Can’t get enough of the games? We continue our roundup of Olympic favourites and where you can get involved in Dubai…
‘We’ve just launched what we call “pick-up nights” on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7pm where anyone over 16 can come along and play for Dhs3,’ explains Basketball Academy of Dubai’s Mark Roberts. ‘It’s indoor and air-conditioned and I think people are just excited that there’s now somewhere they can play organised games.’ And Mark’s insider tip on the Olympic results? ‘I’d love to see Australia win the basketball, because that’s where I’m from – but that will never happen. It’s more likely to be America or the Czech Republic’.
Call 050 457 1706.
‘Obviously I hope the Germans will win’ says Wolfi, Dubai’s most famous spokesperson for all things on pedal power. ‘Stefan Schumacher performed excellently in the Tour De France, so he might be the favourite for the 245km road racing event. Still, British rider Mark Cavendish is a very strong sprinter and if it comes down to a finish like that, I think he might take it.’ Wolfi runs evening group rides around Nad Al Sheba on Tuesdays and Sundays, but if you’re feeling confident (and can bear the brunt of a racing saddle for this long) there’s always the 75km, 100km, or 120km round tours on a Friday morning.
Call 04 339 4453.
‘In the women’s event watch for Argentina. If Luciana Aymar aka ‘La Maga’ (the magician) is in top form we are in for a treat,’ says Babu, Dubai Hocky Club’s chairman. ‘For men it’s Australia, Netherlands or Germany. During summer, the Dubai Hockey Club cuts down to two sessions a week in place of the normal three. Wednesday nights are open to everyone.’ 7.45pm at Kings School Umm Suqeim.
Dubai Surfski and Kayaking Club meet regularly throughout the week and you can quite often find kayakers training early morning on Kite Beach in Umm Suqeium every day of the week. Asked about his predictions at Beijing, Club Captain Pete O’ Higgins reckons that as much as he would like to see fellow Aussie Ken Wallace take away gold, there’s every chance of Canadian favourite Adam van Koeverden paddling to the top this year. DSKC meet every Friday for a paddle and offer squad training on Monday and Tuesday mornings.
This five-sport event brings together all the skills that a 19th century cavalier should know: fencing, shooting, horseriding, swimming and running. Talking to Maria Kouzeva, a Russian former pentathlete who now co-runs the Dubai Fencing Club, the scope for training people in the pentathlon is there, but difficult. ‘The different activities are all spread out over the city now, so it’s hard to organise and very expensive. Still, we would consider training people in the different disciplines.’ Maria cites Russia as a hot bid for this year, but notes that at last year’s World Cup the Italians were very good. ‘Hungarians and the French too. But I still think the Germans are probably the strongest team.’ Get in touch with Maria to start with one of the disciplines, fencing.
Call 04 366 8888.
‘Last year we trained an Emirati to row,’ confides Tim Park of the Mina Seyahi Rowing Club. ‘He then went to Shanghai to compete in the pre-Olympic Regatta. Unfortunately he didn’t qualify, but we are currently looking for sponsorship and coaching so we can get teams into the 2012 Olympics.’ But don’t let that ambition scare you, they’re still looking for newcomers. ‘We’re definitely offering beginner lessons as soon as it gets a little cooler – probably by mid-September.’ And as for his Olympic predictions? ‘I think New Zealander Mahe Drysdale will beat Alan Campbell due to the Brit’s knee injury, but the British women’s quad and men’s cox will probably take home gold.’
Call Tim on 050 785 9135.
‘There’s a very promising British guy on the Laser boats called Paul Goodison,’ explains Mike Smith from Mina Seyahi Sailing Club when asked about his favourites at this year’s Games. ‘And of course all of us at the club will be watching UAE hopeful Adel Khalid.’ According to Mike, the Mina Seyahi Sailing Club are on the hunt for new members and curious crew. ‘We offer 12-hour group sailing courses for six people for Dhs980. By the end of it you will be able to steer your own craft.’
Call 04 318 1804 or visit www.minaseyahidubai.com to sign up.
Rapidly garnering a huge local following, triathlon is a stiff endurance test comprising excellence in swimming, running and cycling. Julie Hall of Dubai Tri Club has spotted Emma Snowsill, an Aussie, and 18-year old Brit Hollie Avil as favourites. She also tells us to look out for British triathlete Tim Don, who picked up the world championship title in 2006. ‘But you never can rule out the Aussies, Kiwis and Germans’ says Julie. The Tri Club offer coaching in the various disciplines in locations around Dubai.
Call Julie on 050 774 6581.
‘In volleyball, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Italy, Brazil or the Ukraine wearing medals’ says Mark Roberts from the Basketball Academy of Dubai, which also holds volleyball coaching and games on Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s Dhs20 to take part and the academy regularly runs six weekly leagues.
Call 050 457 1706.
There’ll be more info on where to take part in Olympics sports next week