Padel, the fastest-growing racquet sport on the planet, has made history in Dubai this month, amassing a prize pool of €500,000 for the World Padel Championship.
The biennial International Padel Federation (IPF) tournament was held earlier this month on refitted and customised courts at Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Stadium.
With the UAE’s multinational logistics company DP World as the official title sponsor, the IPF incentivised professional padel players with half a million Euros. Intended to help grow an appreciation for padel in both the UAE and internationally, the sponsorship attracted some of the biggest teams in padel, including big hitters Spain and Argentina.
Spain and Argentina have dominated the sport as the only two winners of the championship since the inaugural edition in 1992. The two powerhouses of the game squared off in a pulsating men's final at the packed 5000-capacity stadium. Argentina prevailed over rival Spain 2-1 to lift the title. With the victory, Argentina also secured their 11th overall World Championship crown and gained sweet revenge after losing to Spain in last year’s final in Doha.
Reigning world number one Juan Lebron and Francisco Navarro put Spain ahead after coming from behind to beat Argentina’s Federico Chingotto and Agustin Tapia 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the first set. Argentina’s Franco Stupaczuk and Martin Di Nenno defeated Spain’s Arturo Coello and Alejandro Galan 6-3, 6-2 to level the match. Argentina’s Fernando Belasteguin and Sanyo Gutierrez won the decider by outlasting Spain’s Alex Ruiz and Momo Gonzalez 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
The UAE men’s national team made its debut on home turf with an eight-man squad representing the Arabian Gulf, and the championship also featured separate women’s categories, with 16 national teams competing from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay and the USA.
The €500,000 prize pool was distributed equally between the men’s and women's teams; the winners received €45,000, the runners-up got €30,000, the teams finishing third received €24,000, while those in fourth place got €20,000 and those in fifth place received €18,000.
President of the UAE Padel Association (UAEPA), Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum said: “With their unrivalled experience in supporting some of the largest local and international sporting events, DP World’s milestone sponsorship for the World Padel Championship will only help foster the UAE’s position as a global capital of padel and increase exposure to what is already one of the world’s fastest-growing sports.”
Now titled ‘DP World Dubai World Padel Championship 2022’, the event was held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and hosted by the UAEPA in association with Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Department of Economy & Tourism (DET).
“In a relatively short period, padel has seen an exponential rise in popularity, and the UAE has made incredible steps toward becoming a global hub for the sport,” said Chairman and CEO of DP World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, “and our title sponsorship of the World Padel Championship is confirmation of our investment in growing the sport to even greater heights.”
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