POSTED: November 18th 2013

ASPIRE4SPORT 2013 Conference takes place in Doha

The exhibition space / Aspire
The exhibition space / Aspire

The official opening / Aspire
The official opening / Aspire

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Delegates, visitors and sporting personalities attended the opening day of the ASPIRE4SPORT 2013 Conference and Exhibition in Doha Saturday. The Middle East’s leading sports business platform was opened by Qatar Minister of Youth and Sport His Excellency Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali.

Alan Shearer, Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Rodman, Alonzo Mourning, Lennox Lewis, Saeed al-Hairi and Abdulaziz al-Kuwari were some of the sporting greats in attendance at the fourth edition of ASPIRE4SPORT. Shearer and Lewis held a question and answer session Saturday evening.

“We have brought together the sporting elite from around the world,” Aspetar Chief Executive Officer Khalifa Al Kuwari said. “Whatever part of the sports industry you are in, whatever sport is of interest to you, you will find solutions, answers, opportunities and a wealth of positive experiences at our ASPIRE4SPORT 2013.

“Aspire Zone Foundation is the home to some of the world’s finest sport stadia and venues, staffed by some of the most talented trainers and educators in the world, thus offering an effective combination of sport, sports medicine and research, and sport education. Aspire Zone Foundation has a mission to be the benchmark against which sporting excellence is measured. We are motivated to make sport take a central role in the lives of individuals locally, regionally and internationally.”

“In line with Qatar National Vision 2030 and the country’s commitment to achieving a world-class sporting infrastructure, we at Aspire have initiated a number of sports projects to enhance the participation of the sporting industry locally and internationally,” Aspire Zone Foundation Engineering Department Manager Mohammed A. Al-Meer said.

“The new facilities will include training venues, indoor facilities, winter indoor facilities, target and martial arts facilities, a skate park, water rafting and an indoor cycling venue. It will host multipurpose conference facilities, including hotels, restaurants and residential real estate, attracting a metropolitan community.”

Another question and answer session was held with German architectural firm GMP founder Professor Volkwin Marg.

“It starts with a world championship, a worldwide event,” he said. “But then you must think beyond that event to possibly hosting another Asian games, or the Olympic Games, so the stadium needs to be flexible. That is the first thing. Secondly, you must have a sports life that is convincing, that is to say the sports area has a connection with the city it is in. Lastly, it should not be just a stadium. You need it to be part of the town planning development. It needs to blend seamlessly with the urban life around it and be a place where people want to go.”

Cisco Systems Sports & Entertainment Senior Manager Dina Tamimi also spoke at ASPRI4SPORT 2013 regarding connectivity, as Cisco Systems is working with Khalifa Stadium.

“When you start to connect the unconnected you find ways to generate more revenue, whether it is in the stadium or outside the stadium,” Tamimi said. “And you find ways to improve your operating systems and user experience. Cisco is working with Aspire to choose from approximately 100 smart services to be put into the stadium, which means there will be no need for redevelopment in 10 or even 15 years’ time, because if you want to stay ahead of the curve you have to think beyond a great looking bulding.”

“We believe the most important facet of attending a football match is to be part of the game, and to feel part of the experience,” founding partner of Interpol + Architecture Mathias Muller-Using said. “For that you need to be close to the action on the field, and in developing this design that was the aim.

“We asked the question, is this the only way to create grandstands? Our design takes the back section of the seating area and staggers it in an upward wave, back towards the playing field. As a result, even the last row is not far removed from the pitch. Instead, horizontally, it is almost back above the first row.”

Muller-Using said last-row seats in a Suprastudio grandstand system with 55,000 spectators are 20 metres closer to the playing field than in any other stadium.

“The Al Sadd sports stadium will be the second largest in Qatar, at 40,000 square metres, with capacity for several thousand spectators, and in addition to sporting events will be able to host entertainment activities,” Qatar Olympic Committee Engineering Department Director Abdul Rahman Al-Malki said. “For example, within 48 hours it can become an ice hockey arena, the biggest in Middle East. Other developments over the next four years include a tennis stadium for 12,000 spectators, the Al Gharafa sports club complex, Al Rayyan Qatar Club, Alfardan playgrounds, a female multi-training arena, and training centres in Lusail.”

“We don’t give elementary education to participants, we aim to develop their skills through finding a gap in their knowledge which we can help them with,” Qatar Olympic Academy’s Tariq al-Abdulla said of how QOA educates and trains venue operators. “We will develop their knowledge and, through research they conduct, we can discuss with them their methods. In that way we can help them adapt, in order to assist them in doing a better job.”

Keywords · ASPIRE4SPORT · Qatar · Qatar Olympic Academy · Qatar Olympic Committee · Alan Shearer · Shaquille O'Neil ·

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