The United Arab Emirates, particularly Abu Dhabi and Dubai, wants to be a global leader in all regards and as appealing as possible as a tourist destination. This has led to absurd levels of investment into state-of-the-art structures and facilities, which includes pumping money into one of the most valuable industries in the world; sports. The residents of the Arabian Peninsula aren’t as world-renowned for their participation in sports. Still, the UAE is changing this perception through their home favorites and by welcoming the world to play.
Sports of the Emirates
One of the UAE’s most beloved sports is also one of the nation’s most storied traditions. Falconry has been practiced across the Arabian Peninsula for centuries, with the taming and training of the birds of prey being an essential form of hunting across a land that was once very light on resources. Now that resources aren't a problem for the residents of the Emirates, falconry has transformed into a national sport.
Falconry is very much a recreational sport in Abu Dhabi these days, with the Emirates also establishing a unique hospital for falcons to uphold the peoples’ age-old relationship with the birds. Visiting the country, you can find several experiences and tours established which offer a desert-bound falconry adventure, showcasing the art of the once-necessary practice.
The nation also boasts historic ties to another animal-bound sport; horse racing. The Arabian horse is not only a staple of the region but is also present in the bloodlines of almost all modern riding horse breeds. Along with the Abu Dhabi Tourist Club, the sport stepped up another gear under Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who created the world-famous Dubai World Cup in 1996.
In 2010, Sheikh Mohammed transformed what was the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse into the sublime Meydan Racecourse, inducing a new age of modern, global appeal to the nation’s horse racing scene. Now people come from all over the world come to enjoy the most lavish horse racing event in the world. Along with the racecourse boasting a mile-long grandstand and five-star hotel, visitors can also engage in the most-associated activity with horse race viewing, betting. Arabian Betting features several highly-rated sites, all of which offer odds on the Dubai World Cup as well as all of the other meets from around the world. It is clear that horse racing is largely contributing to the UAE's goal of becoming world-renowned in sports.
Inviting the biggest names in sports
The UAE is filled with world-class sporting facilities, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many of the biggest sports promotions in the world have visited. However, these haven’t been mere off-cut events or exhibitions, some of the world’s most famous names have performed in the UAE, and many continue to do so to this day.
Most recently, the Indian Premier League has taken all of its teams and the whole league promotion to the UAE, with stadiums in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi hosting the richest competition in domestic cricket this year. This 13th edition of the IPL opened in Abu Dhabi on 19 September and won’t conclude until November with the highly-anticipated final. The 2020 cricket final is sure to be an exciting event for fans globally, and especially in such an opulent location as the United Arab Emirates.
In the world of mixed martial arts, the UFC is the premium product. To keep operations running through the summer, UFC president Dana White pursued the idea of staging a “Fight Island,” which ended up being Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Since coming to Yas Island, fight fans have witnessed several prestigious bouts take place, including Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal, Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant, and Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway.
The UAE and Abu Dhabi continue to stage their traditional sports, but welcoming the most prominent events from around the world has also become a common occurrence in the pursuit of world-renowned sporting excellence.