With the 2019 U13 World School Games fast approaching, GYS took the opportunity to get back out on the road and catch-up with the UAE based teams hoping to reign supreme when the worlds best schools descend on Dubai this week for three days of football, athletics and swimming competition.
In part one of our look ahead we stop by returning school GEMS FirstPoint and make our first visit to the Abu Dhabi schools of The British School Al Khubairat and Raha International School to find out how their preparations are going.
FirstPoint had their first taste of World School Games action in the U11 Games at the end of January and now they’re back for more.
And fresh faces Joseph and Andrea are looking forward to sampling the event for themselves.
Andrea said: “I’m excited because I’m basically going to get an opportunity to be in a team and become better at sports and the school is providing me with this opportunity.”
Joseph concurred: “It’ll be really exciting,” he said. “I can’t wait to compete against other schools and to see how well we do.”
Both students revealed how hard they and their classmates have been training:
“We’ve been working,” said Andrea. “For example, every Thursday the football team and other people looking for an opportunity practice together and play matches.”
Joseph said: “After school I’ve been running around and training with a ball, in weeks before I’ve also been going to certain athletics competitions to train for athletics as well.”
But will all the hard-work pay off, and can FirstPoint go a step further than they managed at the U11 Games and win the title? Both students we spoke to aren’t concerned about that:
“I just want to try to improve as much as possible,” said Joseph. “After the event I hope to have learned a thing or two about football and athletics; maybe learn how to increase my speed or how to get better with the ball.”
Andrea said: “It will be a very nice experience and at the same time it could be tough, but you always have to push yourself.
“What I wish to happen is that we succeed at working as a team.”
The British School Al Khubairat
BSAK are one of two Abu Dhabi schools making their World School Games debut this week, and the students are raring to go:
“I’m really excited,” said Harry. “I found out quite a while ago and the excitement has been building ever since.
“I have never done this before – I’ve only done BSME which is Middle East schools – so I think it’ll be a good chance and a good opportunity.”
Maddy added: “It’s so exciting just being part of an elite athletic team and being with all my friends as well.”
And like everyone we’ve had the chance to speak to, the BSAK competitors have been putting the hard work in:
Harry revealed: “We’ve done a lot of early morning sessions, and we’re just trying to do our best and try as hard as possible.”
Maddy said: “We’ve done multiple trainings a week for each sport and we put all our effort into each training.
“It’s going to be really challenging because of the level of people but if we put our minds to it and put everything in then I think we can do it.”
Both students we spoke to have lofty ambitions for the event. When asked what they thought their side could achieve their answers were to the point:
“First place,” said Maddy.
“Obviously first place,” echoed Harry. “You’ve got to aim for the top.”
Joining BSAK in making the trip from Abu Dhabi to Dubai for their first taste of World School Games action is Raha International.
And we had the chance to speak to a couple of students who can’t wait for the experience.
Oliver said: “I’m very excited to get the opportunity to compete in the World School Games this year.”
Madalena said: “I’m really excited because I haven’t really done any of this before, so it’s really nice.”
Just because it’s a new experience for these students, doesn’t mean they’re taking things lightly:
“We’ve been training for the past 6 weeks very hard,” revealed Oliver. “Two times a week we’ve been training, so it’s been all pretty good.”
Madalena added: “We’ve been preparing a lot and trying our best.”
Can they go all the way in the competition? Both Oliver and Madalena are hopeful:
“At least one winning trophy from the event would be good,” said Oliver. “That’s one of our goals.”
Madalena concurred: “First place with a trophy,” she answered.