Sport360 - - Going Out Listings -­ By Den­zil Pinto @Sport360 den­

Pick of the day Ex­pert tu­ition at a va­ri­ety of venues is the key to the Desert Cubs Sports Academy.

For as­pir­ing youngsters want­ing to de­velop their skills in cricket, badminton, ath­let­ics and swim­ming, then Desert Cubs Sports Academy has you cov­ered for this sea­son.

Their new term is al­ready un­der­way but reg­is­tra­tion is still open. Now in its 11th sea­son, Desert Cubs has grad­u­ally grown to be­come one of the top multi-sport cen­tres in the UAE.

Ini­tially be­gun as a crick­et­ing academy by Pres­ley Polon­nowita, a for­mer first-class Sri Lankan crick­eter, they have ex­panded their oper­a­tions with the ad­di­tions of the badminton, ath­let­ics and swim­ming pro­grammes.

Classes, which are held var­i­ous days of the week, are un­der­taken in four venues across Shar­jah and Dubai – Shar­jah English School, Deira In­ter­na­tional School, Jumeirah Bac­calau­re­ate School and GEMS New Mil­len­nium School Al Khail.

“We have got more than 45 coaches work­ing even dur­ing the week­end,” said Polon­nowita.

“In cricket, Mu­rali Sock­alingam is the head coach of the men’s side in the on-go­ing In­door Cricket World Cup in Dubai, while Chaithrali Kalgutkar is the team man­ager of the women’s side. We also have our two coaches – Sameer Nayak and Dil­is­ara Sasanka also play­ing in the men’s squad.

“Over­all, we have six Level 3 cricket coaches reg­u­larly work­ing with our se­nior teams.”

He added: “For our badminton pro­grammes, kids can learn from Sriyani Deepika, who has rep­re­sented Sri Lanka and was also a run­ner-up in the 2017 Mas­ters World Sin­gles Cham­pi­onship in New Zealand. We also have Upul Ra­japak­she as the se­nior head coach for our ath­let­ics divi­sion, who won gold in the 2008 SAAR Games in the high jump.”

As well as train­ing ev­ery week, there will also be an op­por­tu­nity for youths to put their prac­tice to the test by com­pet­ing in many matches and tour­na­ments in the UAE and abroad.

For in­stance, their crick­eters went on a suc­cess­ful sum­mer tour to the UK, where they tested them­selves against bright English prospects over dif­fer­ent for­mats of the game.

To date, the club has more than 2,500 mem­bers and Polon­nowita hopes that num­ber can grow for the com­ing sea­son with new reg­is­tra­tions.

“Our aim at Desert Cubs Sports Academy is to make our cubs the leg­ends of the fu­ture,” he said. “We pro­vide qual­ity coach­ing all year round at all our cen­tres.”

What: Desert Cubs Sports Academy new sea­son Where: Var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in Shar­jah and Dubai When: On-go­ing Con­tact: More in­for­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter visit­

In to stride: young ath­letes will re­ceive guid­ance from coach Upul Ra­japak­she.

All ac­tion: swim­ming (top left), badminton (top right) and cricket (above) are all part of the Desert Cubs pro­gramme.

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