– 25,000 attended DFC’s opening event, with Come and Try Fitness, Children’s Fun & Fitness, and Nutrition & Healthy Living Zones proving big hits
– Carnival’s main stage featured celebrity appearances and exciting line-up of fitness acts, while Global Mala event attracted huge crowds of yoga enthusiasts
The inaugural Dubai Fitness Challenge kicked off to resounding success with the Opening Weekend Carnival in Safa Park over the weekend. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council for Dubai Government and Dubai Sports Council inaugurated the event, kicking off a 30-day first-of-its-kind challenge that aims to transform Dubai into one of the most active cities in the world. The opening weekend’s celebrity appearances, fun-filled activities, team and individual sports, stage acts and variety of events kept participants of all ages energised, with former Manchester United player and England captain Rio Ferdinand leading the festivities and encouraging kids and adults to embrace an active lifestyle.
The Weekend Fitness Carnival offered the opportunity to try over 40 different sports and activities – making it easier than ever for participants of all ages and fitness levels to hit their fitness goals. Virgin Radio’s Kris Fade, Big Rossi and James Everton were on stage working the crowds, taking part in their own fitness challenges and giving out a host of sporting prizes to lucky participants.
One of the weekend highlights was the specatular Global Mala yoga event hosted by YogaFest Dubai and part of a worldwide effort to unite people through positivity, intention and mindfulness. The impressive event drew over 1,000 yoga enthusiasts, with five qualified instructors leading the two-hour yogathon, which involved 108 sun salutations of classical hatha yoga.
Highlights on the Main Stage included:
- Rio Ferdinand showcasing his custom training routine and joining in with the Football Freestylers show
- Rob ‘The Killer’ Edmond, star of UK TV show “The Biggest Loser”, making an appearance and getting the crowd to work up a sweat by bringing to life some of the training seen in the popular programme, including a boot camp session
- Inspiring Emirati CrossFit and Red Bull athlete Shaikha Al Qassimi demonstrating how she maintains her incredible fitness and competitiveness by demonstrating her special training regime
- An amazing showcase of dance routines by Sharmila Dance, best described as a wonderland of imagination, art and unique choreographies, with a vision to make dance more known and accessible in the Middle East
- A high-intensity Bollywood workout that energised the crowd as they moved to contemporaty Indian music
- An NRG Boxing session involving a mix of martial arts and high-energy music using cardio and plyometric training to help develop footwork skills, shadow boxing, core focus and hand-to-eye coordination
Rob ‘The Killer’ Edmond commented: “Dubai Fitness Challenge is a fantastic initiative because it gives people who have lost their way or have never been into fitness an opportunity to try lots of different activities in a great environment, all for free. Fitness doesn’t have to be hard, it doesn’t have to be a chore; it must be something you enjoy doing. And what better way than to attend a carnival like this to try new things and find what you like to find your way into fitness?”
Emirati Red Bull athlete Shaikha Al Qassimi said: “Dubai Fitness Challenge is a great initiative by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to get people moving and active. It also educates everyone on the importance of staying active, and that it should be a lifestyle rather than a short-term goal.”
Some of the sports at the Come and Try Fitness Zone included American football, basketball, boxing, cricket, golf, plyo box vertical jump, strength training, suspension training, touch rugby and volleyball. The Children’s Fun and Fitness Zone included bubble soccer, a climbing wall, trampolines, an inflatable assault course and Horse Hoppers, in addition to football skills, drills, training and games on mini pitches. Budding footballers, meanwhile, tackled a ball control parkour challenge and took part in penalty shootout competitions, dribbling slaloms and free-kicks.
Extreme and action sports specialists XDubai performed a signature stunt to mark the official opening of Dubai Fitness Challenge. Additionally, performers from La Perle, Dubai’s spectacular, state-of-the-art resident show, exhibited how they keep fit for their thrilling action-packed performances with a slack line demonstration.
HE Saeed Hareb, General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council, said: “The presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the launch of Dubai Fitness Challenge in Safa Park was a huge inspiration. It was great to see the huge turnout as well. However, is just the start. The goal, as His Highness stated, is to make Dubai the most active city in the world, and we at Dubai Sports Council are committed to achieving those lofty ideals and turning Dubai into a land of health, happiness and vitality.”
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said: “We are honoured to be the principal event partner of Dubai Fitness Challenge, launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for Dubai residents. The initiative is a public invitation to bring about a complete and comprehensive change in lifestyle to commit to a minimum of 30 minutes of daily physical activity for 30 days, making Dubai the most active city in the world. This supports the Dubai Plan 2021 to make the city a home for healthy and educated people. We strive to be an integral part of the success story of this world-class initiative by providing the necessary needs for participants throughout the month. We reaffirm our commitment to promote the event and deliver its important message to the largest number of UAE nationals and residents. I thank His Highness for launching this initiative that motivates positive competition and encourages all members of society to adopt a healthy lifestyle in an atmosphere full of fun and various interesting activities.”
HE Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, said: “Dubai Fitness Challenge aims to raise awareness of the importance of sport among people from all backgrounds and age groups. It also encourages people to make exercise a daily habit to enhance general health and wellbeing.”
His Excellency emphasised that Dubai Police is supporting the initiative by organising 54 diffferent sports activities. These activities are suited to individuals, groups and people of determination, in addition to police personnel, their families and anyone who wants to keep fit through sports. Dubai Police is encouraging all age groups to be part of Dubai Fitness Challenge, with all of its facilities available to anyone who wishes to engage with the initiative.
Dubai Fitness Challenge has been created to motivate Dubai’s citizens, residents and visitors to boost their physical activity and commit to 30 minutes of daily activity for 30 days. Running until 18 November, the Challenge encompasses all forms of activity – from beach cricket, cycling, football to paddle-boarding, team sports, walking and yoga and everything in between. All ages and fitness levels are encouraged to participate on their own or with friends, family and colleagues and enjoy new and exciting ways to improve their fitness levels. Participants can track their performance using the official Dubai Fitness Challenge app.
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