x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Goal of football contest will highlight benefits of an active life

ABU DHABI // The iftar meal will be a light one for 300 participants competing in a slew of friendly football matches next week. Organised by the Imperial College of London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), the annual Ramadan Football Tournament is scheduled to begin on Sunday, and will run for five nights at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec). This is the third annual tournament and 16 teams will be taking part - double the number that competed last Ramadan.

ICLDC decided to host a tournament where the participants are employees of companies in the capital to highlight the dangers of an inactive lifestyle. "This is the tournament's third year and we are thrilled to have such a big rise in participants. The increased support reaffirms our faith that the community is very willing to help and give its time in support of activities encouraging people to be active and stay healthy," said Dr Maha Barakat, ICLDC's medical and research director and consultant endocrinologist.

Mubadala, the business development and investment company, is a sponsor of the event and has a corporate team taking part, said Suhail al Ansari, associate director of Mubadala Healthcare and chairman of ICLDC. "Prevention is what we believe to be the future of medicine. Living a healthier lifestyle that includes physical activity, even in the month of Ramadan, is one way to prevent countless diseases, one of which is diabetes," he said.

Dr Barakat said that 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week should be the minimum, noting that exercise has been known to reduce one's risk of contracting diabetes by 58 per cent. "We want to get people to go back to exercising in a fun way, because the one most important thing anyone can do in their lives, which is equally if not more important than one's diet, is to include exercise in their daily lives.

"It is terribly important for people to remain physically active; so often, people play sports in school and university and with their first job comes a reduction in physical activity. They just sit at a desk all day." The football matches will be held indoors on two specially constructed pitches at Adnec. Every evening for the first three days, starting at 9.30, eight matches will be played, two at a time. Each match will last 30 minutes.

For the last two nights of the tournament, four matches will be played each night, with the semi-finals and final scheduled for August 26. @Email:hkhalaf@thenational.ae