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Bubka and Dahlan Al Hamad, President of Qatar Association of Athletics Federation share a word during Bubka’s tour of the Aspire Academy yesterday.
By Armstrong Vas
Doha: Former Olympic gold medalist turned sports administrator Sergey Bubka yesterday hinted at a possible tie-up between Qatar and Ukraine in the field of Olympic sports.
The champion pole vaulter, who was on whirlwind visit to Qatar, said talks between Ukraine Olympic Committee and Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) have been going on.
“There is a strong possibility of Qatar and Ukraine signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the near future,” disclosed Bubka, who heads the Ukraine Olympic Committee for the last seven years.
“On Monday we signed a MoU with Oman, today (Tuesday) I was with Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee and we had discussions. We are keen to strengthen our cooperation, we are planning to sign a MoU talks between Ukraine Olympic Committee and Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC),” said Bubka, who was inducted into the International Association of Athletics Federation Hall of Fame last year.
Bubka who holds the current outdoor world record of 6.14 metres, which he set on July 31, 1994 in Sestriere, Italy, said the areas of cooperation will range from sending athletes from Ukraine to train in the state-of-the-art sports Aspire Academy, coaches’ education and several other fields.
Bubka, who is also a parliamentarian, heaped praises on the Aspire Academy which he toured yesterday as part of his visit to Qatar.
“The facilities here (Aspire Academy) are very impressive. The facilities are excellent; we should work closely to develop sports and the Olympic movement together. It is a good model which the Aspire Academy is following combining sports and education. Without education you are nowhere. After finishing your sports career you need to fall back on education,” added the Ukrainian, who won six consecutive IAAF World Championships, Olympics gold and broke the world record for men’s pole vaulting 35 times.
Bubka said he was visiting his friends from the region and Qatar was the third country on his jet leg having earlier visited UAE and Oman.
“I was in Dubai to attend the annual Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award ceremony,” said Bubka.
Having earned fame during his prime days, Bubka is now focussing on spreading the Olympic movement and also promoting the healthy values through sports. In fact, it was for these efforts, the Ukraine Olympic Committee was honoured in Dubai.
“I am honoured to receive this prestigious award for ‘Team Achievement on Values’ on behalf of my NOC and I am even more glad to have visited Oman to further boost the strength on these lines,” said the legendary athlete.
Bubka said he enjoyed the role of an administrator.
“It is beautiful to be one of the administrators. I am lucky to be one. I am very pleased to be in sports administration. It was always a dream for me to get involved in sports administration after my sports career got over. It is different, but I enjoy it.”
He advocated the need for more athletes to get involved in the administration of the game.
“There are a lot of advantages in having top athletes in administration; they understand the needs of sports people. Top sports persons can give a lot to give back to the administration and work with the athletes,” added Bubka.
Questioned as to who will be the next Bubka, he said: “We have a good school in Ukraine for sposrts and we had some success. We search for talents but they (athletes) can achieve depends on them.
“We need modern facilities, in Ukraine as some of the facilities have become old with time and we have to change the system of coaching and get the younger generation involved in the movement,” he added.
Bubka also holds the current indoor world record of 6.15 metres, set on February 21, 1993.
The closest threat to his indoor record has come from Australian Steven Hooker at 6.06m. The closest active threat to his outdoor record has come from American record-holder Brad Walker at 6.04m