Doha: Some of Qatar’s most promising sportsmen and scholars graduated from Aspire Academy at a ceremony yesterday.
The ceremony celebrated over six years of studying and coaching for the majority of the 29 teenage graduates.
Senior figures from the Qatari sporting establishment, academy staff, parents and family members were present.
Ivan Bravo, Director-General of the academy, said, “It is a honour and joy to be here tonight recognising the outstanding achievement that graduation represents for the young individuals that arrived to the academy as 12-year-olds and leave today as bright, prepared young men with a future full of possibilities.
“All of you here tonight has what it takes to become a champion in life, to lead by example for others and act in a way that honours your parents and this country, which you will one day lead.”
Those bidding farewell to the academy included Qatar’s very best academic achievers and most promising athletes.
With sprinters, squash players, table tennis champions and track and field stars among the class of 2014, many graduates will now be hoping to compete for Qatar at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
One graduate established as a world-class athlete is Ashraf Amgad Mohamed Elseify, 17, who last year set a record at the World Junior Championships with a hammer throw of 85.6m.
Having joined the academy four years ago, Ashraf had mixed feelings about his departure from the institution.
Ashraf said, “My time at the academy has taught me the importance of social ties, time management and teamwork. I know I have come a long way over the last few years and I will miss the academy.
“However, I am confident that I will be able to build on my experiences and achieve far greater things in the future.”
Other graduates included 21 footballers, including those who play for youth teams at some of Europe’s best clubs in Spain, France, Belgium and Austria.
One of those hoping to represent Qatar at the 2022 FIFA World Cup is Doha-born footballer Tamim Mohammed Issa Al Muhaza, 17, a member of the Atlético Madrid youth team in Spain.
Picking up his diploma, Tamim said, “I am overjoyed to stand here and have my hard work recognised. My five years at the academy has been incredibly beneficial to me.
“In that time, I have grown and improved as a person and an athlete with the help of my coaches and teachers.
“The academy has offered me a wealth of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and for these I could not be more grateful.”
Khaled Abdulla Al Sulaiteen, CEO, Aspire Zone Foundation, summed up achievements of graduates and said, “It is with great delight that I congratulate all the young men here tonight on their progression from the academy.
“During their many years at this institution, I am confident they will have benefited from our world-class teaching and training facilities on offer to all fortunate enough to study here. Their graduation is an immense achievement.
“And I look forward to watching the boys make the most of their opportunities in the years to come.”