DOHA- The successful draw for the group rounds of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship in Doha this week demonstrates that Qatar is ready to host large-scale sporting events, according to international visitors who attended the event.
More than 300 people came to Qatar for the official draw, including representatives from the International Handball Federation and all 24 participating teams, along with a host of international media and travel companies.
They received a warm welcome, with a programme of cultural activities accompanying the Official Draw ceremony, including tours of Souq Waqif, Iftar meals at some of Doha’s finest hotels, and a coach tour of the planned venues for the Championship, which will take place from 15 January to 1 February 2015.
On the evening of the Official Draw, the Qatar 2015 24th Men’s Handball World Championship Organising Committee held a gala dinner, under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Organising Committee.
Other VIP guests in attendance included H.E. Ali Sherif Al Emadi, Minister of Finance; H.E. Salah Al Ali, Minister of Youth And Sports; Badr Thiyab, Vice President, Asian Federation; Ahmed Abu Llayl, CEO, Asian Federation; Ahmed Al Shaabi, President, Qatar Handball Association; and Issa Al Muhannadi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority.
Dr. Thani Abdulrahman Al-Kuwari, Director General, Qatar 2015 Men’s Handball World Championship Organising Committee, said: “We wanted to showcase our professionalism in hosting major events, and also enable visitors to get a feel for the range of cultural attractions and facilities that Qatar has to offer. Because our guests joined us for the Official Draw during the Holy Month of Ramadan, it gave them a real insight into Qatari traditions and culture, which added to the experience.”
Feedback from all attendees was extremely positive, praising the quality of the organisation and the warm hospitality that the visiting teams received.
Manuel Cadenas, Coach of defending World Champions Spain, said: “Spain won the title two years ago and we have to prove ourselves in Qatar as well. I believe the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship will be really special.”
Dr. Isa Ghnem Al Hajri, UAE Federation President, said: “This will be the UAE’s first participation at a World Championship and we feel very proud about that. Regarding the level of the organisation, I feel very proud of what I have seen, because I come from the same region and I hope Qatar will succeed not only in 2015 but also at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. We expect many people to come from UAE to watch the World Championship. The facilities are fantastic and the weather will be great.”
Mirza Muzurovic, Director of the Bosnian Handball Federation, said: “We don’t know yet what results we can reach in this group, but we know that we will give all we can to show that we are a deserved participant of this World Championship. We are proud to be at a tournament like this for the first time, in a beautiful place with outstanding venues.”