Abu Dhabi, UAE: About 140,000 children, parents and teachers took part in the first Abu Dhabi Education Council Sports Day on Wednesday morning.
The aim of the event, which took place for two hours at public schools across Abu Dhabi, was to create healthy and productive communities.
The participants took part in activities such as running, tug-of-war, football and chess.
Children were given body mass index tests to give them an idea of their fitness levels.
And to set an example for its schools, staff at Adec’s headquarters in the ministries complex near Khalifa Park held their own sports day.
Mohammed Al Dhaheri, Adec’s school operations executive director, said about 1,400 staff members had taken part in activities including jiu jitsu, table tennis, chess, darts, arm wrestling and zumba classes.
He said: “Our goal is to emphasise the importance of sports. We want people to become healthier, have a steady body weight and to become more active. The interaction today has been great. We all started to do sports on the same day and same time with other schools.
“I found out the employees in our office have talent in sports, with each of them having something specific they’re good at.”
Another Adec employee, Zain Al Jafri, 28, an Emirati who works in HR, was a keen jiu jitsu practitioner, and said: “The reason why I like jiu jitsu first and foremost is that it works your whole body.
“What was so interesting about today is that no one knew I did jiu jitsu. I got a lot of reaction from the people here when they found out.”
Mr Al Jafri also hoped more activity days would take place at work. “Usually people come into work, and then leave. But it is different when people start their day with sports, it’s something new. It is certainly a different experience for me,” he said.
“One of my wishes is that we all begin to workout more in our company gym.”
Naser Khamis, 36, who managed the activities at Adec, said while the event was only for public schools this year, next year it was hoped it would be introduced in private schools as well.
“We want to promote sports day, to urge people to be active in life and sports. We try to break the routine and to promote it to allow employees to get to know each other.”
Shamma Al Ghanem, 40, organised the activities for the female staff at Adec and said: “I was very surprised that a lot of females were accepting it to become more active. A lot of females used to be shy or unwilling to try any kind of sport.”
© The National
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