German tennis legend Boris Becker will be one of the star attractions at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex on Thursday night, as the curtains go up on the 6th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament.
A former world No1, six-time Grand Slam singles champion and winner of five year-end championships, Becker will join a long list of stars who have graced the NAS Sports Tournament, which is organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) in the Holy Month of Ramadhan, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council.
Becker, who won his first major title – the 1985 Wimbledon crown - at the age of 17, joins a list that includes the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Karim Benzema and Riyad Mahrez, and Brazilian Falcao, the “Pele of Futsal”, wo has even played in the tournament.
“It is a great pleasure for us to announce that Boris Becker, one of the biggest names in the world of tennis, will be a guest of honour at the opening ceremony of this very special edition of the NAS Sports Tournament,” said Hassan Al Mazrouei, Director of the tournament.
“We are celebrating this year as the Year of Zayed and this is also the year we are going international with Egypt and Jordan hosting events as part of the Nad Al Sheba Sports. So it is a special moment for us and we are happy to have a great champion grace the opening ceremony.”
The opening ceremony will start at 10pm on Thursday, May 17, and the Organising Committee have been busy putting the finishing touches to a tournament that will see more than 5,000 athletes compete for a total prize-purse of Dh6 million in Dubai, across 11 competitions, from May 18 to June 6.
The Organising Committee has also revealed that some of the latest technology will be made available to the arbitration and technical committees for monitoring results and performance of competitors, including “VIS”, the system used by volleyball’s world governing body, FIVB, to calculate points scored for individual skills of players.
Meanwhile, Dr Hamad Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Technical Committee for the Fencing competition, has revealed that 232 players from 21 countries will take part in the fencing event, including Tunisian Azza Besbes, winner of an individual silver medal in sabre fencing at the 2017 World Championship.
Al Mansouri also added that, for the first time in the UAE, video technology will be used in deciding the winners of the finals and the third-place playoffs.
Also, NAS Fencing will be the first competition to allow expatriates to participate under the country’s flag, as per the decree of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“That group has shown a great interest in participating in the tournament, and their participation will reflect positively on the strength and quality of the competition,” said Al Mansouri.