GCC states agree on joint Sports Day

08 March 2015

The GCC countries have agreed to initiate a combined Sports Day across the region, it emerged. Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Secretary-General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani announced this during a press conference in the presence of GCC Assistant Secretary General Abdullah bin Juma Al Shibli and GCC Environment Supreme Council Chairman Dr Adel Al Zayani. The proposal for a combined Sports Day was floated by QOC, it was confirmed. According to QOC, the proposal has been initiated for the promotion of sports and healthy lifestyle among the millions of young kids across the region. It is accepted by the presidents and heads of the GCC National Olympic Committees (NOCs). The GCC Sports Day will be celebrated on the second Saturday of February every year. It may be recalled that on every Tuesday in February the Qatar National Sport Day is hosted. The NOC representatives of the Gulf countries were present in Qatar last month and witnessed the large-scale mass participation. Encouraged by the success, the officials decided to implement it at the regional level. Shibli said: "The proposal will be forwarded to higher authorities of the GCC to finalise details. After that, it will be decided like where and when the first GCC Sports Day will take place." "Saturday is part of the weekend in the region so it can ensure huge public participation," Sheikh Saoud said. "We're confident that it would get positive response and raise awareness in the communities in the region about health and fitness." Sheikh Saoud said a lot of attention is being given to promote activities that will harness the youth power in the region. "Physical education classes have been made compulsory for students at each level. The UAE has suggested that all schools must dedicate one-hour to physical activities for students, which will make them active and healthy. "The UAE has also offered to host the first GCC Youth Games and its request has been approved. The dates and number of sports of GCC Youth Games would be declared later, though the plan is to host the event as soon as possible," he added. On the success of Schools Olympic Programme, Sheikh Saoud said: "Five of the GCC states have started SOP and will soon get benefits of having a good talent base at the grass-roots level. Kuwait has also said to launch the programme to activate the talent at the school level." The plan to launch a sports court in Bahrain has also been cleared."It will deal with legal problems in the sports field or related with sports persons. A jury will be set up within six months and hearings will be done in Bahrain. Sports laws will also be enacted soon," said Sheikh Saoud. The rich Gulf has been controlling 13 sports bodies in Asia and Sheikh Saoud said it reflected the region's growing influence at the continental level besides showing the trust and cooperation among the member states. "There are 28 organising committees under the GCC umbrella. All are working with utmost dedication, seriousness and cooperation. This has helped us heads in 13 Asian sports bodies. Yesterday, Qatar's Dahlan (Jumaan Al Hamad) has been chosen as the President of Asian Athletics Association again." Shibli thanked QOC and Sheikh Saoud for making extensive preparations for the GCC NOCs meeting. "I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations to QOC and Sheikh Saoud for making elaborate arrangement for the meeting. "Qatar is always active about playing its bit in the progress of the region. We hope recommendations accepted in the meeting would be implemented soon with the consent of GCC higher authorities." The four-day meeting ends today. Source: The Peninsula, Al Arab Newspaper