DFC Press Con 2022 (10)-1666715807935
People of all fitness levels can choose from diverse events and activities across the city Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, on Tuesday invited residents to turn Dubai into the world’s most active city with his flagship community fitness initiative Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC).

“A new challenge is coming up for Dubai from 29 Oct-27 Nov…The Dubai Fitness Challenge. I look forward to having the whole community unite to turn Dubai into the world’s most active and dynamic city,” Sheikh Hamdan posted on social media.

Also on Tuesday, officials announced the full calendar of free fitness events taking place during the sixth edition of DFC, including the very first World Padel Championship to be held in the UAE and the Dubai Youth World Cup, a new football tournament for teen students at a time the FIFA World Cup comes to the region.

At a press conference held at Zabeel Sports District on the rooftop of Dubai Mall Zabeel, Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE); Saeed Hareb, secretary-general of Dubai Sports Council (DSC); and Yaqoob Mohammad, manager - Dubai Fitness Challenge, Dubai Tourism, announced the details.

DFC 2022 press con
Officials have announced the full calendar of free fitness events taking place during the sixth edition of DFC Image Credit: Supplied

Apart from the flagship events Dubai Run and Dubai Ride, the details of which have already been announced, there will be over 10,000 fitness sessions and classes, two fitness villages and 19 fitness hubs to facilitate emirate-wide participation. The sixth edition of DFC will also feature the inaugural Expo City Dubai Sports and Fitness Weekend.

With its biggest-ever calendar of free and inclusive fitness events, activities and classes across the city, residents have been urged to find their inner workout warrior and embrace exercise into their everyday schedule.

Al Khaja pointed out that since its inception in 2017, DFC has positively impacted the lives of many, inspiring more registrations year-on-year and reaching over 1.65 million participants in 2021.

He said DFC continues to encourage everyone to commit to a healthier lifestyle, and to support the broader vision of making Dubai the world’s best city to live in, work and visit. “I urge everyone in Dubai - whether a citizen, resident or a visitor, to register and take part in the citywide initiative. It only takes 30 minutes a day to improve your health and wellbeing for the rest of your lives,” he added.

Expecting new record

Though COVID-19 has been a challenge, Al Khaja said in the pandemic people started seeing how important health and fitness is for them. “And this year, with the guidance of our leadership, we have overcome COVID. So we are expecting the participation to be much bigger… and with everybody’s support, we think we will achieve a record,” he told Gulf News on the sidelines of the press conference.

Al Khaja said the retail sector has been extremely supportive of DFC with several deals and offers to encourage the use of fitness gears.

“There are offers across all the retail sector to make it easy for people to buy their [fitness] gears and equipment, whether it is a new cycle… or the paddle gears. There are over 10,000 free classes available for people that they can take advantage of. So it’s a great start. It’s very affordable. Also there are a lot of winners across the participation…We have many raffles and people can also win prizes.”

Something for everyone

Meanwhile, Hareb said exercise and sports have become an essential part of the daily activities for the various classes of society in Dubai. “We continue our remarkable efforts in collaboration with our partners to provide a convenient environment for the practice of sport among people of multi-nationalities who reside in the emirate and to boost cooperation and friendship among them, aiming to enable all individuals in society to enjoy healthy, happy and active life”.

He added: “Our sports agenda comprises over 90 sports events, organised during the period of the Challenge.”

Mohammad said the two fitness villages at Kite Beach in Jumeirah and Last Exit in Al Khawaneej are set to be a hive of activity over the 30 days of the challenge.

“DFC this time has 11 app partnerships and the special football and cricket tournaments for teen students would be organised in partnership with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and Emirates Schools Establishment as part of the overall engagement with all the schools in the emirate.”

Other highlights include EXPO City Dubai Sports and Fitness Weekend, major sporting events throughout the month and thousands of free live and virtual classes with some of the top fitness professionals from across the region, he added.

Dates for all the fitness events and hubs will be on the DFC website.

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New highlights announced 

DFC Youth World Cups

In recognition of FIFA World Cup that commences during the course of DFC 2022, there will be four 5-a-side football tournaments for the youth.The tournaments comprise of Under 14 and Under 11 for Boys and Under 14 and Under 11 for Girls. Matches are predominantly played at the multipurpose pitch at the DP World Fitness Village Kite Beach.

Up to 128 teams are expected to take part comprising squads totalling over 1,000 young football players. Teams will reflect the national teams playing in Qatar with a random draw being conducted for entrants to allocate the team names and the group fixtures. The games will take place through the 30 days of DFC 2022 with all the finals being staged on the final weekend of the event at the DP World Fitness Village at Kite Beach.

DFC Fitness Hubs

Throughout the course of DFC this year, 19 new fitness hubs will appear across various local communities all over the city, including Bluewaters, Champs Sports & Fitness Club, Dubai Design District (D3), DIFC, DMCC in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dragon Mall, Dubai Police Officers Club, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Inspiratus Sports District (ISD) at Dubai Sports City, Hatta, Mohammed bin Rashid Library (MBRL), The Palm Jumeirah, The Space-Dubai Investment Park, Zabeel Ladies Club, Zabeel Sports District, The Beach, Sport Society, Dubai Hills Mall and Dubai Festival City Mall. Each Fitness Hub will support the 30x30 challenge goal of inspiring communities to seek healthy and active lifestyles by providing daily free activities and workout sessions for all the family. Choose from hundreds of free activities, from hiking in the Hatta Wadi, stretching the limbs in Pilates and Yoga classes, working up a sweat in Body Combat or Zumba classes, or taking on treadmill challenges.

Expo City Dubai Sports and Fitness Weekend

IT will take place on November 12 and 13. Exercise enthusiasts or fitness first-timers can sample one of dozens of keep-fit classes, from LES MILLS Body Balance and Body Grit classes, Crank cycling sessions, yoga, gymnastics, and – for the hardy residents – Barry’s Bootcamp will put participants through the paces with a sweat-busting workout.

Key highlights include The Expo City Dubai Run, powered by Gatorade, on November 12, which is open for everyone, from social to advanced runners, young or experienced as well as people of determination with distances of 3k, 5k, 10k or 15km to choose from, as well as the Expo City Dubai Ride powered by Gatorade, taking place on November 13, giving cyclists the chance to re-experience the incredible route within the Expo City Dubai passing existing pavilions, parks and surrounding attractions with distances of 12km, 18km, 40km and 74km.