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Accession Day 2002 Feature/ Sports

posted on 07/08/2002: 1770 views

The UAE leadership, headed by President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has given special attention to youth development. This stems from their deep belief that the future of the country lies in the hands of the country's youth.

Sports, like any other sector, have witnessed rapid and comprehensive development, making it one of the most successful sectors which holds aloft the national flag in regional, Arab and international arenas.

A special report from the General Authority for Youth and Sports, on the 36th Anniversary of Sheikh Zayed's accession as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, shows that the country's leadership has been throwing their weight behind every effort to improve the sports sector by providing the best facilities.

This support is extended to both the heritage and contemporary sports in an effort to link the country's past with the present.

The efforts of the UAE leadership began to bear fruit with the formation of sports and cultural clubs, as well as the setting up of various sports federations, which rapidly attracted the country's youths to their folds, leading to the rapid spread of clubs in the country from the eight clubs in 1970 to 31 in 2001 and from three associations in 1973 to 23 in 2001. This in addition to eight associations and 25 clubs of various kinds, including the Abu Dhabi Sporting Club, a number of marine sports clubs, clubs for the handicapped, equestrian clubs and chess clubs.

The country also gives great attention to the boys scout and girls guide movements by giving them the necessary support and guidance. Headquarters for the movements have been set up in all the country's seven emirates. The support the movements enjoys from the country's leadership made them the most advanced and successful of their counterparts in the Arab world and Asia, especially after the construction of the permanent Zayed Scout Camp in the Al Samha area in Abu Dhabi.

The Girls Guide, which was formed in 1973 but officially came into existence in 1981, came to tap the skills and efforts of UAE girls and women in serving the society and to make meaningful contributions to the regional, Arab and international organisations. The UAE, in line with the directives of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has given great attention to the capabilities of the national youths in the field of creativity and scientific inventions related to the local environment. This has led to the quick spread of science clubs throughout the country.

The government has set up youth hostels in Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al Khaimah and Fujairah to serve the youth and provide them with the conducive atmosphere and premises to practice their social activities. The government has also set up a number of permanent youth centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah and Ras al-Khaimah to provide for the youth the chance to gainfully make good use of their free time.

The government is committed to opening up to the outside world by establishing good relations with the outside world, especially in the field of youth and sports. In so doing, the government has made all the necessary arrangements which open opportunities for national youths to exchange ideas and expertise with their peers from various parts of the world in various areas of competitions. It has also given the handicapped similar opportunity to enjoy this facilities by setting up various sports clubs. This was crowned with the setting up in 1996 of the UAE Association of Handicapped Sports, under the chairmanship of Sheikh Dhiyab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Director of the Presidential Court.

The care attached to this sector has won the country a number of medals at the Mini-Olympics in Sydney. Last summer, Sheikh Zayed gave the youth Dhh4million to be used in expanding the summer activities of the youths, to protect them during the summer vacation by engaging them in something gainful. The government also attaches great importance to women and their role in the sports. The role and support of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the President's Wife and Chairperson of the UAE General Women's Union in this regard cannot be overemphasised.

Sheikha Fatima has been giving unlimited support to the UAE women to enable them participate fully in all sporting activities, including shooting, table tennis, chess, to just name a few, in addition to women's participation in major committees of the General Authority for Youth and Sports. As part of its efforts to care for the national youth, the General Authority for Youth and Sports has opened a large number of youth summer centres throughout the country, including 30 centres for boys and 24 for girls. Activities at these centres include, football, basketball, handball, swimming, shooting, equestrian, Karate, traditional games, chess and excursions.

The centres also hold camps in various cultural, art and recreational activities, including Islamic education, lectures, various contests, theatre, fine art, plastic art and exhibitions, in addition to family education for girls, which include home management, sewing, designing and flower arrangement. About 9,389 students attended the centres, while the number of students who were offered summer jobs at the Rulers' Courts, ministries and other government institutions stood at 3,690.

The country's national summer activities programme was translated into an objective action through the activities of the summer camps, in addition to several excursions, which had positive impact on the memory of the students. Several groups of students achieved scientific and practical experiences from those excursions, especially those who embarked on the excursion aboard the state-of-the-art cruise liner, which took them on a three-day tour of all the country's sea ports and to the old and new diving spots as part of a package of programme, designed by the country's technical, cultural and religious bodies.

The General Authority also organised foreign trips for the students, taking them on a week-long trip to Kosovo, where children of the UAE armed forces personnel, serving there in the UN peace keeping forces in Kosovo, were given the opportunity to have a first hand knowledge of the situation on the ground. Others were taking on a religious excursion to Mecca and Medina to perform Umrah with support coming from the Court of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. In the area of modern marine sport, precisely speedboat race, UAE flag-bearers won this year two world championships.

Dubai-based "Victory Team" won the world speedboat championship for the sixth consecutive times. The credit for this wonderful achievement goes to Dubai Marine Sports Club, which has been making concerted efforts to promote the sports among UAE nationals, making the country an international attraction for the organising of speedboat sport, especially in Dubai and Fujairah. In the field of equestrian sport, the UAE has taken a giant stride and has achieved amazing results in many championships it took part in Europe and several Arab capitals.

The UAE's participation in the Olympics games, since the country's first appearance in the Los Angeles Olympic games in 1982, has offered its representatives big opportunities to interact with others to gain international experience. In the Arab Games, held in Jordan in 1999, the UAE won 34 medals, including eight gold medals, nine silver and 17 bronze.

The Ghantoot Horse Racing and Polo Club has also made some enviable achievements. It recently won the Diamond Stake International Tournament in Brussels, Belgium, bagging in several awards, including the Best Player Award for Ali Al Mansouri. In the field of sports for the disabled persons, the UAE teams, which took part in various sports disciplines, have made some significant achievements. The Sharjah-based Al Thika Club for the handicapped won nine gold medals, four silver and four bronze when it participated in an International Championship in France. (The Emirates News Agency


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