Ice skater Zahra Lari takes a break from her training at Zayed Sports City. Ravindranath K / The National
Ice skater Zahra Lari takes a break from her training at Zayed Sports City. Ravindranath K / The National

My UAE: Ice skater Zahra Lari hopes to take her blades to glory

‘What you see as today’s struggles will only be tomorrow’s warm-up.” This is the mantra of Emirati ice skater Zahra Lari.

After eight years on the ice, the Abu Dhabi-based 21-year-old is on the path to becoming the first Emirati athlete to compete at a Winter Olympics.

Lari, currently in ­Switzerland taking part in an intensive training camp, has come a long way since she managed to convince her father to let her take ice-­skating lessons at the age of 13.

"I saw the movie Ice Princess, and was immediately drawn to ice skating," she recalls. "I was able to convince my dad to arrange lessons at Zayed Sports City. That's how the whirlwind started."

Her hobby soon turned into something more serious. Now, Lari trains 20 hours a week on the ice and 10 hours a week off it.

She has her sights set on competing at the World Figure ­Skating Championships, the next Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and the Asian Winter Games, before hoping to land a spot at the 2018 ­Winter Olympics in ­Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“So far my biggest achievement has been to compete internationally and having the ­International Skating Union give the UAE full status membership,” she says. “I am honoured to be representing my country ­internationally. I wish more girls would take up competitive sports.”

Currently combining her sport with her studies at Abu Dhabi ­University, Lari has become something of an inspiration for Muslim women all over the world, because she wears the hijab while competing.

She admits that she doesn’t get much free time outside training. “When I do [have free time], I enjoy swimming, movies and visiting my friends,” she says.

By the time 2018 rolls around, she hopes that all the hard work will have been worth it, aided by the support of the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, her coach and her team.

What are some things about yourself that not many people know?

I’m afraid of heights, my favourite colour is purple, I love chocolate, and I get cold very easily.

Which song motivates you?

I like to listen to Hall of Fame [by The Script, featuring] when I'm warming up or training. It is very motivational.

Which ice skater do you look up to?

I’m inspired by the skater Yulia Lipnitskaya. She won a gold medal in the team event at the Olympics in Sochi, and she was only 15 years old. After Sochi, she went through many struggles and lost most of her skating elements. However, she never gave up and is once again competing and doing well.

What's your favourite travel destination?

I like to travel everywhere, but I really don’t like to stay anywhere more than one week if possible. I get extremely homesick.

What's your favourite movie?

The Notebook. It's a really sweet movie.

If there was a film made about your life, who would play the lead role?

I would love for Emma Stone to play me because I just like her a lot.

What's the best piece of advice you have ever received?

I would say that it was my first coach, Noemi Bedo. She told me to never compete against anyone else, but to always compete against myself.

What book are you currently reading?

Girl at War by Sara Novic. I've just started it.

What's your favourite hobby, apart from skating?

I love to swim.

What five things do you always pack in your suitcase?

I pack my skates, training clothes, trainers, foam roller and my costumes.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
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Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

UNSC Elections 2022-23

Seats open:

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  • One for Latin America and Caribbean Group
  • One for Eastern Europe Group

Countries so far running: 

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Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000


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Manchester United 3

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Dubai Rugby Sevens
Winners: Dubai Hurricanes
Runners up: Bahrain

West Asia Premiership
Winners: Bahrain
Runners up: UAE Premiership

UAE Premiership
}Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

UAE Division One
Winners: Abu Dhabi Saracens
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes II

UAE Division Two
Winners: Barrelhouse
Runners up: RAK Rugby

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Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Starring: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto

Four stars

The Specs

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Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now


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First automatic Ferrari, the 400 Automatic, is made

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Ferrari World opens in Abu Dhabi

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The drill

Recharge as needed, says Mat Dryden: “We try to make it a rule that every two to three months, even if it’s for four days, we get away, get some time together, recharge, refresh.” The couple take an hour a day to check into their businesses and that’s it.

Stick to the schedule, says Mike Addo: “We have an entire wall known as ‘The Lab,’ covered with colour-coded Post-it notes dedicated to our joint weekly planner, content board, marketing strategy, trends, ideas and upcoming meetings.”

Be a team, suggests Addo: “When training together, you have to trust in each other’s abilities. Otherwise working out together very quickly becomes one person training the other.”

Pull your weight, says Thuymi Do: “To do what we do, there definitely can be no lazy member of the team.” 

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Age 32

Country United Kingdom

Grands Prix entered 198

Pole positions 67

Wins 57

Podiums 110

Points 2,423

World Championships 3

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Company: Rent Your Wardrobe 

Date started: May 2021 

Founder: Mamta Arora 

Based: Dubai 

Sector: Clothes rental subscription 

Stage: Bootstrapped, self-funded 


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Winner: Arjan, Fabrice Veron (jockey), Eric Lemartinel (trainer).

5.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 1,400m​​​​​​​
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7pm: Shadwell Farm Stallions Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 1,600m​​​​​​​
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7.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh80,000 1,600m​​​​​​​
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Ms Al Ameri likes the variety of her job, and the daily environmental challenges she is presented with.

Regular contact with wildlife is the most appealing part of her role at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.

She loves to explore new destinations and lives by her motto of being a voice in the world, and not an echo.

She is the youngest of three children, and has a brother and sister.

Her favourite book, Moby Dick by Herman Melville helped inspire her towards a career exploring  the natural world.


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Based: Abu Dhabi
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Sector: HealthTech
Total funding: $800,000
Investors: Flat6Labs, angel investors + Incubated by Hub71, Abu Dhabi's Department of Health
Number of employees: 10


Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
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Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

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