The tradition of playing sports after prayers during Ramadan is as old as the UAE itself. It’s thought this originated from what locals call ‘the long nights of Ramadan’, and the Holy Month has evolved into a time to play team sports with family and friends until the small hours. That tradition has since formalised, and there are now dozens of Ramadan leagues across the UAE. Here’s our pick…
Duplays’ Iftar Games
Duplays is holding an Iftar Games night on August 27 at the Metropolitan Hotel – it’s partly about athleticism, but mostly about eating and socialising. A smorgasbord of Arabic food will be on offer, plus volleyball, dodgeball, flip cup (with isotonic drinks) and a fourth sport that’s yet to be confirmed – it’s rumoured to be something a bit different. The games will run from 8pm until 11pm and there will be about 32 teams of eight people, as well as spot prizes up for grabs. If you sign up, you’ll play a round of each sport. Don’t have seven mates? Don’t worry, neither do we – just email the guys at Duplays and they’ll find a team for you. To eat and play costs Dhs100, play only is Dhs50 and food only (that’ll be us, then) is Dhs60.
Ahdaaf late-night soccer tournament
The super-slick Ahdaaf sports club in Al Quoz is running a late-night tournament that will last between two and three weeks. Registration for the five-a-side tournament is Dhs3,000 per team, and you can enter a maximum of 10 players per team. There’s a limit of 20 teams, which will be divided into different pools to battle it out for the final rounds. But the coolest thing about this tournament is the fact that matches are held between 10.30pm and 12.30am every day – oh, and that there’s a cash prize. We’re not entirely sure how much yet, but this spot is known for pretty good prizes, so we think it will be worth staying up late. The last day to register for the tournament is August 12, so get your mates together now if you’re keen.
Fujairah multi-sports championships
In 2007, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, the Crown Prince of Fujairah, visited the Al Ahli club in Fujairah and decided it didn’t match up with his vision for sports in the emirate, so he created a Ramadan-oriented sports tournament called the Maktoum Championships. Running from August 13-27, the tournament will feature motocross, arm wrestling, a classic car show, skateboarding, soccer, volleyball, chess, tae kwon do and more. The big highlight will be the sand drag racing event, which will take place on Friday 20 at the tournament’s headquarters, the Fujairah Tennis Club.
Dubai Sports City T20 cricket cup
Fancy feeling like a cricket pro? Seeing your name on a giant electronic screen? Then this is for you – Dubai Sports City is holding its annual domestic T20 cup during Ramadan. The tournament is now in its 24th year and hosts a total of eight (mostly corporate) teams, although there’s still time to sign up. The event kicks off with a group stage, with the winners of both groups securing a place in the finals, meaning every team gets to play at least three games. There will be iftar and suhour meals provided – matches will be played at 8pm and 11pm every night and all families and cricket fans are welcome. The prize money isn’t too shabby either: the winning team gets Dhs10,000, second place gets Dhs7,000 and the best batsmen, bowler and fielder of the tournament will pick up Dhs1,000 each.
Call 04 425 1111
Dubai International Bowling Centre Ramadan league
Ever since watching The Big Lebowski on DVD, we’ve wanted to join a bowling league, and now here’s our chance. Al Qusais-based Dubai International Bowling Centre is holding a league from August 11 until September 8, and the prize money totals Dhs100,000. It’s not too late to sign up either – registrations will be accepted until September 7, because the first month is devoted to qualifying: the 32 people with the highest scores from nine games will go through to the final on September 8. Games are played between 7pm and 3am, and people from around the GCC and as far afield as Sweden are flying in to take part in the event. We’ve already put in an order for team bowling shirts with ‘Time Out Strikes Back’ emblazoned on the back.