This June Volvo Trucks HQ in Gothenburg, Sweden will host the world final of VISTA 2011, in what will be the culmination of a year-long competition that originally started with over 13,700 participants from 75 different countries. Last April Dubai hosted the Northern Africa Middle East semi final.
Surrounded by hot arid deserts, Dubai is a world away from the lakes and forests of Scandinavia, but as a host of one of VISTA’s semi final, it represented the last hurdle on a long road that will hopefully lead to Gothenburg, Sweden. 12 teams, made up of the very best of the region’s workshop personnel, descended on the emirate hoping to become regional champions and win a place in the world final of VISTA – the world’s largest competition for aftermarket personnel.
This year the NAME (Northern Africa, Middles East) semi final included teams from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and United Arab Emirates. Over a full day of competition, teams were tested through a series of workshops, and even if some tasks should have been routine, the competition setting and time constraints added extra pressure. “One has to be mentally prepared for something that is so different from the daily work but still the same,” says Moroccan team leader Amar El Amrani, when his team finish for the day.
Everyone worked hard and did their best, but there can only be one winner, and at a gala dinner in the evening, it was announced that Team -I4 from the United Arab Emirates had won. “It really feels very good to win this, since it is a great achievement,” said I-4 team leader Divakara Kuplottu. “In fact this was a dream of all our team members. When the result was announced we were really very much excited and felt very proud. Our hard efforts have really paid off.”
Their win means that the UAE have won the last three NAME semi finals, but the competition is catching up. Challengers from Algeria were only two points behind, despite taking part in VISTA for the first time. “Our service technicians have worked hard and been preparing in their overtime,” says Algerian VISTA leader Ghaleb Boualem, clearly proud of his team’s achievement.
In third place Lebanon’s Abou Adal, also taking part in VISTA for the first time, were so surprised to win bronze, they initially didn’t move from their seats to accept their award assuming they had misheard. “I could see in the eyes of so many people that they were happy for us,” says Galia Mississian, once she realized she had actually finished third.
Team I-4 can now look forward to a trip to Gothenburg – the home and birthplace of Volvo. The NAME semi final was just the first of sixteen VISTA semi finals held in nine locations worldwide throughout the month of April, and when Team I-4 arrive in Gothenburg this June, they’ll meet up with 29 other teams from all over the world who have also completed a similar journey.