Got an itch to be on a pitch? Or do you prefer supporting from the sidelines? Either way, it’s an exciting time to be in the UAE. With dozens of places here for a sports fan to explore and competitive sports following on the rise, you’d be crazy to miss out on the following:
1. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
One of the world’s most advanced race tracks, the Yas Marina Circuit is one destination no gearhead or sports enthusiast should miss. One of Abu Dhabi’s most iconic landmarks,
the state-of-the-art track is a favourite with both F1 drivers and fans. While the signature event is undoubtedly the spectacular Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that takes place in December, the track remains open throughout the year, and there is always something awesome happening there.
Race go-karts with family and friends at the Yas Kartzone, see new cars being tested at the Drag Racing Centre, take a top-notch racing driving course, and even hit the asphalt yourself in a Mercedes-AMGs, an Aston Martin GT4, Mercedes AMG Formula 1 safety car, Yas Radical SST, Formula Yas 3000, Toyota 86 Drift Car or a Chevrolet Camaro. Drooling yet?
2. ICC Global Cricket Academy
Based in the Dubai Sports City, the cricket academy is every cricket fan’s dream come true. It has two state-of-the-art ovals, each with ten turf pitches, outdoor turf and synthetic practice facilities, indoor practice facilities including Hawk Eye technology and a cricket-specific gymnasium. The Academy regularly hosts tournaments, such as the 2014 U-19 Cricket World Cup and the 2012 World T20 qualifier. It is also used as a training ground for several national teams. The academy also offers full-scale coaching by internationally qualified specialists, catering to every individual’s skill level.
3. The Sevens
Perhaps one of Dubai’s most famous sporting venues, the Sevens Stadium is best known for its rugby events, and is the home of the Dubai Exiles and the Dubai Hurricanes. But the Sevens serves almost every other sport with just as much enthusiasm. It also plays host to the city’s most established tennis schools, Dorell Tennis, and if you want to hire a court, it costs you between AED 60-80 per hour. And then there’s the Arsenal Soccer School, training the footballers of tomorrow one lobbed pass at a time. Adults can participate in the Dubai Amateur Football League. The Sevens also offers training and facilities for sports such as cricket, netball, Gaelic football and hurling.
4. Meydan Racecourse
A delight for purveyors of equestrian sports and fashionistas alike, the Meydan Racecourse hosts the exciting Dubai World Cup every year, as well as a full season of horse racing from November to March. There are also stable tours available, where you can get a behind-the-scenes look at how the horse elite are housed, riding lessons, even a golf course and several tennis courts. Meydan also includes a horse racing museum, gallery and a five-star hotel.
5. Extreme Sports
For those who dare, only extreme sports will do. Try bungee jumping or tandem jumping at Gravity Zone and experience the thrill of being thrown from a great height and the sensation of free falling. For those more aquatically-inclined, you could try scuba diving. The Atlantis offers you a certificate after a single day of training that allows you to dive with dolphins. Or maybe a spot of deep sea fishing may do you some good. Dubai has the vast openness of the Persian Gulf where you can catch exotic fishes such as Barracuda, Sultan Ibrahim, Bluefin tuna, Kingfish and Hamour.
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