DUBAI // How do you teach 10,000 people to swim in the desert? It sounds like the first line of a joke - but the Dubai Sports Council has the punchline. It plans to achieve the feat before the emirate hosts one of the world's premier swimming competitions, the World Short Course Swimming Championships, in December. The council has set aside Dh200,000 (US$54,500) to give schools and clubs cash incentives for each person registered in the learn-to-swim programme. They will receive Dh10,000 for every 500 people who enrol with the council to learn how to swim; Dh5,000 for every 200; and Dh2,000 for every 100.
Although mainly aimed at children, the programme is open to everyone. Most of the participants are expected to learn to swim at three swimming clubs in Dubai - Al Wasl, Al Nasr and Al Shabab. Ahmed Abulrahman, a member of the council's organising committee, said: "The purpose of this programme is to raise awareness about the importance of different sports activities. Our target is to get 10,000 people to have learnt swimming by the end of October."