117 gymnasts for FIG Challenge Cup in Doha
Doha (QAT) Competition Management March 22, 2012: THE fifth Artistic Gymnastics FIG Challenge Cup, which will start on March 28 at the Aspire Zone, is expected to push the performance level quite high as it has attracted the biggest number of gymnasts in its history.
While Qatar is planning to field six, the total number of participating gymnasts is 117, including 76 males and 41 females. .
The list of athletes from 31 countries is topped by Romania’s Catalina Ponor (three Olympic golds winner), Chinese Zou Kai (three Beijing Olympics golds winner), Deng Linlin (a member of the 2008 Olympics Team gold winning team), Elizabeth Kimberly Tweddle (a three times world champion from England) and Irish Olympian Kieran Behan.
The number of participants in the Doha event has increased as most of the gymnasts want to test their preparations and wish to be in the best shape while entering the London Olympic Games later this year.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Qatar Gymnastic Federation President Ali al Hitmi said: “The events like FIG Challenge Cup are helping the Qatari gymnasts. Our gymnasts have learnt a lot from competing against the world’s best and their rise proves this clearly.
He also mentioned that the Qatari gymnastics has grown by leaps and bounds in a very short period of time. “The unexpected success of Qatar in the Arab games is a clinching proof that the federation is going in the right direction and giving the best possible atmosphere to groom its gymnasts.
“Nobody was expecting that Qatar will win any medals.
But surprising everyone Qatar won two gold medals (Shaden Wohdan). So this event has really helped us to boost the performance of out gymnasts,” pointed out Hitmi.
“The ranking of Qatar has also improved. We are now ranked 46th in the world which is a big achievement for us considering that our association is just about 10 years old. In Asia, we’re No 5. We’re improving fast and that is what we’re aiming at,” said Hitmi.
The officials of the federation also said that Doha has set high standards of hospitality and organization of any event, which attracts players from all over the world.
“Gymnasts like to come here as we provide them the world class facilities. They appreciate the high quality of event and hospitality which they experience here. Last year, even the vice-president of the International Gymnastic Federation had praised out efforts and facilities,” added Hitmi.
Anis Saoud presented a technical presentation regarding different aspects of the event. Abdulrahman al Qahtani, the QGF finance and media head, was also present during the press conference.
“All the schools, colleges and communities are being contacted to ensure a big crowd support for all the gymnasts at the Aspire hall,” said Qahtani.
The QGF also signed sponsorships with various companies on this occasion. Samah Salah, National Sales Manager of Khazan Qatar, Dr Hazaen F. Anabtawi, Deputy Director of Sports at Aspire Academy, and Jessie Palanca of Qatar Happening signed the documents and hoped the event would record a bigger success than the past years
By TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK DOHA