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Dubai Sports City lets residents, young and old, explore the joy of sports Image Credit: Supplied

Sports plays a huge role in personality development. It builds character, teaches and develops strategic thinking and leadership skills, improves goal setting abilities and risk taking. In Dubai, the one community that has inspired families to follow an active lifestyle has been Dubai Sports City. According to Jeff O’Brien, a sports consultant at Dubai Knight Eagles, the sport facilitates at DSC are all easily accessible. “The community is, therefore, able to create a great work-life balance,” said O’Brien.

Sports facilities at DSC include the ICC Academy, a purpose-built high-performance cricket centre, soccer, tennis, rugby and golf facilities, as well as running and walking tracks. “The community is planned in a way that all the sports facilities are close to each other,” said O’Brien. “The roads are also safe for kids to access. So they can ride their bikes to the sport centres.” O’Brien adds that the community also has cycling, running, walking community events throughout the year, and DSC’s many facilities host different activities in the annual Dubai Fitness Challenge.

Passion for cricket

The ICC Academy, a joint venture between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and DSC, operates its training sessions here with the intent of creating a global hub for cricket. The academy supports the game at the grass roots level, enables domestic, recreational cricketers to access the facility and compete in tournaments. It also supports the development of coaches, facilitates training camps and supports world-class athletes.

Salman Hanif, head of the ICC Cricket Academy, says, “We have both children and adults coming from all over Dubai to train and play with us. People are very passionate about cricket in this region and we intend to fuel their passion by granting budding cricketers access to the same venue as the world’s best through coaching, games and competition. ICCA was built to cater for the world’s best players, but we fundamentally believe we exist to play a key role in nurturing the development of cricket within the UAE too.”

Golf takes centrestage

The community’s star attraction is Ernie Els’ signature golf course. Karl Whitehead, general manager of The Els Club, confirms that the vision of this master community has always been to deliver a unique residential sporting concept and golf has been an integral part of that. “The sport has added a direct value and prestige to the surrounding real estate and is a key feature and anchor attraction of DSC as a residential community.”

The international golf course at DSC is managed by Troon International, the world’s largest professional golf management company. “From day one we had wanted to get it right in terms of design, foundation, sustainability, operational excellence and efficiency,” said Whitehead. The DSC community also has the Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy, that helps enhance the skill sets of golfers of all levels.

Love for football

For kids another attraction in the area is the Spanish Soccer Schools, which teaches kids the importance of unity, passion and skill in soccer. Inaki Beni, manager of the school, said, “The main idea is to create a proper culture of football.” Former Real Madrid player Michel Salgado’s association with the Spanish Soccer Schools have been a big inspiration for children.