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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Beat the summer heat and keep playing with Dubai Sports World

Indoor facilities help keep people active during the hottest months and introduce them to new activities
Inside of Saeed Hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre, residents can come and play sports without enduring the summer heat. Here, one resident plays basketball on June 21, 2015. Lee Hoagland / The National
Inside of Saeed Hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre, residents can come and play sports without enduring the summer heat. Here, one resident plays basketball on June 21, 2015. Lee Hoagland / The National

DUBAI // While the summer temperatures continue to rise across the UAE, there was plenty of sporting action on display indoors in the air-conditioned confines of the Dubai World Trade Centre on Sunday as the fifth staging of Dubai Sports World (DSW) began.

The 10-week schedule of sporting action is expected to attract a high number of participants to take part in activities such as football, rugby sevens, tennis, basketball, cricket and several fitness-related activities, which will include events on a 400-metre running track.

Saeed Harib, secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council, said the organisers were encouraged by the number of participants involved and showcased Dubai’s ability to function as a venue for sport in both summer and winter.

“The number of the participants, figures which we have this year, show there is more than hundreds and thousands of participants, and I think this is a big growth,” he said as organisers expect this year’s DSW to pass last year’s record of 175,081 for attendance through August 29.

As to the secret of successfully organising sports events all year round, Harib said: “I think the good answer is that Dubai in the summer or in the winter is a sports city.”

The event is also a chance for other sports to increase their profile in the UAE to encourage more people to take part.

Thomas Lund, the secretary of the Badminton World Federation, was among the guests at the opening day on Sunday.

Badminton is one of the sports represented, with Shuttle Time Dubai, the development programme for the sport in the UAE, arranging for six courts to be available for newcomers or experienced players to play.

Lund said events such as DSW can help encourage people to take part in badminton, either socially or in a more competitive capacity.

“The badminton sports in the UAE is growing within and it is something you don’t notice day to day,” he said.

Lund said word of mouth among people who had tried their hand at badminton when given the opportunity was helping to promote a real community of players in the country.

“There were not many players in the last two years. Now it is seeing 400 participants, so it has grown a lot,” he said.

Lund, who has been a regular attendee at previous stagings of DSW, said he continues to be impressed with the scale of the event.

“There are two things to say: first, the venue this year is even better than I’ve seen from last year, and from the last two years it is amazing how it has grown, it is even more surprising,” he said.

“I mean, there are new sports, new hype and fancy things have come in.

“But when I look at the badminton set up, I mean there is a lot of difference, with a well-organised set-up but, most importantly and the most positive thing, is that it is full of players.”

Getting more Emiratis on the court is Lund’s main objective.

“If they don’t participate, we won’t be representing a real UAE or a real Dubai,” he said. “It is all about bringing people to participate for this sport.”

malshamsi@thenational.ae

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