Posted on December 10, 2017

On Sunday, Aspire Academy signed a partnership agreement, in conjunction with the Italian Fencing Federation and the Qatar Weightlifting and Fencing Federation. This unprecedented alliance will mutual benefit the development of young Qatari and Italian fencing players by providing them with quality training and top competition opportunities.

As part of this new partnership, Aspire Academy will hold annual training camps for Italy’s top young fencers, and the Italian Fencing Federation will allow Qatari athletes to be included in Italian domestic competitions including the U14, U17, U20 and the Senior circuits, giving them international exposure.

Whilst the Italian fencers are training in Qatar, Aspire Academy will provide sports science services for them, including strength and conditioning assessments, physiology, biomechanics, performance analysis, sports psychology, sports nutrition, physiotherapy and medical support in case of injuries. Attended by the Italian Ambassador to Qatar, HE Pasquale Salzano, the partnership agreement was signed between the Director General of Aspire Academy, Mr. Ivan Bravo, President of the Italian Fencing Federation, Mr. Giorgio Scarso and the President of the Qatar Weightlifting and Fencing Federation, Mr. Mohamed Yousef Al Mana.

Commenting on the new partnership, the Italian Ambassador to Qatar, HE Pasquale Salzano, said: “This partnership is very important. Young Italian fencers can now train with the young Qatari players, and this is extremely satisfying for us. Sports can bring people together in harmony with people from other cultures, which is crucial for their development. Qatari-Italian relations are constantly growing, and the recent visits by the Prime Minister of Italy and three other ministers have played part in this growth. But we’d still like to see more of an Italian presence in the country, in terms of sport, culture, and [commerce] and vice versa. That’s why we’re focusing on strengthening relations in tourism and trade.”

Aspire Academy signs milestone 2 [].jpg

Speaking about Aspire Academy, Mr. Salzano said: “I was really amazed by the uniqueness of Aspire Academy, and I think it’s one of a kind in the world.” He went on to acknowledge that Aspire Academy is proof of the exceptional results the Qatari leadership has achieved in all fields, including sports. Director General of Aspire Academy, Ivan Bravo: added: “A while back, Qatar embarked on a journey whereby it decided to focus on some sports that could enable its players to compete and achieve medals on the international stage. That’s a great objective. But you have to do an incredible amount of work for it to be a possibility one day. Fencing has great potential in this country and to achieve great results, you need to work with great coaches, the best Federations and international partners.”

“Today marks an important day – after a couple of years of laying the foundations, the pieces are coming together. The road is going to be very long, but the, strategy and efforts of our sports science directors and staff and head coaches are beginning to come to fruition We have them to thank for this milestone today. Training is one thing, and competing is another. To help our young fencing athletes reach international level, they need to compete internationally and the Italian Fencing Federation here has allowed us to do that.

President of the Italian Fencing Federation, Mr. Giorgio Scarso, continued: “It’s an honour for the Italian Fencing Federation to be here to sign the agreement and represent this sport at an international level. The relationship between Qatar and Italy has always been very good in various fields, and with this important agreement, we step further into the field of sports. The Italian Federation doesn’t see this only as an opportunity to teach something but also as a true partner, so we can grow together as nations in this sport.”

Aspire Academy signs milestone 3 [].jpg

“This special marriage between the federations is the perfect combination of knowledge. The Italian Federation is ready to collaborate and help on many fronts so we’re very happy with this partnership. We’ve had a lot of interest from the fencing community when we announced this new partnership. We see this is a great opportunity to develop our own athletes, because Italian athletes would love to have an opportunity to come to Qatar and learn about its culture and make use of the world class sports facilities available, just as Qatari students would like to know about the Italian culture and use international experiences to develop as athletes.”

Meanwhile, the President of the Qatar Weightlifting and Fencing Federation, Mr. Mohamed Yousef Al Mana, added: “Fencing is a sport that has a lot of heritage and legacy, and it’s a noble sport. For almost 120 years, we only had swords to fight with. We are proud to support Qatar’s sporting community and in turn, the whole world. This partnership agreement is not the first-of-its-kind, but cements our ongoing collaboration which has lasted for years with Aspire Academy. We hope to reach a day when our efforts help a fencer from Qatar become the best in the world. We can only achieve this [objective] by utilising the expertise of our friends Aspire Academy and the Italian Federation.”

This new partnership comes days after Aspire Academy signed a sponsorship agreement with the Qatar Weightlifting and Fencing Federation to become the official technical and logistical sponsor of the 2017 Qatar Fencing Grand Prix championship, a three-day event that’s concluded on Sunday, 10th December, in the Academy. The sponsorship agreement builds on Aspire Academy’s and the Qatar Weightlifting and Fencing Federation’s existing Memorandum of Understanding that was signed last May, which aims to establish a world-class programme that develops athletes and prepares them for successful participation in Asian and international competitions, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The ongoing programme covers three key phases of athlete development: how to recruit athletes, how to develop them, and how to support top-athletes at senior age category on their pursuit for international success.