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Dubai turns to genetics to produce athletes

Dubai turns to genetics to produce athletes

Dubai Sports Council plans to use genetic testing to develop the UAE’s sporting talent

Dubai Sports Council (DSC) has announced plans to use genetic testing to develop the emirate’s athletes.

The organisation signed a deal on Wednesday with Finnish company Evogenom Oy to conduct scientific assessments of athletes in all sports to reveal their physical and mental abilities and performance.

The results could then be used to help athletes improve training programmes and skills development and even avoid injury.

DSC said it would work with global partners to conduct testing and gather detailed information about athletes for clubs and organisations from its headquarters in Dubai.

The assesment programme, claimed to be a UAE and regional first, will be used to develop the country’s talent in football and other sports from a young age “by directing them to the appropriate sport for their physical and mental abilities”.

This will ensure “the best investment is achieved for Dubai clubs, football companies and athletes, who are able to develop their abilities and achieve achievements at the national and international level,” according to the announcement.

Decisions the testing could help make include weight control, diet, sleep times and daily activity, while it can also determine rate of muscle damage during exercise, oxygen consumption, blood circulation and other key details.

“The list of data provided by Evogenom is up to 700,000 points of detailed information about the athlete. So it provides a comprehensive data on lifestyle, the quality of nutrition and the proportion of salts and minerals needed, along with the exercise and sport that is best suited to each person,” said CEO Hannu Tolvanen.

All testing and results will be strictly confidential and only available to official sports bodies with the permission of each athlete for the purpose of preparing a diet programme and suitable training regime.

“Genetic data will not be retained for individuals to be screened,” Tolvanen said.

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