Sheikh Suhail Bin Butti Al Maktoum and dignitaries pose for a picture after the press conference.
Aiming to develop future champions by providing training at the grassroots level at dedicated facilities for both Emiratis and expatriates, the UAE Sports Federation for Schools and University Education Institutions has launched an ambitious School Games programme.
The programme was launched during a press conference held on Monday at the General Authority of Sports headquarters in the presence of top officials of the body and head of the different sports federations of the UAE.
The dedicated facilities will aim to prepare, qualify, and develop the talents and sports abilities of students in the age groups of 9–14 years in eight sporting disciplines, including judo, shooting, fencing, athletics, archery, swimming, taekwondo, and badminton.
These centres will start working as of Wednesday 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.
“The focus is to unearth talent, boost sports participation, increase competitiveness, and find stronger athletes,” said Sheikh Suhail Bin Butti Al Maktoum, Executive Director of the Sports Development Sector at the General Authority of Sports.
“We also aim to create a model where there is a larger number of athletes from whom the respective federations can benefit, and it’s open to all residents of the UAE.
“Our priority is five sports, where the schools will work in parallel with 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, giving them the opportunity to be prepared for global challenges,” Sheikh Suhail added.
The School Games include 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, and the 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.
In terms of the training programme, it aims to reach out to children aged 9 to 14 by opening training centers across the UAE that cover all eight sports.
Training centres will provide the opportunity for students to train in and practice any of the eight sports. Training centres will open up gradually starting on Wednesday, with guardians required to register their kids on the dedicated link.
Sheikh Suhail stated that the team of centers and the electronic platform has made tremendous efforts to ensure that the project meets the highest quality standards in the services it provides to our students and, on the other hand, to keep pace with all the visions and trends of the UAE government seeking global leadership.
“The School Games will have a significant impact on the sports ecosystem in the UAE by encouraging youth participation in sports, promoting health and wellbeing, and identifying talents to build on for the next generation of elite athletes,” he said.
“The newly launched initiative will also provide a wide range of communication tools between stakeholders, from parents to students, and will measure a wide range of performance indicators that will provide an integrated picture of the levels of development of our students enrolled in training programs for various sports.”