Dubai: The organisers of the annual Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Sports Tournament have promised a bigger and better event when the sixth edition gets under way at the Nas Sports Complex on Thursday night.
Held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council (DSC), German tennis legend Boris Becker will be one of the star attractions at the opening ceremony scheduled for 10pm on Thursday.
A former world No. 1, six-time Grand Slam singles champion and winner of five year-end championships, Becker will join a long list of stars who have graced the NAS Sports Tournament in the past.
This year’s Nas Sports Tournament is scheduled to be held from May 17 to June 6 with organisers adding two more events to the programme taking the total number of sporting events to eleven.
“For sure, we have got bigger and better this year, while also going international. Each year has posed a unique challenge to us as organisers of this multi-disciplined competition and we have been able to successfully overcome all of these hurdles,” Tournament Director Hassan Al Mazroui told Gulf News.
“This year we have also ensured the competitions have spread out with the 3x3 basketball open to expatriates and Emiratis taking place at the outside arena of Dubai Festival City Mall (May 18-21) along with the cycling and road races also engaging a wider section of our community,” he added.
On board will be a 3x3 basketball tournament and a Jiu-Jitsu competition in addition to the futsal, volleyball, padel, fencing, Night Challenge, the 5km and 10km road runs, a special futsal competition for people with hearing disabilities, the 75km cycle race and wheelchair basketball. Registrations for all eleven competitions have closed with organisers pleased with the growing interest shown by a cross-section of the community.
Volleyball, padel and futsal will be held over a longer duration, while there will be one-off events such as the road races and cycling race, the 3x3 basketball, jiu-jitsu, fencing and wheelchair basketball. After Thursday’s opening ceremony, it will be the padel and volleyball competitions that will kick-start this year’s NAS Sports Tournament from May 18.
For the first time this year, the NAS Sports Tournament has gone international with Jordan and Egypt playing host to a couple of competitions. A five-a-side futsal competition will take place in the indoor halls of Cairo Stadium from May 22-26 with eight teams representing eight different Egyptian Olympic sports federations, while the Jordan Volleyball Federation will organise an eight-team volleyball tournament to be held in Amman from May 24-31.
3x3 Basketball (May 22): Each team to have four players. In four different categories: Men (born 1999 or earlier), Women (born 1999 or earlier), U-18 Junior Boys and Juniors Girls.
Jiu Jitsu (June 1): To be held in five categories: Masters (Men 30-plus), Adults (Men under-30), Women, Juvenile Males and Juvenile Females.
Wheelchair Basketball (May 5): All matches, except the final, to take place at Dubai Club for People of Determination, Al Ghusais. The final at NAS Sports Complex. Each team will comprise of eight players — four disabled and four able-bodied — and all the players must be above 14 years.
NAS Cycling (May 25 and 27): Men’s Open category (open to non-Emirati residents and Emiratis who represent a UAE club or the national team in official races within and outside the State) People of Determination Category. Three categories — Open Women, Amateur UAE National Men (cyclists not registered with any club and do not own an official biker card issued by UAE Cycling Federation) and Amateur UAE National Women (cyclists not registered with any club and do not own an official biker card issued by UAE Cycling Federation).
NAS Night Challenge (May 31 and June 2): May 31 for individuals and June 2 for teams.
Road Races (May 21): 5km and 10km runs.
Fencing (May 19 to 23): May 19 to 22 at the Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club, with finals at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex on May 23. Competition to be held in six categories — Epee Senior Men International; Saber Senior Women International; Epee Weapon Senior Women International; Foil Weapon Senior Men Local; Foil for Senior Women Local and Saber for Senior Men Local.
Padel (May 18 to June 5): Separate categories for Emiratis, expatriates and teams.
Volleyball (May 18 to 24): Two groups of three teams each with semi-finals on May 22 and final on May 24.
Futsal for those with hearing disabilities: May 5
Futsal: Group matches from May 28; semi-finals on June 4 and final on June 6.