Seven-year-old Lamia Tariq Malallah, one of the six nominees shortlisted for this year’s Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Creativity Award, has been a constant performer for the UAE on the international stage, winning medals in France, Germany and Greece. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The organisers of the First Emarat National Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship is hopeful that the prodigious Lamia Tariq Malallah can lead the way for other national sportswomen in aspiring for Olympic glory.

Seven-year-old Lamia, one of the six nominees shortlisted for this year’s Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Creativity Award, has been a constant performer for the UAE on the international stage winning medals in France, Germany and Greece.

The Dubai resident, who is the face of the First Emarat National Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship to be held at Al Habtoor Tennis Academy on November 16, is hoping to raise the bar each year with the hope of bagging an Olympic gold medal by the 2024 Paris Games.

“We have been trying to get as many Emiratis in rhythmic gymnastics as possible through our school. We started just two years ago and today we have at least 10 young emiratis who have all shown tremendous growth in the sport in such a short time,” Ksenia Dzhalaganiya, organiser of the competition and owner of Dubai Youth Olympic School of Rhythmic Gymnastics, said at the announcement in the presence of championship ambassador Tariq Abdullah Malallah and Dubai Sports Council’s Ghazi Al Madani on Tuesday.

“The intention is always to get as many students as we can as that is one sure way of ensuring competition for choosing gymnasts to represent the country. We have got more than 200 students registering for this competition and we feel that we are headed in the right direction of tapping talent among Emirati youngsters,” she added.

Last year, the Dubai Youth Olympic School of Rhythmic Gymnastics organised an open competition that attracted more than 500 gymnasts from across the world. “Honestly, it should have been the other way around. But, having a national championship is one of the ways in which we can tap talent. The numbers for the first emirati competition shows that more clubs and schools are getting involved in rhythmic gymnastics and that’s a good sign to start with,” Dzhalaganiya noted.

The first Emarat National Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship is being presented by Al Habtoor Group and Dubai Duty Free with the Dubai Youth Olympic School of Rhythmic Gymnastics being backed by the Dubai Sports Council (DSC).

The competition is open to children between five to 15 years with clubs participating in Categories A and B while schools will compete in Category C. Emirati sportswomen Amna Al Haddad (Weighlifting), Amal Mourad (Parkour) and Alanoud Mabrouk (Fencing) will be felicitated for their role in inspiring young women in UAE sport on the occasion.