Doha, Qatar: Aspire Academy student-athletes representing Qatar struck gold at the Arab Fencing Championship, which took place in Kuwait from February 8 to 10.
Qatari fencers triumphed in the cadet (U-17) team competition, won silver in the junior (U-20) team category and took home a number of medals for individual achievements.
In the team competition, Qatar’s U17 team - featuring Hussain Al Mutawa, Khaled Aref Hussein, Abdallah Ismail Khalifa and Faisal Al Sowaidi - won gold. The same team entered the U20 competition, where strong performances saw them reach the final and win the silver medal. In both finals, the Qatari fencing stars faced teams from the host country, Kuwait.
In the individual competitions, Khaled Aref Hussein won silver in the U20 category and bronze in the U17s. Meanwhile, Abdallah Ismail Khalifa won silver in the U17 and bronze in the U20, while Hussain Al Mutawa took the bronze medal in the U17 competition.
The impressive displays from Qatar’s fencers are a result of a strategic programme that Aspire Academy has established with Qatar Weightlifting and Fencing Federation. The initiative will develop young fencers by providing them with quality training and top competition opportunities on the European Circuit, as well as access to the worlds’ top coaches and Federations.
The initiative is designed to establish a world-class programme to develop athletes and prepare them for successful participation in Asian and international competitions, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The head coach of Qatar’s fencing team, Massimo Omeri, said: “We won against two of the strongest teams in fencing; Kuwait and Egypt, which goes to show what we are capable of as a team. We have competed with all of the Arab countries, as well as in the European training circuit where we achieved great results.”
“Our future plans revolve around maintaining our momentum, keeping up our performance for these types of competitions. To develop the fencers, we must engage them in a wide variety of competitions. Moreover, we have excellent relationships with the various federations, including that of Italy, and we are looking to collaborate with other European organisations. Another focus point is the U-17’s development; we are proud of our players and our scholarship athlete Ali Turki who is ranked number 50 in the world and Khaled Aref is ranked within the top 100. The team that consists of Khaled Aref, Ismail Abdullah, Hussein Al Motawea and Faisal Al Suwaidi, is considered one of the best fencing teams found within the Arab region.”
The coach also emphasized on the strong relationship between the federation and Aspire. “We are looking to expand our fencing team and are recruiting athletes based on stringent criteria.”