NE such person could be
Jacqueline Quirin-Herbrand, a
“At the beginning, there was no interest in
sport for women or gymnastics,” says Quirin-
Herbrand, who is President of the Belgian
Gymnastics Federation. “It is only after 1995
that the rulers became interested. So I was
asked to create gymnastics in Qatar for men
Quirin-Herbrand set up the Qatar
Gymnastics Federation (QGF) and still serves
on its Technical Committee. Ali Al-hitmi has
been Federation President since 2008. In
2002, QGF became a member of both the
Asian Gymnastics Union and the Interna-
tional Gymnastics Federation. Quirin-Her-
brand travels to Qatar each month for 10
days. “It is how I reconcile my function in
Qatar with my function as President of the
Belgian Gymnastics Federation,” she says.
Though Qatar’s national squad still has few
gymnasts— 10 men and eight women—the
program is in knowledgeable hands.
Aspetar, an on-site sports medicine hospital
The 984-ft. tall Aspire Tower is a multi-purpose facility that also served as the torch for the 15th Asian Games
Aspire Dome houses the gymnastics facilities
Former Soviet national team member
Eduard Gevorkian, a native of Armenia, has
been coaching the senior men for four years.
Winner of the 1986 Belgian Gym Masters,
the powerful, stocky gymnast combined great
strength with exceptional air sense (
double-double on floor, one-arm Kasamatsu-full
vault, Def on high bar).
The women’s team is coached by
Romanian native Camelia Mindricel and her
husband, Razvan Selariu, a 2004 and ’08
Olympian. Mindricel has been in Qatar four
years, Selariu two.
Both the men’s and women’s programs
made their world championship debut in
2007 in Stuttgart. Mahmood Alsadi ranked
137th in the men’s qualifications, and Aljazy
Al-Habshi did three events in the women’s.
In 2010, Ahmed Aldayani and Shaden
Wohdan represented Qatar in the inaugural
Youth Olympics in Singapore.
All four of these gymnasts competed at the
2011 Tokyo worlds, and while their results
were far from making the medal podium, one
individual placed his name in the Code of
Villaggio Shopping Mall (inspired by Venice)
Qatar Quick Hits
• Native pronunciation is between “cutter” and “gutter” (not like “guitar”)
• Capital: Doha
• Population, 1.7 million: Arab 40%, Indian 18%, Pakistani 18%, Iranian 10%
• Languages: Arabic (official), English widely spoken
• Religion: Islam, 77.5%; Christian, 8.5%; other, 14%
• Climate: Average yearly high (90.4, °F); low (68.8, °F); precipitation (2.8 in.)
• Main Industry: Oil and natural gas export
• Doha Sports City was established in 2003, consisting of Khalifa stadium, the
Aspire Sports Academy, aquatic centers, exhibition centers and many other
sports related buildings, to host the 15th Asian Games in 2006
• Aspire Dome (2005): world’s largest indoor multi-purpose hall; arena capacity
15,000. Designed by French architect Roger Taillibert, who also designed the
Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Contains facilities for 13 sports and main arena.
• Doha was one of seven cities to submit a bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics,
which went to Rio de Janeiro. It is now bidding to host the 2020 Games.
• Flag: The white signifies the international sign of peace; the maroon represents
the blood shed during several wars in Qatar; the 9-point serrated line indicates
that Qatar is the 9th member of the reconciled Emirates of the Persian Gulf