Doha, 26 Nov. 2020 (Qatar Tribune)
By Ashraf Siddiqui
HE Eumelio Caballero Rodriguez says Qatar has made tremendous progress in sports in a very short time, and despite the challenges from the Gulf crisis and COVID-19, the country has seen completion of 90 per cent of the World Cup-related projects.
One of the aspects in which Cuba and Qatar most resemble each other is in their respective policies aimed at the development of sport and physical activities for the benefit of their people, Cuban envoy to the State of Qatar Heeumelio Caballero Rodriguez, has said. It’s now less than two years to go for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar.
The Cuban envoy was talking to Qatar Tribune, in an exclusive interview, sharing his views on Qatar hosting the world’s mega sport. The envoy said that within a few years after the Cuban triumph in the revolution, as a result of the social development program under the slogan of ‘Healthy Mind in Healthy Body’, Cuba achieved a prestigious place among the first 20 nations of the international Olympic movement.
Similarly, he noted, “in a very short time, the State of Qatar has made tremendous progress in the field of sports. The leadership gives priority to the education of its population and youth health, while promoting physical exercise as one of the fundamental measures to combat sedentary life-styles and associated diseases, including diabetes”.“
One such action was the designation of the second Tuesday of February as the annual national Sport Day in Qatar, by emiri Decree no. 80 of 2011,” Rodriguez added.Since 2012, national Sports Day is celebrated as a holiday in Qatar, he noted, adding that the day starts with the participation in various sports activities by the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, members of the cabinet, government institutions, private sec-tor, nationals and residents.“The diplomats alongwith their family members are seen taking part in various sports disciplines at Diplomatic Club, on the beautiful coast of capital city, under the auspices of HE Minister of Foreign Affairs,” he said.
The envoy said that he participated, along with Cuban embassy staff, in sports activities organised by the Cuban Hospital at Dukhan, where about 500 health professionals joined the Qatari people to celebrate the national Sports Day.
Rodriguez said that host-ingmeg a tournaments like the 2006 Asian Games, fol-lowed by other regional and international tournaments such as Diamond League, 24th Arabian Gulf Cup,FIFA Clubs World Cup, handball, swimming, athletics, tennis, basketball, golf, cycling, artistic gymnastics, equestrian championships, annual traditional camel races, and the Asian Championship title in football gives Qatar a great profile in sports.
“It’s no surprise that the media arealready referring to Qatar as the ‘Mecca of Sport’,” the Cuban envoy said.
Qatar, the envoy said, is an excellent destination for adventure sports through-out the year, including for rock climbing, sky diving, kite surfing and dune patching. “These events get full support as Qatar is the safest and most peaceful country in the MenA region,” he pointed out.
Rodriguez praised the leadership of Qatar saying that despite the challenges Qatar has been facing since June 2017 due to the Gulf crisis, and later from the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has seen completion of 90 per cent of the FIFA World Cup-related projects. The envoy praised the efforts made by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) headed by its Secretary General Hassan Al-Thawadi,who have ensured the success of the world’s mega tournament to be held in the West Asian region for the first time
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