FIT Awards leads the way in promoting healthy lifestyle in the UAE

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Fitness fanatics: Another great awards evening.

After the successful staging of the fourth annual FIT Awards, tributes were paid to the continued growth of the sports industry in the UAE.

Once again, the diversity and talent throughout the fitness sector shone through on a glittering evening at the Hilton Jumeirah Dubai on Wednesday night.

Indeed, the fitness community across the board came together for an occasion which has now become a fixture in the sporting calendar for professionals in the field.

All aspects of health and fitness, from personal training to facilities, were celebrated with 19 awards given out in total following an exhaustive judging process.

Speaking to Sport360°, Andrej Mekionis, marketing director from main sponsor Daman Active Life, said: “Daman is proud to be a part of the Fit Awards 2017, this is a great event to recognise the efforts of sports industry professionals who help to build healthier communities and make a difference.

“Daman is committed to supporting the wellbeing movement in the UAE through our various initiatives which help to engage communities to live healthier lifestyles.”

In the most interactive awards yet, social media played a huge part on the night – with guests being encouraged to use the #FitAwards17 hashtag at every opportunity and celebrate their achievements online.

As well as Daman’s valued support for the awards, Reps UAE – the public register which recognises the qualifications and expertise of exercise instructors in the UAE – partnered with the event once more.

“The Fit Awards is a night where we appreciate the fitness community,” Reps CEO Naser Al Tamimi said. “It’s important and can act as a motivation for everybody to try to do their best and win awards in different categories.

“At the end of the day, the fitness community is helping to get people more active in the UAE and in turn promoting sport. This has helped encourage more people to take up new activities and challenge themselves in a number of ways on a regular basis.”


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FIT Awards 2017 - Pictures from star-studded fourth annual awards night in Dubai

Fitness First scooped four awards at the fourth edition of the FIT Awards on Wednesday night, while Talise Fitness also had an evening to remember by landing a double prize.

Close to 350 people attended the sold-out event at The Hilton Dubai Jumeirah for what has now become a key fixture in the regional fitness calendar.

Organised by Sport360°, the annual gala dinner and awards night, in partnership with main sponsor Activelife by Daman and partner Reps UAE, recognised and honoured the achievements of the UAE’s top fitness professionals and companies.

Fitness First doubled their exploits of last year, winning the Fitness Brand of the Year title, Best Use of Social Media for Health and Fitness (Unleash campaign) and top Ladies Only Facility of the Year – with their Al Seef Village Mall venue rising to top spot. FF’s James Sidhu claimed the Fitness Manager of the Year to top off a fine evening.

Meanwhile, the Madinat Jumeirah branch of Talise Fitness scooped the Facility of the Year gong, awarded to an organisation with up to 2,000 members, while Talise Fitness Jumeirah Beach Hotel claimed the same prize but for having a facility which topped 2,000 members. Winning has become quite a habit for Talise, given they also scooped a double in 2016.

Once again, there were no shortage of applicants from across the UAE fitness spectrum, which included more than 2,500 registered professionals working in over 160 venues in the region.

A rigid and transparent judging process was overseen by a panel containing numerous industry experts, with each award being facilitated by independent auditors.

Among the other winners last night were Michael Poole (SMART Fitness) and Charlotte Mathers – winning the Personal Trainer of the Year awards in male and female categories, respectively.

The Group Instructor of the Year prize went to Stefani Bertoncini (StefBFIT) and Cloe Sommadossi (Pilates Academy Dubai) came out on top in the Pilates/Yoga Instructor of the Year category.

Elsewhere, Nikesh Naik, of the Aviation Club Dubai, triumphed in the General/Club Manager of the Year section while the coveted Rising Star of the Year honour went to Real Pilates’ Ketija Line.

Real Pilates enjoyed more success, winning the Yoga/Studio of the Year for the third successive time – making it a hat-trick!

With social media playing a huge part in the fitness sector now, healthy lifestyle coach Zena Habi (Female Fitness Influencer of the Year) and Peter Barron (Male Fitness Influencer of the Year), of UYP Lifestyle, took home individual accolades.

Adidas’ Ultra Boost X Launch was also recognised as the Product/Retail-Brand Activation of the Year.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) secured the Fitness Work Environment of the Year prize, and Empiric UAE were awarded Fitness Training Provider of 2017. Meanwhile, Pura won the Health Food Operator of the Year honour.

Speaking at the awards evening, Steve McLaughlin, CEO of Sport360°, said: “The fitness industry in the UAE continues to grow at a rapid pace year on year, with hard-working individuals and respected teams maintaining and raising high standards across the board.

“The FIT Awards is our way, along with main sponsor Daman Activelife and partner Reps UAE, to recognise the achievements of a crucial sector in the region which is dedicated to improving the health and activity levels of the nation’s residents.

“Once again, we are delighted to see the awards form a key part of the fitness calendar, and as such, they are the perfect way to wrap-up another busy and memorable year.

“These all form part of the reasons why we decided to launch ‘Sport360.Fit’, a new health and fitness website in English and in Arabic complete with apps. This exciting new platform will be live early in the New Year and will be the go to destination in the region for health and fitness related information.”


