Bryce Wettstein of the US in action during the women's heat 1 semi-final of the World Skateboarding Tour - 2023 in Ostia. Elite athletes will be aiming to seal their Olympic qualification in Dubai. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Over 500 elite skateboarders, including the world’s greatest, will be eager to secure their places in the 2024 Paris Games during the two World Skate Tour events to be held in Dubai later this month.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the Middle East’s debut professional skating event stages the Street Pro Tour Stop from February 25 to March 3, followed by the Park Pro Tour Stop from March 3 to 10 at Dubai Harbour.

The two World Skate Tour events, returning to the UAE for a second successive year with back-to-back competitions, hold unparalleled significance for the world’s greatest skateboarders. In addition to competing for the title of world’s best, each competition will serve as a pivotal qualifier for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Unique opportunity

Sabatino Aracu, President, World Skate, said: “The great sporting city of Dubai is the perfect backdrop for two weeks of truly world-class competition. Fans will have an unique opportunity to see the planet’s top professionals up close. As the Road to Paris 2024 draws to a close, these two events provide the last opportunity to secure ranking points to qualify for the Olympics, so we expect that competition will be intense.”

Skateboarding made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 and will again be part of the programme for Paris 2024, taking place at the famous Place de La Concorde in the heart of the French capital from July 27 to August 7.

The officials announcing the details of the two World Skate Tour events to be held in Dubai later this month. Image Credit: Supplied

Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed Bin Talal, Vice-Chairman of Arada, said: “We’re delighted to bring the world’s best skaters back to the UAE, following on from a hugely successful event in 2023. It’s great to see the Middle East taking such a central role in what is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports, and we look forward to staging an event that hosts the very best in global talent.”

The tournament is a significant addition to the list of sport events in UAE, which contributes to sports tourism. Despite other international tournaments being organised in Dubai during the same period, this championship is set to attract talents from around the world.

Development of the sport

Ali Omar Al Balushi, Director of Sports Events Department at Dubai Sports Council, said: “We are delighted to host the announcement of the Pro Tour Stop Park and Street categories for men and women. This championship is the largest of its kind and serves as the final qualifier for winners to participate in the Olympic Games in Paris this summer. We anticipate the presence of more than 3,500 people from outside the country, representing competitors, their coaches, families, and organisers from World Skate, as well as representatives from international media institutions covering and broadcasting the event to various parts of the world.”

Skateboarding is a sport that developed in the US in the 1950s as surf culture was taking off. The sport continued to develop and became more widely accessible at the start of the 21st century, proving a huge hit among young people.

Dubai Harbour
Some of the greatest skateboarders competing for top honours at the Dubai Harbour later this month. Image Credit: Supplied

The world’s greatest skateboarders will face each other at the Olympic Games, competing in the two most popular and spectacular disciplines: park and street. Athletes must carry out their most impressive tricks, meeting criteria for the degree of difficulty, speed and range of moves. The events consist of two rounds, prelims and finals.

Street events take place on a straight ‘street-like’ course with stairs, handrails, etc set up to resemble the urban environments where skateboarding started out. Athletes perform a range of tricks and are also judged on how they control their board during the two 45‑second runs and five tricks they carry out.

Consolidating Dubai's status

Ahmed Al Khaja, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment — Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, said the event aligns with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33 launched by the visionary leadership to further consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure.

“Bringing the World Skate Tour events to Dubai is a testament to the continued support of our stakeholders and partners, as we work closely to support Dubai’s ambition to become the best city in the world to visit, live, and work in. We look forward to welcoming top skating talents and enthusiasts from around the world to experience the excitement of this global event, as well as the diversity of Dubai’s exceptional offering,” he added.

The event is being hosted by World Skate and Arada, alongside venue partner Shamal Holding and in collaboration with DSC and the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), this year’s tour events.