6-year-old gymnast Lamia Alfarsi, the little wonder of the UAE

Hiba Khan - Writer 14:39 15/05/2017
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Emirati prodigy Lamia Tariq Alfarsi added another feather to her cap after finishing first in the International Emirates Cup in Dubai.

The six-year-old sensation beat the challenge of Angela Scudella from UAE, in second, and Myroslava Merkulina from Ukraine, to take home the crown.

The young Emirati rhythmic gymnast dazzled the judges with a stellar performance that left her mother teary-eyed and everyone else in awe of her abilities.

Lamia was competing in Category C of the tournament for the sub-division “Baby” that included those who were born between the years 2011 and 2013. The performances were scored and evaluated on the gymnasts’ flexibility, agility, balance, pirouettes and leaps. Lamia’s performance was clean and controlled that helped her obtain a solid 10.3 from the judges.

It has been quite a journey for Lamia, who was scouted by Ksenia Dzhalaganiya, a retired Russian rhythmic gymnast and founder and director of Dubai Youth Olympic School of Rhythmic Gymnastics in UAE, a little over a year ago.

It has also been challenging for Lamia’s parents – Tariq Ali Abdallah Malallah and Malak Tariq Alfarsi.

“Doing gymnastics is quite new to the country; we are used to football and riding, but starting out at a young age to become a gymnast is difficult and at first, even Lamia was not comfortable with the training and vehemently rejected it. However, once her body got accustomed, she began to accept it and is
even willing to learn more. She now has a goal to win an Olympic gold medal,” Lamia’s mother Malak told Sport360.

“We wish to see Lamia representing UAE in all major competitons. As Emiratis, we should encourage our kids to become more involved in sports, whether it’s female or male, we should all try to contribute. Most importantly, our country is already on the maps, so why not in sports also,” she added.

The trials and tribulations were many, but they were all easily overcome by Lamia with the support from her parents, as she continues to divide her time between school and her rigorous training under Ksenia.

“It was mostly Ksenia who discovered Lamia’s hidden talent and thought she had real potential. She was doing ballet and then Lamia took a trial class with us, and that’s how the story began. She has been wonderful and we are very happy with her progress,” said Cem Saral, co-founder of Dubai Youth Olympic School of Rhythmic Gymnastics and husband of Ksenia.

Saral and Ksenia want the Emirates Cup to become a regular event to serve as a platform to showcase budding talent from the region.

“We have no intention to become a commercial-driven school. For us, our main aim was to raise awareness about the sport and get more people to participate. Our future plan is to make sure that we make Emirates Cup a legacy and an institute, and we want more UAE attendance in these events,” he said.

The victory at the first edition of the Emirates Cup is surely one of the many that are to come Lamia’s way and she is already gearing up and training to represent UAE in Nice, France this coming July.

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