Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum opened the Gov Games in Dubai Festival City on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The fifth edition of Gov Games 2024 has begun with a bang. The four-day sporting event saw 194 teams from government and private sector employees and students and communities participate.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, opened the Gov Games in Dubai Festival City.

Running until March 3, the Gov Games 2024 is being hosted in partnership with DP World and in cooperation with the Dubai Sports Council. The event commenced with high-octane action as 84 men’s and 26 women’s teams competed in the Battle of the Government category. The contests included a series of limit-testing physical and mental challenges.

Sheikh Hamdan said: “The Gov Games has become a symbol of global sporting values, including sportsmanship, teamwork, and community. This is exemplified by the camaraderie showcased by the largest number of international teams participating in the tournament’s largest edition to date.”

Welcoming all 194 teams to this year's finals, he praised the expansion and diversity achieved by the Gov Games, which includes the return of 28 international teams participating in the Battle of the Cities. The annual global event reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to strengthen Dubai’s status as a key destination for global sporting events and to integrate human development, creativity, and innovation into all aspects of life and society in Dubai, His Highness said.

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Women power on display on Day 1 at Gov Games 2024. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

“The Gov Games has evolved into a global platform where participants from across the world collaborate, exchange experiences, and strive to improve their teamwork and leadership abilities. They confront tough challenges with a blend of strategic thinking and physical resilience, qualities that are essential for development in every aspect of life,” he said.

He added: “Offering youth the chance to engage in the Gov Games for the first time through the Junior Gov Games demonstrates our dedication to fostering cooperation and cultivating leadership skills among our youth, which are crucial for empowering the leaders of tomorrow.”

Day 1 results

The inaugural day of the Gov Games saw fierce competition among the teams engaging in the Battle of the Government category, both for men and women. Among those qualifying for the women's Battle of the Government competition were:

1. Dubai Police with 98 points

2. Emirates Schools Establishment with 96.7 points

3. Dubai Electricity & Water Authority with 84.3 points

4. Roads & Transport Authority with 78.4 points

The announcement of the four finalists from the men's teams for the Battle of the Government will take place at the conclusion of all rounds in this category.

International participation

A total of 194 teams are participating in the Gov Games, comprising 84 teams in the Battle of the Government tournament for men and 26 teams for women. Additionally, there are 28 teams in the Battle of the Community tournament and 28 teams representing various global cities in the Battle of the Cities. Furthermore, 28 teams are taking part in the Junior Gov Games. All these teams are competing in an atmosphere filled with excitement and enjoyment.

Marwan bin Essa, Director of Gov Games 2024, said: “As you can see, we started with the women’s heat – the government employees. They are all strong athletes and have come here to achieve something big. There is an exciting line up of events and races for men, women of Government and private sectors. Besides, students can challenge their physical and mental agility for the first time which we are truly proud of here. One of the biggest achievements we see out of the Games is how we bring the world together under one platform, celebrating team work and participation. Our slogan is therefore one team one spirit.”.

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Khaled Belhoul, Organising Committee member, said: “We look up to the Gov Games 2024 every year. I have participated before representing the Executive Council team. This time, I am here as part of the judging committee. My role comes in when there is a discrepancy in the referee ruling. We analyse the call through our data and videos and take a collective decision.”

Mansoor Al Mehairi, another member of the Organising Committee, said the interest for Gov Games has been on a steady rise. “The global participation from cities around the world has added to the event’s importance.”

Obaid Bin Hashem, also part of the Organising Committeesaid, “We have a dedicated team to look at shortlisting participating teams. This time we are thrilled to have a great interest from global cities of the world to take part at the event.”

Burj Khalifa Challenge

Richard Hynek, Website Developer from Czech Republic, is one participant who is looking forward to the four days event. Hynek and his team were winners at the Burj Khalifa challenge held earlier. He and his team members climbed 160 floors of the tallest tower in the world in just 27 minutes. “It was my dream to see Burj Khalifa close. It feels surreal climbing the tallest tower in the world and winning the challenge on top of it.”