Author Topic: Qatar opens world's biggest sports dome  (Read 2533 times)

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Offline Rind Baba

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Qatar opens world's biggest sports dome
« on: November 21, 2005, 02:17:54 AM »


ASPIRE Dome is milestone for sporting world, provides source of inspiration for athletes in Qatar.

 
By Allan Kelly – DOHA

Football legends Pele and Maradona were headlining the guest list for the official unveiling here on Thursday 17/11/2005 of the world's biggest covered sports dome.


The ASPIRE Academy of Sports Excellence venue is the work of French architect Roger Taillibert and funded by the oil and natural gas revenues which have turned this tiny Gulf state into one of the richest countries in the world.


It is a staggering 290,000 square-metre structure which houses under its giant roof a full-sized artificial grass football field and a five-a-side version, a 200m athletics track, an Olympic-size swimming pool and diving pool, a gymnastics hall, a sports games hall, 13 table-tennis courts, 3 contact sports mats, 8 fencing strips and 2 squash courts.


If required, competition could be under way in each of these sports at the same time with the whole complex lit up and air-conditioned by the site's own power station.


Servicing these facilities are state-of-the-art sports science labs covering high altitude, movement analysis, sports psychology, sports equipment and a mechanical and electronical workshop.


Opening a three-day international conference bringing together leading experts in the field of Sports Science, International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge said the glittering complex was one of the most impressive he had seen throughout the world.


Maradona, who along with Pele was to give football lessons to some of the academy's pupils, said after a tour of the facilities that they were "from another planet, not from earth".


ASPIRE director-general Thomas Flock said that aside from the academy's prime function as a learning centre, it would offer a venue for major sporting events such as the Asian Games being held in Doha in December, 2006.


"The ASPIRE Dome is a milestone for the sporting world, and provides a source of inspiration for athletes in Qatar and across the region, inspiring talented children and developing their skills to enable them to perform on the world's stage," he said.


Academy officials, however, haved warned not to expect big results too soon, saying that they were targetting a step-by-step approach from producing athletes who could first be competitive at the Gulf regional stage and then at the Asian level and finally at world and Olympic level.


Other top names in sports attending the opening ceremony were athletes Ed Moses, Said Aouita and Hicham El Guerrouj, swimmer Mark Spitz, footballer Rabah Madjer and gymnast Nadia Comeneci.


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