There is no doubt about it! Egypt is seeing a rapidly growing interest in fitness and personal health. Over the past couple of years, everyone and their mother have gotten involved in some sort of physical activity, and it's a trend that we are very excited about.
Having lived in Egypt for a while now, I have definitely been seeing more and more people, from all age groups, actively integrating exercise into their lives. Many parts of Cairo now host communal cycling groups and running groups. This is something that was non-existent 5 years ago and if anything, their popularity is only increasing.
Whether it is yoga or any of its variations - acro, aerial, sufi, or laughter - cross fit, jogging, pole fitness, weight training, kickboxing, or cycling, more and more Egyptians are discovering the benefits of leading an active lifestyle.
Enter Saif Edeen ElBendari, Karim Mamdouh, and Samuel Samy - three men with a collective background in sports and event management.
Spotting a gap in the market, they quickly jumped on the opportunity and founded The League.
So what exactly is The League, I hear you ask?
Simply put, The League is a tech enabled sports event management company that allows amateur men and women to take part in sporting events.
Their aim is to build communities around sports activities and friendly competition. "Inclusivity" is a word that ElBendari kept coming back to when I sat down with him to learn more about The League.
The idea is to help groups of people that are traditionally marginalized in sports, namely youngsters and women, to take part in sporting activities. The League creates events for schools, universities, startups and corporate businesses, pitting students, entrepreneurs and employees against each other or in teams against fellow institutions.
The creators are very keen on catering to all tastes in sports and all fitness levels. Consequently, The League offers a wide range of activities to choose from. You can find, and possibly even request, competitions for table tennis, dodgeball, soccer, flagball, kickball, touch rugby, darts, pool, and bowling among many others.
Since its launch in January this year, The League has already had its first event: A table tennis tournament for startup employees, which was hosted in March by the GrEEK CAMPUS - a university science and technology park located in Downtown Cairo. And they've already started gearing up for their next event, which will take place this coming Ramadan.
The League has decided to shake up the Ramadan soccer competition bandwagon by organizing a Ramadan dodgeball league. I was curious to know why they've chosen dodgeball specifically, considering that it is not a very well known sport in Egypt.
ElBendari explains that they wanted to introduce something new into the mix. While dodgeball isn't a hugely popular sport yet, its fan base is growing at a considerable rate. An Egyptian Dodgeball Federation was set up about a year ago - a testament to the great potential and rise in the popularity of the game.
Dodgeball is reminiscent of an Egyptian childhood game called 'Sayad Elsamak", or 'the fisherman'.
You don't have to be a professional athlete to play Sayad Elsamak. Similarly, you don't have to be a professional athlete in order to partake in this Ramadan dodgeball league.
The League wanted to make it easier for young individuals and women to participate in these Ramadan events, since soccer, the traditional Ramadan sport so to speak, is completely monopolized by men.
This event is open to mixed teams - both men and women are allowed to be on the same team, provided that they are at least 16 years of age. There are no other restrictions.
A healthy level of friendly competition is encouraged, but the name of the game for this event is 'fun'.
And if that's not enough to convince you, your friends and your family members to start building your team, then perhaps the fact that they're giving away the largest cash prize for any dodgeball competition in Egypt will help you make up your mind.
The winning team will be pocketing 15,000 Egyptian pounds in cash, in addition to a handful of gifts from sponsors. The Dodgeball tournament is scheduled to take place from the 30th of May to the 20th of June at the Lake house-The Club, in the 5th Settlement.
The League is planning to organize 15 events throughout this year and aims to double that number in 2018. The team hopes to expand their fan base to include Alexandria and other nearby cities.