Be a sport and race to big day
ABU DHABI // Plans have been announced for a nationwide sports day in which men, women and children of various nationalities are brought together in the spirit of friendly competition.
Organisers of the UAE National Sports Day believe that as well as promoting healthy living, sporting competition also helps create a harmonious society.
Sports clubs, groups and schools will all be encouraged to take part in the event, which is due to take place on November 25. Its launch follows a directive of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
HE Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, vice president of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare and Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media, said: “This holds a lot of meaning in the country to promote athletics and a culture of sportsmanship for not only us and the over 200 nationalities in the country but also for our youth.”
He urged as many people and organisations as possible to sign up.
“The first national sports day carries an open invitation among all the citizens of the UAE, in age, gender and ability, it is meant for everyone,” said Mr Al Mahmood. “And that is the point – to bring people together.”
Saeed Hareb, secretary general of Dubai Sports Council, also hoped the event would prove popular.
“We want everyone to participate. I anticipate hundreds of events, and that is what we need.”
Mr Hareb believed the sports day would instil a sense of patriotism and camaraderie in the country.
“It is through sport that much of what we want to do can be achieved, but that’s not all.
“It’s not just about getting people to play a sport, the point is to encourage what sports bring, to encourage the spirit of sportsmanship and through that bring unity and peace to the nation.”
He also said that women were expected to play a huge part in the activities.
“Women are essential, there is no doubt, women are a part of this and it’s possible that they will be the majority of the participants,” he said. “We need to pay big attention to how important women’s participation is.”
At the moment, the event is still in the planning mode and organisers were open to suggestions as to what disciplines to include.
But the organisers stressed they wanted all emirates to get involved.
The sports day is the latest in a series of drives to improve the health of the nation. For example, in February, the Abu Dhabi Education Council organised a mass sports day across its schools in which children, parents and teachers took part in activities such as jiu-jitsu, fencing, football and table tennis.
It is hoped that UAE National Sports Day would become an annual event in the last week of November, just before National Day.
Updated: September 29, 2015 04:00 AM