Three Dubai students, who are sports champions enrolled in the emirate's part-time schooling program, have passed the recent ICSE and ISC examinations with flying colors.
Under the Knowledge and Human Development Authority's (KHDA) program called Rahhal, students are given an early start to their sports careers without having to compromise on education. They were allowed to miss school days as they traveled and competed in tournaments. The Rahhal project was launched in 2018 as part of future-focused educational initiatives.
These three GEMS Modern Academy students and sports champions proved that even with all the training they did and the competitions they won, they can still shine in their academics and achieve their goals.
Theertha Satish - the first UAE-based student to be selected for the FIFA U-17 women's camp for India and the U-19 UAE Women's Cricket Team - scored a whopping a 90 per cent in her Grade 10 exams.
Sharing how she managed to balance her love for two sports and academics, the now Grade 11 pupil said: "I used to wake up at 5am to study. Then, at around 6am, I would jog and practise on my own. Discipline is the key to success."
Busy with sports and schoolwork, she made the most of her time to get things done. She even used to study on the Metro on her way to school to catch up on the lessons she may have missed, Satish said.
"As part of the Rahhal program, my teachers also helped me catch up and always accommodated me. Before my 10th preliminary board exams, I had a match. I missed my biology exams, but I took it later. The teachers have been very supportive," she added.
Love for cricket
Ronak Panoly, who got a 93.75 per cent mark in his ISC exams, is a dedicated student but he is also determined to turn his cricket dreams into reality. He scored a debut century against Maldives while playing for the UAE U-16 team in 2018.
"I loved cricket since childhood. As part of the UAE U-19 team I debut against India. I traveled to Bangladesh for the Asia Cup in October 2018," Panoly said.
Ronak now wants to pursue a bachelor's degree in psychology at the Heriot-Watt University Dubai.
"I really look up to Virat Kohli. I feel that, like him, everyone should follow their dreams. Going ahead, I want to represent the UAE Men's team in Cricket," he said.
Chasing his passion like Satish and Panoly, Varun Nayanar also aced his ISC exams. He played for the Under-16 Kerala state in 2017 and 2018 and represented his native country in the U-19 India team.
As he heads for Bangalore to pursue his higher studies in economics, Nayanar said: "I want to continue playing cricket for India. But my teachers here have really helped me immensely. In the last couple of years, I've had to travel to around 10-15 states within India for cricket.
"But I managed to balance the two as my teachers would leave the notes for me so I can access and study them later. I was also given extra time for studies. I am really pleased that I could manage both equally well."
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