x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Delays mar weight-loss for gold contest in Dubai

Hundreds of residents showed up to be weighed on the first day of the 30-day weight loss challenged, but problems beset registration.

Entrants wait at Al Barsha Pond Park to register for the weight-loss contest but the weigh-in was hit by problems. Duncan Chard for the National
Entrants wait at Al Barsha Pond Park to register for the weight-loss contest but the weigh-in was hit by problems. Duncan Chard for the National

DUBAI // Many who wanted to take part in a 30-day weight-loss challenge that could win them gold were left frustrated after long delays during registration last night.

Organisers of the weigh-in at Al Barsha Pond Park, one of five registration locations across the city, said people also had the option of registering on any day over the next month if they were unable to do so on Friday night.

The registration was due to start at 8pm but a series of problems resulted in a queue of around 200 people waiting in line for more than hour before the first person was weighed.

"I got here at 6pm because I thought that there would be a long line," said Joy Mamangun, a Filipino sales worker.

"No one was here apart from a few people and I hoped we would get done quickly, but there have been long delays."

Organisers said they were unable to start on time because they had not received a computer to allow them to record the measurements of people's Body Mass Index (BMI), weight and height.

The problems continued as the evening went on when no tape measure was available to allow organisers to record people's heights.

A replacement ink cartridge also had to be bought after one used in the printer ran out.

"If people aren't able to register tonight they can come back on any day during the next month between 8pm and midnight and do so then," said an organiser.

The queue consisted of people of all shapes and sizes attracted by the possibility of winning gold.

It has been organised by Dubai Municipality, which had teamed up with the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group (DGJG) and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) for the contest.

The DMCC donated Dh100,000 of gold coins, which will be awarded to the three contestants who lose the most weight.

"The lifestyle in Dubai means it's very easy to put on weight," said Ms Mamangun, who is hoping to lose 10kg by the time of her next weigh-in in four weeks' time.

For Cheryl LeFon, an American teacher, the weight-loss target was a little more modest.

"The gold is a great incentive and it's been the kick I needed to get back into shape and lose 5.5kg," she said. "My plan is to eat healthily with lots of fruit and vegetables and do a little exercise."

Others were trying to work the system by putting on as much weight as they could before the weigh-in.

"I've been eating a lot of salty foods and then drinking lots of water to boost my weight before I get weighed," said a French national, who did not want to be identified. "My plan is to hit the gym as hard as possible afterwards and then lose that weight."

To register, residents must be weighed at Gate 3 of Zabeel Park, the main gate of Khawaneej jogging track, the start of Mamzar Beach jogging track, Gate 4 of Safa Park, or the main gate of Al Barsha Pond Park between 8pm and midnight from Friday.

They must bring an Emirates ID card. The final weigh-in will be on August 16.