Youth Games-1713204232795
The Gulf Youth Games, featuring participation from all Gulf countries, will showcase competitions across 24 individual and team sports. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai, President of the UAE National Olympic Committee, and President of the Gulf Youth Games, said the inaugural edition of event, hosted by the UAE from April 16 to May 2, reflects the commitment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in strengthening bonds among youth and nurturing their capabilities to achieve success on the global sporting stage.

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Scheduled to commence from Tuesday with the participation of around 3,500 male and female athletes, the inaugural edition aims to empower new generation of athletes in the GCC and inspire future generations to excel, as reflected in the event’s theme, ‘Our Gulf is One ... Our Youth is Promising’, Sheikh Ahmed said.

Sheikh Ahmed emphasised the impact of sports events hosted in the GCC, noting their ability to leave a significant legacy, ultimately enhancing the GCC’s reputation and influence within the global Olympic sports arena.

He expressed pride in the dedication of young athletes representing their countries and highlighted their vital role in the sustainable development of their nations. Their commitment to noble sporting values stands as a testament to their potential for success,” he said.

“Young athletes in the GCC have earned admirable achievements in major sporting events, which reflects the progress and expansion of the Olympic movement,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

He urged all committees and teams involved to ensure an exceptional inaugural edition of the Gulf Youth Games, one that mirrors the shared commitment to fostering and showcasing young talents.

24 individual and team sports

The Gulf Youth Games, featuring participation from all Gulf countries, will showcase competitions across 24 individual and team sports. These events will take place at 18 sports facilities spread across five emirates. Abu Dhabi will host football, swimming, judo, boxing, cycling, track and field, sailing, ju-jitsu, and golf, while Dubai will host volleyball, athletics, table tennis, e-sports, athletic events for people with disabilities, and billiards.

In Sharjah, handball, basketball (3x3), karate, chess, equestrian competitions (show jumping), and archery will take place. Triathlon competitions will be held in Ajman, while Fujairah will be the venue for fencing, badminton, and taekwondo competitions. The UAE will be represented by 520 male and female athletes.

Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Vice-President of the UAE National Olympic Committee and President of the Higher Committee for the Gulf Youth Games, highlighted the crucial role youth play in building their nations, and stressed the collective responsibility to support and nurture them. Extending a warm welcome to all participants, he said that the event serves as a platform to celebrate the youth in the Gulf and their contributions.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Vice-President of the UAE National Olympic Committee and Head of the Executive Office, praised the Gulf Youth Games as a milestone in empowering young athletes in the Gulf. He highlighted the UAE’s commitment to nurturing youth talent across all fields, particularly in sports, as evident in various national initiatives and policies.

Dr. Al Falasi noted the UAE leadership’s commitment to creating opportunities for youth to excel. He highlighted the National Youth Agenda, launched in 2016, which fosters youth development and ensures their participation across different sectors.

Fair competition

Faris Al Mutawa, Secretary General of the UAE National Olympic Committee, Vice-President of the Higher Committee for the Gulf Youth Games, and President of the Organising Committee, said that the inaugural edition of the Gulf Youth Games serves as a platform for fostering fair competition and broadening opportunities for specialised sports tournaments. “The Gulf Youth Games represent a convergence of hope, ambition, and passion for excellence within an exemplary atmosphere that fosters creativity.”

To mark the hosting of the Gulf Youth Games, an event scheduled at the Dubai Opera on April 23 promises an enthralling artistic spectacle. It will showcase themes of sustainability, unity, and youth through innovative technology and artistic performances, aiming to ignite creativity and honour the UAE’s cultural legacy while highlighting the progress of the Gulf’s sports movement.

The Gulf Youth Games will commence with football and taekwondo competitions, with the football competition featuring four teams: the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain. Adopting a single-round league format, final standings are determined by total points. All matches will be held at Al Nahyan Stadium, Al Wahda Club in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE national team will face Oman at 4:45pm on Tuesday, followed by Kuwait versus Bahrain at 8:30pm. The second round is scheduled for April 19, with the UAE playing against Bahrain at 4:45pm and Kuwait facing Oman at 8:30pm. The third and final round is set for April 22, with the UAE competing against Kuwait at 4:45pm and Oman challenging Bahrain at 8:30pm.

The second day of competitions includes four events: football matches, taekwondo competitions, sailing, athletics, and athletics for people with disabilities. The tournament will run daily until its May 2, concluding with swimming events.