Doha placing itself centre stage
Qatar, and in particular Doha, is fast becoming one of Asia’s most important sporting venues. The FIVB World Club Championships have of course been staged in the Qatari capital every year since their revival in 2009, and the football world will assemble there in 2022 for the FIFA World Cup. But Doha is making its mark on the world of sport, and in particular volleyball, in other ways too.
In January, the FIVB played an important role in the second UNOSDP (United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace) Youth Leadership Camp, held in Doha, just as the first edition had been in 2012. During the three days of the camp the FIVB introduced participants to volleyball through both theory and practice.
Great Britain’s women’s Olympic volleyball captain Lynn Beattie, an FIVB Hero, and Sherif El Shemerly, an FIVB Instructor as well as Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA) National Teams Technical Director, taught youngsters how to organise and execute grassroots programmes to support development and peace, and how to stay involved with volleyball even where infrastructure is lacking. You can read Lynn Beattie’s account of the camp in the next edition of VolleyWorld.
One month earlier, FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° was a participant at the Doha GOALS forum, where former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was among the speakers. Doha GOALS was created as the premier platform for world leaders to advance social initiatives through sport, and the Qatari capital was a most appropriate setting.
“When you look around here, you see development and construction everywhere,” said President Graça at a lunch hosted by the QVA during the FIVB Club World Championships in October. “Now I have one idea of how paradise may look. You are investing all your resources to develop your country and the people.”
Dr Graça F° suggested making Doha a capital for volleyball development in the region and offered the assistance of the FIVB Technical Department to help in that regard. “Our new philosophy at the FIVB is that money that comes from a specific sport should go back to the sport,” he said.
“Our goal is to make volleyball and beach volleyball bigger sport disciplines around the world. We can disseminate volleyball and beach volleyball not only to all the Arabic countries but to the whole region. I think that with our joint effort we can do it.”
Mr Khalid Ali Al-Mawlawi, Chairman of the Club World Championships Organising Committee and President of the QVA, responded by saying: “Our love and passion for volleyball got us together here. Doha is the capital of sport and I want to express to all of you our feelings and how proud we are for hosting the FIVB Club World Championships for the past four years.”
He then expressed his desire and willingness to host a Beach Volleyball World Tour event as part of the mission to expand the popularity of the sport. “We are not going to limit ourselves to grassroots development,” Mr Al-Mawlawi said. “Our hands will be always open for you, to offer our support, understanding and cooperation. We want to be the right hand of the FIVB in the region.”