By Sports Reporter/Doha
As the countdown to the 2018 Asian Games begins, Team Qatar united with 300 schoolchildren to participate in an inspirational Fun Run around Doha’s Aspire Park yesterday. The event organised by the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) in co-ordination with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) is part of an official Asian Games Fun Run Programme being held across Asia to promote the continent’s biggest sporting event and bring all of its countries together through sport.
Yesterday’s event also saw participation of OCA director general Husain al-Musallam, QOC secretary-general Jassim al-Buenain and other officials.
“It gives me great pleasure to have joined schoolchildren participating in the 2018 Asian Games Official Fun Run in the beautiful Aspire Park today,” al-Buenain said. “We witnessed the huge success that Qatar had from hosting the 2006 Asian Games, which was the catalyst for Qatar’s development into the Global Sports Hub that it is today.
“We are so proud to see this legacy still in action as our young athletes joined Team Qatar to spread the spirit of the Asian Games and contribute to the biggest sports gathering in Asia. The QOC is honoured to have supported the OCA in this fantastic initiative as we join together with all other Olympic Committees in Asia to unite our continent and inspire our future generations through sport.”
Expressing gratitude to the event’s partners, he added: “I would like to pass our sincere thanks to the Aspire Zone for, as always, being a fantastic host and first-class venue for today’s event, to Al Meera Group for their support and contribution, and finally to the Qatar Armed Forces Band Regiment for being a lively addition to our Fun Run.”
The Fun Run comes over 11 years after Doha hosted the 2006 Asian Games, which at the time was the biggest sporting event ever to be hosted in the Middle East. That event kick-started Doha’s significant sporting development on multiple levels. Examples include development of state-of-the-art facilities such as the Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar and Aspetar, the introduction of pioneering initiatives including the Schools Olympic Program and National Sport Day, the hosting of many more major sports events, and creating a new generation of athletes who are achieving success on the global stage.
Many of Team Qatar’s world-class athletes will be competing in the 2018 Asian Games and looking to build on their excellent success in 2014 when Qatar won 10 gold and four bronze medals, finishing 10th in the overall medals table.
Amongst the Team Qatar athletes in attendance yesterday were Paralympian Mohamed al-Kubaisi together with his teammates, world champion 3x3 basketball player Yaseen Ismail and members of Qatar’s fencing team.
A number of other athletes and coaches including Mubarak Mustafa, Ahmed Khalil, Abdulaziz Hassan, Hussain al-Rumaihi, Majed Mohamed, Abdulla al-Aydan, Yousef al-Nouby, Abdulla Khalil, Wael Jumaa and Ahmed Mubarak were also present.
“I came here to represent para-sport, and especially wheelchair racing, and I am keen for everyone to know more about our sport. Most importantly, I was so happy to join our Qatari youth in this great event that was full of joy and energy. The Fun Run was a great opportunity for children to learn more about the Asian Games, and I personally really enjoyed it. I’m excited for further similar events to be organised in Qatar in the future,” al-Kubaisi said.
Doha’s Fun Run was the fourth to be hosted so far following events in Lahore, Dhaka and Dubai. The Fun Run will next travel to the Maldives on February 10 and Lebanon on February 25. The Asian Games is the second largest multi-sport event in the world with over 10 thousand athletes from 45 countries competing in 40 sports across 462 events. The 2018 edition will take place in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia from August 18 – September 2.
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