Shaikh Hamdan attends Government Games Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Ladies rowed, climbed walls, dived into cold water, pushed heavy blocks, solved puzzles and overcame obstacles on the first day of the Government Games.

Team spirit soared on Kite Beach on Wednesday as 64 women’s teams went head-to-head on the opening day.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, was on site on Wednesday and tried some of the obstacles himself to motivate the ladies to push on to the end despite the heat and difficulty of the tasks they faced.

Marwan Bin Eisa, Director of the Gov Games, was also present along with senior officials.

More than 150 government entities picked their best employees to compete to bag the first Gov Games Champions award during the four-day competition. But it’s not only the honour that is motivating them. The Dh2 million in prize money also provides ample incentive.

area in square metres over which the obstacle courses are spread at Kite Beach

The obstacle courses specially designed for the Gov Games comprised sand, steel, and water challenges spread across a 40,000-square-metre area.

Participants had to complete seven obstacles for 10 minutes each. Two obstacles, the Guillotine and Brain Mania, are reserved for men only.

The Stabiliser proved to be the most difficult to overcome as no team was able to conquer it as of 6.45pm, just two rounds before the competition ended.

The teams from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and Dubai Police were ahead in the standings as of 6.45pm.

The Dewa Team was the only team to complete the Muscle Crusher obstacle in such a short time when their turn came.

Rawdha Al Mansouri, from the Dewa team, said the obstacle was tough but worth it. “Our clothes are wet as we went through other obstacles before this, so it’s really challenging to go up the steps and cross the obstacle on a rope but it was really an amazing experience,” she told Gulf News.

The team members suffered some cuts to their hands after the challenge but shrugged it off.

Fawaghi Al Ali’s team from Dubai Health Authority also completed the Muscle Crusher. They came first during their round.

“The hardest part was lifting the heavy plank and putting it in place. But we worked together, that’s how we did it,” Al Ali, a dentist, said, stretching her sore arm.

The DHA women’s team in action.  Janice Ponce De Leon/Gulf News

Their colleagues cheered “DHA! DHA! DHA!” in the background as they pushed themselves on to the next stage.

In the Human Ladder, another tough obstacle, Abu Dhabi Sports Council proved strategy is key to win.

The teams had to push themselves up a pool with chest-high water and climb up an inclined plane to form a human ladder to reach the top.

Once down, they had to push four heavy blocks across a distance on sand and form a tower.

The Dubai Women Establishment finished second during their round. Their secret was teamwork, Titia Bierna, the team captain said.

“We’re all strong and fit. But our strength is in each other and, of course, having a strategy is also important,” she said.

The matches continued into the evening to determine the top six teams that will compete in the finals on Saturday.

The men’s qualification round will be held on Thursday and Friday.

The top six women’s and men’s teams will compete in the finals on Saturday where they will face the tenth obstacle — Storm. The toughest obstacle is reserved for the last day to determine the best of the best among the competitors.

Participants will have to push themselves and their teammates to perform and achieve more than they ever thought possible during the course of this obstacle, climbing to heights of over 8 metres and travelling more than 1.5 kilometres together.

Obstacle courses:

1 Muscle Crusher — As the name suggests, this obstacle will put the team under physical and emotional stress and can only be overcome through harmony and teamwork.

2 Below Zero — This obstacle will test the teams’ strength, determination and trust as they work together to make the right decision.

3 Human Ladder — Team members will have to create a human ladder that will test the balance between their agility and strength.

4 Brain Mania — Teams will have to choose between relying on the strongest person or the collective strength of the team for this obstacle.

5 Guillotine — Team captains along with their teammates will have to use their initiative to complete the obstacle in a limited time.

6 The Wall — Teams will be faced with the decision of using speed or strength to put it past this obstacle.

7 Iron Grip — Teams will need to think collectively to find the best way to take on this obstacle. It’s team versus time in this one.

8 Burner — Team captains will be faced with intense pressure to make the important decision of choosing the best team members to complete this challenge.

9 Stabiliser — This obstacle will have teams deciding between zipping through individually or using a paced team approach.

Women’s Teams: Day 1 - Heat 1(as of Tuesday) — teams will rotate after finishing each obstacle.

Obstacle 1: Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Mohammad Bin Rashid Housing Establishment, Dubai Police and Dubai Economy

Obstacle 2: Dubai Courts, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Authority, Government of Nigeria-State of Niger, and Dubai Municipality

Obstacle 3: Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, Dubai Women Establishment, Ministry of Community Development, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future, Abu Dhabi Sports Council

Obstacle 6: Ministry of Education, Sharjah Women Sports Foundation, Directorate of Public Works in Sharjah, Federal Electricity and Water Authority, Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities

Obstacle 7: Dubai Health Authority, Supreme Legislation Committee, Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, Department of Residency and Foreign Affairs, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects

Obstacle 8: Ministry of Interior, Abu Dhabi Airports, US Consulate-General in Dubai, Dubai Airports

Obstacle 9: Ministry of Health and Prevention, National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and US Embassy in UAE