Sheikh Hamdan launches Dubai Government's first staff 'Gov Games'

Initiative designed to test mental and physical dexterity of Government staff as they compete for Dh1 million prize money

Dubai, March 04, 2018: (L) Mattar Al Tayer and (R) Abdulla Al Basti gestures during the press conference to announce the GOV Games in Dubai. Satish Kumar for the National/ Story by Caline Malek
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Dubai Government staff are about to be put through their paces as Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed on Sunday unveiled the first ever Gov Games, which will be held in April.

Set in motion by the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, who in October launched the Dubai Fitness Challenge, the event will see teams of Government workers pitted against each other in a bid to be Gov Games champions.

The competition, which is to be held April 25-28 on Kite Beach in Dubai, will be open to the public to watch as the mental and physical prowess of Government employees are put to the test through a series of inventive tasks, including an obstacle course.

The first day of the event will be dedicated to women, the second to men and the third for finals. Taking part will be Dubai Government departments, and invitations have also been extended to governments in other emirates as well as the UAE Federal Government.

And it’s not all just fun and games – the winning teams from each gender will be rewarded with Dh1 million of prize money.

“We are combining mental agility with fitness and team work,” said Marwan bin Essa, director of the Gov Games. “If [your team] are missing one, you won’t make it.

“It’s about getting government employees fit, but being physically strong alone isn’t going to be enough to succeed here – the games we designed require all three attributes to solve the tasks.

The theme of this year’s games is ‘one team, one soul’ in honour of the teamwork required to get to the finals.

The aim is for all participants to strengthen their collaboration skills and team spirit through the competition, which will stretch their minds and bodies.

The initiative also seeks to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

Col Jassim Mirza, head of the security awareness department at Dubai Police, who will be taking part in the games, said: “[We] want to create awareness and realisation that sport is important and for everyone. Individuals should not only watch sport, but must also get involved.

He said that sport has a unique power to unite people and that the “force encourages the public to work out and lead a healthy lifestyle.”

“Along with combating obesity, sport helps in preventing heart diseases and other types of illness.

Abdulla Al Basti, secretary general of the Executive Council of Dubai, said: “There is a lot of research into team spirit and happiness in employees and we believe working, building and enhancing the team spirit between the Dubai Government will help this.”


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From record-breaking mass exercises to police officers in Dubai setting a new Guinness World Record for pulling an Emirates A380 jet over 100 metres, last year’s Dubai Fitness Challenge was considered a big success.

The initiative, which sought to get people in the emirate to exercise for 30 minutes every day for 30 days, spanned across government and private sectors in an array of fitness activities for all age groups and levels.

With 786,000 participants in the month-long efforts, which saw footballer Rio Ferdinand and heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua take part, Dubai authorities are seeking to capitalise on this renewed interest in healthy living.

An orientation is expected to take place at the end of the month explaining the obstacles to those registered to take part. A panel of judges will oversee the competition and teams will be assessed and awarded points based on their ability to work together in navigating the set obstacles within the allotted times.

The wining team is the one that works best together and completes the final task in the shortest time.
The initiative is a collaboration between the General Secretariat of the Executive Council Dubai, Dubai Sports Council and Meraas Holding.

Additional reporting from Nawal Al Ramahi