On Wednesday evening, nearly 20 years after opening its doors with the mission to produce world-class athletes for Qatar, Aspire Academy honoured its 17th batch of graduates at a prestigious ceremony in the iconic Aspire Dome.
The event recognised the achievements of 50 student-athletes, marking another milestone in the Academy’s illustrious history.
This year’s graduating class includes 26 footballers, six football referees, nine track and field athletes, four fencers, two swimmers, two squash players, and one table tennis player.
The ceremony was graced by Jassim al-Buainin, Secretary-General of the Qatar Olympic Committee and President of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) who served as the guest of honour.
Distinguished guests also included representatives from various sports federations and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
The event was further distinguished by the presence of Tariq Abdulaziz al-Naama, Vice-President of the Aspire Zone Foundation, and Mohamed al-Suwaidi, CEO of Aspire and Vice-President of the QFA.
They were joined by other dignitaries, teachers, coaching staff, and student-athletes’ parents and friends, making the evening a truly memorable celebration.
Following a reading from the Qur’an by graduating footballer Anas Mahmoud Elhamahmi, Aspire Academy’s Director General Ivan Bravo addressed the gathering. He thanked the student-athletes’ parents for the key role they played in their sons’ development during their time at the Academy.
Bravo praised all the achievements earned by Aspire’s student-athletes this year as well as those from its alumni. He also offered some words of advice for the 17th batch of graduates.
“The first (guiding principle) refers to the idea and ideal of generosity,” Bravo said.
“Generosity refers to your character, refers to your ability to lead by commanding respect from others because you always put the team before self, and this is very rare to see in today’s society.
“But when you find people who are willing to do that and capable and see life and sports through this lens, then there are no limits.”
“The second guiding principle is patience and belief in the process so you can earn your stripes.
“Don’t ever lose sight of just taking those little steps. There are no shortcuts in sports or life.”
“So please remember, be generous, be respectful, and now go ahead and conquer the world.”
The Aspire School Principal, Jassem al-Jaber, also took to the stage and thanked those in attendance as well as the guest of honour.
He congratulated the graduating students and paid tribute to the parents, teachers, coaches, and all the staff involved with the student-athletes during their time at Aspire Academy.
“Your achievements today are not a matter of chance but the result of your effort and determination to excel,” he said.
“As you prepare to embark on new horizons, I want you to remember that success is not a final destination but a continuous journey.”
“The values of discipline that you have learned here, such as responsibility, respect, and readiness, will stay with you for life.”
After football referee Mohamed al-Jabri read a poem, his classmate footballer Abdulla al-Otaibi spoke on behalf of all the student-athletes graduating, and he thanked all those in attendance.
“We acknowledge the debt of gratitude to a nation that has harnessed all its resources for the excellence of its children through an academy that has made quality the standard of its work,” he said.
“Today is a celebration, and tomorrow is work. The road ahead of us is long and in an era of rapid scientific development and great challenges.”
“Our nation and our community deserve sweat, effort, and unwavering determination from all of us – life, after all, is a continuous struggle.”
Aspire graduate and Olympic high jump champion Mutaz Barshim and his football-goalkeeper brother Meshaal Barshim, who earlier this year won the AFC Asian Cup with Qatar, appeared in a video message with their father, Issa Mohamed Barshim. In the message, Issa Mohamed Barshim expressed gratitude towards Aspire Academy, noting that its support significantly eased his efforts to help his sons balance academics and sports at the highest level.
Aspire Academy remains dedicated to nurturing the next generation of athletes, fostering excellence both on and off the field.
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