Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the United Arab Emirates
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Sports

The Dominican Republic's sunny and warm year-round climate creates the perfect environment for sports. Whether your game is golf, diving, windsurfing, fishing or sailing on the high seas, sports are an exciting way to experience this country's natural beauty, beaches, mountains, waterfalls and amazing countryside.

The Dominican Republic is the perfect location for all kinds of sporting events. It hosts leading international tournaments such as windsurf and kiteboarding in Cabarete, fishing tournaments at Cabeza de Toro and golf courses around Punta Cana.

It's also worth noting that Dominicans have been working very hard at volleyball. The women's team has won several international championships, making their team one of the best in the world.

Baseball

BaseballBaseballBaseballBaseball

Dominicans' greatest passion, baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic today. After the United States, the Dominican Republic has the second-highest number of baseball players in Major League Baseball (MLB). Some of the Dominican players have been regarded as among the best in the game such as Pedro Martinez, Sammy Sosa, Julian Javier, and George Bell. More than five hundred of our ballplayers have been key members of many major U.S. teams. If you are visiting between October and Jaunary, be sure to catch a baseball game during the annual Dominican Winter League Baseball season.

History of Baseball in the Dominican Republic:

Back in 1866, American sailors stationed on the Island of Cuba taught natives the rules of the game of baseball. Following the Ten Years' War in Cuba, baseball migrated to the Dominican Republic along with Cubans who were fleeing their country. Quickly nicknamed "beisbol" by the Dominican people, the sport was rapidly learned and became a passion. Today, traveling from one side of the country to the other presents national scores of baseball fields and stadiums, attesting to the Dominicans' love for the game.

The sport first turned competitive in the 1920s when baseball games began being played against neighboring countries. This competitiveness encouraged the establishment of the Dominican Baseball League. Four baseball teams were formed: Tigers del Licey and Leon del Escogido, both from Santo Domingo, Estrellas Orientals of San Pedro and the Las Aguilas in Santiago. The popularity of professional baseball in the Dominican Republic ascended throughout the following years, but came to a stop in 1937 due to a financial downturn in the country. The stoppage finally ended in 1951 with the return of professional baseball. Dominicans' idea of hosting amateur baseball in the summer and professional baseball during the winter months was generated, therefore, giving the Caribbean the "home of winter baseball" title.

Today there are two additional teams in the country's professional baseball league: the Azucareros del Este from La Romana and the Gigantes del Cibao. Each season extends from the end of October through February, with the winner advancing to the Caribbean Series. At the series, the winning team of the Dominican Republic league plays against the champions of Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rica leagues.

Many MLB and minor players play in the Dominican League during their own off-season. Ozzie Virgil, Sr. became the first Dominican-born player in the MLB on September 23, 1956. A few of the others born in the Dominican Republic are: Julian Javier, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Hanley Ramirez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Ubaldo Jiménez, Juan Marichal (a Baseball Hall of Fame member), and Sammy Sosa.

Today MLB boasts 101 Dominican Republic players, Pedro Martinez and Jose Reyes of the NY Mets, of the Orioles Daniel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre of the Mariners, Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals, Vladimir Guerrero and Bartolo Colon of the Los Angeles Angels, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox and Alfonso Soriano, Manny Acta of the Nationals.

To the Dominican people, baseball is not only a sport, but a way of life. Players here put heart and soul into the sport. While some players advance professionally into the United States, others continue to compete in the Dominican Republic, and several players play for fun. But regardless of where the Dominicans play baseball, the sport will always be an admirable and historical part of the country’s culture.

Golf

Golf in DRGolf in DR

Golf is one of the Dominican Republic's top attractions, bringing thousands of tourists in crowds to this destination. What makes golf so popular is the combination of outstanding year round summer weather and the varied terrain. Caribbean weather allows for play even during rainy days, when brief showers quickly give way to clear skies. Residents in Santo Domingo have the option to play at the resorts or to join nearby clubs. The Federation of Dominican Golf is active and organizes tournaments all year round.

The Dominican Republic is one of the premier golf destinations in the Caribbean where golfers will find 24 courses with oceanfront fairways and dogleg lefts around swaying coconut palms. They will also find courses designed by legends such as Pete Dye, P.B. Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones, Gary Player, Tom Fazio and Nick Faldo.

Most golf clubs provide lessons and host several annual tournaments. Golf packages of all kinds for both the serious and the recreational player are available at resorts around the island. These packages, usually all-inclusive of room, meals, and drinks, include green fees and cart rentals. The majority of the golf courses are found along the coast in the country's burgeoning resorts, each with its own distinct identity, carefully designed with the coastline and hills incorporated to doubly challenge the golfers

A favorite golfing destination of former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. Bush, the Dominican Republic has become one of the hottest spots to tee-off in the Caribbean, if not the world.

Basketball

Basketball in DR

Basketball also enjoys a great popularity in the Dominican Republic. With Al Horford’s selection in the NBA’s 2007 draft, Dominican basketball entered a new era. Horford’s high selection came as no surprise for many fans of this talented Dominican athlete, but many would be surprised to learn about the Dominican Republic’s long-standing contribution to basketball on an international level. Horford, although the highest Dominican to be picked in the NBA’s yearly draft, isn’t the first and will certainly not be the last and has now become the marquee name leading the Dominican Republic’s new generation of hardwood wizards.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the Mecca of international basketball. For those lucky few who get to wear an NBA uniform at least once in their lives they have the honor of saying that they played with the world’s best players and to date, 10 Dominicans can proudly make that claim.

Boxing

Boxing

Boxing is an important sport in the Dominican Republic and the country has produced scores of world-class fighters and world champions, both professionals and amateurs, among them Carlos Teo Cruz, Leo Cruz, Julio César Green, Joan Guzmán, and Juan Carlos Payano.

