By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter

Doha Bank gave Qatar a big reason to be proud of when it unveiled what the Guinness World Records certified as the world’s largest soccer ball ever made. The ceremony, which coincided with the National Sport Day celebrations yesterday, was held at LuLu Hypermarket’s (D-Ring Road) parking grounds.
The ball measures 12.19 metres in diameter, is 38-feet high and weighs 960 kilos, said Pravin Patel, an adjudicator from the Guinness World Records who was flown into the country to certify the record.
The previous record was held by a soccer ball created in Oman. It weighed 750 kilos, measured 10 metres in diameter and was 31.2-feet high, Patel said at a function organised by Doha Bank yesterday evening.
Doha Bank CEO R Seetharaman said they planned the event six months ago and followed it up regularly since then to make it a memorable occasion for the country’s residents. The bank, he added, sponsored and developed the project to support the country’s growing role in soccer at the international level at a time when large-scale infrastructural development was taking place across the country in view of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Later, Seetharaman received a certificate of achievement from Patel, which he said would be presented to Qatar Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani as a tribute to the State of Qatar.    
“On behalf of Doha Bank, I would like to dedicate this ball to Qatar and its enduring vision for developing sports in general as a key economic and social mainstay for the future. We at Doha Bank also thank those who jointly contributed to creating and delivering the ball to Qatar,” said Seetharaman. “It is the result of brilliant teamwork displayed by my teammates at Doha Bank.”
Seetharaman said Doha Bank’s strategy of supporting key development pillars and programmes has always been led by a knowledge-sharing approach and advocacy on behalf of the State of Qatar.  
The bank CEO said the idea behind the entire exercise was mainly to create awareness on the role Qatar plays in football at the global level these days. “The idea is to showcase the football to audiences at the local, regional and global levels even while helping Qatar communicate the key developments that are being made in building a lasting legacy for the sport. It is being done through increased awareness globally and an active drive within the local community in the spirit of National Sport Day to get involved in community sporting events,” he added.  
Fifteen people had worked for four consecutive weeks to create the ball in Pakistan’s Sialkot, a major manufacturing centre of sports goods. It was shipped to the country in a 40-feet container after being deflated at the production point, said a bank official. It was created using the same materials that are used to manufacture an original soccer ball, as stipulated by FIFA guidelines.

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