Doha GOALS kicks off
Prior to the official opening tomorrow (December 11), organisers of Doha Goals promised an event that would build a community committed to concrete initiatives rather than a 'talking shop' that ended when the delegates left.
H.E. Sheikh Faisal Al-Thani, executive director of Doha GOALS, outlined the key topics to be addressed in the coming two days including the role of sports federations, how to encourage more women in to sport, the challenge of motivating children and youth and issues of budgets and funding.
Some 2,000 participants have already registered at the Aspire Dome in Qatar, more than three times as many as originally envisaged: "We are positively surprised at the number of registrations and hope to see many initiatives started in the next few days under this collaborative format," said Richard Attias, executive producer, Dohal Goals and executive chairman, Richard Attias and Associates. "Sport as a tool for social development is a hot topic with leaders looking for ideas to create jobs."
He said Doha GOALS could become a platform for dialogue, occuring twice a year and with potential to 'maybe' evolve in to an NGO to support any follow-up on agreed initiatives: "We will look at how we can help, what we can support, and engage with the private sector and other NGOs to make it happen."
Another focus for Doha GOALS was as a platform for collaboration, particularly between governments, federations, sports men and women, corporations and educators in the southern hemisphere with their contemporaries in the north, said Attias, who stressed the positive benefits of the location of Qatar as a global hub.
Endorsing the aims of the forum, medal-winning swimmer Ian Thorpe said he was encouraged by the format which promised a positive alliance between participants: "Goals have not yet been determined as we will all be working towards them," he said. "Like sport itself, it will be inclusive and accessible ... and each of us has something to contribute to create social change."