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Burj Al Arab Hotel

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Burj Al Arab Hotel
Dubai, UAE


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Abu Dhabi, UAE


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Sharjah, UAE


Coral Suites Ajman
Ajman, UAE


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Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

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UAE Sport Facilities

As spectator or participant you can indulge any or all of your sporting passions in the UAE. Languid days by the pool or beach can be interspersed with a huge range of sporting activities, including adventurous exploration of mountain and desert. Sporting and recreational facilities are exceptional and major international sporting events are staged at various times of the year. Your travel agent or hotel can assist in purchasing tickets or planning an itinerary of activities. If you are feeling really fit, you can run in the Dubai Marathon!

Abu Dhabi Tourist Club (02 6723400), near Meridian Hotel Abu Dhabi has a popular12-lane bowling alley. Entrance fees are Dh7 for one game, Dh3 for shoe rental. Opening hours are 8 a.m. to 12 midnight.

Al Nasr Leisureland (04 3371234), near American Hospital, Al Karama, Dubai opens from 9 a.m. to 12 midnight. Booking is advised since this is a very popular venue. Entrance fees are Dh10, Dh7 per game and shoe rental is free.

Khalifa International Bowling Centre (02 4034650) is located near Ice Rink, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi. This impressive 40-lane facility is reputed to be one of the most modern bowling alleys in the world. Opening hours are 12 midday to 12 midnight Saturday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to midnight Thursday and 2 p.m. to midnight on Fridays. Costs are Dh7 for one game, shoe hire is Dh2.

Thunder Bowl (04 3431000), near Defence roundabout, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai opens from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Facilities include 20 computerized lanes, pool, snooker hall, Sega Park and three fast food restaurants.

Camel Racing
This may be your only opportunity to view a unique sport which is an integral part of the heritage of the UAE. Camel racing takes place during the winter season (Thursdays and Friday mornings, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., from October to March) at special tracks around the country. The atmosphere is electric, especially during public holidays when major races for considerable prize money are held. There is no admission fee.

Al Wathba Racetrack is about 45km east of Abu Dhabi. Al Ain Racetrack is situated approximately 25km from Al Ain on the Abu Dhabi road. Nad al-Sheba camel track, which has an impressive grandstand in the shape of a billowing bedouin tent, is located on the outskirts of Dubai city behind the Metropolitan Hotel. Sharjah, Ajman, Ra’s al-Khaimah and Fujairah also host camel racing but the camel racetrack, located between Falaj al-Mualla and Umm al-Qaiwain city, is one of the more simple and attractive of UAE racetracks.

Car Rallying

Car RallyingEmirates Motor Sports Federation (04 2827111 organizes a wide range of car rallying events in the UAE, including the Drakkar Noir 1000 Dunes Rally for 4WD (March) and the Champions Rally for saloons (February).

The Desert Challenge, part of the World Cup, is held in the first week in December.

Cricket has a growing following in the UAE. Top world teams compete in the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series at a purpose-built cricket stadium in Sharjah (06 5322991), while the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council (02 6459790) has a new stadium next to Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The Council organizes a range of matches and tournaments throughout the year, including the Abu Dhabi Duty Free Tournament.

Al Ain Cricket Association (050 6231590) grounds are located between the Hilton and Intercontinental hotels.

Darjeeling Cricket Club, Dubai (04 3331746) runs matches every Friday, a six-a-side Gulf tournament in March, and regular matches against visiting sides. The clubhouse is open from Tuesday to Sunday. A non-member match fee of Dh20 applies. The Club also hosts the Darjeeling Hockey Club.

Football fans need not be deprived of their favourite sport since soccer is also the most popular national sport in the UAE. There are stadiums galore, including Zayed Sports City, the biggest sports complex in the Middle East. Check in local newspapers for fixtures.

