Focus on Fitness
GEMS International School announced several initiatives in 2018 following the launch of the UAE’s National School Health Agenda. Collectively named MYHealth, the program set up by the school includes a ‘MYHealth Kids’ initiative for students, with fitness tests and activities throughout the school year. GEMS International School also commenced its ‘MYHealth Staff’ program, aimed at spreading health and dietary awareness among staff members and increasing their involvement in fitness-related activities.
In 2019, the initiative included the Meydan Sports Series Run, in which 40 staff members participated in events such as triathlons, duathlons, desert warriors and fun runs. The idea is to actively promote a healthy lifestyle for the school’s staff and to initiate fitness activities that involve the entire school community. One of the more exciting events that this focus on physical activities and fitness led to was the participation of two of GEMS International School’s teaching staff at the World Gaelic Athletic Association games.
GEMS staff head to Ireland to attend World GAA games
Shonagh and Stephen, both teachers at GEMS International School who also play for the Dubai Celts, represented the Middle East during the Gaelic Athletic Association’s World Summer Games, which took place in Waterford, South East Ireland, from 28 July to 2 August 2019. Players were chosen from GAA clubs across the Middle East and the finals took place in Ireland’s national stadium at Croke Park in Dublin.
Shonagh was selected to play Camogie, a sport that is similar to Lacrosse, and Stephen took part in the Gaelic Football competition, which has rules that can be roughly approximated to a mix between Rugby and Australian Rules Football. Athletes from all over the world took part in the games, with clubs from South Africa, New York, France, Spain, Australia, Britain and many Asian countries represented by their teams. Over 1,300 players, from more than 400 GAA clubs operating outside Ireland, took part in the games.
In what was an unforgettable experience for the teachers, both Shonagh and Stephen were lucky enough to be part of the finals at Croke Park, a stadium with an audience capacity of more than 82,000, on 2 August. Both put in stellar performances in their respective events, with Shonagh’s team narrowly beaten in the finals and Stephen’s team emerging victorious on the day.