Scoring 92 per cent, Libyan contestant Khalid Mohamed Algardouz has bagged the top position and the Dh250,000 prize money in the 15th edition of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award. Qatari Abdulla Hamad Abu-Sharida and Turkish Ahmet Sarikaya won second and third spots, respectively. While Abu-Sharida won Dh200,000, Sarikaya bagged Dh150,000.
The other top seven contestants are Abdul Cader Asmi (Sri Lanka), Sherzat Khizhin (Kazakhstan), Burhoniddini Zarifjonzoda (Tajikistan), Anouar Bou Salah (Morocco), Mohammad Khatibi (Iran), Ebrahim Hamdan (Bahrain), and Abdul Wahid Masomi (Afghanistan). They were gifted Dh65,000 to Dh35,000 — Dh5,000 less for each lower position from the next higher. The contestants, who scored 80 per cent and above, were rewarded with Dh30,000 each, while those whose performance was estimated at 70 to 79 per cent, received Dh25,000 each. The participants who have got scores less than 70 per cent got Dh20,000 each. The top ten winners — announced at 1.30am on Friday — will be honoured in the closing ceremony which is slated to take place at the Cultural and Scientific Association in Al Mamzar area on tonight. Certificates and cash prizes are to be given away to other participants as well.
Head of the jury panel Dr Sheikh Ahmed Bin Ali Al Sudais from Saudi Arabia said 78 contestants were selected from an original list of 90 for the competition this year, after the apology of Kosovo competitor and disqualification of 11 others during the initial evaluation for poor performance. “The five-member jury has very attentively listened to around 630 pages of the Holy Quran; not only word by word, but also letter by letter and even intonation by intonation in view of the set rules.”
The list of top ten included, for the first time in the award’s 15-year history, two competitors with vision impairment. “They are Qatari Abdulla Hamad Abu-Sharida, who came second, and Turkish Ahmet Sarikaya who seized the third position,” he said. Chairman of the organising committee of the award Ibrahim Bu Melha said the award, though started with only two sections in 1997, has branched out to nine categories in a record time and saw the participation of 153 countries over its 15-year history.
“This may not have been possible without the dedicated support of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.” Meanwhile, the organising committee honoured the media people who covered the 18-day event. These spanned 21 satellite channels, six radio stations, 15 Arabic and English newspapers, and seven other media persons. – Khaleejtimes