With Dubai getting ready to host the 2019 U11 World School Games in just a few days’ time, GYS hit the road and went to visit the local schools desperate to be crowned World Champions of school sport.
It won’t be easy. They’ll be up against some of the globe’s brightest young athletes in three days of competitive football, swimming and athletics action.
But as we found out, everyone is hopeful it’ll be them celebrating with the trophy come the 2nd of February.
In part one of our preview we spoke to students from Foremarke, GEMS FirstPoint, GEMS Modern Academy and JESS Jumeriah Park to find out exactly how their teams have been preparing for the big event.
Following their respectable seventh place finish at last year’s inaugural World School Games, Foremarke are back for another crack at the crown.
And competitors Bella and Adam can’t wait for the tournament to get underway.
Adam said: “I’m very excited to be competing in the World School Games and to be in my team.
“I hope we’ll enjoy the experience and have a lot of fun.”
Bella added: “It’s a good opportunity to see what sport is like at my level at international schools.
“I hope to make some lifelong memories and learn lots from other people.”
Whilst they’re looking forward to having fun and meeting new people, there’s no doubt Foremarke are taking the competition seriously:
“We have games lessons and PE lessons three times a week for an hour each,” said Bella.
Adam revealed: “We’ve been preparing by doing three sessions a week – one of them swimming.
“We’ve just finished the football season and now we’ve started doing athletics.”
And how do they think they’ll get on?
“I think it’ll be a very tough competition, but it’ll be a great opportunity for everyone in our school to be competing with people from different countries,” said Adam.
Bella said: “I’m not expecting to win, but I hope we can.
“It’ll be nerve-wracking but also enjoyable!”
GEMS MODERN ACADEMY
Joining Foremarke at the tournament will be first-timers GEMS Modern Academy, and they can’t wait to get their first taste of World School Games action.
Student Tanisha said: “I am so excited that I’m going to be competing in the World School Games, it’s a fun event and I’m really keen on participating.”
Anwesha – who captains the U13’s girls football team and will be competing in the U13 tournament at the end of February – said: “This will be my first time competing and I’m excited to see the amount of talent that will be at the competition.
“We’ve been working very hard – around four days a week – and we’re hoping to make it a long way in the competition.”
Another student who won’t be competing until the end of February, Advait, echoed Anwesha’s thoughts: “The entire team is excited.
“We’ve been training hard; we know people from other nationalities are going to come up against us and we’re going to try our best and I hope that it pays off.”
As with Foremarke, Modern Academy don’t know what to expect from the competition – but there’s optimism around the school that they can go all the way in both the U11 and U13 tournaments.
U11 competitor Ansh said: “Our team has prepared pretty well by coming in for morning practice sessions, and I think we’ve trained hard enough that we can try winning this competition.”
Tanisha agrees, saying: “I hope we can be winners because we’ve practised so hard and I think we really deserve it.”
Advait said: “It’s going to be really tough because there might be people that train more than us, but we’re just going to do our best; we’ve trained hard and we know we can possibly win this cup.”
GEMS Metropole are another team making their World School Games debut this year:
“We are very excited to compete in the World School Games,” said student Jemima. “It’ll be an amazing experience and we hope we’ll have a great time.”
As we get closer to the big event, some pre-tournament nerves are beginning to kick in to one or two students – but they’re still desperate for the competition to get underway.
Javier said: “It’s going to be hard.
“I’m going to be pretty nervous before the events but it’s a great experience and I’m very excited.”
Belal concurred, saying: “I think it’s going to be scary and hard, but it’ll be amazing representing my school.”
Once again – nerves or no nerves – they’re confident they can make a big impact in the competition.
Student Loujine said: “We’ve been having afterschool trainings in swimming, football and athletics.
“I hope we take first place or second place if we can, and I’m pretty sure we’ll get that opportunity because we’ve been training hard.
JESS JUMEIRAH PARK
We finish off part one of our preview with a visit to JESS Jumeirah Park where, once again, the students we spoke to are eager for the competition to get underway.
Jack said: “I’m excited and I’m really looking forward to the event.
“We’ve been practicing quite a lot in our PE lessons, I think we’ll do well in the World School Games.”
Fellow competitor Sophie is similarly looking forward to the end of the month.
She said: “I’m very excited to compete in these games because there’s going to be people from all over the world and I’m just really excited to meet everyone and to get to race against different people.”
Both students are positive it’ll be an experience to remember, but what are they hoping to take from the tournament?
Jack said: “I hope everyone does well in their event and we can win!”
Sophie has slightly different ambitions:
“I just hope to make a few new friends and be proud of what I’ve done.”
The U11 World School Games take place from January 31st to February 2nd. The U13 tournament begins a month later, on the 28th February, and runs until the 2nd of March. Details on how to get involved in the U13 tournament can be found here.