Dubai First, one of the leading consumer finance firms in the United Arab Emirates held a press conference earlier today, in association with the Dubai Sports Council and the Public Parks and Horticulture Department of Dubai Municipality, to officially launch the Emirati Endurance Pentathlon 2011.
Dubai First conceived this heritage-sporting event concept, on the occasion of the 40 years of the unity of the seven Emirates and as a tribute to the country’s founding fathers. Designed entirely based on the Emirati culture and heritage, the five stage endurance event proudly depicts the typical lifestyle of Emiratis across the seven emirates reminiscent of the pre-oil era.
This first of its kind pentathlon, will invite participation of seven teams of five members each, to promote a healthy sportsman spirit to commemorate the 40th National Day of the UAE. The five traditional sports are: An Emirati wooden boat race, pearl diving, palm tree climbing, archery and horse racing.
The family day will start at 11:00am, followed by the actual pentathlon at 2:00pm on Friday the 25th of November 2011, whereby Emirati hospitality will be extended to the UAE’s expatriate community through inviting participation at the pentathlon and family day activities.
The contestants will be dressed as typical early Emirati pearl divers. Once the contestants are given the ‘GO’ signal, each team will proceed to board their designated traditional wooden boats where they will paddle and race over a distance of 600 meters. The contestants will then stop at the designated checkpoint on the water where a member of each team will dive down to a depth of around 6 meters to fetch an item which would be placed there in advance, thus simulating the “pearl dive”, then surface back up to board his boat, where the team paddles back to shore. The next stage will be the palm tree climbing, where a member of each team will race up his respective tree, to fetch an item which would be placed there in advance, thus simulating the “date picking technique”, and rush back down. The contestants will then head onto the archery stage where they will shoot at standing targets using their respective bows and arrows, and will be judged based on modified rules of FITA archery requirements. The competition will conclude with a horse race of 250 meters.
Ibrahim Al Ansari, the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai First said, “It gives us immense pride to unveil this new concept for a sporting event. In our drive towards enforcing our corporate social responsibility initiatives, we sought to promote a healthy lifestyle through an event where we blend our rich heritage with sports and athletics. The Dubai First Emirati Endurance Pentathlon is envisaged to become an annual event, and will certainly grow beyond this inaugural edition.”
Dr. Ahmed Al-Sharif, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, confirmed that DSC's endorsement of the ‘Emirati Endurance Pentathlon’ is part of the council’s strategy to support all types of sports competitions and events with promising development that enhance the status of Dubai, which is already a world center for sports activities, and the UAE.”
Dr. Ahmed Al-Sharif continued by saying, “The Dubai Sports Council will be organizing and supporting various upcoming events in celebration of the UAE National Day, but affirms that what makes this event special are the Traditional Sports that we all hold great respect and admiration for”.
Mr. Ahmed AbdulKarim, Director of Public Parks and Horticulture Department said, “It gives us great pleasure to partner with Dubai First and the Dubai Sports Council to create this unique celebratory platform on the occasion of the 40th national Day. We are also grateful to have been chosen as the hosting venue considering the Creek Park’s strategic location and facilities available, and look forward to creating an unforgettable day”.
(L-R) Retired Emirati national football team star Ismail Rashid, Dubai Sports Council Representative, Ibrahim Al Ansari and Dubai Municipality representative.