Dubai: The UAE Sports Federation for Schools and University Education Institutions has launched a School Games programme in a bid to develop champions by providing training at the grassroots level in special centres for both Emiratis and expatriates.
These centres aim to prepare, qualify and develop the talents and sports abilities of students in the age groups from 9-14 years in eight sporting disciplines, namely judo, shooting, fencing, athletics, archery, swimming, taekwondo and badminton.
“The focus and target is to discover talent, increase sports participation and competitiveness to find stronger athletes and to create a model where there are more number of athletes, which the respective federations can benefit from. It’s open for all residents of UAE, every student,” Sheikh Suhail Bin Butti Al Maktoum, Secretary General of the Federation, told Gulf News.
These centres will start working as of February 15, in three sports, athletics, badminton and swimming, under the supervision of a group of qualified coaches, in cooperation with various sports federations and the Emirates Schools Establishment. It has been carefully selected as part of the Federation’s strategy to form a new generation that aspires to take the lead and climb the global podiums.
“Our priority is five sports where the schools will work in parallel to sports associations and federations. Judo, shooting, fencing, athletics and archery are Tier 1 sports, while swimming, taekwondo and badminton are tier 2 sports. Everyone will compete against each other and will give them the chance to be ready for the global challenges. If you are a champion, you have to champion everywhere,” Sheikh Suhail continued.
The School Games includes two types of programmes, a competitive programme and a training programme.
The competitive programme is distributed across 3 levels for age groups 15-17 years old. First level includes competitions held within each school, kicking-off in the coming weeks. Second level includes schools competing within each of the big emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Northern Emirates), will take place at the start of May. Third level, known as the national finals, will crown all the national champions, around mid-May.
“The capacity might not be what we hope in the beginning, but with time and years to come the School Games evolve and become more mature and get more centres. The will grow and adapt to have their service, that’s where we want to reach,” Sheikh Suhail added.
Training centres will open up gradually starting from February 15, which will run for three months and will be revised after the first phase, with guardians required to register their kids on the dedicated link in order to facilitate the programme. The platform was launched to nurture sports talents and manage targeted training programmes within a safe environment and under the direct sponsorship of a group of specialists in these sports.
“Tremendous efforts have been made to ensure that the project meets the highest quality standards in the services it provides to our students. The target is to increase the number of participants in one Olympics at a realistic timeline. There is more focus on individual sports,” Sheikh Suhail concluded.