The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has launched the Abu Dhabi Sports Championship for Schools and Universities with the third annual edition bringing together 26,000 students and aspiring athletes from across the emirate.

The tournament has significantly expanded its scope this year to feature a line-up of 10 individual sports disciplines and league formats for three team sports. The competition sees participation from 403 public, private and Charter Schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra, along with 18 universities. 

Participating students will take a shot at winning the cup in their respective categories and they will have the opportunity of taking their first step towards professional and academic pathways in sports. Expert scouts will attend some of the events to identify stand-out students to join ADEK’s talent identification and development programs in addition to summer camps at IMG Academy, the global institution in sports training and education. Aspiring student athletes will also have the opportunity to apply for scholarships in related fields of study.

Her Excellency Sara Musallam, ADEK Chairman and Minister of State for Early Education, Chairman of the Federal Agency of Early Education (FAEE), said: "The Abu Dhabi Sports Championship is a strategic initiative that aligns with our leadership’s vision to embed both competitive and recreational sportsmanship into our educational ecosystem. We want to support a generation of student athletes and our commitment extends beyond fostering athletic talents; it is about embedding a culture of physical wellbeing and lifelong activity that starts from the grassroots level. By expanding the scope of the Abu Dhabi Sports Championship, we want to create a path for our most gifted student athletes, encouraging them to excel in competitive sports arenas.

"A robust sporting culture requires a collective effort. We need parents to help build active communities, and that starts with participation – on the field and beyond. We invite them and the wider community to join us in this endeavour, to not only encourage their children's active participation in sports but also to be active participants themselves. Together, we can transform the landscape of school sports, making it a foundation for nurturing well-rounded individuals who are prepared to lead, inspire, and thrive in every aspect of their lives."

The 2024 edition sees an expanded league-format team sports including futsal for Under-9s and Under-11s, as well as football and volleyball for Under-13s, Under-15s, Under-17s, and Under-19s, and basketball for Under-14s and Under-19s. The individual sports include judo, taekwondo, triathlon, cross country, athletics, indoor and open water swimming, cycling, badminton, archery, and fencing for Under-13s, Under-15s, Under-17s, and Under-19s, as well as shooting for Under-15s, Under-17s, and Under-19s. University students can now compete in both individual and team sports, further enriching the championship's diverse landscape.

In addition to the competitions, the Abu Dhabi Sports Championship continues its commitment to coach development through the return of ADEK's Coach the Coaches programme. This initiative has engaged with 2,587 coaches, with plans to increase the number in future editions. The programme features comprehensive training, exchange programmes with global coaching institutions, and developmental seminars among other capacity building activities.