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Abu Dhabi: Part 3 | Why Emirate is such a winner for fans

This article was produced in association with Abu Dhabi Sports Council

Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a host of stellar events across a wide variety of sports has attracted a broad range of international federations and sports governing bodies in recent years.

It is testament to Abu Dhabi’s event-hosting credentials that those sports organisations that have staged a championship in the Emirate do not just stop at a one-off visit.

Countless event operators return year after year and, as a result, Abu Dhabi has become an established and unmissable date on the calendar for many sports.

Even in the weeks before the end of this year, there are several top sporting events scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi.

In October 2017, the IIHF Ice Hockey Team Girls Game takes place at the Zayed Sports City Ice Rink and the Judo Grand Slam Abu Dhabi, is held at IPIC Arena.

The judo will attract more than 350 athletes from about 30 countries, with the Emirate having hosted the annual Grand Slam since 2014.

From November, the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club will host the groundbreaking Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open as a result of a partnership between the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Ladies European Tour. A field of 126 top golfers will congregate at the picturesque oceanfront course, which was designed by golf legend Gary Player.

The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy will also welcome visitors from around the world to the 4th International Conference of Sports for Women at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre following the golf.

Then the eyes of the sporting world will be on the Emirate when the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit will have the honour of staging the final Grand Prix of the 2017 Formula 1 motor-racing championship campaign. Abu Dhabi has been a high-profile annual date on the F1 schedule since 2009.

Landmark date

After the Zayed Sports City Stadium brings together eight leading football clubs from around the world – including Spanish La Liga giant Real Madrid – for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 in December, the final sporting event of the year in Abu Dhabi will be a landmark date in the calendar for fans of sport in the Emirate, as well as tennis worldwide.

The 10th edition of the annual Mubadala World Tennis Championship at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City will be staged from December 28-30, marking the beginning of the new tennis season.

Previous winners of the championship include Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, with more than 125,000 spectators having watched the action since the inaugural edition of the event in 2009.

This year, defending champion Nadal will compete for the $250,000 prize against Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem and Pablo Carreno Busta, with more top players still to be announced. Additionally, the championship will allow spectators to get closer to the stars than anywhere else in the world, with player-coaching clinics, autograph sessions and question-and-answer sessions complementing the on-court action.

The new year will start with a bang at the stunning Abu Dhabi Golf Club with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship from January 18-21. The European Tour-sanctioned event was staged for the first time in 2006 and has become a regular fixture on the calendar for the sport’s leading figures, who are delighted to return to the Emirate at the start of every season.

As explained by Dustin Johnson, who holds the No.1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking: “I had never visited the Middle East… but I was so impressed with everything about Abu Dhabi. I am already looking forward to my next visit.”

Previous championship winners include Paul Casey, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler and, earlier this year, Tommy Fleetwood.

Whether the role is to kick-start a season in spectacular fashion, like with the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, or bring the curtain down on a campaign with a spellbinding grand finale, as is the case with the Formula 1 schedule, Abu Dhabi is renowned as one of the global sports capitals for major events which takes the sport to a wider audience.

As another example of such an occasion, on March 3-4, the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi event will herald the start of the 2018 International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series.

The thousands of spectators who lined the course earlier this year were treated to an epic sprint finish in the women’s race, with New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt emerging victorious, while Spain’s Javier Gomez claimed the win in the men’s race.

For the fourth consecutive year, Abu Dhabi will be at the centre of the triathlon world when it stages the first leg of the series, and with 3,500 amateur athletes competing in a mass-participation event alongside the elite race, the Emirate will once again show how it has the power to help sports to engage with the wider public through exemplary event-hosting capabilities.

Read more:

ABU DHABI: Part 1 | Open to the world
ABU DHABI: Part 2 | World class training facilities
ABU DHABI: Part 4 | A growing reputation in world sport

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