GULF WEEKLY: Tiny tots, toddlers and pre-schoolers are set to compete in a fun four-day sporting festival next month in a bid to motivate youngsters to stay active and to promote the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
The third edition of the Bahrain Baby Games, organised by the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) in collaboration with the Education Ministry, will be held at Isa Sports City (Halls B, C and D) for little ones aged three to five that would like to flex their athletic skills in a series of activities on June 1, 3, 4 and 5.
“Generally, we would like to attract children to develop their physical and motor skills from an early age,” said Lounes Madene, BOC’s director of sport projects management. “We also would like to raise awareness to youngsters and parents about the importance of exercise, as well as physical and sports education, by instilling the values and principles in them early on.
“Our main objective though is to attract the attention and interest of parents on the importance of sports activities for their children, hoping that these annual games will push them to practice a regular sport activity.”
According to Lounes, the main sporting activity children are recommended to take up at this age is gymnastics.
“It’s a comprehensive exercise programme that teaches flexibility, balance, speed and muscle co-ordination,” he explained. “It is also the ideal age to develop the vestibular system and master the balance of the body in space. Gymnastics opens the door to all the other sports in the future.”
Gymnastics will be one of the sporting activities this year for those aged four to five. Other activities that will be featuring in the festival, with different age groups in mind, includes swimming, basketball, football, weightlifting and athletics.
The opening ceremony will be held from 4.30pm to 5.30pm on June 1, featuring a show presented by some kindergarten and nursery children along with fun activities such as a Baby Floor Crawl Race and Baby Race with Walkers open to toddlers under the age of one with the support of their parents.
Lounes hopes that this event will draw in a large crowd of children and their folks at the first event attracted 558 children in 2018 and 593 youngsters joined in the second festival in 2019 – which was followed by a break due to the pandemic.
“The idea of the Baby Games originally came about after the BOC members attended the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Congress in 2017 in Prague and we watched a funny and emotional International Olympic Committee video about the Baby Olympic Games,” he added. “We decided then to initiate a national Olympic game for babies in Bahrain which was a real success.
“This event is open to the public and mostly to parents as we would like to encourage them to also come and support their kids.”
For details, on timings and activites, follow @bahrainolympic on Instagram.