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Dubai’s Hamdan Sports Complex gets triple 10th birthday treat

Middle East’s top indoor sporting facility looks ahead on 10th anniversary

Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Hamdan Sports Complex (HSC) has obtained three International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certificates ahead of its 10th birthday.

The three certifications — Quality Management System, Occupational Safety and Health Management System, Environmental Management System — were handed over to Saeed Hareb, General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council (DSC), by Middle East representatives of ISO in the presence of Ahmad Al Shafar, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hamdan Sports Complex, Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant General Secretary of DSC and Abdullah Shahdad, Director of the Complex.

Considered one of the world’s most iconic sports landmarks due to its design and futuristic vision, the HSC is celebrating its 10th anniversary following its inauguration on October 10, 2010 by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, ahead of 10th FINA World Swimming Championships Dubai.

Built on 24 hectares of land, the HSC is one of the world’s biggest and most modern multi-purpose facilities in the world, designed to host more than 10 Olympic sports, including basketball, badminton, handball and volleyball alongside all kinds of aquatic sports such as swimming, synchronised swimming, diving, synchronised diving and water polo.


Two months after its inauguration, the complex hosted one of the biggest aquatic events on the international calendar — the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships from December 15-19, which attracted participants from 153 countries.

It was the first time the Championships were held in an Arab country, and every competitor and official was left impressed by the magnificent facility, with the manager of the Chinese contingent saying Hamdan Sports Complex was even better than the aquatic centre built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The swimming facilities at HAmdan Sports Complex are among the best in the world
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Revenues at the complex have increased by 67 per cent over the past five sports seasons, while the number of events have increased by 41 per cent. In 2019, the complex hosted 65 events, up from 37 in 2014, with 13 of these events being international and 52 being local.

Overall, the complex has hosted 340 events since its inauguration in 2010, and 92 of these have been international — including the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships, the 2014 FINA Men’s Water Polo Super Series Finals, the 2013 FINA World Junior Championship, the 2017 Asian Youth Para Games, eight FINA Swimming World Cup, five editions of the FINA World Diving Series, the 2014 FIBA U-17 World Basketball Championship, 2013 Asian Volleyball Championship, 2013 Asian Karate Championships, the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) in 2014 and the Badminton World Super Series Finals from 2014 to 2017, and the Fazza Freediving Championship every year since 2011.


The Complex has also hosted a number of other crowd-pullers such as the Indo-Pak Kushti Championship in 2017, and the 2019 Marhalika Pilipinas Basketball League, which featured boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

Boxing great Manny Pacquiao hosted a basketball tournament at the complex
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Among 248 local events hosted by the Complex, 57 were organised by the UAE Swimming Federation, 56 by Hamilton Aquatics academy, 20 by Speedo Swim Squads Dubai academy and 81 by different schools and academies from across the country.

A total of 141,739 athletes have taken part in the competitions hosted by the complex over the past 10 years, and 484,545 spectators from more than 195 countries have watched the action from the stands.

The Hamdan Complex is popular with fans of many sports
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The complex is managed by an experienced Board of Directors that includes members with considerable expertise in managing investment projects and developing financial policies. The Chairman of the Board of Directors is Ahmed Al Shafar, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of Dubai Sports Council, while the Deputy Chairman is Nasser Aman Al Rahma, the Assistant General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council. The other members of the board are Ali Al Mutawa, Mohammed Sulaiman Al Mulla and Mahir Abdul Karim Julfar.

Abdullah Shahdad, the Director of the complex, is the first Emirati to manage the complex and he has been working to implement the directives of Dubai Sports Council and the policies set by the Board of Directors, which aim to enhance the status of the complex and attract more athletes and events to the arena.

Al Shafar said the directives and guidance of Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of DSC and the directives of Mattar Al Tayer, vice-chairman of DSC were the cornerstone of their work as the board invests all its time and resources in maximising the benefits from the complex.

“The Hamdan Sports Complex is a model to emulate for every modern multi-purpose sports facility, and we thank Sheikh Mansoor for bestowing us with the responsibility of achieving the lofty goals of this ultra-modern architectural marvel and sporting edifice, which has become one of the pillars of developments in the country’s sports sector and has attracted many major international sports events,” Al Shafar said.

“Our dictate is clear as we need to increase the number of events being hosted by the complex, while streamlining operational costs through optimal investment of resources. This is something that we have succeeded in achieving as statistics show a significant growth in revenues and events, and a reduction in spending,” he added.


Al Rahma, the Assistant General Secretary of DSC and Deputy Chairman, HSC, expressed his pride over the complex, which has hosted numerous international and local sports as well as non-sporting events over the past ten years.

“The Hamdan Sports Complex is a fundamental pillar in the development of our sport sector,” Al Rahma said.

“With its architectural magnificence and adoption of ground-breaking technologies, this complex has hosted continental and world champions from many different sports, giving an opportunity to our youngsters and talents to compete against the best, at the highest level, and gain from the experience.

“The board of directors is working on developing plans and making the most of the resources to implement all directives by increasing the number of international and local sports tournaments and non-sports events at the complex. We have been able to achieve good results, as the year-on-year data shows, and we will strive to keep this upward trend going.”