Fancy a day by the seaside this weekend? Perfect, because the boats of this year’s EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour are coming to town and will be expecting lots of fanfare from Abu Dhabians as they zip into the harbour hunting for valuable points at the end of Leg 3, meant to be the longest and fastest of the seven-stage tour from Bahrain to Oman.
After arriving today (Thursday) and catching up on lost sleep – it is unlikely that they would’ve got any over the leg because of the conditions – expect to see some drama as the nine crews compete in fierce in-port racing from 11:00am on Saturday just in front of the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club on the Breakwater.
Racing to seven beautiful marinas in the Gulf, this event is really gathering momentum. But for those just getting into their sailing, Sailing Arabia – The Tour is a yacht race competed on the Farr 30 onedesign boats.
It started in Manama (Bahrain) before stopping in Doha (Qatar), Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Musandam (Oman), Musannah (Oman) and will end at The Wave, Muscat (Oman).
Taking place over two weeks this month, the Tour offers a perfect warm-weather regatta for teams looking to escape the cold winter in Europe, North America or Asia.
Bertrand Pacé, skipper of Dubai’s Team AISM said: “I like the mixture of inshore and offshore – it is good for us.
“This time of year we don’t have that much sailing we can do [in Europe] so this is good practice for us. It is a perfect two weeks.”
What started as an alternative Gulf region event to the Tour de France à la Voile has now turned into a regional sporting property that attracts some of the best sailing talent in the world, making Oman and the GCC a sought-after winter venue in the international sailing calendar.
On board you will find, and may even get to meet, some inspirational skippers and crew, like the UAE’s very own Adil Khaled, best known for sailing around the world as part of the crew aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the last Volvo Ocean Race and who is this year a part of an all-Emirati crew for the first time ever.
As for Pacé, he is a former America’s Cup helmsman and comes into this event with the hope of repeating his first place success here in 2011.
Females are being well represented too and Britain’s Dee Caffari is skippering the only all-female crew aboard Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat. Caffari is the first woman ever to sail non-stop singlehanded around the world both eastabout and westabout.
Also in action is Oman’s Mohsin Al Busaidi, the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world and who is skippering the Renaissance Team boat this year.
As excitement builds at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club for the arrival of the region’s only long distance offshore race, Issa Al Ismaili, director of events of race organiser, Oman Sail said: “In three short years EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour has been firmly established on the international and regional sailing calendar, known for intense and competitive legs such as this between Doha and Abu Dhabi.
“Sailing is in the blood of the region. It is our passion representing our past but also the future and thanks to the tour.
“Racing against nature as the best sailing talent in the GCC and elite sailors around the world offers go head to head is an unrivalled experience to develop new skills and prepare sailors to compete at the highest level.
“We look forward to the safe arrival and warm welcome of the crews in Abu Dhabi,” he concluded.
Walk with your UAE flags and plenty of sun block or sun tan lotion because this is going to be one thrilling day at the beach for all spectators, as well as skippers and crew.
WHAT: In-Port Racing in Abu Dhabi for Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2013
WHEN: Saturday, February 16; 11:00am
WHERE: Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club
COST: Free Sport360°
VERDICT: Welcome local boys like Adil Khalid back in town as they compete in one of the longest stretches of the seven-leg tour. Plus, if you haven’t yet seen in-port racing, you’re going to love it; it’s full of action and suspense.
The dates for the eighth edition of the Dubai Corporate Games have been announced and organizers High 5 Events are expecting the March 8 and 9 games to break all previous records of participation.
The main venue for the two-day Games (Friday and Saturday) is the American University in Dubai, which offers extensive facilities, and is ideally located for a majority of the participating companies which are from Dubai Media City and Jebel Ali.
Golf, which was introduced a couple of years ago, will be held at the Emirates Golf Club, while dragon boat race will take place at the Internet City lake.
Cricket and badminton tournaments will be played at the Wellington School, while all other competitions – football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, squash, table tennis, swimming, running, tug of war, backgammon, Playstation and fussball – take place at the main university campus. Fussball is a new addition this year.
Bahi Rifai, director, High 5 Events, said: “High 5 started the Dubai Corporate Games with the objective of offering an opportunity to the corporate community to compete in a fun multisport event, and promoting wellness and a healthier lifestyle.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received. More and more companies are coming to us to become a part of this. In fact, there are very few spots left now for this year’s event. We have almost 50 companies which have already registered. One of the companies is sending a contingent of 169 players.
“The Games are a very effective and cost-efficient team-building exercise, allowing the employees to bond away from the office while at the same time, competing against like-minded professionals and executives. It is an amazing networking platform.”
