By Sports Reporter/Doha
The Aspire Dome was lit up in proud blue, white and maroon colours as Aspire Academy recently celebrated the graduation of 38 student-athletes who make up Qatar’s next bright generation of athletes in fields including athletics, gymnastics, football, football refereeing, fencing, and table tennis.
This year’s graduation ceremony was an especially significant day for Aspire Academy, marking its 10th batch of graduates and a decade of commitment to sports and academic excellence. This year’s graduates now join a long list of local sports stars, some of whom have achieved international-acclaim in their respective fields, including Mutaz Barshim, Akram Afif, Ashraf el-Seify, Fahad al-Abdulrahman, Abubaker Haydar, Ahmed Bedir Magour, Abdullah al-Tamimi, Almoez Ali and many others.
This year’s class brings the total number of Aspire Academy graduates to 283. In addition to star athlete graduates, however, some Aspire student-athletes have gone on to pursue academic careers and now play a vital part in administrative, social sciences, languages, IT, communications, medicine and other roles. This breadth of experience among Academy graduates is all thanks to Aspire Academy’s unique mix of social, academic and sporting education, which sets students up for a fulfilling life in whatever specialisation they pursue.
The graduation ceremony took place in the Aspire Dome and was attended by a number of senior officials, including the Guest of Honour, Hassan Rashid al-Derham, president of Qatar University. Other attendees included Mohammed Khalifa al-Suwaidi, CEO of Aspire Zone Foundation, Ivan Bravo, Director General of Aspire Academy, Ali Salem Afifa, Deputy Director General at Aspire Academy, Badr al-Hay, Director of Education and Student Affairs of Aspire Academy, and Jassim al-Jaber, School Principal at Aspire Academy. They were joined by members of Academy faculty and tearful parents of student athletes.
The event started with Qatar’s national anthem, sung proudly by all the attendees, followed by a recital from the Qur’an by student-athlete Nasser al-Harbi and a short movie highlighting the best moments from previous graduation ceremonies.
In his opening remarks, Bravo congratulated the graduates, saying: “Let me pass on my warmest congratulations to today’s graduates, who have achieved so much already. I hope that, as you follow your chosen paths, you remember your Aspire family, who will always be there to support you. You must also remember the support provided by your family and friends during your education and remain willing to listen, to be humble and to ask for help and advice when needed. No one can achieve success alone but you, with the foundation of skills and attitudes that Aspire has helped you develop, can achieve anything with the continued support of your loved ones.”
Addressing the graduates’ parents, Badr Jassim al-Hay, Director of Education and Student Affairs, added: “I wish to congratulate you on this happy day, which marks the moment your sons go out into the world to start a new chapter in life. Your support, encouragement and trust in Aspire Academy have helped them throughout this challenging but rewarding journey and you must now have faith in their ability to grow into responsible, caring adults. I would also like to thank you for being with us on this special day to celebrate the pride we all have in these young men.”
At the end of the ceremony, Bravo and Jassim al-Jaber awarded the students their graduation certificates as the student-athletes celebrated six years of hard work and commitment.
This graduation ceremony brings to an end another successful year for Aspire Academy as it pursues its mission to identify and develop well-educated sports and academic champions. The ceremony also marks the culmination of six years of diligent effort from the student-athletes themselves during their time at Aspire Academy, and highlights the Academy’s continued efforts to launch their careers.
Aspire Academy first opened its doors in 2004 and is already considered one of the leading sports institutions in the Middle East, which underpins its vision to become the world’s leading sports academy in the development of young athletes by 2020. It offers an integrated educational programme of sports development, sports science and academic learning to boys aged 12 to 18, deploying all of its technical and human capabilities to best develop student-athletes’ skills.
The faculty at the Academy also trains and develops student-athletes using the latest equipment and methodologies, with teachers continuously learning from experts from around the world at conferences and sessions aimed at elevating their sports development capacities and enhancing their talent identification skills.
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