Dubai: Two new sports disciplines — cricket and snowboarding — will be the new additions as a bigger seventh edition of the Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Sports Tournament kicks off with a glittering opening ceremony at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex at 10pm on Tuesday.
Organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and DSC Chairman, the NAS Sports Tournament is the biggest event of its kind in terms of participation and prize money and has been held annually during Ramadan since 2013.
The multi-discipline tournament has seen more than 22,000 athletes take part over the past six seasons, featuring amateurs and international legends including Zinedine Zidane and Falcao.
Held under the slogan ‘Limitless Abilities’, the seventh season will see more than 6,500 participants in action over the next 18 days in 13 different events including Futsal, Volleyball, Padel, Fencing, Wheelchair Basketball, Futsal for People with Hearing Disabilities, the NAS Night Challenge, road runs over 5km and 10km, a 75km Cycle Race, 3x3 Basketball, Jiu-Jitsu, Cricket and Snowboarding. The total prize money on offer for all sporting disciplines is Dh6 million.
Tuesday’s opening ceremony will feature a Sitting Volleyball exhibition game featuring players from countries around the region, including Egypt and Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, demand from teams for the NAS Cricket T10 tournament was so huge that organisers have now doubled the number of teams to 24. The tournament will be held at the Wombats Cricket Ground in DP World, Jebel Ali (Gate 7) with the 24 teams being divided into eight groups of three each. There will be a total of 31 matches played from May 7 to 22 at the Wombats Cricket Ground.
While cricket is one of the two events added to the NAS Sports Tournament this year, there has been a huge interest in the Ski and Snowboarding Championship that is scheduled to be held at Ski Dubai on May 10. The Alpine Ski competition will start at 5pm and the Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding competition will be from 8.30pm.
Men and women will be competing separately, under four different categories, namely Open, Under-16, Under-12 and Under-10 with medals being awarded to the top three in each category.
“The NAS Sports Tournament was launched seven years ago with the objective of promoting sport and attracting participants from the many different segments of our society. This tournament has grown every year to become one of the most important community sports initiatives while embracing the many different segments of our diverse society. This year, as we celebrate the Year of Tolerance, we have expanded to 13 events while including cricket and snowboarding for the first time,” Salah Amin, Chairman of the Tournament’s Executive Committee, said.
Registration is still open for the NAS Snowboarding Championship and will close on May 8. Registration for NAS Cycling will also be open till May 11, while the last date for registration in the NAS Jiu-Jitsu championship is May 20.