Polo may be a well-established sport in the UAE, but the watersport bearing the same name has its own budding community in the region.
The Dubai Camels Water Polo Club are committed to expanding the sport’s presence in the emirate by offering opportunities to play for everyone – from ex-professionals to first-timers.
“The group is a completely social, amateur group. Basically we play just because we love to play water polo,” said Peter Burger, coach of Dubai Camels. “We have members from all over the world. It’s a mix of ex-professionals, first-division players and people who wanted to try the sport and enjoy it.”
Formed in 2007 by group of five members, including Burger, the club had humble beginnings in the pool, initially playing Kings’ School Dubai once a week. Dubai Camels now have a dedicated group of players who train every Monday and Wednesday from 20:15 to 21:45 at Hamdan Sports Complex.
The stunning facility is just one of the many perks of playing water polo in the UAE, according to Burger, who competed in the Hungarian first division, as well as leagues in New Zealand and France.
“In general, the UAE is one of the best places to try a sport. Everyone is looking for sport and many people are amateurs and have come from different countries,” Burger said. “You also have access to the best facilities. We train at Hamdan Sports Complex and it has the best pool I’ve ever played in.”
Water polo may seem like just a fun time in the pool, but by combining elements of various sports such as swimming, football, basketball and wrestling, it appeals to a wide range of athletes.
“It’s a beautiful sport,” Burger said. “First of all, you can only do water polo if you love swimming and you love water. Everybody starts the same way.
“It’s a very good physical contact sport. I think it was voted the most difficult Olympic sport. It’s a very complex sport.
“You have to swim, you have to wrestle and also do underwater stuff. It’s very physical and exciting. As it’s a very challenging sport, it keeps you fit.”
On the social side, Dubai Camels often get together for beverages at Barasti, but they also compete in by-monthly tournaments with other clubs like the Abu Dhabi Hammerheads every two to three weeks.
They’ve also been to Qatar three times for international tournaments, and both go to Saudi Arabia as well as host teams from the Kingdom.
The cost to join Dubai Camels is Dh50 per session or Dh300 for a month membership, with all costs going directly to paying for equipment and pool booking.
Jump in the pool and experience the sport for yourself by contacting Burger at [email protected] or 055 423 9802.
WHAT: Dubai Camels Water Polo Club
GEARED TOWARDS: Water polo enthusiasts
WHEN AND WHERE: Monday and Wednesday from 20:15 to 21:45 at Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai
CONTACT & INFO: Visit www.waterpolo.ae or www.facebook.com/dubai.camels for more information