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The project to develop the island began in 2009 and is now beginning to take shape
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1. The beach: The most visible element of the new island is perhaps the 600-metre beach, a stretch of sand that is now open – with swimming to be permitted after Ramadan. “The beach has been inaugurated during the Year of Zayed to encourage one of the his main values: sustainability,” says Falah Al Ahbabi, director of Abu Dhabi Municipality’s Urban Planning Council.
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2. Cycling loops: The current trend for cycling in the UAE is reflected in the new facilities. In a city with precious few cycle tracks outside of the Corniche and special sessions at Yas Marina Circuit, the addition of two loops – one 5km, the other 10km – from the bridge and over to the island will no doubt prove popular. It’s also part of the plan to host world-class triathlons.
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3. Team sports arenas: In addition to cycling paths, there are a host of other athletic attractions in the works, including five football fields, four basketball courts, four volleyball courts and four beach football pitches. These have been designed both as facilities for the general public and also to cater for a host of international sporting tournaments planned for the futre.
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4. Adventure sports: A jet-ski slipway is already in place on Hudayriat, in the shadows of the bridge linking the island to Abu Dhabi, while kayaking and kite-surfing will soon be available. In addition, a zipline will soon be installed to add another dimension, while fully kitted-out camping grounds will be available for overnight stays in the near future, too.
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5. Family entertainment: Of course, being an outdoor attraction in the UAE, we will be seeing the inevitable line of food trucks to help feed the expected deluge of visitors to the island. There is also a children’s play area and remote control stations for aeroplanes, while a large entertainment arena is in the works, which will cater to a variety of live performances.