#360fit: Obstacle Fitness Events Coming up in the UAE!

FitnessLink 14/09/2015
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There are lots of events to look forward to around the UAE over the next few months.

With plenty of fun activities taking place over the next few months, here’s a pick of what to look forward to.

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17th – 19th September @ Dubai Sports City

Dubai Gladiators Challenge promises a three day event that will pit competitors against a series of obstacles and challenges either individually or as a team.

There will be three parts: the Joust – a gladiator-style balancing game where two competitors are standing on a platform with their joust trying to get the opponent of balance, the Arena – which will feature many obstacles and challenges to overcome, and the Aim & Shoot where competitors will have to place an arrow in the heart of a target. Each of the challenges place emphasis on mind and body control, rather than strength, so even non-fitness buffs can get in on the action. Plus, there will be no ‘winners’ as such; the event is more focused on the participation and fun-factor.

Click here for more info.

20th November @ Al Barari, Dubai

The Sand Pit is a non-competitive 10km obstacle run held in Al Barari. This obstacle event is not a race but rather more of a challenge, which is why it is not timed. Participants are required to help each other complete the course, challenge themselves and have fun! The obstacles are created to encourage participants to work together as a group as opposed to against each other.

You will be climbing over 3 metre walls, running up sand dunes, sliding through freezing cold water and many more obstacles along in the course. In its debut event earlier this year, we remember the water obstacles were particularly awesome and obstacles were spaced out well enough so as to avoid any long stretches or running wondering when the next obstacle was due.

As one of the better organized obstacle races in the UAE, the second edition of the Sand Pit run is sure to be another great event!

Click here for more info.

2nd October @ Ski Dubai

Everyone will be tested as never before in this obstacle course with a twist – it’s on snow! Held sat SKI Dubai, obstacles include Cargo Net Crawl, Zorb Ball Maze, Black Run Climb, Monkey bars and more. You can take it on as an individual or a team as you tackle and complete around 15 different obstacles.

If it’s anything like previous years, there will be lots of great prizes up for grabs and all participants receive goody bags filled with vouchers and giveaways on the day.

Check out the SKI DUBAI Facebook page for more on the event.

16th October @ Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Test yourself in the fourth edition of the Talise Sandstorm as you are faced with a series of fun and challenging obstacles designed to test your fitness across a 4km sprint course.

This is a strictly team event as teams of three will need to climb, crawl, run or jump through a series of challenges devised using the elements of land, sand and sea that will be set against a stunning backdrop including the Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah and Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

There's something for those racing to win or racing just for fun, as things kick off with Competitive teams taking on the course first, followed by the Intermediate and then Casual teams.

Prepare for the Talise Sandstorm and REGISTER your team here today.

23rd October @ Dubai Police Training Facility, Dubai

Release your inner warrior with the Desert Warrior Challenge. This 5k or 10k event is a fun and challenging obstacle course, designed to test your mental strength, team-work and overall fitness. Be ready to run, jump, crawl, climb, carry and slide your way through a course designed to test everyone, and get ready for lots of sand! Participants can expect to see more of their favorite obstacles along with new and improved designs. From a competitive ‘Ultimate Warrior’ category to non-timed categories where you’re simply challenging yourself, and a juniors category for the kids, there’s something to suit everyone at this race.

6th November @ Jebel Ali Racecourse

The Reebok Spartan Race is certainly a race with a lot of hype around it, thanks to its popularity around the globe as a hard core obstacle competition, which made its debut in the UAE earlier this year with its 5km course. It’s pretty similar to other desert obstacle races in that you’re overcoming lots of different obstacles – except the running is purely done on sand making it pretty challenging.

People go pretty hard at the Spartan Race. If you’re determined to get your best time, you can even go online and get tips on overcoming the expected obstacles in the most efficient possible way. Yep, pretty serious stuff! For the next event, there will be both Sprint (5km) and Super (13km) distances to choose from.

Visit spartanrace.ae for more info!

31st October @ Wadi Adventure, Al Ain

The UAE’s original obstacle race series is back this October, and it’ll be easy to spot familiar faces and WAR regulars at this 10km race spotted with around 20 different obstacles.

