Royal Dutch Shell Group .com (United Arab Emirates): Shell boost for 'sporting excellence' of Dubai Desert Classic ( 13 Feb 05


The Dubai Desert Classic's role in the international sporting arena has been given a major boost with industrial giant Shell ranking its backing of the USD2.2 PGA European Tour event alongside its sponsorship of the Michael Schumacher-led Ferrari F1 team.


'Success in sport builds pride and unity in a community', said Ron van den Berg, Regional CEO, Exploration and Production, Middle East, Russia & CIS, and Chairman, Shell Dubai. 'And we are proud of the part we have played in helping the UAE gain worldwide recognition as a centre of sporting excellence.'


'The Dubai Desert Classic now stands alongside Shell's other international sports sponsorships that include the Dubai World Cup, the Ducati motorcycling grand prix team and the Ferrari Formula 1 organisation.'


The 16th staging of the Dubai Desert Classic scheduled for March 3-6 at the Majlis Course of the Emirates Golf Club will be the fifth successive year that Shell has supported the event. 'Sport plays an important role in the social development of society and it is one of Shell's basic principles that the company should help further that process in the UAE by sponsoring the Dubai Desert Classic,' added van Den Berg.


One of the stars confirmed for the 2005 Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL)-sponsored event is South African rising star Charl Schwartzel who has enjoyed a brilliant start to the new campaign and currently leads the European Tour Order of Merit.


Still only 20, Schwartzel is one of the latest crop of promising young players to emerge from South Africa, finishing joint third in his 2003 national Open - the South African Airways Open - in what was only his third European Tour event. The young Springbok was also the third youngest player to secure his European Tour card through the Qualifying School at the age of 18 years and 81 days.


This year, he has already shown he has the game to reach the top with three top ten finishes in three starts. He certainly lived up to his reputation as one of the most exciting talents to come out of South Africa in recent years when, in front of his home supporters, he fended off the likes of world number three Ernie Els also Dubai-bound - to win the 2005 dunhill championship at Leopard Creek Golf Club and claim his maiden victory on The European Tour International Schedule.


'It's a wonderful feeling to have won and especially to do it here in front of so many of my friends and family,' he said. 'To get my first win in South Africa is just unbelievable.'


Besides Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) as the main sponsor of the Dubai Desert Classic, CNN International, Arabian Ranches by Emaar, Nakheel, and Samsung as co-sponsors, other sponsors include: Emirates as official airline and Hole In One Sponsor; official caterer, hotel and challenge match sponsor Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa; Official Bank National Bank of Dubai; official courtesy car BMW; and event newspaper Gulf News.

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