There are an abundance of different disciplines for the sports-mad folk of Dubai to chance their arm at within this great city.
Although mainstream sports often take the fore, more “niche” ones can also count on avid followers, who nurture the development of the game here.
Water polo falls into the latter category, but thanks to the Dubai Camels WPC, this all-action sport is finally receiving the exposure it deserves. The club, based at Hamdan Sports Complex, is gearing up to host the Dubai Water Polo Tournament (DWPT) from Thursday October 6 to Saturday 8 and is looking for teams from the GCC and beyond to sign up.
Camels president and head coach Peter Burger believes such competitions are integral to the future of the sport here.
“We realised there was a big need for events in the region where water polo fans can come together,” he tells Time Out. “There are many enthusiastic teams in the Middle East that want to meet and play against each other and this is the largest amateur water polo event in the region.”
In May, the Camels hosted their very first tournament, which attracted teams from Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, with four-time Olympian Kiriakos Giannopoulos as the guest referee. And word has spread quickly, with interest in October’s event coming from clubs as far afield as Bolivia, Sweden, Algeria, Afghanistan and Puerto Rico.
As a club, the Camels are very much a global family, with 30 nationalities among its male and female players who are aged from 15 to 60. Among their number are a sprinkling of former internationals, who are watching the Olympic water polo clashes with great interest.
Burger believes the Rio Games could have a great impact on membership take-up, and indeed the DWPT, with coverage of the fast-paced sport drumming up interest. “My teammates were joking recently that if we manage to grow this event, it will become the new Water Polo Olympics,” he laughs. “The Olympics is great for teasing each other’s home nations a bit, but we need the local events to keep up the motivation and allow everyone to enjoy the game at a personal level.”
So what are you waiting for? Sign your team up now.
Dhs2,000 registration fee. Register before Wednesday August 31. Visit www.waterpolo.ae for more information.Dubai Camels Water Polo Club