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
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
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
Motor Sports Federation (04 2827111
firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
email@example.com) holds their games and training
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
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
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
In a country where the sun always shines you can enjoy an
activity that is more typical of colder climates but bring a
Abu Dhabi Tourist Club (026723400)
has a large ice-skating rink with TV screens and
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
United Arab Emirates
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Fishing in UAE