85th AAA Council Meeting begins in Doha

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Doha, 27 October 2016 – HE Sheikh Saoud bin Ali Al Thani, Qatar Olympic Committee Vice-President, officially declared today (October 27) in Doha the 85th Asian Athletics Association Council Meeting open.

The Congress is entitled to make crucial decisions upon the future of the sport, following IAAF President’s recent proposal for governance structure reforms.

Lord Sebastian Coe has personally attended the Opening of the Council Meeting, chaired by AAA and QAF President Dahlan Al Hamad and is expected to be main the speaker in today’s session.

“Athletics is a very nice and popular sport that can flourish even more in the future,” said in his welcome message Sheikh Saoud bin Ali Al Thani.

In his opening statement addressing the delegates, Lord Coe recalled his first visit in Doha 20 years ago:

“I still remember the hospitality, the kindness, the friendship of the Qatari people. I see now the buildings that were the only ones standing at the time, surrounded by recent construction: this is a constant reminder of the extraordinary change that took place here in all levels in a few years time and has shaped modern Qatar.

“Here in our Asian family we mourn for two loses, in Doha (former Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani) and in Thailand (King Bhumibol Adulyadej). I would like to express my sympathy to both countries.

“Allow me also to thank Dahlan Al Hamad for waiting to welcome me at 5 am in the airport. This is way beyond the duties of the role of the president of an area, beyond what is written in any organisation’s constitution. I am thankful!”

It is the fourth time in a less than a month Sebastian Coe attends an area session in an attempt to pass his reform proposal as a whole at a Special Congress to be held in Monaco on 3 December 2016.

“It has been an extraordinary journey that brought me back to the two things I like the most: to watch the preparation of the athletes and spend time with the member federations.

“Your decisions will strengthen my hand when I will further attempt to enrich our role in society, in governance, for the health and the safety of the young people,” added Lord Coe.

Dahlan Al Hamad, expressed the condolences on behalf of the Asian Federations to the governments and the people of Qatar and Thailand for the loss of two great leaders “which we all will remember”.

He also thanked Coe for coming to Doha for the third time in eight months:

“I honestly wish that under President Coe’s guidance and leadership the sport will get into a new era!”

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