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Bahrain, the first Middle Eastern country to host a Formula One race, was dealt a heavy blow to national pride when a crackdown on a popular uprising last year prompted the sport's governing body cancel its Manama race.

This year, the government is bent on holding the Grand Prix event and has said ticket sales are keeping pace with expectations.

Activists who are lobbying again to cancel the race, however, say the authorities' reform efforts are empty gestures, and have promised to disrupt the competition.

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall reports from Manama.

Source: Al Jazeera