DOHA: The Doha GOALS Forum drew to a close today, bringing together over 1,800 participants from all over the world during the three days and confirming its position as a catalyst for real social, political and economic change through the power of sport.
A call for change
The opening sessions featured presentations from some of the Doha GOALS Forums already implemented, including a prosthetics programme with champions Stephane Houdet and Hou Bin, with two of the recipients coming to the Forum to join the debates.
Student ambassadors from Romania and Canada also reported on initiatives they had set up after being inspired by attending the forum last year; and the results of the initiative to build sports courts in Palestine, Gabon and Afghanistan were also shared.
During the closing session, ideas for new initiatives were presented to address areas as diverse as:
– women in sport
– sport for community health – physical or mental health, as well as building bridges
– sport for integrating fragmenting communities
– using sport to fight against discrimination of all kinds – by race, faith, or capabilities
Richard Attias, Executive Producer of Doha GOALS Forum, said: “Listening to all these ideas, it is clear is that you want to help us extend the reach of the Doha GOALS Forum community.
“Every single initiative suggested needs the cooperation of multiple stakeholders in sport – so it’s clear that the need for a Doha GOALS community grows every stronger.”
Among the many interesting topics discussed, big data was of course part of the exchanges both in terms of athletes and sports team performance but also for common fans and amateur athletes. The dedicated panel agreed that the volume and power of data will continue to grow but that there will always be a need for a human element in sport.
This third edition of the forum brought together a diverse range of world leaders, football federations, sporting heroes, business leaders and students.
Among the speakers included former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and US Olympic Gold medallist, George Foreman, who captivated the audience and spoke about how we all have a common responsibility for each other.
Other participants included former German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn; Jamaican Triple Olympic gold medallist, Veronica Campbell-Brown; Triple Olympic Gold medal winner and current director of USA Track &Field, Jackie Joyner-Kersee; H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, Sir Craig Reedie; Former London 2012 Chairman, Seb Coe; Triple Paralympic Champion, Hou Bin, French Secretary of State for Sports, Thierry Braillard and.
H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic: “Furthermore, thanks to remarkable efforts like Global Watch and the Doha GOALS Forum initiative to eradicate racism in sport, today sport is uniting to fight the darker side of human society, to build a safer, more integrated environment for people of all backgrounds to come together.
“It is important that Heads of State and CEOs around the globe demonstrate their personal support for sportsmen and women, by making the effort to attend sporting events and to encourage them to aspire to compete with dignity and to excel on their chosen field, court or pitch.”
Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar said: “Doha Goals is particularly unique in the way it engages young people. Students are incorporated as an integral part of the event, providing them with the chance to learn from some of the best minds in the sporting industry, and in turn, for those minds to learn from the ideas and concepts that the students raise in taskforces and in panel discussions. This combines to produce a conference that is rich in substance and unapologetically ambitious in its aim to make a difference to the world through sport.
“This focus on youth, innovation and making a difference through sport forms the essence of our hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and our plans to ensure that the legacy of this event benefits our country, and our region for decades beyond the final ball is kicked.”
Participants addressed four main touchstones at this year’s forum: engaging youth, innovation and creativity, empowering people, and the role of sport in the Middle East and North Africa.
The forum provided the opportunity for the entire Doha GOALS community to meet and establish collaborative projects. Hundreds of one-on-one meetings took place alongside the forum through the Community Connect app.
On the question of racism which was discussed on many occasions, H. E. Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) described the team work as a real key to fight against racism, calling for the development of values like friendship and excellence.
Images available to download here: http://www.dohagoals.com/en/
Amanda Fox-Pryke | Account Manager
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