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03 June 2023

Dubai is favourite sporting capital of world

By Allaam Ousman

Dubai is undoubtedly the sporting capital of the world and the favourite destination of international superstars thanks to astute leadership and vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Sports events, both local and international, are hosted throughout the year in Dubai making it one of the most exciting places to be in.

Not a day passes by without news of international sporting celebrities heading to Dubai or foreign clubs wishing to make use of the glorious facilities and pleasant climate in the sporting hub of the Middle East.

The Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are some of the older events apart from staging the richest horse race in the world - the $10 million Dubai World Cup - which is the highlight of the Dubai sporting calendar.

The transformation of Dubai into a major sporting capital did not happen overnight but through meticulous planning and vibrant leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, who marks 10 years since his ascension as Ruler of Dubai on January 4.

Just as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's love for horses knows no bounds winning many accolades in the international arena, his passion for sports in general is translated into Dubai becoming a healthy city.

Dubai which has been recognised as one of the best host cities to stage sporting events, is also a popular venue for international exhibitions and conferences.

In fact, the Dubai International Sports Conference which discussed challenges facing football marked its 10th anniversary by having Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi as guest of honour.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed surprised the audience by accompanying the Argentine captain during the opening ceremony of the conference much to the delight of football fans.

The Dubai Ruler has the panache for making his presence felt when it is least expected. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was received with thundering applause when he came to watch a cricket match at Dubai International Stadium in 2014 when it hosted the Indian Premier League.

However, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s interest in sports in not only confined to popular sports in the UAE such as football and cricket.

Through the Dubai Sports Council which is headed by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the city has raised the standard by giving five-star ratings to sports event since there are over 400 competitions being held annually.

The Dubai Tour (cycling) and Dubai World Superseries Finals (badminton) are some of the recent additions to a burgeoning sporting calendar of Dubai.

Indeed, sport accounts for approximately 0.8% of Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product.

Total gross expenditure related to sport in Dubai is $1.7bn, including direct and indirect spending from all sources, local and international, according to a  report by Deloitte commissioned by Falcon and Associates, working alongside Dubai Sports Council.

All these achievements are a testimony to the leadership given by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Among His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's numerous accomplishments during the past decade must surely be the iconic Meydan becoming the ultimate venue for horseracing, which has been the home of the Dubai World Cup since 2010.

This iconic landmark stands like a beacon on what makes Dubai sparkle thanks to visionary zeal of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.