori (pictured) sustained fatal injuries during the third round of the Qatar Pleasure Boat and Pro Class Championship. His co-rider, Hamad Jassim Al Mutawa, was severely injured.
Al Mansoori is said to be the first Qatari to be killed in a sports- related accident in the country. A similar incident took place during the 2006 Asian Games when South Korean equestrian athlete Kim Hyung-chill died after falling off his horse during the cross country competition.
The remaining rounds of the championship, organised by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), were cancelled after the incident. The open championship had attracted participants from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, besides the host country.
While trying to take a fast turn in the rough sea, Al Mansoori lost control of his vessel — ‘C05’ — and the motorboat flipped, sources from the organising body told this newspaper last evening. Al Mansoori sustained severe injuries on his head, the source said.
“The sea was rough yesterday, which could be a reason for this fatal accident,” said the source.
A rescue team rushed to provide emergency services to the victim, who was later taken to the Emergency Unit of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), where he was pronounced dead.
Powerboat racers on average travel at speeds exceeding 100 miles an hour. The impact of even falling in the sea at such high speeds can cause serious injuries, according to experts.
“Hitting water at this speed is similar to hitting a stone. Only a sudden rescue operation can perhaps save the victim,” said an expert.
During Friday’s second round, Al Mansoori was in the fifth place with an average speed of 123 km/h in Class C.
The open championship is mostly held along three beaches — Corniche, Wakra and Katara.