MUNDIAL 2022

Aspire sports students thrilled as Academy reopens

Everyday training activities at Aspire were temporarily put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic but now the students are back after three months working from home.

Aspire sports students thrilled as Academy reopens

A number of students and graduates from Aspire, the academy of sporting excellence, were clearly delighted that training activities have now resumed at the faculty. The academy was temporarily closed in March when the coronavirus outbreak forced governments across the globe to take measures in an attempt to contain the virus. Now training is back but following strict protocol – a maximum of five students are able to work out in each module, while in certain disciplines such as squash, only one student, equipped with their racket, can take to the practice courts.

Finally returning to some sense of normality

Squash player Abdullah Al Tamimi, ranked number 32 in the world and one of Aspire’s most acclaimed graduates, explained: “It's an amazing feeling to return after I have been three months away from home. When I am in Doha, I spend six to seven hours at Aspire on daily basis. Being away for three months is like being far away from my family and finally returning home. The first day back training was like a dream come true. I used to train every day at home, but it is a different feeling to come to your second home Aspire and practice on the squash courts,” Al Tamimi explained.

“Aspire coaching staff have prepared a program on Zoom – courses which I have been using every day, sometimes twice a day to maintain my fitness while official competition is on hold. When the time comes for the next championship, we will be very ready. Squash players all around the world are waiting for the time when we can compete again. That’s why we are trying to be as prepared as possible so that we will be ready when that happens“.

Tough training at home during lockdown

Those words were echoed by fencing graduate Ali Turki, who added, “At the beginning of the lockdown it was difficult for me but as time wore on, I got used to the routine of staying at home and could look at it in a more positive way. I am thankful to Aspire for all the efforts they have made. When the coronavirus pandemic started and the decision was made to stop training, Aspire responded by organizing exercise regimes through the Zoom platform and other means, so we were able to remain active. The only real difference was missing the atmosphere of training, competition, and being with our team mates. That’s over now and we are back to our old routine, things are more or less back to how they were before”.

As for Hamza Hamiti, a specialist in endurance sports, there is no real substitute for human contact and being able to train alongside other people. “Thankfully we are now back and able to train together,” he said. “The last three months have actually been quite tough. Training was individual, wearing face masks and we couldn’t really see each other. But now we're back training with each other at the academy in small groups, and keeping safe distances between us. I hope we will be back to full training soon but for now, it’s just a nice feeling to be back”.