Bahrain to host Gulf's biggest sporting event
Manama, June 7, 2011
The Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) is set to organise 'Bahrain 11,' the inaugural edition of the GCC Games and the largest showcase of Gulf sporting talent, this October.
Scheduled to be held from October 11 to 22, the Bahrain 11 will see more than 1500 athletes representing all GCC member nations descend on Bahrain to compete in different sporting disciplines, including Paralympics and women’s sports.
Announcing the details of the mammoth event, Sheikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, CEO of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, said the event will bring together a number of sporting disciplines under one competition.
“Since winning the trust of our fellow GCC nations to host the inaugural edition of the GCC Games, we have undertaken every effort to ensure that our sporting infrastructure and organization level matches the grand scale and vision of this event, said Sheikh Khalid, while speaking at a press conference held in Khalifa Sports City.
The press conference featured the unveiling of the official Bahrain 11 mascot “Ghaleb” and logo, which embody the unifying spirit that binds GCC nations together and collaborative effort behind the GCC Games.
'We expect Bahrain 11 will attract major attention from people all around the globe, and as such we have a responsibility to present the best of what Bahrain has to offer and demonstrate its ability in hosting events of this size and caliber,' said Sheikh Khalid.
He was joined by Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa, general secretary of the BOC and Khalid Al-Doseri, chairman of Netizen, the official communication and commercial Partner of Bahrain 11.
Commenting on the games, Sheikh Ahmed said, “As the first sporting event to be co-organized by the GCC Olympic committees, the GCC Games will usher in a new era of development for GCC sports and establish a clear benchmark of excellence for the future.”
'The GCC boasts an abundance of sporting talent, and the GCC Games will prove an ideal platform to identify sports stars of tomorrow and serve as an ideal training ground for international competitions such as the Asian Games and Olympics,' he commented.
According to him, the games will also be a primary vehicle in facilitating the exchange of expertise between the various GCC Olympic committees to develop best practices that elevate the standard of sports in the region as a whole.
The competitions will be played in 10 venues (6 brand new and 4 refurbished) across the Kingdom and feature 11 sporting disciplines, including football, basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics (track and field), endurance racing, swimming, cycling, and bowling.
Blind athletes will also get a chance to demonstrate their sporting prowess through goalball, a special internationally recognized sport specifically designed to accommodate their needs, as well as table tennis for women, he added.
The grand opening ceremony, to be held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, will be attended by senior government dignitaries, sportspersons, observers, and sport fans from across the GCC.
On the commercial aspect, Al-Doseri said, “Our aim as proud partners of Bahrain 11 is to help deliver on the vision of the games. We are pursuing partnerships with major regional broadcast networks to ensure that all competitions will be available in every household in the GCC and wider Mena region while and turn the participating athletes into bona fide stars.”
The GCC Games will be rotated between the member states every four years and Saudi will host the second edition in 2015, said Sheikh Khalid.
More sporting disciplines are expected to be added with each edition of the GCC Games, he stated.
According to Sheikh Khalid, Bahrain won the honour of hosting this prestigious event at the 66th Olympic Committee meeting held in November 2010 in Kuwait.
The bid was later officially approved during a meeting between the heads of the various GCC Olympic regulatory committees in Kuwait later that year, he added.-TradeArabia News Service