Where to play sport in Abu Dhabi
From football to fitness classes, get active now Discuss this article
Getting involved in your local sports team or club is a great way to keep in shape and wind down after a long day or week in the office, but it is also a fantastic way of socialising with like-minded people. Because whatever level you play at, and let’s be honest not many of us are blessed with enough talent to reach of the top echelons of competitive sport, the time spent in the clubhouse after the final whistle has blown is as enjoyable as the time spent on the pitch.
Here in Abu Dhabi the sport and adventure scene is no different. Thanks to the excellent facilities at Zayed Sports City and throughout the capital there are scores of clubs across a huge variety of sports that are on the lookout for newbies that are keen to get involved.
You’d have to go a long way to come up with an argument for another sport that would supplant football as king of the social recreations. It’s not surprising, therefore, that when new arrivals head off in search of an activity to join many find their way to the football pitch.
One place to start looking if you are keen to meet people through the beautiful game is the five-a-side and seven-a-side leagues that run throughout the year. Sports organisers Duplays manage excellent leagues and groups across a wide variety of sports, but the biggest uptake comes from the seven-a-side and five-a-side football leagues that are organised on a regular basis at Zayed Sports City. Leagues usually last six weeks and are open to individuals as well as pre-formed squads, so don’t worry about pitching up on your own in the first week, contact the organisers at Duplays and a team will be found for you.
The next tournament to kick off will be the Premier 5s, which begins on October 5. Anyone wishing to take part must have registered and paid subscription fees before the start of the tournament, so visit www.duplays.com for more information on how to get involved.
The seven-a-side league currently plays on Tuesdays 8pm-10pm, Dhs420 for an individual. The five-a-side league currently plays on Sundays 7pm-9pm, Dhs400 for an individual.
Rugby is famous the world over for being a sport as recreational off the pitch as it is gung-ho on it, making it a great environment for cultivating new friendships.
Unsurprisingly rugby is big among the ex-pat community in Abu Dhabi, with two main clubs vying to catch the eye of budding eggchasers, both experienced and new to the game.
Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Abu Dhabi Saracens compete against each other and also against teams from across the UAE.
And with both 1st XV and 2nd XV matches on the fixtures board, as well as training sessions, touch rugby and fitness classes on offer, players of all abilities will be able to find their level in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere.
The competitive UAE rugby season is just getting back into the swing of things after the summer break, so now is the perfect time to dust those boots off and start hitting some rucks if you’re keen to meet some new people in a fast-paced, friendly environment.
Matches take place on Fridays. See this week’s Sport & Outdoor directory for contact details.
Much like football, Duplays also organise regular basketball leagues which welcome new players, as well as pickup games for the more casual player just looking for a game on a spare evening. Unfortunately the interest in basketball isn’t as strong currently as football which means that scheduled events are cancelled on the rare occasion, but don’t let this put you off enquiring with Duplays as to when the next event is happening.
Tuesdays 7pm-9pm. Dhs350 for six weeks.
It’s not just the boys who get to have all the fun around town when it comes to sport, as the Abu Dhabi Netball League runs every Tuesday night at Zayed Sports City. The new season is already in full swing with
over 20 teams turning out to do battle every week, but don’t let that put you off. Everyone involved is incredibly friendly and will help you find a team to join for the remainder of the year if you want to dive straight into the action.
Abilities are mixed, with the emphasis being placed on sportsmanship and above all having fun and meeting new people.
Tuesday evenings at Zayed Sports City. Dhs400 for the season, www.adnetball.com
There probably isn’t anything less social than plugging in the headphones and hitting the treadmill, but if you go to regular exercise classes when working out instead, the gym can actually become something of a regular meeting place. Group fitness sessions are fun and engaging and often provide an icebreaker with which to introduce yourself to new people.
Also, the fact that everybody else is either also there on their own or in a small group of two or three means that everybody is in the same boat, making things a little easier if you’re worried about introducing yourself to a larger crowd.
Spin, circuit training and body pump are all great classes for athletes accustomed to high-intensity workouts, while Zumba, step aerobics and yoga are more suited to those new to a gym routine.
Try Haddins gym at Zayed Sports City, www.zsc.ae, or Fitness First Abu Dhabi Mall, www.fitnessfirstme.com/UAE/ (026746991).
The sporting options open to singletons in Abu Dhabi looking to join groups is extensive, check out our Sport & Outdoor directory for more ideas of teams and clubs that are waiting with open arms for people who are ready to dive in and try something new today.
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