Qatar’s Centre of Sporting Excellence Praised by World Leaders, Sporting Authorities and Global Media
Qatar’s ASPIRE, the Academy for Sports Excellence, has won international plaudits as both a host venue and a training centre, following the 2006 Doha Asian Games, the largest sporting event in the world’s most populous continent.
World leaders, Olympic officials, sporting authorities and famous athletes past and present visited the Academy during the games, and many paid strong tributes to the scope and vision of ASPIRE.
Launched in 2005, the ASPIRE Sports Dome – the largest covered dome in the world – has been consistently used as a training and development venue for ASPIRE student athletes, in addition to a number of sporting and community events in Qatar.
However, the Asian Games – which involved 10,000 athletes from 45 countries – was the first event to employ the majority of the Dome’s capacity, with the venue hosting an astonishing diversity of events, including badminton, wushu, wrestling, kabaddi, boxing, gymnastics and even track cycling events.
The response from sporting officials has been particularly strong.
Mr. Ahmed Abdulla Al Khulaifi, Deputy Director General, Corporate Support and Games Official Spokesperson, Doha Asian Games Organising Committee said: “Every time I walked into the ASPIRE Indoor Hall, I’m awestruck at the proportion and design of this magnificent facility. The 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 showed the world that the stadiums and sporting infrastructure of Qatar were without rival in the region, but the ASPIRE Indoor Hall went a step further and gave the world a glimpse of the future”.
“Those who attended the seven-odd sports in the ASPIRE Indoor Hall during the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 can boast that they have been inside one of the most innovative and futuristic sporting venues in the world.”
Visiting officials from a wide range of sports, including leading figures from the worlds of gymnastics and kabaddi, also publicly commented on the advanced nature of the facilities available at ASPIRE.
In addition, major global media outlets paid tribute to the Academy. The International Herald Tribune commented that it “was the most impressive of the venues constructed for the event.”
Executives at the Academy said that, while they were grateful for the international acclaim, they were most encouraged by the interest shown by distinguished visitors in the wider mission of ASPIRE.
Dr. Thomas Flock, Director General of ASPIRE said: “We are very pleased with the performance of the Sports Dome as a host venue for Asian Games events, since it underlines its potential as an arena for high performance sports.
“However, it is important to note that, for us, the most important users are the student athletes who practice and develop their skills in these holistic educational facilities every week of the year. ASPIRE is a forward-looking academy and one which has ambitions to produce world-class athletes for the international events of the future.”
Mr. Ahmed Abdulla Al Khulaifi agreed: “The use of this facility goes far beyond the 15th Asian Games, however. This is a true legacy item for the State of Qatar. Even before the Games began, the ASPIRE hall with its academy served to groom young Qatari athletes for a bright future in sports.”