China donates 150 motorcycles to Maldives police

China has donated 150 motorcycles to the Maldives Police Service in order to help improve the force’s operational capacity.

The police website revealed today that the bikes were currently being assembled by police, working alongside Chinese mechanics, after having arrived in the country a few days ago.

An official ceremony for the handing over of the vehicles will be held in the near future.

In addition to contributing over 300,000 tourists to the Maldives every year and pledging assistance in a number of major infrastructure projects, the Chinese government has also given other gifts to the Maldives in recent months.

After handing 200 waste bins and 200,000 LED lights to the Maldivian government last November, China last month gifted cultural items, which included books, ethnic costumes, musical instruments, and Chinese crafts.


Three motorbikes in front of MDP campaign hub set on fire

Three motorbikes parked in front of a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) jagaha (campaign hub) in the Manchangoalhi ward of Male’ were set on fire in the early hours of Saturday morning (November 2).

According to local media reports, the fire damaged the air condition system in the jagaha as well as the wall of the adjoining house.

A resident of the house said the fire was put out before it could spread by the fire and rescue department of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) working with civilians and the police.

Police said the arson attack was under investigation.


The future of motor racing in the Maldives: The Piston Cup Challenge

Additional reporting by Leah R Malone

Amateur and professional racers took to the streets of Hulhumale’ this weekend to compete in the Maldives’ first official motorsport competition.

The Piston Cup 2013 racing challenge, organised by both Maldives Motor Racing Association (MMRA) and Piston Group, marked the beginning of what competition organisers are hoping to be a future of sponsored motorsport racing in the Maldives.

Over 100 drivers and motorcyclists competed in the Piston Cup 2013 racing challenge, which attracted over 4000 spectators to the two-day event.

Piston Group Director Mohamed Mauroof told Minivan News that events like the Piston Cup take street racers out of Male’ and puts them in a professional and disciplined environment where they can hone their talents.

“We are trying very hard to encourage motor racing in the Maldives. At first, the public were not very supportive of us as we used to be racing on the streets. However, now they are supporting us because we are doing it in a controlled environment.

“This is the start and it will be better from here on in. We are planning to host another race event in June this year and one next year too,” Mauroof added.

The aim of the Piston Cup was not only to increase interest in motor sport, but to set a benchmark for future events with the festival-style atmosphere that included fire dancing, Maldivian rock bands, boduberu (traditional singing and drumming) and fireworks.

Former street racer Ahmed ‘Dada’ Aiman Abaas, who won twice driving for team Rannamarianes, said that organised racing events are the best way to tackle street racing in Male’.

“I started illegal racing when I was 18, but when the government gave us permission to race in Hulhumale’ it all changed. These events give us a chance to race the right way.

“Illegal street racing has stopped now. If the government continues to give us the opportunity to race here, everyone will wait for that. I hope to have the opportunity to one day go professional,” Abaas said.

According to the MMRA website, individuals who held a valid licence and are “physically and mentally fit” were able to compete in the event.

Event Organiser Ismail Agleem told Minivan News earlier this month that while anyone who meets the race requirements could enter, motor cyclists will be required to have five days worth of practice and car drivers will need to attend a practice session prior to the race. Any competitor who failed to attend these sessions would be deemed a “non-qualifier”.

Mohamed ‘Afu’ Afsah, who has international racing experience and won four races – jointly for teams B Bros and Rannamarianes – in the motorcycle events at the Piston Cup, spoke of the difficulty aspiring Maldivian motor sport competitors face living on the islands.

“I have only been racing for the last two years, and it has been very difficult to practice because we are riding on an island with soil roads. We desperately need a track.

“I am so grateful for events like this, because now we have the chance to practice every week. I really appreciate it,” Afsah added.

High speed concern

With the speed limit in Male’ limited to 30km/h for cars and 25km/h for motorcycles, the Maldives Police Service had previously raised concerns over inexperienced racers driving at high speeds during the event.

Asked whether there was a risk that the competitors – some of whom who may have only driven in the speed controlled zones of Male’ – risked an accident, event organiser Ismail told Minivan News prior to the race there had been “no serious accidents” in previous events.

During the weekend races, Piston Group Director Mauroof said that there had been only one major incident during the event.

“For some of the car drivers this is their first event, and the track is not very big for car racing. That was the reason for the accident.

“We have had no other major accidents where the fire and medic teams had to attend. The driver [who crashed] is fine. However his car is not,” Mauroof said.

MNDF involvement

Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim said that the MNDF assisted with the event to promote partnership with Maldivian youth.

“We worked with the youth because they came and met me a few days ago and requested me to organise this. It’s good that we meet with youth, so I took initiative.

“I have enjoyed it, the youth have enjoyed, the racing teams have enjoyed it too, it is a very good event, I’ll always be a partner for the youth, and if they request again, I’ll be happy to host it,” he added.


Man dies after falling off motorbike

A man died last night after falling off the back of a motorcycle in Thinadhoo.

According to police, 19 year-old Ahmed Mohamed of Tharuvaas Gaaf Dhaalu Thinadhoo fell off the back of a motorbike and sustained serious injuries to his head and his body.

Mohamed was being treated in the intensive care unit of the Thinadhoo regional hospital, however he passed away this morning.

Police reported that the driver of the motorbike was another 19 year-old who held the appropriate driving license and registration documents, and are currently investigating the cause of the accident.