THE Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) has embarked on a new mission — to give the country’s sports sector a strategic direction and identify key initiatives for it.
The QOC has been working on the objectives all these years and the new plan, which encompasses structured pathways for an athlete’s development from birth to retirement, should create more world-class sportspersons in the years to come.
Based on the QOC’s directive, it was the ASPIRE Academy that prepared the Kun Riyadi (Be An Athlete) project model. The development pathway will identify the growing stages of an athlete and provide him/her with appropriate opportunities to ensure best performances.
The three main themes of this pathway are enhanced performance, participation and interaction. It’s basically a guide for optimal training, based on scientific principles. Once implemented, it’ll have a common vision, right from schools to clubs to national teams, leading to a more effective system via uniform leadership and direction.
But an analysis of the existing practices, also done by the academy, reveals certain inherent weaknesses in our system, generating some apprehension even in the mind of an eternal optimist.
It says there’s a poor structure and development strategy in place, with each federation functioning in its own way. There’re limited skills and expertise among the various national bodies to implement, run and maintain development pathways. The lack of physical literacy and sports culture among our people, intense heat during summer, cultural resistance to exercise and small size of population are all factors that work against us. On top of that, there’s more focus on hosting big events instead of developing sports activities.
And one of the biggest cited threats is our reliance on establishing outsourcing models to develop and run sports activity. There’s also a tendency to be impatient and a clear lack of understanding on the part of most of our officials. It’s shocking to note that there’s no clear athlete-development model or management system in place in most federations.
Fortunately for us, there’s government backing for sports development. On the infrastructure front, we’re on par with the best, but what needs to be changed is our mentality. We’ve to seize the opportunities offered by the new initiatives, and ensure a sustainable structure and programme are in place, so we can achieve more on the global arena.