Summer is coming and as the mercury rises in June and July, Dubai’s residents tend to adopt an approach to outdoor activity similar to those stuck in a Game of Thrones winter.
However, unlike those poor Watchers on the Wall, there is no excuse for Dubai to be trapped inside waiting for action to come their way during the extreme temperatures outside.
There is an extensive list of opportunities to get active indoors and one such sport, which is really making a splash in Dubai, is diving. To some, diving involves big oxygen canisters and watching colourful fish.
To others it is a skill regularly practiced by Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. on the football pitch. But to a growing number of men, woman and children in Dubai, it is an exhilarating sport that involves jumping into water from varying heights and experimenting with twists and flips.
The DuDive springboard and platform diving club was established by ex-Olympic gymnast and diving convert Tom Roberts in 2012, and is the only one of its kind in Dubai.
It is located at the world class Hamdan Sports Complex and Roberts has seen an increasing number of new divers take the plunge each month.
Roberts first came to Dubai to visit his sister and liked it so much he decided to stay. After seeing the superb facilities on offer and the lack of a diving club, he quickly realised that there was a gap in the market and so DuDive was born.
Today, DuDive employs several diving coaches and runs daily practices that cater for all abilities, whether you are learning your first dive from the poolside or aiming for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
One of those coaches is former English schoolboy champion Daniel Campbell, who met Roberts and was instantly drawn in by the potential of the club.
“Over the last three years we have gone from a recreational club providing lessons to a point where we are providing elite training designed to push kids to the next level with international competitions, like the nationals in Sheffield in the UK next month,” he said.
“The growth and the success of the club stems from the passion and determination from the children. A great coaching team helps, but the main factor is that most of the kids that try diving immediately love it.”
While it is a great way to stay fit, the real winner for DuDive is that their sport is creative and can be performed as competitively or casually as the individual prefers. As with many amateur sports clubs in the Middle East, the majority of DuDive’s clientele are expats and their children.
However, Campbell sees no reason preventing the UAE from producing a diving champion in three or four Olympic cycles.
“We have a small amount of Emirati children in our program which is fantastic,” Campbell explains. “We have the facilities in the UAE, the coaching structures and an ever-strengthening link with the UAE swimming federation so I do not see a reason why we can’t have a UAE diving champion.
“To any kid thinking of giving diving a go, I would say to them that it is fun, it is great for flexibility and strength and it provides a real rush diving from the 10 metre board.”
No matter how its members fare in upcoming competition, DuDive has already achieved something special in getting to the brink of international recognition in just three years, the club will only get better as the numbers swell.
What: DuDive springboard and platform diving club
Where: Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai
Contact: For more information visit www.dudive.com, or on Facebook by searching DuDive and by email on [email protected]
Get yourself to DuDive at Hamdan Sports Complex. It's a spring board and high board diving club based in Dubai, UAE. Sport360 spoke to some of the coaches and divers that have taken part to see why citizens should attend.
Al Jazira Club were crowned Under-16 President’s Cup water polo champions thanks to a convincing 8-2 victory against Al Wasl in the final last weekend.
The competition included five teams from Jazira, Al Nasr (third place), Al Arabi Cultural club (fourth place), Cleopatra Academy and Al Wasl, who played host to the three-day event.
“I’m very pleased with how this competition went and it’s quite evident how the UAE players are getting more and more acquainted with water polo – a sport that is relatively new to the Emirates,” said UAE national water polo head coach, Nikola Radojicic of Serbia.
“As we can see, there are more players taking up the sport and the level of play itself is getting higher.
“I’d like to welcome the Cleopatra Academy to the water polo family here. They are a great addition to the sport and will surely help drive more interest from the local community, which will help us create an even stronger national team in the long run.”
HH UAE President Water Polo Cup Under 16 Years – Dubai from 7 to 9 May 2015 . . . 1 Aljazera 2 Al Wasl 3 Al Nasr pic.twitter.com/6JBZNrobXO
— UAEswimming (@UAESwimming) May 9, 2015
Radojicic, a former goalkeeper for acclaimed Serbian club Partizan, was appointed as national team coach last December, and has been tasked to elevate the level of water polo in the country.
“I constantly meet with the coaches of all the local clubs here to see how we can move the sport forward and the level of coaching as well as refereeing has seen major improvement over the past several months,” he added.
“The rules of water polo allow for the inclusion of two foreign players per squad and that is very important for clubs here because it will allow local talent to learn from a higher calibre of players.”