POSTED: March 18th 2011
Healthy lifestyle takes Qatar priority as SOP points youngsters down Olympic way
ALAN LAFLEUR / Sports Features Communications
TAMPA/DOHA, Mar 18: The Qatar Olympic Committee's (QOC) Schools Olympic Program (SOP), an initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst the youth of Qatar, concludes today/Saturday.
This follows qualification courses at the Aspire Academy of Sports Excellence in Doha. The SOP sees school boys and girls from five to to 18 competing for medals in common Olympic sports - including fencing, swimming, athletics, gymnastics, table tennis, basketball, football, handball, and volleyball.
The SOP also promoted a Special Day for students with special needs to compete in a variety of events.
This week was the conclusion of an action-packed five-month season which involved 17,000 students from more than 300 schools. In fact, the program aims to do more than teach a healthy lifestyle but is also intended to promote the Olympic movement among Qatari youth.
It has been such a success that the QOC was awarded the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktourn Sport Creativity Award in Dubai in January. The award was given because of the tangible efforts in developing sport through SOP.
Tommy Sithole, IOC director of international cooperation and development attending the finals, said: “Qatar as a country and the Qatar Olympic Committee are setting the pace in the area of educating young people to be environmentally conscious, and therefore ensuring their own future.
"Investing in young people and imbuing in them a culture of care, is the best gift the leadership and community can bequeath to children.”
The Program was started in 2007 by heir-apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani under the banner of 'Sport for Health'. The second installment promoted 'Sport and Environment'. The third instalment focused on 'Sport and Culture'.
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