Abu Dhabi, UAE: With the aim of creating sport stars and promoting healthier lifestyles, a year-long schedule of sport competitions and activities was today (February 1) launched in the capital.
The competitions, known as the ‘Champions of Tomorrow’ initiative, will see the participation of public school pupils in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The initiative was introduced by education sector regulator Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).
“Through this campaign we not only hope to raise school-based sports to new levels of excellence and professionalism but also to build a society that promotes fair competition, friendship and peace,” Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, director-general at the Adec, announced at a press conference.
“This year, nearly 84,000 pupils, or half of all currently enrolled public school pupils, are expected to take part. Next year, we hope to extend these competitions to private school pupils as well and increase the number of sports on offer,” she added.
The competitions will focus on nine Olympic games, and will first be organised at the school level. Pupils who excel will then be chosen to represent each of the three regions: Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain and the Western Region. Winning teams and athletes will eventually participate in the emirate-wide finals to be held in the second half of the 2014-2015 academic year.
Activities for the current academic year include athletics, football, swimming, gymnastics, fencing, judo, handball, basketball and volleyball.
According to Adec regulations for the competitions, 70 per cent of each participating team must comprise Emirati pupils and children born to Emirati mothers. However, Dr Amal told Gulf News that she encouraged all pupils to apply for the competitions.
There will also be other activities throughout the year, including cycling, racing and beach sports. On February 26, about 3,000 pupils will run a marathon at the capital’s Yas Arena.
In order to create greater enthusiasm for the year-long sporting drive, the Adec will also organise an open Sports Day for pupils in February. Activities include running, football, handball, jiu jitsu and chess.
The entire initiative is being organised in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC). Its secretary-general, Arif Al Awani, said that the various events would help discover and hone pupils who can go on to represent UAE on the international sporting stage.
Dr Amal added that this focus on sports would also help promote a healthier lifestyle among the younger generations.
Many of the school-level competitions have already begun, with enthusiastic participation from pupils, educators said.
© Gulf News
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