FIG President Watanabe thanks Qatar for making 'miracle' happen
DOHA: FIG President Morinari Watanabe extended his best wishes to the Local Organising Committee of 48th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in his welcome speech at the medals unveiling ceremony here on Wednesday.
Besides Watanabe, competition Brand Ambassador Belarus’ Svetlana Boguinskaia, FIG Secretary General Andre Gueisbuhler, Doha Worlds LOC CEO Ali Ahmed Al Hitmi and Deputy Competition Manager Anis Saoud were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.
“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Mr Ali and his team for making this miracle and a dream happen. On behalf of the gymnastics family, I express my appreciation to everyone,” said Watanabe.
The event will determine the winners of eight sets of medals for men and six for women.
“We are thrilled and honoured to host the world’s best gymnasts,” said Ali. “We’re confident they will live up to their expectations and continue to boost the sport’s growth.”
The championships, which will feature 76 nations and 22 world and Olympic champions, will begin at the Aspire Dome on Thursday.
“I came here in 2006 during the Asian Games. Doha was not what it is today. But I must say that Qatar has blossomed into a gymnastics hub as well. I thank Ali and Asian Gymnastics Union President Abdulrahman Al Shathri for their excellent support in developing the sport,” added Watanabe.
Three-time Olympian Boguinskaia said that despite the presence of top stars, some of the juniors can also shine at the mega event.
“Don’t forget the juniors. They want to show their skills here. Don’t rule them out,” said Boguinskaia. “It doesn’t matter which country are you from, the best should win.”