This event has both the challenging and fun aspects combined, made possible by its location at Wadi Adventure water park at the base of Jebel Hafeet. Changing surroundings and terrain allow for a variety of different obstacles, including old favourites like the sand bag carry, high walls and inclined walls, while the pool and water features make way for a pool swim challenge, walking upstream in the man-made rafting river, and jumping on & over rafts to make it to land.

According to the organizers, WAR 10 is set to offer a whole new course, some new obstacles and a new format in which a 5km loop course will be jam packed with over 25 obstacles (that's more than 1 every 200m!). There will be an option of three race distances around the course: 5km, 10km and 15km. This one’s gonna be a goodie!

Check out the WAR10 Facebook page for more on the event.

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#360business: USTA go whole way to catch up with their competitors

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The roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium is just the start of the $500m project.

The wind of change is finally blowing through Flushing Meadows.

New York may be the glitziest and swishiest stop on the grand slam annual tour, yet the Billie Jean King Tennis Center has been in need of a facelift for years.

While Wimbledon have subtly yet classily continued to innovate with a new roof  and gradual improvements to their already classical looking venue , the USTA have tinkered over the last couple of years without really addressing the main problems.

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As the stadia began to look tired and worn, new venues all over the country and across the globe were springing up and putting everyone else to shame.

In Paris, the old fashioned mystique of Roland Garros remains just about  acceptable from a purely nostalgic point of view. With the French Tennis Federation still fighting a seemingly never-ending battle to expand the site in the adjacent botanical gardens, it could stay like that for some time.

Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open, dubbed the ‘Happy Slam’ by players and fans alike, now has three covered courts. The first major of the year is regularly voted the most popular. The facilities, the way the players are looked after and the whole general experience ticks all the boxes.

New York isn’t a city which can afford to sit still. Not content with a few adjustments, the USTA have gone for it in 2015. Big time.

The scale of development here is quite something. In true American style, it’s pretty much all or nothing. It had to happen though.

With Citi Field, the home of the NY Mets just a walk away from Flushing Meadows recently renovated, the Brooklyn Nets taking residence in the excellent $1 billion

Barclays Center, and Meadowlands, home of the NY Giants and Jets, a supremely solid performing 82,000-capacity arena, the USTA had a desperate need to keep pace with their sporting cousins.

This huge overhaul – a new Grandstand stadium which will be ready for 2016 while the roof over the Arthur Ashe center court will also be fully operational by then as well – is no knee-jerk reaction.

When it came to putting a roof on Ashe, there were a myriad of problems to solve.

With the whole site built on a landfill, it has taken over a decade to conceive a design which would be able to completely shield the largest tennis court on earth from the rains which tend to batter this part of the world at the end of a sultry, sticky summer.

The space-age structure has been built around the current stadium and, despite it not being finished, has already given the court a totally different feel. It already looks phenomenal – like a huge indoor arena.

The playing conditions have notably changed. The winds which used to whip around and cause havoc – Andy Murray’s semi-final victory over Thomas Berdych in 2012 was played in winds so severe the Czech angrily insisted afterwards the match should have been abandoned – have been neutralised. The acoustics have also been altered – the buzz of the crowd resonates, as does the rumbling of passing subway trains.

It is enormous – 1,700 beams composed from 5,000 tons of steel – and it’s not cheap. The roof is costing around $150m while the total expansion runs into a cool $500m.

The results however, both aesthetically and economically, outweigh the outlay.

Novak Djokovic holds the US Open trophy after beating Roger Federer.

With the newly-renovated show courts – the Louis Armstrong stadium gets a facelift in time for 2018 –  as well as new boulevard built inside the grounds linking everything together, an additional 10,000 fans a day will be able to enjoy the action, while keeping out the rain was a hit for host broadcasters ESPN who signed an 11-year deal knowing they will be guaranteed play no matter the weather.

USTA official Chris Widmaier has worked for the organisation for over a decade and lived through all the trials and tribulations involved in getting to this point.

“There are a lot of driving factors about doing so much at the same time,” he told Sport360°. “Tennis is a global sport and you see some of the advancements some other tournaments are making.

