Mar. 26, 2015

HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani


HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani

Secretary General, Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC)


HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University (1993) and a Master’s degree in Sports Management from University of Lyon under the patronage of International Olympic Committee (MEMOS 2003). He currently holds many high offices in the world of sports, including Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee, President of the Qatar Basketball Federation, Honorary Vice-President of the International Fencing Federation, Board Member of the GCC Sports Commission, Member of the IOC Sport and Environment Commission, President of Qatar Olympic Academy, Chairman of the 2014 FINA Swimming World Championship (25m), and Chairman of the 2015 World Boxing Championship Organizing Committee.

What are the responsibilities of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) within the National Sport Sector Strategy 2011-2016?

The QOC plays an important role along with other government departments and bodies in implementing the programs and activities of the National Sport Sector Strategy 2011-2016, aimed at achieving the goals and objectives of the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030. The QOC coordinates the action of various projects and work groups in order to optimize efficiency and deliver optimum outcomes, allowing for the overall promotion of sport in Qatar either at the community, grassroots, or elite level.

What steps has Qatar made on its way to becoming an international sports destination in 2014?

We are pleased to see that our sports events agenda is getting longer year to year, and the 2014/2015 agenda has reached a new height with over 100 sporting events including more than 42 international major events in various sports, such as the Swimming World Championships in December 2014 and the World Handball Championships for men in January 2015, in addition to other regular annual events in tennis, athletics, golf, and more. Our objective is to reach the target of 50 major international sporting events by the year 2020.

How would you characterize professional Qatari sportsmen and women, and how do you aim to increase their number in the future?

In the elite sports sector, we are satisfied with the progress that our professional Qatari sportsmen and women have achieved recently in their performance at high-level competitions. We are happy that a number of athletes who came out of the Aspire Academy for Sport Excellence have already performed at the highest level, such as our high jumper, Muataz Barsham, as well some of the young female athletes at the Arab and Asian levels. We are confident that this progress will continue, especially with the expectations from our leading Schools Olympic Program in its eighth edition this season, where students from all school levels participate in more than 10 Olympic sports. The competitions start in September/October of every year, with the finals being held at the Aspire Dome venue in March. This program provides a chance for grassroots development and allows federations to scout for young talents to be nurtured.

QOC has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Olympic Academy. What is the significance of this partnership?

It is an important partnership at various levels. It consolidates the cooperation between the Qatar Olympic Academy and the International Olympic Academy and strengthens the role that the QOC is playing in promoting the Olympic values in Qatar and in the Arab world. Secondly, it enables the Qatar Olympic Academy to succeed in its mission to spread the knowledge and values of the Olympic movement in the Arabic-speaking world.

QOC has announced the building of several new public sport facilities across the country. How does that fit into the strategy to promote sport in Qatar?

The government's sport and physical education policy is built around two main streams: community sport and the elite sport. Sport facilities are a vital component of promoting and developing the two sectors. Stadiums and sport halls are needed for official competitions as well as for public sport activities. Facilities such as youth centers, districts, Al Firjan playgrounds, or Olympic parks, serve the same community sports and programs. In addition to this local level, dynamic, modern sport facilities and venues help to achieve the objectives of the country aimed at hosting major sport events at the Gulf, Arab, Asian, and World levels. Efforts are being made toward developing our men and women athletes and enabling them to perform at the highest level.