Hundreds of public sector workers will be put through their paces to highlight the power of teamwork – as Gov Games return to Dubai this week.
Government staff will be swapping the office for obstacle courses for the second running of the four-day fitness initiative, launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai last year.
Organisers promise that this year's event – which will be held at Kite Beach in Dubai from Wednesday to Saturday – will be bigger, better and more diverse.
More than 160 teams will be vying for glory, with a Dh1 million top prize up for grabs.
There will be more women taking part in the competition, including a team jetting into the emirate from Saudi Arabia.
“It’s back, more challenging and more thrilling than last year,” said Marwan bin Issa, Gov Games director.
Mental and physical endurance will be put to the test, as competitors from various government departments in Dubai and beyond are grouped in teams of seven to tackle ten obstacles on the beach.
It will also be a race against the clock, with only ten minutes to complete each challenge.
“The first edition was very successful. This year we have a lot more departments participating this year,” said Mr bin Issa.
“We also have more women participating this year. A team of women from Saudi Arabia will be coming to participate for the first time. It’s competitive, it’s thrilling.”
In the inaugural event, in which Sheikh Hamdan was a participant, the obstacles pushed challengers far beyond their comfort zones – and this year will be no different.
“We raised the bar, but safety always comes first. We’re using a lot of water."
According to Mr bin Issa, working as a team is the key to success.
“It’s a mental challenge. You need to have the courage and the team spirit to do it. The team has to co-ordinate and work together. Last year we saw strong teams, but not enough team work. They lost or didn’t qualify, so my advice to them is to focus on the team work.”
On Tuesday, members of the media and other guests were invited to try out the obstacles.
“The obstacles as a team are fun, but I’m not going to say that they’re aren’t challenging, said Dubai Sport Council’s Abeer Al Khaja.
“It felt really great to do it in a team, as we cheered each other on. I think initiatives like the Gov Games, encouraging people to get into sports, are really great. It’s a great initiative to start that movement.”