(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Cabinet meeting chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday approved the School Olympic Games Project, which is aimed to increase participation of school students in sports activities and discovering and nurturing sports talents.
The meeting at the Presidential Palace was attended by Lt.-Gen. Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The School Olympic Games Project also aims to prepare a new generation of Olympic athletes, promote Olympic knowledge and principles and raise awareness of the significance of physical training as a way to preserve good health.
Shaikh Mohammed stressed that "sports at schools must be an integral part of the daily lifestyle of our sons and of their personalities and physical and psychological health. Their health is a top priority and we want our schools to aspire for reaching international podiums through nurturing and supporting talents and coordinating the effort with relevant sports federations without affecting the students' academic performance and excellence.
"Preparing for international championships starts at elementary schools and ends up with honours on international podiums. Based on sound planning and carefully studied work, the UAE is capable of taking its place at Olympic championships," Shaikh Mohammed said affirming his confidence in the capabilities of the UAE nationals and stressing that governmental departments have the duty of demonstrating these capabilities to the international arena.
The project provides for launching sports contests at all public schools across the country, the creation of sports federations in educational zones to prepare talented students as per Olympic regulations to qualify for school Olympic games finals. This includes all under-18 students enrolled in public schools.
Also, the project provides for setting up sports centres in educational zones for continuous training and polishing skills according to technical plans approved by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and in partnership with the member federations. It also mandates an educational programme to raise awareness of the significance of sports for public health in schools as well as to promote sports culture among students, teaching staff and members of administrative staff of schools.
The Cabinet meeting also approved the setting up of the supreme authority responsible for overseeing the school Olympiad project. The authority is composed of the NOC, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare. The new body will coordinate with partner bodies such as sports councils, federations and volunteer and educational foundations.