Friday 02 June 2023 - 9:27:50 am

Abu Dhabi to host Masters Games Series 2026

ABU DHABI, 23rd March, 2023 (WAM) -- The International Masters Games Association (IMGA) announced today that Abu Dhabi has won the hosting rights to organise the Masters Games Series - Abu Dhabi 2026 for Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East.

The event is to take place under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

The first ever Masters Games in the Middle East will be held from 23rd March to 1st April 2026. The multinational sports event represents the UAE leadership’s support for developing the sports sector and reaffirms the leadership’s keenness to embrace top international events and create opportunities for global outreach and world peace.

Hosting of the Games for the first time in the Arab world further strengthens Abu Dhabi’s global position in attracting leading events and the UAE’s commitment to advancing global sporting events.

The Games consist of 30 sports and is open to all people of all abilities, aged 25 years and above.

The Games aim to encourage all Emiratis and expatriates to engage in sports, improve community member’s physical and mental health, bring athletes together from different generations, strengthen the sports ecosystem, and develop sports facilities while highlighting the host nation’s intrinsic culture, heritage and traditions.

The UAE’s capital is expected to host between 5,000-10,000 athletes over nine days in various sports, including: basketball, 3X3 basketball, volleyball, jiu jitsu, muaythai, archery, badminton, weightlifting, table tennis, tennis, padel, athletics, squash, football, ice hockey, cycling, obstacle courses, shooting, swimming, golf, kayaking, rowing, sailing, falconry, camel racing, triathlon and futsal.

H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, affirmed that Abu Dhabi hosting of the 2026 Masters Games Series marks another success in the capital’s history of hosting international events, and is a testimony to the UAE’s wise leadership’s vision and support.

“The support of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been instrumental in Abu Dhabi’s winning of the bid to host this global event. We are very proud to host this event and look forward to welcoming the world, once again to Abu Dhabi and to the UAE. The upcoming event shall be held for the first time in the Middle East, which further reaffirms Abu Dhabi's leading position in hosting major global sporting events," he said.

“Such events fulfil various important objectives, as they engage thousands of athletes from all segments of the UAE society, and from across the world, demonstrating the UAE’s tolerance and openness to all cultures. With the support of our wise leadership, the state-of-the art infrastructure we have built, and our approach to implementing the highest professional standards, together we will be able to host a great show for the entire world," Sheikh Nahyan added.

H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed praised Abu Dhabi’s winning of the rights to host and organise the Masters Games Series - Abu Dhabi 2026. This new tournament marks a new addition to the UAE's already impressive list of world-class sporting events and that of Abu Dhabi in particular. We owe this success to our wise leadership’s guidance and its insightful vision, he said.

"We are ready to provide all the support and reasons for success for the upcoming global event in which thousands of athletes from all over the world will participate, as Abu Dhabi is an ideal destination to host the upcoming competitions, starting from its central geographical location, in addition to its modern world-class facilities and infrastructure.

“The upcoming Games is more than just a global sporting event, it is a catalyst for improving the quality of life, and providing an opportunity for various members of society to participate in competitions, alongside professional and amateur participants from different nations of the world,” he stated.

Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of Community Development, emphasised the importance of Abu Dhabi hosting this global event within the vision of the wise leadership as a way of building bridges of communication and promoting community health through sports. “The UAE views the sports sector’s initiatives through its comprehensive efforts to build people and preserve their physical and psychological health as a way of life that reflects positively on society as a whole."

She explained, “Choosing Abu Dhabi to host the Masters Games Series - Abu Dhabi 2026 will be a qualitative addition to the level of organisation, and an opportunity to highlight the authentic values of the UAE's land and culture. In addition to strengthening Abu Dhabi's position as a leading global destination in organising and hosting major community and sporting events embodied in the various Masters Games. The event brings together different cultures and peoples of different age groups under its umbrella.”

Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, expressed his happiness at the news of Abu Dhabi hosting the Masters Games Series - Abu Dhabi 2026. It is another distinguished addition to the list of major sporting events hosted in the capital city, which reflects its readiness in terms of sports facilities and infrastructure, he said.

“We are striving greatly to promote sport to become a way of life for members of society, and for our society to become active and responsible, whether by hosting sports and world championships, or by organising them by involving individuals and making them active,” Dr. Al Khaili emphasised.

He also pointed out sport’s critical role in removing societal barriers and bringing all communities together while improving the overall quality of life. Additionally, the economic impact has proven to be vast.

Khoder Nashar/ Hazem Hussein