WAVES OF CHANGE

WAVES OF CHANGE

THE Qatar Swimming Association (QSA) has been taking a lot of efforts to develop the sport in the country, but its competitors failed to win a single medal at the Islamic Solidarity Games, which concluded in Baku, Azerbaijan, last Monday.

With Doha set to host the 2023 FINA World Championships, Qatar’s disappointing show has forced the QSA to seriously look into the matter.

Qatar had fielded Noah Abdulaziz Al Khulaifi, Abdulrahman Hisham Mohammed, Abdulaziz Hassan Al Obaidly, Firas bin Mourad Saidi and Mohammed Fahad Hussain at the Games. 

The eighth-place finishes by Noah and Fahad in the 50M and 200 butterfly were their best display. 

“We’ll evaluate the swimmers’
performance and adopt measures to improve their level,” QSA General Secretary and Technical Committee Chairman Talal Mubarak Al Darwish told Doha Stadium Plus.

The QSA chalked out coaching programmes and training camps for national teams at its Technical Committee meeting last week.

“We’ll have some dedicated preparatory camps for our national teams, the dates and place of which will be finalised later. We also plan to have courses for referees and coaches. We’ll have to work really hard on development programmes as there’s no shortcut to success,” said Al Darwish.

Qatari swimmers may have done well at the GCC age-group and senior championships, but the QSA wants them to be world-beaters and it is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to help them through their multiple grass-roots programmes.

As many as 12 youngsters — Abdullah Al Yahri, Waleed Rafeeq Dalloul, Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, Abdulrahman Khalid Al Kuwari, Omar Hisham, Noah, Hassan Abdulaziz Al Obaidly, Abdulla Musallam Al Nabit, Abdulla Mohammed Aboughazala, Abdulrahman, Firas and woman swimmer Nada Mohammed Wafa Arakji — had competed in last year’s FINA/Airweave World Cup Series in Doha.

Though their performances were not that impressive, QSA President Khaleel Al Jabir was confident some of them could make the Olympic cut for Tokyo.

“We’re putting in our best efforts to mould them into future stars. Motivation and encouragement are important at this age. We’re providing every bit to ensure they become successful,” said Al Jabir, who is also an Asia Swimming Federation vice-president.

Al Jabir also expressed confidence in Qatar’s Greek coach Christos Paparrodopoulos.

“He’s an experienced coach and we’re confident of achieving good results at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It’s still more than three years away, but we’ve faith in him,” he said. DSP

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