ABU DHABI // A team of super-fit officers from the capital’s police easily crushed the competition at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Dash held at Zayed Sports City on Tuesday.
As winners of the first corporate relay race, leading some teams at one point by as many as three laps, the Abu Dhabi Police can now confidently call itself the fastest and fittest corporation in the emirate.
Their victory was no accident, said Rashid Butti Al Qubaisi who carried the team’s baton over the finish line.
"We were not surprised, we had a strategy, before this race we were already doing our sports training in the police force," said Mr Al Qubaisi, an international champion runner who represents the UAE and Abu Dhabi Police in athletic and endurance races.
Al Qubaisi, who is also a police instructor, said a new initiative recently launched by Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi ensured all staff working for the police are active in sports and in constant pursuit of fitness.
"It keeps you healthy and ready to serve the public, do your duty," said Mr Al Qubaisi.
Officer Adbullah Khamis Al Farsi said making fitness an occupational obligation has not only helped to get the force’s employees into shape, but also improved productivity.
"It’s been always said that health, body and mind should work together," said Mr Al Farsi. "If we have a lot of diseases, chronic problems like diabetes and obesity you’re not thinking right, but when you work out and do training outside, it helps you a lot to deal with the office work."
The 10-man police team was one of 32 corporate teams to take part in the inaugural short-distance relay race, which attracted 320 male and female runners of varying levels of fitness and abilities.
"This was a great response," said Sally Corander, managing director for organisers Interact Events.
She said the race aimed to promote fitness and team-building among office workers. It also raised Dh10,000 for Rahma, the Cancer Patient Care Society.
A Dubai edition will be held next month and Ms Corander said the plan is to make it an annual event in both emirates.
Nora Al Suwaidi, director general for Rahma, said the race helped bring the community together for a number of good causes.
"People maintain their cars, their houses, but they forget that you need to take care of yourself first," said Ms Al Suwaidi. "I believe in corporate wellness because executives are the number one people who forget about their health. They sit a lot, they don’t move. So to be able to give them the message and empower them is a wonderful thing."
A team from Emirates Steel came in second followed by the Al Forsan International Sports Resort in third. Prizes were also awarded to the fastest man, Saif Hamad Al Rashdi from Abu Dhabi Police, who ran 1.5km in 4 minutes and 29 seconds; and the fastest woman, German Katja Perez of Daman with a time of 5 minutes and 5 seconds.
Dr Sven Rohte, chief commercial officer for Daman, said win or lose the dash was great fun for all who took part.
"We really enjoyed being here with our colleagues and doing something together," said Dr Rohte. "The value is you really bring together the people, the colleagues and then you create this special moment for everyone. We put colleagues together from different departments that maybe don’t have much interactions on the job but today we were one team and it was a wonderful atmosphere here."
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