The UAE is sending athletes to compete in eight sports at the 2012 Olympics. Holly Sands tried as many of them as she could – in one day. Here’s how she got on…
11am: weightlifting I set off bright and early to attempt the first task of the day: weightlifting (I’m not exactly easing myself in gently). Fortunately, when I meet Olympic lifting instructor Kim at The Burn Room in Al Quoz, he doesn’t throw me in at the deep end; instead, he runs me through the basic movements before giving me any weights. I’m surprised to discover it’s a bit of a struggle to coordinate my movements, and I only manage a handful of decent lifts. When he does eventually hand me a 5kg bar, it only confuses me further, and by the time more weights are added (it’s still less than 20kg), I’ve lost it completely. My shins are an unlikely casualty of the session (it seems the bar has to be dragged up them), and some interesting bruising develops as I leave. Dhs80 per session, Dhs600 for 15 sessions per month. The Burn Room, Intercoil Building, Al Quoz (04 380 6969).
1pm: football There’s little time to wallow, because the next sport on my Olympic list is football at Dubai Sports World with IFA general manager Steve Whittaker. He first teaches me how to stop and turn with the ball, before I learn how to do a Maradona pass. He’s an encouraging teacher, and my confidence is raised after my relatively abysmal weightlifting performance. But, once again, duty calls and I can’t linger to revel in the pleasure of actually being good at something. Dhs200 for a 60-minute one-on-one session. Various locations, www.ifasport.com (04 454 1683).
3.30pm: shooting I make my way back down Sheikh Zayed Road to brave my third sport of the day (and the heat) at Jebel Ali Shooting Club. On arrival, I’m handed an alarmingly heavy shotgun: I pop on my noise-reducing headphones, lean forward over the gun and brace myself for the recoil. BANG! My shot flies past the first clay disc. But by the end of the round I’ve managed to nail it, and once again feel the thrill of success. Dhs140 (members), Dhs220 (non-members) for clay shooting with 25 cartridges. Jebel Ali Shooting Club, www.jebelali-international.com (04 883 6555).
5pm: sailing I hit the road again for the final leg of the day, arriving at Jebel Ali Resort & Spa’s Club Joumana. We set off in a hobie cat, an ideal beginner vessel thanks to the fact it’s almost impossible to capsize (good news for my photographer and her expensive equipment). I’m handed responsibility for the tiller and am soon tacking (that’s turning, to you and I) without any major hitches, despite the low winds. Dhs200 per hour for hobie cat hire, Dhs520 for three-hour course. Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa (04 887 6771).
6.30pm: the verdict As the sun begins to drop and we leave the Jebel Ali beach, I feel pleased to have managed a decent job with at least three of my four sports. Of course, I’m disappointed to not have had a crack at all eight (blame time constraints and a couple of last-minute cancellations), but then there’s always Rio in 2016...
Try the other four… Athletics Get coaching in track and field sports at this weekly outdoor club. The only catch? Sessions don’t start again until September. Dubai American Academy, Barsha (050 225 7024).
Judo Work your way from beginner to expert with pro instructing. Dhs80 per session, Dhs500 per month. Contender MMA, near Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 346 9990).
Swimming Learn the basics or improve your technique with group or private coaching sessions. Dhs1,200 for ten private lessons. DIMC, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi (055 139 5861).
Wrestling Choose from freestyle or Greco-Roman wrestling. Dhs80 per session, Dhs500 per month. Contender MMA, near Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 346 9990).