Dubai Sports City to host 2009 hockey Asia Cup

July 24th, 2008 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, July 23 (IANS) The 2009 Asia Cup hockey tournament will be the first international event to held at this West Asian metropolis’ brand new sports facility, Dubai Sports City (DSC). “The hockey stadium at Dubai Sport City will be ready early in 2009, in good time for the Asia Cup,” DSC chief executive U. Balasubramaniam said in a statement here.

“We will be encouraging local hockey fans to come and enjoy seeing this competition in the Middle East for the first time.”

The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) had, in its 49th council meeting in Hyderabad last week, awarded the 2009 event to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Others who bid for the tournament were Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

“This is the first of the many international tournaments to be announced for Dubai Sports City. We are proud that our partnership with the UAE Hockey Committee - who will have a base at Dubai Sports City - has brought this event to Dubai,” Balasubramaniam said.

DSC was holding talks with many other sports governing bodies to bring a wide variety of the events to the facilities it was developing, he added.

“The hockey stadium is taking shape with the pitch area almost ready for the artificial playing surface to be laid, and the permanent stands well under construction,” Macky Dudhia, general manager of sports business at DSC, said in the statement.

Though the exact dates for the tournament are yet to be announced, teams participating will include India, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The tournament is also a qualifying event for the 2010 hockey World Cup.

India is the current holder of the Asia Cup, after having defended the title at home last year.

DSC will also be home to the World Hockey Academy, a first of its kind in partnership with the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

In addition to the 5,000-seat hockey stadium, DSC includes a 60,000-seat multi-purpose outdoor stadium, a 25,000-seat cricket stadium, a 10,000-seat indoor arena and The Els Club 18-hole championship golf course.

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