x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Event is an 'honour' for Al Ain

The UAE will host the 17th Arab Athletics Championships for the first time when the biennial competition is staged at the Khalifa bin Zayed stadium in Al Ain from October 26-29.

The UAE will host the 17th Arab Athletics Championships for the first time when the biennial competition is staged at the Khalifa bin Zayed stadium in Al Ain from October 26-29.

More than 500 men and women from 18 countries competed in the last championships, at Damascus in October 2009.

Organisers expect more participants for this year's event.

"We have already received confirmation from 17 of the 23 member countries and they have promised to send their strongest teams," said Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Khalid, the chairman of Al Ain Club's board of directors and head of the organising committee.

"We are honoured to host the event for the first time and we will do everything to make this championship a most memorable one. We have already started to re-lay the athletic track and upgrade the facilities.

"Hosting this championship also provides our athletes with maximum participating opportunities, particularly our women. There has been a lot of interest from our women athletes in recent years and this would be an ideal opportunity for them to compete with some of the best Arab women athletes."

Among the Gulf countries, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are expected to feature prominently. Morocco won the 2009 event with eight golds, 13 silvers and seven bronze medals.