Individual Categories

Personal Trainer of the Year – Male

1. Michael Poole

2. Nicky Holland

Personal Trainer of the Year – Female

1. Charlotte Mathers

2. Derryn Brown

Group Instructor of the Year

Stefani Bertoncini

Pilates/Yoga Instructor of the Year

Cloe Sommadossi

Fitness Manager of the Year

James Sidhu

General/Club Manager of the Year

Nikesh Naik

Rising Star of the Year

Ketija Line

Business/Facility Categories

Facility of the Year

(Up to 2,000 Members)

1. Talise Fitness – Madinat Jumeirah

2. Real Pilates

Facility of the Year (2,001+ members)

Talise Fitness – Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Ladies Only Facility of the Year

Al Seef Village Mall – Fitness First

Yoga/Pilates Studio of the Year

Real Pilates

Fitness Brand of the Year

1. Fitness First

2. Gold’s Gym

Health Food Operator of the Year


Product/Retail or Brand Activation of the Year

Ultra Boost X Launch

Best Use of Social Media for Health & Fitness

Unleash – Fitness First

Fitness Work Environment of the Year


Fitness Training Provider of the Year

Empiric UAE

Female Fitness Influencer of the Year

Zena Habi

Male Fitness Influencer of the Year

Peter Barron

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F1 H2O: World title contender Alex Carella seventh in Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi free practice

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Alex Carella is one win away from a fourth world title.

Competitors took advantage of their first opportunity to take to the waters of the Arabian Gulf on Wednesday afternoon in a free practice session for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the penultimate round of the 2017 UIM F1 H2O World Championship.

The hosting Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) has three boats in the 21-hull line-up and series leader Alex Carella, along with Rashed and Thani Al Qemzi ran for 10, 14 and five laps, respectively, at the start of the 90-minute practice stint. They were classified in seventh, ninth and 11th positions.

Carella’s rivals know that they must stop the Italian from winning Friday afternoon’s race to deprive him of a fourth world title and Team Sweden’s Erik Stark and Victory Team’s Ahmed Al Hameli, together with their respective team-mates Jonas Andersson and Shaun Torrente, showed their determination with impressive practice times in ideal racing conditions.

Teams got a good run-out during free practice ahead of Thursday's qualifying.

Teams got a good run-out during free practice ahead of Thursday’s qualifying.

Triple World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC Shenzhen China Team won the session with a best lap of 43.75sec during his 25 laps on the water. Torrente and Stark were second and third.

Rookies Erik Edin and Matthew Palfreyman enjoyed their first F1 experience and ran for 16 laps each, the Swede carding a best time of 47.70sec in his Team Sweden DAC. Palfreyman clocked a best tour of 48.17sec in his British-built Dragon after heading out on to the water mid-way through the session and then pitting after two laps with a minor steering issue.

Double world champion Sami Selio and team-mate Filip Roms were last on to the water for a brief test after a late scrutineering slot, but Poland’s Bartek Marszalak deliberately missed out on the session.

Carella knows that outright victory on Friday will give him the world title and Team Abu Dhabi manager Guido Cappellini is upbeat about his chances.

“This is actually a nightmare situation for us,” Cappellini said. “Apparently it is supposed to be good. We are 16 points in front. It is a good gap.”

Carella and Cappellini have a delicate balance to maintain on Friday.

Cappellini (r) knows he has a delicate balance to maintain in Friday’s race.

“The problem is we want to win the World Championship here. In case Alex wins, then we win the title in front of the Sheikh, the club and the public of Abu Dhabi. But it is better not to take any risks. This is the compromise and this is the difficult decision we have to make for the team.

“After qualifying, we will check the position and then decide what is the best strategy. It is a great combination; the 25th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi and the 50th race for Alex. I guess it’s ‘insha’Allah’ for Abu Dhabi…

“Rashed was very fast in a private test here. He has been concentrating on the F2 this year and not taking any risks in the Formula One. Now is the opportunity for him. Thani, like Alex and Rashed, has worked hard this month for perfect F1 preparations. The atmosphere is good in the team. I’m positive it will be a good weekend.”

Rashed Al-Qemzi came in for praise from team manager Guido Cappellini.

Rashed Al Qemzi came in for praise from team manager Guido Cappellini.

Team Abu Dhabi general manager Salem Al-Remeithi added: “We have a strong team and I believe we can finish the job at this race. The field is strong and it will be a battle. We are competing in the event and, as a club, we are also organising the race weekend. It has been an excellent season for the team, with the win in the F2 Championship, but we are learning something new at every race.”

Spectators are welcome to attend all the weekend’s action at the Breakwater on Thursday and Friday and there will be plenty of attractions for families and children, in addition to catering stalls and trade stands. F4 and F1 H2O practice and F4 timed trials take place on Thursday morning and the first of the weekend’s two F4 races starts at 14:00, preceding BRM F1 qualifying at 15:30.

2017 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – Wednesday free practice times:

1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 43.75sec

2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 44.14sec

3. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Sweden 44.16sec

4. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 44.43sec

5. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 44.48sec

6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 44.51sec

7. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 44.55sec

8. Ahmed Al Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 44.66sec

9. Rashed Al Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 45.03sec

10. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 45.47sec

11. Thani Al Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 45.56sec

12. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 45.81sec

13. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing 45.88sec

14. Mike Szymura (DEU) Emirates Racing Team 46.26sec

15. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 46.32sec

16. Amaury Jousseaume (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 46.44sec

17. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 46.75sec

18. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 47.70sec

19. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Emirates Racing Team 48.17sec

20. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing 1min 06.95sec

Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze F1 Team DNS

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