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Abu Dhabi readies for I PLAY SPORTS final shoot-out

Abu Dhabi is on countdown for the upcoming finals of the first I PLAY SPORTS Ramadan Football Tournament to highlight the importance of exercise in preventing Diabetes, scheduled this Sunday (September 14 2008) at Zayed Sports City. Led by GCSE, ICLDC’s I PLAY SPORTS, in partnership with Emirates Foundation, will see the four group-match qualifying teams battle the semi-finals for a place in the cup final match. The I PLAY SPORTS final takes place on the same evening. The teams from the General Secretariat of the Executive Council (GSEC), Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) and The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) have all shown sterling abilities, knocking the six contenders out of the early rounds. In a fiercely contested qualifier for the semi-finals, each of the ten teams played at-least three group matches against each other over three days. The teams, played seven-a-side, and competed on a points-based result. Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, Consultant Endocrinologist and Medical & Research Director, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) in Abu Dhabi said that regular exercise is found to lower the risk of developing Diabetes by 58%. “I PLAY SPORTS is a fitting example of how regular exercise can help protect against Diabetes,” she said. She recommends 30-minutes of moderate exercise each day. The event has been supported by 16 of the capital’s leading corporations, including ALDAR Properties as Platinum Sponsor. Mohamed Mohammed Al Mubarak, ALDAR’s Chief Strategy and Infrastructure Officer said: "With our rapidly changing lifestyles and eating habits, it is becoming extremely essential to lead a healthy and balanced life. Today, it seems that outdoor activities are much reduced and find a position of seemingly lesser importance in the day-to-day routine of individuals. “I PLAY SPORTS is a sterling initiative to promote the concept of outdoor games, which go a long way in eliminating ailments, and more particularly helping to rid Diabetes." Echoing his sentiments is Mark Erhart, Director of Mubadala Healthcare, the event’s Joint Official Sponsor and a semi-finals qualifier: “I PLAY SPORTS is a lynchpin to the ‘DIABETES. KNOWLEDGE.ACTION’ public health awareness campaign. It has a crucial message for the UAE: Exercise can prevent Diabetes, and will help you achieve an active balanced lifestyle.” Dr Maha emphasised that while football is good, the key is to choose a sport that suits and encourages the uptake of a regular, enjoyable routine. “The key to enjoying physical activity is to choose the sport that you really like. Make it fun and exciting. It can be swimming, squash, tennis and any aerobics exercise, or even using a treadmill.” She said that the UAE’s corporations can play a powerful role by heightening awareness on the aspects of a healthy lifestyle: “The corporate sector can help us in the goal of a Diabetes-free nation, by spreading awareness among their team,” she concluded. The I PLAY SPORTS Ramadan Football Tournament is part of the fifth pillar of the award-winning, public health awareness campaign, ‘DIABETES.KNOWLEDGE.ACTION.’ under the patronage of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

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