Qatar hopeful of greater success at Tokyo Olympics. President of Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani has praised beIN network TV Channels winning the rights to broadcast three upcoming Olympic Games, noting that the network deserves this win. In an interview with the new Olympic beIN network HE Sheikh Joaan said that since the start of its launch, the beIN sports has had great co-operation with the Qatar Olympic Committee and there is an active partnership between the Qatar Olympic Committee and the network and this co-operation will continue in the future as the network continues to excel.
He referred to the participation in the 2016 Rio Olympics as good where Qatar sent 38 athletes in various competitions including swimming, handball, weightlifting, high jump and equestrian, and result was the achievement of Qatari Olympic champion Mutaz Barshim winning the silver medal in Qatar’s biggest participation in the Olympic Games and “we look forward to better results in the future.”
Sheikh Joaan expressed the hope that Qatar’s participation in Tokyo 2020 would be greater than Rio 2016.
He said after the end of the Rio 2016 “we sat down with the federations to assess our participation in 2016. We came up with a new idea, the elite programme, which is for the players whom the Qatar Olympic Committee sees as distinguished and can provide good results for the sport with excellent results in all competitions. We have developed methods to support them; the programme includes five federations selected according to specific criteria.”
Sheikh Joaan said the programme is open to all federations, provided that the athlete attains certain level in order to be included in this programme. He added that the programme currently includes Mutaz Barshim in athletics, the Qatar equestrian team, and shooting, as Qatar has very distinctive shooters such as Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah, Rashid al-Athba and “there are young shooters who have great ambitions in order to reach the same level reached by Nasser and Rashid. This creates legitimate competition among shooters, and legitimate competition within federations creates a good spirit that enables them to achieve results and achievements at the global, continental and regional levels.” On the co-operation between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Qatar Olympic Committee, Sheikh Joaan said: “Co-operation with the IOC and other committees in the world is an effective co-operation.”
An agreement was recently signed between the Qatar Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee, which will be announced in Lima, the capital of Peru, soon, Sheikh Joaan noted. To Page 16
The agreement concerns refugees in an initiative to support refugee athletes who have been displaced from their countries with a view to supporting them in the Olympic Games. It was activated in Rio in 2016 for the first time and Qatar was one of the first initiators and will be among the partners who support the Olympic movement in the world and athletes who have no support from their countries because of the problems they suffer, Sheikh Joaan added. On the development of women’s sport, Sheikh Joaan said women’s sport in Qatar started in 2001 and Qatari teams participated in many tournaments, and even at the Olympic level there was participation of Qatari women in the Olympics in 2012 in London where the Qatar flag holder was the shooter Bahia al-Hamad, and Sarah Masood who won silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. At the Asian level, there were several successes achieved through the handball team.
“Women are part of the Qatari sports community and their presence in international forums is important for us,” Sheikh Joaan said.
He added that Qatar has 30 community programmes, the most prominent of which is the “be Sports person” programme, which is being co-ordinated with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and will be launched next month.
It aims to spread the culture of sports in all sectors of society. On the Olympic School Programme, Sheikh Joaan said this aims at spreading sports awareness in schools, an idea adopted by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, when he was President of the Qatar Olympic Committee. The programme began in 2007 with only eight sports and now it has reached 11 sports and the number of participants reached 27,000 students at the level of the state’s schools.
The programme has achieved many goals, including talented students joining the state’s clubs in all sports and has the support of the state’s leadership. It is a joint effort between the Qatar School Sports Federation and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Sheikh Joaan said. On Qatar’s hosting the Olympic Games in the future, Sheikh Joaan said: “I think that Qatar’s hosting of an Olympic Games is a legitimate right. Earlier, no one expected Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, now we are only five years away from that and Qatar is now full of world-class facilities.”
He said Qatar has become a venue to host any world championship and recently hosted numerous international handball and gymnastics championships and will host the 2019 World Athletics Championship, and Swimming Championship in 2023.