Strong UAE squad for youth event in Russia

Published July 3rd, 2016 - 04:04 GMT
Photo: UAE NOC
Photo: UAE NOC

The General Secretary of the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) expressed confidence that the UAE’s young athletes will excel at the Sixth Children of Asia International Sports Games hosted by Sakha Republic in Russia.

The UAE squad for the event totals 105, including 82 athletes. A few members of the delegation left for Sakha yesterday morning. The 13-day sporting extravaganza is being held in Yakutsk from July 5 to 17. The opening ceremony featuring athletes from 49 countries is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.

The shooting, swimming, archery and table tennis teams will depart on Sunday, while the track and field team is scheduled to depart on July 6 followed by the Taekwondo members will leave on July 8.

Held every four years since 1996 under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Games were organised on the initiative of the first President of the Sakha Republic of Yakutia, Mikhail Nikolayev to commemorate the Centennial of the modern Olympic Games. The mission of the Games is to raise awareness of Olympic movement ideas, while promoting sports among children and enhance international cooperation in sports domain.

The UAE is fielding athletes in taekwondo, archery, table tennis, swimming, shooting and track and field, and all of them have come through the UAE School Olympic Games programme.

“We have a lot of expectations from these youngsters as they are the future of sports for the UAE. We want them to get a first-hand experience of competition at the international level so that they can translate this into better performances at other events lined up,” Mohammad Al Kamali, General Secretary, UAE NOC, told Gulf News.

“Our leaders and our president Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum have shown us the way. Shaikh Ahmad has instructed that our athletes be educated in the principles of fair competition and excellence. The youth is the future of the UAE and we are banking heavily on this first bunch of athletes to deliver in the near future. The Games will be a good test for them and we hope to see some good performances from our athletes,” he added.

The inaugural edition of the GCC Youth Games is being hosted by the UAE in September followed by the Third Asian Youth Games in Indonesia next year and the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

Brigadier Abdul Malik Jani, Member, Technical Committee, UAE NOC and Ahmad Al Tayeb, Technical Director, UAE NOC are in-charge of the UAE delegation in Yakutsk.

The Games are inspired by the twin mottos of ‘From Friendship in Sports to Peace on Earth’ and ‘Children of Asia – Beginning of Victories.’

Alaric Gomes

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