(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The history of modern sport is littered with high-profile incidents in which politics have played a major part. While sporting successes can offer politicians good PR and a valuable ‘photo op', there are often serious repercussions when the worlds of sport and politics collide.
So it is never wise not to mix them.
'A lot of people are asking us about the political blockade. But honestly, we never mix politics with sports in Qatar. For sure, we will try our best to go to Dubai, race and try to win the rally, Qatar's ace rally driver Adel Abdulla had said while commenting on the delay in getting a proper authorisation letter from UAE's motorsport authorities for participation in Baja Dubai and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge rallies in March. Abdulla eventually picked up valuable points towards the championship standings at both the events with two second place finishes.
And Qatar strongly believes in it and has created new vistas amidst the unjust siege on the country.
Qatar, having always enjoyed unprecedented global recognition in sport in recent years, continued to advance through targeted efforts aimed at becoming a global sport hub.
If anything, the siege has been a catalyst for Qatari sport as QOC, national federations, sporting organisations and athletes have forged new alliances and continue to enjoy great relations with the sporting world at large.
Qatar shooters, who have set their eyes on winning many medals at the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia, have a new facility at their disposal as Qatar Shooting and Archery Association (QSAA) in February agreed for a multi-faceted programme to promote the game with Trap Concaverde shooting range in Lonato, Italy.
Speaking on the occasion, QSAA Ali Mohamed al-Kuwari had said, 'It is a big step for us to enter into a partnership with the Italian range. The exposure will help our shooters to compete strong and acquire international expertise by going against some of the world's best shooters in top-notch events.
'Trap Concaverde is a big and famous range; one of the reasons is its location. It is situated close to all the major gun and ammunition manufacturers in Northern Italy and boasts of 12 Trench layouts, he said.
'Every year you will find a World Championship or a World Cup, besides local competitions there, he said.
Holding national team camps at Trap Concaverde is also on the cards.
'QSAA and Trap Concaverde will soon be sitting down and drawing out a comprehensive plan, al-Kuwari added.
Trap Concaverde president Ivan Karela was also of the opinion that the agreement would help both the nations.
'There are many benefits for our club on account of the tie up. Our shooters can train at the beautiful range in Qatar and witness the fantastic hospitality. On the other hand, Qatari shooters can practice at the Trap Concaverde in Lonato, another range, a beautiful range, for shooting practice, he said.
'This is the start of a project, the first step to a long lasting co-operation between our club and Qatar Shooting and Archery Association, he said.
Al-Kuwari also said that the Lusail Shooting Complex is now ready to host any world championship. The QSAA president also stressed the association is interested in age-group tournaments and is working towards preparing for further challenges. Al-Kuwari had thanked the QOC for its continuous support for the activities organised by the association.
He added the period following the Asian Games will be a busy one for the Qatari shooters as they will be participating in many regional, local and international competitions with an eye to win qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The blockade has also failed to stop the country from hosting major sporting events such as the Aspire International Kite Festival 2018. 'We have better and bigger events despite the blockade and people in Qatar are able to live normally, Aspire Zone Foundation CEO Mohamed Khalifa al-Suwaidi had said in February.
Reflecting the nation's tough stance in the ongoing diplomatic crisis, Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA) President Ali Ghanim al-Kuwari had threatened legal action against the GCC volleyball body for cancelling regional tournaments.
The QVA was scheduled to host the GCC Junior Volleyball Tournament in September, but it was scrapped by the GCC Volleyball Organising Committee in the light of the current political situation in the region.
The events that have been cancelled include the senior men's championship, which was to be held in Bahrain.
However, Qatar's march remained unaffected as Al Rayyan in February won the 36th Arab Club Volleyball Championship in Tunis after beating Tunisia's Esperance 3-0 in the final of the tournament.
To support Qatar's commitment to sport and pursue a healthy lifestyle, Ashghal in collaboration with Qatar Cycling Federation (QCF) organised an event on the cycling lanes of Arab League Street in Duhail in February. Ashghal has also built 242km of cycling tracks on expressways in 2018.
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