UAE national teams step up preparations for the Gulf Youth Games. UAE NOC MEDIA

National teams across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are gearing up to deliver memorable performances as they intensify their preparations for the inaugural edition of the Gulf Youth Games. Hosted by the UAE, the multi-sport event will feature 3,500 athletes and will be held under the theme "Our Gulf is One... Our Youth is Promising."

Mohammed Al-Shibli, the technical director of the boxing national team, stressed the UAE Boxing Federation's keen interest in the Gulf Youth Games as a great opportunity to discover new talent. Preparations for the event have started early, with the players currently training on an intermittent basis due to their academic commitments. "The intensity of training will increase during the spring break when the team will gather for an internal camp to focus more on finalising the team roster." 

He added that a championship for the same age group participating in the Gulf Youth Games will be held in Fujairah on 29 March, which will be a crucial stage for the UAE Boxing Federation and the coaching staff to select the best elements to represent the country in the event. Shibli revealed that the federation will hold an external training camp to prepare the final list of players to be selected. 

The camp will serve as the final stage of preparation. The federation has contacted three countries - Thailand, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan - to take part in a strong external preparatory camp to ensure that the players are best equipped and ready to compete.

 The technical director of the UAE boxing team explained that the contours of the final squad are largely in place. He stated that the final list will include 13 players, while eight or nine players have been provisionally named. However, this is subject to change depending on the availability of each player before the tournament. 

Chess is an important sport in the United Arab Emirates. UAE NOC MEDIA
Chess is an important sport in the United Arab Emirates. UAE NOC MEDIA

Shibli pointed out that the players will have a good opportunity to interact with high-level competition in the sport. He noted that these players will form the real nucleus of the first team for years to come. 

Sultan Ali Al Tahir, Head of the Chess Technical Committee of the Gulf Youth Games, gave details of the participation in the tournament, confirming that four Gulf countries will be in the fray, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE. The competitions will be held at the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club. 

Tahir explained that the competitions will be held in the U-14 and U-18 categories and that there will be a rapid chess championship, a blitz championship and a team championship for both rapid and blitz, in both cases for men and women. 

Each team will be allowed to field three players at the team level, meaning that each team will compete with 12 players, making a total of 48. Players from the participating teams will also be allowed to compete in individual events, and Tahir pointed out that the number of participating countries can still be increased before the deadline. 

He noted that a chief referee has been selected from the UAE, Faisal Al-Hammadi, and that each delegation will also include an accompanying referee. The technical regulations, prepared by the technical management of the UAE Chess Federation, will be submitted to the tournament's technical committee for approval or amendment. 

Sultan Ali Al Tahir, Head of the Chess Technical Committee of the Gulf Youth Games. UAE NOC MEDIA
Sultan Ali Al Tahir, Head of the Chess Technical Committee of the Gulf Youth Games. UAE NOC MEDIA

"Everyone is ready to make the first edition of this major event on UAE soil a great success. We have the experience, the administrative staff, and the organisational skills that will make the event great. We have previously hosted many international, regional, Arab, and Gulf championships," Al Tahir added. 

Meanwhile, the UAE Badminton Federation has approved the national team's training programme after finalising the list of 24 players. The team's preparations began with an initial two-day internal camp at the Extra Academy in Sharjah, while the second will be held on 30 and 31 March under the supervision of the national team coach Mahmoud Tayfour. 

The UAE badminton team will finalise its preparations for the Gulf Youth Games with another camp to be held under the supervision of the National Olympic Committee from 13 to 18 April, where training will take place in two sessions, morning and evening. 

Noura Al Jasmi, President of the UAE Badminton Federation, confirmed that the national team includes the best players who were selected from among 140 male and female players following a Gulf Youth Games qualifying tournament organised by the federation in cooperation with the General Sports Authority at the Extra Sports Academy earlier this month. 

Jasmi explained that the training programme was set up in consultation with the federation's technical and administrative bodies to best prepare the team members for the Gulf Youth Games. She said that the federation's Board of Directors and the National Olympic Committee, will provide all the requirements that the national team needs, in order to achieve the aspirations of UAE sports.

Badminton is growing rapidly in the United Arab Emirates. UAE NOC MEDIA
Badminton is growing rapidly in the United Arab Emirates. UAE NOC MEDIA

Jasmi stated that the badminton team will be fully prepared for the tournament. Since the badminton season in the UAE started last January, many events events have been organised for juniors and youth over the past three months to help them improve their skills and increase the passion in them to show competitive levels. She wished the team good luck for the upcoming Gulf Youth Games. 

He also confirmed that the UAE Badminton Federation had no difficulty in selecting qualified players to bolster the national team's ranks, as paying attention to the grassroots and developing the skills of young players is a priority on the federation's agenda to develop the game. 

"We have developed an integrated five-year plan to improve the skills of young players in schools. As part of the School Games Project, in addition to increasing the number of clubs and academies and organising as many events as possible, our goals are to develop national teams, coaches, referees and players, which will help to prepare athletes for the national teams," she added. 

Coach Suhad Owais confirmed that the national team will participate in the singles, doubles and mixed competitions at the Gulf Youth Games. "Each country can submit a list of up to six male and six female players, but, as the host nation, the UAE will field a team of 24. Our national team is eager to showcase their skills and highlight the progress that badminton has made in recent years."