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Schools Olympic Programme to begin on Monday

The 13th edition of the annual event is expected to bring together more than 14,000 children from different schools in Qatar.
Schools Olympic Programme Officials After The Press Conference At The Qatar Olympic Committee
Schools Olympic Programme officials after the Press conference at the Qatar Olympic Committee on Sunday. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

The annual Schools Olympic Programme (SOP), organised by the Qatar School Sports Association, will kick off at the Aspire Academy on Monday.

The event, which began in 2007-08, is expected to bring more than 14,000 boys and girls from Qatar’s various public and private schools on a common competitive platform.

Competitions for girls will be held in 13 disciplines – athletics, basketball, chess, fencing, football, gymnastics, handball, paralympic sport, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and volleyball. Boys will also compete in all these disciplines except handball.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Khalid Al Thani, President of the SOP Organising Committee, said preparations for the event were complete.

“We’re really excited that a new edition of the SOP is launching soon. We expect hundreds of children and parents to come to Aspire Dome tomorrow to witness the official launch. The competitions, to be held every week, will continue until mid-April. We wish all teams the best of luck,” he told Inside Qatar.

The Schools Olympic Programme Has Proved To Be A Huge Draw For Young Qatari Talent
The Schools Olympic Programme has proved to be a huge draw for young Qatari talent. IQ File Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Coaches from different national sports federations will be at hand to assess the talent on view, over the next few months.

SOP Executive Director Abdulrahman Al Muftah said efforts were on to add new disciplines to the event next year.

“We’re in talks with the Qatar Cycling Federation to formally include the sport in our annual programme. They’re interested and we’re now working out the minor details. We’re hopeful of expanding the programme next year,” said Al Muftah.

The SOP, which is a part of Qatar’s attempts to strengthen the grassroots-level sports initiatives, was launched soon after the 2006 Doha Asian Games and has come in for high praise from different quarters.