Dubai: The UAE Minister of Education has spelt out the benefits of taking part in sport and healthy living for young people.
“Practising sports is one of the most significant ways of keeping healthy and developing a personality for the future,” Humaid Mohammad Al Qutami told Gulf News after opening the 2nd Gulf School Games in the presence of Mohammad Al Kamali, General Secretary, UAE National Olympic Committee (UAENOC), and Dr Ahmad Sa’ad Al Sharif, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council (DSC), at the Al Ahli Club premises late on Friday.
“We need to start young with children. We need to give them the opportunities of setting up a secure and healthy future for the benefit of our society. And when it comes to sport, there can be no second option.”
The minister further noted that this gathering of nearly 500 students from across eight Arab nations in the region will be one of the sporting highlights in the future. “We need to make sport relevant to our times,” he said. “We cannot compromise when it comes to bringing our children together on a platform of healthy competition. And while they compete, they learn something much more that will benefit them to grow as responsible citizens and members of society.”
Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Education and the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States, the five-day championship comprises four competitions to be held at different venues in Dubai.
Athletes from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq and Kuwait will be competing with hosts UAE in four competitions in the under-14 age category.
The table tennis for girls event is being held at the Al Mizher Sports Hall, while the gymnastics for under-12 and under-14 boys competition is being held at the Salahuddin Hall. The swimming for boys is being conducted at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Sports Complex, while the athletics will take place at the Dubai Police Officers’ Club and Al Wasl Club on February 11-12.
The first Gulf School Games were held in Qatar in 2008, with the UAE coming home with 16 medals, including four gold and five silver.
Hassan Lootah, Director, Physical Education Department, Ministry of Education took the oath on behalf of the participants, while tournament director Ahmad Abdul Rahman unfurled the competition flag.