Fair play and sportsmanship are quintessential to sport all over the world and seeing it instilled in young players is heart-warming.
That was just the case during a competitive and closely-fought game between Qatar and Palestine in the recent Jeem Cup, a tournament for under 12-year-olds.
A Palestinian player went to the ground after a high foot from his Qatari counterpart, before the referee asked Qatar to restart to the game by playing the ball back to the Palestine goalkeeper.
The ‘keeper managed to botch the return, the ball squirming through his hands and body and into the net, giving Qatar a 1-0 lead.
Rather than allow his team to capitalise on this advantage, Qatar and Aspire Academy coach Fouad Al Fodil instructed his team to let their opponents score.
The Qataris allowed the Palestinian player to run through unchallenged to score and restore parity in the game.
For the Qatari side, the match eventually ended in a 2-1 defeat but they certainly earned fans around the world for this gesture.
Al Sayel School could not have asked for a better start to their Abu Dhabi Jiu Jitsu World Festival after claiming a rich haul of medals on the opening day on Monday.
In the girls’ event at IPIC Arena, Shamma Al Mansoori (32kg white), Rawdha Al Hamoumi (40kg infant), Manal Al Jaidi (32kg junior) and Mahra Al Hameli (63kg junior), all of white belts, stood at the top of the podium after winning their bouts.
There was more success for the Abu Dhabi-based institution with Jawahir Noman (32kg) claiming silver, while Shaikha Akmeed (32kg infant) and Shamsa Al Shehhi (57kg junior) took bronzes.
Al Mansoori, 12, was delighted by her latest achievement and has lofty ambitions to go far in the sport. “I’m really happy to have won this medal,” she said. “I now want to improve and work hard to get the black belt.
“I’m really happy to win and will work harder from now on.”
More could be added by their collection on Tuesday when the teenagers take to the mat but their Brazilian head coach Gabriela de Ponte was thrilled with the impressive results.
“Most of the girls started to work with me and I’m delighted with the results,” she said. “Some of them like Rawdha and Shaikha have started training this year and ended up on the podium and so I’m more happy for them.”
She added: “Parents also turn up to support their girls which is the biggest change I would say. It boosts the morale of the child tremendously.”
In total more than 120 gold medals were won. Among the winners of their categories on Monday were Abeir Al Mesmari (48kg junior), Khadija Al Ali (44kg junior) and Reem Al Nuami (60kg infant).
Held at District One Cycling and Running Track on Friday, April 14, the event will be the final opportunity for competitors to accrue points towards final prizes.
Whether you’re someone who has taken part in previous races or getting your first taste of the duathlon, the series is perfect for all ages and abilities.
Several distances are on offer in a cycle, run and cycle format. The youngest competitors, aged up to 12, can attempt the Quarter Distance Duathlon, comprised of a 750m run, a 6km cycle and a 750m run to the finish line.
Older kids aged from 10 to 16, meanwhile, can compete in the Tweens and Teens Half Distance Duathlon, consisting of a slightly longer 1.5km run, a 12km cycle and 1.5km run.
Finally, the Full Distance Duathlon, open to all aged 14 and older, will offer the longest course with a 3km run, a 24km cycle and 3km run to cap the challenging race.
For those that want to compete as teams, mixed, all-male or all-female tandems are open for ages 13 and above in the Full Distance Duathlon.
Competitors won’t have to worry about vehicular traffic on the roads, with the courses designed to be as safe as possible.
Points will be awarded to the top 10 male and female individual competitors for each age group, as well as to the top five teams.
Following the races, a prize giving ceremony will be held with trophies given to first, second and third-place finishers in each category. To qualify, athletes must have entered and started a minimum of three races, with series points calculated by adding the points from the five best races out of six.
Register for the fifth and final race through www.premieronline.com. Race packs can be collected from the bike races one hour before the start of the race.
On the day, briefings for teens and adults will be at 06:40, followed by kids at 08:15. Races start from 07:00 for adults, with teens at 07:20 and kids at 08:30.
Don’t miss out on experiencing the Giant Duathlon Series one more time before the hiatus ahead of the next season.