Young Athletes make big impression at GEMS Netball Cup
There was no shortage of talent at the 2nd GEMS Netball Cup, as top GEMS schools across the UAE battled for glory in Dubai.
More than 300 athletes from 14 schools flocked to GEMS Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis for the second annual competition and unsurprisingly there were some exceptional individual and team performances across the U10, U12, U14 and U16 categories.
Hosts GEMS Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis (WSO) were coming into this tournament with a lot of confidence, as they were last years U14 and U16 Champions. Jumeirah Primary School were also looking to bank on their recent success, as they looked to retain their U10 and U12 titles from last years edition.
However, with the competition being much stronger than the 1st GEMS Netball Cup, we witnessed 2 new champions in 2 categories. Every match was a delight to watch, as talented players from all schools showcased why the sport is increasing in popularity across GEMS.
In the Under-10 final, GEMS Jumeirah Primary School carried their dominant form from the group stages and successfully managed to retain their champion status. Similarly with GEMS Wellington Academy (Silicon Oasis), who put in a dominating performance and beat GEMS Cambridge International School 4-2 to retain their U16 title.
The story was different in the U14 final, where GEMS Wellington International School (GWIS) were battling it out with defending champions GEMS Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis (WSO). GWIS were leading 3-1 for most part of the game before WSO fought back valiantly to get an additional point towards the end. However, it wasn’t enough as the girls from GWIS brought their best defensive game on the day and were deservedly crowned U14 GEMS Netball Champions.
However, the best final of the day had to be the U12 category, where GEMS World Academy (GWA) took on GEMS Wellington International School (GWIS). An 11 goal thriller that had a capacity crowd at the edge of their seats throughout the entire game. Such that the match had ended at 5-5 on normal time and had to be taken into extra time. A sudden death like scenario, everyone was treated to brilliant counter-attacking plays from both schools. However, the determined athletes from GEMS World Academy made their pace count and won the finals 6-5 in the last few seconds to win their first GEMS Netball Championship.
Among the Most Valuable Players to impress in the tournament, Ilham from JPS was the star player in the U10 category. A member of the U12 GWIS squad, Lily played a crucial role in the victories for her team, while her schoolmate Adeeva was named Most Valuable Player in the U14 category. In their U16 category, Eunice from WSO was one of the standout players by defending a number of goal attempts with some match-winning interceptions.
The event was organized by ESM (East Sports Management), while RU Active Netball was the technical partners of the GEMS Netball Cup. James Bowring, Managing Director at ESM, was extremely happy about the competition levels in the tournament.
“If you look at the specifics of GEMS Netball Cup, the numbers have increased exponentially since last year’s inaugural event. This is both in terms of participants and viewership as the girls thrived on the challenge of winning. Not only have we achieved to get in many more talented players into the competition but we’ve also increased engagement & viewership of the GEMS Netball Cup on media platforms. It was great to see so many schools and children involved this year and we look forward to making the GEMS Netball Cup a signature event on the UAE schools sports calendar.”