There is no shortage of top sporting events in the Emirates and here’s our one-stop diary of everything that’s going on — welcome to our weekly feature, What’s Up UAE.
The festive season is approaching and while many have holiday plans in store, there’s still plenty of sport to enjoy in the Emirates.
Are you attending or participating in one of the following events?
Here’s our run-down of some of this week’s sporting events:
SPORTS CREATIVE FORUM
Tuesday, January 9
Hicham El Guerrouj and Tunisian legend Mohammed Gammoudi, two of middle-distance running’s greatest, will speak at the 9th Sports Creativity Forum on Tuesday in Dubai.
A day later they will be honoured at the glittering awards ceremony of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award for winning in the Olympic Creative Sports category.
Organised by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, the Forum will be held at Jumeirah Emirates Towers’ with the opening session – “Creative Experiences”, starting at 8:30.
WHERE: Jumeirah Emirates Towers
HANKOOK 24-HOUR ENDURANCE
Thursday, January 11 – Saturday, January 13
Head to Dubai Autodrome for the Hankook 24H race, one of the most prestigious endurance races in the UAE and around the world.
Drivers from all corners of the globe will roll into the city to take part in the 2018 race.
The race proper starts at 2pm on Friday and there are a host of activities around the venue to keep petrol heads entertained in the lead up to and during the race.
WHERE: Dubai Autodrome
MORE INFO: 24 Hour Series
DUBAI WORLD CUP CARNIVAL
Thursday, January 11
The first Dubai World Cup Carnival race gets underway at Meydan this week as local and regional racers battle it out ahead of the prestigious season-ending Dubai World Cup in March.
The first race at the venue is expected to be a highly competitive meet and the action begins at 6.30pm.
General admission is AED 50 at the venue while there are hospitality options to sit in Meydan’s new Grandstand.
VENUE: Meydan Racecourse
MORE INFO: Meydan Racing
WEST ASIA PREMIERSHIP
Friday, January 12
The Gulf’s premier rugby competition continues after a four week break.
The highlight of the fifth round is reigning champions Abu Dhabi Harlequins at home to Dubai Eagles and Dubai Exiles in action against Abu Dhabi Saracens.
MORE INFO: Fixtures
LIWA CYCLE CHALLENGE
Friday, January 12
Over 500 riders are expected to participate in the Liwa Cycle Challenge on Friday.
The 104km, 84km and 40km race options take place on some of the most picturesque terrain in the Empty Quarter in Abu Dhabi.
The race is a community cycling event, presented by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
VENUE: Moreeb Dune, Liwa
MORE INFO: Liwa Cycle Challenge
ABU DHABI INVITATIONAL
Friday, January 12 – Saturday, January 13
Ballon D’Or winner Luis Figo and former world No. 1 golfer Martin Kaymer will captain the two sides for the Abu Dhabi Invitational at Yas Links on January 12-13.
Promising to be an unforgettable two days of golf, the Abu Dhabi Invitational is renowned as one of the world’s most prestigious Pro-Celebrity tournaments.
Founded in 2007 by Abdullah Al Naboodah, it has become a must-play for celebrities and professional golfers alike where they are paired with a VIP amateur guest in a Ryder Cup Fourball format.
The two-day event comprises of the Amateur Championship on Friday, with invited sponsor and stakeholder guests, before the main Invitational on Saturday. Both days are open to members of the public and the tournament will once again be raising money for charity.
WHERE: Yas Links
MORE INFO: Abu Dhabi Invitational
ABU DHABI GRAND SLAM WORLD JIU JITSU TOUR
Friday, January 12 – Saturday, January 13
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Jiu-Jitsu Tour returns for another edition and spectators can look forward to an even bigger and better competition in the capital.
The IPIC Arena will be at the centre of attention on Friday and Saturday as thousands of athletes from over 100 countries will battle it out for the titles.
WHERE: IPIC Arena, Zayed Sports City
Two-time Olympic champion Hicham El Guerrouj and Tunisian legend Mohammed Gammoudi, two of middle-distance running’s greatest, will share the dais at the 9th Sports Creativity Forum on Tuesday, a day before they are honoured at the glittering awards ceremony of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award.
