UAE life savers compete at sea

Forty lifeguards from around the UAE competed for top honours in the Middle East's first-ever lifesaving championship, held last month at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah.

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By  Sarah Gain Published  August 14, 2006

Forty lifeguards from around the UAE competed for top honours in the Middle East's first-ever lifesaving championship, held last month at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah. Amid challenging physical conditions, including punishing mid-day heat and rough seas, ten teams of four lifeguards all vied for the fastest performance times in pool and beachfront endurance tests and staged emergency scenarios. Wild Wadi in Dubai, who recorded wins in the pool and beach emergency incident categories and the team endurance event, took first place. Second and third place honours went to the lifeguard teams from the Madinat Jumeirah and the Jumeirah Beach Club respectively, while Le Meridien Al Aqah and Le Royal Meridien jointly shared fourth place. Lifeguard teams from Emirates Palace, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Grand Hyatt Dubai, the Mecure Grand Al Ain and the Oasis Beach Resort also put in solid performances at the region's first national water-safety competition. “What we've done through Le Meridien's Lifeguard Championship is highlight the critical job performed every day by the nation's lifeguards, while raising awareness about the need for water safety standards across the UAE,” said Patrick Antaki, general manager, Le Meridien Al Aqah. Bringing international best practices to the inaugural lifeguard competition was chief official Peter Whittall, an international water safety management expert and a representative of the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management (ISRM) and the Institute of Qualified Lifeguards (IQL) in the UK. “The interest in this event, which is the first of its kind for the region, has been phenomenal,” said Whittall. “We hope to now be able the make this competition an annual event, perhaps with the hosting rotating across different hotels in the UAE. “It would also be great if, in the future, we had some female lifeguards participating too,” he added.

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