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Group photo at ADLQ
Swimming camp athletes and coaches visit Aspire Zone and anti-doping lab

22 Jun 2014
Doha, Qatar: Athletes and coaches attending the OCA Asian Swimming Youth Camp in Doha visited the renowned Aspire Zone and the Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar on Sunday morning as part of a sport and anti-doping education programme. The Aspire Zone is a great example of the sporting legacy left behind by the 2006 Doha Asian Games. The Aspire Academy was established in 2004 and officially opened on November 17, 2005 as an independent government-funded agency that reported directly to HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani through HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani at that time.

The Aspire Academy now serves as a strategic business unit of the new parent organisation, Aspire Zone Foundation. Despite the switch from an independent government body to a business unit, the original purpose and objectives of the Aspire Academy remain the same.

The youth camp athletes and coaches visited the international-standard indoor football stadium, indoor track and field stadium, multi-functional court for tennis, basketball, badminton, fencing and gymnastics and the Olympic-size swimming pool.

They then moved on to the anti-doping laboratory and were received by the Director of the Doping Analysis Laboratory, Dr. Costas Georgakopoulos, who showed them the Substance Test Centre on the third floor and the Anti-Doping Laboratory on the second floor. He made a detailed explanation on the role of anti-doping in sport and society and advised athletes how to avoid doping in their life.

"Doping will never truly improve an athlete's performance," Dr Costas said.

“As long as you dedicate yourself in training, make more effort, be more patient and train a little longer, the performances improved by illegal drugs will eventually arrive through your own effort. Please don’t cheat in sport and in life. Be pure and stay pure," Dr Costas said. 

The three-storey lab is a state-of-the-art facility that provides anti-doping testing for athletes across the Gulf region as well as West Asia and is equipped with cutting-edge technology and a team of specialized professionals.
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