Dubai makes play for India's sporting business
The city of Dubai which has pumped in millions of dollars to build two new sports facilities is offering India's sporting stars to use its sprawling venues for practice sessions as well as major fixtures like IPL.
Dubai: The city of Dubai which has pumped in millions of dollars to build two new sports facilities is offering India's sporting stars to use its sprawling venues for practice sessions as well as major fixtures like IPL.
Millions of dollars have been invested into, two new facilities, Dubai Sports City and Hamdan Sports Complex, with the aim to attract international games to its shores in the wake of the IPL matches held here earlier this year.
"We would love to have Indian Premier League (IPL) back in Dubai. We have some excellent practice facilities, with pitches created from clay flown in from cricket playing nations like Australia and England," said Mackey Dudhia, a former Caribbean cricketer turned general manager of Dubai Sports City.
Hamdan Sports Complex (HSC), is supported by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and also functions as an academy for budding young cricketers.
At the HSC the young cricketers can practise their batting shots with the aid of computer-generated bowling actions from all well-known bowlers from international cricket.
"The IPL gave a real boost to the international sporting arena here. Their biggest strength is that they have developed multi-pronged venues," said Paras Shahdadpuri, chair of Dubai's Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC).
It has a capacity of 15,000, with a three-tier horseshoe-shaped seating bowl in the competition arena overlooking the 10-lane Olympic-sized pool and a separate Olympic-sized diving tank. The key to its success is the movable floor in the arena which allows it to be converted from aquatic to dry sport use.
"Besides world class players from around the globe, this venue is a great place for local schools to use facilities. We have hundreds of schoolchildren able to practise at any given time," explained managing director of HSC Kiriakos Giannopoulos, a four-time Olympian water polo player."
The complex can host 13 sporting events ranging from boxing to basketball ? including tennis, volleyball, handball, netball, cricket, field hockey and badminton.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) Superseries Finals earlier this week ended the year 2014 on a high for the complex with the best eight men's and women's singles and doubles players, as well as mixed doubles players invited to battle it out for the top prize money of Euro 500,000.
The BWF Superseries Finals is the climax of the?BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries and included India's Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth.
"Badminton is a sport that is open to everyone and there is already an active scene in Dubai. That makes it an ideal vehicle for us to promote grassroots development throughout our communities," said Ahmad Al Sharif, Secretary-General of Dubai Sports Council.