Sports scholars at the British School Al Khubairat (BSAK) were treated to an inspirational talk and master class with decorated swimming couple, Keri-Anne Payne and David Carry.
The day with the husband and wife allowed the students to brush shoulders with Olympic and World Championship medal holders at Le Meridien Hotel Abu Dhabi, one of the school’s main sports sponsors this year, during the athletes’ visit to the UAE this month.
South Africa-born Payne is a two-time 10km open water world champion, as well as a silver medallist in the marathon 10km at 2008 Beijing. Carry, meanwhile, has represented Great Britain in the Olympics, European Championships and World Championships, where he earned silver in the 4x200m freestyle in 2008.
Following a healthy breakfast, the students received an inspirational talk from both athletes and had the opportunity to ask questions. The students then took part in yoga and a group warm-up on the beach, before the school’s talented swimmers enjoyed a master class with Payne and Carry and had the chance to see their Olympic and Commonwealth medals.
The remainder of the students enjoyed various activities spread out through the hotel’s facilities to test their fitness and form team-building attributes. Later, the whole group came together for some sporting challenges, including beach volleyball and a tug of war.
The day concluded with an active recovery session to ensure all athletes returned to school both inspired and fresh for their fixtures and clubs.
Andrew Semble, strength and conditioning coach and event organiser, said: “I was pleased with how the event unfolded. The students were tested in a variety of areas which highlighted both their teamwork and leadership skills, whilst giving them a platform to push themselves individually.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them build on these attributes, drawing on the inspiration given to them by two superb role models.”
BSAK director of sport Johnny Coombs added: “Keri-Anne and David were integral in motivating our students to work hard and exceed their limits.
“Giving them an insight into how to achieve their sporting goals, the Olympian duo provided the ideal example of sporting dedication and success.”
The school hosted a touch rugby tournament for U9 and U11 kids at their campus on Saadiyat Island this past Wednesday, with over 350 players taking part in 130 matches across two-and-a-half hours of competition.
Play began with the tightly-contested group stages, with the strongest teams advancing through to the knockouts.
The hosts walked away winners in their U9 final with the British School Al Kubairat. Sudden death was needed to decide the outcome as Ayden Critchley came through in the final moments to secure an exc-iting victory.
The U11 trophy, meanwhile, was claimed by Brighton College as they defeated Al Muna in an equally competitive final.
More than the end result though, the tournament was an opportunity to expose the children to touch rugby, with hundreds of supportive parents in attendance.
John Larkins, founder of UAE Touch, said: “To have 350-plus boys and girls aged between seven and 10 playing a touch rugby tournament at Cranleigh School on a Wednesday afternoon goes to show how far the sport has come in the last three years and we expect this number to grow to 450-plus for the next tournament on October 26.
“The day was a huge success for grassroots school sport in Abu Dhabi and having other community operations like the new HSBC Future Falcons Junior Golf programme running golf clinics alongside the main touch rugby tournament illustrates how supportive of junior sport both Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Cranleigh Abu Dhabi are.”
As part of their preparations for the Hamdan Bin Mohammed School Games tournament, coaches of Dubai-based football academies were briefed on the rules and regulations for the eighth edition of the competition.
More than 30 coaches and technical supervisors attended the workshop, overseen by Abdulla Shahdad, manager of sports clubs and corporations of sports development department at Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and head of the organising committee of the tournament, and Younus Ahmed Ustaz, administrative manager of Al Ahli football academy.
The competition will run from October 13 to April 20.
“We are pleased as this workshop was convened with massive participation of football academies’ coaches, technical supervisors & clubs’ coaches in both individual & team games,” said Shahdad. “It also confirms that Dubai clubs’ associates are aware of the eminent role of the tournament and boost technical levels of the youths and most important at grassroots level.”
He added: “As per the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of DSC, we want to boost different sports. We want to increase the number of people who play sport and establish a partnerships between sports clubs and education entities.”
The event will also feature various sports including handball.