Dubai: There’s nothing extraordinary about Rob Webling. A 45-year-old father of two young boys, and faced with the growing modern-day challenges, the South African is using sport as a medium to keep his family integrated as a unit.
Moving to the UAE a few years back, Webling foresaw the “danger” of living a cosmopolitan life in a fast-developing city like Dubai. Gradually, he got involved in road-running activities while also taking in the odd Spartan race.
With their dad as role model, the two sons started showing an interest in the outdoors as well. Slowly over the past few years, Webling managed to get his two sons, Kaeden, 8 and Jarrick, 5, focused and interested in an active sporting life.
“Today, my wife Cherry and my two boys are serious taekwondo players and they make time to join me on road runs and Spartan races when they are away from their sport,” Webling told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Nad Al Sheba [NAS] Night Challenge held at the NAS Sports Complex late on Thursday.
“I fully support the principle that it’s important to bond as a family. For the four of us, it is far more important to be together as a family doing the things we love. Over a period of time there have been new challenges in parenting, but we are certain we are on the right track when it comes to diverting our boys’ attention on to sport as a way of life.”
Webling’s first Spartan race was way back in 2015, but since then he has been a regular at such endurance events, along with his small family. And though his profession in a manufacturing unit in Jebel Ali takes up a lot of his time, Webling ensures he is on the road or off-track in the desert with his sons and wife.
“There is a social element to participating in such events,” Webling said.
“Today, I feel we are one big sporting family chasing similar goals, while keeping away our kids from modern-day challenges such as addiction to new trends such as social media and mobile phones that tend to disrupt family life and values of old.”
In fact, the Webling family has embarked on an internal competition of sorts to see which of them can win the maximum number of trophies.
“We compete as a family, but the idea is always to see which one of us has the maximum number of trophies and medals in the cabinet. It’s a healthy competition, and something that keeps us all motivated and competitive towards higher goals,” he said.