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From Persian emperors to English kings, royals have long engaged in certain athletic activities as a symbol of their high-class upbringings. As a results, these undertakings continue to uphold a high standard in the world of sports. \nToday, I look at several such sports, from horseback riding to rifle shooting, and where one can practice them in the UAE.
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\nLong seen as the sport of royals, Polo is believed to have first originated in Persia during the 6th century, when Persian Emperor Shapur II learned it at seven years old. But enough history – today, there are several outlets for Polo in the UAE.
\nOne of the best is the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. Its membership prices starts at AED15,000 ($4,083) per year.
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\nWhether it’s in movies or historical books, horseback riding always appeared as a sport for royals. The UAE prides itself on its many horseback riding institutions, including the Emirates Equestrian Centre.
\nBeing the only fully approved British Horse Society riding and training centre in the Middle East, it features British Horse Society instructors and an approved BHS pony club. It’s located approximately 50kms from Dubai and its prices start at AED100 for a 45 minute lesson
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\nThere’s a reason luxury country clubs feature tennis as their number one sport. The game first started in the wealthy parts of France and travelled to England to become a favourite of King Henry VIII of England.
\nWhile the sport can be played at multiple locations, including many hotels, in the UAE, we recommend the Meydan Tennis Academy, located at Meydan Race Course.
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\nThe first association related to shooting was the National Rifle Association in Britian, the NRA, which was founded in 1860 to encourage rifle shooting throughout the country. It quickly caught on in other parts of the world, including Russia, for military reasons. Nonetheless, it remains a highly respected sports.
\nMy favourite spot to practice the sport is the Jebel Ali Shooting Club, part of the Jebel Ali Golf Resort. Prices start at AED175.
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\nThe modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland, but historians have traced the sport back to similar Roman, Persian, and Chinese games. Golf quickly escalated as a royal game when James II banned the game only to become a golfer himself a few years later.
\nOne of first gold clubs in the city, Dubai Creek Golf Club in Deira, is my preferred destination for the sports. The club’s prices start at AED770 per person.