x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Gather your friends and colleagues for first-ever Corporate Games

The first Corporate Games in Abu Dhabi will take place from November 21-24. We take a look at what's it about and how to register your team.

The Olympics may have come and gone but the sports and camaraderie are set to continue, with the first Corporate Games in Abu Dhabi to run from November 21-24. Saeed Saeed takes a look at what it’s about and how to register your team.

The games

There are no medals for who can refill photocopier paper the fastest, nor will you have to use your iPad for the disc throwing, but you can have a laugh with your colleagues while doing a 10-kilometre run.

Since its beginnings in San Francisco in 1988, the games have evolved into an annual sports event held over several days in various cities around the world (including Dubai), allowing companies and small businesses to compete in a wide range of activities. This year, Abu Dhabi joins the popular international sporting fraternity. "Corporate Games is a multi-sports festival," says Fanny Marcout, the Abu Dhabi Corporate Games chief executive. "It's a great way for management to build bonds with the employees, and it is generally an excellent place to meet people."

The teams

Teams from both the government and private sectors are invited to apply, which could pit staff from a local shawarma shop against blue-chip bankers, or university students against members of the police force.

Marcout believes that bringing organisations together is part of the fun. It's also an easy way to break the ice, not to mention an opportunity to do a healthy bit of networking.

There is no limit on how many members a team can have. The largest team on record had 1,743 people from the Australian state government. Through the years, the Corporate Games has seen many one-man teams participate, too.

Among the Abu Dhabi teams already registered are Etihad Airways, Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Airport Services.

The contestants

You never know - perhaps that colleague who rarely utters a word in the office has a mean jump shot or a blistering tennis serve. Marcout says the event is full of all kinds of wonderful stories, where new collegial bonds are formed in the heat of sporting battle.

"Sometimes you may have bumped into this person in the lift but you never spoke, and then he scores the winning shot for your team. Friendships can begin that way," says Marcout. "And you can visit the various venues to support your colleagues performing in different sports. You'll end up getting to know more about each other."

The sports and venues

The Abu Dhabi edition has up to 17 sports (mixed and single-sex) that complement the UAE's culture. As well as 5km and 10km runs, tennis, basketball, volleyball and basketball, there will be dragon boat races and 10-pin bowling. The venues include Zayed Sports City, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Al Forsan International Sports Resort. But the best spot to check out the action for corporate athletes as well as families and spectators will be the special Games Village at Zayed Sports City, which will boast musical performances and food stalls.

All-women events

A women-only programme will run alongside the main events. The sports available are limited to three of the most popular played by Emirati women: basketball, football and volleyball. Marcout says women are also welcome to participate in the main sporting programme.

To register

The entry fee for each contestant is Dh495. Teams are invited to register at www.corporate-games.net. See you at the podium!