BOC President Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa lit a dedicated Torch to declare the School Mini Olympics open ©BOC

Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) President Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa officially declared open the 2018 School Mini Olympics during a spectacular ceremony in Riffa.

The event is being organised by the BOC in cooperation with the Ministry of Education with more than 3,500 students from Government and private schools competing in a record 20 sports this year.

Shaikh Nasser lit a dedicated Torch to declare open the School Mini Olympics, due to run until March 22.

He later delivered a short speech in which he welcomed all the participants and expressed his pleasure for the organisation of the fifth edition of the event, before wishing everyone success.

The ceremony was held at Isa Sports City’s Bahrain Volleyball Association gym.

In a touching gesture, Shaikh Nasser met Maram Al Sayed Jalil, a student with special needs from Al Khansa Primary Girls School, and had a general discussion on the Mini Olympics.

Other high-ranking sports officials were present at the ceremony, including Faouzi Al Jowder, the Education Ministry’s Undersecretary, and Abdulrahman Askar, the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports' deputy general secretary and the BOC's general secretary.

Schools parade at the ceremony ©BOC
Schools parade at the ceremony ©BOC

Also in attendance were representatives of national governing bodies, the Ministry and participating schools.

The ceremony started with Askar expressing his pleasure for organising the School Mini Olympics for the fifth consecutive year in cooperation with the Ministry.

It is part of a strategy to expand sports culture within national community and provide all that is needed to help spread the principles of Olympism.

Askar noted the huge improvement in the standard of the Mini Olympics.

He said that having a record 58 schools represented and more than 3,500 students to compete in 20 sports reflects the remarkable development of organisation and the experience gained by the BOC in recent years.

As part of the ceremony, a number of musical and dancing shows, performed by several of the participating schools’ pupils, were staged.

They focused on Shaikh Nasser’s slogan this year, "Gold Only", which serves as a target for all Bahraini athletes at regional and international competitions.