Dubai: This is where dreams are made and realised. Ask Rathid Ahmad Al Junaidi, Polina Lemyaseva, Taiki Hiyashi or any of the 250 participants at the Jenan Swimming Gala at Al Nasr.
"I didn't win anything, but it was worth it as this event gave me the opportunity to compete against other children of may age," said Rathid, one of triplets.
"I want to be a lawyer like my father, but it is swimming that will be my sport," added the 11-year-old originally from Palestine, but now living in Dubai with brothers Omar and Mohammad.
Lemyaseva, who bagged the top spot in her age category in the freestyle, has already set the target of creating a legacy as big as Australian legend Ian Thorpe's.
"I know he is a man, but that does not mean I cannot have him as my role model. He motivates me to give my best in the pool and I think swimming can make me as famous as he is," said the 11-year-old.
Hiyashi, an eight-year-old student from Dubai Japanese School, was nervous before taking the plunge in his debut competition. But once he had done so, he said the event turned out to be a memorable experience.
"My heart was pounding as I went up on the block. But once I hit the water and started racing against other kids of my age I was on top of the world," he said. "I can't wait for this competition next year."
There was one swimmer already knocking on the door of his dreams. Korean Ohjun Kweon basked in the limelight when he picked up an amazing six gold medals, including the coveted top spot in the 1km race.
The winners received spectacular gifts including Ipad 2s, Apple Macs, Nintendo Playstations and Canon cameras from Mohammad Eisa Al Ghurair, the patron and founder of the swimming gala.
"Our aim is to spark the competitive spirit in the kids and promote a healthy and active lifestyle among the health conscious community in the UAE," Al Ghurair told Gulf News.