Workplace rivalry spills out into athletic arenas in Dubai
Dubai Corporate Games 2013
When? Friday March 8-Saturday 9. Now in its eighth year, the Dubai Corporate Games have been held since 2006. Open to all companies, big and small, participants in the 37 different competitions span a wide range of industries. ‘Typically we have a lot of multinationals and local groups, and some smaller companies too,’ explains organiser Bahi Rifai of High Five Events. Past entrants have included General Electric, HP, Unilever, Pepsi, Nestlé, TECOM, Flydubai, Mars, L’Oréal, Time Out’s own ITP Publishing and more – many of whom return to compete year after year.
Bahi believes the event has helped to establish a corporate sports scene in the city. ‘A lot of the teams now train for most of the year, and companies keep coming back to the games. Some serious but healthy rivalries have developed between companies, especially within the same industry.’ The most popular categories are football, basketball, cricket, tennis, table tennis and dragon boat racing. While registration for the event is now closed, the weekend offers two full days out for spectators, with activities, food stalls, competitions, music and entertainment to keep the crowds occupied. Free. Fri 8am-10pm, Sat 8.30am-7.30pm. American University of Dubai, Media City, www.highfiveevents.net (04 369 2517).
Hercules Trophy UAE
When? Friday March 22. More than 100 corporate teams will take part in this networking and team-building sports challenge, including Bayt, Atlantis, Yas Waterworld, Gulf Finance and Acuma Wealth Management. It’s the third year the event will be held in Dubai: the original Hercules Trophy was established 13 years ago in Belgium, with more than 40 countries represented by 600 companies and 36,000 employees taking part over the years.
The 12 competitions are unique in that they aren’t classic sports, but challenges ‘with a twist’. ‘The focus is on fun, and there are special awards including Coolest Team, Fairplay Team, Kindest Team and Smartest Team,’ explains Inge Van Belle, co-founder of the tournament. ‘It’s a friendly competition that allows people to talk and open up, leaving everyone who participates with relationships they may not have had before.’
That said, it’s not without some healthy competition. ‘The best punch-ups are between companies that are competitors in the business, especially when there are ex-colleagues involved who now work for their competitor,’ she explains. Participants are encouraged to bring family and partners to the event, and there will be activities to keep the kids busy. Free for spectators, Dhs12,000 per team of seven. Enter by March 11. From 7am. Dubai Festival City, www.herculestrophy.com.
UAE Corporate Rugby Sevens
When? Saturday March 16. In another slightly different take on the corporate tournament, this competition focuses on just one sport, and returns for the second year since being established in 2012. The list of entrants includes Copart, Clyde & Co, Zurich, Emrill, Natixis, Power 2 Excel and Barasti, and each team is comprised of players with a degree of experience in the full-contact sport.
Asked whether spectators can expect any punch-ups, organiser Jane Sabugueiro says, ‘This is rugby, not football’. That said, rivalries do make themselves known. ‘Although it’s an amateur event, once players take to the field, all friendships and pleasantries are history. The passion to win and take home the silverware is evident.’ Taking place at the Jebel Ali Centre for Excellence, more than 2,000 spectators are expected to attend, and there will be entertainment, an arts and crafts fair, lucky draws and plenty of food and drinks. Free for spectators. From noon. Jebel Ali Centre for Excellence, www.uaecorporaterugby7s.com.
More upcoming corporate leagues
Beach volleyball When? March 17-April 7. Who? Men and women. How much? Dhs2,000 per team. Time? Sun 7.45pm-9.45pm. Where? Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina.
Basketball When? March 19-April 9. Who? Men only. How much? Dhs2,450 per team. Time? Tue 7.30pm-10.30pm. Where? Gems World Academy, Al Barsha.
Corporate Beach Games When? Saturday April 6. Who? Men and women. How much? Dhs1,600 per team. Time? 9am-2pm. Where? Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina. www.duplays.com (04 447 2394).