Posted on August 20, 2016

The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) celebrated one of the proudest moments in its history today as high jumper Mutaz Barshim was welcomed to  Bayt Qatar as the nation’s first ever Olympic silver medalist.

President of the QOC H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani and QOC Secretary General Dr. Thani Abdulrahman Al-Kuwarijoined the ceremony, which was held in the souq area of the Qatar Olympic Committee’s hospitality house and saw Brazilian and Qatari crowds come together to wave Qatari flags and share in the celebration in the true spirit of Olympism. Barshim entered the Souq behind the bicycle used in the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony and received huge cheers from the crowd. He was then welcomed to stage and shown a surprise film with the highlights of his victory, before silver confetti was fired into the air.

Speaking from the Bayt Qatar stage, Mutaz Barshim said: “When I was young I used to watch my father and other great athletes and dream of standing on the podium at the Olympic Games. Today, at the age of 25, I celebrate winning my second Olympic medal and for me that is such a blessing.  It was a great competition and having H.E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani in the crowd supporting me every step of the way was extra motivation. Not only that, but the first call I received after the competition was from the the Amir himself, H.E Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. 

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“None of this would have been possible without the help of my parents, everyone in my country and God. I felt like the whole nation was behind me, supporting me every step of the way. This medal is for each and every one of you! I’m incredibly happy. Thank you!” The 25-year-old from Doha cleared 2.36m, second only to Canada’s Derek Drouin who jumped a season best 2.38m in an intense high jump final at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, where Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko took the bronze medal clearing a height of 2.33m.

Speaking at the celebrations in Bayt Qatar, H.E. Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee, said: “All of us at the Qatar Olympic Committee are extremely proud of Mutaz and his achievement – a historic first for Qatar. We are very pleased to celebrate his achievement in Bayt Qatar, with the citizens of Rio, as it represents our main goal of uniting people in celebration of sport. We hope that his silver medal here in Rio is a stepping stone for him to even greater things, as well as an inspiration to Qatari youth to always aspire for more. Bayt Qatar is a home away from home for Mutaz and all our athletes, and we hope that tonight has given him a piece of Qatar to keep with him ahead of his three remaining competitions before he returns to Qatar later this year.”

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Immediately following the ceremony,the star high jumper was presented with a flag signed by the entire Qatari delegation and after attended a cocktail reception at Bayt Qatar’s illustrious Athletes Lounge along with Sheikh Joaan and Dr. Thani, as well as other members of the Qatari delegation. 

After the Games, the historical Casa Daros building, which houses Bayt Qatar, will be turned into a bilingual school and QOC will contribute to the building of the school’s library as part of its legacy after Rio 2016. Bayt Qatar has seen an incredibly warm welcome by Rio’s residents, with tickets selling out until the end of the Games after only four days of opening. All ticket proceeds will be donated to Brazilian NGO Futuro Olimpico, which aims to support Rio’s promising young athletes. 

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