KT Exclusive: Virtual world will be the way going forward, says Hareb

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OUT OF THE BOX: Saeed Hareb, Secretary General Dubai Sports Council, with boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. Hareb says the global coronavirus pandemic has made them 'think out of the box'. - KT file
OUT OF THE BOX: Saeed Hareb, Secretary General Dubai Sports Council, with boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. Hareb says the global coronavirus pandemic has made them 'think out of the box'. - KT file

Dubai - In an exclusive interview with the Khaleej Times, the Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council talks of these unprecedented times of the global coronavirus pandemic and thanks the UAE leadership for inspiring them to think out of the box

By James Jose

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Published: Thu 30 Apr 2020, 10:02 PM

Last updated: Fri 1 May 2020, 2:11 PM

 

Saeed Hareb, the Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council (DSC), has said that these unprecedented times of the global coronavirus pandemic has made them 'think out of the box' and felt that embracing the virtual world will be the way going forward.
In an exclusive interview with the Khaleej Times, Hareb was also chuffed by the response of residents in Dubai and the UAE as well as from around the region and the world, to their community initiatives like the Be Fit, Be Safe campaign, Marathon at Home and the cycling Virtual Tour Challenge.
"These are unprecedented times, the likes that none of us have seen in our lives before," Hareb said on Thursday.
"But the response of our leadership to the crisis has galvanised the whole nation and inspired us all into finding solutions in our own spheres. So the DSC, together as a team, along with our partners and stakeholders, got together to develop our response to the crisis, and we are thankful to the community for embracing the solutions we came up with," he added.
Hareb, who is very conscious of his fitness and has been cycling at home, apart from walking indoors and sessions of yoga.
Hareb also said that the fluid situation also made the governing body adapt.
"We had to make sure that people stay home and respect the precautionary measures imposed by the authorities for our own safety. At the same time, we wanted to keep them motivated to stay fit and healthy. Hence, we came up with the 'Stay Fit, Stay Safe' campaign and we are thankful to all the football and sports stars from around the world who supported this initiative by sharing videos with positive messages for our community in Dubai and UAE," he said.
"So, we had to think out of the box, come up with solutions that did not involve outdoors or traditional workout routines, and that did not necessarily require the facilities and equipment available at gyms. So the home workouts we promoted through our social media channels did not involve any gym training equipment, but were innovative and fun. The Council also linked up with some of the leading brands from UAE's fitness industry to offer free daily virtual fitness classes, led by certified fitness trainers. We also had hundreds of enthusiastic members of our community - mums, dads and children - share their innovative home workout videos," explained Hareb.
Hareb again thanked the Leadership for inspiring them.
"We are blessed to have a Leadership that has always inspired and encouraged us to be creative and innovative, and that really helped us in this situation, allowing us to come up with events that had never been organised anywhere in the world before - like the Marathon at Home, and the cycling Virtual Tour Challenge," he said.
The DSC chief also strongly felt that the virus has changed not just the world but also sport as we know it.
"The participation of people from inside and outside the UAE shows the reputation that brand Dubai enjoys around the globe. It also shows us that there is a clear interest and market for virtual events and that is why DSC has launched a special segment for registering virtual events to support and facilitate sports event organisers in the Emirate and encourage them to innovate and embrace the virtual world of sports and esports," said Hareb.
"As the experts are saying, Covid-19 will change the world as we know it, and we will see those changes in the world of sports as well," he signed off.
 

Hareb walks the talk

As he said, these are unprecedented times and DSC head Saeed Hareb too, like everyone else has been staying home and staying safe. Yet, he is also indulging in exercise to keep himself fit.
"I have been in the same situation as everyone else, experiencing the same emotions. When we are used to a certain lifestyle and then things change in the manner they have in this situation, there will be challenges at both the individual and community level," said Hareb.
"Fortunately for us in the UAE, it has brought the best out of us as a community and we have come together as a family to stop the rampaging march of the virus, helping and supporting each other as we stand firm against it.
"On the fitness side, I have been trying to remain active using my trusty bicycle. There have been the usual walks, indoors of course, and there have been a few sessions of yoga as well. I have also found many of the exercise tips offered by experts on our social media channels pretty useful in keeping my fitness regime going," he added. - James Jose
james@khaleejtimes.com



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