This article about the UAE Rugby Partnership with Emirates School Establishment and photos have been kindly provided by UAE Rugby Federation.
The UAE Rugby Federation and the Emirates School Establishment are reaffirming an exciting cooperation agreement, the Federation announced during a recent meeting at its headquarters in Dubai.
Her Excellency Dr Rabaa Al-Sumaiti, Director General of the Emirates School Establishment, and Saoud Belshalat, UAE Rugby Federation Board Member and Chairperson of the National Teams Committee, and several officials from both sides participated in the meeting.
The cooperation aims to spread awareness of the importance of sports in shaping students’ personalities, inculcating sportsmanship, developing their physical and mental skills, and hence also their well-being.
Her Excellency Dr Rabaa Al-Sumaiti stressed the immense importance the Establishment attaches to sports in all its forms because of its significant impact on improving students’ achievement and performance in various fields. Hence, Emirates School Establishment endeavours to motivate students to adopt sports as a sustainable lifestyle in the various stages of their development as part of its educational mission.
She noted that rugby had been included in the school curriculum due to the importance of this type of sport in developing students’ talents, and praised the outstanding effort made by the UAE Rugby Federation in spreading rugby among various groups of society.
Mr Saud Belshalat shared that, since its inception in 2009, the UAE Rugby Federation had been working tirelessly to spread the sport of rugby in the country, laying the foundations to field full Emirati National Teams; maintaining concerted efforts aimed at enhancing the number of participants of the sport, focusing particularly on school students via direct cooperation with schools across the different emirates, which is proving successful.
The number of rugby players across schools and communities reached more than 20,000 male and more than 15,000 female participants, including many who joined the national teams as part of the UAE Rugby Federation’s youth pathway, added Mr Belshalat.
Fawzia Faridoon, UAE Rugby Federation Board Member and Chairperson of its Gender Equity Committee praised this cooperation, noting that the UAE Rugby Federation is fully prepared to continue cooperating with the Emirates School Establishment to serve the common goals of both parties in spreading the game further.
To strengthen and activate this partnership, Ms Faridoon elaborated, the UAE Rugby Federation In cooperation with HSBC Bank — the strategic partner of the Federation — is providing special training balls for schools that meet the program requirements:1,600 balls and 700 items of sports clothing to support the grassroots program had been delivered across the Emirates.
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UAE Rugby Development Director Sami Smara underscored the importance of the meeting and the return of the player’s pathway program, which provides opportunities for tens of thousands of students to learn about and play rugby for the first time for many, following activity disruptions at the end of 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the return of sports and other live events across the country, he added, we look forward to seeing more youngsters playing rugby with the values that we are proudly gifting to the communities.
Benjamin van Rooyen, Asia Rugby Development Consultant, congratulated UAERF on their partnership programme with the Emirates School Establishment which led to integrating the Olympic sport of rugby into the curriculum. “UAERF is truly an example of a successful player pathway programme.
The collaboration between the union, education authorities and a commercial partner is the ideal model for a sustainable player engagement. The “ HSBC Emirati Player Pathway Programme” has become one of the most successful programmes in Asia in terms of the number of participants who have been active in schools, and who are also actively engaged in rugby on regular basis over the past years. This is a successful and long-term experience worthy of being emulated, Mr Van Rooyen concluded