Doha, Qatar: Aspire Academy will celebrate on Tuesday, the graduation of 42 student-athletes in several sports, including football, squash, athletics, gymnastics, table tennis, and fencing, who will make up the next generation of Qatar’s sports teams and clubs. This marks the Academy’s biggest graduation batch since its establishment.
Senior officials from Aspire Zone will attend the ceremony, along with representatives from local sports federations and education institutions including Mohammad Khalifa Al Suwaidi, CEO of Aspire Zone Foundation, Ivan Bravo, Director General of Aspire Academy and Ali Salem Afifa, Deputy Director General of Aspire Academy. This year’s guest of honour will be Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Secretary General Jassim Rashid Al Buenain.
This event reflects Aspire Academy’s eleven years of commitment to the development of young local talents and national teams in Qatar. Ever since it embarked on a path to become a global leader in sports and academic excellence by 2020, Aspire Academy has sought to provide a comprehensive academic, social and sporting programme for it student-athletes.
The 42 graduates make up Qatar’s next bright stars in various sports. These include: 16 in football, 13 in athletics, four in fencing, three in football refereeing, two each in table tennis, and squash, and one each in gymnastics and shooting
Aspire Academy has a long line-up of former graduates who have left a mark in sports on a local, regional and international levels. Their achievements are further proof of Aspire Academy’s excellence.
Prominent success stories across various sports
Mutaz Essa Barshim: high jump, 2009 graduate
Mutaz Barshim is a Qatari track and field athlete who specialises in the high jump. He is the national record and Asian record holder with a best mark of 2.43 m. He won Qatar’s first-ever silver Olympic medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. His silver-medal win landed him the Athlete of the Year Award at the Esquire Man in 2016. Last year, Mutaz Barshim became the world champion in high jump and was named the 2017 IAAF Male Athlete of the Year last year. Barshim is currently maintaining the lead at the IAAF Diamond League for the 2017/2018.
Ashraf El-Seify: hammer throw, 2014 graduate
Ashraf El Seify is a Qatari hammer thrower. Among his greatest achievements were winning Gold medals at the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships 2012 in Barcelona, Spain with a record-breaking throw of 85.57m, and then again at the 15th IAAF World Junior Championships 2014 in Eugene, USA. These wins made him the first athlete in the history of the World Junior Athletics Championships to successfully defend his title. Last year, El-Seify won gold at the GCC Games and Bronze at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games Baku 2017. His performance in hammer throw at the World Athletic Championships in London 2017 earned him a world ranking of 11. He also represented Qatar at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he finished 6th in hammer throw.
Ahmed Bedir Magour: javelin throw, 2015 graduate
Ahmed Bedir Magour bagged the second gold medal for Qatar, in javelin throw, at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, which concluded in Baku, Azerbaijan, last month. As with Barshim and Abdalla, Magour made his Olympic debut at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He qualified after showcasing strong performance at the Hame Games in Finland. In 2017, Magour won Gold at the GCC Games and the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games Baku 2017, and Silver at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships in India.
Akram Afif, 2015 graduate
Akram Afif is a football a Qatari football player who plays as a forward for Spanish club Villarreal CF and the Qatar national team and is thought to be one of the most promising Qatari footballers. Afif was also part of the youth Qatari team that won the AFC U-19 Championship in 2014, scoring the winning goal in the final against DPR Korea. Afif became the first Qatari player to play in La Liga. Prior to Villarreal CF, Afif played for KAS Eupen. His goals helped advance the team to the Belgian Pro League for 2016-17 season. In the 2016-17 season he played on loan for Sporting Gijon.
Fahad Ali Shnain Al Abdulrahman, 2014 graduate
Fahad Al Abdul Rahman Shnain is a football left-back who has returned to Al Sadd SC after being on loan with Belgian First Division A side KAS Eupen. He represented the Qatar national football team on several occasions. The 23-year-old defender won second place in the ‘Le Lion Belge 2017’ awards for the best upcoming Arab players in the Belgian league.
Abdullah Al Tamimi, 2012 graduate
Abdulla Al-Tamimi is a professional Qatari squash player. In 2017, his progress continued as he achieved a career-best world ranking of 34 after he reached the second round of the World Squash Championships in Manchester.
Al Tamimi became the world No.1 in the World Squash Federation’s junior circuit rankings (Under-19) in 2012. He has won several other prestigious titles, including the Under-19 Qatar Youth Open Championship in 2012 and the Under-19 Dutch Junior Open in July 2013. He also finished fourth in the World Youth Championship held in Poland in July 2013.
Since opening its doors in 2004, Aspire Academy has become one of the foremost national sports academies in the world. Working as part of the Aspire Zone Foundation, Aspire Academy is at the heart of a sporting revolution currently taking place in Qatar and around the region. Aspire Academy has sought to develop its student-athletes holistically, providing them with a comprehensive academic, social and sporting education, to realise its vision of becoming a leader in sports and academic excellence by 2020. Aspire Academy offers a unique educational setting in which curricula are designed around student capabilities and needs. Students’ educational programmes are designed to be flexible and to take account of time spent at training camps and various championships.