Schools Olympics unearths enormous pool of raw talent

The Ministry of Education’s director of sports Hassan Lootah said the first ever Schools Olympics, which concluded yesterday, was a huge success, forcing the ministry to increase the number of students that will be sent to training centres by over 50 per cent. 

The inaugural Schools Olympics is a long-term project aimed at identifying young talent who could potentially represent the country at international events, before moving them to specialised training centres. 

Organisers had initially planned for 40 children to be moved to training centres, but the quality of talent on display at the Schools Olympics has forced authorities to increase the quota by over 50 per cent.

“Children who have been selected will now be sent to the training centres, with a special trainer – who will be trained to be the best trainer – and we will start the planning to train the student. We will look at our own planning to make sure we are doing the right thing,” Lootah told Sport360°. 

“The results have been very good and the talent has been rich. We had initially expected to take 40 to 50 students into training, but now we have changed our plans to move 75 students.”

Away from the track and field, the boy’s fencing was won by Hamad Abdulrahman Al Hammadi while the girl’s archery competition was won by Noura Mohammad. 

The clear star in a crowded track and field group was Ali Darwish, who swept away with the 1,500m title, coming in a full 10 seconds ahead of second placed Walid Abdulrahman. 

The School Olympics is expected to return next year in Dubai for the second instalment of a strategy that is expected to continue for 10 years, according to Lootah.


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