International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Dr Thomas Bach was all praise for the “holistic development of sports” in Qatar, during his visit yesterday.
In what was his second visit to Doha and first since becoming the IOC president in September last year, Bach and his IOC delegation met officials of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and held discussions with QOC secretary general HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, vice-president HE Sheikh Saoud bin Ali al-Thani and QOC Executive Board members during his two-day visit.
“This is my second visit to Doha. Yes, much has changed… But what, fortunately, hasn’t changed is the enthusiasm of the people here,” Bach told reporters.
“It’s really great to see how Qatar is taking a holistic approach to the role of sports in society building. “The country is not just looking at the big events, but is keen to develop sports at the grass root level. Their Olympic programme in schools is a model that should be emulated worldwide.”
He also applauded the comprehensive development of sporting infrastructure in the country, and spreading the virtue of Olympic values through sport.
The IOC president also held a meeting at the QOC headquarters that was attended by the heads of all sports federations in the country. The IOC delegation was given a comprehensive presentation on Qatar’s sport strategy and the objectives of the country’s 2030 vision.
In a brief presentation by Sheikh Saoud, the QOC secretary general shed light on Qatar’s busy 2014-15 sports calendar which is packed with more than 40 international events including the 2015 IHF World Men’s Handball Championship, the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships and the 2016 UCI Road World Championships.
The presentation covered a series of vital topics and programmes supervised and organised by the QOC, including the Schools Olympic Program — a national sport program that aims at developing the sporting skills and social values among students from different learning levels. The presentation highlighted the overwhelming success of the program since its first edition, held in 2007 under the theme ‘Sport and Health’, where more than 5000 students (boys and girls) from 100 schools took part in the competitions. The number rose to 26,000 from 380 schools in the 2014 edition of the programme held under the theme ‘Sport and Integrity’.
In his address, the IOC chief said: “I remember when I was President of the German Olympic Committee we were hosting a high number of international sport events. But I think Qatar has set what I consider a world record with the 43 international events it is organising in the 2014-15 season.”
The IOC president also lauded the Schools Olympic Program initiative, and said he saw many similarities with the Youth Olympic Games in this programme.
Earlier, Bach and his accompanying delegation were greeted upon his arrival at Doha International Airport by QOC secretary general Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and a number of QOC officials.
The IOC president is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising IOC vice president Nawal El Moutawakel, director of Olympic Solidarity Pere Miro, director General Christophe De Kepper, director of Communications Mark Adams, and head of Protocol Marina Baramia.
The delegation also visited the Qatar anti-doping laboratory and the Qatar Olympic Academy’s building which is scheduled to open in the second quarter of this year.
On Qatar’s chances of hosting the Olympic Games, Bach said: “We will see what happens in the future. The world’s attention is now on the football World Cup which Qatar is hosting. It’s too early to speculate on the Olympics. We have not yet thought about 2024 and 2028 Games. But yes, we had a good exchange of ideas. I am also looking forward to Qatar’s paper on the ‘Olympic Agenda’. I am really looking forward to it.” Source: Gulf Times
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani holding talks with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and member of the DOSB executive board, at Al Bahr Palace yesterday. Talks dealt with co-operation between Qatar and IOC.