Gov Games: Test of collaboration and mental strength awaits teams from 27 countries in Dubai

Fourth edition of the games being held at Dubai Design District from March 2-5 features physical and mental challenges to reinforce team spirit and cooperation, with international teams vying in new 'Battle of the Cities' category


Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Tue 28 Feb 2023, 5:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 28 Feb 2023, 6:06 PM

Around 48 hours ahead of the much-anticipated Gov Games, its director Marwan bin Essa has advised participants to work as a team.

“It’s much more than physical capabilities. It’s all about the mental aspect — being together and teamwork,” he explained to Khaleej Times, adding that in previous editions there were teams who were strong, physically, but did not qualify for the finals because they didn’t work as a team.

“Collaborating as a team is important. Talking to each other, being patient and trying to overcome the obstacles as a group, is essential. Also, there must be a leader in each group,” Bin Essa said.

Gov Games, now in its fourth edition, was launched in 2018 by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. It features a series of physical and mental challenges designed to reinforce team spirit and collaboration.

This year the competition will take place in Dubai Design District from March 2-5 and will witness the participation of 82 teams with all-male members and 27 teams with all- female members in the category of 'Government entities', 28 teams in the 'Communities' category and 27 international teams in the newly introduced 'Battle of the Cities' category. Three winning teams from each of the four categories will be announced.

The first prize is Dh500,000 while second-place winners receive Dh250,000 and the third-place winners get Dh150,000.

During a briefing ahead of the competition, Bin Essa showed the media around the seven-obstacle course which the teams will be tackling. “This year, all obstacles are difficult,” he told Khaleej Times. “Every year we have nine obstacles, this year we have seven, where teams will have to spend 10 minutes on each one. It will take a lot of their energy, but they will have to overcome the obstacles as a team.”

Here's a video of one of the obstacles, which will require coordinated teamwork to solve:

He added that four teams from each category will then qualify for the 'Battle of the Battles' final obstacle course before being crowned winners. “This is where the best teams will be. We have a couple of interesting things there that we don’t want to disclose now. We want people to focus on qualifying first, then they will have time to think of the final. Of course, we will have the famous human ladder,” he said.

There are 27 cities participating in the 'Battle of the Cities' category. These are Brisbane, Nairobi, London, Leeds, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Florence, Dublin, Lisbon, Sao Paolo, Bangkok, Al Rifaa, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Gdansk, Paris, Marseille, Barcelona, Nashville, Pilani, Tashkent, Ajman, Dubai, Kutna Hora, San Diego and Colorado.

Bin Essa urged residents to cheer for their cities and said Gov Games started in Dubai but has now reached the world. “The world is here in Dubai,” he said.

Here are the 7 obstacles of Gov Games 2023:

Free Fall: The team has to cross this challenge by lassoing the rope around the pin on the wall and then pulling the wall, causing it to fall over to create a bridge for the team to progress to the next wall. The Free Fall will test lassoing, problem-solving, and balancing skills.

Tornado: This obstacle course will push the teams’ limits and will test their ability to work together to navigate over, under, and through walls in a pool, balance on a spinning cylinder, and use bungees to pull themselves toward a buzzer.

The Fate: the obstacle includes rotating barrels, jumping high, and tilting right to take on a pool-crossing challenge! Teams must keep their balance, avoid the alarm, and seize the bonus buzzer for extra points.

Claustrophobia: From building a freestanding palm tree to hauling a heavy cart through a challenging track, and transporting teammates to the other side - this obstacle will test teamwork, strength, and endurance.

Bullseye: Teams will run the treadmill, hit targets with a ballista, and cross the pool using the released ropes in this ultimate test of skill and precision.

No mercy: teams will navigate a vertical Maze, swing on the Tic Toc Crossing and shimmy along the Circuit Board to reach the finish line. A bonus buzzer for extra points will also be there.

Hangman: Step, stretch, dive -- 3 challenges to conquer: cross the ravine, caterpillar across the beams, and surf to victory.


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