Participation in school sports provides a sense of belonging and being part of a team or group. It provides the opportunity to interact with peers in a friendly manner and to learn to consider the interests of others whilst practising mutual respect and cooperation. A sense of togetherness is formed as teammates take turns to play, alongside learning to cope with success and failure; all skills required in so many aspects of life.
During the first weekend in March, our U11 sports teams took part in the BISQ Games at Aspire. They pulled on their new purple kit with great pride and there was a definite sense of excitement on the bus to Doha. For many, it was the first time performing on such a grand stage and in such a high-profile competition.
The aim of the BISQ Games is to combat barriers placed upon schools since the blockade and to provide athletes within British International Schools across Qatar, the opportunity to compete at a high level. The Games lasts two full days and some students are extremely busy as they are on every team. Sports include Basketball (boys), Football, Netball (girls), Athletics and Swimming.
For our girls, their competition started with football. After medaling in the QPPSSA tournament a few weeks previous, we knew the girls would play their hearts out to gain as many points as possible. They would face new opposition to their previous tournament so the outcome was unknown. After 2 draws, a win and a loss they ended up in the 5th v 5th playoff against Doha British School. The game finished with a nail-biting penalty shoot-out where NAISAK came out victorious!! The girls held their nerve and struck the ball well, putting it right in the back of the net.
For the boys, they began with Basketball. The venue seemed so big compared to our facilities at school and it took them a little while to settle. Mr Gavin and Mr Sam tried many formations and they came close to a win on a few occasions. Their last match against Oryx went to a sudden death basket shoot off. Thanks to Omar in Yr 5 the team walked away victorious. Lots to learn from this experience.
We then turned to swimming on Friday afternoon with our small but willing team of swimmers. What a fantastic job they did too. Muhammed in Yr 5 swam as many 50m races as the competition would allow including an individual medley (a length of every stroke). Nina in Yr 5 did the same and finished 3rd in 2 of her races. Tiare also pulled out a great swim to finish 3rd in hers. At the end of what was an exciting event, we finished 11th out of 14 schools. We are very proud of our swim team for gaining us some valuable points.
Onto Saturday, and it was Netball for the girls and Football for the boys. After winning the Netball festival back in December and training every break time, some mornings and after school, the girls we confident of the rules (of which there are many!) and ready to play. The girls knew there would be teams that had entered the Netball Competition in December that would be better than them, however,
played hard every match to keep the games close. After a draw, some wins and some very close losses we ended up playing for 7th or 8th place against DBS (again). They won! Not only that, Noof was named player of the match in 2 games and Aisha in 1. We are extremely proud of their 7th place – well done girls.
At the same time, our boys were outside playing football. Our boys love football and were really looking forward to this part of the weekend. The competition was tough, however, they worked hard throughout coming close to a victory on a few occasions. Yahya was awarded a special fair play medal for his honesty as a goalkeeper. Accepting responsibility is one of our High 5 values at school and we are so pleased our students live by them.
To round off the weekend was Athletics – all schools together with their boys’ and girls’ teams. It was the event NAISAK was responsible for running so extra pressure was felt. Not having a track or a long jump pit in school puts us at a slight disadvantage but that didn’t stop our students from aiming high and working hard. Each event had an A and B athlete meaning 28 athletes per event (except the high jump where there were 14). Special mentions go to Noof for making the 60m final and for a 6th place in the 200m, Ameena for finishing 5th in the High Jump, Sally and JC for their 5th place in the Javelin, and, to Nina and Yomna for their grit and placing in the 800m (4th and 6th respectively).
Where did we finish overall? Better than we did last year which is what we were aiming for. What have we learned from the experience? Lots as always. Obviously, we want to do finish in the top half of the table and to do that requires a team effort – the team being the students, the teachers and the parents. Fitness is an area where our students should aspire to improve, as this will make them stronger and able to keep performing for longer periods of time. Exercise should become part of everyone’s daily routine. Getting better at hand-eye coordination and the ability to catch, pass and move are also skills children can easily practise at home. Collaboration is key – when people work together, they can achieve a common goal.