Tokyo 2020: Olympic hopefuls descend on Dubai for training camps

Dubai: The UAE continues to be the preferred destination of international teams as they prepare for the upcoming Olympics and other major championships, with Dubai’s world-class stadiums and sports halls bustling with activity over the past few months, hosting some of the world’s top athletes in a safe environ, with gold-standard COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Since the beginning of the year, inside less than 100 days, Dubai has hosted training camps and friendly matches for more than 50 international teams in different sports, including swimming, synchronised swimming, modern pentathlon, cycling, tennis, football, badminton, cricket, rugby and golf.

The first three months of 2021 have seen the Hungarian synchronised swimming team camp at the Hamdan Sports Complex, alongside the Tokyo-bound Czech national modern pentathlon team. The Denmark badminton team, led by their 2017 World Champion and current men’s world No. 2 Viktor Axelsen, were also camping in Dubai as well as a number of Arab, Asian and African football teams, who are preparing for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

A number of Asian and European football clubs have also had their camps in Dubai in the past three months, alongside a number of tennis and paddle players, who have regularly used the UAE to prepare for events.

Joining the list now is 14 Tokyo Olympics-bound rugby teams, who are arriving in Dubai for a friendly tournament later this month as they prepare for the Olympic Games, which are scheduled to start on July 23 and close on August 8.

The tournament which will be hosted by the UAE Rugby Federation, in cooperation with the Dubai Sports Council, Emirates Airlines, and the International and Asian rugby federations, will feature eight men’s team — Spain, France, Japan, Canada, Argentina, Uganda, Chile and Canada — while teams from the United States, France, Kenya, Japan, Brazil and Canada will compete in the women’s event.

The tournament will be held at The Sevens Stadium, which is home of the Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament, and the tournament will take place in a “bubble”, in accordance with all the COVID-19 protocols as mandated by relevant authorities.



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