Officials pose during the press conference at Dubai Sports Council on Wednesday.
The second season of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) Youth Basketball Championship will return next week, with more teams and age categories, and a brand new host — Al Ittihad Private School in Jumeirah.
Last year, the DSC Youth Basketball Championship, which is organised by Dubai Sports Council in partnership with Jam Sports Academy under the umbrella of the UAE Basketball Federation, saw 29 teams in four different age categories compete for the honours.
The second season of the Championship, which starts on November 27, has attracted 48 teams, both boys and girls, and the 720 players representing these teams will play 143 matches in six different age categories until the finale in April.
The DSC Youth Basketball Championship, which is being sponsored by Al Ittihad Private School this year, is the first basketball tournament to bring Emirati clubs and private schools and academies on a common platform, allowing them to compete against each other.
This year, teams from five Emirati clubs – Al Nasr, Al Wasl and Shabab Al Ahli of Dubai, Abu Dhabi’s Al Wahda and Al Sharjah Club – will be vying for honours against teams from Tribes Academy, Jam Sports Academy, Prestige Star Sport Academy, Prime Sports Academy, Beyond Basketball and AFLEC School (French International School).
The six categories for this season are Under-8 Mix, Under-10 Mix, Under-12 Mix, Under-14 Boys, Under-16 Boys and Under-16 Girls, and all the matches will be played under FIBA rules with UAE Basketball Federation appointed referees officiating.
Details about the tournament were revealed at a press conference on Wednesday at Dubai Sports Council, in the presence of Ali Omar Al Balooshi, Director of Sports Development at DSC, Mohammed Al Hammadi, Director of UAE Basketball Federation, Dr Connie Weiner, Director General of Al Ittihad Private School Jumeira, and Ahmad Sleiman, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Jam Sports Academy.
Speaking on the occasion, Balooshi said: “One of Dubai Sports Council’s objective is to build a strong presence and base for basketball, especially at the grassroots levels because, as per the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, our focus should be on the youth and school kids who are the future.
“This Championship has been designed to meet those objectives as it allows Emirati players from local clubs to compete against the most talented expatriate kids from private schools and academies, increasing their experience and exposure, and sharpening their game play.”
“We are delighted to be part of this tournament, which is targeting the youngsters, starting with Under-8,” said Hammadi. “We thank the Dubai Sports Council for organising this tournament and we are happy to support the Championship at both the technical and organisational level.”
“The first edition of the tournament, which was held last year, was an experiment,” said Sleiman. “And it was a great success with the participation of more than 300 players. More than 30 players from the tournament were enrolled by local clubs after the first season, and that should be an indication of the talent that is waiting to be discovered.
“So this tournament, with more teams and more players, is an even bigger platform for budding young talents to gain attention. We will also be educating the players on how to speak to the media and on camera, and that is an additional benefit for them.”
Dr Weiner added: “We at Al Ittihad Private School Jumeira are excited and honoured to host the Dubai Sports Council Youth Basketball Championship for the 2019-20. It is fantastic that all our children and Emirati children, have the opportunity to compete and enjoy playing against each other as they develop the true spirit of sportsmanship.
“At IPS-J, we believe in the well-being of all our students and we understand that sports play a major role in their physical, social and emotional development. We know that physical activities improve children’s health, their focus, school performance, sleep, and energy levels.
“The wise leadership here in the UAE fully supports the wellbeing of all its citizens and residents, especially children, as is evident in Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohamed’s Dubai Fitness Challenge 30x30 initiative.
“Hosting Dubai Sports Council Youth Basketball Championship will not only serve the interests of our youth and sports community, it will also inspire my local IPS-J students to become more involved in sports. This Championship, therefore, is a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved.”
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