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Al Bateen beach, where it is proposed one of the covered, air-conditioned pitches will be located. Fatima Al Marzooqi/ The National
Al Bateen beach, where it is proposed one of the covered, air-conditioned pitches will be located. Fatima Al Marzooqi/ The National

Don't sweat - air-conditioned sports facilities coming for summer in Abu Dhabi

The civic body in Abu Dhabi plans to erect multiple air-conditioned sports facilities so residents can break a sweat for all the right reasons this summer.

ABU DHABI // Keeping fit during summer is never easy, especially when it is hotter than 45°C.

But Abu Dhabi Municipality is helping residents in the capital to stay on their toes this year.

The civic body plans to erect five air-conditioned, covered sporting pitches on the Corniche in front of the Hilton, in the car park behind the hotel and on Al Bateen beach.

They will include a football pitch, volleyball and basketball courts, and a cooled walking track. There will even be a special ladies-only exercise area.

Work on the cooled pitches is due to begin soon and the facilities will remain open in June, July and August - including during Ramadan.

For children, the civic body plans to erect a foaming, blow-up football pitch.

Kieran Blogg, a sports teacher at Emirates National School, said the pitches were a welcome addition to the city's summer activities.

"Any additional sports for our kids is a bonus," he said.  "The location sounds good, too. Parents might be able to drop them off and go to the mall and let the kids play for a few hours there."

There are several summer camps for children in the capital but summer sports centres would add value, Mr Blogg said. "It's just another tool for people to keep active."

A two or three-month hiatus from exercise can have a serious effect, according to Inger Houghton, from Scandavian Health and Performance in Dubai, even for those who engage in only light exercise.

"They'll lose all the progress made," she said. "These tents will encourage people to continue exercising, so it's a great initiative."

The UAE's national beach-football coach, Marcello Mendez, said he would continue training his team all summer, outdoors.

But he praised the idea of air-conditioned tents as a way to get more people exercising.

"It's a better option, even if it's beach football indoors," he said, warning that hydration would be key. "Even for those playing inside, they still have to top up on fluids."

Last summer, a variety of indoor sports and activities were set up by Dubai Sports World at the Dubai World Trade Centre.


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