DOHA, The 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships kicked off on Thursday with the participation of male and female gymnasts to compete across 10 days at Aspire Academy Dome in Doha.
The championship was officially opened in the presence of HE Second Vice President of Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, HE QOC Secretary General Jassim Rashid Al Buenain, President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Morinari Watanabe, and President of the Asian Gymnastics Federation Abdulrahman Al Shathri, a number of the championship’s guests and the director and members of the organizing committee.
The opening ceremony began with Qatar’s national anthem and then the entry of the participating countries. It included the performance of male and female players section, in which the Qatari gymnast player Jana Al Kiki participated. It followed by the performance of the referees and coaches and an entertaining show by the Chinese team of acrobatics.
FIG President Morinari Watanabe and chief executive of the organizing committee Ali Al Hitmi announced the official launch of the competition for the first time in the Arab region and the Middle East, with nearly 700 male and female gymnasts from 78 countries competing for gold medals and qualifying to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The participants praised the decorated ASPIRE Dome. The organizing committee equipped the main Aspire Dome in addition to 4 training rooms. It placed the public at the forefront and increased the number of seats in the main hall to 6,000 seats in order to provide the opportunity for the largest number of fans to watch the tournament.
The world and Olympic champions include Simone Biles of USA, who has won several gold medals at various Olympic Games, Angelina Melnikova of Russia, Luo Huan of China, Rebeca Andrade of Brazil and other heroes who will do their best in order to win gold medals and book place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
At the official Opening Ceremony, FIG President described Qatar as a blossoming garden for gymnastics in the Middle East.
President Watanabe wore a thobe – traditional Qatari dress – for the occasion, hold his hands in the air with Ali Al Hitmi as a visual representation of how World Championships can unity cultures and countries.
Addressing the crowd, President Watanbe: “Qatar Gymnastics Federation has made a wonderful garden in the middle of the desert. For 10 days from today, with the power of our gymnasts, we’ll see the beautiful and strong flowers bloom in the Aspire Dome. I wish all gymnasts good luck.”
Chief executive of the organizing committee Ali Al Hitmi thanked HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani for his support to sport, which is an integral part of Qatar Vision 2030. This insightful vision contributed to introducing Qatar as a world leader in hosting major tournaments, he said.
He added that the State of Qatar has a great role in the development of sports of all kinds, as it is keen to host major sporting events at the highest level in line with its National Vision 2030, stressing that building a solid sports culture and promoting its growth and prosperity in the country is one of the most important reasons for hosting important tournaments such as the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships 2018. Since hosting the Asian Games 2006 and beyond events and tournaments, the experience and knowledge in the regulatory field have been increased, which strengthens Qatar’s position as a major regional and global sports hub.
He added: “Hosting this prestigious event in Qatar will give us the opportunity to take gymnastics to new heights in our country and drive passion and engagement for the sport amongst our communities; expanding gymnastics reach and encouraging even more Qatari residents to become involved, whether participating or spectating.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee