Qatar Schools Olympic Program enters final showdown

By John Zerafa-Doha, Qatar, April 04, 2012: The Fifth Edition of the Qatar Schools Olympic Program, organised by the Qatar Olympic Committee [QOC], reaches an exciting conclusion this week with a two-day Finals Festival at the Aspire Academy of Sports Excellence in Doha (Thursday 5th and Friday 6th April). The Finals will see over 2,200 boys and girls aged five to 18 competing for medals in nine Olympic sports: Athletics, Basketball, Fencing, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Swimming, Table-tennis and Volleyball. The 2012 edition of the Schools Olympic Program has the theme ‘Sport and Family’ which highlights the positive role that families can play in nurturing sporting talent and promoting healthy lifestyles.

QOC General Secretary Sheikh Saoud bin Abdelrahman Al-Thani said:

“This week’s Finals are the conclusion of a five month packed season which saw over 20,000 young people taking part in the schools sports competition at the Aspire Academy in Doha. We have surpassed the record 17,492 who were involved in 2011, which demonstrates the progress we are making in embedding sport in the lifestyles of our young people. It is great to see so many girls and boys taking part, having fun, getting active, and is a way to discover new talents.”

Doha 2020 Bid Committee CEO Noora Al Mannai, added:

“I wish to congratulate all the young athletes who have reached the Finals Festival of the Schools Olympic Program and I am especially proud of the young girls who have achieved great sporting feats over the past five months. “I call on them not to stop playing sports with the end of this competition, and I hope that they can one day go on to take part in the Olympic Games and be living proof that through sport we can break down barriers and create new opportunities.”

2,259 young boys and girls from 174 schools will compete for medals at the Finals Festival, which will be broadcast on Al Kass and Qatar TV, two national television broadcasters. The Finals Festival has also attracted significant media interest with over 100 journalists registered to attend and cover the competition events.

The Schools Olympic Program is a pioneer idea that was created by the Heir Apparent HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the QOC, with the aim to increase interest in Olympism amongst children in Qatar.

The Program balances sport, education, and culture, and intends to educate, engage and influence young athletes, motivating them to play an active role in the local community. The Program is also a platform for the QOC to identify and develop elite sporting talent, enabling young Qataris to have the opportunity to become future Olympic participants and Champions.

The Schools Olympic Program was launched in 2007 under the banner ‘Sport for Health’ with 7,099 students (boys and girls) representing 701 schools in the program. The 2012 Schools Olympic Program, with the theme of ‘Sport and Family’, includes a variety of promotional, educational and entertainment activities to help communicate this theme to the young participants.

The Schools Olympic Program is an annual initiative jointly organized by the Qatar Olympic Committee, the Supreme Education Council and the Qatar School Sports Federation which was founded in April 2010.

On 21st March 2012, the Schools Olympic Program also featured a ‘Special Day’, a unique event that offered students with special needs the opportunity to take part in a variety of different sporting events, including a number of Athletics sports and Table-tennis. The 2012 ‘Special Day’ involved over 350 young athletes and will take place at the Qatar Sports Club.

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