Sports enthusiasts will be delighted to know that there’s always a busy schedule of competitions, tournaments and challenges to look forward to in Dubai. From golf, tennis, rugby, cycling, polo, watersports, cricket, dragon boat racing and running to horse racing, there are numerous international top sports events in Dubai to choose from. Don’t forget to take in the traditional Emirati sports such as falconry and camel racing. You can also choose to participate in one of the many recurring sports challenges such as the Desert Warrior Challenge, triathlons and a multitude of hikes across the hills, bicycle rides in the desert and runs past the city’s iconic landmarks. Spectator or participant, it’s up to you!
The Dubai Marathon
The Dubai Marathon, officially known as the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, is an annual road marathon hosted in Dubai since 1998. Every year the race attracts 25,000-30,000 runners of all standards and nationalities. The current record stands at 2:03:04 which was set in 2019 by Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla. Anybody can join the Dubai Marathon, or even just 10 km of it, as long as you are over 18. Be aware that as of 2020 the marathon course has a time limit of six hours.
Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s
Without a doubt, the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s is one of the city’s most popular sporting events. The best rugby teams from all over the world crash tackle each other in 7-minute spurts during this weekend-long tournament. The event attracts around 100,000 fans to the iconic Sevens Stadium every year. The social aspect is just as important as the professional – stadium fans singing together during breaks, food and drinks galore, family-friendly activities and to round it all off – live music concerts by world-famous artist.
Dubai Tennis Championships
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the UAE sporting calendar and one of the most popular tournaments stops for the ATP World Tour and the WTA Tour. The two-week-long event takes place in the 5,000-seater outdoor arena, the Dubai Tennis Stadium.
Omega Dubai Desert Classic
This prestigious golfing event, which is part of the European Tour, has seen the world’s greatest players descend upon Dubai for a thrilling tournament at the Emirates Golf Club since 1989.
Dubai World Cup
Known as the ‘world’s richest day of horse racing’, the Dubai World Cup is the most glamorous Dubai sporting event. Located at Meydan Racecourse, the horse racing event currently features a prize purse worth USD 12 million for the final race and some of the best horses, trainers and jockeys in the world. A little tip: mind the dress code and don’t show up without a hat or fascinator.
The Dubai Polo Gold Cup
The Dubai Gold Cup series include five premier polo tournaments in the Middle East and is one of only a handful of tournaments in the world played in the WPT Championship Cup category. This high-stakes tournament attracts the world’s top polo talent as well as glamorous spectators and families picnicking and enjoying the off-field entertainment at the Emaar Polo Club.
Aside from the top sports tournaments in Dubai, there are many other popular sporting events you could participate in yourself:
- Desert Warrior Challenge
- Dubai Watersports Festival
- Grit + Tonic Triathlon
- Nad Al Sheba Villas Run Challenge
- Dubai Academic City Run
- Hatta Wadi Bih Run
- Dubai Canal Run
- Skechers Performance Run
- Cigna Park Run
- Dubai Festival City Half Marathon