Federations in the United Arab Emirates have been urged to begin preparing for the re-arranged Summer Youth Olympic Games in Dakar in 2026.
The United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) have asked the Federations to submit their plans for the next four-years with the long-term target of discovering young talent to represent the country in the Senegalese capital in five-and-a-half years.
The Games in Dakar were originally due to take place in 2022 but have now been postponed by four-years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The UAE NOC Technical Committee, chaired by Mohammed Al Mahmoud, has held an online meeting with the national governing bodies to discuss their plans.
"Attendees stressed the importance of setting up specific plans and strategies by Sports Federations tailored to the nature of each sport to improve the performance of athletes such that they can achieve better results in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the NOC, calling for ambitious plans for better achievements befitting the profile of the UAE sport," the UAE NOC said in a statement.
"The meeting recommended the Federations to adopt ideas for developing beach sports in all games and take advantage of the geographical nature of the UAE, which has abundant and long stretching beaches enabling the practising of various types of beach sports.
"It noted that such advantages have to be utilised to improve and promote our beach sports."
The Federations have been told to initially focus on the first Gulf Junior Games, due now to be hosted in the Emirates in 2022, with the hope of inspiring youngsters to try to qualify for Dakar 2026.
"The Games should be viewed as a great opportunity for the Federations to select the best talents and start developing technical programmes to groom promising athletes capable of representing the UAE in the Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal 2026," the UAE NOC said.
At the last edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games, in Buenos Aires in 2018, the UAE were represented by seven athletes in five sports.
They won their first medal in the Games with 15-year-old Omar Al Marzooqi taking a silver in the individual show jumping.