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Qatar's Prime Minister opens 21st ANOC General Assembly


15 Nov 2016
Doha, Qatar, November 15, 2016: The ANOC President, HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, welcomed delegates to the 21st General Assembly on Tuesday morning, describing Doha as “his second home”. In his introductory address, Sheikh Ahmad said that, after the 20th General Assembly in Washington DC, USA, one year ago, there had been a lot of events, including an Olympic Games, as well as problems and issues.

Thanks to the leadership of the IOC President, Thomas Bach, the Olympic Movement had dealt with these issues successfully, added Sheikh Ahmad. Sheikh Ahmad thanked the Emir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the President of the Qatar Olympic Committee, HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, for all their preparations to create a “great environment” for the meeting.

“Qatar has hosted a lot of international events and in this region we call it the capital of sport,” he said. The Prime Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, officially opened the General Assembly, which has attracted 1,200 delegates from 206 National Olympic Committees, International Federations, IOC, Olympic Games organising committees and candidate cities for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Sheikh Abdullah said this gathering of world sports leaders would advance the cause of sport and reflected the diversity and unity that brought everyone together. “We are here to promote mutual understanding and friendship and respect and to say no to violence,” said the Prime Minister.

Sheikh Abdullah said Qatar was so keen to promote sport at home and around the world because it improved the lives of the youth, and he highlighted the “great sports infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities” in Doha.

“Qatar will continue to play a major role in the Olympic Movement to promote sport in all its forms  and to cooperate with all National Olympic Committees,” he said. IOC President Bach congratulated the 206 NOCs for their great achievements, results and performances at the Rio Olympics. “Your athletes and NOCs did a remarkable job,” he said.

President Bach congratulated Qatar NOC for sending their biggest and most successful delegation to an Olympic Games, winning a silver medal in the men’s high jump, through Mutaz Barshim.

“Qatar plays a really great role in setting benchmarks for the role of sport in society, with sport established in the education system in the schools, in health and science and in universities,” he said, while praising the Aspire Academy sports centre as an example of the commitment to sport, the future, the country and youth.

QOC President Sheikh Joaan said he was confident the General Assembly would enrich the Olympic Movement and lead to further cooperation in a peaceful manner.

ANOC MERIT AWARD

The President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, HH Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, was one of four recipients of the ANOC Merit Award for his role in modernising and promoting the Olympic Movement in the kingdom.

The citation also mentioned his athletic prowess as an endurance rider in equestrian and also in triathlon. He received the award from ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad. This concluded the opening session of the 21st ANOC General Assembly.
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