Dubai College and The British School Al Khubairat (BSAK) made the UAE proud as the two schools beat strong international competition to be crowned joint-champions at the COBIS Secondary Games in England.
23 schools from across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East travelled to Sheffield for the annual competition where they tested themselves against their peers in swimming, athletics and football.
BSAK, as two-time defending champions, were the team to beat but they lived up to their expectations by claiming a hat-trick and sharing the top position with their UAE neighbours Dubai College, who claimed their best result in the competition with 660 points. St Catherine’s School of Athens joined them on the podium after finishing third with 570 points.
For three-time champions BSAK, they made a big splash in the pool with a number of medals across different disciplines. Among those were Lily MacDonald, who finished first in the girls’ 50m backstroke, while Omar Azlan was quickest in the boys’ category. Their girls’ 200m medley relay side added to the tally in a UAE 1-2-3 as Dubai College’s B and A sides finished second and third respectively.
⭐⭐🌟OVERALL RESULTS!🌟⭐— COBIS (@COBISorg) May 20, 2018
JOINT 1st 🥇 @DCol_Sport A
JOINT 1st 🥇 @BSAKsports
3rd 🥉St Catherine's Athens
The COBIS Championship🏆 is going back to #UAE to be shared by two amazing schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi! #COBISGamesUK pic.twitter.com/7NW6zzCyV3
Dubai College A continued to be a threat and were rewarded for their efforts by claiming gold in the girls’ 200m freestyle final to finish runners-up.
But, 24 hours later, Dubai College ‘A’ went one better as they excelled in track and field to win the athletics competition. Among the winners were Harriet Davies (1,500m), Lia Warren (long jump), Ali Madhi Mahdji (shot put) and Anna Johnstone (800m). For BSAK, Neve Woodward took to the track by storm, winning three individual medals.
Going into the third and final, it was still all to play for in the football competition. While BSAK were crowned champions, Dubai College’s third place finish was enough to claim joint-top position.
For Mike McFarlane, head coach of BSAK, he had nothing but praise for the individuals. He said: “I am so proud of the performances the whole squad put in across all three sports, consistently breaking personal bests. To witness their resilience, grit and determination as well as the teamwork and collaboration as a squad was incredible and was the key foundation for their success over the weekend.
“It’s a fantastic showcase of the talent and opportunities available in the UAE, with Dubai College’s two teams, and BSAK, pushing each other the whole way to eventually sharing the honours.”
Lydia Clohesy, head of PE at Dubai College, added: “The Dubai College teams represented extremely well in Sheffield. Their commitment to training in preparation for the Games has certainly paid off. It was wonderful to see so many of our students achieving outstanding results, while supporting and cheering for other students beyond their own team-mates.”
Batting first, Our Own High School Al Warqa posted a competitive total of 188-3 with Sharafu scoring 101 off 48 deliveries. The captain was well supported by Pranav Rajendran, who was unfortunately to miss his half-century after falling for 49 in his 51 deliveries. Ayan Khan, Archit Rajesh and Aditya Nair all took one wicket each.
In their chase, Our Own English High School Sharjah fell short of their target with Deepak Raj top-scoring with 42 runs from his 41 balls. His team reached 111-7 at the end of their 20 overs with Pranav Rajendran, Pranav Manoj, Adish Vidhu and Joet Joseph all taking a scalp each.
There was more reason for Sharafu to celebrate after he picked up three personal awards. The all-rounder was named player of the final and also earned the best batsman and best player of the tournament accolades. For Ayan, he was named best bowler after taking seven wickets in five matches.
It’s not everyday pupils get to enjoy training sessions at some of England’s biggest clubs but that’s what happened to a group of aspiring footballers at Dubai English Speaking College (DESC).
Thirty-seven boys and girls travelled to England for DESC’s first-ever junior football tour where they enhanced their skills and knowledge over a series of matches in the eight-day trip.
Their itinerary saw them take to the field at Liverpool’s academy at Kirkby before making the short trip across Merseyside for a session at Everton’s Finch Park facility. They then travelled to Bolton Wanderers for another class.
And while those memories will certainly be cherished, so will their stadium tours of Liverpool’s ground – Anfield, Manchester United’s Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium, home of the Premier League winners Manchester City.
On top of that, they also attended the Championship fixture between Sheffield United and Preston North End where the visitors prevailed 1-0 in an entertaining encounter at Brammall Lane.
They then put their knowledge and skills of what they learnt to the test as they competed against local school teams in the north west of England.
Although the rain and wind didn’t do them any favours, DESC put on a number of spirited displays in their three matches. Their Under-13s side, captained by Max Bleakley, won two games out of three with a 2-1 win over Christelton High School and 5-1 triumph against Bury Grammar School.
Their U-14s, led by Yacoub Basweidan, also triumphed in two games beating Christelton 1-0 and Bury Grammar School 6-0. Their girls’ side, skippered by Lauren Hibbert, drew 5-5 against Wilmslow before thrashing Bury Grammar School 7-1.
DESC’s head of football Paul Barratt was impressed with the quality he saw. “The students had a trip of a lifetime over the eight days in the UK, getting a real insight into professional academy systems and understanding pathways which could be viable for our talented footballers,” he said.
“In our DESC football programme, we are very keen to develop a student’s personal characteristics along with their footballing ability; the opportunity to tour overseas is a valuable learning experience and of course, very enjoyable.”