Franky Spencer, third from right, and colleagues attempt a dry run of the stretcher course in Dubai. Competitors say the physical and charity elements are appealing. Sarah Dea /The National
Franky Spencer, third from right, and colleagues attempt a dry run of the stretcher course in Dubai. Competitors say the physical and charity elements are appealing. Sarah Dea /The National

Dubai military-style charity event to see nations pitted against each other

DUBAI // A military-inspired fundraising event next month will pit some of the UAE’s fittest, strongest and fastest people against each other – nation against nation.

It will be the first time a fitness competition in Dubai has pitted countries against each other and for former military physical training instructor Franky Spencer, Fit and Furious is a chance to invoke the competitive spirit in some of the country’s top athletes.

Mr Spencer is raising money for three special-needs centres in Dubai: Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, Manzil Centre and Al Noor Centre for Special Needs.

“These little centres are full of volunteers and are just small centres that don’t have funding to help them,” he said.

Twenty teams of six who qualify to compete will go up against each other in a military-inspired stretcher race, where each team carries a weighted stretcher the length of a football pitch before sprinting back with the empty stretcher to reload it with more weights.

In each leg of the race, the weight on the stretcher will increase from 20kg up to as much as 400kg. Each event will take five minutes but will require a mix of strength, speed and endurance.

The men-only event, to be held at the English College Dubai in Jumeirah 3, has the approval of Emirates Red Crescent.

Winners of the Dh10,000, Dh15,000 and Dh50,000 prizes will donate the money to the centres.

“These guys won’t care about giving the money away,” Mr Spencer said. “I don’t need to incentivise these guys with cash. There’s nothing better than a bit of competition, especially nation versus nation.”

He has had interest from 60 countries, he said.

Future events will be open to women but the inaugural event is for men.

Mounir Lazzez, 27, is a professional MMA fighter and hopes to lead a team in the event.

The Tunisian said: “I’m an athlete but I don’t always want to be fighting. I want to be part of something great for a great cause.”

Although the competition is different to his usual training, Mr Lazzez said it will still be a “very hard, physical test”.

Danish expatriate Tomas Kristianson, 40, works in security. He is on the lookout for other Danes to join his team.

“I’ve done many competitions here like Wadi Bih, Wadi Adventure Race and the Spartan Race and I love being active but this will be a challenge,” he said.

Mr Kristianson said the charity aspect is part of the appeal. “More events should be geared towards charity like this,” he said.

Qualifiers for the event on November 28 will take place the weekend before, November 20 and 21, at Fitness HQ on Umm Suqeim Road. For more information, go to Facebook and search for Fit and Furious.


Company name: 3S Money
Started: 2018
Based: London
Founders: Ivan Zhiznevsky, Eugene Dugaev and Andrei Dikouchine
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $5.6 million raised in total

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

if you go

The flights

Fly to Rome with Etihad ( or Emirates ( from Dh2,480 return including taxes. The flight takes six hours. Fly from Rome to Trapani with Ryanair ( from Dh420 return including taxes. The flight takes one hour 10 minutes.

The hotels

The author recommends the following hotels for this itinerary. In Trapani, Ai Lumi (; in Marsala, Viacolvento (; and in Marsala Del Vallo, the Meliaresort Dimore Storiche (

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If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

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  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
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  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000

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Chennai Ginghams: Hernan Crespo
Telugu Tigers: Deco
Kerala Cobras: Michel Salgado


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
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Chef Nobu's advice for eating sushi

“One mistake people always make is adding extra wasabi. There is no need for this, because it should already be there between the rice and the fish.
“When eating nigiri, you must dip the fish – not the rice – in soy sauce, otherwise the rice will collapse. Also, don’t use too much soy sauce or it will make you thirsty. For sushi rolls, dip a little of the rice-covered roll lightly in soy sauce and eat in one bite.
“Chopsticks are acceptable, but really, I recommend using your fingers for sushi. Do use chopsticks for sashimi, though.
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