Rifai added that the best validation of the Games was the fact that a majority of companies that take part one year, are back the next year with bigger teams. “Most companies that take part keep coming back every year, and thus promotion of the Games is quite modest. Over the last few years, we have been operating close to our full capacity,” he explained.
The entry fee for teams depend on the number of players. For teams of one to 10 players, the cost is Dh6,000, and the average cost keeps coming down as the numbers increase. The entry fee also covers the gala dinner on the first night, as well as food and drinks during the two days of the events.
But if you want to be a part, do hurry. As Rifai said, very few spots are left now and some of the sports are completely sold out.
WHAT: Dubai Corporate Games
WHEN: March 8 and 9, 2013
WHERE: Most events at American University of Dubai; golf at Emirates Golf Club; cricket and badminton at Wellington School and dragon boat race at Internet City lake.
CONTACT: High 5 Events; E-mail: [email protected]; Phone: 04 369 2517
This year’s RAK Half Marathon on the northern shores of the UAE promises fast times and fierce contests in both the men’s and women’s categories, and Friday, February 15 marks the perfect day for a road trip to Ras Al Khaimah to see the sights, as well as take part in the action yourself along the 21.1km course.
Registration is open for interested athletes in the Junior (girls and boys 15-17), Open (men and women 18-44) and Master (men and women 40-99) categories.
This race is known for having five times recorded sub-60 minute male winners, and only strong winds last year slowed times. But organisers are expecting normal conditions this year, so expect to enjoy a fast race.
The standing women’s world record was set here in 2011 by Mary Keitany (65:50), while the men’s course record of 58:52 was set by Patrick Makau in 2009.
This year’s race features the likes of 2010 winner Geoffrey Mutai, who returns knowing his victory in 59:43 helped cement his status as the world’s most successful marathon racer of the last three years.
Stephen Kibet of Kenya, who is now ranked the world No2 with a time of 58:54, will also be in action alongside fellow countrymen Ezekiel Chebii, the winner in Lille last September (59:05), and Pius Maio Kirop, Berlin winner last April (59:25).
Amongst the Ethiopians will be Feyisa Lelisa, winner at Houston in 2012 (59:22) and who has already retained that title this year, as well as Getu Feleke, fourth here 12 months ago and subsequently second in the Rotterdam Marathon in a time of 2:04:50.
The women’s elite field is also impressive with Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse, who after giving birth is now showing similar form to that which saw her win here three years ago in 67:07; the fastest woman on paper, Florence Kiplagat (66:38), who can boast great 10,000m speed (second fastest in the world in 2012 with 30:24) as well as a marathon runner’s strength – she won Berlin in 2011 in 2:19:44; 2012 Olympic marathon silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo; Lucy Wangui Kabuu, another member of the sub-2:20 marathon club; and former track star Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia, making her debut in RAK.
The total prize and bonus monies offered is well over $250,000 (Dh917,500), so there’s all to run for, and there’s still time to earn yourself a slice of it if you think you’ve got what it takes.
There will be a race bus departing from both Abu Dhabi and Dubai on the morning of the event.
The Abu Dhabi bus will depart from the ‘taxi stand’ in the car park of Marina Mall at 3am, it will head out of Abu Dhabi and pass by Etihad Plaza where it will make a pick up from outside the Abela Supermarket at 3.30am before heading to RAK.
The Dubai bus will depart initially from outside the Dubai Garden Center on Sheikh Zayed Road at 4.10am and then from outside the main gate of the Irish Village at 4.30am. Return buses will depart RAK at 11.45am (earlier if completely full, but no later than 12pm).
WHAT: RAK Half Marathon 2013
WHERE: The start and finish is next to Manar Mall in Ras Al Khaimah
WHEN: Friday, February 15. Race starts 7am
CONTACT: Visit www.rakmarathon.org or premiermarathons.com for registration.
PAST WINNERS (Men | women)
2007 – Sammy Wanjiru (KEN) 58:53 (WR) | Birhan Adere (ETH) 70:58
2008 – Patrick Makau (KEN) 59:35 | Salina Kosgei (KEN) 72:29
2009 – Patrick Makau (KEN) 58:52 | Dire Tune (ETH) 67:18
2010 – Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 59:43 | Elvan Abeylegesse (TUR)
2011 – Deriba Merga (ETH) 59:25 | Mary Keitany (KEN) 65:50 (WR)
2012 – Dennis Koech (KEN) 60:40 | Mary Keitany (KEN) 66:42