The parent of gold medalist Lamia Tariq Malallah believes action must now be taken to form a UAE gymnastics federation “as soon as possible” if the country wants to compete in the Olympics and achieve more success in future competitions.
Six-year-old Malallah, and Sara Al Muhairi and Lina Hamani, both eight, who all train at Dubai Youth Olympic School for Rhythmic Gymnastics (DYOSRG), impressed the judges with their performances to win medals at the 4th Open GR Azur International Rhythmic Gymnastics tournaments in France earlier this month.
Malallah was crowned champion in the Senior B, 2010-11 category, while Al Muhairi (silver, 2009 C) and Hamani (silver, 2009 B) came second best in their respective competitions.
The feats are more impressive considering DYOSRG were granted special permission to compete in the two-day tournament which attracted more than 170 competitors from 14 nations.
For major international tournaments, every entrant requires a licence from their own gymnastics federation to compete – something which the UAE does not have.
Since her daughter Lamia took up the sport almost a year ago, winning various medals, Malak has been in contact with organisations and following the France achievements, she fears any substantial delay could hinder gymnasts’ prospects in the future.
Summer in the UAE usually involves a mass exodus of expats jetting off to cooler climes in order to escape the blistering heat, but there’s still plenty on offer for those of you with kids that are staying put over the next few months.
The popular Emirates Palace Kids Summer Camp is back, running from now until August 31. With their 1.3km white sandy beach, water slides, lazy river and air-conditioned sports Air Dome, there’s plenty to stimulate, challenge and entertain your kids.
To make things even more exciting, Emirates Palace have partnered with Haddins Fitness — Abu Dhabi’s favourite family gym – to make their summer even more jam-packed full of fun activities.
Their adventure packed camp consists of fun activities for kids aged 5-12, including archery, wake boarding, yoga, cooking classes, kite making, tons of different sporting events and even Zumba.
The best part is the programmes are customisable, so you can choose the week, days, or session that suits your child’s interests and your schedule.
“Emirates Palace and Haddins Camps are not just about babysitting your kids, we aim to inspire, challenge and educate your kids on the benefits of healthy living, whilst ensuring they have a great time doing it,” said Michael Haddin, managing director of Haddins Fitness.
“Our camps are led by industry leading coaches who are all experts in their respective fields. We want to ensure your kids leave not just having had great time, but having learnt some new skills along the way. World class facilities, passionate and industry leading coaches… what more could you ask for in keeping your kids active and engaged this summer?
“Exercise and sport should be an enjoyable part of everyday life. Summer Camp at the Palace and Haddins Camps are the ideal first steps in helping your children to develop this love of movement and sport that we are so passionate about.”
Session rates are as low as Dh75 per hour or for one day it’s Dh220 (including lunch). If you want to pay on a weekly basis it’s Dh1,000 (lunch included) or without lunch per week, from 08:30-12:00 each day, it’s Dh600. Or you can pay Dh150 for three sessions per week (excluding lunch).
“At Emirates Palace, our dedicated recreation team plans resort activities to ensure that guests of all ages can enjoy an authentic experience,” said Emirates Palace recreation manager, Mo Petrie.
“We aspire to make sure that when every guest leaves, they feel a part of our Palace family.
“The feeling of catching your first wave during a windsurfing lesson will linger in a child’s memory for years to come. Our recreation team at Emirates Palace is dedicated to offering guests such meaningful experiences and to help create memories to last a lifetime.”
Hrithik Bhatia is one step away from representing the UAE Under-19s but the batsman is eager to prove he can also be a deadly wicket-taker – just 10 months after he had initially given up bowling.
The 17-year-old finds himself among the 20 plus players who are all dreaming of making the final 15-man squad for the national team’s Asia Cup qualifiers in October.
His impressive runs tally (963 runs) during the domestic season and inter-emirate tournament has seen him come this far but while he and the rest of his peers are all chasing the same objective, Bhatia is keen to rediscover his form with the ball.
At the start of the season, the G-Force Academy cricketer made the decision to give up bowling but as skipper of Dubai International Academy and with a lack of options in his school team, he took matters into his own hands.
His reward saw him finish third highest wicket-taker in the ADIB National School League (NSL) with nine scalps, while bowling once for G-Force with figures of 2-7.
“I was bowling before but I stopped initially at the start of the season because I wanted to concentrate on my batting and that has now come into good effect,” he said.
“I only bowled for my school team as skipper, I always wanted to win and there was no-one else I could turn to for those big wickets.
“Having played so many matches, I have to admit, that I felt quite bored because I was just batting.
“I wanted to bowl again as it just makes you more confident and makes you a complete all-round player.”
He is now beginning to find his rhythm again with his spin-bowling even if it meant he had to go back to the basics.
“I forgot how to bowl and just couldn’t get the line or anything,” he explains.
“Over time it came together and I gradually improved and got a really good line and length with a lot of deliveries. I am now taking some wickets which is a good thing.”
He has been putting that into good use during the training camp and with a few weeks to go until selectors name their squad, he’s confident the hours of practice with the ball will pay off.
“There’s still more to come for me,” said the Dubai International Academy pupil.
“I hope the bowling can boost my chances of being selected but the standard of players in this camp is very strong.
“I feel if I get to start performing now and bowl well, then the UAE cricket can benefit a lot. I want to continue batting strongly as well and I feel it will be for the better.
“I hope I can go on the tour. It would be a be a big privilege and an amazing experience. To play international cricket for your country is something that every child in the world wants to do.”