Dubai's Gov Games have become a global symbol, says Sheikh Hamdan

Teams from around the world are taking part in this year's event

Powered by automated translation

What was once an event to promote healthy living among public sector workers in Dubai has become a globally renowned competition, said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

The Gov Games was first launched in 2018 and has since expanded to allow entrants from not only UAE government departments but from all over the world, as well as members of the public.

Now there are 28 teams taking part in the Global City category, a clear indication of the event's worldwide appeal, the event's director Marwan bin Issa said.

“The Gov Games has become a symbol of global sporting values, including sportsmanship, teamwork and community," Sheikh Hamdan said in a statement issued by Dubai Media Office.

This is shown by the largest number of international teams participating in the Gov Games to date.

The games have prompted major lifestyle changes among the team members. We've all been inspired to lead healthier lifestyles.
Hamdah Al Rajaby, 28, Dubai Ambulance paramedic

“The Gov Games has evolved into a global platform where participants from across the world collaborate, exchange experiences and strive to improve their teamwork and leadership abilities," Sheikh Hamdan said.

"They confront tough challenges with a blend of strategic thinking and physical resilience, qualities that are essential for development in every aspect of life.”

With winners taking home prizes worth up to Dh500,000 ($126,030), the appeal is clear.

“The Gov Games was born out of a vision to inspire government employees towards greater physical health and teamwork,” Mr bin Issa told The National.

“The overwhelming response and requests from around the world have led us to include diverse categories, making it a global championship.”

Taking place at Dubai Festival City from February 29 to March 3, the games are billed as a test of strength, endurance and team spirit.

This year's event features 194 teams including 84 all-male and 26 all-female government team, 28 community teams, 28 global city teams, and 28 junior teams competing in four main categories: Battle of Government, Battle of the Cities, Battle of the Community and the newly launched Battle of the Juniors.

The competition's official website describes the event as a series of physical and mental challenges that bring together people from the UAE and beyond.

A tall order for some

An addition to this year's games is the Burj Challenge, where teams compete in a gruelling climb to the top of the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, which is 160 storeys high.

Participants have expressed their excitement about taking part in the games.

Hamdah Al Rajaby, 28, a paramedic with Dubai Ambulance, is marking her fifth year of participation in the games alongside six fellow paramedic team members.

“From my first time taking part it was obvious the games would be more challenging as the years went by,” she told The National. “So we've learnt to start really, really ahead of time when it comes to preparation.”

Unlike previous years when team members used to start training three or four months in advance, this time they began six months early.

Ms Al Rajaby highlighted the effects of the Gov Games on team dynamics and personal development.

“The games have prompted major lifestyle changes among the team members. We've all been inspired to lead healthier lifestyles and ensure that working out is an integral part of our daily routine,” she said.

“One of our team members lost about 20kg and built a lot of upper body strength, even excelling at the rope obstacles. I'm so proud of her.”

Yutong Duan, 30, a member of the Dubai Expo team, heard about the competition from friends and decided to take part for the first time.

“The Gov Games offer a unique platform to challenge oneself, showcase strengths and work cohesively as a team,” she said. “To be honest, it turned out to be more challenging than I expected.”

She has been training for the past two months along with her other team members at a gym in the emirate.

“Our target is to experience and learn, and maybe get better prepared for next year," she said.

Young challengers

Marwen Issaoui is the manager of a junior team that includes seven members aged 10 to 13 from Ahmed bin Rashid School in Dubai.

He will be taking part in the new Battle of the Juniors category.

“The team members have been undergoing training three to four times a week for the past two months,” he said.

Their focus has been on fitness, endurance speed, team work, resolving problems and leadership.

"Introducing the Battle of the Junior is a visionary step. It's crucial to instil the values of teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and a love for sports at a young age," he said.

This category not only engages youth in physical activities but also prepares them to be the leaders of tomorrow, he added.

Teams securing the first, second and third positions will receive cash prizes of Dh500,000, Dh250,000 and Dh150,000 respectively.

The top three in the Juniors Category will take home Dh70,000, Dh56,000 and Dh35,000.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 9:33 AM