ASPIRE Students Reflect on Lessons of Asian Games
As the 15th Asian Games closes in a blaze of colour, some of its most eager supporters – the student athletes of ASPIRE – are reflecting on the important lessons of the global sporting event.
Eight ASPIRE students competed in the games, performing alongside some of the world’s best athletes in the swimming, table tennis, gymnastics and sailing contests.
ASPIRE students Mohammed Al Saadi and Ahmed Muthana Alawlaqi represented Qatar in the highly-competitive table tennis tournament. Fellow students Waleed Al Sharshani, Mohammed Ahmed Alzaini and Hassan Eisa Al Tamimi represented their country in sailing events held at the Doha Sailing Club.
Mohamed Zaidan Hashem was in the swimming events at the Hamad Aquatic centre whilst Nasser Musa Alhamad and Mahmood Al Sadi were on familiar territory, taking part in the gymnastics competition at the ASPIRE Sports Dome.
Notable successes included Waleed Al Sharshani winning the silver medal in the Laser 4.7 Open Sailing Competition. The 14-year-old from Qatar recorded the fastest time in three of the twelve races, consistently demonstrating his prowess against international competition from some of the best sailing nations in the world.
In addition, the table tennis team was ranked fifth in the competition, losing only to world champions Korea and China.
All the students gained invaluable experience of competing in the top-level events against world class competition.
In recognition of the achievements made by the ASPIRE students who took part in the Games, the Academy held an awards ceremony on December 18th.
A medal was awarded to each of the students, with all other ASPIRE athletes receiving special bronze coins, not only in recognition of their support and the encouragement they showed to their fellow students, but also as an incentive to work hard and get their own medals in the future.
For those students who were not competing, the Games have provided an important learning opportunity, enabling them to see a wide range of sporting disciplines at close range, performed by leading athletes.
Being able to see competitors engage in some of the sports that the students themselves have chosen to specialize in, has helped illustrate the challenges and commitment of high performance athletics.
Dr. Thomas Flock, Director General of ASPIRE said: “It is testament to the progress being made at ASPIRE that eight students were able to compete in one of the world’s leading sporting events.
“More than that, the inspiration of being in such close proximity to some of the world’s best has a positive impact across the Academy. Exposure to a landmark event like the Asian Games gives them valuable experience of what to expect, as they aim to become top level athletes later in their own careers.”
With an indoor athletics stadium, a 6,000-seater football stadium, Olympic-sized swimming and diving pools, and seven multi-purpose sports halls, ASPIRE has been a major venue during the 15th Asian Games.
It played host to a number of events including badminton, wushu, wrestling, kabaddi and boxing. Gymnastics also took place in the indoor athletics stadium, and a temporary velodrome was built on the indoor football pitch to stage the track cycling events.
ASPIRE, now in its third academic year, selects and trains the high potential young athletes, providing them with an unmatched opportunity for an advanced sporting and academic education.