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Thu 14 Aug 2008 08:02 AM

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Dubai's bid to train future Olympic stars

Sports City chiefs believe planned world-class facilities will help to bring success to UAE athletes.

World class training facilities planned at Dubai Sports City's Academy Campus could play a major role in preparing competitors for future Olympics, according to senior executives.

The academies will offer the best facilities for a wide range of sports, including team and individual disciplines, and will be managed and operated by some of the most pre-eminent coaches in their fields.

"We are focused on providing facilities for the next generation of athletes who could go on to represent their country at an international level," said Khalid Al Zarooni, president, Dubai Sports City.

His comments come in the same week that the UAE competitors in Beijing failed to make an impact.

Already, sharp shooter Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hasher Al Maktoum, the UAE's only gold medallist, swimmer Obaid Ahmed Al Jesmi and judo competitor Saeed Rashid Omar Al Qubaisi have failed to make it through qualification events.

"When the Academies open, talented athletes will be able to access the finest facilities, some of the most experienced coaching staff, and training methods. They will also have the opportunity to interact with sportspeople from around the world, ensuring they are exposed to different sporting styles and cultures," Al Zarooni added.

"It will be a unique offering in the world of sport, and will hopefully contribute to developing a broader culture of sporting achievement in this region."

Academies currently under construction at Dubai Sports City include the ICC Global Cricket Academy, Football (home of the Manchester United Soccer Schools, Dubai), Rugby, Swimming and the FIH WorldHockey Academy, the Butch Harmon School of Golf and David Lloyd Tennis Academy.

Each academy will provide a world-class training base for international and UAE athletes, while also offering the perfect environment for local grassroots leagues and coaching.

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