Gulf Youth Sport’s final journey before the U13 World School Games get underway this Thursday saw us visit the four remaining UAE teams that will be competing at this weekend’s big tournament.
As the students prepare for three days of swimming, athletics and football competition against teams from around the world that they’ve never faced before, nobody knows exactly what to expect - but all the schools we spoke to are quietly confident that it will be them claiming the crown when all is said and done.
German International School Dubai
Amongst the schools set to appear at the WSG’s for the first time this week is German International School Dubai, and both students we spoke to are looking forward to getting their first taste of the action:
“I’m very excited for the competition,” said Aria. “It will be very interesting, and it will be really cool to see how the other people work.”
Tye said: “It’s going to be a really good event and for the whole school it’s going to be really fun.”
Despite never having competed before, the students are aware how high the standard will be and are making sure they’re as prepared as possible.
“We’ve all worked hard for this competition,” said Aria. “Every week there’s been training.”
Tye added: “We’re preparing right up to the last minute for everything so let’s see what the results are.”
And what are their goals for the tournament? Both students are hopeful they’ll have something to show for their efforts by the time all is said and done:
“I hope that we win – it would be really nice – but we’re just going to work hard,” said Aria.
“I hope we have a great experience and maybe win a trophy,” said Tye.
Dubai International Academy
Returning school DIA – who finished in an impressive fifth place at the U11 World School Games a matter of weeks ago – will be hoping to go a step further and medal in the U13 competition.
And the school’s representatives revealed to GYS that they’ve been working extremely hard to give themselves the best possible opportunity of challenging.
Greta said: “We’ve been waiting and practicing for this for a long.
“We’ve done training and developed our strengths to become very good.”
Bas said: “Some of us have maybe been swimming two hours a day in preparation for different races.
“In football we’ve been trying to come up with the best team and we’ve set up a session for us to practice.
“In athletics we’ve been racing each other; knowing our strengths and weaknesses helps us come up with the best team.”
Needless to say, they can’t wait to get going:
“It’s quite exciting,” said Bas. “It’s also quite nerve-wracking because we’re going against new competition that we’ve never been against before.
“It’s an international competition so you can make new friends and meet new people along the way and hopefully bring back some good memories with you.”
Greta said: “We’re very honoured.
“I think it’s going to be quite hard but we’re still going to try our best and still have fun.”
GEMS Modern Academy
Another school returning for their second crack at the World School Games in the last month is GEMS Modern Academy.
The Dubai School finished 13th in the U11 tournament, and their U13 competitors are ready to make their mark on the event.
Captain of the boys football team, Advait, told us: “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.”
Anwesha – who captains the girls football team – said: “I’m very excited because this will be my first time competing and I’m excited to see the amount of talent that will be at the competition.”
Just like every team we’ve spoken to; the students have shown plenty of commitment to the competition:
“We’ve been working very hard,” said Anwesha. “Around four days a week and we are hoping to make it far in the competition.”
Advait added: “We’ve been coming in for morning practices with our coaches.
“It’s been really fun not only training but also fun games.”
They’re under no illusions as to how difficult it will be, but both students are hopeful they’ll be able to go all the way:
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.”
Anwesha said: “It’ll be a tough time.
“I want to see different cultures combine and come together to play football.”
The final stop on our journey was to the returning GEMS Metropole.
After finishing tied for 16th in the U11 tournament, their U13’s will be hoping to make an impact on the competition.
We spoke to Belal, who is nervous about what’s in store but knows it’ll be an event he’ll cherish:
“I think it’s going to be scary and hard,” he said, adding: “It’s going to be amazing representing my school.”
Similarly, Loujine – who captains the girls’ squad – said: “I’m pretty excited.
“It will be very challenging because we don’t know if teams are strong or weak.”
The students have been preparing well and both students we spoke to are hopeful it will put them in a strong position come competition time:
“We’ve been training twice a week at athletics, football and swimming,” said Belal. “I hope we can get amazing results.”
Loujine said: ““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.”
The U13 World School Games take place between February 28th and March 2nd. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with all the action from Dubai.