Dubai dishes out $763,000 worth of gold in weight-loss competition


Dubai has dished out 2.8 million dirhams (around $763,000) worth of gold in prizes to contestants in a weight-loss challenge, an initiative by the gulf emirate to fight obesity.

The Your Weight in Gold campaign promised 1 gram of gold for every kilogram shed, provided the contestants lost at least 2 kg by August 16, the end of Ramadan.

Ahmad al-Sheikh, a 27-year-old Syrian architect, claimed the top prize of 63 grams of gold worth 10,048 dirhams ($2,740). Sheikh, who weighed 146.7 kilos at the start of the competition, was one of 2,648 winners who together received a total of 16.82 kg of gold Thursday.

“I actually registered 15 days later in the campaign and was worried at first, because I thought I lost a head start to all the other contestants,” he told the Gulf News daily.

The second and third place winners shed 23 kg and 22 kg.

The Gulf News said that those who shed 5 kg and above got 2 grams of gold for each kilogram lost, while those shedding 10 kg and above were entitled to 3 grams of gold per kilogram.

During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking between dawn and sunset. But many tend to tuck in heartily after dark, despite warnings that overindulgence can be bad for the health.

Many gulf countries are struggling to reduce the level of obesity among their populations.