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Dubai's top sporting events

Tue, May 23, 2023

Dubai plays host to some fantastic sporting events every year, including some of the world’s biggest competitions – here’s our rundown.

Dubai plays host to some fantastic sporting events every year, including some of the world’s biggest competitions – here’s our rundown.

DP World Tour Championship

Held in November, the DP World Tour Championship is the culmination of the DP World Tour and the Race to Dubai, which sees the world’s best golfers battle it out throughout the year on the European Tour. At the Championship itself, staged at the Greg Norman-designed Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth course, tour players compete not only for their overall ranking, but a $10 million prize fund, making it one of the most hotly contested tournament in all of golf.

To secure your place alongside the greens, start planning early, as tickets for this perennially popular event are almost as hotly contested as the matches themselves.

Emirates Dubai 7s

Taking place at the start of December, the Emirates Dubai 7s is one of Dubai’s most popular and social sporting events. Consisting of quick-fire seven-player rugby matches with international teams – all teams play three matches on the first day of the tournament – the Dubai 7s also features live entertainment in the evenings. Previous performers have included Kylie Minogue, Justin Bieber, One Direction and Rod Stewart.

The Emirates Dubai 7s are held in The Sevens Stadium, a dedicated facility which features eight rugby pitches, six cricket pitches and plenty of other courts as well. Buy tickets for just one day, the whole weekend – or splurge on a VIP package.

Dubai World Cup

The richest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup takes place on the last Saturday in March at the Meydan Racecourse – and is one of Dubai’s absolutely unmissable events. Horses and their riders jockey for prizes in nine races on the day, culminating in the Dubai World Cup itself: a dirt race over 2,000 metres, with a total prize fund of $12 million.

While the events themselves is eagerly followed by racing enthusiasts around the world, for many attending the Dubai World Cup in person it is as much a social occasion as a sporting one. Similar to major racing events around the world, spectators attend to see and be seen – and wear clothes to match. The event remains highly accessible, though, with ticket types ranging from entry-only to high-end VIP packages available.

Dubai Desert Classic

Another epic milestone on the DP World Tour, the Hero Dubai Desert Classic takes place in January at Emirates Golf Club, one of the most famous golf venues in the city. The European Tour’s golfers head to the storied course to compete for a $9 million prize fund, and to build their rankings as the Race to Dubai – and the DP World Tour Championship in November – starts to heat up.

Another very popular event, plan ahead for tickets if you want to attend the Dubai Desert Classic. You can choose from standard tickets, or opt for a hospitality package with access to lounges overlooking key greens.

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

A fixture on the professional tennis calendar, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships take place in February at Dubai Tennis Stadium in Garhoud, with men’s and women’s competitions seeing fierce competition from the world’s best players. In 2023 both competitions had prize pots of almost $3 million each, making the championships one of the richest events in the ATP 500 and WTA 1000/500 circuits.

With a capacity of 5,000 people, Dubai Tennis Stadium offers a fantastic atmosphere to watch the championships – but competition for tickets, especially for the finals, can be fierce. But whatever matches you see, you’ll be assured of some quality tennis action.

Dubai Cup

The Sport of Kings, polo is one of the world’s most exclusive and demanding sports – and the Dubai Cup is one of its most hotly contested events. Held each April at the Al Habtoor Polo Club, the Dubai Cup consists of more than a week of matches – and is the culmination of the city’s entire polo season.

Enjoy the matches from the exquisite hospitality of the Al Habtoor Polo Club, which is part of the Al Habtoor Polo Resort. Activities alongside the matches include a fashion show, children’s entertainment, and of course the highest level of catering available.

Spinneys Dubai92 Cycle Challenge

The largest amateur cycling event in the region, the Spinneys Dubai92 Cycle Challenge sees thousands of riders take to the city’s streets each February in an epic 92km road race. The event is also part of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series, drawing world-class cyclists to race through the streets of Dubai – and making for some thrilling high-speed riding.

While the race certainly attracts high-end athletes, it is open to all, and the event also includes shorter distances, including rides specifically for kids from ages 2 to 12. To compete in the main challenge you’ll need to build up your stamina – which is why the Cycle Challenge also hosts several build-up rides in the months prior to the main race.

Dubai Marathon

Held since 1998, the Dubai Marathon is one of the region’s biggest running events. Taking place in January or February each year, the Dubai Marathon offers runners a choice of distances, including 4km, 10km or the full 26-mile (42.2km) distance, with the route starting on Umm Suqeim Road opposite Madinat Jumeirah and the Burj Al Arab, then along Jumeirah Beach Road and its continuations.

If you’re interested in running the Marathon you can register well in advance – which will give you time to start on the intense training required to complete such an epic distance.

Dubai Fitness Challenge

If watching all these world-class sporting events has inspired you to make your own fitness journey, why not join the Dubai Fitness Challenge? Not in any way a competitive event, DFC is all about helping Dubai’s residents – and visitors – get fit, have fun, and lead an active, healthy lifestyle. DFC takes place for the whole month of November, with two headline events; Dubai Run and Dubai Ride offer rare chances to run or cycle along Dubai’s main highway, Sheikh Zayed Road, and its stunning skyscrapers.

Dubai Fitness Challenge also features hundreds of free fitness activities across the city, including Fitness Villages, local Fitness Hubs, community events and more. There are also plenty of runs, races and other organised events going on – along with plenty of special offers and promotions among Dubai’s many gyms and fitness studios.

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