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SBD Global/January 6, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Qatar Seeking Sporting Success With Aspetar Clinic; Aims For WADA Acceditation

Qatar "is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to become a sporting super-power," according to the AFP. The oil and gas-rich Arab emirate "has set itself lofty goals for such a tiny country." With a population of around 2 million people, of which only 300,000 are Qatari nationals, "Qatar certainly does not have the kind of wide pool from which to pick and choose talent" that countries such as China or the U.S. enjoy. Yet just as Qatar has proved keen to recruit foreign nationals to boost its sporting teams, "so too has the emirate scouted the world to find the best people in a raft of pursuits outside the direct sporting sphere but related to it that could help enhance its competitive ambitions." Whether doctors, coaches, strategists or specialists in any number of walks of life, "Qatar has attracted them to the blazing heat of the desert to take part in the most ambitious of sporting projects." One such project is Aspetar, "a clinic for top-level sportsmen." According to Qatar National Programme of Sports Medicine Dir Hakim Chalabi, clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, as well as the Algerian national team, "send their footballers to be treated at the clinic." Chalabi: "This is the Silicon Valley of sports medicine." Nearby, the anti-doping laboratory of Doha is aiming to earn World Anti-Doping Agency accreditation within a year "and become a reference point within the Gulf area" (AFP, 1/4).
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