Smiles and ‘selfies’ as Aspire Academy welcomes Rio star Barshim
27 Sep 2016 - 4:01
DOHA: It was a time for smiles and ‘selfies’ as Aspire Academy yesterday welcomed back Olympic Games star Mutaz Essa Barshim to the place where it all began for the lanky athlete.
A little over a month ago, silver medallist Barshim finished behind Canada’s Derek Drouin in the men’s high jump final at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko claimed the bronze medal.
Aspire Academy yesterday marked the beginning of the new 2016-2017 academic year by hosting the Rio star who appeared clutching the high jump silver medal he won last month.
Barshim was welcomed by the Academy students including the 56 new student-athletes at the Academy’s Auditorium, sharing the highs and lows on his journey to Olympic glory to help inspire young athletes to follow in his footsteps as they undertake a variety of sporting programmes at the Academy.
Barshim was welcomed by Aspire Academy Deputy Director General, Ali Salem Afifa and Aspire Academy management team, in addition to a number of student-athletes, coaches and staff.
Speaking at the event, Barshim said: “It’s good to be back here where it all started, at Aspire Academy, which I consider to be my second home. The Academy, it’s world-class facilities unlike any other I’ve seen throughout my many travels, has equipped me to be where I am today. It’s a great honour to be greeted with such applause and it feels great to make my country proud by bringing home its first Olympic silver medal. I hope my presence here today inspires fellow student-athletes to work hard and take advantage of what the Academy has to offer, to achieve incredible results.”
He told the new student-athletes: “Don’t be afraid of failure as it will help you learn. Don’t overthink, show dedication, get plenty of rest, and proactively seek your coach’s guidance to achieve your best possible results. Dream big and aim high, Olympic glory and world records comes from hard work, dedication and great team around you.”
Afifa said: “We are incredibly proud to see one of our bright students rise at an international level. Aspire Academy is always striving to provide the best facilities, coaches and education to help our student-athletes achieve their maximum potential. We hope to see more of them achieve great results at major international tournaments in line with the Academy’s objectives to help Qatar elevate its international portfolio in the sporting arena.”
This new academic year 2016-2017, which has a total number of 265 student-athletes, marked the first academic year after receiving the Accreditation by the Council of International Schools
Student-athletes were accepted after successfully completing the elaborate Talent Identification process of the Academy.