Abu Dhabi Strollers Football Club (050 6127957) provides expatriates in the UAE with the opportunity to play competitive football. Gaelic football enthusiasts can also assuage their withdrawal symptoms at the Dubai Exiles Rugby Club where the Gaelic Athletic Association (04 343 0116 holds their games and training sessions.

Horse Riding
Horse RidingAs you might expect from a country enamoured with all things equine, recreational riding is well catered for in the UAE.

Lessons suitable for all abilities are available and desert rides are popular for the more experienced. Most enthusiasts have their own equipment but you can usually purchase or hire a hat if necessary. Rates vary depending on your requirements.

The riding club at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club (02 455500) has 60 horses suitable for a wide range of abilities. Facilities include extensive stables and an air conditioned show jumping and riding arena. Show jumping events are staged on a regular basis.

Abu Dhabi Tourist Club (02 4455500)

Abu Dhabi Hunting & Equestrian Club (02 447545).

Ajman Equestrian Club, near city centre Ajman (06 7433123) gives lessons in show jumping and dressage. Desert trips for five riders or more are also available.

Hotel Intercontinental Al Ain has stables 13 horses for lessons and desert hacks.

Club Joumana, Jebel Ali Hotel Dubai has six horses and can provide lessons and hacks as well as desert rides.

Dubai Equestrian Centre (04 3361394) is located near the camel race track Nad al-Sheba The centre has 147 horses and extensive facilities, including floodlit arena, riding school arenas and dressage arenas.

Jebel Ali Equestrian Club, Jebel Ali Village (04 8845566) is an approved branch of the British Pony Club and offers lessons for children and adults. Hacking, dressage and jumping are also available. Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club, Al Dhaid Rd (06 5311155), situated about 17km from the centre of Sharjah on the Sharjah-Dhaid road, keeps 95 horses for riding. Facilities include a floodlit sand arena, a floodlit paddock, grass show jumping arena and hacking trails.

Umm al-Qaiwain Marine Club and Riding Centre (06 7666644), near Palm Beach Resort, Umm al-Qaiwain offers lessons for beginners and the more advanced in basic riding skills, jumping and dressage as well as hacks on the beach and in the desert.

In a country where the sun always shines you can enjoy an activity that is more typical of colder climates but bring a sweater!

Abu Dhabi Tourist Club (026723400) has a large ice-skating rink with TV screens and floodlights.

Abu Dhabi Ice Rink (02 4448458) at Zayed Sport City can also provide hours of fun. Located off Airport Road just past Continent supermarket (15 minutes from the corniche Clock Tower). Reasonably priced lessons for up to three at a time (or courses) can be booked with the in-house trainer. Ice hockey training and matches are on Saturday and Sunday. Great fun, but remember to take a sweater. In Al Ain you can skate at Hili Fun City & Ice Rink (03 784 5542

Dubai has two ice-rinks, Al Nasr Leisureland (04 3371234) and Hyatt Regency Galleria (04 2096550). Costs are in the region of Dh 5–25 for a session. The higher price range usually includes skate hire. Opening hours can vary according to season and activities so check before you go.

Powerboat Races
World championship powerboat races are staged each year in the UAE. The final round of the inshore Formula One is staged off Abu Dhabi Sharjah in November complementing offshore Class One races held off Dubai and Fujairah. The UAE’s own powerboat teams (Victory Teams) have had remarkable success on the world circuit over the years.

Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club at the Breakwater, Abu Dhabi (ADIMSC 02 6815566) and Dubai International Marine Sports Club at Mina Seyahi (DIMC 04 3994111) also organizes powerboat races throughout the year.

Rock Climbing
If you are a beginner or wish to improve your skills try the indoor climbing wall at Pharaohs Club, Pyramids, Oud al-Mehta, Dubai (04 3240000). Charges are Dh35 for one hour. Opening hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. If you are a competent climber and the excellent rock climbing routes in the UAE mountains beckon to you, staff at the Pharaohs Club may have information about informal groups who tackle the mountains on a regular basis.

