Posted on June 16, 2016

On Tuesday evening, Aspire Academy celebrated the graduation of 36 student-athletes in several sports, including football, squash, athletics, swimming, table tennis, and shooting, who will make up the next generation of Qatar’s sports teams and clubs.

The ceremony, which took place in Aspire Dome, was attended by senior officials including H.E. Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, Minister of Youth and Sports; Hilal Al-Kuwari, President of Aspire Zone; Tariq Al Nema, Vice President of Aspire Zone; Mohammad Khalifa Al-Suwaidi, Acting CEO of Aspire Zone Foundation; Ivan Bravo, Director General of Aspire Academy; Badr Al-Hay, Director of Education and Student Care, Aspire Academy; Jassim Al-Jaber, School Principal, Aspire Academy; and members of the Academy’s senior management and faculty.

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The ceremony began with the Qatar National anthem and was followed by a recital from the Quran by student graduate Abdulrahman Al Najjar and a short movie highlighting the best moments from previous years’ graduation ceremonies.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Ivan Bravo, Director General of Aspire Academy, said: “When the founders of Aspire launched the Aspire Academy in 2004, they did so with the long-term vision that the organisation would forever lead the way in developing the courage, character and skill of every student that passed through its doors and help develop Qatar’s athletes of the future; athletes that would one day make this great country proud”.

He added: “This time last year, one of our young champions, Abubaker Haydar, was standing in this very hall eagerly waiting to receive his graduation certificate. Several months later, the world watched him at the opening meeting of the 2016 Diamond League, which took place in Doha, as he successfully qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the 800 meters race. Not only did Abubaker qualify for the world’s biggest and most prestigious sporting event, but he did so in style, setting this year's 7th best time in the world. Abubaker is an outstanding young individual who, while at the Aspire Academy, received praise from all his coaches and teachers for his passion, dedication and desire to improve.”

Mr. Badr Jassim Al Hay, Director of Education and Student Care, said: “On graduation day we forget all the hardships that may have passed and celebrate the joy of the ceremony. We are tremendously proud to see our boys start the next chapter in their lives, and congratulate them on the dedication, hard work and self-discipline that got them to this point. These are the qualities of true champions”. 

In a speech representing the graduates, student athlete Yousef Al-Badr said, “Today we recall the memories of studying and practicing sports with our teachers and coaches. We realise that nations are built by the sincere efforts of its youth. Today, we are proud to graduate from Aspire Academy to carry the banner of knowledge and sports. We extend our sincerest gratitude to the Academy that provided us with everything to achieve both academic and sports excellence.”

At the end of the ceremony, H.E. Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, Ivan Bravo, Badr Al-Hay, and Jassim Al-Jaber awarded the students their graduation certificates in a joyous atmosphere, as the student-athletes celebrated six years of hard work and commitment.

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Academic and Athletic Excellence

In addition to their athletic achievements, several student-athletes also earned academic accolades,such as acceptances into local and international universities following rigorous university admissions tests in English, mathematics and sciences. Such acceptances demonstrate that student-athletes are not only skilled in sports, but also in academics and are capable of pursuing challenging postsecondary education.

Latest in sports and scientific equipment at the services of the students

The Academy deploys all of its technical and human capabilities in order to best develop student-athletes’ skills and knowledge. The faculty at the Academy helps train and develop student-athletes using the latest equipment and methodologies, and the teachers themselves continuously learn from experts from around the world at conferences and sessions aimed at elevating sports development capacity and enhancing talent identification skills. The graduation ceremony demonstrates Aspire Academy’s mission to identify and develop well-educated sports champions, which underpins its vision to be recognised as the world’s leading sports academy in the development of young athletes by 2020.

The ceremony also marks the culmination of six years of diligent effort from the student-athletes during their time at Aspire Academy and highlights Aspire Academy’s continued efforts to help launch their sporting careers. Aspire Academy first opened its doors in 2004 and is considered one of the leading sports institutions in the Middle East. The Academy offers an integrated educational programme of sports development, sports science and academic learning to boys aged 12 to 18.