Volleyball

Volleyball in DR

Volleyball was introduced by the U.S. marines in 1916. The first international competition came in 1934 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with the Caribbean Volleyball Tournament. The most important goal for the women's team was winning the gold medal at the 2003 Panamerican Games. Starting from 2007, the Dominican Volleyball Federation holds the Dominican Volleyball League every year. It is a professional volleyball league with eight participating teams in both genders. The women's senior team is ranked 13th in the FIVB ranking and the men's senior team is ranked 38th. Many Dominican play at international clubs in America, Europe and Asia, like Bethania de la Cruz, Cosiri Rodríguez, and Elvis Contreras.

Olympics

Olympics

The first Olympic participation of the Dominican Republic was in 1964 with just one athlete, Alberto Torres de la Mota ("El Gringo”) in Track & Field (100m). The first medalist was the boxer Pedro Julio Nolasco who won the bronze medal in the 1984 Olympic Games. The first gold medal, and second medal, came by the two-time world champion 400 m hurdles Félix Sánchez in the 2004 Olympic Games. In the Beijing Olympiad 2008, boxer Manuel Félix Díaz and the taekwondo practitioner Gabriel Mercedes won golden and silver medals respectively.

In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic Olympic Committee sent the nation's largest delegation to the Games. A total of 35 athletes, 15 men and 20 women, competed in 10 sports. For the first time in Olympic history, Dominican Republic was represented by more female than male athletes. Women's volleyball was the only team-based sport in which Dominican Republic had its representation in these Olympic games.

The Dominican Republic team featured promising athletes: Felix Sánchez, track star in the hurdles and former Olympic gold medalist, Luguelín Santos, world junior champion, and gold medalist at the first Youth Olympic Games, and Gabriel Mercedes, Olympic silver medalist in the men's taekwondo event at Beijing. Among these athletes, two of them won the nation's only medals in athletics at the London games. Felix Sánchez also managed to repeat his gold medal streak from Athens in the men's 400 m hurdles event. Luguelín Santos, on the other hand, settled for the silver instead in the men's 400 metres, behind Grenada's Kirani James. Gabriel Mercedes, being the only medalist to return for his second Olympic appearance, was the nation's flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

Swimming

SwimmingSwimmingSwimming

Dominican ultra-distance swimmer in open waters, Marcos Diaz is the first and only swimmer that has united all five continents in the world by swimming.

Marcos was born in January 12, 1975 in Santo Domingo, as a child he was diagnosed with chronic asthma. At the age of 6 he began swimming advised by his doctors as a way to fight his condition. Destiny was outlined. Through this sport he discovered how to handle adversities and self-improvements. He found in open water swimming a way to combine his love for the sea and his passion for long lasting and endurance sports. Marcos would cease to be an infant with poor health; to become one of the most outstanding athletes of our times.

A spirit, that he has carried with him to each victoriously competition that he has won, and has impregnated to these journeys that allowed him to swim twice around Manhattan Island, join in a round trip the  Strait of Gibraltar or being the first Dominican in crossing the English Channel.

Marcos has received numerous national and international recognitions, amongst which can be named:

  • Man of the Year award from the World Open Water Swimming Association 2010, given during the Global Open Water Swimming Conference in 2011. New York.
  • Good Will Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program (PNUD-RD).
  • Order of Merit Duarte, Sanchez and Mella (The highest distinction that can be conferred to a citizen in the Dominican Republic).)
  • Man of the Year 2006. (Under a national survey done by Diario Libre)
  • Honorary Good Will Ambassador of the Dominican Republic. .
  • Designated an Illustrious son of the city of Santo Domingo.
  • Grand National Youth Award. (Two consecutive years).
  • Key holder of the city of Santo Domingo East.
  • Recognition by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Dominican Republic.
  • Other national and international recognitions.

Diving and Snorkeling

diving diving

Diving in the DR is spectacular. In fact, the country is often listed as one of the top diving locations in the Caribbean. The great visibility and reefs filled with marine life, the waters shelter some very cool shipwrecks. Up north, the water at crescent-shaped Sosua Bay is visited by whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, and countless tropical fish species. There are shallow reefs that are perfect for learners and beginners, but more advanced sites like the Airport Wall—an underwater cliff with tunnels between 40 and 100 feet long—are just offshore.

In the south, the island of Isla Saona, about 30 minutes off the coast of La Romana, is part of the Parque Nacional del Este, an almost 200,000-acre nature preserve. The island draws lots of day-tripping scuba divers, who come for the masses of tropical fish, corals, and sponges, and an underwater shipwreck, the Saint George (which, at about 100 feet deep, is best for more advanced divers). The island also has wide, pretty beaches with calm water that's perfect for snorkeling.

Just east of Santo Domingo in Boca Chica, the small but fabulous underwater preserve of La Caleta Underwater National Park (about three square miles) is considered by many scuba-heads to be one of the Caribbean's top dive sites. The big draws are the shipwrecks of the Hickory and Limón, both of which sit at a depth of about 60 feet. Nearby, there's cave diving at Cueva Taina, a winding 300-foot-long system of underwater caves. Night dives and freshwater dives are also offered.

Windsurfing & Kiteboarding

Windsurfing

Among those who are lovers of extreme water sports, the Dominican Republic is recognized worldwide for its beaches and the town of Cabarete as the "Kiteboarding capital of the world."

The Cabarete offers the perfect combination of beaches, winds and waves to create the best conditions for the "kiteboarding". Cabarete has played host to numerous world-class events. Every June, it hosts Cabarete Race Week, an international windsurfing competition that incorporates exciting windsurfing competition and a ton of fun.

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