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Dubai: Dubai is actively implementing the leadership’s vision, to make sport a way of life in the emirate, said Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, on Wednesday.

Shaikh Hamdan crowned the Dubai English Speaking School the winner of the inaugural Hamdan Bin Mohammad Order of Merit for Sports Education School, at a ceremony held at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex.

“Our leadership understands the meaningful role played by sport in the development of communities and we are keen to implement the vision of our leadership to make sport a way of life in Dubai,” said Shaikh Hamdan.

The Hamdan Bin Mohammad Order of Merit for Sports Education School aims to spread and develop the practice of sports in educational institutions as a key activity, to contribute to the health and happiness of students, and help the discovery and development of sporting talents. It was launched by the Dubai Sports Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Dubai Municipality.

Shaikh Hamadan pointed out that sport is one of the most important activities for physical and mental development, helping character building and enabling strategic, analytical and leadership skills of an individual. “It leads to physical and mental well-being, and helps in generating happiness and positive energy,” he added.

The initiative aims to encourage public and private schools in the emirate of Dubai to achieve the best grades in educational and sports work. “We have several programmes geared towards motivating individuals and institutions to embrace a physically active lifestyle, and this Order of Merit is one such initiative,” explained Shaikh Hamdan. “These children are the future of our nation and it is imperative we provide them with a strong foundation,” he added.

Sports education schools are defined as schools that constantly seek to improve and develop their sporting capacities by providing a favourable environment. These schools meet their students’ needs for physical activity through the application of curricula and sports programmes, which enables them to play an active role in promoting student health and creating an atmosphere conducive to fair competition.

The Order of Merit was open to all public and private schools in Dubai. The schools were assessed as per the criteria of the Ministry of Education and KHDA in Dubai.

The evaluation was based on four principal criteria: infrastructure, health education, sports practice and the efficiency and effectiveness of school management.