Gung-ho about goal-setting

Nine-time Olympic gold medallist, Carl Lewis, said: “Sport has the power to change lives and it was wonderful to have such a strong collective international community gathered here in Doha, who all made commitments to making meaningful change and improving lives.”-DOHA STADIUM PLUS

The GOALS (Gathering of All Leaders in Sport) Forum promised positive changes on a global scale through the use of sport in the next one year. S. Sabanayakan reports.

The two-day Doha GOALS (Gathering of All Leaders in Sport) Forum, inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, promised positive changes on a global scale through the use of sport in the next one year. A working group, led by the Executive Director of the GOALS programme, Sheikh Faisal bin Mubarak Al-Thani, will process more than 200 initiatives that were identified during the conference, which was a glittering event.

The initiatives will be defined in the next three months and the five months prior to the next Doha GOALS in 2013 have been earmarked as the delivery phase.

The inaugural conference at the Aspire Zone, Doha, on December 11 and 12 witnessed almost 3,000 participants from 60 countries meeting to discuss how sport can be used as a vehicle for social and economic change.

The conference brought together a community of policymakers and government officials, heads of business, athletes and NGOs to build a roadmap for addressing social challenges through sport. Four-hundred international students from 25 countries, including India, and 400 local students were also present at the event.

A glittering line of speakers adorned the GOALS programme and this included the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, and Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the Organising Committee of London 2012, as well as sporting champions such as multi-Olympic gold medallists Ian Thorpe and Carl Lewis.

Among the speakers were swimming legend Mark Spitz, former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, IOC vice-president, Nawal El Moutawakel, triple Olympic champion Marie-Jose Perec, triple jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards and Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

Emphasising the role of delegates and students in contributing to the success of this road map, Sheikh Faisal promised every support from the team at Doha GOALS: “Without your help and partnership, we cannot get these goals implemented,” he said, conveying his heartfelt thanks to everyone who had participated in the event.

The executive producer of the programme, Richard Attias, said: “This community has been a fabulous laboratory of ideas. We had hoped initially for five to six initiatives to implement, but it has been really impressive with more than 200 potential ideas and we are delighted to see so many from the students. We have witnessed the birth of a new driving force, driven by government, the private sector and by the next generation, which has announced its commitment to create change.”

The aim of the initiative is to build a community of hundreds of key influencers from all areas who believe that sport is a crucial vehicle for nation building and development. The forum has been designed to deliver tangible action items such as the launching of a global student ambassador programme for youth leaders from all around the world and a global NGO to help underprivileged children. The objectives of the forum were dictated by a taskforce of more than 50 of the leading policymakers, innovators, sports scientists, physicians, federation heads, academics, athletes, corporate executives and competitors who gathered for a pre-forum event in January 2012. This group, which included top executives from FC Barcelona, IMG, Coca-Cola, as well as federation heads, and past and present athletes, debated economic development, the commercialisation of sports, the welfare of athletes, and sport as a vehicle for tourism growth.

The curtain was rung down on the immensely successful conference with a race between Oscar Pistorius, the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, and an Arab stallion, Maserati. The few metres head start given to Pistorius was enough for him to win the race as the horse, which was fussy, took off late losing precious time. That opportunity was enough for the South African, known as a blade runner, to triumph.