For those who often find themselves wondering whether Skateboarding is a real sport or not, they’d be delighted or dismayed (depending on their opinion of this activity) in learning that not only is it a sport, but an Olympic one now as well.
The sport of skateboarding is all set to make its debut in the 2020 summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan.
However, even before this activity became a worldwide phenomenon and was elevated to the status of an Olympic sport, skateboarding was a prominent subculture that valued creativity, risk and freedom.
The skateboarding community even have a day set aside for them to celebrate and promote their values, which is known as the Go Skateboarding Day (GSD) held on June 21 every year that also happens to coincide with summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
As skateboarders around the world celebrate the spirit of the sport, UAE’s ambassador for action sports, XDubai contributed to this day with festivities of their own as part of their initiative to promote and foster skateboarding talent in the country for the upcoming Olympics.
Go Skateboarding Day was held on Thursday, June 21 from 18:00 at the XDubai Kite Beach Skatepark, which was open to skateboarders four-years old and up and spectators of all ages and walks of life.
Dubai Police were also present at the skatepark to join in the celebrations with a supercar showcase and commend attendees on responsible and safe skateboarding as they showcase four of their famous supercars.
53-year old Dubai-based personal trainer Andy Irwin was one of the many attendees along with his nine-year-old son, Preston, who shares the same passion for this action sport.
“Skateboarding was invented in 1977 when I was about 12-years old, so it was the perfect timing for me and I have been skateboarding ever since. I am a personal trainer, I lift weights in the gym and skating is the only cardio I do and it has kept me quite fit,” said Andy.
Sport360 also spoke to Andy’s spirited son, who talked about his love for the sport and emphatically added that he aims to be a professional skateboarder when he grows up, which brought a genuine smile to his father’s face as he proudly declared, “that’s my boy.”
Andy and Preston were one of the many father-son duos who were part of the Go Skateboarding Day celebrations.
There were many competitions as well with great prizes to get everyone involved and incentivized skateboarders in the region to brush up on their basic skills and technique, which is what the judges are looking for who also offer points based on the complexity of the trick.
Since its launch in January 2016, XDubai skatepark has provided a platform for the region’s growing skateboarding community.
The largest and most advanced skatepark of its kind in the region, the 3100m2 park caters to both novice and experienced skateboarders alike as it blends seamlessly into its vibrant beachside neighbourhood with a shaded parklike setting.
World and Olympic champion Caster Semenya is to fight a move to compel some female athletes to medically lower naturally-occurring testosterone levels at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Lawyers representing the South African athlete have announced she has mounted a legal challenge to the International Association of Athletics Federations’ Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification in Lausanne.
The regulations, which were issued in April and are due to come into force on November 1, are designed to combat claims that women with higher levels of natural testosterone enjoy an unfair advantage in competition.
Gregory Nott, director of law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, said in a statement: “This is a landmark case concerning international human rights and discrimination against women athletes with major consequences for gender rights which are jealously protected by the South African Bill of Rights.
“We are honoured to represent Ms Semenya and advance a position that protects all affected women.”
Semenya’s legal representatives, led by Mr Nott, say she has filed her challenge “to ensure, safeguard and protect the rights of all women on the basis that the regulations are irrational, unjustifiable, and in violation of the IAAF Constitution (based in Monaco), the Olympic Charter, the laws of Monaco, the laws of jurisdictions in which international competitions are held, and of universally recognised human rights.”
The middle distance star, who has hyperandrogenism, a medical condition characterised by excessive levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone, has previously been asked to undergo gender testing.
Female athletes competing in events from 400m to the mile will be subject to the new rules.
UAE National Paralympic Committee (UNPC) officials will travel to Germany later this month to officially sign the contract that will see Dubai host the World Para Athletics Championships in 2019.
Last week, the World Para Athletics announced the Emirate will stage next year’s showpiece event from November 7 to 15 which will be the last opportunity for athletes to press their case for selection ahead of the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
UPC vice-president Majid Rashed confirmed the country’s governing body will put pen to paper in Germany by the end of the month following the verbal agreement.
“We will be going to Germany later this month and only after that we will reveal more information about the championships,” Rashed, who is also CEO of the Dubai Club for People of Determination, told Sport360.
“It’s just a verbal approval between both parties and we will sign the deal at the end of this month.”
The championships will take place at the brand new athletics stadium – Dubai Club for People of Determination with more than 1,300 athletes from more than 100 countries set to compete. It will be the first time the event will be held in the UAE.
Speaking to the World Para Athletics website, Rashed added: “We are honoured to be trusted with such a prestigious event within the world of Para sport and are looking forward to welcoming the world to Dubai. As a club and as emirate, we have a long tradition within our organisation of delivering world class sporting events. We will build on what we have learned from hosting the Para Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships and our annual World Para Athletics Grand Prix, ensuring that this championship builds on the success of previous editions and the athletes inspire the world.”
And NPC president Mohammed Al Hameli, who is also a member of the International Paralympic Committee, is delighted that Dubai will get the chance to stage a global competition.
“We are very proud to have Dubai and the United Arab Emirates hosting for the first time the World Para Athletics Championships,” he told the World Para Athletics website.
“It is an amazing opportunity to showcase the development of Para sports in Dubai and in our country. The participating nations and their athletes will find world class facilities to be able to perform at their best. It will also be a great opportunity for the people of UAE and the citizens of Dubai to watch some of the world’s best athletes in action.”