The United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee have announced that the sixth edition of the country's School Olympic Games have got underway in the city of Sharjah with girls given more opportunities following a Presidential ruling on their participation in the event.
The event, being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and which is due to last until April 24, will see more than 2,600 students compete in sports that will archery and badminton.
This edition of the School Olympic Games is the first time that girls born in the UAE were allowed to compete following a Presidential ruling allowing children of Emirati women and those born in the UAE to compete in international events.
UAE NOC executive director Mohammed bin Darwish said the recent ruling made the current edition of the School Olympic Games an "exceptional" event.
"The NOC is proud of communication with the Ministry of Education in implementing the directives of our leaders; which contribute to generating talents across the board, especially in individual games; which promises good results in the forthcoming international sports events," he said.
Aysha Al Seeri, director of the Health and Fitness Department at the UAE's Ministry of Education added: "We are proud of the form shown by students and the participation of three students from UAE residents in the badminton competition.
"We are also proud that we have implemented the directives of our wise leadership within this regard and see considerable progress in the form of female students in the current version in which the badminton competition are taking place for the second time in the Olympics."
Al Seeri also confirmed that there had been a 25 per cent increase in female participation in the Games since last year.