(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and Ministry of Education and Higher Education yesterday launched the first stage of Kun Riyadi (‘Be an Athlete'), Qatar's unique Athlete Development Pathway that aims to produce Qatari sporting champions.
The first phase, Quality, focuses on sports development amongst 0-7 year olds and will be rolled out across Qatar's nurseries and schools, to get their interest going in sport from the earliest possible age.
Speaking at the launch event, QOC secretary-general Jassim bin Rashed al-Buenain, said, 'The first phase of ‘Kun Riyadi' aims to provide an opportunity for sports participation and development from the earliest stage of childhood. Our unique Athlete Development Pathway (ADP) is a fundamental part of the QOC's new vision and direction for sport, which strives to achieve Qatari sporting success at every level. Identifying, developing and nurturing talented athletes at every stage of their career is key to ensuring that they reach their full potential but before that, it is vital that the kids enjoy and love sport from the youngest possible age.
'This is exactly what we aim to achieve through the Quality stage of ADP and it has been wonderful to see today how much fun these young children have had participating in the activities. We look forward to watching the programme grow and develop over the months and years ahead.
Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, HE Rabea Mohamed al-Kaabi, said, 'We are very pleased to work with the Qatar Olympic Committee on this project and we will work hard to ensure its success. Our schools are incubators of talent and sporting skills, and it is the vision of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to provide innovative and high-quality opportunities for our students. The Ministry has made physical education as one of the basic subjects within the school syllabus and has used the highest international standards when creating its curriculum, thereby helping the success of this programme.
The ADP was launched in November 2016 by the QOC and Aspire Academy, and was a result of a three-year project involving the input of multiple stakeholders, sporting entities and world-class sport development experts from the Aspire Academy to create a framework unique for Qatar.
The Quality phase of the ADP was launched with participating schools at Qatar Foundation's Student Centre, with coaches from Qatar's national federations supporting schoolteachers in running fun and engaging lessons focussing on gymnastics and athletics. Also participating in the launch activities were Team Qatar gymnasts Duha al-Habshi and Abdulla al-Hareth, who inspired the schoolchildren by demonstrating their skills and answering questions about their successful sporting careers.
This stage of Kun Riyadi has been designed to encourage active play and exploration to help children develop motor skills that will help them become effective at running, jumping and throwing later on in life. Lessons and activities will focus on demonstrating sport to children and providing a joyful and supportive environment where children enjoy sport and have fun playing it. The programme will be initially rolled out in three sports gymnastics, athletics and swimming, across 12 schools in Qatar and progress will be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure goals are being met. Further schools and sports will then be incorporated until eventually all schools and sports in Qatar are involved by 2022.
Commenting on Kun Riyadi, participating female gymnast al-Habshi said, 'I think it is so important that all children, especially girls, are given the opportunity to try a range of different sports from as young as possible so that they can see what they are interested in and where their talents lie. Kun Riyadi is a fantastic initiative to ensure that all Qatari sporting talent is identified and developed and that every child can enjoy as much sport as possible.
The Qatar ADP is a five-stage model that provides a comprehensive framework for developing skills at critical periods in an athlete's development from early childhood to post-retirement. The next phases after Quality see participants aged 8-12 develop a foundation of different skills to serve them in a range of sports, before a tailored programme is provided specific to children's individual needs from 13-18 years of age.
At 19, tailored practice, training, competition, and recovery regimes are provided ensuring that athletes maximise their potential. The final stage of development ensures that athletes remain active after their careers and impart their knowledge and experience to future generations participating in the pathway.
The Qatar Olympic Committee has previously contributed to the investment of a number of distinguished athletes through scholarship programmes. The athletes would return after receiving their university degrees to work for the institution, continuing to contribute to the development of the national sports movement.
The ADP framework includes 39 sport specific models, each tailored to enable optimum development within different sports and disciplines, including para-sport and women in sport. It will be rolled out with an innovative Athlete Management System that centralises data gathering of all athletes, including sport science data, learning progress and injury history. This will enable insights into athletes' training to be gathered, which will also help to shape and improve future training programmes.
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