Transitioning from April to May this year has been great fun for Emirati girls, as for the duration of two weeks between 24 April and 4May 2016 they had the opportunity to try out the sport of their liking, win many gifts as a reward for challenging themselves, and thus become members of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy family!
Sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the ADIB PasSport by FBMAtook place at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi, and over its 9 days of organization it hosted a total of more than 1.800 girls at the age of 10-12 years old. The ADIB PasSport program Held under the generous patronage of H.H.Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood; and the unresting support of H.H. Sheikha Fatima BintHazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA), and Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club, the program benefited from FBMA’s long-lasting collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Education Council in facilitating daily trips for public school students to Al Forsan’s world class facilities, where they gotto experience the advantages and positive impact that sports can have in their everyday life.
The program was designed around the theme of travelling, which symbolizes the journey a girl takes into the fascinating world of sports from a young age. At the start, each participant was given a PasSport which they had to fill with as many stamps as they could, in order to obtain their boarding pass at the end. Each stamp represented one out of a variety of individual and team sports offered, and the boarding pass that “passengers” obtained at the end was their ticket to a raffle draw where they could win a number of gifts aimed at advancing their sports education, like passes and packages for sports resorts among others.
On the opportunity of this unprecedented occasion, the FBMA run a study to explore the sports preferences of female Emirati youth. What is it that the Nation’s girls enjoy and through which sports and activities can we motivate them and inspire an active and healthier lifestyle?
The study, conducted on a sample of 395 public school female students of age 10-12 years old, showed that the vast majority (84% of total) prefers team over individual sports, while it seems to be the case that team sports are prioritized at school as well, with football, basketball, handball, volleyball and swimming taking up most of the physical education hours at school.
Interesting were the findings on students’ most preferred sport, with 40% responding that swimming is their favorite sport, with football ranking second at 38%. The study also found a connection between parents’ exercising habits and children’s proneness to pursue sports outside school, and examined children’s motivation for exercising.