RugbyAbu Dhabi Rugby Football Club (050 6621861) participates in both local and regional tournaments. Games are generally played on a grass pitch provided by the Mina Zayed Port Authority.

Al Ain Amblers Rugby Club (050 4492670) plays on grass pitches next to the Al Ain Intercontinental and Al Ain Oasis Barbarians Rugby Club (03 7825568) holds weekly touch rugby sessions that are open to everyone.

The Six Nations Rugby Tournament is held at the Irish Village, Dubai in April. World-class rugby sevens compete in the Dubai Rugby Sevens in November/December each year for the prestigious Emirates International Trophy. Friendly matches are also played on a regular basis with international teams. Check events magazines and newspapers for details or call Dubai Exiles Rugby Club (04 3331198), near Dubai Country Club.

Hotels and beach clubs (see the section on beach health, and sports clubs) throughout the UAE provide recreational sailing for short-term visitors, however if you have a deeper interest in the sport you could contact one of the local sailing clubs.

For a truly wonderful experience you can watch traditional sailing dhows, graceful craft from an earlier age when great wooden trading dhows plied the Indian Ocean, or traditional longboats powered by up to 100 oarsmen, race off the Abu Dhabi Corniche and other venues throughout the Emirates. These events usually coincide with one of the local festivals, especially National Day (2 December). Check the local newspapers for details.

Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC 02 6815566) organizes open regattas for modern sailing boats (catamarans, lasers) and windsurfers. Abu Dhabi Sailing Club (ADSC), which is part of The Club, Madinat Zayed (02 6731111), sails Kestrels, Lasers and Laser II. Races are held on Monday and Thursday afternoons. Temporary membership is available.

Abu Dhabi Catamaran Association (02 5547810) holds races on alternate Thursdays and every Friday throughout the year.

Races for toppers, lasers, catamarans, cruisers are also held every weekend at Jebel Ali Sailing Club, Mina Seyahi, Dubai (04 3995444). Situated close to Mina Seyahi harbour this club has an active programme of marine activities, including kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, snorkelling and diving, as well as many land-based activities such as hiking, archery, overnight camping and climbing.

Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (04 3941669) is a non-profit club, run by a committee of volunteers, where sailors of all abilities are welcome. It provides moorings, launching facilities, sail training as well as full catering and an active yachting and social calendar.

Dubai International Marine Club (04 3994111) is no longer a members’ club, but organizes local, national and international boat races and water sports events. Spectators are welcome.

UAQ Tourist Club (The Flamingo Beach Resort 06 7670000) is situated in the old part of town on the lagoon. This relaxed club offers great sailing in all types of boats, including catamarans, glass-bottom boats for viewing the coral reefs, and a dhow for sea trips. Waterskiing, windsurfing and jet skiing are also catered for.

Shooting / Archery
Shooting / ArcheryHatta Fort Hotel (04 8523211) has supervised clay pigeon ranges and archery facilities.

Jebel Ali Shooting Club (04 8836555) offers pistol, skeet and trap shooting, as well as simulated laser shooting. Ra’s al-Khaimah Shooting Club (07 2363622) will teach you to shoot with a variety of guns. It also has facilities for archery. Facilities at Umm al-Qaiwain Shooting Club (06 7681900) include air conditioned and soundproofed indoor ranges, outdoor ranges and a ‘big gun’ range.

Dubai Archery Group (04 2215839) is an informal association whose meetings take place in front of Dubai College.

Tennis courts are widely available at hotels and private clubs throughout the UAE. Many are floodlit to facilitate playing in the cool of the evening. Hire of courts for non-residents and non-members are in the region of Dh25–100. Again, the higher prices will apply at weekends.

The Dubai Tennis Open, the Dubai Duty Free sponsored ATP and WTA event which attracts top-seeded players, is usually held at the Aviation Club (04 2824122) in February each year.

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