The 2019 Zayed Sports Tournament will include a number of women-only competitions to encourage more women from the United Arab Emirates to take part.

Previously many women were unable to participate because women’s events were held in mixed environments.

The move follows the introduction of women-only football at last year’s tournament, and this time will include events such as handball and basketball.

“The move was to encourage more women, whether locals or residents, professional or amateur, to take part in sports,” said Nefeli Chondrogianni, communication and technical affairs manager at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy.

The academy worked with the organisers of the tournament, the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel, to introduce more women-only events.

Fatima Al Ameri of the academy added: “In the past, it was mostly women from international teams who participated. Very few women participated from the UAE.”

The Zayed Sports Tournament has been running for 23 years and includes 16 sports from football and swimming to ice hockey, chess and archery.

The tournament takes place each year during Ramadan, with the 2019 competition running from 9 to 28 May with 68 teams and 2750 athletes registered to take part.

Host venues include Zayed Sports City and the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club, with the karting and duathlon competitions taking place at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The competition welcomes professional and recreational teams, as well as individuals, with prize money ranging from Dh10,000 for archery champions to Dh45,000 for the winning basketball team.