16 Nov 2014


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 16th November 2014: Beach Touch Rugby – the on-sand version of the world’s most popular non-contact sport which originated in Australia – is to debut in the United Arab Emirates next month as part of the much-anticipated Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) Stopover Destination Village activities on the Corniche Breakwater.


A series of tournaments for both adults and children will run over eight days of competition being organised by UAE Touch, the UAE’s international recognised Touch body and in association with the Federation of International Touch – the sport’s world governing body. A squad of internationally qualified professional coaches will be on hand to guide and supervise.


Inter-school matches will tap off on December 14th to 18th on the beach adjoining Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club with up to 500 youngsters expected to participate.


“Competitions will be held for primary kids of ‘Under 12’ and secondary students ‘Over 12’ age groups,” said John Larkins, President, UAE Touch. “We’re receiving a tremendous response with schools keen on joining in a first-time event. On first hearing, there may not be an instantly recognisable association with a headline sailing event but the fact is both these sports deliver community-based health and fitness opportunities for youngsters.”


On December 21-23, the Stopover will host Beach Touch Open Days for youngsters during the day time and special sunset versions for adults (over 18).


“It’s going to be a tremendous sight with up to 200 sports-keen people a day out on the beach getting exercise as the sun goes down against the superb back drop of Abu Dhabi Corniche and in fabulous temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius,” said Larkins.


On December 26, there’ll be a one-day, open invitation tournament for all ages.


“We have already received interest from teams across the GCC who are planning to come down for this special Boxing Day event when traditionally sport takes centre stage,” explained Larkins. “But people should realise that no previous experience is required to join in the Open Days – they are what they say they are, open to all.”


All participants will receive Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi merchandise. Teams of a minimum of four players and a maximum of eight can enter by emailing: [email protected].


“The inclusion of Beach Touch in our stopover programme heightens the community element of the celebration,” said Mohammed Al Zaabi of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which is behind the emirate’s Volvo Ocean Race campaign, including the Stopover.


 “The beauty of Beach Touch is that anyone can join in – male, female, all nationalities and ages – it’s a social sport with these particular tournaments adding to what will be a tremendous atmosphere in the very heart of the UAE capital.”


Hosted by TCA Abu Dhabi, the Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi Stopover will centre around the Corniche breakwater Destination Village and feature three weeks of sailing action, water-sports, entertainment and family fun. Up to 175,000 visitors are expected to attend.


The Stopover opens on 12th December with the Arabian debut of BBC Worldwide’s highly acclaimed ‘Blue Planet in Concert Live’, which will be performed on a 10-metre wide screen placed on a purpose-built, floating stage in the waters off Abu Dhabi’s Corniche accompanied by the 75-piece, National Symphony Orchestra, Abu Dhabi led by celebrity guest conductor George Fenton.


The village closes on the evening of 3rd January when the awe-inspiring race fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s, including the Azzam yacht sailed by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – the emirate’s very own race contender, departs for its next endurance sailing leg to Sanya, China.


For more information about Abu Dhabi’s 2014/15 VOR Stopover please go to or visit our Facebook and Twitter pages at and @ADORlog.


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