How to get a real sports qualification

How and where to earn qualifications across four different sports arenas


September is the start of a new season in Dubai, and not just because of the new school year – it’s also when residents who fled the summer heat start returning. The mercury goes down and sporting centres such as Skydive Dubai reopen for the winter, and there’s no better time to get to grips with a new skill, ensuring you can walk away with a qualification for life. We take a look at a handful of the options open to Dubai’s most adventurous residents.

Get your open-water PADI certificate

Where? Al Boom, Atlantis The Palm or Le Méridien Al Aqah, Fujairah.
When? September (courses are available all year, but Al Boom is running a special offer this month).
How? The whole thing can be done in four days, with classroom and practical lessons. The cost includes all the materials you’ll need to complete the course (there’s a rather hefty book to read before you do anything, and a couple of DVDs to watch), and your PADI certification at the end. When you’ve completed the course, you’ll be licensed to dive to depths of 18 metres anywhere in the world (12 metres for those under the age of 15).
Who? Everyone aged ten and above, though terms and conditions apply.
How much? Dhs2,350 per person. Until September 30, buy your PADI course and your friend will get theirs half price.
Al Boom Diving, Aquaventure car park, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 342 2993).

Get your skydiving licence

Where? Skydive Dubai 2 – the centre’s desert campus.
When? Classes take place twice a week.
How? The first step on the path to getting your licence is taking the Accelerated Free Fall Course (AFF), following which you will work towards A (25 jumps), B (50 jumps), C (200 jumps) and D (500 jumps) licences. After completing the ground school part of your AFF, you’ll need to do your first jump within two weeks.
Who? Men and women over the age of 16, though anyone under the age of 18 will need to provide a letter of parental consent.
How much? From Dhs10,000 for AFF eight-jump package. See the website for a full list of rates.
Skydive Dubai 2 Desert Campus, (050 154 2992).

Become a qualified rugby referee

Where? Level 1 courses are held all over the UAE, organised by the UAE Rugby Association.
When? Courses are scheduled as soon as there are enough interested parties. Most commonly, they are arranged by schools or clubs through the UAERA.
How? Everyone starts by taking the level 1 course and joining the UAE Rugby Referees Society, from which point you will be appointed to assistant referee duties, as well as undertaking refereeing at school level and tournaments while being coached and assessed. Your progression to the level 2 course will depend on your development during level 1 – if you’re successful, you will be assigned more competitive games.
Who? Men and women aged over 16.
How much? The first course is Dhs300. After that, you’ll pay an annual membership to the Referee Society of Dhs300-350.
See for more info on the level 1 course or for local referee information.

Become a TRX Rip trainer

Where? Dubai’s Mefitpro sports facility in Al Quoz.
When? Every month.
How? An eight-hour course teaches the fundamentals of this latest technology from TRX – the Rip Trainer, which counts Sir Richard Branson among its celebrity fans. You will learn the science and benefits of the equipment, and how to use it for a total-body workout, which you can either incorporate into your clients’ training programmes if you’re already a qualified fitness instructor, or use to better your own health.
Who? Fitness and sports enthusiasts, or instructors looking for new skills.
How much? Dhs1,100 per person.
Mefitpro, Intercoil Building, Umm Suqeim Road, Al Quoz (04 432 3232).

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