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Qatar was proud to host the U11 BSME Games once again. With the rapid development and support for sport in the country, we knew that this event would be very special.
The 15 months of careful planning by Steve Wilkinson from Doha English Speaking School and myself, Andrew Dutton, from Al Khor International School ensured that the journey towards the U11 Games would endure many highlights and successes but also have many challenges on the way. One of the various highlights experienced was the opportunity to acquire a world class indoor sports facility. Aspire Zone is one of the world’s tops sporting centres where many world class athletes from all sporting disciplines have had the opportunity to visit or train in. With a full indoor football, swimming, basketball, netball and athletics track, we both knew this was an opportunity not to be missed. H.H Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani also found value in the BSME U11 Games and placed the games under her patronage.
Despite careful planning there was a real danger that many of the athletes were not being able to travel due to visa issues. However, with the help of some very influential people we were able to boast that not one person was denied a visa. With all 400+ athletes now in the country and ready to go, the BSME U11 Games 2015 were officially opened.
The schools taking part in the event included:-
1. Doha English Speaking School
2. Al Khor International School
3. British International School Riyadh
4. St Christopher's, Bahrain
5. The British School of Abu Dhabi
6. The British School of Al Khubairat
7. Brighton College, Abu Dhabi
8. Dubai English Speaking School
9. Kings' School, Dubai
10. Modern English School Cairo
11. Horizon International School, Dubai
12. Sherborne School, Qatar
All were amazed at the opening ceremony with a spectacular gymnastics display and a song from the DESS choir. His Excellency British Ambassador Nicholas Hopton officially opened the BSME U11 Games with words of encouragement to all pupils to try hard but enjoy themselves as sport is a great tool to bring people together.
Basketball and netball were a great success. All the teams fought hard to get to the playoffs, with the competition as high as it was this year, teams had to dig deep to grab that top spot. Home team DESS Doha managed to win both events with some excellent team play and this was all displayed in a nail-biting final against DESS Dubai. Well done DESS Doha.
This was the first BSME Football event played in a full indoor facility. With some help in refereeing and running of the event from the Qatar Stars League, all were set and ready for a great display of quality football. All teams were equally matched but there were moments of brilliance from individuals that set the teams apart. There were some amazing goals being scored that even professional footballers would be proud of. The British School of Al Khubairat and DESS Doha battled it out in the finals. Unfortunately there could only be one winner with The British School of Al Khubairat taking first place in the football event. What a final!
Swimming started off with a splash in an amazing world class indoor facility. The grand stands were packed with spectators and the swimmers all nervous to showcase their skills in the water. With two heats per event, swimmers needed to ensure they battled against the clock to gain a podium finish. A special thanks to Hamad Aquatics for managing the event. It was highly entertaining with many races to close to call as swimmers finished neck in neck. Thanks to the help of technology, touch pads ensured that all times were accurate and placing’s were correct. Swimming in the BSME has always been strong with many schools displaying outstanding talent in this particular sport. One individual school is DESS Dubai who has won this event in the past. Making sure they stay at the top DESS Dubai managed to win the swimming event again. Congratulations!
There was great excitement and anticipation for the Athletics Event. Some of the top athletics stars in the world have run on the same surface and the excitement could be felt in the air by all the spectators and athletes. Race after race the athletes pushed themselves to achieve first place for their school. A great event that all athletes can be proud of. Well done to DESS Dubai for taking first place.
1st Place: Doha English Speaking School
2nd Place: Dubai English Speaking School
3rd Place: The British School Al Khubairat
The ethos of BSME Games is very special and strives to reflect true sportsmanship in every child during a spectacular week end of sport. I know that events such as these will create unique and personal memories to each athlete for many years to come. These memories could already be seen on everyone’s faces as they all met for the closing ceremony. A big celebration was held to highlight every child’s success over the week end. Steve and I both believe that every child returned to their respective schools a winner. Knowing that, the BSME U11 Games was a great success.
Special thanks to schools, sponsors and everyone who helped make the games amazing. I am already looking forward to the next event.