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Dubai Announces World’s First Future Sports Games

23 Mar, 2016

By: Tracey Schelmetic

What kind of sports might grab spectators' attention in the future? Drone racing? Robot soccer? That’s the question being asked in advance of December of 2017, when the first World Future Sports Games will be held in Dubai. According to the World Federation of Future Sports, which is organizing the event, the games will be the first initiative of its kind in the world featuring innovation and futuristic technology-based sports competitions. If it’s successful, the event will be held over a three-day period every two years.

According to local news source Emirates 24-7, teams from around the world will compete in nine futuristic competitions that employ modern technology and artificial intelligence: driverless car racing, robotic soccer, robotic running competitions, manned drones racing , robotics swimming, robotic table tennis, robotic wrestling,  drones races and a cybathlon, which is a competition for parathletes and people with severe disabilities who compete with the aid of bionic implants, prosthetics and other assistive technology.

The inaugural event will be overseen by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,  Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and under Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation.

"Today we start a new phase in our march to the future through the launch of these unique initiatives that are built on the success of our global platforms, the UAE Drones for Good Award and UAE AI and Robotics Award for Good,” said Sheikh Hamdan. “Over the last two years, these platforms have attracted thousands of entries and hundreds of teams from around the world to strengthen the position of the UAE in the field of innovation at the global level.”

Future sports aren’t new to Dubai. In mid-March, it hosted the World Drone Prix, a race for high-speed robotic fliers. Over 100 teams participated in the qualifying rounds for the Drone Prix, and the final event, held on March 11th, featured a competition between 32 participants who qualified for the finals. The winners, 15-year-old Briton Luke Bannister and his team, took home a $250,000 prize from a $1 million prize pool. The event attracted more than 2,000 spectators.

How seriously should the world take drone racing? The sport has already attracted investment in the United States. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross recently invested $1 million in the first round of funding for New York-based startup The Drone Racing League via his investment firm RSE Ventures, according to the The Wall Street Journal.

Sheikh Hamdan said the World Federation of Future Sports will work with specialized international federations to create an integrated global system to support the new Future Sports Sector by organizing scientific and technological competitions in different parts of the world integrating research and technological development with sports, according to Emirates 24-7. The goal of the event, its organizer said, is to cultivate sports in a way that will contribute to promoting research and development in various technology-related sectors and create innovative applications that can help enhance human life.

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