King of Yemeni hang-gliding returns [Archives:2005/818/Last Page]

February 21 2005

By Mohammad Ghaoth
For the Yemen Times

Champion Yemeni hang- glider Mohammad Al-Maqalih is set to participate in the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of unification in the city of Mukalla. This will be the first time that Al-Maqalih has participated in the sport since he was wounded during the Ibb Tourist Festival two years ago.

Al-Maqalih hopes that Yemen will host one of the international hang gliding events because of its beautiful cliffs, mountains and coasts. From his childhood in Ibb, Al-Maqalih watched birds flying and wanted to do the same. In his early days as a hang glider in Yemen, people sometimes used to mistake him for a large bird. He has been injured several times but this has only driven him to persevere.

Al-Makalih is not only a talented hang glider but he is also a successful boxer, and is fluent in both French and English. He has partaken in several Arab and international hang gliding festivals and was the first Arab national to fly over the French mountains.

He has participated in France's International Championship for hang-gliding, Oman's Festival in 2000, and in the UAE's Festival on the occasion of the return of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan.