Saturday 15 June 2024

Bahrain to build state-of-the-art aquatics sports complex

MANAMA, February 1, 2023

World Aquatics and the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) have announced plans to build a state-of-the-art aquatics sports centre in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in partnership with GFH Financial Group and the Bahrain Swimming Federation. 
The partnership will see World Aquatics (previously FINA - The International Swimming and Aquatics Federation) establish the Centre of Excellence and regional office for Aquatic Sports Centre at The University of Technology Bahrain (UTB). 
The plan, which is set to give boost to the kingdom's PPP strategy, also includes new pools capable of hosting events in five of the six World Aquatics sports: swimming, water polo, artistic swimming, diving, and high diving. The sixth sport, open water swimming, is already a popular one with several event held at Bahrain’s beaches.
World Aquatics currently has operating development centres in Thanyapura (Thailand), Dakar (Senegal), Cape Town (South Africa) and Davie (Florida, USA).
With this new Bahrain centre, World Aquatics’ elite athletes will have access to the best of the training capabilities. These athletes will also receive on-site coaching and educational support through World Aquatics’ Development programmes, said its top official. 
"World Aquatics could not have asked for better partners than in Bahrain, as demonstrated by our bold plans for a centre of excellence here that will serve as an example to the world," remarked World Aquatics President Husain Al Musallam. 
"Our high-performance athletes are at their best when they can benefit from the right mix of facilities, coaching and sports science. World Aquatics is determined to ensure that this mix is available to athletes from all our national federations. And we are delighted to include an educational component with the help of the UTB," said Al Musallam. 
"Aquatic sports are universally important. Both the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the World Aquatics Championships Budapest 2022 saw over 180 nations represented. We are grateful to Bahrain and to the hosts of our other development centres for their help in ensuring aquatics athletes everywhere have the chance to fulfil their true potential," he added.
The agreement was signed by World Aquatics and GFH Financial Group at the Bahrain Financial Harbour in the presence of Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Supreme Council for Youth and Sports (SCYS) First Deputy Chairman, General Sports Authority (GSA) Chairman and BOC President. 
"Bahrain is a nation of islands, united by the water that surrounds us," remarked Shaikh Khalid, who is himself a renowned open water swimmer, having completed the 31.5 km swim across the Gulf of Bahrain linking Saudi Arabia to the kingdom.
"With an ever increasing diversity of partnerships, Bahrain continues to be one of the leading sports hubs in the world. We have a very clear understanding of the value of aquatic sports," he stated. 
"And we are excited to contribute to the future of World Aquatics, not just for Bahrain but for our region and the world. We look forward to hosting leading aquatics athletes from different nations, and to help them achieve their sporting dreams, both as development athletes and as participants in World Aquatics competitions," said Shaikh Khalid.
On the strategic deal, Faris Mustafa Al Kooheji, the Secretary General of BOC, said: "Today we have witnessed a historic agreement where the private sector will fully align with the government’s vision of promoting sports tourism in the Kingdom of Bahrain."
"This will be done by constructing a one-of-a-kind, exceptional centre for aquatic athletes," he added.
GFH Group CEO and UTB Chairman Hisham Alrayes said: "We could not be more excited to partner on this initiative, which has such importance for Bahrain and for the World Aquatics."
"The project aligns with GFH and UTB’s long-time commitment and ongoing support for the further development and promotion of Bahrain as a leading regional centre for education and sports tourism," remarked Alrayes. 
"We look forward to working with World Aquatics and BOC to create a unique platform to attract aquatics athletes from the region and around the world to gather, train and develop their skills in Bahrain and to support the realisation of their potential in sport alongside that of the kingdom," he added.-TradeArabia News Service



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