Mattie Stewart-Jonson pretty much epitomises the rugby scene in Dubai as his enthusiasm for the game takes the breath away.
While the superstars descend on the Sevens Stadium on the Dubai-Al Ain Road in the UAE — from Japan to England to the United States — it is the next generation that is the focus as we celebrate 50 years of sporting achievements in the UAE.
Mattie’s dad David was here 22 years ago when UAE Rugby was in an embryonic state and thanks to him and his ilk we now have a thriving society and the Dubai 7s.
“We are here to show that things are not about what the UAE has done but what we still plan to do,” said Mattie after his Dubai College side stormed into the semi-finals of their competition. “If we look around and we see the facilities we have we can only be thankful. But we want to take it to the next level and show what the previous generation have put in all this hard work. We are here to take it forward.”
Mattie’s mother Paula knows the trials and tribulations — having had many visits to the A&E with her three boys and their sporting activities, there is rarely a week without plaster cast. She is also helping out as a marshall along with dad George to illustrate the family dedication.
“With the Sevens coming back after COVID the main thing has to be unity,” said Mattie. “We missed a year and had to be careful, but we are back and we need to show our power. Spirit will always be stronger.”
Mattie’s mum Paula added: ”It is stressful when I see my boys out there but I am proud that they are my kids. It is not about winning but about getting to to the next level.”
Mattie signed off: "We are here as DC and we want to win. Every day. Let’s look to the next 50 years as a celebration. There are fireworks this weekend but we do it every week.”