Posted on August 05, 2016

The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) has officially opened Bayt Qatar in Rio de Janeiro with a reception attended by QOC President H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al Thani and officials from the world of sport. The Olympic hospitality house will showcase Qatar’s culture, heritage and passion for sport throughout the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al Thani welcomed key Olympic figures to mark the official opening of Bayt Qatar, including members of the International Olympic Committee, International Federation Presidents and National Olympic Committee Presidents. Guests were treated to a spectacular show, which demonstrated the power of Olympism and the importance of inspiring and empowering youth through sport.

Speaking from the Opening Reception, H.E. Sheikh Joaan, said: “The Olympic Games provide an occasion like no other to bridge sport, culture, education and diversity in a true celebration of Olympism. Qatar is a nation passionate about sport. We believe in the power of sport to unite cultures, backgrounds and beliefs - and encourage mutual understanding, friendship and respect. This is exactly what we aim to spread through Bayt Qatar. We will welcome people from around the world to share Qatar’s unique culture, its warm hospitality and passion for the Olympic Movement.” 

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The reception was also attended by members of Qatar’s biggest-ever athlete delegation in the history of the Olympics. Team Qatar will be represented by 38 athletes across 10 sports and will begin their action on Saturday 6th August when Qatar’s first-ever two-time female Olympian, Nada Arakji, competes in the swimming. H.E. Sheikh Joaan also commented on Team Qatar at the reception and said:  “We are very proud of every member of Team Qatar. We are right behind you all and we know that you will make the whole of Qatar proud as well. Competing at an Olympic Games is a fantastic achievement in itself - and we have no doubt that they will inspire a new generation of Olympic heroes.” 

Guests were also able to sample more of what Bayt Qatar will offer including a fine-dining experience provided by world-renowned chefs, Alex Atala and Aysha Al Tamimi, and an intimate performance by the Doha String Quartet. Casa Daros, an iconic former museum at a historical heritage site in Botafogo, provides a stunning setting to host Bayt Qatar and will bring the soul of Qatar to the heart of Rio.  At the centre of the house is an outdoor Souq, which will incorporate traditional activities, including Arabic calligraphy, basket weaving and henna hand painting. A stage will see regular live music performances, and a large screen will show live Olympic action and film screenings for all the family.

Additional Bayt Qatar attractions include interactive and innovative exhibitions that will explore Qatar’s history, traditions and development into a global sports hub. The QOC’s National Partners, Ooredoo, Qatar Airways and QIC Group and Official Suppliers, Al Siddiqi and Qatar Airways Holidays will also be hosting their own activities and exhibitions, helping to further showcase Qatar’s commitment to using the power of sport to transform lives. Media Partner, Al Kass, will be broadcasting live from Bayt Qatar each day so that everyone back in Qatar can keep up to date with what is happening. In order to give visitors the best possible experience, the QOC has also signed MOUs with several Qatari organisations.

These include: Education Above All, who will organise a "Challenges&Reality" exhibition and will bring children from their project in Brazil to experience Qatari culture and a Garangao night, the ICSS who will organise special events for their Save the Dream charity, and the Supreme Committee who will show the progress towards the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. In addition the Qatar Foundation, Al Shaqab, Qatar Museums, Katara, Doha Film Institute, Aspire, Aspetar, We Are Doha, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and the ADLQ, have all contributed films, photos and content to help showcase the very best of Qatar.

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Bayt Qatar will open to the public at 6pm on 4th August and further activities on offer include Ardah sword dancing, fashion shows, Arabic tea and coffee workshops and live graffiti sessions. All public entry fees will be donated to Futuro Olimpico, an NGO in Rio de Janeiro founded by Olympic medallist Arnaldo de Oliveira, which aims to take athletics to students of Rio’s public schools and provide them with education medical, social, and psychological assistance. 

The QOC, Qatar Athletics Federation and Aspire Academy have partnered with Futuro Olimpico and the Rio de Janeiro Athletics Federation to establish ‘Shine’, a project which will provide an opportunity for underprivileged young athletes from across Rio de Janeiro to train at Qatar’s world-class facilities at the Aspire Academy for Sporting Excellence, with specialised coaching and sports science support. Through Shine, the QOC hope to leave a compelling legacy from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Following the Rio 2016 Games, Bayt Qatar will become a bilingual public school – Eleva School – and as a further legacy, the QOC will donate a library to Eleva School. Public can keep up to date on all activities and news on the Bayt Qatar website www.baytqatar.qa.

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