Posted on August 14, 2016

The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) last week welcomed to Bayt Qatar the talented young Brazilian athletes who have won a place to train at the Aspire Academy in Doha later this year as part of the ‘Shine’ project. The athletes experienced their first taste of Qatar as they toured the QOC’s hospitality house, and learned about Qatar’s culture and sporting history and future through innovative and interactive exhibitions.

The QOC established the Shine project to provide support and assistance to young athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds from across Rio de Janeiro and leave a compelling legacy from the Rio 2016 Games. The QOC, Qatar Athletics Federation and Aspire Academy for Sporting Excellence partnered with Futuro Olimpico, an NGO founded by Brazil’s Olympic bronze medallist from Atlanta ‘96, Arnaldo de Oliveira, and the Rio de Janeiro Athletics Federation to organise the project.

Almost 200 athletes participated in the Shine Athletics Tournament in May 2016 for the chance to win a trip to train at the world-renowned Aspire Academy for Sporting Excellence with specialised coaching and sports science support.  Ten talented youngsters won a place on the trip and many have never left Brazil before. The QOC invited the Shine athletes to Bayt Qatar to give them a further understanding of what to expect when they visit Qatar and find out more about the world-class sports facilities where they will train. As part of their tour of Bayt Qatar, the Shine athletes visited the Aspire booth, which showed them through an interactive film more about the world’s largest multi-purpose indoor arena that houses the Aspire Academy. They were then welcomed into the Athletes’ Lounge to meet with QOC Secretary General, Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, and discuss more about their sporting experiences and what their training camp in Doha will be like. Speaking following their visit, Dr Thani said:

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“The QOC is passionate about spreading the Olympic spirit far and wide, and touching the lives of people from around the world. It was a pleasure to welcome our Shine winners to Bayt Qatar tonight and share with them our culture, warm hospitality and passion for sport. I hope that they have enjoyed learning more about Qatar and the facilities that they will be training at when they visit Doha later this year. Some of these athletes have never left Brazil before and we are so pleased to be offering this opportunity that we hope will have a positive impact on their journeys to become Brazil’s future Olympic heroes.”

At the end of the visit, Dr Thani presented the athletes with surprise tickets to watch the Olympic athletics on 16th August when the high jump final will be taking place, and Qatar’s sporting hero Mutaz Barshim will be hoping to realise his Olympic dreams against the best athletes in the world. The athletes who did not think they would have the opportunity to attend any Olympic events were visibly surprised, delighted and excited by their tickets. Commenting during her visit to Bayt Qatar, Shine athlete Paola Moreira Rosa said: “Everything is so beautiful. We are learning a bit about their culture. They were so welcoming and I am very happy. I hope I can see more of their culture and learn more of everything for the rest of my life.” 

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In addition to the Shine tournament, the QOC are providing further support to Futuro Olimpico, which aims to take athletics to students at Rio de Janeiro’s public schools. Proceeds from public entry fees to Bayt Qatar will be donated to the NGO enabling them to buy uniforms and equipment for the athletes and for further athletes to benefit from the partnership. The athletes will travel to Qatar with Arnaldo de Oliveira later in 2016 for the week-long training camp. The Aspire Academy regularly hosts training camps for Asia’s most talented young athletes enabling them to enhance their development and performance through tailored and optimised training programmes. The Shine athletes will benefit from the same experience, helping to provide new knowledge and expertise that will support their future training programmes.