Dubai City Information Site

Sports in Dubai




Hi Sunil here to discuss Sports in Dubai

The Dubai sports scene has transformed dramatically since the early 1990s and has well established itself on the global sports landscape.

Dubai’s traditional sporting events prior to the 90s were mainly Football, Horse-racing and Camel-racing. Camel-racing?

You better believe it! Since then however, sports in Dubai have taken off rapidly.

The immigration of foreigners has diversified the tastes people have in sports. In response, Dubai launched a multi-billion dollar construction project to bring all major sports known around the world in one central spot.

This spot is called the Dubai Sports City and it is scheduled to complete post 2009. I had a chance to see the partially completed sports city on my trip to Dubai in 2007.

It’s unimaginable what they are doing there. All the major sports in Dubai will be held there in the future.

Prior to the recent diversification in their taste, Dubai locals mainly participated in horse racing. Horse racing in Dubai is a big deal and pretty much all the wealthy Nationals partake in it in some form. Dubai horse racing is still highly regarded and sought after despite the increased attention to other sports in Dubai.

Sports in Dubai have become a big priority for the Government. The Government has built all kinds of sports clubs for kids. Football has become the national game of the country and modern clubs have been built recently introducing the Western sports in conjunction with Football.

The Dubai Government wants to give the locals a chance to diversify their sporting preferences so that they can enjoy sports overseas as well, especially in the West. So you won’t have any trouble finding places to play basketball, tennis, golf and ice hockey in Dubai. You will also find many pool halls (billiards) and bowling alleys.

And of course, with India and Pakistan just spitting distance away, who can forget cricket grounds! I am glad I recently picked up cricket (not as easy as you may think for someone like me who played four years of high school baseball. I never find any shortages of people to play cricket with or places to play the sport)

Dubai Tennis

Dubai Tennis is quite popular both with locals and tourists. Tennis by nature is an international game.

If you are a tennis fan you know what I am talking about. Every major tennis tournament features players from all countries and backgrounds.

In fact, it is very rare for the winner of back to back tennis tournaments to be from the same country. Dubai has always embraced tennis and has recently stepped in front of the limelight.

The Dubai Tennis Championship event is an annual tennis tournament held in Dubai.

Read more about Dubai Tennis here.

Dubai Golf

Similar to Tennis, Dubai has also stepped up in the world of Golf. With its perfect Geographical location in a warm desert spot, Dubai has constructed some of the best golf courses man has ever seen.

I was simply amazed to see the courses when I went for a visit in 2007. Typically I enjoy Golf in Atlanta and Las Vegas. But my 2007 trip to Dubai gave me a completely different perspective on Golfing grounds. When I was there, I was told that Tiger Woods is in the process of designing a Golf course in Dubai.

The Dubai Desert Classic is an annual PGA (professional) Golf tournament which is held in Dubai early every year. The event attracts some of the biggest names in the world of golf!

Read more about Dubai Golf here.

Football in Dubai

Football is the most popular sport in Dubai. It is promoted by the Government through local Football clubs and is heavily played in Dubai schools and colleges as well. Kish’s brother in law was the captain of his high school Football team and had the luxury of having his name announced in weekly morning PA announcements There are also many tournaments all year long (both local and national) that make the sport attractive for youngsters.

The UAE Football Association (FA) established in 1971 sponsors over 20 Football clubs with over 100 players each. UAE FA is an active member of the FIFA.

You can find more information on Football in Dubai through the UAE Football Association (Wait until the flash intro finishes and then make sure you change the language to English on the top left hand side of the site)

Camel Racing in Dubai

Camel racing in Dubai has also been around for a while. It started as a traditional event during wedding and ceremonies that turned into a sporting hobby. It is one of the traditional sports of Dubai and UAE as a whole. With the popularization of newer and Western sports, you would expect that the old camel-racing would have slowed down a bit right? Not quite. In fact it has gained more exposure. The Government has built customized racing tracks today to promote Camel-racing even further.

Camel races are common in the winter months. It has to do with the condition of the Camels. Similar to Football, Camel racing has grown popular enough to get its own governing entity.

The Camel Racing Federation (CRF) was formed to guide and regulate Camel-racing events and is charged with promoting the event overseas. Which country would entertain Camel racing? You’d be surprised. Australia, among few others have gladly welcomed Camel-racing. It is not uncommon to find occasional Camel-racing events in those countries.

Dubai Horse Racing

Horse racing in Dubai is extremely loved and popular. There are many kinds of equestrian (Horse-riding) sports that are very popular in Dubai.

The pure-bread Arabian horse has been the long standing pride of UAE and that still holds true today. Just ask Sheikh Mohammed; he absolutely loves Horse breeding and riding.

The UAE has been a member of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) since 1985. In 1992, the UAE established its own Equestrian and Racing Federation. The Federation is charged to promote and regulate horse-racing sports in Dubai and the UAE as a whole.

Professional Horse racing did not start until then early 1990s. Since then the sport has grown tremendously and has established many racing track; one of which hosts the world’s richest Horse race, the Dubai World Cup.

Read more about Horse racing in Dubai here.

Other Sports in Dubai

So you’re thinking it’s great that I have covered the big boy sports in Dubai scene. But what about the recreational stuff? What if you want to just head out for an evening on the beach? Or a pick up game with buddies?

No worries, you can certainly do whatever you want! In fact there is so much to do in Dubai that you will run out of time and feel like you haven’t even scratched the surface.

Here are some of the activities you will find in abundance in Dubai: Ski Dubai (more Dubai ski spots to come), fishing in Dubai, water parks, diving, snorkeling, cruising, hot air balloon, parasailing, bungee jumping, sky diving, flying, dirt biking, off roading, dune bashing, paragliding, water skiing, wind surfing, mini golfing (“put put”), trails, bike riding, shooting, archery, polo, mountain climbing and many more!


So yeah don’t worry about not being able to play or partake in your choice of sports in Dubai. Dubai has everything the rest of the world has to offer, if not more. Everything is bigger and better in Dubai – that seems like the City’s mantra.

Don’t be surprised to see the Olympic events held in Dubai in the near future. I heard a buzz about sometime in 2016 but the last timer I checked I don’t think Dubai filed an application to host the games.

Sooner or later it will be though. The Dubai Sports City is too good of a sporting heaven to not hold the Global Games there. You can be definitely assured of one thing though; there is going to be pretty much every facility to play and partake in any sports event you can think of.



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