In the first of our #HiddenGEMS series, profiling the athletes and coaches behind the GEMS Sports Academy in Dubai, we catch up with former Hellas Verona academy player Leonardo Maroccolo.
Leonardo shares with us his ambitions within football, experiences at GEMS and Verona as well as the players that inspired him to want to become a professional footballer.
Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) added another title to their trophy cabinet by winning the Emirates International School Aquathlon title.
The champions held off Dubai College and Jumeirah College in the three-race series which saw students from the UAE compete across three age groups.
In the final race of the series held at Dubai’s Emirates International School Meadows, DESC were the stand-out performers – securing five podium places.
Dylan Maskell completed his swim-run event in a time of 11 minutes and 55 seconds in the boys Year 8/9 category with Jumeirah English Speaking School’s (JESS) Alexander Connington’s 12:22 minutes enough to seal second place. His team-mate Max Radford completed the podium in a time of 12:29 minutes.
In the Year 7 group for girls, DESC clinched second and third spots thanks to efforts from Megan Dingle (10:22) and Mabel Sylvester (10:33). They were beaten by Uptown School’s Beatrice Varley who clocked 09:35.
DESC’s success continued in the Year 8/9 group with Ekaterina Price second (12:49), with Roisin McElligott first in a time of 12:21.
Michelle Aitchison, teacher at Emirates International School Meadows, who organised the event with Dom Mann, head of PE, was delighted with the turn-out.
Brighton College beat Raha International School
Chloe Perry scored a brace to help Brighton College beat Raha International School 2-1 in a closely-fought Under-14 encounter.
The home side started strongly from the first whistle and nearly went ahead through Perry, who missed her opportunity in front of goal.
Brighton continued to dominate possession with their midfield and defence frustrating Raha.
The hosts were rewarded when Perry slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to put her team 1-0 up.
Their lead didn’t last long though as Raha capitalised on a goal-kick error to level the score 1-1 at half-time.
The hosts created more opportunities in the second half but solid defence from Raha kept the scores level.
Yet, the visitors had their chances to take the lead but couldn’t break down a wellorganised Brighton defence.
Brighton were again celebrating courtesy of Perry’s second goal.
With less than two minutes remaining, Perry was at the right place at the right time, and scored the winner after Raha failed to clear their goal-kick.
Meanwhile, there was more success for Brighton as their boys Under-12s football team came from 3-2 down to defeat Al Yasmina 7-3.
It was all smiles for Doha College after being crowned champions of the Under-11 BSME Games over the weekend.
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The Qatar-based school accumulated a total of 47 points, having finished first in basketball and netball, as well as runners-up in swimming, athletics and football. UAE’s Al Yasmina finished second with 38 points, while British School of Muscat completed the podium with 34 points.
The closing ceremony marked the end of the three-day competition at New York University Abu Dhabi, which attracted more than 300 students from 10 schools from across the Middle East, including UAE’s The Pearl, Al Rabeah and Al Mushrif primary schools.
Egyptian professional triathlete Omar Nour, guest of honour at the event that was hosted by Aldar Academies, emphasised the importance of “giving their best” during opening ceremony. The students took his advice seriously, the games serving up some thrilling contests.
Back home after a great BSME Games. The kids exceeded all expectations and the luggage was much heavier coming back with trophies. #proud
— Michael McFarlane (@mike11085) March 15, 2015
John Tapster, head of primary PE at Doha College, lauded his team’s efforts.
“It’s a fantastic achievement. It wasn’t just about winning, it was about taking part. This is something that will live with them forever,” he said. “I was impressed with their commitment and attitude throughout. They never gave up and have been a real credit to the school. They can be proud of their achievements.”
Organiser Robert Kirkland, head of PE at Al Mushrif primary school, which finished fourth, was delighted with the level of competition.
“It was great to see so many students do so well over the three days,” he said. “The level of competition was very high in all disciplines, which was great to see, and hopefully they can learn from this experience.”