For many of the UAE’s jiu-jitsu national team members, 2018 is shaping up to be an important year given the sport make its debut at the Asian Games in August.
And for Zayed Al Kaabi it’s no different. The 27-year-old has big ambitions of making an impact in Jakarta and is stepping up his preparations with this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
Competing in the Under-94kg brown belt division, Al Kaabi will be hoping to go all the way at the Mubadala Arena in the capital and prove he has what it takes to reign supreme in Indonesia in eight months time.
“I just want to give 100 per cent and prepare myself for the Asian Games in 2018 which is my main goal and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship in April,” he said.
“I have to prepare well and fight strong in every fight that I compete in because they all count now. I want to improve every day so I can be at my best in Jakarta and that means being fully focused.
“Of course, I would like to win gold in Abu Dhabi. Inshallah I’ll try my best but Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour is very difficult as you have a lot of top competitors fighting. It’s a chance to check my game and see where I stand and use different strategies because each competitor is different from one another.”
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam will be his first appearance on the 2017-18 World Tour after missing the Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Los Angeles legs due to his involvement with the UAE national team.
He was part of the squad that travelled to Brazil for an intense training camp before representing his country at the Asian Championships in Vietnam. He also competed in the President’s Cup, representing Al Ain.
In his bid of winning a medal at the Asian Games, Al Kaabi is already putting in four hours of training a day, five days a week and plans to increase that closer to the tournament.
“It will be a dream to win a medal for the UAE at the Asian Games,” he said.
“That’s my ultimate dream that I want to achieve this year. Of course it’s going to be hard as it’s the Asian Games and it will be the first time the sport is being played. So I will put in more time and hard work over the coming months to ensure that I’m in the best possible shape. Every fight I do now is a learning curve on how to improve so that I’m at my best physically and mentally when I compete in my first fight in Jakarta.”
Beach Run Dubai 2018 is back!
For the third consecutive year, runners will take to the sand at Sunset Beach in the popular event presented by Daman’s Activelife.
Runners can compete in one of three non-timed races which cater to all ages and abilities.
Those looking to just have some fun can run in the 3.6km event, or for more serious competitors, the 7.2km is on offer.
And, for those with children, the 1.8km family run is ideal.
When the race is over there’s also plenty of entertainment to be enjoyed as well as food and drink stalls within the Festival Village.
Last year, a record 1,950 runners from a whopping 32 nationalities took part in each of the races with ages ranging from 18 months to 71-years-old all collecting medals.
10 things you need to know about Beach Run DXB
When: Friday, February 23 2018
Where: Sunset Beach, Umm Suqeim
Time: The Festival Village opens at 7:00am, the first race starts at 8:00am.
Race categories: Family 1.8km, fun 3.6km, serious 7.2km
Age groups: Open to all.
Do I need anything? Competitors must wear race numbers.
How much does it cost? Adult prices: 7.2km run – Dh139, 3.6km run – Dh139, 1.8km run – Dh99. Children’s prices: 7.2km run – Dh99, 3.6km run – Dh99, 1.8km run – Dh79.
What do I get? Participants receive a T Shirt and medal.
What time does it finish? The Festival Village closes at 12:30pm.
How do I get there? Parking is limited so a taxi or public transport is recommended.
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