Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: UAE the gold standard for sporting sector

Filed on September 7, 2021 | Last updated on September 7, 2021 at 12.04 am

By offering the pandemic-hit IPL a safe haven for the second straight year, the UAE has once again salvaged cricket’s richest tournament.

Cricket fans in the UAE are waiting with bated breath for the back-to-back mega-events in the Golden Jubilee Year of the country. The 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) will resume in less than two weeks in the UAE before the country hosts its first-ever World Cup on its soil. The IPL (September 19-October 15) and the ICC T20 World Cup (October 17-November 14) will reaffirm UAE’s position as one of the best sporting destinations in the world. By offering the pandemic-hit IPL a safe haven for the second straight year, the UAE has once again salvaged cricket’s richest tournament. And the T20 World Cup, which will start just a couple of days after the IPL final in Dubai on October 15, will be the pinnacle for the sport in the country that first hosted international cricket in 1984 at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

It’s not just cricket that has placed the UAE in the upper echelons of the sporting world. With the continued success of the UFC Fight Island events in Abu Dhabi, the UAE earned an admirer in Dane White.

So impressed was White with the world-class facilities in the Capital that the UFC president hailed Abu Dhabi as the Fight Capital of the world. The UAE’s state-of-the-art stadiums and its tough anti-virus measures have made it a safe destination to stage premier international events since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last week, the Dubai Desert Classic, the premier golf tournament that counts Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy among its past winners, was elevated to the Rolex Series, the European Tour’s premium category of events. The European Tour will now see back-to-back Rolex Series events in Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Golf Championship) and Dubai (Dubai Desert Classic).

Of course, the UAE’s continued growth as a world-class sporting destination would not have been possible without the strong support and vision from its leadership. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, recently announced that the contribution of the sports sector to Dubai’s economy has exceeded Dh4 billion annually. The UAE’s prime location has also become a great attraction for international athletes as many of them had trained in Dubai ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. One such athlete was Viktor Axelsen, the Danish badminton star, who had trained at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex in Dubai for two years with the sole aim of winning an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo. Having accomplished his mission, Axelsen was back in the city last month to offer his gratitude. “I am really thankful and very happy to be here again,” he said. “My experience of training here has been amazing.” The Olympic champion’s comment proves why the UAE is the gold standard for the sporting sector.

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