Absolute Gymnastics, It’s Just Cricket and It’s Just Football are three of the leading sports academies in the UAE, positively impacting the lives of more than 17,000 children every week
Name: Lola Grace Francis Age: 9 School: GEMS Modern Academy
What do you love most about your coach? What I love most about my coach, Sarah, is that she has a special way of teaching. She still makes things enjoyable and teaches us a lot of things.
What’s your favourite apparatus and skill? I started gymnastics when I was four years old. My favourite apparatus is the beam because it pushes me to my limit. I would say my favourite skill is aerial.
It’s Just Cricket
Name: Aryan Lakra Age: 17 School: GEMS Winchester School
Sportsman of the Year for GEMS Winchester School, Aryan has been representing the UAE in the national u19 team since 2016, and was the youngest player to do so. He also captained the UAE national u16 team to win the ACC U16 western region tournament in 2018. His position is left-handed bat and left arm spinner. Other accolades include:
- Best junior player award 2016-17 from Sir Viv Richards
- Best junior player award 2017-18 from Anil Kumble
- Played u19 Asia Cup in Malaysia in 2017 (BBM: 8-0-34-2 against Pakistan u19)
- Represented UAE u19 for the third time while playing the u19 Asia cup in September in Bangladesh (BBM: 10-0-37-2 against Nepal u19)
- 541 runs and 24 wickets in 16 inter-state 50-over games (second highest all time run scorer and highest wicket taker)
- Player of the tournament in this year’s U19 Cricket World Cup Asia qualifiers in Malaysia
- Player of the tournament in the U19 Asia Cup qualifiers in Dubai
It’s Just Football
Name: Ishaq Mouffer Age: 9 School: GEMS Royal Dubai School
Ishaq has represented his school and academy for more than four years and has constantly been an integral part of every side he has played in. Showing great leadership skills, he has been promoted to IJF Academy’s under 12 squad, making him one of the youngest players in his division. After winning the academy’s Clubman of the Year award, as well as numerous ‘most valuable player’ awards throughout his time in youth football, Ishaq is the perfect example of a young footballer progressing up the sporting ladder.