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Top UAE official hopes for successful School Olympics debut

Abdul Malek calls for full support in efforts to produce future stars

Gulf News

Dubai: A top official from the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare (GAYSW) has urged all sports associations and bodies in the UAE to help make the upcoming launch of the UAE’s inaugural School Olympics a huge success.

“We need each and every association to be involved with the launch of the School Olympics as this will be the breeding ground for sports talent coming through in the country,” Ebrahim Abdul Malek, Secretary General of GAYSW, told media here.

“It is not just taking part in the activities of this programme, but a total involvement that is needed from one and all so that we can have sports talent coming out through the system.”

Taking the cue from some of the most successful sports nations in the world, the UAE decided to introduce School Olympics in the country earlier this year.

The national project, to be run under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and with the close co-ordination of the UAE Inter-School Sports Association (UAE ISSA) and the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC), is scheduled to take off from this academic year.

The Schools Olympics project will involve five sporting disciplines, including swimming, shooting, gymnastics and archery, and Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education, has said that the Games should see its launch as early as September or October.

As per the plan, students aged between eight to 15 in government schools will participate in compulsory Olympics-style competitions to find and nurture future Olympic champions. “Attending the recent London Olympics has shown us what we are falling in our system. We have the talent and we just need to identify it and tap it so that they can compete at the international level and bring in the medals,” Abdul Malek noted.

The blueprint for the School Olympics is already in place and the UAE is embarking on plans to launch the first test by getting ready to host a GCC-level Sports Olympics later this year. In addition, plans are also afoot to launch a specialised diploma course in coordination with the UAENOC.

“I think the School Olympics is a huge responsibility that has to be shouldered by everyone concerned in the sports sector in the UAE. All of us need to work together to ensure we reap the fruits for this prestigious project,” he added.


Juan Martin Del Potro holds the championship trophy after defeating Roger Federer (not pictured) in the men's finals in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.