Organised by MBR Creative Sports Award, the 9th Sports Creativity Forum will be held on January 9 at Jumeirah Emirates Towers’ Godolphin Ballroom, with the opening session, titled “Creative Experiences”, starting at 8:30.
Tunisian Tarek Bin Mohamed Souei, winner of the Arab Referee Award, will take part in the opening session along with fellow-awardees, visually-impaired Algerian brothers Abdellatif and Fouad Baka, who have represented their country at the Paralympic Games.
All smiles for an incredible year! Thank you 2017 for being so special and for everyone who made it much more memorable! Excited for what’s to come! Happy 2018 🎉❤️ pic.twitter.com/4c6VMai8rx
— Farida Osman (@FaridaOsman) December 31, 2017
The second session, titled “Sports Experiences”, will see Egyptian swimmer Farida Osman, winner of the Distinguished Athletes Achievement Award, share the dais with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Mustafa Al Sowaiq, winner of the Arab Emerging Athlete Award.
In the third session, starting at 10:40, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, winner of the Arab Sports Personality Award, will share her “Administrative Experience” with the audience in what will be the main session of this year’s forum.
Princess Reema is deputy president of Saudi Arabia’s Sports Authority for Planning & Development and in October last year, she became the first female to lead a Saudi sports federation when she was appointed president of the Federation for Community Sports. She has also played a pivotal role in the founding and regulation of women’s sport in Saudi Arabia, and the introduction of sports among girls at public schools in the country.
Moroccan El Guerrouj, who still owns three middle-distance world records more than 13 years after hanging up his boots, will then take the dais, at 11.15am, along with a man considered by many as one of the pioneers of the African long and middle-distance running revolution, Gammoudi, for the fourth session, which is titled “Inspiring Experiences”.
Gammoudi, 79, represented Tunisia at three Olympic Games and won the 5,000m gold and the 10,000m bronze at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Four years later in Munich, he won silver in the 5,000m. Gammoudi also won the 10,000m silver at the 1962 Tokyo Olympics.
All the five sessions of the Forum will be telecast live by Dubai Sports channel, as well as the award’s official website and smart application.
Session One (8:30): Creative Experiences
Speakers: Tarek Bin Mohamed Souei (Tunisia), Abdellatif Baka (Algeria), Fouad Baka (Algeria).
Moderator: Dr Jamal Abbas
Session Two (10:00): Sports Experiences
Speakers: Farida Hisham Osman (Egypt), Mohammed Mustafa Al Sowaiq (KSA).
Moderator: Reem Abdul Hamid Al Amiri
Session Three (10:40): Administrative Experience
Speaker: HRH Princess Rima bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud (KSA)
Moderator: Meshaal Al Qahtani
Session Four (11:15): Inspiring Experiences
Speakers: Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) and Mohammed Gammoudi (Tunisia)
Moderator: Laila Bint Farhat
Session Five (12:00): Creative Corporate Experiences
Speakers: Amina Lanaya (Acting Director General of Union Cycliste International) and Fahad Ali Al Shamsi (Chief Executive of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation).
Moderator: Sami Al Emam
Mohammed Al Balooshi has spoken of his pride of representing the UAE and has vowed to do all he can and achieve the best possible result in the Dakar Rally.
The Emirati was one of the 166 riders to begin Saturday’s opening 278km stage of the world’s most notorious cross-country endurance race in the Peruvian capital of Lima.
Al Balooshi will be hoping to complete all 14 stages of the two-week grueling race which will see the field tackle different terrains as they cross into Bolivia before finishing in Argentina. If he does cross the finish line, he will have completed more than 8,000km.
Al Balooshi is one just two Emiratis competing in the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally with Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi lining in the cars category.
— Sport360° (@Sport360) January 7, 2018
And Al Balooshi is relishing the opportunity of testing himself against the world’s best over the next fortnight in what he describes as his most ‘dangerous’ race.
“I feel very proud of having the chance to bring the UAE’s colors to Dakar,” he said. “This is the most difficult and dangerous race in the world for the bikes, and for me, as a rally rider, it’s a challenge I must take on.
“Most of the riders who have won Dakar in the past, have had to make many attempts before being able to even complete the race, and that alone speaks about the pressure, the top level of competition and the huge danger we go through every day here.
“I feel grateful for having this privilege and will do my best to represent the values of our people and ‘The Year of Zayed’ along the way.”