Zayed Cricket Academy's new term is set to begin where kids can bowl them over

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Abu Dhabi-based Zayed Cricket Academy (ZCA) is gearing up for a strong season, anticipating double-digit membership growth for 2018/2019 following a major upgrade of facilities and coaching credentials.

The Academy, operated by Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC) with the full backing of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) at the iconic Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium multi-sport complex, has now opened registrations for the new term which runs from September to November and will be led by some of the world’s best coaches.

ADC’s partnership with South Africa’s prestigious Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy (GKCA), has resulted in a massive win for ADC with GKCA high performance coach Oscar Nauhaus joining the team permanently.

Nauhaus, a high performance sports expert, who’s been behind successes across the Rainbow Nation and India, will take the reins as the head coach.

Coaching will now take place across upgraded facilities which include eight renovated wickets, new grass and astro turf cricket nets, changing rooms and offices with new 500-lux LED Musco floodlights on two nursery ovals to allow for evening coaching.

“In tune with Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s mandate, we’ve had the opportunity to really focus on galvanising our junior base and using the sport of cricket to promote a healthy and active lifestyle for our kids,” said Matt Boucher, acting CEO of ADC.

“We’ve got a world-class coaching roster, excellent facilities and a thriving academy at an affordable price-point. The building blocks are well in place and we’re looking forward to a fantastic season ahead.

“As well as creating new sessions for children under-12 and girls (with a view to increase the sports’ female participation rates throughout the emirate), ZCA will continue to function as a proud and centralised hub for the very best elite junior stars in the country.”

He added: “We are the current UAE National Academies League champion, and have had multiple players represent the UAE’s junior national teams (four U18s, three U16s and three boys were accepted into overseas scholarship programmes).

Recent ZCA advances have included a ‘Junior Academy’ for ‘rookies’, both girls and boys of all abilities aged from four up to 18,  which introduces children to basic cricketing skills whilst stimulating healthy and active lifestyles.

The complex also features an ‘Elite Academy’ for youngsters aged 12 and over who have played cricket for three years or more and are looking to develop their skills and play in competitive matches.

Elite Academy teams participate in domestic competitions, in overseas tours and take on visiting international teams. There are now plans to open the ‘Elite’ programme to girls who will be coached by the Academy’s two female coaches, both former Sri Lankan national team players.

Classes take place between Monday to Saturday. Nauhaus added: “Our programmes have widespread appeal thanks to our approach of designing coaching options based on age and ability.

“Our aim is to develop an inclusive attitude towards the game and sport in general making people reap the social and well-being benefits of being part of the Academy, including growing in personal confidence and improved fitness. The programme ensures Academy members receive well-rounded coaching which builds strength and conditioning, cricketing skills and ball work.”

What: New term

When: September to November

Where: Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium

Contact: www.abudhabicricket.ae/academy

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Abu Dhabi Thistle Football Club's open trials start at Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium on Sunday

Matt Jones 31/08/2018
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Abu Dhabi Thistle Football Club is hosting open trials for the 2018/19 season which will commence from Sunday, September 2, at Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium.

The club was founded in 2006 and the ethos is creating a UK style amateur football club, similar to traditional youth clubs from Britain.

The main aim of the club, and all the voluntary coaches, is to provide competitive football in a friendly, fun and supportive environment at all age groups.

“We are looking for players who have good skills, are strong team players, and want to develop themselves as footballers and athletes,” said coach Mark McCreath.

“In the younger age groups the emphasis is on all abilities who want to develop their core footballing skills.

“As age groups progress, there will naturally be more emphasis on ability, and selection of the stronger players – and a continuing emphasis on development.

“The club hopes to continue the prior successes into the new 2018/19 season in our new home at the Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium.”

Abu Dhabi Thistle Football Club has been running since 2006.

Abu Dhabi Thistle Football Club has been running since 2006.

The open trials for the new season start this Sunday and will be ongoing for the next two weeks.

Age groups include: mixed under-8; boys U10, U12, U13, U14, U16/18 and girls U12, U14 and U18.

More information on specific days for each team, how to register and to get in touch with the club is available on the website http://abudhabithistlefc.com.

The teams play in competitive leagues and tournaments primarily in Abu Dhabi, but also in Dubai, as well as sometimes further afield.

The main league in Abu Dhabi is the Abu Dhabi Youth League comprising a selection of other clubs from the city, including PASS, Regional Sports, Man City, French (EFF) and others.

Games are played weekly, split into two sessions within one season, with the first from September to December and the second from January to April.

On average there are three to four tournaments each year and a league schedule comprising 20 matches.

McCreath added: “Myself and a few other members coach kids football at the club. It usually involves a couple of hours in the week and a couple of hours for games at weekends, but not every weekend.

“It’s a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. Professional coaching expertise is not a must – it’s more about enthusiasm and energy to help kids develop and enjoy football.”

If anyone is interested in learning more or getting involved for the upcoming season, get in touch via the website or contact McCreath on [email protected] or 050 120 7896.

What: Abu Dhabi Thistle Football Club open trials and 2018/19 season

When: From September 2

Where: Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium.

Contact: Email Mark McCreath on [email protected] or call 050 120 7896

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Fight fans have a new place to train at Dubai's Real Boxing Only gym

Nick Watkins 27/08/2018
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Ring of honour: Real Boxing Only gym

This time last year Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather collided in the biggest fight in combat sports history, grossing over $700 million. While some questioned the merit of an MMA star taking on (arguably the best ever) boxer, what can’t be denied is it put bums in seats. As did last weekend’s YouTube boxing event featuring online stars KSI and Logan Paul that generated a reported £150million.

Boxing in Dubai has never been so popular and a new gym is already booking in extra classes to cope with demand. “We opened in February, I picked up boxing personally around three years ago and I met an investor whose son boxes and we talked about opening a gym in Dubai,” says Managing Director of Real Boxing Only Michelle Kuehn. “Boxing changed my life and we want to do that for others. It made me fitter, sharper mentally and more energetic. I really want to introduce boxing to females who haven’t tried it. Boxing brings out a side to people that not everyone knows is within them.”

“We’ve got fitness classes and boot camps on the upper level of the gym, and our four pro boxers train downstairs. It can be intimidating if you’re a novice coming into a gym with professional fighters but we’ve made it a gym where everyone feels comfortable”, Kuehn tells Sport360.

Ready to rumble: The Real Boxing Only gym

Ready to rumble: The Real Boxing Only gym

The gym runs boxing fitness classes for those just looking to get in shape and boxing technique classes, which are the most popular, for those taking boxing more seriously. Single classes are priced at AED70 or monthly passes for unlimited classes and gym access cost AED499. AED50 gets you a day pass where you can use the facilities as you please.

“We are very active on social media,” says Kuehn. “We post real, unedited videos which have reached a lot of people. Boxing is growing in the region and we have shows coming up in Dubai. We want to create a boxing culture where youngsters can grow up with the sport and compete on more amateur shows.”

What: Real Boxing Only Gym (RGB LLC)
When: Daily classes
Where: Warehouse 37, 8th Street, behind Times Square Mall
Contact: +971 (0)4 272 7774. Email: [email protected] Instagram: @realboxingonly

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