*Qatar national football team and Barshim among those honoured at Sports Excellence Awards 2019 ceremony

Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) President HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani honoured Qatari athletes, trainers and administrators at a glitzy Sports Excellence Awards 2019 ceremony on Wednesday, with Asian Cup football champions Qatar national team and high jump world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim among the winners.

Present during the ceremony were His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani, HE the Assistant Chief of the Amiri Diwan Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, QOC first vice president Sheikh Saud bin Ali al-Thani, QOC second vice president Dr Thani bin Abdulrahman al-Kuwari, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy secretary general Hassan al-Thawadi, Qatar Football Association president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani, other federation officials and eminent personalities.

“Achievements this year, both team and individual, were possible due to dedicated efforts of athletes, coaches and administrators,” Sheikh Joaan said in his opening speech.

“Asian Cup football victory and Mutaz’s World Championship medal were some of the notable achievements. I also commend the organisers of the IAAF World Championships, and the ANOC World Beach Games.

“I share the joy of all the achievements and I am looking forward to the future. And the immediate future is the Olympics and the Paralympics, and sports organisations, trainers and the athletes have to train hard, if we are looking to achieve new milestones.

“We are grateful to all the people who helped in improving sports in the country. I would like to express my gratitude to all the people who are working tirelessly to improve sports in Qatar and I hope your dedication will be crowned with more successes. Maintaining these records are very difficult, as difficult as achieving them.”

Barshim, who became the only high jumper to successfully defend his world title, having won in London and at home in Doha earlier this year, shared his comeback story of fighting a career-threatening injury to winning gold at the iconic Khalifa International Stadium in the presence of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

“I was at the top of my game but the injury had me struggle with depression almost to the point that I was reviewing my sports career and having doubts about whether I will be at the same level,” Barshim said. “My participation in the Championships in Doha was decided two weeks before the event. And thanks to the support of my fans, my coach, and everyone around me, I was able to come back stronger and be able to win the gold medal. And this is a moment I will never forget.

“There is always a question that ‘so you have achieved this. What next?’ This is the period where I stress the importance of having a driving force to keep moving forward, and I would like to thank the State of Qatar, the Qatar Olympic Committee, the sports federations and the fans for all these achievements.”

Qatar women’s basketball and handball teams were presented the Women’s Team of the Season Award, while Aysha Yousef al-Suwaidi and Nasra Mohamed Mahmoud shared the Female Athletes of the Year Award.

Tamim Mohamed Hassan al-Hamaida and Al Maha Meshal Attiq al-Ali were presented Promising Male and Female athletes of the season awards, respectively.

Qatar Goalball Team was presented the Men’s Para-Team of the Season Award, while Saud Harban al-Sulaiti and Salma Dhahi Hamad were honoured with the Male and Female para-athletes of the season awards, respectively.