“At the French, everyone knows how keen they are to do things. Look at places like China, Madrid – if you’re competing in that global marketplace. Here, 45 per cent of the fans are from outside the New York area, and 15 per cent are overseas, international fans.

“They are seeing what is happening in the rest of the world so expectation levels begin to rise. Added to that, New York is one of the most hyper competitive sports market in the world. Look at the number of professional franchises and the kind of developments which have occurred in the city.

“There was a time when the US Open, the Billie Jean King Tennis Center was the premier sports facility in NYC. We still may be, but the gap is certainly declining.

There is a level of expectation among fans, players and your partners that you need to continue to elevate the presentation of the event.

“We did a long range forecast and tried to figure out exactly what that would require from a financing  point of view, from a design point of view and from a political standpoint. With the roof, we had wanted to do it for a long time but no one had cracked the code. Until now.”

Corona Park, the fourth biggest park in New York which has housed the tennis since 1978, had been targeted by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan as a potential site for his MLS venture NYCFC.

A general view of the stadium while the final piece for the roof structure is installed.

He wanted to have a 25,000 capacity soccer-specific stadium built in the grounds, with aim of tapping into the multi-national community living in Queens.

Yet local consternation killed the project before it gained legs.

The US Open however, is a bel-oved institution – the largest tennis tournament in North America – which rakes in over $750 million every year (the SuperBowl staged in NYC in 2014 brought in an estimated $500m). That helps establish an astonishing total purse for the tournament of $42.3m – the largest in professional tennis.

It’s huge business, creating over 7,000 jobs, while ticket prices have increased 30 per cent in the last eight years with the average price now coming in at $142 per seat.

Total revenue for the two weeks of competition is approaching $100 million – a severe increase from $76m in 2007. The USTA , who pay the city of New York $2.5m to host the event every year, still needed to fight their corner.

“In order to fulfill our vision we needed to ask the city for additional parkland. We are based in a public park, which is open 11 months of the year,” added Widmaier.

“The remaining month it’s turned over to the US Open and it’s a good deal for the city. We pay rent and because so many visitors are from outside the NY metropolitan area we have a big impact – $750m per tournament. So we worked with the community and the authorities and were granted an additional 0.6 acres.

“It was a very difficult process – in terms of design, engineering, financial . You couldn’t put additional weight on the stadium as it’s built on a land fill site. It’s a standalone, steel super structure that is built around the stadium itself. It’s not complete because following this tournament we need to add the retractable roof, all the mechanisation, the system to get air movement.

“There is external and internal pressure on us to keep on improving. You can’t stand still or be complacent in this day and age. Everything is moving faster. If you aren’t adding to the experience, you are falling behind.

“With so much competition here, it’s even more important to do that. Why are we doing so much at once? Because we can. We don’t ask for public money, it is all publically funded and our desire is that we set up a very aggressive timeline. Its nerve-wracking at times but we are hitting it as of now.”

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Teams from Spain, Serbia and Jordan spice up inaugural Dubai junior event

Jay Asser 14/09/2015
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Holding court: The event will be played at American University in Dubai.

The inaugural Dubai International Basketball Junior Championship gets under way today as five local clubs and three foreign teams battle for the top spot in the event’s first edition.

Held until Sunday, September 20, the tournament will be played at American University in Dubai (AUD) from the preliminary stage to the final.

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Taking part in the competition are local clubs Al Ahli, Al Shabab, Al Wasl, Al Nasr and Al Sharjah, as well as three international teams consisting of Al Riyadi from Jordan, Barcelona of Spain and Partizan from Serbia.

The players in the tournament are required to be born from 1997-99 for the domestic teams and from 1999-2001 for the international squads.

Divided into two groups, Group A will have Barcelona, Al Sharjah, Al Nasr and Al Ahli, while Group B holds Partizan, Al Riyadi, Al Wasl and Al Shabab.

Each game will last for four, eight-minute quarters, until the semi-final when FIBA rules will be applied for 10-minute quarters.

Along with gold, silver and bronze, the closing ceremony will award individual honours for Best Player, Best Scorer, Best 3-point Scorer and Ideal Team.

Al Sharjah and Al Nasr will open the tournament when they meet at 16:00 Monday.

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